Comments  from Gene Kohler

[ Gene was a former OIC of PTF-24]

I was OIC of PTF 24 for some of the time I was attached to coastal river squadron one from 1975-1978. I was also OIC of PTF 26 in 1978 just before I separated to go to Dental school. During the timeframe 1975-78, Lt William Snyder was OIC of PTF 26 for most of that time. Bill, USNA class of 72, is now an Admiral. He has a multitude of stories about PTF 26. I think the LT in the pictures of PTF 26 is Brian Herring, he was Bill's AOIC. The boat shows the CRS-1 emblem on the intake. That was adopted around 1976-77. Shortly after 1978, the Squadron was renamed Special Boat Squadron 1 and most of the billets were re-designated from line to spec war.

PTF 24 was the only Osprey to see action in Viet Nam- she took a rocket (B-40) forward port superstructure over the galley. It was patched, and the patch and shrapnel pockmarks were clearly visible. PTF 26 was the last PTF operational on the west coast. I think the last OIC was LT Asbury who relieved me in 1975. PTF 23 and 25 were on the East Coast. I had been told one was retained and the hull modified as an experimental platform. I have numerous pics of the Ospreys (mostly PTF 24), and of some of the "trumpys" we had. One of the trumpy's was used in the making of the movie MacArthur. Hollywood hired the boat and crew and filmed the evacuation of MacArthur from the Philippines off Santa Catalina Island. They modified the superstructure with plywood and added cardboard tubes to simulate torpedo tubes so it would look like a Higgins boat. They had six Styrofoam hemispheres with spikes to look like mines, then had the boat make circles through the mines to make it look like they were transiting a large mine field. Two of the CRS-1 Sailors were on the bow with a bowhook to fend off the "mines". They filmed until after dark and were unable to recover the mines. Periodically for the next six months, the coast guard would issue notices to mariners reporting that one vessel or another had spotted contact mines adrift in the Catalina Channel.

I am now a Captain in the Navy Dental Corps, and will be retiring after 28 years on 7 June. I just stumbled on this site while looking for pictures of Ospreys. I had thought the 26 boat was scrap. 

Gene Kohler, Capt, DC,USN (USNA 72)


Dan, Thanks- this is amazing! The jpeg labeled PTF24 at rest- Did you mean PTF 25?
Where is PTF 24- (which I believe was the only Osprey to serve in Vietnam- at least that's what I was told- and there was a patch on the port side of the superstructure over the galley surrounded by small "scars" that looked to be consistent with a B-40 hit)


Since I am in the mood, I thought I'd relate the story of the wreck of PTF 22. At San Clemente. I had just joined CRS-1 having detached from USS Ramsey in July 1975. While deployed with the Ramsey, I saw PTF 22 in Subic bay in a cradle being prepared for shipment to California. The PTF/Napier Deltic repair facility was still in operation in the Philipines and the boats apparently were still sent from the US to Subic for overhaul. (A repair facility for the very touchy ND's was never constructed in the US). This is a critical plot point. Shortly after I reported to CRS-1, the unit was involved in a fleetex and two or three PTF's were assigned there usual "orange" force aggressor roles as Osa/Komar missile boats. PTF 22, newly overhauled at Subic and with a very capable CWO in charge was on of the boats assigned. Somewhere west of San Clemente, in the early morning hours while simulating an attack on blue forces, the engine room reported flooding. The pumps couldn't keep up and no one answered the distress calls. The CWO, as a last resort, headed for San Clemente at full speed and beached the boat not too far from Wilson Cove. The crew swam/ waded ashore and the OIC walked overland to Wilson Cove to call in the incident!. However, the seas pummeled the boat from the stern pushing her higher onto the rocks and a good portion of the stern was carried away before the boat could be salvaged. Investigation determined the seawater cooling outlet hoses, which were on the outboard side of the (port or starboard?) engine had been inadequately secured at Subic and had come loose. Essentially, the engine was pumping seawater into the engine spaces and when the OIC increased speed, he also pumped more water into the boat. Since there was very little space between the engine and the bulkhead, it was virtually impossible in the partially flooded engine compartment to discover what the problem really was. In which case, shutting down the engine would have stopped the flooding. The boat of course was surveyed as not being economically repairable and the rest of the story is on your web site. Except for one little aside- no one heard PTF 22's distress calls EXCEPT the elint guys who operated the HIFR equipt on the Strand who monitored the signal but took no action because they were monitoring the frequencies to gather intelligence, not to take action! Later, Skip


I was told that the NV patrol boats which were taken under fire by the Turner Joy and the Maddox were actually heading South in pursuit of Nasties which had been on a raid for the CIA north of the DMZ.This came from Frank Lemon, CDR, USN (ret) who was some kind of spook in Vietnam and later was OIC of Coastal River Division 12 in Coronado. He might not be the most reliable source though- but I have heard similar stories. I don't have any references, but I was told that  the Nasties were initially Norwegian Nasty class patrol combatants and were imported -complete with metric fittings and outfitted with "sterilized" weapons available on the open market- for covert use by the CIA in Vietnam before we officially entered the action. Later on, as we became openly involved, the Nasties were taken over by the USN and more were imported from Norway and assembled with standard hardware at the Trumpy boat yard in Annapolis, MD. We called these unofficially "Trumpy" class PTF's. (The boat house where the Trumpies and even earlier Higgins and Elco PT's were finished is now a Charthouse restaurant in the middle of Yacht slips across Spa Creek from the Naval Academy). Like I said, I don't have any hard references to the early pre war involvement of the PTF's.
 The 24 boat was my boat for a couple years- and the story was that a B-40 hit the cabin- I was told everyone was a GQ, no one was in the galley and there were no casualties- but no one knew any details about the action (this was told to me in 1976 or 1977, so it was not particularly current). The external repairs and pocking were consistent with such a hit. I'm pretty sure the VC had B-40's. When I was on USS Ramsey (DEG-2) doing NGFS off South Vietnam, the spotters would give GDA's (gun damage assessment based on the weapons destroyed or made ineffective (ie- the operator killed) Often the GDA would be reported as B-40's or AK's.

One of these days I will scan some of my pics of PTF 24 and 26 and some of the "Trumpies"