Posted by: SJS | December 14, 2011

Keeping fragile boats seaworthy

Hull repairs on a PT boat

Hull repairs on a PT boat

     Whenever my research turns up another photograph of a PT boat undergoing repair it always takes my breath away.  The realization of how fragile these small, wooden boats were is an enduring testimony to the undaunted courage of their crews.  In this photo, two skilled sailors repair the bow of a PT that has been almost completely shattered.  Seeing the wooden superstructure of the boat laid bare drives home the point that these were highly vulnerable craft.  They were constantly at the mercy of enemy ships and aircraft.  The sea, the sun, and the fierce winds of the Pacific were not friends of the PTs either.

     The PT sailors and their able backup teams on the tender ships and the bases were like the best racing teams at the Indianapolis 500.   Like the drivers, the PT crews knew everything about speed, maneuverability, and how to intimidate their opponents.  Like the pit crews, the sailors on the tenders and the bases knew how to get their vehicles repaired and fueled with lightning speed and precision.  It is little wonder why and how the PTs compiled their amazing record of success in turning the tide of WWII in favor of the Allied Forces.


  1. It’s crazy how fragile these boats were. Good post.

    • Darren,

      It is amazing to see pictures of the boats under repair and realize what fragile vessels they were. Thanks for your continued support.


  2. I was looking up your father’s Navy Muster Rolls on and it looks like my grandfather and your father may have just missed each other. They both were in MTB 27 but my grandfather left in June, 1945 and it seems like Red came in in July 0f ’45. Looking over your blog, I see some similarities between the two brave men. My grandfather died in 1998 of lung cancer at age 75. He was a lifetime smoker. He told me he started smoking at age 12! I used to light his cigarettes (Marlboro Reds) for him and even now, when I smell a freshly lit cigarette, I think of him and smile. You blog is great, keep it up.

  3. Darrren,

    My father picked up the smoking habit during his Navy days and even though he quit cigarettes in 1969, it was lung cancer that caused his death in 1999. My grandfather (Red’s father) was also a smoker and Marlboro was his brand also. I have the same reaction as you when I smell cigarette smoke- it brings back some powerful memories.
    Best wishes to you and your family for a happy holiday.


  4. Merry Christmas Steve. All the best to your family as well.

  5. PT-505

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