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 Author  Topic: Rank versus Duties Aboard PT's
CJ Willis

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of CJ Willis  Posted on: Mar 15, 2009 - 2:59pm
I had been aboard P.T. 242 for about 8 months. My rank was Torpedoman 3/c but my General Quarters station was the port twin fifty turret so my duties were primarily a Gunners mate. Cleaning and maintaining the gun, wire brushing the belted ammo, clipping ammo etc. I stood lookout watches when underway and on patrol. I did help John Grace our 1st class Torpedoman some with the maintenace of the torpedoes but not very much.. I went to Mr. McLane, the skipper, and told him I wanted to be relieved of my duties as Gunner since my rank was Torpedoman. His reply was "Willis, you are a Gunner until I tell you different". After that he did let me stand some wheel watches when we were underway and on patrol. However I never became proficient enough to dock the boat. The 13 months I was aboard Mr. McLane never relieved me of my duties as Gunner. On our boat, rank didn't mean much. You did what you were told to do.

C. J. Willis

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Michael

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Michael   Send Email To Michael Posted on: Mar 15, 2009 - 11:13pm
G'Day CJ,
I suppose being on a relatively small boat and being such a tight knit crew,everyone had to at least know how to perform anothers job in case it was ever needed.I know Russ Pullano has told me the same thing.He also aided on the Twin 50s as well as his own duties.
This is probably why PT Boats were so effective,a well oiled crew who worked together to get the job done.
Maybe you should have asked for 2 pays though.Ha ha.
See ya Mate

Michael

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Frank J Andruss Sr

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank J Andruss Sr   Send Email To Frank J Andruss Sr Posted on: Mar 16, 2009 - 4:47am
The MTBSTC when first established had cross trained the men with the hope any man could take over ones job if injured or Killed. The lenth of training however was changed when they added a month, realizing it was too short for the amount of training involved. The MTBSTC again changed their tactics later on when they put the emphasis on specialized training for the men. Many times I had heard that the training was not enough, and some related to me that the training was poor in some instances.

I had listened to a torpedoman when said he never even fired a torpedo while at the Base, only saw one being fired. Many even lost considerable training when the cold New England winters set in and under way training was cancelled due to severe weather or cold and icing. Even many of the Officers that had gone through the Base, got much of their training while on the job in the War Zone. Those who were experienced were sent back to the MTBSTC to teach what they had learned. My interview with the last survivor of PT 109, Maurice Kowal summed it up best when he said "Heck I was a Gunners Mate, and had to be taught about the 50 caliber when I came onboard the 109".


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BobPic

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Mar 16, 2009 - 6:28am
You guys are certainly right when you describe the unofficial duties and proceedures aboard a wartime PT. The 167 was about as "unNavy" as you could get. Rank and ratings meant little (altho we respected our officers). In fact; since we didn't wear uniforms, most of us didn't even know the ratings of other crew members. We all had to rotate on the various positions in case of an emergency replacement need. I had the normal QM duties and the helm at GQ. But I had to learn to start the engines and shift gears, fire the guns and torpedoes, operate the radio and radar, handle the lines, etc, etc. I don't claim to have mastered much of this, but I felt I could function when called upon. It really was tough duty, but I wouldn't have had it otherwise. We always had a great team.


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CJ Willis

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of CJ Willis  Posted on: Mar 16, 2009 - 6:35am
Frank: In my case since I was acting as a gunner and not a torpedoman, I missed out on a promotion in rank that I would have received otherwise had I been acting torpedoman. Since we had two torpedomen aboard and I was outranked there wasn't much that could be done about it. I liked the activity of firing the 50 anyway at General Quarters so everything worked out O.K. I think the difference in pay grade for TM 3/c and TM2/c was $12 per month so I didn't lose much money.

C. J. Willis

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