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 Author  Topic: PT 372 Ron 27 Bernard J Whalen
Steve Whalen

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Steve Whalen  Posted on: Mar 30, 2021 - 11:16am
My Dad Bernard J Whalen served on PT 372 in the South Pacific. He enlisted on 5 November 1944. He did his Basic Training in Newport RI followed by Quartermaster School and PT training in Melville RI. He boarded PT 372 on 22 July 1943 in Brooklyn NY.
His first assignment was patrol duty in the Solomons followed by the same duty at Bougainville. Next came duty at Palau Island assuming it was the battle there. Next was onto Leyte Gulf and again I assume it was for the battle there 23 October 1944.
His next duty was off Corregidor picking up paratroopers that missed there mark. My sister remembers Dad saying his boat was one of 4 escorting General MacArthur. With that information and the fact Dad was in Corregidor at that time was Pt 372 part of the victory ceremony on South Dock where 4 PTs escorted the General?

We are trying to piece together his time in the South Pacific so any information you could send us would be greatly appreciated !
Like most of us baby boomers I wished I had asked him more about his service.
Thanks again,

Steve Whalen
101 Fairview St
Littleton NH 03561
Whalensnhaz@gmail.com




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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: Mar 30, 2021 - 7:49pm
Steve,

My Dad was with RON 27 on PT 361 from 04/25/44 till 07/25/45 which included the invasion of Corregidor. I went through his photo album, including rather detailed captions for the photos, but there was no mention of the 372 and only one picture. The picture shows Don Fortune and Milt Vucinich (Skipper and First Officer, respectively) on the bridge of the 372. I believe the picture is from some publication rather than his personal collection, and both men are wearing uniforms much heavier than you'd see in the South Pacific, so it was possibly taken before the 372 left the US.

His notes do include that the boats involved in picking up paratroopers the morning of the Corregidor invasion were the , 359 (FRed Binder), 360 (Bill Ward), 361 (Randy McConnell), 372 (Don Fortune), and 375 (Ray Shafer). The notes further say that MacArthur did four "returns" on PT boats all from RON 27. Those returns were done (in order, I believe) on the 373, twice on the 361, and the 375. In discussions with Dad about his MacArthur trips he never mentioned other boats accompanying the 361, but it makes sense that there would be multiple boats. In all of his pictures of PTs operating in daylight (in secure areas with two exceptions) they seem to travel in groups of at least two. I don't know where he actually transited MacArthur to, but I do recall one trip was to Manila proper via the harbor. He did have several good stories about MacArthur himself, which I can get to separately.

There are several pictures that Dad took from the South Dock looking up at Malinta Hill, the barrel and sights of the 361s 40 mm are visible in one picture. I don't believe the picture was taken during one of the "return" trips as there's absolutely no activity on the dock. I suspect it was taken at the same time he took several pictures on top of 'The Rock', which was five days after the invasion according to his notes. I think the MacArthur return trips were later than that and will see if I can find any dates.

This didn't really answer any of your questions but might add a little detail to the PT boat involvement in the invasion and MacArthurs' returns. I'm in the process of sorting scans of his photo album and will post some pictures after I've done that. In the meantime here's a painting (hopefully) that Dwight Shepler did of the invasion. From Dad's notes he was on board the 359 boat. There are three boats in the picture, the wake of the third boat is visible very close to the shore just ahead of the boat heading to the left. I have in my office a nice color print of the Shepler painting as well as the ensign from the 361, both of which hung in Dad's office before his passing.

jlx1O.jpg

Edited to correct Corregidor boat numbers and skippers.

Randy McConnell (Randall J. McConnell III)

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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: Mar 31, 2021 - 5:29am
Steve, welcome to the forum.
Found a previous posting on the 372 boat.
http://www.ptboatforum.com/cgi-bin/MB2/netboardr.cgi?st=10&nd=20&fid=102&cid=101&tid=1219&pg=1&sc=20
Hope this helps jog some memories from others.
Gary


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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: Mar 31, 2021 - 8:03am
Welcome Steve! I hope your research into your Father's service goes well.

That is a heck of a painting Randy. I can't help but think of what happened to some of the parachuters that missed the cliff edge... thanks for the history and I look forward to seeing your Dad's photos.

I had this photo of what's supposed to be the 372's crew Steve, it is also labeled RON 27 Subic Bay Phillippines:

jlIPk.jpg



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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: Mar 31, 2021 - 9:47am
PT-375 Ron 27. On the right is XO Ray Shafer who later would become 39th Gov. of Pennsylvania. In 1942, Shafer entered the United States Navy as a naval intelligence officer before heading into the PT Service. He participated in over 80 combat missions during World War II as commanding officer of PT-359 and later as executive officer with Ron 27. As Squadron XO, PT-375 was one of the first PT boats to penetrate the defenses of Manila Bay. Shafer earned the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, as well as the rank of lieutenant during his tour in the Pacific theater. I enjoyed our conversations he was a great guy.

jlTmA.jpg


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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: Mar 31, 2021 - 9:52am
A look at PT-373 which served with Ron 27. PT-373 and PT-356 entered Manila Bay February 7,1945 for night reconnaissance.They were the first Naval units to enter that body of water since the surrender of Corregidor in 1942

jlUeo.jpg


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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: Mar 31, 2021 - 9:58am
General MacArthur coming back to the Philippines with Ron 27 PT BOATS, and a photo of that dock today .

jl0on.jpg
jlkUI.jpg


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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: Apr 3, 2021 - 8:51am
For those not familiar with the 503rd Parachute Infantry's combat jump onto the "Topside" area of Corregidor, there are videos on YouTube and photographs on the internet.

The paratrooper's landings - at a 22 feet per second descent rate under their T-5 parachute canopies - made for plenty of rough landings on the boulder, rock, and shell hole-strewn drop zone.

One of the videos shows a paratrooper slam violently
onto the edge of a shell hole, and you can tell by his body language it knocked the wind completely out of him.

And yes, PT boats standing offshore during the jump rescued some of the 'troopers who missed the DZ and went into the drink or landed on the side or the beach below "Topside."






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Steve Whalen

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Steve Whalen  Posted on: Apr 18, 2021 - 1:50pm
Hi All,
Thank you for your posts in regard to my search for any information on my Dad’s PT 372.
Randy,
What started me on my mission here is a book my wife bought me for Christmas. The title is “Rock Force” by Kevin Maurer.
His wife is a friend of our family. The book is about the invasion of Corregidor. In the book he tells about the return of MacArthur to Corregidor. He writes about a flotilla of 4 PT boats arriving at South Dock 7 March 1944. Putting the info I have together I think the 372 was one if the 4 PT’s. I will work further to confirm this.
Thanks for the print of Corregidor. It is wonderful and has a lot of meaning to me.
It is so interesting you dad was Skipper if 361. I will keep that in mind during my research.
Jeff, thanks for the picture of the 372. So thrilled to see it. My dad is in the front row second from the right! His friend Joe Sharp is front row left.

Frank, thanks for the picture. I am assuming Dad is there somewhere. Also very interesting about Ray Shafer of PT 375
And the picture of 373. I assume my dad knew these crews.

Again thank you all for taking the time to share your stories with me.
Best to you All,
Steve




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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: Apr 19, 2021 - 6:39am
Fantastic Steve! Your Dad has a nice smile. While I enjoy the mechanics of the boats, seeing PT vets family members interested in their relatives history warms my heart. Good luck with your research!

Thanks Drew, I'll try to find the video.



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