PT 37
Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three

September/December 1942
Ens. Leonard A. Nikoloric
Boat Captain
Ens. Bernard J. O.Neill
Executive Officer
CQM John D. Legg
TM2/c Marvin I. Crosson
RM1/c Owen S. Pearle
SC1/c Ivah C. May
Ship’s Cook
MM1/c Alvis A. Porterfield
MM1/c Charles R. Carner
TM2/c Stephen .J. Lott
F1/c John Der
GM2/c Leon O. Nale

13 Sept.
1500 hrs. hoisted and secured aboard SS Joseph Stanton.
14 Sept.
1420 hrs. SS Joseph Stanton underway for sea, heading for Noumea, New Caledonia.
17 Sept.
0900 hrs. Neptune Ceremonies?Ens. Nikoloric, Ens. O’Neill, Radioman Pearle, Torpedoman Crosson, and Fireman Der initiated as “shell-backs”.
13 Oct.
1444 hrs. Arrival in Noumea
15 Oct.
1515 hrs. Boat offloaded from Joseph Stanton.
20 Oct.
0800 hrs. Boat taken in tow by USS Trevor enroute to Espiritu Santo.
22 Oct.
1335 hrs. Arrival at Espiritu, received 200 gallons gasoline. Underway for Tulagi Harbor in tow of USS Trevor.
25 Oct.
0600 hrs. Arrival at Government Wharf, Tulagi Harbor. Out on patrol, no contact with enemy.
28 Oct.
Damaged port screw on reef while on patrol.
29 Oct.
Patrol-no contact.
31 Oct.
Patrol-no contact.
1-2 Nov.
Patrol-no contact.
4-5 Nov.
Patrol-no contact.
6 Nov.
Sighted enemy cruiser or destroyer off Koli Point, fired four torpedoes, results unobserved.
8 Nov.
Patrol off Savo?fired three torpedoes at an enemy warship. Exchanged gunfire with two others. Laid smoke and retired.
9 Nov.
Patrol-no contact.
10 Nov.
Patrol-enemy DD?s sighted, one destroyer illuminating boat with searchlight. Fired one torpedo, exchanged gunfire and laid smoke. Retired for Tulagi.
11 Nov.
Patrol-no contact.
12 Nov.
Patrol-observed heavy shelling off Guadalcanal.
13 Nov.
Patrol-Sighted enemy destroyer off Sandfly Passage. Fired four torpedoes, retired towards Tulagi making smoke.
14 Nov.
Observed naval battle off Guadalcanal.
15 Nov.
1230 hrs. Picked up survivors off Savo Island. 1330 hrs. Transferred survivors to USS Meade. 2117 hrs. Underway for patrol. No contact.
16-21 Nov.
Patrol-no contact.
22 Nov.
Escorted USS Portland.
23-28 Nov.
Patrol-no contact.
29-30 Nov.
In port
1 Dec.
0235 hrs. Picked up survivors of naval battle near Savo Island (Tassafaronga). 0905 hrs. Disembarked 86 survivors-one picked up dead, one died enroute. 2120 hrs. Underway for patrol, no contact.
2-4 Dec.
In port.
5 Dec.
Patrol-no contact.
6 Dec.
Patrol-sighted enemy submarine on surface 5 mi. NW of Kamimbo Bay. Fired four torpedoes, hot run in forward. starboard tube. Laid smoke and returned to base.
7 Dec.
2335 hrs. On patrol, Lt. Lester Gamble in command. Sighted enemy destroyer. 2350 hrs. Fired two torpedoes, results unobserved.
8 Dec.
0040 hrs. On patrol, fired two more torpedoes at enemy warship. Returned to base.
9-10 Dec.
Patrol-no contact.
11-13 Dec.
In port.
14 Dec.
Patrol-no contact.
15-17 Dec.
In port.
18 Dec.
Patrol-no contact.
19-20 Dec.
In port.
21-22 Dec.
Patrol-no contact.
23 Dec.
In port.
24 Dec.
Patrol-enemy contact.
25 Dec.
In port.
26 Dec.
Patrol-no contact.
27 Dec.
In port.
28 Dec.
Patrol-no contact.
29-31 Dec.
In port.

Log ends at this date. On 1 February 1943, with a makeshift crew under command of Squadron Two's Ens. James J. Kelly, PT 37 was part of an eleven-boat strike force sent out to intercept twenty Japanese destroyers evacuating the remnants of the Japanese 17th Army on Guadalcanal. With Lt. John Searles in PT 59 and Ens. Bartholomew Connolly's PT 115 Ensign Kelly found himself surrounded by at least ten Japanese warships. The 59 and 115 managed to escape the trap, but 37's luck had run out; after Kelly fired four torpedoes at an enemy destryer, a five-inch shell from Kawakaze drilled through the PT's wooden hull, exploding in the boat's gasoline tanks, igniting the highly flammable 100-octane gasoline inside, turning the speeding boat into a massive fireball. Light from the enormous blast illuminated the entire Cape Esperance area, while its destructive force destroyed everything forward of the fuel tanks, while the shattered stern section stayed afloat just long enough for MM1/c Eldon C. Jenter--with multiple shrapnel wounds and burns--to painfully crawl up and out of the rapidly flooding engine room. Jenter was the sole survior of 37's end.

Copyright © 2002-2013 by Gene Kirkland