Author Topic: 'Hold on to Something!' — A Moment that Shifted the Fate of the USS Samuel B. Roberts Crew  (Read 1148 times)

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'Hold on to Something!' — A Moment that Shifted the Fate of the USS Samuel B. Roberts Crew
27 Sep 2021
The War Horse | By Alex Perez

Alex Perez lives in San Antonio, Texas. He has an art degree, as well as a four-year degree from the University of the Incarnate Word with a specialty in computer information systems. Perez worked as a network administrator at a local nonprofit nursing agency, as well as a network administrator at a local school district before retiring in 2000 for medical reasons. In April 1993, he medically retired from the Navy as a master chief gas turbine specialist (E-9). This piece is part of a 5,000-word manuscript Perez is writing.

The opinions expressed in this op-ed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of If you would like to submit your own commentary, please send your article to for consideration.

On April 14, 1988, the USS Samuel B. Roberts guided missile frigate had already escorted several oil tankers in and out of the Persian Gulf during the war between Iran and Iraq, but by late in the afternoon, the situation changed. At 4:39 p.m., I had just come off watch in CCS (central control station) and was sitting in the chief’s mess when I suddenly felt a rumbling and vibration coming from a propeller shaft. It was a good indication that main engines were slowing the ship down, and I could feel the ship coming to an abrupt stop.

Capt. Paul Rinn, the skipper of the Roberts, announced that the ship had entered a minefield. He called for general quarters — an order to head to our battle stations — and I, like everyone else, headed toward my GQ station. When I got to the main engine room, I secured the doors behind me and manned the auxiliary local operating panel — the LOP. The LOP could take control of the main engines in case CCS lost electrical signal to the engines.
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