FFG 58: Commissioning

The guided missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) was commissioned on 12 April 1986 at Bath Iron Works in Maine. There is no more hallowed ritual for a warship than this one, which formally ushers it into service with the U.S. Navy.


arrow up to photoPart of the Roberts crew marches to the pier where the ceremony will be held.

arrow up to photoThe crowd assembles under a light rain.

arrow up to photoSideboys form lines by a sign presented by the shipmates of the first USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE 413).

arrow up to photoThe Northeastern Navy Band plays “Anchors Aweigh” and other service standards.

arrow up to photoCmdr. Paul Rinn, the Roberts‘ commanding officer, receives a salute from the sideboys.

arrow up to photoCapt. Paul Aquilino, commander of Surface Group 4, the Newport, R.I.,-based squadron to which the Roberts will belong.

arrow up to photoWith the crew assembled around the audience, the ceremony begins.

arrow up to photoThe ship’s officers, in dress blues, gloves, and swords.

arrow up to photoTwo petty officers.

arrow up to photoCapt. William A. Rehder, the Navy’s Supervisor of Shipbuilding in Bath, offers some words.

arrow up to photoSenior Chief Quartermaster (SW) Robert L. Grafing.

arrow up to photoBIW president William E. Haggett helped his shipyard win the contest to design and build the Perry-class frigates, of whichRoberts was the 23rd and second-to-last built at Bath.

arrow up to photoSailors run to man the Roberts and set its first watch as a commissioned warship.

arrow up to photoAscending the ladders.

arrow up to photoVice Adm. Henry C. Mustin, commander of the Second Fleet, delivers the principal address. “In the Navy’s hall of heroes, no name shines more brightly” than Samuel B. Roberts, Mustin said, and saluted the survivors of DE 413. “They steamed those little ships into the valley of death,” he told the crowd. “I feel pretty humble about talking about it in their presence.”

arrow up to photoJack Yusen, a survivor of DE 413, wears a ballcap with the numbers of all three Roberts ships.

arrow up to photo“Great things come from great traditions,” Rinn tells the crowd. To the former Roberts crewmembers in the audience, he says, “You are our inspiration. You are our spirit.” And he asks his crew for three cheers “for those who have built our ship, and those who sailed before us.”

arrow up to photoAt the lifelines, the crew waves to the audience.


  1. I am writing regarding my father Francis Dickson. He is now 85 years old and suffering from advanced dementia. When he was younger he told us of his destroyer being sunk in the Philippines in 1944. He told us of floating at sea for several days and of being picked up by a ship. He had shrapnel wounds in his knee and suffered from malaria. He was not one to speak of the war often. I contacted the records office in St. Louis many years ago to obtain his service records. There is no listing of where he was serving during the 1944-1945 time period. While cleaning out my parent’s house after my mother’s death recently, I came across a newspaper clipping from November 1944 entitled “survivor” and accounting the events as described above, but no ship’s name is listed in the article.I recently found your site and I have looked at the list of survivors of the USS Samuel Roberts to see if his name is on the list. It is not. I have also contacted the Hoel and Johnston Association. He is not on their lists either.Can you tell me if this is a complete list of survivors and where I might be able to find information regarding what ship he may have been on?Thank you for any information you can provide. Sincerely,Linda Congdon

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