Comments  from John Watkins:

[Read here for excellent Sea Stories]

(01/04/03) As for the small arms practice, I feel sure it was just off the East Coast on a gunnery drill on PTF17 circa 1971. We also fired the 81mm mortar and the 40mm. We had mis-fires on both the 81mm and the 40mm ( the GMG1 J A Clark showed great professionalism taking the lead in disposing of the bad rounds) . When we were on Solid Shield 1972/1973 patrolling the perimeter of the invasion fleet we fired small arms outboard, M-79, M-60s, M-16s and hand guns. There was a USSR trawler anchored to the North of our patrol box, observing the Fleet Exercise. We would cease fire as we came about and, leaving our patrol sector to RTB (return to base) , we would steer directly for it, breaking off a few hundred yards away. I'll see if I can find some more photos, but I was using an Insta-matic 110 camera and this is why they're so grainy. All negatives were destroyed by my ex-wife.

EnsKorengaySolidShield1973PTF17a.jpg (48845 bytes) GMG1PTF17SholidShield.jpg (54135 bytes) smallarms1973SolidShiedPTF17a.jpg (64330 bytes) SolidShield1972a.jpg (58095 bytes) SolidShield1973PTFunknown.jpg (6475 bytes) RTBa.jpg (31300 bytes)
Ens. Korengay, Solid Shield 1973 aboard PTF-17 GMG1 on same exercise Small arms firing Underway Solid Shield Underway Solid Shield Return to Base


Jim & Dan,

A little history without firm dates,  I entered the USN in 1963, served on a Destroyer (DD805) then I went to "A" school then to Gitmo then to NavSta Aregentia, Newfoundland then to APA31 then my Four years were up.  I stayed in the Norfolk, VA area working for the Dept of Navy and choose the Active Reserves.  As a EM1 I was part of the Res. Crew on the Willard B. Kieth around 1970 and I heard they were going to form a reserve compliment for PT Boats.  I grew up hearing stories of PT's in WWII and, of course, I wanted in on this new Unit.  

A Lt. Cdr. Franklin USNR was looking for Vietnam Vets for the Cadre of CosRivRon 2 on the Reserve side of the house at Little Creek Va.  I am not a VN Vet., so I went and gave my experience of service on APA 31 caring for the landing craft and service at Gitmo on 65' AVRs with 2182 cu. in. Hall Scott V12s and convinced him I was at least enthusiastic enough.  He arranged BSU 2 for my active duty before CosRivRon 2 was formed and then later I became a plank owner of CosRivRon 2. 

 I was first assigned to PTF 17, later when the RivDivs were formed , we sent the Trumpy boats to Great Lakes and I was then part of the 9 boat crew until I made CPO in 1973 and moved to the PBR and PCF group.  The only Regular Navy crew as I can remember ;OinC was Lt Marks, Ensign Korengay and EM1 Bartowski and I'll work on the others names. The Reserve side had LT Walters ( Norfolk) .  I was cross-trained in all duties and stood watches in the engine room, at the helm,  navigating , mount captain on the 40MM and any other spot where I was useful at the time  My enlistment expired in 1974 and I regret to this day not re-enlisting.

****Sea Stories; **** One spring, on Operation Solid Shield,  we spent our days patrolling the perimeter of the Invasion Fleet.   Then one night, Lt Marks had us rig boat hooks with drop lights.  We left port that night with Cdr. Conally USN ( the CosRivRon 2 C.O.) on board, we had our lights rigged as a trawler, idled on one engine, alternating them, steaming with the fishing fleet until we were within 7 miles of the Fleet.  We then pulled in the rig, turned towards the Fleet and we went to 2100 RPM.  We had the radio frequencies and scrambler card from the daytime duty.   We came even closer at full speed before the report came of high speed contacts approaching.  Mr. Marks picked up the microphone and said " xxxx ( name of control ship) this is contact,  MISSILE AWAY,  MISSILE AWAY!!! "  We then fired flares to simulate launches from the KOMAR class boats that we were simulating and some even landed on the decks of the ships.  Considering that One STIX ( it's range, I believe is 21 km ) took out a Israeli destroyer in 1967, the five boat formation would have caused a mess. 

P.S. We were never successful in the daylight raids!

Any ways, I hope the names help with the roster. I'll try to stay in touch and hunt up some of the photos that survived my divorce. - 

I served on PTF 17 & 9 at the Little Creek Amphib base in the early 70's. I now reside near Dallas, Texas. I help put the 9 boat back in service when it returned from RVN service. If I can be of help let me know, I can't help much financially but perhaps in volunteer work. 

John E. Watkin
former CPO USNR (EMC)