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|207k||Samuel Booker Roberts was born in San Francisco, Cal. on 12 May 1921 and enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1939. Called to active duty in 1940, he served
in USS California (BB 44) and USS Heywood (APA 6) before being transferred to the troop transport USS Bellatrix (AKA 20).
In 1942, Bellatrix was assigned to Task Group Four and became part of the Guadalcanal Assault Force. As a coxswain for one of the Bellatrix’s assault (Higgins) boats, Roberts became extensively involved in the landing of Marines ashore and the transporting of supplies from ships at sea to what was a very tenuous beachhead. As a result of the heavy fighting at sea beginning 7 August, Coxswain Roberts was transferred to the Beachmaster unit on the island of Guadalcanal to perform transport and medevac duties. Early on the morning of 27 September 1942, Roberts volunteered for a rescue mission to save a company sized unit of marines who had been surrounded by a numerically superior Japanese force. Initially the rescue group of several Higgins boats were taken under heavy enemy fire and was perilously close to failure. Realizing the state of the rescue mission, Roberts unselfishly volunteered to distract the Jap forces by passing directly in front of their lines and drawing their fire. The decoy act was performed effectively until all the Marines had been evacuated. However, as he was about to withdraw from the range of the Japanese guns, Roberts‘ boat was hit and he was mortally wounded. For his valor and courage in the face of enemy fire Coxswain Samuel Booker Roberts was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.
USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE 413) (April-October 1944) was the first ship named in his honor, she was succeeded by DD 823 (1946 - 1970) and FFG 58 (1986-).
(U.S. Navy Photo, a pencil drawing from the National Archives)
|Robert M. Cieri|
|167k||20 January 1944: Houston, Tex. - Samuel B. Roberts (DE 413) leaving the ways at Brown Shipbuilding Company. (U.S. Navy photo #NH 82850 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)||Mike Green|
|13k||photographed about June 1944, while off Boston, Mass. (Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph)||Robert F. Sumrall, 1980|
|76k||shortly before her sinking on 24 October 1944 during a running gun battle with the Main Japanese Fleet, during the Battle of Samar||-|
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