Online Library of Selected Images:
-- U.S. NAVY SHIPS

USS PT-109, 1942-1943


USS PT-109, an 80-foot ELCO type motor torpedo boat, was placed in service in July 1942 as a unit of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron FIVE. She was shipped to the Pacific shortly thereafter and in September 1942 was transferred to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron TWO for service in the Solomon Islands during the ongoing Guadalcanal Campaign. During the last months of 1942 and the first part of 1943, PT-109 was employed on patrols in the waters adjacent to Guadalcanal, as part of an effort to prevent the Japanese from reinforcing their troops on the island.

After the Japanese evacuated Guadalcanal in February 1943, PT-109 remained in the Solomons. Following the seizure of Rendova Island, near New Georgia, she was based there with other PT boats, charged with interdicting enemy shipping during the fight to capture New Georgia.

While patrolling in Blackett Strait, on the southern side of Kolombangara Island, during the early hours of 2 August 1943, PT-109 was rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri, cutting away the PT boat's starboard side and leaving her completely disabled. As she gradually sank during the day her eleven survivors abandoned ship to swim to an island some miles away. These men, led by their Commanding Officer, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) John F. Kennedy, had many adventures during the next week. With the aid of a Coastwatcher and local residents, PT-109's men were finally returned to the Rendova PT base on 8 August.

This page features the only views we have related to USS PT-109.

For more information related to the loss of PT-109, see the "Frequently Asked Questions" entries:

  • Report on Loss of PT-109
  • Lieutenant John F. Kennedy

  • Click photograph for larger image.

    Photo #: 19-N-33165

    USS PT-109


    Stowed on board the "Liberty Ship" Joseph Stanton for transportation to the Pacific. Photographed at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Virginia, 20 August 1942.

    Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

    Online Image: 90KB; 740 x 610 pixels

    Reproductions may also be available through the National Archives .

     
    Photo #: 19-N-33167

    USS PT-109


    Stowed on board the "Liberty Ship" Joseph Stanton, at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Virginia, 20 August 1942.
    Note heavy bracing at the PT boat's stern and on her deck, to prevent movement as she is transported to the Pacific. Also note her torpedo tubes, engine mufflers and 20mm gun mount, with "109" painted on it.

    Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.

    Online Image: 128KB; 595 x 765 pixels

    Reproductions may also be available through the National Archives .

     
    Photo #: 306-ST-649-9

    Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, USNR
    (standing at right)

    With other crewmen on board USS PT-109, 1943.
    This photograph has been retouched.

    Photograph from the Collections of the U.S. National Archives.

    Online Image: 78KB; 740 x 470 pixels

     
    Photo #: USN 1145017

    USS PT-109


    Official model, as mounted for exhibit during the 1960s.
    This image was received by the Naval Center in 1970.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

    Online Image: 51KB; 740 x 530 pixels

    Reproductions may also be available through the National Archives reproduction system as Photo # 428-N-1145017.

     


    For higher resolution images see Obtaining Reproductions



    About Us | Privacy Policy | Webmaster | FOIA request | Navy.mil | This is a US Navy website