Military history

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour

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

With these words, Lieutenant Commander Robert W. Copeland addressed the crew of the destroyer escort USS Samuel B. Roberts on the morning of October 25, 1944, off the Philippine Island of Samar. On the horizon loomed the mightiest ships of the Japanese navy, a massive fleet that represented the last hope of a staggering empire. All that stood between it and Douglas MacArthur’s vulnerable invasion force were the Roberts and the other small ships of a tiny American flotilla poised to charge into history.

Part I: Tin Cans

Part II: Last Stand

Part III: A Vanishing Graveyard

Part IV: Highest Traditions

Men of Task Unit 77.4.3 Killed in Action, October 25-28, 1944

Bibliography

Source Notes