For Crew and Country: The Inspirational True Story of Bravery and Sacrifice Aboard the USS Samuel B. Roberts
by John Wukovits
Paperback, 384 pages
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin February 2014
Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
USS Samuel B. Roberts (DE-413) was a Butler Class destroyer escort. On 26 October 1944 she was one of a group of destroyers and destroyer escorts which were assigned to protect the four light escort carriers of Taffy 3 off the Philippine island of Samar. As dawn broke, the American ships were surprised to discover a vastly superior Japanese surface force bearing down on them, lead by Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita aboard the battleship Yamato. The Roberts, along with three Fletcher class destroyers (Johnston, Hoel, and Heerman) turned towards the Japanese while laying smoke in an effort to protect the carriers. Roberts scored a torpedo hit on the heavy cruiser Chokai, and caused extensive damage with gunfire to another heavy cruiser, Chikuma. She fought until she ran out of ammunition, then succumbed to the extensive beating doled out by the heavier Japanese ships. She is remembered in the United States Navy as “the destroyer that fought like a battleship”.
This is the story of the Samuel B. Roberts as told by her crew. It follows the ship from her commissioning and work ups through her final action during the Battle of Samar. It also describes the ordeal of the survivors after the battle as they floated in the open ocean for more than two days before rescue. This is an epic story of a heroic battle against overwhelming odds, well written and inspiring. Highly recommended.