Monday Maritime Matters

October 29th, 2007 by xformed

Place holder until the dust of getting the ValOUR-IT program moving.

I was planning on covering the USS HEERMAN (DD-532), but there isn’t any easy answers on the ‘net as to who she was named for.

Check back later today, and I should have some gouge up for Naval History’s sake come early evening.

It’s later…later than I’d like, but here it is:

LCDR Robert Copeland, USNR
Born in 1910 in Tacoma, Washington, Rear Admiral Robert Copeland, USNR, was one of many reservists who played a critical role in WWII. At the time he was needed to step up to the plate, he was a Lieutenant Commander.  Enlisting in the Naval Reserves in 1929, he was commissioned in 1935, and served in a reserve status until he was called to active duty in 1940 as part of the military buildup. A lawyer by professional trade, he was a captain of a destroyer escort on Oct 25th, 1944, present at the Battle Off Samar. That ship has become a storied one: USS SAMUEL B ROBERTS (DE-413).

Navy Cross
From James Hornfischer’s excellent and throughly researched book, “Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors:”

“This will be a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do what damage we can.”

LCDR Copeland said to his crew and then turned his ship into harm’s way to face off against the most formidable Japanese fighting force to sail, as part of Taffy 3, he and his crew’s actions are legendary and earned LCDR Copeland the Navy Cross. Taking three 14″ hits from Japanese battleship rounds, the ROBERTS was severely damaged. His gun crews continued firing, even without hydraulics and gas ejection air, expending almost every single 5″ round they carried, regardless of the type of projectile it was.

He wrote a book about his ship, “The Spirit of the Sammie B,” along with his shipmate, Jack O’Neill.

After the war, Robert Copeland returned to his legal profession, but also remained in the Naval Reserves, rising to the rank of Rear Admiral. He passed away in 1973, in the same city where he was born.

USS COPELAND (FFG-25) Underway at Pt Loma
One ship has served the US Navy named for RADM Copeland: USS COPELAND (FFG-25) of the OLIVER HAZARD PERRY Class of guided missile frigates.

Built by the Todd Shipyard at San Pedro, CA and commissioned August 7th, 1982. I helped train her combat systems team during their pre-comm training at Fleet Combat Training Center, Atlantic.  She was homeported in San Diego for her entire service time. Decommissioned September 18th, 1996, she was immediately transferred to the Egyptian Navy, renamed Mubarak (F 911).

This entry was posted on Monday, October 29th, 2007 at 7:16 am and is filed under Maritime Matters, Military, Military History, Navy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 responses about “Monday Maritime Matters”

  1. Mike the EE said:

    FWIW — I checked the online DANFS… ( )
    Their history for the Heerman begins with “Lewis Heermann, born in Kassel, Germany, 3 August 1779…” and that is about all that I could find (everywhere else cites DANFS).

    Oddly, there is more information online about his naturalist son, Adolphus Lewis Heerman, namesake of the Heerman’s Gull… plus a couple of oddities like a link about the family residence in NOLA ( ) or links referring to an ancient article he wrote titled “Directions for the Medicine Chest”.

    Thanks for the site, xformed, it is a pleasure to browse and read!

  2. sid said:

    Copeland’s book had been online, but it appears it is only in print now.

    It is a gripping story and well worth the investement.

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