USS PT-109
Message Board

Nov. 14, 2019

I am trying to locate an exhibit or material for an exhibit honoring the memory of those lost on the PT 109. Perhaps you could direct me to that?  Mr. Kirksey was a native of Taylor County Georgia. We have an annual festival celebrating our native sons that have made a mark on history.  We have a festival called the Taylor Made Fall Festival where we have exhibits, booths etc and this year we included the National Infantry Museum with their artifacts for General Asa Singleton, also a native son, who is credited with the Officer Candidate School concept.  We would like to expand and include an exhibit with Andrew Jackson Kirksey and the PT 109 and its connection to Taylor County and of course John Kennedy. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Tom Queen

Oct. 15, 2014

I was always told my grandfather knew John Kennedy and at some point served with him. My grandfather's name is Donald Smith he died before I was born. I was also told that he left high school to enlist in the navy and saw Cuba long before the communist take over. Would you have any idea how I could find his military record so that it won't be forgotten?

Thank you,
Levi Smith

Jan. 8, 2014

My uncle (my father's dad) was Raymond Albert who was on PT-109, but died on another vessel.  Do you or anyone have any pictures of him?  He died way before I was born (my father had me well into his 40's) and am very curious to know.  My father passed away ten years ago so I never got to ask him.

Thank you,
Lori Albert

Reply 1
Mar. 26, 2014

Lori Albert, who sent the message above is my cousin. Her father and mine were brothers- estranged- so she may not remember me. If you could give her my email, I can give her information about our Uncle Raymond. I believe my mother has some pictures of him from when they were in high school together. I haven't seen Lori since she was a little girl and would love to reconnect with her.

Thank you,
Nancy Albert (Mack)

Nov. 24, 2013

My father served in WWII as a TBM pilot in the South Pacific Theater and was a childhood friend of Lenny Thom. They remained in a close relationship throughout the war. After Lenny was killed, my dad served as a pall bearer at Lenny's funeral along with JFK. The recent coverage of the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination brought back this memory.

John Chrystal

Nov. 12, 2011

I came across your site by accident while poking around sites looking for information on PT-109. My grandfather was Edgar Mauer, who was on board when it was cut in half by the Amagiri. He also served on the 59 boat. I may have some photos of the 59 boat after she was converted into a gunboat if you would be interested.

Best regards,
Thomas Mauer

Reply 1
Feb. 20, 2013

I stumbled across your site while searching for some info on Edgar Mauer of the PT-109. I believe Edgar is my second cousin. My side of the family lost contact with that branch of the Mauer's a long time ago.  I know this is a strange request but if you could forward my name and email to Thomas so that he can contact me if he wants to, I would be greatly appreciative.  I have pictures and information on his relatives I can share with him.

Ken Baar

Reply 2
Nov. 21, 2013

I too found my way to this site last night in search of information on Edgar Mauer but not because he is kin to me but rather to verify a statement made to me by my childhood friend and neighbor, Mark Mauer. This was back in the early '60's when we were just youngsters, perhaps second grade in south St. Louis. For reasons lost on me now, Mark tells me that he had an uncle on the -109. I guess that I must have took it with a grain of salt or something. To me, just a little kid, it's like saying "Hey, my uncle's a movie star" .

Last night that childhood memory popped into my thoughts from out of nowhere but with the Internet I knew I could satisfy any lingering doubts I may have in short order. It wasn't long before I knew for sure that yes there was a Mauer aboard the -109. Then is wasn't long after that I was looking at a 1940 St. Louis census showing the family of Edgar Mauer, et al. Flash fwd. to the early/mid '60's it was Edgar's younger brother George with his wife Colleen and daughter La Donna and son Mark living next door to my family on Minnesota Ave.

I've not heard anything of the Mauer family since they left the neighborhood way back then. Should any of you 'Mauer' kin run into Mark please give him my kindest regards, from his old grade school pal. If requested, fwd my email address.

Respectfully Submitted,
Richard (Cy) Lowe
Gunnery Sergeant of Marines (ret)
Orange, California

Nov. 6, 2011

I want to inform you of the death of Maurice Kowal, the last surviving member of the crew of PT 109. This occurred during the past week. I know that services are planned for Nov 11th. I have no other facts about the plans. Is there any way that he could be honored for his special service?


Mar. 30, 2011

Just perusing your message board and thought I might help you out a bit with some information regarding Maurice L. Kowal, crew member of PT-109. Mr. Kowal is (if the information I’ve just discovered is correct and current) the last surviving member of the 109’s crew, although as we know he was not aboard at the time she sank. He took part in a forum at the Kennedy Library in June, 2005 titled “A Conversation with World War II PT Boat Veterans” alongside William Battle, Paul B. Fay, and Richard Keresey. This forum (which is quite informative and entertaining) may be viewed at .

