Posted by: SJS | March 27, 2017

Armed, dangerous and ready to rock and roll

One of the more unusual photos I’ve come across from our good friends at PT Boats, Inc., shows the crew of a PT in Squadron (Ron) 15 posing with smiles, swagger, and a broad assortment of weapons.  The bold crew and their CO are brandishing pistols, knives, rifles, a machine gun, and even a machete.  The boat they are on is not identified.  When I saw that the photograph featured sailors from Ron 15, it immediately captured my attention since that was my father’s first assignment in the summer of 1944.  For a fleeting moment, I thought I saw his face in the back row but it was someone else.  As far as my research shows, Red Stahley was assigned to base duty as part of Ron 15 in various locations in North Africa and the islands in the Mediterranean.  Nonetheless, it is very easy to imagine my father climbing on board a boat with a weapon in hand, ready and willing to strike a pose for the camera.

The smiles on those young faces convey the confidence and daring that were so characteristic of the sailors of the Mosquito Fleet.  The weapons in their hands, however, reveal the unmistakable truth that war is serious business and that, in the flash of an eye, those weapons could mean the difference between life and death.  How easy it is to see my father reflected in the expressions and postures of those brave young men sitting atop the charthouse of their PT boat in Ron 15.

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