Posted by: SJS | November 28, 2011

On the job training

     Among the things I remember best from my father’s stories of his days on the PT boats was the way he described the veteran sailors passing on their PT know-how to the new crew members.  When I came across this photo from an old book my father gave me as a child (entitled simply PT Boat), it brought back those stories in a very compelling way.

new PT sailor learning to work the deck weapon

Anti-aircraft gun training


      As the PT boats evolved from their original mission of  “torpedo-delivery” craft into high-speed gunboats, every sailor on board had to achieve a measure of skill with the deck guns.  Being trained to engage with enemy submarines by using depth charges or fire back at a pursuing enemy aircraft, every sailor on board had to be prepared to do whatever task was necessary to defend his boat.

      Red Stahley and Tom Saffles, radiomen by training, had to be ready at any moment to make their way rapidly to the nearest deck weapon and return fire.  On every mission they lived on the razor’s edge.  There was no such thing as downtime when the PTs were on patrol.


  1. Excellent post.

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