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 Author  Topic: Russ Pullano's replyto a post
Russell Pullano

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Russell Pullano   Send Email To Russell Pullano Posted on: Mar 5, 2010 - 10:47am
have to reply to the messages posted recently on this board pertaining to my lost interest in this wonderful board.
I'm afraid that this may be a long post
First of all, I want to thank Michael and Earl for their friendship and the nice things that they said about me. It was through this board that I had the fortune and pleasure of obtaining their beloved friendship. I DID NOT ASK MICHAEL TO POST ANYTHING ABOUT ME. I WAS SURPRISED AND WOULD NOT HAVE KNOWN ABOUT IT IF EARL HADN'T E-MAILED ME AND TOLD ME ABOUT IT. As Michael had posted, we communicate on the Internet quite frequently by using Skype. I have seen and talked to his adorable six year old (I think) son. His wife. His mother. He has seen my wife. It is free. If any of you have relatives in another country, or in distant miles away from you in the USA, this is a nice way to keep in touch and see one another. It only costs an inexpensive webcam, a microphone and speakers. If any of you are interested, I'm sure Michael will be glad to give you any help in setting it up. It's so easy that even I can do it.
Now to get on with my message to all on this board.
However, I do not want anyone to think that this project, constructing this board, is not appreciated by me. To me, there have been two PT Boat message boards. In this post I may speak of the "OLD" and the "new " message board.
Now let me take a modern saying, that is letting you know briefly "where I'm coming from".
I volunteered for the navy when I finished high school. I was willing to give up the best years of a young man's life, and possibly the rest of my life, so that I and my family, and all of the people of the good old USA, could be safe from the horrors of attacks by our enemies. I was only one of the millions that did so.
I was drafted into PT's from Noumea, New Caledonia. I was never fortunate to go to Melville. I got my "on the job" training in Robert Kelly's Ron 9, hop-skipping the islands of the Solomons. Then to New Guinea. I was fortunate to get indoctrinated under the tutelage of one of PT's notables, who with Buckley rescued MacArthur from Corregidor. Also, being a quartermaster, I was again fortunate to be on a boat that had the squadron's chief qm, and a skipper who was an old navy vet who came up from the ranks as a quartermaster.
I was extra fortunate to have been in only one skirmish that was life threatening. That happened on New Years Eve of 1944 when while patrolling off Bougainville we we started to fall in formation with a Jap lugger that we thought was the 160 boat which was coning to join us after having been in battle with this lugger at a nearby location. The boat that they were patrolling with the 160 was heading back to the base with a wounded crewman, and they were to rendezvous with us.
Talk about close quarters. Thank God for darkness and speed. I'm not going to continue with the story, except to say that it was a one way encounter as we sped away as a barrage of small arm fire and shells surrounded us . When we reached a safe distance the skipper called for a muster and couldnt believe that no one nor the boat was hit. Again I say I was most fortunate to not have been aboard when the 162 had been under fire and Todd was killed, and Henry Covington was wounded. More about Covington later in this article.
A leave home. Two days in Melville. Less than 2 months in the receiving station in the Fargo building. Then off to the Philippines in Ron 12, in a non-combative situation till the war ended.
I didn't intend to elaborate on this subject, but at least you know where I'm "coming from"
You non PT boat civilians see pictures of us as scrawny looking scoundrels that came from the slums of some big city. We weren't dressed in navy blues or the summer whites. You must have thought that we were extra special. Well, we were extra special in the fact that we were a close knit of people. We didn't have to feel subordinate to the fellow officers. We didn't have to salute them every time we passed them on the base force. We lived with them. We ate with them until an officer's mess was set up on a base. We knew of each other's personal life's as we chatted together . There was no closer knit of people other than the submariners. You somehow put us on a pedestal, thinking perhaps that we deserved the recognition that the Green Berets or the Commandos earned. You call us heroes, which every person who put his life up for grabs, actually was. If I was a hero, let me tell you what this hero's heroes were. They were the soldiers and the marines that were dumped in waist high water in broad daylight, forced to forge forward into a hail of bullets. They had no protection. They could not scamper or run to dodge the oncoming storm of deadly fire which slaughtered thousand of young lives.. They were hindered in their mobility because of the force of the water that they were in . They had to keep going forward through bloodied waters of their buddies next to them were killed and some floating face down, in the waters. These guys were my heroes.
We didn't have any armor protection either, but we did have an advantage that they did not have, although it wasn't much. We had the cover of darkness; the speed; the ability to maneuver quickly and the smoke screen to hide behind. Not much, but more than they did.

