No Higher Honor

No Higher Honor coverNo Higher Honor: Saving the USS Samuel B. Roberts in the Persian Gulf
By Bradley Peniston
Foreword by Adm. (ret.) William Crowe
Naval Institute Press, 2006 (hardcover), 2013 (paperback, Kindle). 288 pp., 15 photos, 6 x 9 inches. $23.95 list, ISBN 9781591146766. Kindle edition.

A U.S. warship in deadly peril

The USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) was a small warship built for escort duty — much like its namesake vessel, one of the tin-can heroes of Leyte Gulf. But its skipper imbued his brand-new crew with their forebears’ fighting spirit, and when the guided missile frigate was thrust into the Persian Gulf at the height of the Iran-Iraq War, there was no better ship for the job.

For two months in 1988, captain and crew sailed a Gulf aflame, escorting tankers in Operation Earnest Will, the largest convoy operation since World War II. Forbidden to fire unless fired upon, they relied on wit and nerve to face down Iraqi fighter jets and Iranian warships.

The Roberts’ sternest test arrived on 14 April, when an Iranian mine ripped open its engineroom, ignited fires on four decks, and plunged the ship into darkness. With seawater rising around their boots, the crew fought flames and flooding into the night.

The ship’s tale of bravery and cool competence has become part of Navy lore and a staple of naval leadership courses. No U.S. warship since the Korean War has come closer to sinking in hostile action. The mining provoked Operation Praying Mantis, the biggest surface-ship battle in decades; helped end the Iran-Iraq War; and set the stage for conflicts to come.


A first-class work that should get high marks from all interested in ships and the sea — and especially in the saving of a sinking ship. Peniston has captured the soul of the USS Samuel B. Robertsand the ship’s crew, recounting their ordeal in riveting prose.” —Norman Polmar, author of RICKOVER and SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT OF THE U.S. FLEET

As fast-moving and tightly built as a Perry-class frigate, NO HIGHER HONOR drops the reader into the crucible of the 1988 tanker war in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy’s most harrowing combat theater since World War II. The astonishing story of the saving of the USS Samuel B. Roberts illustrates the value of inspired naval leadership and the transcendent power that comes from pride of heritage.” — James D. Hornfischer, author of THE LAST STAND OF THE TIN CAN SAILORS and SHIP OF GHOSTS

A great read. This is a story about the kind of command leadership that makes our Navy the greatest in the world.” — Vice Adm. (ret.) Henry C. Mustin, former commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet


No Higher Honor is the first book to detail the extraordinary tale of the USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) and the crew’s heroic efforts to save the ship after it hit an Iranian mine in 1988. Drawing on years of research and scores of interviews, Bradley Peniston chronicles the origins of the Perry-class frigate; the crew’s training; its operations in the Persian Gulf; the U.S. retaliation against Iran, which became the biggest surface battle since World War II; and the complex repairsthat returned the ship to duty.

Published by Naval Institute Press, the 275-page book contains 20 photos, several diagrams of the damage, and a muster list of the shipmates aboard the Roberts during its fight for survival.

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