PT 37-Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three
September/December 1942

Crew:
Ens. Leonard A Nikoloric                           Boat Captain
Ens. Bernard J. O’Neill                              Executive Officer
CQM John D. Legg                                   Quartermaster
TM2/c Marvin I. Crosson                          Torpedoman
RM1/c Owen S. Pearle                              Radioman
SC1/c I.C. May                                         Ship’s Cook
MM1/c Alvis A. Porterfield                        Engineering
MM1/c C.R. Carner                                  Engineering
TM2/c S.J. Lott                                        Torpedoman
F1/c John Der                                           Engineering
GM2/c Leon O. Nale                                 Gunnery



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, under command of Squadron Two's Ens. James J. Kelly, and with a makeshift crew aboard, PT 37 was part of an eleven-boat strike force sent out to intercept twenty Japanese destroyers on the mission of evacuating
the starving remnants of the Japanese Army on Guadalcanal. With PT’s 59 and 115 the 37 found herself surrounded by at least ten Japanese warships. The 59 and 115 managed to escape the trap, but 37’s luck had run out; after firing four torpedoes at an enemy DD, a well-placed five-inch shell drilled through the PT’s wooden hull, exploding in the boat’s gasoline tanks,
igniting the highly flammable 100-octane gasoline inside, and turning the speeding boat into a fireball. The enormous blast lit up the entire Cape Esperance area. Only one man--MM1/c Eldon C. Jenter--blown through the hull of the exploding torpedo boat survived, with multiple shrapnel wounds and burns.
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