Submitted by: Paul Hickey

Category: Stories

Captain Paul X. Rinn, USN (ret.), was the first commanding officer of the third-generation USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) and was in command when the ship struck a mine in the Persian Gulf on April 14, 1988. He later commanded USS Leyte Gulf (CG-55), and was the commander of the Iraqi Oil Embargo Task Force in both the Red Sea and later the Persian Gulf. Previously he had served during the Vietnam War.

Rinn was inducted into the U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Hall of Fame in 2008. He was prominently featured in the book "No Higher Honor" for his dramatic emergency rescue efforts of Samuel B. Roberts in the Persian Gulf. His awards include the Legion of Merit with “V” device, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal (5), the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the John Paul Jones Leadership Award.

He passed away last week (Aug. 5, 2022) while preparing for a presentation at MIT on leadership. His TED-X talk on leadership was noteworthy for one important reason: He takes little credit himself for saving the ship. He lauds the heroism and determination of the crew, in particular Michael Tilley.

You can see and hear his talk at

About the author:

Paul Hickey is a lifelong friend of Capt. Paul Rinn, and a member of American Legion Post 178 in Murrells Inlet, S.C.