MTB Training Center Melville
Year One

April, 1942; First class of prospective PT pfficers and men, behind the senior officers of the training center. Lt. Cmdr William C. Specht USN, CO of the training center, is out in front. In the second row, second from left is Lt. David Walsh USNR, and third from left, directly behind Lieutenant Commander Specht, is Lt. John Harlee USN, the center's executive officer. (National Archives)

The Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons Training Center was established by order of the Secretary of the Navy on February 17, 1942. Known as "Spect Tech" for its first commander, Lt. Cmdr. William C. Specht USN, the Center began operations in March 1942. When the photos on this page were taken in April 1942, 51 officers and 177 enlisted men were learning the rudementary skills of PT boat operation, the ten boats of MTB Squadron Four (Elco 77-footers PT's 59-68) were available for training, 47 Quonset huts were in various stages of completion with 44 more requested to be built. Eventually the Center would become a sprawling facility with 13 buildings devoted to office space, 34 classrooms, 42 maintenace buildings, and 197 huts for living quarters. This expansion would allow the Training Center to handle a student load of 90 officers and 860 sailors in a three-month training period. By the time of its third anniversary in March 1945 the Center will have trained 1,797 officers and 11,668 bluejackets. To handle the increased workload, Squadron Four would also be enlarged--by the end of 1944 the squadron had on hand 28 boats of four distinct types (Elco 80-footer, Higgins 78-footer, Huckins 78-footer, and the 70-foot Higgins Hellcat PT 564).

Copyright © 2002-2018 by Gene Kirkland