Posted by: SJS | October 22, 2019

KP duty on a PT

A photo from an unidentified PT boat in the South Pacific in 1944 shows a cook working in the tiny galley of his boat.  In close quarters like these, cooks on board the PTs would put together meals that kept the crews well fed and supplied with plenty of coffee–especially on their night missions.

This photo is from the extensive collection of Frank Andruss whose excellent work has become a major resource for all things PT.  My thanks to Frank for his many contributions to the ongoing research on the PT boats of WWII.

In late August, we marked the first anniversary of the death of John McCain.  His life was a model of exemplary service to our nation as an elected official, a distinguished veteran of the US Navy, and a tireless advocate for the men and women who serve in the armed forces of our nation.  Few American leaders had a better understanding of the importance of standing by our allies–especially in times of crisis.

How I wish we still had the voice of John McCain as we watch in horror and disgust as our nation abandons our Kurdish allies in the Middle East.  At a cost of over 10,000 lives, Kurdish fighters took the lead in fighting ISIS terrorists.  Now, they’ve been left to fend for themselves as American forces have pulled out with less than 24 hours-worth of notice.

President Chickenhawk Bone-Spurs has made another bold move to protect his real estate investments in Turkey.  And so American allies on the front lines be damned. Thousands of ISIS prisoners now contained by Kurdish forces may soon be set free as the Kurds focus on protecting themselves from an overwhelming Turkish offensive.

President Bone-Spurs has higher priorities than honoring American alliances or holding terrorism in check There are hotels in Istanbul that must be protected–  his hotels.  Bending over for the strongman who runs Turkey takes precedence over honoring commitments to our courageous Kurdish allies on the front lines.

How well I remember my father speaking with deep gratitude and reverence about the Allied soldiers and sailors who stood with him and his PT mates in the Mediterranean and the South Pacific.  English, Algerians, Tunisian, French and Australian troops were comrades-in-arms. Red Stahley never forgot them.

I am glad my father never lived to see this low point in our nation’s history.

In the photograph–the body of John McCain is borne to its final resting place on the grounds of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis.


Posted by: SJS | September 29, 2019

JFK – a patriot, a president, and true hero

As our nation endures this latest chapter of crisis, scandal, and toxic corruption at the highest levels, I take comfort in remembering the legacy of John F. Kennedy.

During his service in WWII as an officer commanding two different PT crews, he proved his courage, his boldness, and his willingness to take enormous risks for the sailors under his command.  As president, he challenged his fellow American citizens to think big, embrace scientific advancement, and put the needs of others ahead of their own.

As a member of the armed forces and an elected congressman, senator, and president, John F. Kennedy swore an oath to preserve and protect the constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic.  And he stayed faithful to that oath over the course of his varied career in public service.

What a profound contrast to the situation we now face as a nation.



Posted by: SJS | September 3, 2019

USS Oyster Bay–a floating pit stop for the PTs

The PT Tender, USS Oyster Bay, has several PT boat lined up for service in December of 1944.  I have rarely come across a photo that better illustrates how powerfully the tenders served the PTs and kept them in top fighting form.  And it is important to note that the tenders often did their work in harm’s way–fully exposed to enemy attacks, especially from the air.  The tenders did have deck armaments but their primary focus was maintaining and repairing the PTs, not engaging the enemy.

Red Stahley was effusive in his praise of the PT Tenders and the role they played in WWII. “Those mechanics and carpenters on the tenders were a vital part of the team,” he told me more than once.

“Without them, we would have been lost.  They were brave sailors who knew how to fight back if attacked but their main goal was to keep us shipshape and they were the best.”

I always love coming across photos and narrative accounts of the PT Tenders.  My thanks to David M. Laz who shared this photograph on a PT Boat facebook  group of which we are both members.

Posted by: SJS | September 2, 2019

Another shout out try…to PT Boats, Inc.