Now for the message board. In my opinion it is the greatest thing that happened to PT Boats history. Many people have learned through the generosity and knowledge of it's members, about their father's, grandfather's, relatives, etc. Without the contributions of these members, they may have never known. The vast accumulation of history; the library of pictures, and helpfulness that this board has offered is almost unbelievable. I don't think that there is another website as great as this board.
Though, in my opinion, which I have the privilege of expressing in this wonderful country of ours that all the military vets fought to secure, it has lost most of it's original objective. This is happening because we old timers have reached our winter of life and are too swiftly passing on.
The modelers and authors have taken over. We started with the old message board which served the purpose for which it was intended. Now it's the people who seem to use this board for their own personal gain. I am not referring to those of you who have been a great supporter of the PT Boat legacy. You people know who I am referring to. It is a wonderful contribution that some of you have done, and are still doing to make certain that the new world will know the effort and accomplishments that transpired with the PT Boat navy. I admire you. I don't have to mention names. You know who you are.
However, I will mention one person who I feel has done a magnificent job of keeping alive this history. Through his hard work and generosity, many people have been able to contact lost relatives, etc. That person is Dick Washichek (if I spelled the name wrong, forgive me) He has helped me post what I thought was something that everyone on this message board would appreciate. That was the official USN log of the night that the 109 was cut in half. It is a detailed account of the boats participation.
Two months after the 109 incident I was assigned to the 162 boat. That was the boat that the 109 was patrolling with that unfortunate night. If I understand the report correctly, the 162 boat didn't know how to return to it designated location, so the 109 took over the lead. What I don't understand, the squadron's chief quartermaster, a man with quite a few years in the navy, wasn't capable of getting back on location, or didn't the skipper ask him. By the way, my quartermaster skipper that I previously mentioned was not skipper of the 162 at this time. He relieved the skipper of that night. Another thing that I don't understand is why didn't he go back to see if there were any survivors. No matter how devastating it may have seemed, there is almost someone who survives the greatest tragedy. As an example refer to the Earthquake in Hattie. Unbelievable how someone can live beneath that rubble for two weeks.
Now for the sad part. In my opinion, this board was not and is not for modelers and authors to carry on their personal correspondence. It's not for squabbling and criticizing authors who may have erred in some of their information. True, an author should thourally research any detail that he or she writes. In my opinion some of these people don't completely know what they are talking about. Case in point.....I came aboard the pt 162 two months after Jack Kennedy became a hero. At that time, Kennedy was nothing but a rich ambassador's son who happened to be a skipper of a PT boat. The PT navy was stacked with many famous people including a Vanderbilt one of Boston's Cabots. Numerous famous athletes. Some movie actors. At that time, Jack Kennedy was nothing more than a number of common sailors. Yes he did some heroic feats. Yes, he deserves a lot of credit for help saving some lives. But did you ever hear of how much "Barney" Ross did along with Kennedy ? No. Ross never ran for president
