Posted by: SJS | July 21, 2011

No wonder Dad was so edgy!

Working my way through the 1945 guidebook, Know Your PT Boat, the section that grabbed my attention (and refused to let go) was the description of the job of the PT Radioman.  While I always had the impression that the radioman served as the “eyes and ears” of his boat, it wasn’t until I saw this section – especially the cartoon used to illustrate it – that I realized how comprehensive were the duties of the radioman.

Pt radioman Octupus

Radioman illustration in 1945 guide

Besides being the “eyes and ears” of his boat on their dangerous nighttime patrols, it seems that the radioman functioned more like the central nervous system of his craft.  As the link with the base and other PT boats, it was the radioman who kept the information flowing, information that was often the difference between life and death for his crew.

My father always had a surplus of restless energy and his temper often had a very short fuse.  Without a doubt,  being the parent of five children and working in the highly volatile trucking industry was a combination that could put anyone’s nerves on edge.  What  I clearly understand now, however, is  that the tension and stress of his military service became a part of who he was.   As we currently see with so many of the veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the effects of intense military experience do not end when a person leaves the service and puts on civilian attire.

Here’s a salute to Red, Tom Saffles, Franny Hart and the other courageous PT radiomen who were among the best multi-taskers in the business (and long before that term ever came into use).  It’s no mystery why those PT crews were so protective and proud of their radiomen.

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