Posted by: SJS | February 15, 2011

Welcome to my blog, PT Boat Red.

The purpose of the blog is twofold: to share the story of my father’s Navy service in World War II as a PT Boat radioman and to invite you to share my voyage of discovery about his days as an enlisted sailor who saw action in the branch of the Navy immortalized by President John F. Kennedy and his crew on PT 109. 

My father, George J. Stahley, was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1924.  He passed away in 1999.

Mary Stahley and her son George

Mary Stahley and her son George

  He was in the US Navy from 1943 to 1946.  My name is Stephen J. Stahley and I live in Westminster, Maryland.

In 2010, I acquired my father’s military records from a branch of the US Archives in St. Louis, Missouri.  I quickly learned that there was more to his military career than the stories he shared with me over the years.  I subsequently made contact with PT Boats, Inc. in Germantown, Tennessee, and became part of a vibrant network of PT veterans, relatives, and others who share a passionate interest in the “Mosquito Fleet” and the crucial role played by those small, swift boats in securing the Allied victory in WWII.

In addition to this blog, a companion website will be launched within the next few months.  The website will contain links to videos and photographs.  The website will also have a link to essays I have written about my father’s service, especially pertaining to his days in the South Pacific on PT 373 of Squadron (or “Ron”) 27.

Thanks for your interest.  Welcome aboard.


  1. Steve,

    This is soooo cool. So great that you were able to create a website to pay tribute to Dad’s P.T. Boat experience.

    Nice Job!


    • Joan,

      Thanks for your encouraging words and thanks also for doing such a good job of preserving all the old family photos. It’s great to be able to share them now with a wider audience.


  2. Steve,

    It looks great! I can’t wait to see the web site and read more blogs. “Red” would be very proud!

    Keep up the good work sailor!

    • Bob,

      Thanks for the supportive words. Your good work on repairing some of these old photos has been a tremendous help. The blog represents a collaborative effort to keep family history alive and vibrant.


  3. Steven,
    This is absolutely wonderful. To learn the history of your Dad and what he and many, many other soldiers went thru is amazing. It is so Great you were able to contact his buddy from the war and talk to him. Keep up the good work, I look forward to reading more.

    Joe Young

    • Joe,

      I appreciate your support. Sharing the story of my father’s military service with the family is proving to be an effective way to strengthen the bonds between us. We always loved our visits to Berlin, New Jersey to see all of you. Few things were as exciting as a trip to see Uncle Joe, Aunty Mae, and our cousins, Diana, George, Joe, and Barbara.


  4. Steve, what a great tribute to your Dad!
    Good luck with the blog,

    • Steve,

      What a joy it was to begin processing a lot of this material last summer when you and I made the trip to Stirling, NJ. You were enormously helpful to me as I shared the deeply emotional experience of receiving my father’s military records and discovering how much more there was to his career in the Navy.
      Thanks for the support.


  5. Stephen, so good of you to look back to follow and document your Fathers experiences before he became the good man I called Uncle George. The generations before us were witness to so many defining moments with life altering consequences. Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading more stories that fill in the pages of Uncle George’s life.

    • Michael,

      Thanks for your supportive words and the beautiful sentiments you’ve shared about my father. Our connection to the Morris family was, and remains, so vital to all the Stahleys. Working with your dad on his memoir, especially the section on his WWII service in the Army in Burma, was a real inspiration for me. His passion to record those events fueled my passion to tell my father’s story.


  6. Steve,

    What a wonderful website and blog. Your research and this website on your father’s military service in the Navy and the men he served with is a very special tribute to your dad and the men he served with. I look forward to reading and learning more as you continue to chronicle the life of your father.


    • Aneise,

      Many thanks for your kind words. The more I learn about my father’s PT boat career, the more I want to share it with others through the blog. I’m glad to be able to make the story of the PT boats (aka “The Mosquito Fleet”) better known to a wider audience. While President Kennedy’s PT 109 story is familiar to many Americans, there was so much more to the overall story of this branch of the Navy than is commonly known. It’s great to know that others are interested!

      Thanks also for subscribing to my blog, it is much appreciated.


  7. Steve,
    As a fellow splinter of Ron 27, I was elated to see your work. My Dad was a motormac on PT 374. Will look forward to seeing more postings in the future.

    • Gary,

      It’s always wonderful to make contact with another PT splinter! Thanks for joining our discussion. There was a strong spirit among the sailors of Ron 27. The boats in that squadron engaged in some heavy action and some historic moments–like giving MacArthur a ride as part of his “I shall return” tour. There’s a chance that my father or Tom Saffles may have rubbed shoulders with your dad. Glad to have you on the blog.


  8. I would like some help. My grandfather served part time on the pt-109, he was an indian named tom mix childeress, except when he joined at 17 years old the navy entered him as tom mix childers. He suffered great injury a of a result of an explosion on the ship and suffered 3rd degree burns on over 70% of his body. He has recently died and my vow not to bring it to public until his death has come to fruition. The picture of crew in front of the pt-109 pictures him in the front row far left. The navy will not acknowledge his existence except for his service and discharge, and they would not always do that. i have details that prove his significant part in the war. How can I get a hold of his service records since the navy refuses to release them still. He was a hero and yet still today they refuse to acknowledge his part in the war. Again I have proof, but I need more. If you can help please email me at

    • J Smith,

      Thanks for visiting the blog. I’ll get the address of the US Military Archives in St. Louis, the place where I contacted to get my father’s WWII records. In the meantime, you should contact PT Boats, Inc. in Germantown, Tennessee to see if they might be able to assist you in your search for information. I strongly suggest that you visit the website and check it out and then make contact with Alyce Guthrie who is a real expert on all things related to the PT service.

      Perhaps other members of our discussion group on the blog will be able to assist you also. We’ll all do our best to help.


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