I just finished reading William Doyle’s 2015 book about Kennedy’s PT 109. A great read. Whatever people think about JFK the politician, there’s no doubt he was a real hero following the destruction of his boat in the Solomons. (I can’t help wondering if Kennedy’s later outbursts of anger about the incident were due to a degree of PTSD.) Anyway, the book mentioned there are two surviving PT boats on display at Battleship Cove in Mass. I drove up this morning to see one.
Standing beside the first boat, I was surprised at its overall size. PT 617 was large (80 ft) with a wide beam and an open deck that allowed for easy movement. The interior—seen through cut-out windows—seemed spacious for a dozen or so men. It had radar and heavy guns. At 40 knots and a 500-mile range, it seems like a great machine to run around the South Pacific in…provided no one was shooting at you.