Motor Torpedo Boat PT-658

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Motor Torpedo Boat PT-658
Aerial view PT658 at 35knots Columbia River October 2014.jpg
PT-658 at 35 knots in October 2014
History
United States
Builder: Higgins Industries, New Orleans
Laid down: February 24, 1945
Launched: April 11, 1945
Completed: July 30, 1945
Commissioned: 1945
Decommissioned: 1958
Reclassified:
  • Small Boat, C105343, August 27, 1946
  • Floating Equipment, December 3, 1948
  • "RCT-13" November 7, 1949
Identification:
Status:
General characteristics
Class and type: PT-625-class Higgins 78 ft (24 m) PT boat
Displacement: 103,000 lb (47,000 kg)
Length: 78 ft 6 in (23.93 m)
Beam: 20 ft 1 in (6.12 m)
Draft: 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m)
Installed power: 3 × 1,850 shp (1,380 kW) Packard 5M-2500 V12 engines
Propulsion: 3 shafts
Speed: 41 knots (76 km/h; 47 mph)
Range: 520 nmi (960 km; 600 mi) at 2,000 rpm
Complement: 2 officers, 14 enlisted
Sensors and
processing systems:
Raytheon SO/SO3 radar
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Farnsworth BN Interrogator Responsor and Hazeltine BK Transponder IFF
Armament:
PT-658 (motor torpedo boat)
Motor Torpedo Boat PT-658 is located in Oregon
Motor Torpedo Boat PT-658
Location Vigor Industrial Shipyard, Pier 307 5555 N Basin Av., Portland, Oregon
Coordinates 45°34′13.4″N 122°43′13.6″W / 45.570389°N 122.720444°W / 45.570389; -122.720444Coordinates: 45°34′13.4″N 122°43′13.6″W / 45.570389°N 122.720444°W / 45.570389; -122.720444
NRHP reference # 12000602
Added to NRHP September 4, 2012[1]

Motor Torpedo Boat PT-658 is a PT-625-class Higgins 78-foot (24 m) PT boat, built for the United States Navy during World War II. PT-658 is a prime example of US Navy Motor Torpedo Boat development during World War II. PT-658 was in the last group of four boats delivered from the 36-boat contract NObs-1680, October 1944 for PT-625 to PT-660. Delivered and accepted on July 31, 1945, she was fitted with all of the latest armaments and design modifications as a result of lessons learned from previous contracts and battlefield experience; in this way, PT-658 is a showcase of the final form that Motor Torpedo Boats would take by the end of World War II. PT-658 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 4, 2012.[1][2] Of three PT boats listed on the National Register, she is the only one maintained in operating condition.[3][note 1]

Service history[edit]

PT-658 was one of a group of PT boats assigned to MTB Squadron 45 in April 1945, for transfer to the USSR under Lend-Lease. By the time she was completed on July 30, 1945, this transfer had been cancelled. PT-658 was transported to Bremerton on the deck of LST-375 from New Orleans along with PT-657, PT-659, and PT-660, arriving on September 25, 1945. PT-658 was then stationed at Port Hueneme, California, where on August 27, 1946, she was reclassified as a Small Boat and renumbered C105343 to serve as a missile range patrol boat. On December 3, 1948, she was reclassified as Floating Equipment.[4] PT-658 was then transferred to Naval Air Station Point Mugu, reclassified as RCT-13, and used for patrolling the Point Mugu missile test range for stray craft into the missile landing area, and for towing targets. Also during this period, PT-658 served twice a week as a high speed transport, carrying men and supplies to the USAF D.E.W. Radar Station on Santa Rosa Island, off the coast of Los Angeles in the Channel Island Group. PT-658's survival has been attributed to her completion late in the war, and that she was never sent overseas.[5]

On June 30, 1958, PT-658 was sold to a private individual in the Oakland and Alameda, California area and renamed Porpoise, the private owner changed very little of her structure during the time he owned her. In 1993, she was donated by the late owner's estate to the veterans of Save the PT Boat, Inc. of Portland, Oregon. PT-658 was transported from Alameda to Portland in May 1994 by the 144th Transportation Unit of the Washington National Guard on the deck of the US Army Logistics Support Vessel General Brehon B. Somervell (LSV-3).[6]

Restoration[edit]

A dedicated group of PT Boat veterans formed the organization Save the PT Boat, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The group restored PT-658 to her original 1945 configuration between 1995 and 2005. PT-658 is now fully functional and afloat, one of only two restored US Navy PT Boats that are operational today.[3][7]