Kindest Regards,
Douglas A. Walters

June 8, 2010

I'm doing research on the fate of the surviving PT 109 crewmen. I've got the information on the life and death of Kennedy, Thom, Ross, Albert, Harris, Maguire, and McMahon. Below is the information I have.

Do you have any information on the post WW 2 life and death of William Johnston, Maurice Kowal, Edgar Mauer, or Raymond Starkey? I can't seem to find their obituaries anywhere. Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.

Michael T. Geary, J.D.
New Haven, Connecticut

John Kennedy: Was elected to congress in 1946 and then to the presidency in 1960. He was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.

Leonard Thom:
Went on to skipper his own PT boat and survived the war, only to be killed in 1946 in Ohio when his car was struck by a train.

George Ross:
Survived the war and went into the insurance business. In 1961 he was appointed by Kennedy to the staff of the President's Committee on Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Crime. He passed away on July 24, 1983 at age 65.

Raymond Albert:
Survived the 109's sinking and was transferred to the PT 163. He was killed on night of October 7-8 1943 by Japanese sailor picked up by the PT boat.

Charles Harris:
Recovered from his leg wounds. He passed away on May 6, 1982.

William Johnston:
Was considered too ill to return to active duty and was discharged from service.

Maurice Kowal:
Worked for the National Park Service.

John Maguire:
Worked on various political campaigns for Kennedy and was eventually promoted to US Marshall for the Middle District of Florida. He passed away on December 19, 1990 at Ponte Vedra, Florida at age 74.

Patrick McMahon:
Recovered from his burns and became a mail carrier in California. He passed away February 18, 1990 at Encinitas, California at age 84.

Gerard Zinser:
Retired in 1963 from the US Navy as a chief petty officer and then became a mail carrier in Florida. He was the last surviving member of the crew, passing away on August 21, 2001 at Orange Park, Florida at age 82.

NOTE: Andrew Kirksey and Harold Marney were killed in the collision.

June 8, 2010

I'm doing research on the fate of the surviving PT 109 crewmen. I've got the information on the live and death of Kennedy, Thom, Ross, Albert, Harris, Maguire, and McMahon. Do you have any information on the post WW 2 life and death of William Johnston, Maurice Kowal, Edgar Mauer, or Raymond Starkey? I can't seem to find their obituaries anywhere. Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.

Michael T. Geary, J.D.
New Haven, Connecticut

May 28, 2008

I just read where a young Navy Seal had been killed in Iraq early this year and found out he was the grandson
of C. "Bucky" Harris, who served on PT-109. (see below)

Mark Rissmiller

Feb 10, 2008
Nathan H. Hardy VIRGINIA BEACH - Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer Nathan H. Hardy (SEAL), 29, of Durham, N.H., was killed while conducting combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom Feb. 4, 2008. He was based out of the Hampton Roads area. Hardy was born in Falmouth Hospital on Cape Cod Dec. 28, 1978. He grew up in Kirkland, Wash., and Moon Township, Pa, before moving to Durham in 1988. He dreamed of becoming a Navy SEAL at a young age.

Through his years on the soccer and lacrosse fields at Oyster River High School, he discovered and developed the fierce competitiveness and team-first mentality that would later serve him so well on his road to achieving that goal. After graduating high school, he enlisted in the Navy. In doing so, he carried on a naval legacy from his grandfathers. Charles "Bucky" Harris served on the PT 109 with John F. Kennedy and Dr. Irad B. Hardy served as a combat surgeon with the Fourth Marine Division on Tarawa, Saipan, and Iwo Jima.

Chief Hardy graduated from boot camp at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill., in January 1998. The same month, he entered Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in Coronado, Calif., Class 221. Following graduation from BUD/S in May 1998, and other than attending various schools, he served his entire career with East Coast-based SEAL teams.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals, three Good Conduct medals, two National Defense medals, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, three Sea Service deployment awards, NATO Medal, Expert Rifle Medal and the Sharpshooter Pistol Medal.

In 2005, while attending the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., Hardy married the love of his life, Mindi Buck. In 2007, Mindi gave birth to their son, Parker Hall. He lived his dream both at work, where he served the cause of freedom against terror and fear, and at home, where he was a devoted husband and father. In addition to his wife, son, mother, father and brother, he leaves a grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins.

He was predeceased by his brother, Josh, who died of brain cancer in 1993. Chief Hardy will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery Feb. 15, 2008, at 11 a.m. A celebration of his life will also be held at a later date in his home town of Durham. In lieu of flowers, friends may send donations to the "Nate Hardy Memorial Fund" c/o Navy Federal Credit Union, Building 200, FTC Dam Neck, Virginia Beach, VA 23461.

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