Posted by: SJS | March 18, 2011

PT 373 Crew 1945

From the early months of 1945 through the Japanese surrender in August of that year, PT Squadron (Ron) 27 was very busy in the South Pacific.  The PT boats in Ron 27 carried out multiple missions, saw a lot of action, and suffered casualties.  While much of the nation’s attention in 1945 was focused on the famous island hopping campaign of the Marines in the Pacific (and deservedly so), the other parts of the American military were also busy at their assigned tasks.  For the PT crews of Ron 27, their  work primarily involved the disruption of enemy communications and monitoring  the movements of enemy ships.  The tide had turned heavily in favor of the Allies but the fighting was still fierce. No one knew when the hostilities would end.

As spring turned to summer in 1945, plans were being made for the invasion of the Japanese mainland.  While the details were far from complete, there was no doubt that the PTs would have a role.  The intensity of the fighting in the Philippines and the surrounding islands gave no small indication of how difficult the struggle would be when the Allies moved against the mainland.   By the middle of 1945, American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines knew that no victories came easy in the Pacific.  And it was looking like the months (and years) ahead would be a long slog. 

 This photo of the crew of PT 373 of Ron 27 is one of my favorites.  The faces and body language speak volumes about the lives and work of these sailors.  They are young men who have already acquired a lifetime’s worth of experience and savvy.  Their eyes have seen more that most of us can ever imagine.

PT 373 crew

PT 373 Crew '45

 The photo also holds many mysteries.  The only person we can identify is Red Stahley.  He is the second sailor from the right, standing in the back row.  Is there anyone out there in the extended PT Boat Family who can put names to some of these remarkable faces?   Can any of you PT Splinters help us to identify the other members of the crew of the immortal 373?

There are other photos that include Red and some of these sailors.  Like Tom Saffles, these sailors shared some of the most intense, life-changing days of Red’s life.  We’d love to know their names.

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Responses

  1. Can you please provide a larger version of the picture? My grandfather was in RON 27, but I don’t know which boat he was on. I am still trying to figure it out. He might be in this picture. Thanks! Nice site too. Wow.

    • Darren, Thanks very much for your support. I’ll do my best to get you an enlarged version of the crew of PT 373. Thanks again, Steve

  2. My grandfather C.T. Perotka, standing, far left. John Perotka

    • John,

      Thanks for making the identification of your grandfather in the photo of the crew. Most of the photos we have from my father’s Navy days have no indication of the other sailors in the picture. It’s wonderful to have a name attached to one of these faces we’ve looked at for so many years.
      Thanks again!
      Steve

  3. My father, George Truett Boyd, is second from the left front row

    • Mary,

      Thanks so much for this information. For years, I’ve been trying to locate names to go with the faces.

      If you have any stories or memories or anecdotes or photos from your father about his days on the PT Boats, I’d love to share them with the blog followers.

      Thanks again for sharing this information.

      Steve Stahley

  4. I am Mary Boyd’s sister, Kathy Cronauer. I did have some mementos from our father’s time on this boat, including the penant that flew over the boat at some point in time. However, I have recently moved and gave some of these things to the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, VA. Our father left the Navy to return to college with the hope of returning to the Navy as a pilot. However, he was called into the ministry instead and then returned to the Navy as a Chaplain. He spent 32 years on active duty as a chaplain retiring in 1982 as a Captain. When I have time I will look in our storage unit to see if there is anything remaining from his PT Boat days.

    • Kathy,

      How great to hear from you! It was wonderful to hear about your father and his career after WWII. I am certain that his experience as a PT Boat sailor made him an excellent chaplain when he returned to the Navy after his theological training. I would love to share his story through the blog, so if you have any photos or information that you’d like to share about him, I’d be very happy to include it in a post.

      Thanks again for making contact. Hearing from both you and Mary has been a real blessing!

      Steve


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