Our ship was named after Samuel Booker Roberts Jr. who was born in San Francisco, California on May 12, 1921. He enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve on April 13, 1939 at Portland, Oregon and advanced to the rank of Coxswain. Mr. Roberts served continuously until his death on September 28, 1942. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism while serving on the crew of a landing craft that, despite receiving intense enemy fire, rescued numerous stranded marines from Guadalcanal.
The citation for the Navy Cross reads as follows:
“For extraordinary heroism as member of the crew of a Higgins boat assisting in the rescue of a group of marines surrounded by enemy Japanese forces on a beachhead on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on September 27, 1942. Although he knew that his boat was to be used for the purpose of drawing enemy fire away from other craft evacuating the trapped marines, Roberts, with utter disregard for his own personal safety, volunteered as member of the crew, with his lightly armored boat stationed in an exposed position, he gallantly remained at his post until, at the close of operations, he was wounded by enemy fire. By his great valor and fearless devotion to duty he contributed directly to the success of his mission, saving the lives of many who otherwise might have perished.”