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 Author  Topic: Seeking info on father's service in Solomons 1943-44
Tom

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Tom   Send Email To Tom Posted on: Mar 30, 2019 - 11:40am
My father is Gene Foncannon - graduated from USNMS Notre Dame 11/42, MTBSTC Melville 4/43, sent to Solomons as a replacement officer in 5/43. His service records state that he was assigned to RON 3 PT361 in May, 43 as XO, In August, 43, he was then assigned to RON 5 PT108 succeeding Sidney Hix as CO. He was with the 108 until 4/44 wherein he was reassigned to Melville as an Underway Instructor, then assigned to RON 38 PT 574. as CO and shipped to the Philippines.

I felt that the above was accurate until I stumbled into the PT Boat Forum and eventually found the kerfuffle regarding who actually rescued Kennedy. This led me to Bridgeman Carney's. "First Up" which I thoroughly enjoyed and his "Free Stuff" among which I saw the Deck Logs for PT 118 that was icommanded by Doug Kennedy and to my surprise, Gene Foncannon as XO. I am sure that his signatures on the Deck Logs are genuine. I have many questions among which is how his records state he was with the 361 boat and how and when he came to be on the 118 boat. He did tell me that he was promoted to replace Hix as CO of the108 over others more senior, because of his experience as an XO - apparently with the 118, not the 361.

I would be pleased to receive any information so as to help fill in the gaps as to his year in the Solomons.

Thanks, Tom



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  TED WALTHER

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TED WALTHER   Send Email To TED WALTHER Posted on: Apr 1, 2019 - 11:45am
Tom;
Welcome Aboard!!! The RON 3(2) PT 361 reference is a typo,which was not that uncommon. PT 361 was never in RON 3(2), it was in RON 27. He was never assigned to PT 61 RON 3(2), either, just in case this was the typo.

I am not saying this was the reason, but the Melville Class rosters that I have shows there were two Foncannon's!

LT. Henry Foncannon (Service Number 108044) who Graduated Melville with Class 1-42(3/16/42-5/21/42) and was assigned as XO of PT 107 RON 5. LT Henry "Robert" Montgomery, the actor,was CO of PT 107, and Squadron Executive Officer of RON 5.

Ensign Eugene B. Foncannon(Your Dad) who graduated Melville with Class 2-43 (2/8/ 43-4/8/43) and assigned to RON 5 a a replacement Officer.His first boat was PT 118 RON 6 a Exec(XO).
The boat had been bombed near the slipway at Tulagi and the original CO LT Parker Staples was killed. LT Douglas Kennedy was named CO and your Dad relieved ENS. Ted Robinson as Exec.
When your Dad was made CO of PT 108, Robinson returned a Exec of PT 118 and LTjg Percey Billups relieved LT Douglas Kennedy as CO of PT 118.
I have a few photos of your Dad on PT108.
Take care,
TED


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Will Day

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Will Day   Send Email To Will Day Posted on: Apr 1, 2019 - 4:58pm
Nice job, Ted. It's part of what makes this Forum great.

Will

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Tom

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Tom   Send Email To Tom Posted on: Apr 2, 2019 - 5:19pm
Ted,
Thank you for your quick response - I suspected that there was an error in the paperwork. I would love to see the pictures that you have of my dad - I have a few - they may be the same ones. I am attempting to put together a time- line of his training and service and at this point I am not sure what to ask for. I would like to obtain copies of the Deck Logs and Action Reports of the boats to which he was assigned - but need the dates. Maybe that would be a good place to start - lots of clues in these reports.

A list of the crew members and officers of the 118 and 108 - I don't even know who his XO was on the 108.

How did the118 become attached to RON 9 for the movement to Rendova?

Dad told me that he briefly shared a hut with Lenny Thom and Johnny Iles (not sure if this was Tulagi or Rendova) - was JFK part of that as well?

Interesting that there would be another Foncannon (Henry) so close in the same theater - a very unusual name, I rarely come across others. At some point I might like to follow that trail,

I have much reading to do to catch up - like most others, I wish I had started ten years ago.

Thanks for your help - it is appreciated.




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  TED WALTHER

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TED WALTHER   Send Email To TED WALTHER Posted on: Apr 3, 2019 - 9:14am
Tom;
Glad to help you in your search.
PT 118 was a RON 6 boat, at the time (June-Sept 1943) RON 2, RON 3(2), RON 5, RON 6, RON 9 and RON 10 assets all operated out of Lumbari Island/Rendova. This base was formerly moved to the next Island, Bau Island in Dec 1943 -Jan 1944.
RON 9 was first to move up from the Tulagi/Russell Island area and soon afterwards split between Lumbari and Lever Harbor,which is on the eastern side of New Georgia. Much of this is covered by Bridge Carney's work, which you already know about.
During this time frame the Squadrons had ALOT of shifting personnel, Went from not enough crews to too many in a very short period of time, fortunately, they were also adding more weapons,unfortunately, they had causalities, so this manning problem sort of leveled out. You see RON 10 arrived with two spare crews,because PT 165 and PT 173 were lost when their tanker SS Stavac Manila was sunk on May 24,1943. they lost PT 109, 117, 153, 158, 164,166, all between July 4-Aug 1, 1943.
Crews were also shifted around when boats were damaged or had extensive maintenance issues,these, at this time, all boats in these categories went back to Tulagi for repair.
The same thing happened to your Dad's tent mate John Iles(who I corresponded with alot before his passing, Jan 16, 2013).John was originally a RON 2 replacement Officer,who was given command of PT 48,when 48 was caught in a storm (with JFK in 109), and had hull damage. John and his crew were shifted to PT 125 a RON 6 , when RON 6 formed another crew under LT Clarke Murray, John became Exec on PT 105 RON 5 commanded by Dick Keresey. John later relieved Dick as CO of PT 105.

As per the MTB FLOT One action reports for 5-6 March 1943, which states that ENS Parker W. Staples CO and 3 crewmembers,2 others wounded. The hull of PT 118 was riddled with bomb fragments, shrapnel, and debris. Your Dad was on PT 118 March 8 - August 12 1943. As per the PT 118 Logbook June 29-August 11,1943(here in the Free Documents section)The entire Douglas Kennedy/Foncannon crew was relieved and at this time, the LTjg Percy Billups/LTjg Ted Robinson crew took over. They had the boat for less than a month when it and PT 172 RON 10 both ran aground on the north shore of Vella La Vella and had to be destroyed, on Sept 7, 1943. On August 22,the first Daylight raid took place and LTjg Sid Hix and 2 others were killed, LT David Payne OTC and several crew wounded. Your Dad was given command shortly after this.
Photos to follow.
Take care,
TED


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  TED WALTHER

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TED WALTHER   Send Email To TED WALTHER Posted on: Apr 3, 2019 - 10:22am
jVVYm.jpg
PT 108 RON 5 LTjg Gene Foncannon at wheel, CO ENS Lang,Exec shirtless. 1943-44.

jVf00.jpg
PT 108 RON 5 LTjg Gene Foncannon CO,at the wheel Ens Lang ,with goatee, November 1943.

jVHEc.jpg
PT 108 RON 5 LT JG GENE FONCANNON CO, on left in coveralls, Empress Augusta Bay,November 1943.

jVKA3.jpg
PT 108 crew Empress Augusta Bay Bougainville, November 1943.

I have a photo from this set,of your Dad and Ensign Lang in the Charthouse looking at charts,but I can'tfind it right now. I willkeeplooking.
Takecare,
TED


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Gary Paulsen

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Gary Paulsen   Send Email To Gary Paulsen Posted on: Apr 3, 2019 - 3:00pm
Awesome work Ted!
Gary


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Tom

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Tom   Send Email To Tom Posted on: Apr 3, 2019 - 7:23pm
Thanks Ted - pretty interesting stuff. I need to digest this and I will come up with other questions. Also thanks for the pictures, some of which I have seen. For the record, my dad is the one in overalls behind the wheel and no goatee.

You mentioned John Iles (Dad called him "Johnny") who I believe was his best friend there, they corresponded for many years. I would be interested in learning more about him.

It is interesting the things one runs across - my uncle Dan Hirschler (married one of Dad's sisters) was with the 17th Photo Recon group. His first duty station was on New Caledonia. In January, 1943, he was ordered to Guadalcanal via the USTA McCawley. Fast forward six months, Dad was on the PT 118 that was involved with the sinking of the McCawley.

Thanks again Ted!








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