Part I
Into Action -- Pearl Harbor and the Philippines


WHEN JAPANESE planes attacked Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941, there were three squadrons of PT's in the U.S. Navy. Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron I, commanded by Lt. Comdr. William C. Specht,1 had 12 boats based at Pearl Harbor, all of which opened fire on the attackers.

Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 2, under Lt. Comdr. Earl S. Caldwell, was in the New York Navy Yard, completing the fitting out of 11 boats which, loaded on the aircraft ferry ships Hammondsport and Kitty Hawk, were to leave New York 10 days later to augment the defenses of the Panama Canal. These boats were not to meet the enemy until nearly a year later, when, with desperate optimism, they were to stand out night after night in the path of the mighty Tokyo Express at Guadalcanal.

Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 3, six boats commanded by Lt. John D. Bulkeley, had arrived in Manila Bay on September 28. During the 4 dark months of the hopeless defense of the Philippines, the officers and men of Squadron 3 carried the fight to the enemy with determination and shining courage until the boats could fight no more.

Until war came, PT's in the U.S. Navy were an untried type. They had never met the test of action, and no standard doctrine for their employment had been established. But by the end of January, 1942, Rear Adm. Francis W. Rockwell, Commandant of the 16th Naval District, was able to write from Corregidor, "These boats are proving their worth in operations here, having sunk two ships of three to five thousand tons and three landing boats."


These boats did prove their worth: the Navy built more of them. On December 7, 1941, there were 29 PT's; on December 7, 1943, there were more than 29 squadrons. PT's met the Tokyo Express at Guadalcanal. They cut enemy barge supply lines in the upper Solomons and along the New Guinea coast. They torpedoed German cargo lighters in the Mediterranean, and overcame E-boats in gunnery duels in the English Channel. They contributed to the rout of Japanese task forces in the Battle of Surigao Strait, and successfully countered vicious Kamikaze attacks at Mindoro. Under cover of darkness they freely landed agents, scouts, and reconnaissance parties throughout the Solomons, New Guinea, and the Philippines, and on the coasts of France and Italy. PT's were in more frequent contact with the enemy, and at closer range, than any other type of surface craft. They specialized in close-range, close-to-shore attack, and everywhere demonstrated that they could hurt the enemy with proportionately small damage to themselves.


On the morning of December 7, 1941, six PT's, the 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25, were moored at the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base in three nests of two boats each, alongside and ahead of the YR-20, a covered barge which served, for lack of anything better, as tender for Squadron I. Aboard the barge the boat crews were eating breakfast. The Squadron Duty Officer, Ens. N. E. Ball, USNR, was standing on the edge of the barge. Looking out across Kuahua Island, he saw planes in the sky, and watched them idly for a moment as they started to dive toward Battleship Row and Ford Island just beyond. Then four things happened, almost simultaneously. Ensign Ball recognized Japanese insignia on the wingtips; a chief petty officer at his elbow remarked, "They look like Japs"; the first bomb dropped, and Ensign Ball plunged into the messhall, shouting, "MAN THE GUNS!"

PT's in those days were lightly gunned -- two pairs of .50-caliber machine-guns mounted in power-driven turrets, but in a matter of seconds all were firing. Joy Van Zyll de Jong, GM1c, and George B. Huffman, TM1c, who had been sitting on the deck of PT 23, got a slight head start on the men from the messhall. They vaulted into the 23 boat's turrets and claimed first blood with hits on a low-flying plane carrying one torpedo, which crashed in flames


near Kuahua Island. They also hit a torpedo plane flying over Magazine Point. It burst into flames and fell near Halawa, behind the Submarine Base.

Across Southeast Loch from the Submarine Base, about halfway to Ford Island, the other six boats of the squadron were being loaded aboard the USS Ramapo, an oiler, for shipment to the Philippines. PT's 27, 29, 30, and 42 were in cradles resting on the Ramapo's deck. PT's 26 and 28 were in cradles on the dock beneath the huge hammerhead crane which had been about to hoist them aboard the oiler. To reduce fire hazard during shipment, the gasoline tanks of all six PT's had been blanketed with carbon dioxide. Consequently the crews could not start the gasoline engines to compress the air which in turn forced oil through cylinders to move the power turrets. The boat crews quickly cut the hydraulic lines, freeing the turrets from the brake of residual hydraulic pressure. Then each pair of .50-caliber machine-guns went into action with a four-man crew: one man to fire the guns, two men to slew the turrets around by hand, and an officer to direct and coordinate the slewing and firing. The Ramapo's guns were firing, too. Though her starboard 3-inch guns were blanked off by the hammerhead crane on the dock, they managed to fire from time to time, to the acute discomfort of the crews of the PT's in cradles on the dock, whose decks were just high enough to catch the muzzle blast. One bomb struck near the port bow of the Ramapo, midway between the repair ship Rigel in the berth ahead and the heavy cruiser New Orleans opposite. The PT's, undamaged, poured out more than 4,000 rounds of .50 caliber. They appeared to be hitting Japanese planes, but so many ships were firing simultaneously that it would be futile to attempt to make specific claims.


The Ramapo was to have carried those six boats to Manila Bay, to be transferred to Squadron 3. But the Japanese descended so swiftly on the Philippines and with such concentrated force that shipping anything into Manila Bay was out of the question. The boats were put back into the water at Pearl Harbor, leaving Squadron 3 to do the best it could with its six boats, PT's 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, and 41.


Map: The Philippines
The Philippines


The PT's of Squadron 3, based at the Cavite Navy Yard, went into action on December 10, when the Japanese made their first heavy air attack in the Manila Bay area. The air raid warning system was working well that day, giving the boats plenty of time to get underway into Manila Bay, where they could maneuver freely. The first planes started bombing Nichols Field at 1247.2 A few minutes later a wave of some 35 started to work over shipping in Manila Bay. It was high-level bombing, 20,000 feet, well beyond the range of the PT's .50-caliber machine-guns and the pair of-30-caliber Lewis guns which the Squadron 3 boats had installed in single mounts on the forward deck. Then five bombers peeled off deliberately and started to dive on the PT's. Theoretically, it was possible for a PT to wait until a diving plane reached its release point, and then, by putting the wheel hard over, to avoid the bomb. The boats proved the theory -- not a bomb came close. Besides, PT 31 claimed to have shot down two planes and PT 35 one.

The first bomb fell on the Navy Yard at 1314. For more than an hour thereafter, 3 waves of 27 bombers each swept over, out of antiaircraft range, dropping their explosives at will. Practically every bomb fell within the Navy Yard limits, with direct hits on the powerplant, dispensary, torpedo repair shop, supply office, warehouse, signal station, commissary store, barracks, officers' quarters, and several ships, tugs, and barges along the waterfront. The entire yard and one-third of the city of Cavite were ablaze.

PT's could outmaneuver the planes; their spares and equipment could not. The only spares saved were nine engines which John Bulkeley had had the foresight to store in private garages in Manila. Of these, three were lost on January 2 when Manila was invaded. Of the other six, subsequently lightered to Corregidor, two were lost on January 9 when the Corregidor North Dock was bombed. The last four had to be left on Corregidor when the squadron departed in March. Nearly as serious as the loss of spares was the loss of thousands of drums of 100-octane gasoline.

The destruction of the Navy Yard was so complete that all remaining facilities had to be set up in new locations, well dispersed in anticipation of future air raids. Squadron 3 moved to Sisiman Bay, a little cove just east of Mariveles Harbor on the southern tip of the Bataan Peninsula, but not until after the boats had done yeoman service on the afternoon of December 10 transporting wounded from the Navy Yard to the hospital at Cañacao.



The first few weeks at Sisiman Bay were discouraging. The squadron took over a small fishing dock and a few native nipa huts ashore. Each morning John Bulkeley visited headquarters to receive orders for the night's operations. The boats made routine, nonproductive patrols of the Bataan coast north of Manila Bay, and along the Batangas Peninsula to the south, as far as Verde Island. Doctrine demanded that PT's patrol in two- or three-boat sections, so that if one boat should find itself in trouble, there would be another at hand to give assistance. But because there were so few boats, so few spares, so little gasoline, prudence had to make concessions. Seldom could more than one PT be spared for a patrol. Often one PT was accompanied by a YP, a small patrol vessel, either the Maryanne, the Perry, or the Fisheries II, or, until they departed from the area, one of two four-stack destroyers, the Pillsbury and the Peary. As the Japanese closed their net, nerves became tense and there were false reports of sightings along the Bataan coast. Many fruitless PT searches resulted.

PT's required constant maintenance. The only repair facilities available were the old submarine tender Canopus, anchored at Mariveles, which turned out miracles of improvisation for the boats, and the drydock Dewey which lifted each boat in turn. PT 32 had an accidental explosion in the engineroom. She was out of action for weeks.

During December most of the Asiatic Fleet moved south. The Japanese had command of the air and bombed Manila at will. Rear Admiral Rockwell moved his headquarters to Corregidor on December 21. Three days later he had a final conference with Adm. Thomas C. Hart, Commander in Chief Asiatic Fleet, at Admiral Hart's headquarters in the Marsman Building in Manila. During the conference the Marsman Building was bombed three times. Admiral Rockwell learned that Admiral Hart was moving south to be with the operating fleet, leaving Admiral Rockwell in command of all naval forces in the Manila area. On his return to Corregidor that evening, Admiral Rockwell found that Gen. Douglas MacArthur, President Manuel Quezon, and Francis B. Sayre, American High Commissioner to the Philippines, had also moved to the Rock.

On Christmas night Admiral Hart departed on the submarine Shark. Manila was about to be declared an open city, so Admiral Rockwell sent his aide, Lt. (jg.) M. M. Champlin, USNR, to arrange for destruction of gasoline and oil stores in the city. Lieutenant Champlin accomplished this with the help of oil company executives in Manila.


On December 26 Admiral Rockwell reported to General MacArthur for duty. During the day Japanese planes made determined efforts to sink gunboats, PT's, and especially the destroyers Pillsbury and Peary. Unwilling to risk the destroyers further, Admiral Rockwell ordered them south on the 27th. On December 28, the day Manila was declared an open city, Admiral Rockwell decided in conference with Capt. John Wilkes, Commander Submarines Asiatic Fleet, that "due to the increasing danger and difficulty of service in Mariveles, shortage and limitation of fuel and total lack of rest for personnel between patrols, as well as the likelihood of the Japanese blocking Manila Bay entrance," the basing of submarines in the area was no longer practicable. Captain Wilkes, his staff, and his submarines departed at the end of December, leaving behind the tender Canopus and the submarine rescue vessel Pigeon to serve as advance operating facilities for such submarines as might come into the Manila area.

Admiral Rockwell's forces, then, consisted of Canopus and Pigeon; three small, shallow-draft gunboats originally built to patrol Chinese rivers: Mindanao, Luzon, and Oahu; three old minesweepers: Quail, Finch, and Tanager; five tugs: Genesee, Vaga, Napa, Trabajador, and Ranger; three small patrol vessels: Maryanne, Perry, and Fisheries II; and the PT's of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 3.

On December 22 a convoy with 76 Japanese transports began to unload in Lingayen Gulf, about a hundred miles away.

The U.S. Army completed its withdrawal into Bataan Peninsula on December 31. On January 2 the Japanese Army entered Manila.


On the night of December 17 there was a large explosion in Sisiman Cove. Looking out across the entrance to Manila Bay, the men of Squadron 3 could see many flashing lights on the water. Lieutenant Bulkeley immediately got PT's 32, 34, and 35 underway. At the edge of the minefield at the entrance of the bay they found the water thick with oil and dotted with survivors of the SS Corregidor, a Filipino ship carrying evacuees from Manila to Australia. Leaving the harbor on a faulty course, the Corregidor had struck a mine and gone down almost immediately.

The PT crews rigged ladders and lines over the side, and worked until they were exhausted hauling the wet and oily passengers aboard. Not until


they put the survivors ashore at Corregidor and aboard the SS Si-Kiang at Mariveles were they able to count them. When they did, they could scarcely believe the total. The three boats had picked up 296 passengers, of whom all but 7 survived. PT 32, a 77-foot boat designed to carry 2 officers and 9 men, had taken aboard, in addition to its own crew, 196 passengers from the Corregidor.


PT 33, patrolling south of Manila Bay with the Pillsbury on the night of December 24, went hard aground on a coral reef 5 miles north of Cape Santiago. On Christmas Day, PT's 31 and 41 made three attempts to pull the 33 boat off the reef, but could not move her. At 0830 December 26, after everything useful had been stripped from the boat, PT 33 was set afire to prevent her from falling into the hands of the enemy.

The War Diary of the Commandant 16th Naval District has a Christmas Day entry: "Motor Torpedo Boats are rapidly deteriorating due to lack of spare parts and bad gasoline. Because of emergency trips and patrol duties their crews are becoming exhausted and the boats are in poor operating condition.

"Due to the above facts and because one Motor Torpedo Boat ran aground during the night of 24-25 December it was decided to abandon the Verde Island patrol and Army authorities were advised of same. Remaining Motor Torpedo Boats are to be made available as despatch boats and for attack on enemy vessels in the immediate vicinity."

PT's kept patrolling the west coast of Bataan, however, frequently in pursuit of false sightings. Until relieved by Army-controlled Philippine "Q" boats, a type somewhat similar to PT's, the boats of Squadron 3 also made nightly patrols of Manila Bay.

Shortages of food contributed to the exhaustion of the men. On December 16 all naval personnel in the area were put on two meals a day. As time went on both quantity and quality of rations deteriorated.

Normal routine for all shore-based personnel was to call all hands at daybreak; turn to until breakfast at 0800; turn to until supper at 1600; turn to until dark. Men who went on night patrol could not follow this routine, but


they worked many extra hours to make sure that their boats would be ready for action.

Bad gasoline was another problem. Lieutenant Bulkeley reported that much of his gasoline and oil had been sabotaged. "The former," he said, "was found to contain a soluble wax deposit in large quantities. This foreign substance clogged gas strainers and carburetor jets to such extent as to cause most unreliable operating, necessitating the cleaning of carburetors and strainers hourly. It was never known when a boat engine would stop. It eventually became necessary to open the gas tanks and thoroughly clean with the limited means available. The lubricating oil contained sand."

Gasoline was not only bad; it was becoming scarce. Much was lost in the bombing of the Navy Yard; much more when the stocks in Manila had to be destroyed. More was lost on December 19 when bombs destroyed most of the gasoline dispersed in drums on Sangley Point. Eight days later, 550 drums of gasoline which had survived bombing were destroyed to prevent capture. On December 29, one of the two large gasoline dumps on Corregidor received a direct hit and was completely destroyed.


When Lieutenant Bulkeley reported at headquarters on January 18, he received his orders in one concise paragraph, signed by Capt. Herbert J. Ray, Admiral Rockwell's Chief of Staff. They read: "Army reports four enemy ships in or lying off Binanga Bay (4 miles north of Moron). Force may include one destroyer, one large transport. Send two boats attack between dusk and dawn."

Lieutenant Bulkeley rode PT 34, temporarily commanded by Ens. Barron W. Chandler, USNR, in the absence of Lt. Robert B. Kelly, the squadron executive officer, who was in the Corregidor hospital with an infected finger. With the 34 was PT 31, Lt. Edward G. DeLong.

The two boats proceeded to the mouth of Subic Bay, at the northwestern end of the Bataan Peninsula. There, they separated in dead blackness, the 34 to creep up the western side of Subic and across to the entrance of Binanga Bay, a narrow finger of water indenting Bataan on the east side of Subic Bay. The 31 was to skirt the eastern side of Subic and rendezvous with the 34 at Binanga's entrance.


Entering Subic Bay half an hour after midnight, the 34 was challenged by a light on Biniptican Point, a mile on the port beam. The boat slowed from 18 knots to 10, and continued to sneak in. Then, on the starboard hand, a fieldpiece started firing from shore south of Binanga Bay. John Bulkeley thought it might have been firing at PT 31, on the other side of the bay. A little further on a small vessel flashed a light challenge. The 34 headed for this vessel, but could not see her clearly, so changed course to the east to meet the 31. Other lights flashed from Grande Island, a mile to the north, and from Ilinin Point, just south of Binanga Bay. Machine guns opened from Ilinin Point. the 31 was not at the rendezvous, so the 34 idled out into Subic Bay. Half an hour later the 31 was still not at the rendezvous. the 34 went in alone. Five hundred yards inside Binanga Bay a two-masted freighter loomed ahead. The ship challenged. PT 34 replied by firing two torpedoes. One stuck in the tube, a hot run, but the other cleared and exploded in less than a minute. Retiring at top speed, the crew of the 34 observed a fire, followed by two large flashes, in Port Binanga.

They could not stop to watch. Shore batteries had opened fire, and the crew had their hands full with the hot run on deck. With no water resistance to brake the propellers, the turbines of a torpedo build up such speed and heat that the turbines and casing may disintegrate. Then white-hot metal fragments fly out for yards around, fast and deadly as bullets. The only way to stop a hot run is to close a valve in the air line to the torpedo's combustion pot. This involves immediate contact with the roaring, hissing torpedo which may fly to pieces at any moment.

John Martino, CTM, knew what to do and did it. He stopped the hot run. But the torpedo was still hanging more than halfway out of the tube. The sea was choppy. Every time the bow of the boat went down, a wave washed over the torpedo's warhead, turning the blades of the impeller. With sufficient turns the warhead would be fully armed. Then a blow of 8-pound force or more would explode the torpedo -- the boat -- and the crew. Again Martino knew what to do and did it. He straddled the torpedo hanging out over the water and stuffed a wad of toilet paper into the impeller blades to stop them from turning. Four hours later the torpedo jolted harmlessly into the sea.

In the morning Lieutenant Bulkeley reported to Admiral Rockwell that he had scored a hit on a ship in Binanga Bay. Admiral Rockwell told him that Army observers, posted on Mariveles Mountain with 20-power binoculars, saw the ship sink. It was believed to have been a 5,000-ton merchant ship armed with 5.5-inch guns, which had been shelling Army positions in the


West Bataan sector. However, Japanese records captured after the war failed to confirm such a sinking.

Bulkeley also reported the 31 had not returned. Nothing had been heard from her crew.

8. END OF the 31

The 31 had scarcely started its slow patrol along the eastern shore of Subic Bay before it was in trouble. The now familiar wax deposit clogged the strainers of both wing engines. Then the center-engine fresh water cooling system became airbound. Helpless, the 31 had drifted on a reef. Then a 3-inch gun near Ilinin Point started firing at the 31. Lieutenant DeLohg walked out anchor and repeatedly attempted to back off. After 3 hours his reverse gears burned out and his boat was still aground. He gave the order to abandon ship.

The men removed the engine room canopy, lashed mattresses to it, and lowered it over the side. Ens. William H. Plant, USNR, the second officer, shoved off on the raft with the 11 men of the crew, while Lieutenant DeLong remained behind to destroy his boat. He chopped holes in the gasoline tanks, damaged the hull with hand grenades, and set the boat afire. Then he took to the water.

For an hour and a half, while his boat burned and exploded, Lieutenant DeLong tried to find the raft. At last he clambered across the reef to the beach. Shortly after dawn he found tracks in the sand half a mile to the south. He followed them to a clump of bushes where he found nine of his men. Ensign Plant, Rudolph Ballough, MM1c, and William R. Dean, QM3c, were missing: they were never seen again.

Just to the south, near the village of Moron, Japanese forces were attacking. Japanese planes were overhead.

"During the morning," Lieutenant DeLong reported, "the infantry fire discontinued and the artillery bursts drew further north and west, leading me to believe that the Japanese were retreating. If this continued I was determined to make a run for our own lines around the beach at about 1500, believing that our chances would be better during daylight. In the meantime I had planned as an alternate method, obtaining two or three bancas and making our way by night around into Bagac Bay to beach at dawn. From our vantage point I had already spotted one large banca about one-half mile


toward Moron. We had obtained canvas for use as sail and had stripped barbed wire entanglements for rigging.

"Shortly before 1500 our artillery dropped back toward Moron and I abandoned any hope of making it around the beach. At about 1530 there being no planes in the air I sent two men out to investigate the bancas.

"At this time Japanese soldiers could be heard to the eastward and could be seen occasionally to the northward and along the beach in the vicinity of the mouth of the stream north of us. Four men were investigating a banca about a half mile north of us. My men were underarmed, having only six pistols and one rifle among the ten men, so I had ordered that unless we were rushed by superior numbers we were to allow any scouts to come in to the clump and then club them with the butt of a pistol or rifle.

"At about 1700 the two men returned and reported that the two bancas appeared to be in good condition but required out-rigging. At this time we sighted from our tree lookout what appeared to be two light armored cars or light tanks about one mile north heading down the trail toward the stream north of us. The bridge over this stream was partially broken down as I had been up there earlier in the afternoon looking unsuccessfully for water.

"At twilight we left our clump, took interval and made our way around to the bancas, rigged them and shoved off at 2000 with Japanese soldiers at this time within 200 yards of the beach.

"We had found two paddles, one board and two shovels for paddling plus the gear for rigging a sail if the wind was favorable. I also had obtained a tow line to tow the small banca.

"When we shoved off I wished to get well clear of the beach before attempting sailing. At about 2100 both bancas capsized and practically all equipment was lost. After righting the bancas we had two bailers and two paddles left between the two bancas. With this we managed to become more or less seaworthy and proceeded out well clear of Panibatujan Point then set course approximately southeast toward Napo Point with the small banca towing the larger one.

"At about 0130 I made the first attempt to round Napo Point but hit a very strong head wind. We continued to head around until about 0300 when my men were exhausted and we were barely holding our own so I decided to chance a landing at dark. We pulled in the lee and I picked the point for a landing.


"We landed at about 0330 in the vicinity of Napo Point, beached the bancas, crossed a barbed wire entanglement and found ourselves against a steep cliff. I kept my men right there until dawn when we were spotted by Philippine Army forces and identified ourselves. The spot I had picked for a landing was such that at high tide it was impossible to move along the beach and there was only one trail leading up over the cliff.

"We were taken to Captain Geo. H. Cockburn, 2nd Bn., 92nd Inf., 91st Div., U.S.A., who gave us food and water and arranged for transportation for us back to Mariveles, where we arrived at about 1730 on January 20, 1942."


On the same night that PT's 34 and 31 visited Subic Bay, Ens. George E. Cox, Jr., USNR, took PT 41 to reconnoiter the south shore of Manila Bay near Ternate where the Japanese were reported to be placing heavy guns. Ensign Cox found no heavy guns, but 2 miles east of Ternate the 41 strafed several groups of Japanese soldiers on the beach. The Army reported later that 8 Japanese were dead and 14 or more wounded by the strafing.

Four nights later (January 22/23) Lieutenant Bulkeley again accompanied Ensign Chandler in the 34, this time on Bataan patrol. North of Cañas Point the 34 sank a 40-foot landing barge in the face of intense small-caliber return fire, which hit the PT boat 14 times. One .25 caliber bullet pierced the plywood and aluminum cockpit and both of Ensign Chandler's ankles.

The 34 could not return through the minefield until daylight. There was nothing to do but give Chandler first aid and continue on patrol. An attempt to search Bagac Bay to the north was frustrated by 3-inch and machine-gun fire from our own Army forces ashore, who could not tell PT's from enemy landing craft. Heading south again, the 34 sighted another landing barge off Luzon Point. The PT closed the range, silenced the return fire, and pulled alongside. Bulkeley boarded the barge.

"All documents, despatch cases and equipment was removed by him for further examination," the official reported stated. "Two wounded Japanese (including one officer) were taken prisoner after surrendering on their knees and were hoisted aboard the PT 34 as prisoners of war. A third Japanese already dead was left in the launch. The launch sank beneath the Squadron Commander, while he was rescuing the wounded men who were apparently too weak to swim."


Ensign Chandler was taken to the hospital on Corregidor, where he became a prisoner of war when the Rock fell on May 6, 1942. He was liberated after the return of U.S. forces to the Philippines nearly 2½ years later.


On the night of January 24 Bulkeley and DeLong returned to Subic Bay. Because of lack of fuel they took only one boat, George Cox's PT 41. Just to the west of the bay's entrance, in a cove near Sampaloc Point, they sighted what appeared to be an anchored transport, 4,000 to 6,000 tons, of new construction with streamlined bridge and comparatively small stack. With Cox on the wheel and DeLong at the torpedo director, the 41 closed to 800 yards and fired one torpedo. Under heavy fire from the transport, PT 41 held course for another 300 yards until DeLong let go a second torpedo. The tail of this one struck the deck on leaving the tube, but the first was seen to hit amidships. Everyone aboard saw and felt the explosion, and saw debris falling about the PT.

As the PT turned hard left, strafing the transport, a shore battery of four to six 3-inch guns opened fire. Shells splashed on both sides, astern and ahead. The 41 zigzagged out to sea at top speed, clearing by only 20 yards an obstruction net at the entrance of the cove that could have held the little boat like a fly in a web.


Maintenance of nightly patrols demanded that the 32 boat, with her hull held together by a jury rig of wires and braces, and top speed of 22 knots, take her regular turn. Her captain, Lt. (jg.) Vincent E. Schumacher, got the 32 underway on the night of February 1, with Lieutenant DeLong aboard as officer-in-tactical command, for Bataan coastal patrol in company with the Maryanne.

At 2130 a large ship, apparently a cruiser, was sighted 5,000 yards dead ahead, to the northward. It soon was apparent that 22 knots was insufficient to close the range. The cruiser pulled away steadily for half an hour in the direction of Subic Bay. Then it slowed and turned eastward, toward the Bataan shore.


The 32 then closed rapidly. At 5,000 yards the cruiser caught the 32 in its searchlight and lobbed a two-gun salvo. The shells, estimated by Schumacher as 6-inch, exploded in the water 500 yards ahead. The 32 fired its starboard torpedo. A second salvo landed 200 yards ahead; a third 200 yards astern. The PT fired its port torpedo and retired at top speed, about 25 knots now that the boat was rid of the weight of the torpedoes. For 2 minutes, during which two-gun salvos continued to drop around the PT, there was no apparent increase in range.

"At this time," Schumacher reported, "there was an explosion below the searchlight, definitely not gunfire, and debris came up into the searchlight beam. There was a pause in firing although the searchlight continued on and the ship apparently slowed as the range started opening. This was undoubtedly the second torpedo hitting as the PT 32 drew away indicating the ship had slowed to about 15 knots. Fire was resumed and was excellent continuing until the PT 32 succeeded in losing the searchlight about 2230 by a hard right turn."

It is impossible to state with certainty the results of this action. It appears definite that no Japanese ship was sunk. But Japanese records do show that on February 1 a Japanese minelayer, Yaeyama, suffered minor damage in Subic Bay. While this was attributed to shore fire, it is possible that the real cause was PT 32's attack.


Squadron 3's last action in the Manila area came on the night of February 17, when John Bulkeley again entered Subic Bay, this time on PT 35, commanded by Ens. Anthony B. Akers, USNR. The 41 boat accompanied the 35 as far as the entrance to the bay, where it lay to. It was possible that an enemy destroyer might be lurking in the bay and would give chase to the 35. If this happened, Bulkeley wanted to be able to lead the destroyer past the 41's line of sight.

At the entrance, near Grande Island, the 35 fired a torpedo at a small vessel, probably a trawler of 200-400 tons. The torpedo appeared to pass under the ship without exploding. Further in the bay, near Olongapo Pier, another larger vessel was sighted. The 35 fired one torpedo at long range and retired immediately, strafing the beach on the way out in an attempt to


reach the gun positions that had fired on the boats on their last visit to Subic Bay. However, no explosion of the torpedo was seen or heard.


General MacArthur informed Admiral Rockwell on March 4 that he had been instructed to leave Corregidor. He told the Admiral that a submarine had been placed at his disposal, and offered to take the admiral and several members of his staff with him. A few days later Admiral Rockwell received orders for himself and Captain Ray, his Chief of Staff, to accompany the General.

The original plan was to make the first leg of the journey by submarine, using PT's to assist in escort and disembarkation. The submarine, USS Permit, was to put into Corregidor, pick up the party and leave on the 14th.

Early in March, however, the radio press began broadcasting demands that General MacArthur be placed in command of all Allied Forces in Australia. On March 9 there was a sharp increase in activities of enemy craft, including minelayers, off Subic Bay. Surface patrols were reported off Corregidor. A destroyer division was sighted in the southern Philippines heading north at high speed. It was only too apparent that the Japanese Navy not only expected General MacArthur to attempt to leave Corregidor, but would do everything it could to intercept him. It was decided, therefore, not to wait for the Permit but to leave by PT as soon as preparations could be completed.

Admiral Rockwell gave Lieutenant Bulkeley his orders on March 10. Bulkeley, with PT 41, was to pick up his passengers, including General and Mrs. MacArthur and their son, and Maj. Gen. Richard K. Sutherland, General MacArthur's Chief of Staff, at the North Dock at Corregidor at 1930 the next day.

So that Japanese scouting planes might observe no unusual activity, Lieutenant Kelly, with PT 34, and Ensign Akers, with PT 35, were to wait at Sisiman Cove. Their passengers, including Admiral Rockwell and Captain Ray, who were to ride the 34, would be brought to them by launch from Corregidor. Lieutenant (jg.) Schumacher, with PT 32, was to pick up his passengers at Quarantine Dock, Mariveles, at 1915. All boats were to rendezvous at 2000 at the entrance to Manila Bay and proceed south in company, to arrive at Tagauayan Island, in the Cuyo Group, about 0730 March 12.


Philippine "Q" boats were directed to stage a diversion off Subic Bay during the evening, to give the enemy the impression that PT's were still operating there.

Should any boat break down, she was to transfer her passengers to another boat and proceed independently, or if necessary, transfer all personnel and scuttle. All boats were to lie over in the lee of Tagauayan during the daylight hours, and get underway at 1700 March 12 for Cagayan on Mindanao, to arrive at 0700 March 13.

Boats were to evade the enemy if possible, but if discovered and attacked, the 41, with General MacArthur, was to turn away and attempt to escape while the others engaged the enemy. Alternate rendezvous points and hideouts were prescribed in case any boat should not be able to reach Tagauayan or Cagayan on schedule. As a final precaution the Permit was directed to investigate Tagauayan Island at daylight March 13. If she should observe signals she was to prepare to take passengers aboard.

Just before the boats got underway a last-minute air reconnaissance report was received, stating that a destroyer had been sighted in Apo East Pass, just west of Mindoro, and a cruiser southwest of Mindoro.

The boats slipped out of Manila Bay on schedule, in column with the 41 leading. On the first leg, southwest toward Cabra Island, the flashing of many white lights ashore caused the boats to give the island a considerably wider berth than had been planned. Then, because of the reported sightings of a cruiser and a destroyer, the boats had to keep as far as possible to the west side of Mindoro Strait. A strong easterly wind made the going rough, with sheets of water rising over the bows and lashing the helmsmen's faces.

Almost from the outset the boats had difficulty keeping together. The 32 had never been satisfactorily repaired, and the other boats, after 3 months of steady operations without spares or adequate repairs, were something less than perfect. Kelly, in the 34, found himself dropping steadily behind the 41. He told his engineroom to tie down the throttles to give the boat all possible speed. In the meantime Bulkeley, in the 41, gave orders to slow down to permit the 34 to catch up. By the time Kelly could pass the word to the engineroom to untie the throttles, he had shot past the lead boat, to the astonishment of his senior passenger, Admiral Rockwell.

Before the night was over the boats became separated. PT 32 could use only two engines. The other boats had to stop from time to time to clean gasoline strainers. Just as dawn was breaking Schumacher saw what he believed to be a destroyer behind him. To increase speed he jettisoned his deckload of gasoline. He picked up a few knots, but the destroyer kept


coming closer. He swung his boat around for a last-ditch torpedo attack -and realized that what he had taken for a destroyer was the PT 41, oddly magnified in the half light of dawn.

Kelly brought the 34 into Tagauayan at 0930, 2 hours late, but the first to arrive. He and his passengers passed an anxious day. It was not until late afternoon that PT 41 and PT 32 slid into the cove from other islands where they had hidden during the morning hours most likely to bring air attack. PT 35 was still missing.

The 32 obviously could not go on. The boats had to fuel at Tagauayan from the drums they carried on deck in order to reach Cagayan. The 32 had lost its deckload. Besides, only one of its three engines was working and the boat was leaking from loose struts. Passengers from the 32 were divided among the other boats. Schumacher was ordered to wait for the arrival of Permit and the 35, to give directions to their commanding officers, and then to make the best of his way to Iloilo, on the island of Panay, where he could obtain sufficient fuel to continue independently to Cagayan.

At 1800 the two remaining boats got underway, with PT 34 leading. "At 1900," Admiral Rockwell recalled later, "a Japanese cruiser was sighted to the northeastward, but we turned away and evidently he did not see us in the glare of the setting sun. At dark we headed to the eastward to cross the traffic lane, and then slipped along the coast line of Negros Island as close inshore as we thought was safe. Our navigation was pretty sketchy but we finally made a landfall on Silino Island at 0200 and laid our course for Cagayan. The weather was very bad from 0100 to daylight, with heavy seas and frequent rain squalls, but as we passed through the most likely patrol area during this time we were probably lucky at that."

Passengers and crews alike were drenched and exhausted when they reached the landing at Cagayan on the morning of March 13, but they had made a trip of 560 miles through Japanese-patrolled waters and had arrived precisely on time. And later that day, the third of the original four boats -- the 35 -- also made it to Cagayan.

The B-17's, which were to carry the party from Mindanao to Australia, had not arrived. They did not arrive until 4 days later, and then there were only two, instead of the three that had been promised. It was decided that the two planes could carry all passengers if all baggage was left behind. Shortly after midnight on the 17th of March, the two planes, heavily overloaded, took off for Australia, where General MacArthur was to start building a force with which he eventually would return to liberate the Philippines.


14. THE 32

Lieutenant Bulkeley was directed to hide his boats in the vicinity of Cagayan until General MacArthur's departure. Then he was to attack enemy shipping as long as his boats would run.

Bulkeley's first concern was for the missing 32 boat. During his first week on Mindanao he flew over the coasts of Panay, Negros, and neighboring islands, but it was many weeks before he learned what happened to the 32.

By the time that Permit arrived at Tagauayan on the morning of March 13, Schumacher was convinced that the 32 was unseaworthy. The submarine took him and his crew aboard, and destroyed the PT by gunfire.

"When the vessel was abandoned and destroyed," Schumacher reported, "two engines were out of commission and the third unreliable due to sea water leakage into the engine room. The previously patched deck over the engine room was cracked and leaking badly from damage caused by a deck load of one thousand gallons of fuel in drums. The bolts holding the center shaft tail strut were sheared off, rendering the shaft out of commission and causing a leak into the after compartment. The only spare magneto available (an old one) had been used with unsatisfactory results. . . . Because of the unsafe condition of the vessel, the prevailing easterly wind, and the rough sea, and the probability of the third engine being flooded and put out of commission, the possibility of making a safe landing on the island of Panay was considered remote. Therefore, in order to safeguard the lives of the crew, assistance was requested from the U.S.S. Permit and the U.S.S. PT 32 was destroyed."


Manuel Quezon, President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, left Corregidor on February 20 in the submarine Swordfish with his wife, son and two daughters, and members of his staff. The Presidential party disembarked 2 days later on the lower coast of Panay. From there the President went to the neighboring island of Negros, but within a month the impending Japanese envelopment of the central Philippines made it imperative that he move again. The Army asked the PT's to bring the President and his family from Negros to Mindanao, whence they would be taken by plane to Australia.

Only the 35 and 41 were still in operating condition. Kelly's 34 had broken an anchor shackle and gone hard aground on coral, mangling shafts, struts, and propellers.


The 41, with Bulkeley and Cox, followed by Akers in the 35, left Cagayan at 1900 March 18, to meet the President and his party at Zamboanguita, on the southern tip of Negros. Though the run was comparatively short, only 100 miles, it might be perilous. Army aerial reconnaissance reported seven enemy destroyers patrolling the southern approaches to Negros. Near Apo Island, off Zamboanguita, the boats separated. The 41 went to Zamboanguita while the 35 patrolled 2 miles offshore to prevent possible surprise by enemy destroyers. Bulkeley waited for an hour at the dock -- there was no one to meet him. Then Major Soriano, President Quezon's aide, arrived and requested that the PT's proceed to Dumaguete, 15 miles up the coast.

Only the 41 could go. The 35 had struck a submerged object, ripping a gaping hole in her bow. Akers kept patrolling, his men bailing with buckets, until the water got ahead of the buckets. Then he headed into Zamboanguita. The 41 took the 35's crew aboard, took the damaged boat in tow, got underway toward the beach, and cut the 35 loose, so that she beached herself.

The 41 went on to Dumaguete. Again, there was no sign of the Presidential party. Major Soriano took Bulkeley by automobile to Bais, another 25 miles up the coast. There they found the President. He had received a telegram from General Wainwright advising him that the trip was too dangerous to risk because of Japanese warships. He had decided not to go, but after questioning Bulkeley he changed his mind.

At 0320 the 41 left Dumaguete with a full load. Besides her own crew and the crew of the 35, she carried President and Mrs. Quezon and their two daughters, Vice President Sergio Osmeña, Maj. Gen. Basilio Valdes, Major Andres Soriano, nine members of the President's Cabinet, and a vast quantity of luggage for the entire party.

The trip from Dumaguete to Oroquieta, on Mindanao, was a short one, just over 60 miles, but the seas were vicious. Half an hour out, a heavy wave snapped the shear pins of the two after torpedoes, jolting the torpedoes halfway out of their tubes and starting hot runs. The electric firing circuits failed, probably shorted out by the sheets of water that came pounding over the bow. By the time the torpedomen, James D. Light, CTM, and John L. Houlihan, TM1c, could fire the torpedoes manually, a matter of no more than a minute, the afterbodies of the torpedoes were already glowing red hot.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. President Quezon and his party landed safely at Oroquieta at 0600 March 19.



For a time PT 41 was the only operational boat in Squadron 3. Bulkeley returned in the 41 to Zamboanguita, put a patch on the 35 and towed her to Cebu City, where there was a marine railway. When he came back to Mindanao he found that Kelly had made emergency repairs to the 34 at a little machine shop in Inlug Cove, to the north of Cagayan. the 34 could make all of 12 knots without shaking herself to pieces. That was sufficient for the trip to Cebu, where further repairs could be made at the Opan Shipbuilding & Slipway Corp. This was a small yard whose 71-year-old proprietor, "Dad" Cleland, refused to worry about payment for his work. "You fight 'em and I'll fix'em," he told Bulkeley.

While at Cebu the boat crews worked for 3 nights helping load two submarines with food and supplies for Corregidor. The submarines gave Bulkeley torpedoes to reload the 41's empty tubes.

The 34 went back in the water on the afternoon of April 8. On the same afternoon Bulkeley learned that Army planes had seen two enemy destroyers heading south through Tañon Strait, between Cebu and its western neighbor, Negros. The ships should clear the southern tip of Cebu about midnight.

Bulkeley, with Cox in the 41, followed by Kelly in the 34, slid down the eastern side of Cebu to meet the enemy force as it emerged from the strait. DeWitt L. Glover, CQM, on the 41, was the first to sight the enemy. "There she is!" he shouted. Then, as it dawned on him what he saw, "Jumping Jesus! There she is!"

What he saw, 5,000 yards ahead, gliding slowly eastward just 2 miles off the tip of Cebu, was not the expected destroyers, but a light cruiser, armed with 5.5- and 3-inch guns, bristling with smaller automatic weapons.

The 41 led the way, idling in on the cruiser's port side. At 500 yards Cox fired two torpedoes. They ran erratically, straddling the target bow and stern. The 41 increased speed, circled to the right, and Bulkeley fired her last two torpedoes. Both Bulkeley and Cox saw the torpedoes run true, one to the bow and the other beneath the bridge, but observed no explosion.

While the 41 was circling, Kelly brought the 34 in broad on the bow and fired two torpedoes at 500 yards. The cruiser's searchlight blazed a path through the night, sweeping the sky, then catching the 41 for a moment, finally settling on the 34. At the same time the cruiser opened fire and increased speed rapidly. Kelly saw his torpedoes miss astern.


The 41 circled to the starboard side of the cruiser to strafe her decks in an attempt to draw fire from the 34. But the cruiser held the 34 in the searchlight beam and directed automatic fire and salvos from its main battery at the PT. Kelly made a U-turn to the left, passing astern of the cruiser and coming up on the starboard quarter from almost dead astern. During the turn the 34 dropped back to about 2,500 yards. Kelly ordered his gunners to fire into the searchlight. Japanese shells were whistling over; one carried away the mast just aft of the cockpit. Willard J. Reynolds, CCStd, whose machine-guns were the first to fire at the searchlight, was hit by shrapnel in the neck and shoulder.

"It was estimated," Kelly said, "that the cruiser was making 20-25 knots. Pursuit was maintained for about 5 or 10 minutes by which time the PT 34 was within 300 yards of the cruiser whose searchlight beam was depressed almost to the vertical in order to keep the PT 34 illuminated. Although this was considered a very poor position for firing torpedoes, the cruiser's automatic fire was coming so close that further delay was impossible. Two Mark XIV (45 knot) torpedoes were now fired with 6-foot depth setting in an overtaking shot from close on the cruiser's starboard quarter.

"The PT 34 now turned right at maximum speed to retire south only to be simultaneously taken under fire by a destroyer some 2,000 yards to starboard as well as being kept under fire and illumination by the cruiser. It looked like we were trapped. Our mast had been shot away and our topside was riddled with .50-caliber holes. The cruiser turned, apparently to follow us and prevent our escaping, the destroyer closing us to port. Just then two spouts of water some 20 feet high and 30 feet apart were seen by me through binoculars to appear amidships at the cruiser's waterline at 5-second intervals. My first reaction was that the cruiser had been hit by two rounds from the destroyer firing on me to starboard. However, Chief Torpedoman Martino had also seen the hits and reported them to me as torpedo hits. Apparently the cruiser had turned directly into the path of the torpedoes. All this occurred in less than a minute after firing. The cruiser's searchlight immediately began to fade as though there had been a power failure aboard. All its guns stopped firing and that was the last I ever saw of it."

The 34, able to make 38 knots now that her torpedoes were gone, then started maneuvering to evade the destroyer on her starboard hand. "By violent zigzagging and executing a series of right angle turns this was accomplished after about 10 minutes, without receiving further hits," Kelly


said. "The PT 34 then headed northward for the entrance of Bohol Strait in order to return to Cebu City. Since there were no more torpedoes aboard, it was considered advisable to head back to the base before the Jap destroyers could cut us off.

"A few moments after setting a northeasterly course a destroyer was seen dead ahead bearing down on the 34 at high speed. Only by swerving to the left was a collision avoided and we passed down their starboard side close aboard without their firing a shot. They immediately turned and commenced pursuit illuminating us with their searchlight and taking us under fire with their main battery. They kept up the chase until about 0130 when we were some 5-6 miles to the north of them. Searchlights to the southward were observed by us until about 0200."

While the 34 was making its second attack and then maneuvering to shake the first destroyer, the 41 tried to create the illusion of many torpedo boats by firing machine-gun bursts at different positions. The 41 then headed back toward the cruiser to ascertain its condition, but suddenly was illuminated by another destroyer which opened fire and gave chase. Heading east at top speed, the 41 found one enemy destroyer blocking its escape to the north, and two more to the east. The boat turned south and ran to Port Misamis, Mindanao, where the inlet was too shallow for destroyers to follow.

What were the results of the action? Kelly believed that the cruiser was of the 3,230-ton Tenryu class, because the center stack appeared to be wider than the other two. He is certain that his last two torpedoes hit. Eight days after the action, Kelly, having escaped through the Japanese lines on Cebu, reached Dumaguete, Negros. There he met a U.S. Army private who had been in an Army speedboat aground on Siquijor Island and had seen the action. The private told Kelly that he had seen a destroyer illuminate the cruiser and go alongside it half an hour after the engagement. He was sure that the cruiser had sunk later. Kelly also met at Dumaguete an American professor from the local university, who had watched the engagement from shore. He, too, believed the cruiser had sunk.

Bulkeley, on the 41, thought that the cruiser was of the 5,100-ton Kuma class, because of its widely flared stacks. He saw no explosions, but said that just after the 34's second attack, the cruiser was completely enveloped in a cloud of yellowish brown smoke. He also saw the searchlight dim gradually, then flicker out, as though from power failure. Finally, Bulkeley reported that the first destroyer swept past the cruiser and illuminated it


briefly by searchlight. "It could be seen," he reported, "that the cruiser was sinking by the stern with her bow up in the air."

Japanese sources indicate that the Kuma was attacked by torpedo boats on this date, but that the Kuma took only one hit -- a torpedo that failed to explode. Whatever the damage, or lack of it, the Kuma remained afloat until January 11, 1944, when she was sunk off Penang by a British submarine. And the magnitude of the damage, or lack of it, neither increases nor diminishes the courage of the officers and men who pressed home a closerange attack on a dangerous enemy 100 times their size.


