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  PT-126
USN





Captain  Lt(jg) Craig C. Smith
Crew   Ensign John F. Daley (WIA / KIA)
Gunner   GM1C Thomas M. Ross, 3828119 (MIA / KIA) CA
Engine Room  MoMM2 Bertis I. Paul (KIA)

Ship History
Built July 1942 at Bayonne, New Jersey. Assigned to PT Boat training center at Melville, Rhode Island. Ferried across the Pacific by transport ship to Noumea, and towed to Guadalcanal. During April 1943, Lt(jg) John F. Kennedy assumed command of PT-126.

Wartime History
On September 30, 1943 this PT boat, plus PT-124 and PT-116 conducted an overnight barge hunting mission, strafing barges near Ropa Point on the north eastern shore of Kolombangara, where they remained until dawn. All friendly vessels were supposed to be withdrawn from the area to avoid mistaken identity.

At 7:40am three F4U Corsairs from VMF-214 "The Black Sheep" flying from Munda Airfield spotted the three PT-Boats, and swooped down to investigate. The PT Boat a recognition flare. Two of the F4Us waggled wings in recognition, but F4U piloted by Robert Alexander opened fire, hitting the stern of this boat.  The three PT boats returned fire, and shot down the Corsair. The wounded crew from this boat were evacuated aboard PT-124.

Memorials
Ross was officially declared dead on September 30, 1944. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Bertisis buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery at plot D, grave 178.

References
At Close Quarters PT Boats in the United States Navy pages 138, 434-435, 457, 461
FindAGrave - Bertis Irvin Paul (grave photo)

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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