. Being on the 162 boat with the crew that was so close to the Jap destroyer that they saw the men scrambling and heard them yelling, allowed me to hear the accurate story about what happened that night. Because I heard from these first hand witnesses, I cringe when I read some of the BS some of these authors write about it.
Another thing that led to some of my lost interest is the incident with Henry Covington. Hank was wounded on the 162 the night that Erwin Todd was killed (Todd City named in his honor) I got Hank's whereabouts from one of the issues of All Hands. At that time it had been four years since his wife died. When this occurred, Hank took it hard. He eventually became overfriendly with a female alcoholic. Hank became an alcoholic so bad that he ended up in a small sort of nursing home that had only 7 or 14 residence.( I don't recall how many he told me) He didn't know how he got there. It so happened that his son admitted him. His son also had power of attorney. He only lived about 8 miles from where Hank was, but hardly ever visited him. Hank was lonely. He basically had no family who visited him. Hank had Parkinson's disease. He was like a prisoner in this home. He had no money though the government paid for his occupancy. He was entitled to a fine pension because of the risky job he used to have . He also had social security. His income was in the $4000.00 monthly range. He got nothing. His son was getting it all.
I befriended Hank an phoned him every week. He anxiously waited for my calls. He told me so many times. I finally convinced him that he could take back the power of attorney and I helped him all I could. When he was receiving his money the grandchildren, who never visited him, suddenly became his family. They kept asking for finances and Hank gave them plenty.
Now what does this have to do with this board ? I'll tell you what. There are a lot of Phonies on this board, in my opinion. In his dying years, I had asked the members of this board to send Hank cards. I posted his address. I wanted to have him flooded with so many cards that the mailman would get aching arms delivering the mail. From the BS that some of the members of this board say about how much they honor and appreciate the veterans I expected a great response. Well, some of you were true to your word. Some of you did send, not only a card, but pictures and other pieces of remembrance. I personally thanked those who did so. Hank's son told me how much he cherished those. He had them pinned to the walls of his room. Now for the sad part. From what his son told me I think he got this stuff from less than 10 of you people. This is not a positive statement (I did not research the facts). I say many of you are phonies. Hank appreciated what I had done for him that he gave me his Knights of the Sea book. I have seen this book for sale on Amazon for as much as $200-$300.
I've said enough. There has been so much good that has come from the true members of this board. It has meant so much to me because of all the information and nostalgia it recovered for me, and the true "strangers" that have become my friends, but I have lost interest. I cannot force myself to be interested in something that doesn't interest me. As some of you have mentioned in response to Michael's post, take your personal correspondence elsewhere. Don't use this board for your personal pet peeves or your personal convenience. It's just as easy to type in an e-mail as it is on the message board. In fact, it's easier because the space for your text is larger.
For those who may be offended by this long piece of scripture, I'm sorry. I hope that somewhere, somehow, some good may come from reading this.
There will be replies to this I'm sure. I will get back on this site to read your comments, good or bad, but I will not reply to them. I'm saying this so that you do not feel that I singled you out in refusing to reply. In signing off I'll say in Italian.....CIAO

