Cmdr. Paul Rinn, the first commanding officer of the third USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58), believed in the power of naval heritage to inspire a crew, and insisted that his sailors know about previous U.S. Navy warships to bear the name.
The second one was USS Samuel B. Roberts (DD 823), a Gearing-class destroyer. Commissioned in 1946, DD 823 was nicknamed the “Steaming Sammy B” by its hard-working crew. Like a naval Forrest Gump, the second Roberts participated in many of the Navy’s big events in the decades that followed World War II: the Cuban missile blockade, the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, President Eisenhower’s 1955 European summit, the first air strikes from a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the investigation into the sinking of the attack sub USS Thresher, the freedom-of-navigation sorties into the Black Sea, and more.
DD 823 served the nation for nearly 35 years. The ship was decommissioned in 1970 and sunk the following year as a training target in deep water off Puerto Rico.