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 Author  Topic: Sinking of the 109
John Sullivan

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of John Sullivan   Send Email To John Sullivan Posted on: Aug 1, 2011 - 6:14pm
68 years agoon the night of Aug.first and the morn of Aug 2 the 109 was sank by the JapsNear Kolomgara. It was A.V Stockdales birthday andhe and I and a James Hintermeyer were on the 107.Fired 4 torpedos I think we are the only 4 alive to rember this action.Stockdale lives in Paradise Arizona and James in Psalms Nevada and I live in Danville, Illinois.Our Skipper was Wild Bill Barrett from Mass. and Mel Everingham fromArizonaStockdale will be 96 on this birthday and I am 88 this past may.Just thought of this affair , so kick it qaround for a while. outa here.ole jw Sullivan


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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: Aug 2, 2011 - 4:29am
Hard to belive that this incident was 68 years ago. I remember attending the 1993 50th Anniversary of the sinking, at Battleship Cove. This was where I met PT-109 Crewmember, Gerard Zinser, and Skipper of PT-157, Bud Liebenow. I bet it seems just like yesterday to you John. Maybe one day, you could write about your experiences on PT-107. I am sure , we would all love to hear about them.


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John Sullivan

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of John Sullivan   Send Email To John Sullivan Posted on: Aug 2, 2011 - 7:07pm
Thanks Frank for showing your concern of my letter about the 109 ole man John Sullivan


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Jeff D

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jeff D   Send Email To Jeff D Posted on: Aug 3, 2011 - 5:23am
From what I've read, it was a heck of a fearsome night. Especially for the crew of the 109, I'm impressed that so many managed to survive. The crew stuck together and kept casualities from being worse. One interesting bit I've read is that it was no accident for the Japanese. A translated report states that it saw and aimed for the 109. My guess would be that they may have saw the 109's minimal wake luminescence through the height advantage their lookouts had.

Here is an account of the night by the captain of the 105, Dick Keresey:
http://www.americanheritage.com/content/farthest-forward

Here's a quote from the article:

It was our bad luck that John F. Kennedy, future President of the United States, nearly lost his life in the most fouled-up PT operation in historyand I mean all history since the invention of the first torpedo boatand that this is about all that most people know about PT boats. On the night of August 2, 1943, fifteen PT boats ventured out into Blackett Strait to attack four Japanese destroyers, the best odds PT boats ever had. We fired thirty-two torpedoes, including four from my 105. We hit nothing! The destroyers kept right on going straight down Blackett Strait and then straight back a couple of hours later, after they had delivered whatever to their troops on New Georgia, and when the 109 got in the way, they ran over it.

Here's an official account of the loss of PT 109:
http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq60-11.htm

John, I too would love to read any stories you would care to share. You veterans are the only ones that were there, and the only ones that can help us understand a little of what it was like.



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TheBridge

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TheBridge  Posted on: Aug 7, 2011 - 11:17am
And today then is the 68th anniversary of the pickup (rescue) of the PT-109 crew...

Hi John,

Actually Skipper Liebenow and Welford West (torpedo man) of the PT-157 are still with us. We have been talking a couple of times a week for the past year.

The 157 was with the PT foursome on patrol that night that included the 109.

AREA B (BLACKETT STRAIT)
DIVISION B - OFF VANGA VANGA
Lt. H. J. Brantingham PT 159 OAK 27
Lt. (jg) W. F. Liebenow PT 157 OAK 21
Lt. (jg) J. R. Lowrey PT 162 OAK 36
Lt. (jg) Jack Kennedy PT 109 OAK 14

According to Liebenow the boats were patrolling in this order show above. each boat skipper was to watch the boat in front so as they could stay in close quarters with each other. So the 157 was to keep eye on the 159, the 162 eye an eye on the 157 and the 109 to keep an eye on the 162. At some point on patrol the 162 lost visual contact with the 157. Later the 109 was separated from the 162. At this point he 159 and 157 were still in close proximity to each other however the 162 and 109 were strung out wide in the patrol area. Radio silence was always to be maintained so once you lost visual contact, you were on your own.

The 159 and 157, who were still together, made contact with Japanese ships and did execute a torpedo run. The 159, which was the lead boat of the two, fired all 4 torpedoes and the 157 got off two torpedoes. The 159 torpedoes, when fired, had ignited the oil in the torpedoes tubes (a constant problem with this firing system) and of course that alerted the Japanese to their presence and they immediately began firing at the 159; which was also the general direction of the 157. The 159 and 157 then laid smoke as was the usual procedure in such situations and made good their escape.

Shortly after the 159 and 157 came along side each other and Birmingham (159) said he was going back (to Base Rendova) as his tubes were now empty and instructed Liebenow to stay on station and finish the patrol.

Welford West of the 157 said they did see a distant flash in the distance, which he has assumed and still does today, that it would have been the 109 being hit but it was far off their patrol area and were not really sure what they source of that light would be. (Remember, at the time no one would assume that that it was a PT being cut in half by a bigger ship).

Liebenow's recall was that when Lowrey (skipper of the 162), who was closest to the 109 when it was hit, returned after patrol he reported that 109 was lost and no survivors were found.

It was the 157 that rescued (or 'picked up' as he prefers to say) the survivors of the 109 on August 7. Lt. Kennedy was a tent mate of Liebenow before the 109 was sunk and Liebenow assumes that why he was chosen to do the pickup.

Bridge




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TheBridge

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TheBridge  Posted on: Aug 7, 2011 - 5:33pm
BTW, I am still working through some of the details of my previous post with Liebenow and West. After 68 years I want to give them all the action reports and log pages, which I have not done yet although I have received the comments that you see on the post, on various events that might help jog memories from so long ago.

If you are 58 years old, as I am, and I ask them recall events that are 11-years older then I have been alive I thing it prudent to allow them the courtesy to review their own log book pages and RON level action reports to help recall the events of the day.

Bridge


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