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of FRANK  Posted on: Mar 5, 2010 - 11:49am
Hello Russ-

First off let me say that I am a lover of PT boats history and also a scale modeler. I have been on both the old and new message boards. If it were not for veterans like yourself and others who have assisted me with problems and photos, my diorama of Tulagi PT boat base would have never seen the light of day.

As a scale modeler, asking you and the rest of the veterans here on the message board for assistance is a joy in itself! There are many historians here on this message board as well that we modelers often ask for help from to make our models as correct as they can possibly be.

My PT boat base diorama has been seen by thousands of folks at veterans gatherings, civic, church, and school functions. I bring my diorama into the public school systems here in North Florida simply because they have stopped teaching our children about the history of the Second World War. I feel that I am helping to spread the history of the PT boats by offering to the general public whenever I can and placing my models on display and what I learned from you and all the rest of you on the message board into the public eye. I have a much better knowledge of the PT boat history from what I have learned from you and the rest of the veterans here on the message board. I am proud to be a modeler, a member and a poster on this message board. It has helped me a thousandfold.

I wish to thank you personally for all that you have placed on the message board here for all of us to take in and treasure. I thank you for your service to this country and well as to all the veterans on this board. Without you this board would not exist, period!

Thank you Russ!

Frank Ryczek, Jr.
Modeler/Friend RON-10 PT-169 " ZEBRA SNAFU " BASE TULAGI



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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: Mar 6, 2010 - 11:44am
I too would like to consider you my freind. Thank you for your insight and patience on this board. I treasure your stories and memories and appreciate that you were willing to share them with us. I feel saddened at the loss in your regular contributions, but I think I understand your reasoning. Take care and thanks for all of your help both past and hopefully in the future. Jerry PT658 Portland OR

Jerry Gilmartin

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Frank J Andruss Sr


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 6, 2010 - 2:47pm

I read your Post and certainly consider you my Friend. We have chatted in the past, and I enjoyed our three way converstion last year. I am sorry that you are not on the board very often, and I am sorry I have not gotten in contact with you sooner. I did just send you an E-Mail, but never heard back from you. HOPE YOU COME BACK HERE..............

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New Member

Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Mar 7, 2010 - 9:08am
I generally agree with Russell's post, especially two items on which I will add my comments. First, I believe that most PT Boaters would agree that we had an easier life than many others in the South and Southwest Pacific. The sea and air landings were tough duties. The soldiers and marines who slogged through the jungles rooting out the opposition had an extremely hazardous assignment. We revel in our publicity, but we realize that others sacrificed more. Second, I agree with Russell that some on this message board appear to be here for personal gain. Have families of deceased PT Boaters been solicited to contribute their PT pictures and other treasures from WWll? Unless my son chooses to retain mine, all medals, flags, citations and etc. will go to the grave with me.

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Jeff D


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jeff D   Send Email To Jeff D Posted on: Mar 8, 2010 - 4:47am
I think you're way off base saying modelers detract from this board Mr. Pullano. Look at all the information uncovered by their questions. I also think that many of them are the seeds of a future deep interest in the legacy that you are part of that will go beyond merely wanting to know "what a part should look like" with no concern for the men that served on them.

Yes, I'm a modeler, I'm concerned with what parts look like, and my knowledge of PT history is slim. But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate reading about it. Or that I don't appreciate being able to speak English and not German or Japanese.

Some other points you make are valid, I'm sorry I didn't follow your request to send a letter to your friend. I'm also sorry you won't share your experiences anymore and truly hope you will reconsider.

Your post did do some good, at least for me. It added a bit of water to an obviously shriveled heart.

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Will Day


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Will Day   Send Email To Will Day Posted on: Mar 8, 2010 - 9:53am
Russ: Points well taken. I wish more people had responded to your request at the time.


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New Member

Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Mar 8, 2010 - 10:26am
Russ, you didnt happen to know LT. (jg) John L. McKay did you?

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  David Waples


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of David Waples  Posted on: Mar 8, 2010 - 7:12pm
I read this message while on vacation and have quite a bit of time to think about it. I still don't quite know what to make of it though.

I am a modeler. I first developed an attachment for PT Boats when I was very young and my dad took me to see the movie PT-109. I thought PT boats were the most amazing boats I had ever seen. Over the years I have read much about them and have been fascinated about their development and use in the South Pacific as well as the Med and English Channel. As a modeler I build subjects that I'm interested in. My favorite builds are tribute builds. I've done them for family members and people I don't really know that well. But I do it to learn more a subject and preserve a piece of history hopefully for future generations to learn from, and find appreciation in. Building models is a different way of preserving history than books but still a valid one. The selfish part of model building I do for me is the actual building itself. Building things is in my blood whether it's business, furniture, or scale models.

So yes, I ask a lot of questions and like to hear from the vets who served on these boats whenever I can. Why? Because I want to get it right and be respectful of the men who served on these wonderful boats. That's why I spend so much time on color and if a boat had a mast or not, or how the guides on the .50 cal functioned, etc.. It's important for me to do the best I can.

Russ, it's unfortunate that you have decided not to contribute to the forum any longer. We who want to learn will miss that. I'm hopeful that the other vets will continue to help us who tell history through our models.

I guess that's all I have to say. Good luck to you Russ.


David Waples

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