Posted by: SJS | June 19, 2015

In RON 5 with JFK– stopping the “Tokyo Express”

PT 107 Ron 5

With today’s post, I am happy (actually, THRILLED) to begin sharing some of the PT history of Leland Gosnell who served aboard PT 107 in Squadron (RON) 5.  Through the kindness and generosity of fellow PT Splinter Bob Gosnell, Leland’s son, I’ve been given access to several great photographs and a wealth of historical information about Leland’s service as well as some insights into the history of the legendary PT boats and crews that fought with future president John Fitzgerald Kennedy in the Solomon Islands in 1943.  The mission of RON 5 during that critical year was to disrupt the “Tokyo Express,” especially by attacking Japanese shipping and troop transport in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.

In the attached photo, Leland Gosnell kneels on the bow of PT 107.  Bob pointed out that the photograph shows a USMC insignia that is tattooed on Leland’s left shoulder, from his service in the US Marines from 1925-1929.  As a member of both the USMC and the USN, Leland brought an impressive military background to his PT career and served as a mentor (and later an instructor at Melville, Rhode Island) to the younger sailors who joined the Mosquito Fleet in WWII–many right out of high school like my father, Red Stahley and his close friend, Tom Saffles.

My thanks to Bob for making this rich package of photos and personal recollections available to us through the blog.  It is PT connections just like this that I dreamed about when I began the blog in early 2011.  I am honored to be able to share this amazing historical information with all the readers.  Thanks again, Bob!


  1. I was surprised to find after my post on the PT boats, that many only were aware of those crews because of JFK – and he came late to the fight on the Express.

    • GP, You make an excellent point. Thanks for providing this background information. Steve

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: