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  PT-111
USN
80' Elco

56 Tons
80' x 20' 8" x 5'
1 x 40mm
1 x 37mm cannon
1 x 20mm cannon
2 x Twin 50 cal MG
4 x Torpedo Tubes

Ship History
Built Electric Boat Company (Elco) in Bayonne, NJ. Laid down March 17, 1942. Launched June 27, 1942. Completed July 16, 1942. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as PT-111.

Wartime History
Assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 5 (MTBRon 5) under the command of Commander Henry Farrow, USN. Assigned to the Panama Canal zone during September 1942 until the spring of 1943.

On September 22, 1942 transfered to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron TWO (MTBRon 2) under the command of Lt. Rollin E. Westholm, USN. During early October 1942, loaded aboard USS Tallulah (AO-50) as deck cargo along with PT-112 and shipped to the South Pacific.

Sinking History
On February 1, 1943 during the night, twenty Japanese destroyers steamed down the slot as part of Operation KE, the evacuation of their remaining troops from Guadalcanal. Although attacked by two waves of fighters and bombers from Henderson Field at dusk, only one destroyer was damaged. The force approached Cape Esperance, covered by half a dozen patrol planes.

All available PT boats were sent to the Savo-Esperance area, including PT-37 under the command of Taylor with PT-47 were stationed two miles southeast of Savo. On the way to its patrol area, this boat was bombed and strafed by Japanese aircraft, but suffered no damage. Forty minutes after arriving at station, PT-111 spotted a destroyer three miles east of Cape Esperence and PT-48 spotted two destroyers two miles west of Savo Island. The PT Boats seporated with each attacking separately.

PT-111 approached within 500 yards of the destroyer and fired all four of her torpedoes, but was unable to observe the results due to return gunfire. Thirteen minutes later, PT-111 was hit by gunfire from Kawakaze and burst into flames wounding several of the crew and sank into Iron Bottom Sound off Cape Esperence on Guadalcanal. Aboard, Lt(jg) Philip A. Shribman, O-102637 was declared Missing In Action (MIA). Also sunk was PT-37.

During the same battle, PT-115 and PT-38 beached themselves on the western side of Savo Island and were later pulled off by PT-109. This was the most violent action the PT Boats participated in off Guadalcanal, and it was their last, as the Japanese completed their evacuation during the night of February 7-8, 1943.

Fates of the Crew
After being hit, Clagett was thrown to the deck wounded but managed to crawl overboard and assisted by the rest of the crew as he was unable to swim. RM2c Russel J. Wackler suffered a compound fractures to his legs and was aided by the crew until he died two and a half hours later. The rest of the crew was rescued by another PT Boat and returned to base.

Memorials
Shribman was officially declared dead on February 2, 1944. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Wackler was buried at Long Island National Cemetery at plot H, 9491.

References
At Close Quarters PT Boats in the United States Navy pages 57, 103-104, 452, 456, 486, 488, 561 (index)
Navy Source - PT-111 (photo)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Philip A. Shribman

FindAGrave - LtJG Philip A Shribman (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Russell John Wackler (grave photo)

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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