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 Author  Topic: Burial at Sea PT658 assists PT Sailor take his "Last Patrol"
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: Oct 2, 2011 - 1:17pm
Hello shipmates.
Just a note to let you know, the PT658 group performed our first "Burial at Sea" for a departed PT Boat Veteran. The burial at sea of Charles John Williams PT349 Ron 25 Gunners Mate 3/c was performed last Sunday, 18 Sept 2011. A detachment consisting of 2 Captains, 1 Chief and a First Class Bugler (who played Taps) came from the Navy Operational Support Center, Portland and were aboard to render Full Military Honors for Gunners Mate Williams. The ceremony took place at the confluence of the Columbia and Williamette Rivers just off Kelly Point. Here is the text from a local Newspaper, "The Vancouver Columbian" about the ceremony. I also included some photos. The PT658 was extremely honored to be able to participate in Gunners Mate John Williams final farewell. It was the least our organization could do for a real PT Boat sailor, and one of "the greatest generation". Jerry

News story link:

Off Beat: Son helps old sailor take his final trip on boat that shared story
By Columbian Staff

Story dateline: Sunday, September 25, 2011

Almost 70 years ago, a U.S. Navy PT boat took Charles Williams to war in the Pacific. A couple of Sundays ago, a PT boat left a Vancouver dock and delivered Williams to his final resting place.

At about 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 18, Williams was buried at sea.

Having the ceremony aboard the same sort of boat he served on during World War II wasnt easy. Theres only one left.

PT-658 is the only remaining operational patrol torpedo (PT) boat left in the world. It still belongs to the Navy, but its on loan to a nonprofit group that includes several veterans and boat enthusiasts from Clark County. Members of the group Save the PT Boat Inc. have been restoring the boat at Swan Island in Portland.

Williams was a gunners mate 3rd class aboard PT-349 during World War II. For their size, the 80-foot boats were the most heavily armed craft in the Navy.

It was an all-volunteer service, and he went in at 19, his son, Charlie Williams, said.

They would lie low during the day and wait for ships at night in the straits.

PT-349 operated in the same area near the Solomon Islands where John F. Kennedy skippered PT-109 before he went on to become president.

The old sailor, who was an Oregon resident, knew about the PT-658 project and donated a flag to the group.

When his dad died in 2009, Charlie Williams started thinking about a suitable ceremony and contacted Save the PT Boat Inc.

It was supposed to be done last September, but they punched a hole in the bottom of the hull, Williams said.

PT-658 got back on the river this month when the Forty & Eight veterans group held its national convention in Vancouver. The boats caretakers pulled PT-658 up to the Vancouver Terminal dock so the veterans could come aboard.

And that provided an opportunity for Charles Williams final mission.

A U.S. Navy honor guard took part. The Rev. Jerry Keesee, a Ridgefield resident and a veteran, conducted the service.

A starting point
It was accomplished under the traditions of the Navy and with specified Navy procedures, said Keesee, who is chaplain for local veterans groups.

Keesee read from a military chaplains book that helped send a lot of soldiers and sailors to their final rests Song and Service Book for Ship and Field, published in 1942.

Williams ashes were spread into the Columbia River off Kelley Point, but that was just the starting point for a final journey to the Pacific, his son said.

Thats where his ashes would actually go out to sea.

Tom Vogt "The Columbian" Newspaper Reporter

PT349 Crew in Dress Whites on boat

Jerry Gilmartin

Total Posts: 1311 | Joined: Oct 8, 2006 - 11:16pm | IP Logged



Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TED WALTHER   Send Email To TED WALTHER Posted on: Oct 2, 2011 - 2:19pm
You guys are the best.

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Oct 2, 2011 - 3:07pm
Bravo Zulu to the crew of PT 658 for performing this excellent service for one of the Greatest Generation of the world's Greatest Navy. And to our departed shipmate, Fair Winds and Following Seas.

Bruce Ross

Bruce Ross
OSC Crow

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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: Oct 2, 2011 - 3:26pm
One of the most beautiful and touching things i have seen. Jerry, your organization is a class act..........................

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Will Day


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David Waples


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of David Waples  Posted on: Oct 3, 2011 - 8:27pm
Nicely done Jerry. Thanks for sharing.

David Waples

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of KatDerrick   Send Email To KatDerrick Posted on: Oct 22, 2011 - 11:57am
Over the top! Brought tears to my eyes. I can't think of a better send off and the respect paid is just great.

Kathleen NEWTON Derrick
Proud Daughter of:
Lt. Emery M. Newton, (Jg)
PT 323
b. 1913 d. 1997

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