Crew of PT-109

In a heavily retouched view, Lieutenant Junior Grade John F. Kennedy and his crew are photographed forward of the bridge. The twin .50 caliber Browning machine guns, 20mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft gun, and 21-inch Mark 8 torpedo tubes. The Mark 8, a World War I design, had problems with depth settings and its contact exploder frequently shattered instead of triggering the explosive. Also, the grease packed in the tube would burn when the torpedo left the tube, causing a bright orange flash that would reveal the boats position at night. The PT Boats were often countered by "Rufe" A6M2-N Zero-Sen floatplanes at night, day raids, and larger naval surface combatants, but were effective against light coastal shipping in the Solomons. The crew on the last voyage of August 1-2, 1943, not all of whom are in the photo, included Lieutenant Junior Grade John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Boston, Massachusetts, commanding officer; Ensign Leonard J. Thom, Sandusky, Ohio, Executive Officer; Ensign George H. R. "Barney" Ross, Highland Park, Illinois, 37mm Gun Captain; Seaman 2nd class Raymond Albert, Akron, Ohio; Gunner's Mate 3rd class Charles A. "Bucky" Harris, Watertown, Massachusetts; Motor Machinist's Mate 2nd class William Johnston, Dorchester, Massachusetts; Torpedoman's Mate 2nd class Andrew Jackson Kirksey, Reynolds, Georgia (Killed in Action); Radioman 2nd class John E. Maguire, Dobbs Ferry, New York; Motor Machinist’s Mate 2nd class Harold William Marney, Springfield, Massachusetts (Killed in Action); Quartermaster 3rd class Edman Edgar Mauer, St. Louis, Missouri; Motor Machinist's Mate 1st class Patrick H. "Pappy" McMahon, Wyanet, Illinois (Severely Wounded in Action); Torpedoman's Mate 2nd class Ray L. Starkey, Garden Grove, California; and Motor Machinist's Mate 1st class Gerard E. Zinser, Belleville, Illinois. The photo has most of the forward gear removed from the photo.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
John F. Kennedy
Date Photographed: 
Wednesday, July 1, 1942
New Georgia