(The second, PT-305, was the beneficiary of some leftover parts collected by the PT-658 restoration team.[8])

PT-658's restoration includes (non-functional replicas of) a full armament of four Mark 13 Torpedoes, two twin .50 caliber Browning M2 machine guns, a 40 mm Bofors cannon, two 20 mm Oerlikon cannon, two eight-cell Mark 50 Spin Stabilized 5 inch Rocket Launchers, two Mark 6 300 lb (140 kg) TNT depth charges, and a 60 m M2 mortar.[9] She has three working 1,850 hp (1,380 kW) Packard Model 5M-2500 V12 gasoline engines.

PT-658 Heritage Museum is located in Portland, Oregon at the Swan Island Industrial Park. She is moored to Pier 307 of Vigor Industrial Shipyard as of October, 2013. Visitor access is provided via the marked Gate 18 at 5555 N. Lagoon Avenue, the PT-658 Heritage Museum is open to the public every Monday, Thursday and Saturday 9am to 4pm for visitors. She has been moved into the new boathouse and the group continues to raise money for ongoing projects such as deck replacement, charthouse repair, and bottom replacement. Money is also being raised for final boathouse improvements and to build a PT-658 Heritage and Education Center; in May 2010, replacement of the deck was completed in time for various summer festivals and shows.

Funding raised for additional restoration work included a $14,000 grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust, awarded in July 2010.[10]

When originally launched in 1945, PT-658 wore a camouflage paint scheme, (specifically, Camouflage Measure 31-20L) and this was restored in early 2011;[11] in July 2011, two Mark 50 eight-cell rocket launcher mounts were added to the port and starboard bow. In May 2012, an original SOA Radar mast (obtained on loan from PT Boats Inc. of Germantown, Tennessee) was installed along with an appropriately sized radar dome, signal generator and waveguide. Simultaneously, the 40mm Bofors cannon mount was improved with the addition of an ammunition clip holder/loader handrail to the rear of the mount, along with adjustable seats and authentic aerial spider type gunsights. Further equipment additions added by the crew in 2014 include authentic IFF dipole antennae on the chart house and radar mast, and a US M2 60mm mortar on the starboard side of the bow.[9]

PT-658
PT-658 in Portland, Oregon, in 2007 
PT-658 in 2006, in the paint scheme she wore from the late 1940s through 2010 
In 2011, PT-658 was restored to her original paint scheme, a camouflage pattern known as Measure 31-20L
PT-658, PT-659 and PT-660 (RCT-13, RCT-14 and RCT-15), Point Mugu Boat Basin November 1949 
PT veteran Dick Lowe in front of bunk 

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ PT-305, at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, has been restored to operating condition as of March 2017, but it not (yet) listed in the National Register. PT-657 is operating in a non-historical configuration as the charter fishing boat Malahini out of San Diego.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Weekly list of actions taken on properties: 9/04/12 through 9/07/12". National Park Service. September 14, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Rare World War II boat in Oregon added to National Register" (Press release). Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. September 5, 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-09-20. Retrieved September 11, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Parks, Casey (September 8, 2012). "PT-658, last remaining operable PT boat from World War II, named to National Register of Historic Places". The Oregonian. p. B2. Retrieved December 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ "PT658 Fact Sheet". Save the PT Boat!. Retrieved June 7, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Veterans Want To Hear Old PT Boat Howl". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. November 6, 1994. Retrieved June 7, 2012. 
  6. ^ Alton, Bob; Brunkow, Barbara (June 12, 2010). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Motor Torpedo Boat PT-658" (pdf). National Park Service. p. 14. 
  7. ^ Newell, Cliff (August 17, 2011). "Car-Boat Show to offer spectacle, fun". Portland Tribune. Pamplin Media Group. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  8. ^ Ganey, Terry (8 November 2009). "The Saga of PT 305". Columbia Daily Tribune. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "PT boat obtains new replica 60mm mortar!" (PDF). The Rooster Tail. 6 (2). Save the PT Boat, Inc. November 2014. p. 6. 
  10. ^ Row, D. K. (July 26, 2010). "Oregon Cultural Trust looks to the future as it announces new grants". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon. Retrieved June 7, 2012. 
  11. ^ Fowler, Chuck; Withers, Dan (2011). Patrol and Rescue Boats. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-7385-7581-0. Retrieved September 11, 2012. 

External links[edit]