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 Author  Topic: Life Jackets
JEno

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of JEno  Posted on: Nov 16, 2019 - 1:18pm
Very few photos appear to show crews in the South Pacific wearing life jackets while aboard boat, understandable considering their bulk and discomfort in the Tropics. On larger USN vessels, the LJ's were part of GQ dress.
Question: Did crews routinely wear LJ during GQ or combat, or were they considered abandon ship equipment?
Thanks


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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: Nov 16, 2019 - 9:40pm
One must take into consideration that the majority of the work being done by the PT BOATS was at night. Most of the photos you are looking at show the crews coming home in the daylight hours after patrol, or crew photos taken before patrol. To answer your question the life jackets were a part of each and every PT BOAT and were worn while on patrol, and if not that jacket was not far from where it could be slipped on at a moments notice. Motor Macs for instance did not wear these jackets while on patrol but again they knew where those jackets were should they be needed.


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JEno

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of JEno  Posted on: Nov 17, 2019 - 2:17pm
That is exactly what I needed to know. Thank you. Very much appreciated.
Jonathan


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PRJM3

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of PRJM3   Send Email To PRJM3 Posted on: Nov 19, 2019 - 4:27am
As Frank advised, most PT operations were at night and daylight movement of the boats when pictures were taken were typically returning to base or in secure areas where life jackets and helmets weren't worn. I just looked through my father's photo album (PT 361, RON 27) and there are many pictures of boats underway in daylight with the crew not wearing life jackets or helmets. In many of the pictures you can see that the cannon and machine guns are not armed.

Pictures he took during the invasion of Corregidor, a daylight operation during which several RON 27 boats operated close in to the island to pick up paratroopers that missed the top of the island, the 361 crew are wearing helmets and life jackets. In one picture taken during the initial naval bombardment of the island the boat is sitting over a mile off shore and some of he visible crew are wearing life jackets but no helmets. In another picture close in to the island with many soldiers on the foredeck the one visible boat crew is in helmet and life jacket, so they probably donned full gear as they got closer to the island. I also noticed that the visible crew are all wearing long sleeve shirts and long trousers rather than the T-shirts (or no shirts) and shorts typically seen.

There's another picture at an unknown location with several crew in the full battle dress, including long shirts and pants, with all looking through binoculars in the same direction. Another naval bombardment? The lone exception is an officer (I have his name somewhere) facing the camera and holding binoculars. He's dressed in shorts, no shirt and a soft cap and is wearing a .45 automatic in a shoulder holster. Rank hath its privileges?

There are also several posed pictures of crew members at the cannon or machine guns and they are dressed in full battle gear, long pants and shirts, and the weapons are armed. I had never thought about it before but the pictures were probably taken late in the day as they were leaving for a patrol, as mentioned by Frank. I can't see them changing into long shirts and pants and arming the weapons just for a posed picture.

In another series of pictures taken in Manila Harbor and the adjoining rivers the crew members are in uniform but not battle gear. There are other US Navy ships present including a heavy cruiser, so I assume in that case some formality of dress was required.

Finally, in one picture of the 361 returning to base after a night patrol there are only a few crew members visible on the bridge, the picture being taken from one of the other boats. I asked my Dad why there weren't more crew visible and he said at that point they were back in a secure area and most of them were below deck having breakfast.

I thought that mixture of dress dependent on what they were doing might be of interest.

Randy McConnell (Randall J. McConnell III)

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JEno

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of JEno  Posted on: Nov 19, 2019 - 5:52am
Randy,
Again, Thank you for your insights. They make perfect sense. Simply put, most published pictures tend to give a misleading impression, but I should have seen thru that. My turn to learn.
Jonathan


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