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HomeAmerican HistoryThis Vessel Did Yeoman’s Work for the US Navy During WWII

This Vessel Did Yeoman’s Work for the US Navy During WWII

Small, speedy, and versatile, PT (patrol torpedo) boats did yeoman’s work for the U.S. Navy throughout World War II. Four 21-inch torpedoes, two twin .50-caliber machine weapons, and makeshift armament add-ons allowed this all-purpose vessel to assault warships, barges, and transport ships; chase submarines; escort Allied touchdown craft; lay mines; and usually harass the enemy in all theaters—although it’s most frequently related to the Pacific War. The navy’s name for designs in 1938 ended with contracts for two foremost suppliers, Elco and Higgins, which between them produced over 500 PT boats.

On August 2, 1943, a Japanese destroyer in the Solomons rammed the boat depicted right here, PT-109, commanded by Lieutenant (j.g.) John F. Kennedy, killing two crewmen and sinking the vessel. An injured Kennedy swam for miles for assist, towing a badly burned sailor behind him. Kennedy’s actions helped his remaining crew survive and earned the future president the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and a Purple Heart. Just just a few of those picket boats survive at this time.

(Jim Laurier)

this text first appeared in world struggle II journal

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