Kelly tried to take the 34 into Cebu City before daylight to get medical aid for Reynolds. But he had only a large-scale chart, useless for navigating the channel. He idled in, and just when his soundings told him that he was in 3 fathoms, his boat ground to a stop on a coral pinnacle. He sent his executive officer, Ens. Iliff D. Richardson, USNR, ashore in a dinghy to find a tug for the 34 and a doctor for Reynolds. By daylight Kelly was able to rock the boat free. His center propeller and strut were damaged, but he was able to proceed into the channel on two engines.

"Under ordinary conditions," he said, "it would have been considered suicidal to have been operating in this area after daylight. However, the Army authorities had assured us of air cover and given us the assigned radio frequencies of the planes. These planes were scheduled to arrive that morning from Australia to form an escort for coastal steamers due to leave Cebu the next day carrying food for Corregidor. The radio of the PT 34 had been rendered inoperable during the previous night's engagement. However, I had every confidence that the planes would be there having seen a copy of the dispatch concerning them the night before.

"Shortly after 0800 a bomb landed close off the PT 34's port bow. We had not heard any planes due to the noise of our engines. Four Jap float planes were seen to be diving on us out of the sun, the first already having dropped its bomb. The PT 34's amidship .50 cal. turrets were already manned and began firing immediately. The port bow .30 cal. Lewis machine-gun was blown off its stand by the first bomb's blast. The starboard bow .30 caliber was manned immediately by the quartermaster and I took the wheel. During the next 15 minutes eight bombs were dropped


on the PT 34. All were near misses (under 25 yards). The planes dove from about 500 feet altitude strafing as they came out of the sun. The first run killed the starboard .50 caliber gunner and disabled the gun. The next two runs knocked out the port .50 cal. turret. On the third run the quartermaster, Ross, hit one of the float planes causing it to smoke heavily. It was presumed to have crashed (although it was not seen to hit the water) since it was not seen during any subsequent attack. On the next run Ross was hit and his gun disabled.

"Since the PT 34 was in a narrow channel and only had two engines, maneuvering was extremely difficult. During the succeeding runs the boat was riddled with .30 cal. holes although it received no bomb hits. Chief Torpedoman Martino, who was acting as Executive Officer, rendered first aid to the crew and kept me informed of our damage. When I received word that the engine room was flooded with about 3 feet of water and the engines could not last much longer, it was decided to beach the boat since we could no longer fight."

Kelly beached his boat on Cauit Island and got his crew ashore. David W. Harris, TM2c, who had been in the starboard turret, was dead. Reynolds had been wounded again, this time fatally. Albert P. Ross, QM1c, who had hit the enemy plane; John Martino, CTM, and Velt F. Hunter, CMM, were wounded.

At 1230 the three planes returned while salvage operations were underway and bombed and strafed the 34 again. This time they set the boat afire, and it burned and exploded on the beach at Cauit Island, southern approach to Cebu City.


Squadron 3 had fought its last action. The 35 was the next boat to go. Lt. (jg.) Henry J. Brantingham burned her in the slipway at Cebu on April 12, when the Japanese entered the city.

On Mindanao, Bulkeley reported the cruiser action to Brig. Gen. William F. Sharp, Commanding General, Mindanao Force, and told the General of his intention to return to Cebu to replace the 41's torpedoes. General Sharp informed him that the Japanese were already entering Cebu and that no torpedoes were available on Mindanao. The 41's career as a torpedo boat was ended.


Bulkeley's orders, which General Sutherland gave him before departing for Australia, concluded, "Upon completion of the offensive mission, due to destruction of material or lack of essential supplies, Lieutenant Bulkeley will proceed to Mindanao, reporting upon arrival to the Commanding General, Mindanao Force."

Bulkeley reported to General Sharp for duty. On April 13, under orders from General MacArthur, he was flown to Australia.

The Army intended to take the 41 to Lake Lanao, 15 miles inland, where she might be useful as a patrol boat to prevent Japanese floatplanes from landing on the lake. The boat was stripped at the dock at Iligan, and a valiant attempt was made to haul her up over the mountain road to Lake Lanao. Her engines actually reached the lake by truck, but it became necessary to destroy the 41 on the road when Japanese forces closed in.


The 83 officers and men of Squadron 3 were widely scattered. Five had been lost with the 31 and 34. Of the living, some were with the Mindanao Force, some with the Visayan Force on Cebu. Others were with the Inshore Patrol at Corregidor or the Naval Section Base at Mariveles.

Kelly, Cox, and Akers were flown to Australia at the end of April by order of General MacArthur. A few other officers and men were able to get out to Australia by submarine.

Of those who remained in the Philippines, some joined the guerrilla forces, among them Ensign Richardson, who became Colonel Kangleon's chief of staff on Leyte, with the rank of major; William F. Konko, RM3c, who worked as a radio technician for Colonel Fertig on Mindanao with rank of second lieutenant; Francis J. Napolillo, Jr., SC1c, who first operated a launch, then became a coding officer for Colonel Fertig; Paul A. Owen, CMM, who distilled alcohol from tuba to keep guerrilla engines operating; DeWitt L. Glover, CQM; John L. Tuggle, MM1c; and John H. Lewis, MM1c, who also joined Fertig's forces.

Thirty-eight officers and men, including most of those in the Manila Bay area, were taken prisoner. Most of these were removed in 1944 to prison camps in Japan or Manchuria. Nine died in prison camps; 29 were liberated. Squadron 3's total dead, including those dead or missing in the loss of PT's 31 and 34, is 3 officers, 15 enlisted men.


Lt. Comdr. John D. Bulkeley receives the Medal of Honor from President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Lt. Comdr. John D. Bulkeley receives the
Medal of Honor from President Franklin D. Roosevelt


When Lieutenant Bulkeley returned to the United States, he brought with him a verbal message from General MacArthur for delivery to the President of the United States, the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, the Commander in Chief U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations. He delivered it in this form:

Motor torpedo boats should be the basis of a separate branch of the service for specialists, and who must have confidence in their own weapons.

These boats can be used effectively for coastal defense 200 or 300 miles offshore, in the Philippine Islands, straits, narrows and potential blocks.

There is no other location such as the Philippine Islands and the islands south of the Philippines where they can be so effectively used.


With enough of this type of craft, hostile Japanese shipping could be kept from invading an island or continent, and kept 200 to 300 miles offshore.

I want 100 or more MTB's here of your type together with the improvements which have been developed since the outbreak of war. Two hundred boats if possible with the tenders, spare parts, and equipment necessary for them within 8 months.

It is not surprising that General MacArthur did not have 100 PT's, or even one-third of that number, within 8 months. The wonder is that before the end of the war 212 PT's, 11 tenders, and a string of PT bases were in operation throughout the Southwest Pacific area.


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Transcribed and formatted for HTML Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation