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 Author  Topic: Oh NO, not another Kennedy / 109 post :)
  Dick

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Dick   Send Email To Dick Posted on: Jun 2, 2015 - 7:14am

Most of you are fairly aware of my feeling on Kennedy and the 109 being less then favorable (as to PT boats, not politically.) It might be a result of Father OHealy and Father OShea at St. Bernard Catholic church forcing all of us young alter-boys long hours of applying Vote for Kennedy bumper sticker on every car that parked in the parish parking lot and surrounding streets each and every Sunday (seven masses Sunday, three each on Saturday and weekdays). Also to re-apply sticker for those that had been removed (by non-Kennedy car owners) or replace damaged and fading sticker for shinny new ones. Forunately autos had chrome bumper back in the days of 1959/1960 and with a supply of razor blades and elbow grease the stickers would come off - well, almost.

However with this in the long ago past: - I found three very interesting items/article on Kennedy and/or the 109. Of course Im not sure as to the facts of the entire first article, but much of it Ive read many times in the past from different sources.

- 1 - Please note the third article down lower on the page:
John F. Kennedys PT-109 Disaster, By Thomas Fleming
http://www.historynet.com/john-f-kennedy#articles


- 2 - Another interesting piece:
The Making of PT 109 . . .
How Hollywood helped spin the Kennedy legend. BY KEN BROOKS.
http://makingpt109.blogspot.com


Just for fun an interesting tie-in with item #2- Here is an image I found awhile back but cant find it again on the internet. it is the 109 movie boat at a dock in the Florida keys, probably fueling up at the Gulf Station.

 photo PT Fine Arts America - pt109 movie boat.jpeg






- 3 - BELOW, I FOUND AN OVERVIEW of an e-Book a bit laughable. By the title you (well I did) expect the article to be well researched and documented. However, Im not sure as to the publication as a whole, but of all things, the advertising to promote the book is rather less than accurate.

The Sinking of PT-109:
The History of the Controversial Incident That Made John F. Kennedy a War Hero
by Charles River Editors


Overview
* Includes pictures
* Includes quotes from Kennedy and the crew about PT-109
* Includes footnotes and a bibliography for further reading
* Includes a table of contents

"There's nothing in the book about a situation like this. A lot of you have families and some of you have children. What do you want to do? I have nothing to lose." - John F. Kennedy after the collision with a Japanese destroyer
On the night of August 1, 1943 and in the early morning hours of the next day, one of America's many patrol torpedo boats in the Pacific, PT-109 and her crew of 12 men, was performing its usual role in the Pacific Islands: a night patrol of the Blackett Strait in search of enemy convoys transporting large numbers of Japanese troops to southern Guadalcanal and other strategic locations. However, on this dark, moonless night, PT-109, with its engines idling to avoid creating wake, was severed in two by a collision with a Japanese destroyer, the Amagiri. With only seconds to respond after sighting the destroyer, the crew was unable to get the boat out of the Japanese destroyer's path, and it's unclear whether the Japanese destroyer even knew the other boat was there.

While the destroyer suffered minimal damage, two crew members on PT-109 were instantly killed, and the other 10 who initially survived would have to struggle for their lives. In many ways, what happened following the collision is remembered better than the actual sinking, in part because the survivors' tale was so harrowing, and their survival was marked by their own bravery. Though the role and effectiveness of PT Boats continues to be a topic of debate, the crew's survival is a story of undisputed valor and providence.

Of course, the story's association with a future president never hurts, and like so much of John F. Kennedy's life, the PT-109 incident is controversial. Kennedy survived the attack and famously saved nearly a dozen of his crew, one of whom he saved by swimming for several miles while clenching the crew member's lifejacket with his teeth. A member of the swim team at Harvard, Kennedy also did the bulk of the swimming when looking for food after the survivors reached a deserted island. For this, Kennedy ultimately received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, but in the process, he suffered a back injury that would trouble him for the rest of his life.
After recovering, Kennedy re-enlisted in the Navy and served on PT-59 until he was honorably discharged in 1945, just before Japan's surrender and the end of the War. Kennedy received numerous military awards, among them a Purple Heart and a World War II Victory Metal, and though he was not yet president and perhaps only held that ambition in the back of his mind, Kennedy had already seen more combat than most presidents. Naturally, his future political career would benefit from his service, but given that he was in charge of the crew at the time of PT-109's sinking, critics and detractors have pointed to it and try to pin the blame on him.

The Sinking of PT-109 chronicles the famous and controversial incident that made Kennedy a hero during World War II. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about PT-109 like never before, in no time at all.


FOR THOSE INTERESTED:
Link for B&N around $7.00: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-sinking-of-pt-109-charles-river-editors/1121078273?ean=9781507551042

The booklet is also available as an E-Book at amazon for around $3.00 http://www.amazon.com/The-Sinking-PT-109-Controversial-Incident-ebook/dp/B00S79LF8M



Hoping all of this isnt a rehashing old posts ! ! ! !


Dick . . . .

Richard J. Washichek
Dick Washichek



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Drew Cook

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Drew Cook  Posted on: Jun 2, 2015 - 5:28pm
Dick,

That photo of one of the three "PT 109" movie boats was published in the Miami Herald newspaper on 6/10/62.

The photo shows the "109"-marked boat, less it's two twin-.50s and 20 mm, on the Miami River, the caption stating it is headed to the boatyard for final outfitting before moving on to the Keys for filming.

I just sent you the same photo (marked, unlike yours, "Miami Herald") and the full caption in an email on 5/20/15.

-- Drew


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  Jerry Gilmartin

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jerry Gilmartin   Send Email To Jerry Gilmartin Posted on: Jun 2, 2015 - 6:01pm
Hi Dick,
Good post, I am glad you were able to find this stuff. It made me laugh out loud when I read the following from Mr Flemings article; "John F Kennedys PT109 Disaster" where he says "Once in Melville, Jack realized that Bulkeley had been selling a bill of goods. Instructors warned that in a war zone, PTs must never leave harbor in daylight. Their wooden hulls could not withstand even a single bullet or bomb fragment. The tiniest shard of hot metal might ignite the 3,000-gallon gas tanks. Worse, their 1920s-vintage torpedoes had a top speed of only 28 knotsfar slower than most of the Japanese cruisers and destroyers they would target. Kennedy joked that the author of They Were Expendable ought to write a sequel titled "They Are Useless".

This is indeed news to me! Especially since I have personally spoken to the veterans who were there. The first glaring example, where it says "PTs must never leave the harbor in daylight" and "Their wooden hulls could not withstand even a single bullet or bomb fragment" you would think they were the most fragile vessels ever built, yet we see numerous examples of PT Boats that sustained horrific battle damage that were repaired to fight another day. It makes my blood boil to hear these inaccuracies repeated by "well researched authors" who are most of the time simply repeating the script from the movies. Eegads it makes me cringe.

Another LOL that I had was the following:
(when JFK took command of the PT109...) "The boat was a wreck. Its three huge Packard motors needed a complete overhaul. Scum fouled its hull. The men worked until mid-May to ready it for sea. Determined to prove he was not spoiled, Jack joined his crew scraping and painting the hull. They liked his refusal to pull rank. They liked even more the ice cream and treats that the lieutenant bought them at the PX."

