Posted by: SJS | May 16, 2012

Red goes to Squadron 40

After the surrender of Imperial Japan in the summer of 1945,  Red Stahley was reassigned from Squadron (Ron) 27 to Ron 40 in the South Pacific.   In his new squadron, Red was assigned to PT 589.  Like Tom Saffles, Red had enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve (USNR) when he joined the US Navy.  By joining the USNR, they committed themselves to staying in the navy for the duration of the war and an additional six months.  A regular enlistment entailed a commitment of six years.

PT 589 crew in '45.  Red stands, 5th from left

Crew of PT 589, Red stands, 5th from left

As the story was related to us by Tom Saffles, both he and Red chose the reserves because they believed the war would be over in a few years and they would finish their service and get home quicker.  “We both took a gamble,” Tom said with a laugh, “and it turns out that we were right.  We didn’t want to be in the navy for six years.”

This photograph was sent to me by a PT vet who was an officer in Ron 40 – Richard Cardwell of Richmond, Virginia.  After receiving a letter that I sent to vets who were in Ron 27 and Ron 40, Mr. Cardwell thought he remembered my father’s name and he sent me a copy of the photo.  What a thrill it was to see my father’s youthful, smiling face as he posed with his crewmates on PT 589.

The expressions on the faces of these sailors tell quite a story.  Their relief, joy, and relaxed postures are easy to understand.  The hostilities are over and the return home is now just a matter of time.  The war and its horrors have finally ended.


  1. I wonder if you would be willing to send me a larger version of this picture? darrenseelye(at)hotmail(dot)com? I would appreciate it!

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