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PT Boat Episodes

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PT Boat Episodes: At General Quarters in the Pacific and a Five-Month Yachting Cruise in the Atlantic with a Young MTB Captain
  • by Roger M. Jones
    • A Merriam Press World War II Memoir
      • Fifth Edition 2020
      • 176 6×9-inch pages
      • 51 photos
      • 2 illustrations
      • 3 documents
      • 4 maps
Author Roger Jones recounts eleven tales of his experiences as Executive Officer and later Captain of PT boats, including PT 163, PT 316 and PT 603 during World War II. Included is the rescue of the crew of PT 168 aground off a Japanese-held beach; PT 163's close encounter with a Japanese motorized gunboat/barge, disobeying briefing orders and challenging an “enemy” ship off Morotai and even though the challenge was not answered, the mystery ship was not torpedoed which could have been a court-martial offense had the ship been Japanese; narrowly avoiding a disaster one dark night that could have killed some 30 natives in a canoe; and ordered to find and “take appropriate action” against a German submarine reported off Nantucket Island in the closing days of the war with Germany despite having no ammunition on board.
Most of the photographs and illustrations have never been published before and show many details of the boats. 
  • To the Pacific
    • Aground Off a Japanese Held Beach
      • The grounding of PT 168 off the Sepik River in New Guinea, with PT 163 pulling 168 off just before daybreak—shortly before a plan was to be executed for the 163 to take aboard the 168 crew, and then fire at, and blow up the 168—if the 168 was still aground at dawn.
    • Close Encounter with a Japanese Motorized Gunboat/Barge
      • PT 163 is strafed and "strikes its colors" (inadvertently) in an encounter with Japanese gunboat barges off the coast of New Guinea, resulting in the 163 being raked from bow to stern and holed in every compartment except the tank (high octane gas) compartment and the 163's Chief Engineer is asphyxiated (includes official action report).
    • A Challenge In the Night
      • PT 163 disobeys briefing orders and challenges "enemy" ship off Morotai in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) and even though the challenge was not answered, the mystery ship was not torpedoed. If the ship had been Japanese, however, the captain of PT 163 could have been court-martialed for not following briefing instructions: "Attack any ships/craft you encounter—there are no 'friendlies' expected in your patrol area."
    • No Gunner Opened Fire—Luckily
      • PT 163 off Halmahera Island in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) comes close, on a very dark night, to shoot at and sink a huge dugout canoe—with as many as thirty native men and boys in it.
  • To the Atlantic Return to Civilian Life
    • Last Action on the U.S. East Coast
      • PT 316—with no ammunition aboard—is ordered by Naval Operating Base Newport to find and "take appropriate action" against a German submarine reported off Nantucket Island in the closing days of the war with Germany.
    • A Five Month Yachting Trip
      • The five month "yachting" trip of PT 603 in 1945—New York to New York including stops (among other places) in Charleston, Jacksonville, Miami, Havana, Key West, Pensacola, New Orleans, Memphis, St. Louis, Chicago, Michigan City (Indiana), Tampa, Norfolk, Washington, D.C., and Atlantic City.
    • The Skipper of PT 603 Was Almost Had
      • While operating out of the PT shakedown base in Miami, the Captain of PT 603 was almost "had" by horny crew members.
  • Back to PTs—Sort of…
  • Appendices
    • Crew of PT 163, April to December 1944
    • Typical Action Report: Report of Action of PT 163, Night of 25-26 September 1944
    • Typical Action Report: Report of Action of PT 163, Night of 22-23 October 1944
    • Fred W. Schork's Bronze Star Medal
    • Last Patrol for Former Crew Members
    • Eastbound 1993
    • Westbound 1994
    Review by Edward P. Jepsen, President, Peter Tare, Inc.: Many thanks for sending the copy of your recent book, PT Boat Episodes to Peter Tare. I have been enjoying it. It will be added to the Peter Tare archives, such as they are. I will be sure to mention the existence of the book and how to buy a copy in the next Newsletter. In addition, I will take it with me and put it on display at the Reunion in San Antonio. [Note: Peter Tare is an organization for PT boat officers.]
    Review by Ronald E. Whealan, Librarian, John F. Kennedy Library: Although the time period of your book is slightly after the PT-109 incident, it gives a vivid account of the life and kind of action in which men of the PT service were engaged in the South Pacific during World War II. The book will be made available to all interested library researchers in our main research room.
    Review by A. K. Cebrowski, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy, President, Naval War College: Thank you… for your wonderful book PT Boat Episodes. It is truly a fascinating account of your experiences during World War II. I am having it entered into the Naval War College library and shall recommend it to anyone wishing first-hand knowledge of PT boat operations.
    Review by J. R. Ryan, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy, Superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy: Thank you for … the generous gift of your book PT Boat Episodes. In reading your biography on the inside cover, I was struck that throughout your life you have seldom ventured far from the sea. Yours is an interesting story and will make a fine addition to our Nimitz Library collection.
    Review by Earle Palmer Brown (Ron 8), Peter Tare web site webmaster: Roger Jones, ex-skipper of the 163 boat, has written PT Boat Episodes, the first Peter Tare book of the new millennium.  It is a personal memoir of his experiences riding the boats—in war and peace. A book with lots of photographs, it relates the experiences of Ron 10 in the northern Solomons, i.e., Green Island, Rabaul, New Ireland, New Britain and the rest of the Bismarck Archipelago.  In April of 1944 the squadron moved to New Guinea and operated from our base at Saidor.  There's an interesting chapter on a firefight with a motorized gunboat protecting a Japanese barge run and an all too familiar tale of a struggle behind Japanese lines to pull a boat off a reef before daybreak. Roger Jones finished his Ron 10 tour at Morotai and the Spice Islands and returned to Melville and then to new construction at the Elco shipyard.  He was assigned to the 603 boat in Ron 41 and cruised down the inland waterway to Miami for shakedown; there were even four days and nights in Havana. After V-J Day, Ron 41 was selected to take its boats up the Mississippi to celebrate Navy Day in places like Cincinnati, Memphis, St. Louis, and Chicago.  If that wasn't cushy enough, they next went to the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard for the world movie premiere of "They Were Expendable."
    The Peter Tare web site:

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