As we have read from Bryant Larsens memiors, posted on Gene Kirklands PT King Website, the PT109 had been in theatre for only a few months, roughly half the time in comparison to the 77 foot Elcos that had been there for the duration of the Guadalcanal campaign. The PT109 was the Squadron Commander Rollin Westholm's favorite boat, mostly because it was the newest and also because it was an 80 footer. In fact, when LTjg Larsen left the PT109 about 7 days before JFK showed up, the boat was in perfect working order. All this BS perpetrated by the movie that PT109 was in the worst shape and was the least desirable boat in the entire Squadron is just a bunch of Hollywood Drama that was wholly untrue. As for the engines, the Base force was by that time able to simply remove the 3 old and install 3 brand new or completely rebuilt engines (done by base force) in a matter of a few days, (just ask CJ Willis). There were no "complete rebuilds" going on by the boat crew because that was not the way it was done. They were not trained to do so, nor did they have all the required special tools to be able to "rebuild the engines". Yes they can and did perform minor maintenance, but nothing that approaches a major rebuild.
Also, I thought it was hilarious how Mr know-it-all thinks there was actually a PX (although that is not what the US Navy would ever call it) that actually had ICE CREAM to sell on the Tulagi or Rendova Base in those times. Perhaps we could ask Earl, our cook from PT108 who was actually there if they had ICE Cream for sale to the enlisted men. I read Earls recipe to make Ice Cream (of a sort) using the trays inside the refrigerator on the boat, and it used Eggs, Lemon Extracts, and what other meager supplies they had available to them to make something that the crew of his boat would eat. Another example of something I think he must have made up. Yeah so other than that he wrote a GREAT article.....NOT

Can you tell I am pissed?



Jerry Gilmartin
PT658 Crewman
Portland OR

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Dick

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Dick   Send Email To Dick Posted on: Jun 2, 2015 - 8:38pm
Drew . . . .

I never received your email, you might have used the old webmaster@ptboats.org. That email address is inactivate for quit some time know. Please resend the email to dick.washichek@gmail.com or dick@ptboatforum.com. Please delete/remove the webmaster@ptboats.org email address.

The photo I posted was from an internet photo buying site " Fine Arts America" the photo use to be there. the photo file name was: PT Fine Arts America - pt109 movie boat.jpeg, you will also note strangely there is no watermark, unusual for a selling service.


Jerry . . . .

I just loved articles number 1 and 3 . . . . Jerry you must be mistaken, it is on the internet or an author wrote and published a book IT MUST BE TRUE or they wouldn't write stuff like that . After all, we must remember the famous saying by actor Jack Web (Dragnet or Badge 714) "The facts mama, just the facts" . . . . or something to that effect.

Dick . . .




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  David Waples

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of David Waples  Posted on: Jun 2, 2015 - 9:47pm
Hurray for Hollywood! It all got me hooked on PT Boats. :-)
Dave

David Waples

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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: Jun 3, 2015 - 12:24am
Lol Dick, you suffered through Catholic school? I too faced the knuckle whackers the first 3 three years of my school career.

Didn't Kennedy have the back problem before the collision?



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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: Jun 3, 2015 - 11:48am
I am with Jerry. Lots of discrepancies in the article. The only ice cream we ever had was from the USS Varuna (tender) and she was there after Kennedy left for the US..

C. J. Willis

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Drew Cook

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Drew Cook  Posted on: Jun 3, 2015 - 1:31pm
Dick,

The old email address was probably what the problem was - sorry!

I'll send the email again, to the second of your "new" email addresses.

-- Drew


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Drew Cook

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Drew Cook  Posted on: Jun 3, 2015 - 1:48pm
Jerry,

I agree, there is a lot of "bilge" written about the 109, and it sounds like the article you quoted has it in spades.

As we all know, there are a lot of "authors" and so-called "experts" that write about PTs that don't really know what they hell they're talking about.

Robert J. Donovan, in his book "PT 109 - John F. Kennedy in World War II" does mention JFK's sweet tooth, which included his fondness for eating the powdered milk-ice cream made by Mauer, the 109's cook in the ice cube trays in the galley's icebox -- as Earl mentioned.


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  Claire

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Jun 5, 2015 - 5:49am
My Dad was a PT Boat sailor from Boston MA. not famous like the 109 skipper. He spent a lot of time in New Guinea and would tell my mother that while everyone at home was eating rationed butter, they where tossing it out due to lack of refrigeration in the jungle.


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