University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Word War II
The book “PT 105” written by Dick Keresey was published in the year 1996 and was highly-acclaimed because it tells an exciting and accurate story about PT boats. Furthermore, the book sheds new light on the distinctive contributions made by these boats to the war effort in the South Pacific. During the Word War II, PT boats were considered as the fastest craft on the water in spite of its small size and vulnerability. PT boats were described as nimble, tough, and considered as the most heavily armed ships in the U. S. Navy.
The PT 105 boats are patrol boat considered to be of the same class as John F. Kennedy’s PT 109 but execute test maneuvers in the Atlantic. Usually, a PT boat, also called as a “mosquito boat”, contains a crew of 12-14. These PT boats positioned at the Solomon Islands agilely stalked Japanese warships. The main objective of the boats in the Solomons was to thwart the delivery of supplies and troops to the bases of the Japanese. Moreover, these boats were very important because they fought in the very front line of the greatest sea war in history.
Nevertheless, until today barely anybody truly understands and recognizes what they did. Due to the book of Keresey, the story regarding these strong little fighters offers new account on the roles and involvement of these boats to the war effort. Dick Keresey was the captain of PT 105 and he was also in the same battle as John F. Kennedy when the PT 109 of Kennedy was crushed and sunk. According to Keresey, the well-known event has frequently been portrayed erroneously and the PT boats were often described as ineffective and undependable.
Aside from informing the readers regarding his experiences as a PT Boat skipper during the Pacific War, Keresey likewise imparts what it was like to be a young American involved in famous incidents of his time. PT 105 as written by Dick Keresey During the World War II, Dick Keresey had skippered a PT boat in the Pacific and, subsequent to spending the rest of his life practicing law, Keresey made a decision to write regarding his Navy career because when Keresey becomes a PT man, he happened to be intensely loyal to the boats and the men on them.
Hence, the book “PT 105” was born. With Keresey’s book, the story about the incident was truthfully explained by means of illustrating the real picture of PT boats that makes use of Keresey’s personal experience at New Georgia, Guadalcanal, Choiseul Island, and Bougainville. Keresey’s book is action-filled and tells about avoiding night bombers, saving downed airmen and coast watchers, participating in cruel guan battles with Japanese barges including small freighters, setting aside Marine scouts behind Japanese lines, and dealing with disease, heat, and loneliness.
I believe that Keresey’s story is full of varied emotions — funny, scary, melancholy, exciting, and angry—this last feeling was triggered not just by infrequent past operational follies visited upon the boats by commanders far from the fighting but likewise since the boats’ involvement in the war effort has been either forgotten or misunderstood. Due to the fact that Keresey sets the record straight in his book with such clarity and energy, he was instantly requested to write an article for American Heritage.
Moreover, in order not to lose Keresey’s proficiently drawn strategic picture and his personal anecdotes as well, Keresey was asked to condense his entire book into the compass of a magazine article. Nevertheless, I personally believe that the situation in the book that might have given me the most delight is a minor, nearly parenthetical one—although it concerns the most famous of all PT-boat men. JFK’s shadow has been the topic of a lot of cold scrutiny in current years that it is good to be offered an unanticipated preview of him plainly being a good guy.
In the book, JFK, who was still young then, graciously greeting his forerunner is in effect furtively assisting a Navy friend. This Navy friend is Al Webb, who following his PT service turned out to be vice president of sales for Cavanagh Hats. With his fellow skipper’s famed bare headedness ruining his venture, Webb instructed Cavanagh to make two top quality custom hats and rushed to the White House to offer one to the President and one to Kennedy’s long-time friend, Red Fay who is a businessman.
According to Keresey, Kennedy met the challenge of endorsing and promoting the hats in his own way. Because the following day after Webb brought the hats to the White House, Kennedy greeted ex- President Eisenhower at Camp David and after that sent Al a picture of the momentous event. The picture portrayed Kennedy bending forward, his right hand extended; and in his left hand he held a hat, the inside layer facing out toward the camera; hence, the Cavanagh Hats label was clearly obvious and noticeable.
After several years, Keresey said in his book that he called the Kennedy Library to ask if he could obtain a copy of the said picture for his book. As written in the book, Keresey informed the curator what he wanted to ask and why. Keresey wrote in the book that the man in the library was thrilled because according to the man, Keresey has solved the mystery because Kennedy carried the hat around for two weeks, and no one has ever been able to work out or understand why. Furthermore, the subject of Keresey’s great memoir is his days when he was still a PT commander in the Solomons in the years 1942 and 1943.
Written in a series of vignettes with a flowing narrative line, Keresey’s book concludes with a long explanation of a moral preference or decision made in the area that came back to him years afterward. I think that based on reading the book, I can say that Keresey is candid and frank regarding himself, his men, and the Navy he served in. Particularly astute is his frank admittance that what made him look extremely composed in battle was his “cornered-rat” inclination. In addition, Keresey likewise protects former Lt. John F. Kennedy for his actions and decisions in Blackett Strait when he sunk by a Japanese destroyer.
In conclusion, I believe that Keresey’s PT 105 is a must read if the reader would like to take pleasure in learning what day to day life was actually like in the small command Navy. Moreover, I think that this book is an exceptionally well written factual story regarding life in the Pacific seen thru the eyes of PT 105 commanding officer Dick Kersey. Hence, if the reader wants personal eye witness accounts, then definitely he/she would love to re read this book over and over. # Reference Keresey, Dick. (2003). PT 105. Naval Institute Press; New Ed edition.