Best bumper sticker ever

Bumper sticker for PT Boats, Inc

I heard that my previous post did not include this image, so here goes another try. This is the image that proudly rides on the back of my car.  I’m spreading the word about the WWII PTs wherever I go.  It was obtained from PT Boats, Inc. in Tennessee.

The resources and generosity of PT Boats, Inc. have been a blessing and tremendous help to my continuing research.research.  I’m more than happy to give Executive Director, Alyce Guthrie, and her daughter-in-law Allison another round of praise and thanks. The work they’ve been doing for years has been an amazing boost to the legacy of all things PT.

Enjoy this Labor Day weekend!


Posted by: SJS | August 30, 2019

A Shout Out to PT Boats, Inc.

Best bumper sticker ever

Bumper sticker for PT Boats, Inc

My research on Red Stahley’s WWII career as a PT sailor would be impossible without the tremendous support I’ve received from PT Boats, Inc. in Germantown, Tennessee (near Memphis).  So many of the excellent photographs I’ve shared on my blog have come from the extensive archives of PT Boats, Inc.

Executive Director Alyce Guthrie has been a tireless and very talented leader on the continuing effort to preserve and promote the legacy of the PT boats, bases, and tenders.  When my sister, Marguerite Ambrose, and I visited Alyce and her daughter-in-law, Alison, in 2010, we received a gracious welcome and all the help we needed in doing our research.

Have a happy Labor Day weekend and enjoy the final days of August.

Featured above is a bumper sticker from PT Boats, Inc. which I am proud to display on my car.

An update–some readers indicated that the original post did not feature the image, so here’s another try….thanks.




Posted by: SJS | August 15, 2019

Emperor Hirohito announces surrender

Ron 27

It was on this day, August 15th, in 1945 that Emperor Hirohito of Imperial Japan announced the surrender of the Japanese forces.  I can barely imagine the feelings that Hirohito’s announcement ignited in my father and all his buddies in PT Squadron (Ron) 27 on this day in 1945.

As with all the Allied military forces in the Pacific, the sailors in the PT squadrons were anticipating the role they would be called upon to play when the orders were given for the invasion of mainland Japan.  Given the horrors that were experienced by the Allied forces in places like Iwo Jima and Okinawa, I’m sure there was an ample amount of dread that hung over all of them.

To get the news that Japan was going to surrender must have been among the best days that Red Stahley ever experienced over the entire course of his life.  What a day that must have been for all the sailors in the Mosquito Fleet!

Pictured above is the insignia patch of PT Squadron (Ron) 27.

Posted by: SJS | August 3, 2019

PT 523 on a rescue mission

My thanks to fellow PT blogger, Mitch Doren, for sharing this amazing photo of PT 523 as she ferries rescued troops to safety somewhere in the South Pacific.  This intrepid boat was lost after the fierce naval battle of Leyte Gulf in October of 1944.  The angle from which this photo was snapped offers a stunning view of a powerfully armed, fast moving PT as it glides over the water’s surface.

Posted by: SJS | July 25, 2019

Full throttle in echelon formation

From the vast photo archives of PT Boats, Inc. of Germantown, TN, a photo of Higgins model boats moving in echelon formation in April 1944.  Images like this one convey the nimble velocity of the PTs as they move across the water’s surface.

Posted by: SJS | July 16, 2019

Inspection at Melville, Rhode Island

Enlisted sailors undergo inspection at Melville

Enlisted sailors undergo an inspection at the PT Training Center at Melville, Rhode Island.  Red Stahley was extremely proud of his time at Melville where he received training on every aspect of PT service following his training as a radioman at Samson, New York.

By the time he received his first assignment to a PT base in the Mediterranean in the summer of 1944, Red was prepared to take on any PT task at any time with a moment’s notice whether he was on the base or at sea.

The education and training that the PT sailors received made them among the most versatile and capable of all the sailors in the USN during WWII.

Photo courtesy of PT Boats, Inc./Germantown TN

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