Posted by: SJS | July 21, 2017

PT 359 at rest

What a thrill it was for me to come across this photo of PT 359–the boat in Squadron (Ron) 27 on which my father’s best buddy, Tom Saffles, served as the radioman.  PT 359 is the boat on the left in this photo from PT Boats, Inc. of Germantown, TN.  Red’s boat was PT 373 and the two boats were often assigned to the same mission.  Those assignments often put them in harm’s way and once resulted in the death of a sailor on PT 359 when they were on a river mission to take out a Japanese communication tower.  It was a life changing moment for Tom who handed off his post as the bow gunner to his mate who took a sniper’s bullet moments after Tom had returned to his radioman post as assigned by the skipper.  In his shock and grief, Tom made immediate contact with Red on PT 373.  It was Red who helped his buddy deal with the overwhelming range of emotions that landed on him as their fellow sailor died from his wounds.

My guess is that there were many other assignments that were brimming with danger, suspense, and close calls.  There were so many stories that were never shared and so many memories locked deep inside the minds of the PT sailors that it would be impossible to grasp the full extent of how those young lives were changed forever because of those experiences–many of which were terrifying and traumatic.

Seeing PT 359 and remembering the story of that perilous mission reminded me yet again of all those young PT sailors endured in the final weeks and months of WWII.  My sense of wonder and gratitude and respect keep growing larger all the time.

And so the journey continues.

 

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Responses

  1. I can understand your feelings. The more I research each day – the more completely in awe I am of that generation!!

  2. So true, they endured so much. Lest We Forget.

  3. Lloyd, Thanks much. Steve


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