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 Author  Topic: RIP Russ Hamacheck. A PT Boater Tribute

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Feb 21, 2010 - 1:50pm
Russ Hamachek was born January 13, 1919 in Two Rivers, Wisconsin but grew up in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Upon graduation from Beloit College, he attended Midshipmen's School at Northwestern University and subsequently became an instructor of navigation at the school. After the outbreak of World War II, Russ left teaching for the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons Training Center in Rhode Island. He became a PT boat Captain for the New Guinea bound Squadron 8 and later LT Commander of Squadron 39 in the Philippines. He was awarded the Silver Star for bravery in action. He met the love of his life, Margaret Hamilton, during the war. They were married just shy of 66 years. Their three children are: Tod R. Hamachek (Barbara), Dede DeJager (Joe) and Jay W. Hamachek (Babs). The eight grandchildren are: Mark Hamachek, Elizabeth Hamachek Herrick, Jamie DeJager, Justin DeJager, Deyette DeJager Swegle, Katie Hamachek, Tori Hamachek and Natalie Hamachek. Russ moved to Portland, Oregon in 1957 for a three year assignment to run Great Western Malting Co. located in Vancouver. After a few years of not having to shovel snow combined with the sites of the great NW, Russ and Margaret decide that Portland would be their permanent home. Russ became the CEO of Great Western Malting until his retirement in December 1978. When away from work you could find Russ playing a round of golf at Waverly Country Club or Tucson National, hunting a few ducks in Tillamook or whittling on his latest carving under a palm tree on the beach in Maui. In spare moments, he wrote three books. For the last 18 years Russ and Margaret have been residents of Tucson, Arizona returning each summer to catch the Northwest summers. He lived at Tucson National playing golf well into his 80's. Even after he stopped playing golf Russ delighted in driving his grandchildren around Tucson National. His grandchildren all remember a grandfather full of life, love, with special mints hidden in his pocket for them and his passion for ice cream. One of Russ's pastimes was PT 658, a Navy-owned World-War II motor torpedo boat based in Portland that has been restored to its original operating condition with full armament and three 1,500 horsepower Packard V-12 engines. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to Save The PT Boat, Inc., P.O. Box 13422, Portland, OR 97213 or a charity of your choice.

Published in the Tucson Newspapers on February 21,

I was lucky along with my Dad and brother,and sister , to have a nice time meeting and visiting with Russ as his guests at the Omni Golf Resort about 5 years ago.He signed and gave Paul a copy of one of his books.A true American member of the Greatest Generation.Our thoughts go out to his family.

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  Jerry Gilmartin


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jerry Gilmartin   Send Email To Jerry Gilmartin Posted on: Feb 21, 2010 - 7:35pm
Hello Edd.
Russ Hamachek was one of our major benefactors at "Save the PT Boat" PT658. He was there on the ground floor when we got started restoring the PT658. Russ and his wife and his son and daughter had just attended our PT658 crew Christmas gathering on 22 December 2009 and we presented him with a few tokens of our appreciation, including a plaque and a bronze medallion casting of his RON39 Insignia. I use RON39 insignia (the flying bat with big eyes) as my avatar only after having asked Russ himself if it was ok by him. Russ was a true hero, having been the CO of PT150 during the New Guinea campaign in RON8. He personally told me stories of how he trained together with John F Kennedy in Miami as they were training to become Squadron Commanders for future PT Squadrons. JFK according to Russ was a good freind but he transferred to the Naval Hospital in Bethesda before completing training. Kennedy often gave Russ and other buddies a couple of rides after work to downtown Miami in his Red Packard Convertible. Russ also told me a story of his PT boat and one other that caught a Japanese Submarine along with several barges unloading the sub on the surface at dawn (via knowledge gained from codebreakers) and torpedoed the enemy submarine. He also was there in the "mopping up" operations on the morning after the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, in which US forces had sunk 10-15 Japanese Troop Transport ships, and where hundreds of Japanese soldiers in boats were prevented from reaching the shore on New Guinea and thus upsetting the balance of power on that much contested island battle. Russ was a true hero, and he will be greatly missed by all of us on board the PT658 here in Portland. Russ was the author of two excellent PT Boat books, "Hot, Straight and True" as well as "Recompense" If you want to get a slice of what real PT Boaters were like, I would recommend reading either of these great books. He even tells the hilarious story of how QMC Al McCready of PT491 liberated a whole town on the other side of the island from their base in the Phillipines merely by appropriating a long unused train, along with a good supply of American Chocolate and Cigarettes! I know that as Russ takes his "Last Patrol" he will see all of his buddies and shipmates that did not make it once again. Cheers to you Russ! You will be in our thoughts and prayers. Jerry

Jerry Gilmartin

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Will Day


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Frank J Andruss Sr


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It is always a sad feeling in my heart when I learn of another PT BOAT VETERAN that has passed away. I had talked with Russ several years ago when PT 658 was undergoing restoration. We talked for a long while, and Russ sent me a VHS tape of the restoration to date. He struck me as a real nice fellow and I am sure those that were close to him will miss him greatly. In every organization there are those that stand out above and beyond the reat, and I am sure Russ was one of those individuals.

Rest assured that he is once again in Command of the boats he loved so well, roaring out not to do battle, but to face the wind, and meet those who went before him...............

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David Waples


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of David Waples  Posted on: Feb 23, 2010 - 4:20am

David Waples

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