PT-48 History

PT-48 was laid down as ELCO hull 3334 on 6 June 1941 at their yard in Bayonne New Jersey.  She was broken-in around New York from September through December 1941 when she was shipped first to Panama, then in October 1942 to Tugali.

In short order:

  • 14 October 1942:  Engaged a Japanese destroyer at 200 yards on her first mission.
  • 29 October 1942:  Came under fire from four Japanese destroyers.
  • 6 November 1942: Fired four torpedoes at a destroyer, observing two hits.
  • 9 November 1942: A Japanese sub fired a torpedo at PT-48, which luckily missed.
  • 13 November 1942: Fires four torpedoes at USS Portland, thinking she was a Japanese ship.  Luckily they missed.
  • 6 December 1942:  Attacked a surfaced submarine (along with PT-37, with indeterminate results.
  • 24 December 1942:  On patrol with PT-46, attacked a Japanese transport observing two explosions.
  • 27 December 1942 to 30 January 1943:  Patrols every few days in the islands.
  • 1 February 1943:  PT-48 is bombed and strafed, fired four torpedoes at Japanese destroyers, and was forced to beach and abandon the boat on Savo Island.  Miraculously, the destroyers failed to find her and she was pulled of the beach and put in dry-dock for two weeks of repairs.
  • 3 July 1943: Moved to the Russell Islands after a few months out of commission, she was on patrol with PT-109 with LT J G Kennedy in command when she was damaged by high seas, rescued with a hand pump by PT-109, and overhauled again.  From August 1943, she worked as a virtual ake invasion – speakers on her bows broadcasting  troop noises and landing craft-sounds, carrying balloons to attract enemy radar, blinking signal lights etc.  She survived this hazardous duty.


She was one of the last boats to remain in combat service in the Pacific until she was decommissioned in 1944 and shipped back to Melville, Long Island (unlike so many of her contemporaries which were destroyed.)

PT-48 miraculously survives from the weather deck down, apparently with some or much original fabric.  She needs restoration.  The boat is being cleaned of trash and non-historic elements removed.

PT-48 Rescue Press Release – December 15, 2008