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  PT-31
USN
PT-Boat
77' Elco

40 Tons
77' x 19' 11" x 4' 6"
2 x Twin 50 cal
4 x Torpedo Tubes


USN 1941
Ship History
Built by Electric Boat Company (Elco) in Bayonne, NJ. Laid down March 13, 1941. Launched June 2, 1941. Completed July 8, 1941. Assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 1 (MTBRon 1) under the command of Lt. William C. Specht, USN.

On August 12, 1941 assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 3 (MTBRon 3). On August 16, 1941 loaded as deck cargo aboard USS Guadalupe (AO-32) as one of six PT Boats including PT-31, PT-32, PT-33, PT-34, PT-35 and PT-41 to the Philippines.

Mission History
On January 18, 1942 after dark PT-34 under the command of Lt. John D. Bulkeley with Ensign Barron W. Chandler plus PT-31 under the command of Lt. Edward G. DeLong, proceeded to the mouth of Subic Bay. At the entrance, the boats split up with PT-34 patrolled the western side while PT-31 patrolled the eastern side then meet up at the entrance to Binanga Bay. After splitting up, PT-31 suffered engine problems and cooling problems and drifted onto a coral reef. Spotted, a Japanese 3" gun near Ilinin Point began firing at them. Aboard, the anchor was dropped in an attempt to back off the reef burning out the reverse gears and was still aground.

Sinking History
On January 19, 1942 in the early morning Lt. DeLong ordered the crew to abandon ship and the crew used the engine room hatch with mattresses attached as a life boat while Lt. DeLong scuttles PT-31 by puncturing the fuel tanks then used hand grenades that caused a fire and explosions for several hours at roughly Lat 14º 45' N Long 120º 13' E.

Fates of the Crew
Afterwards, DeLong was unable to find the rest of the crew and after dawn, reached shore and followed tracks in the sand for a half mile and found nine of his crew hiding in the vegetation. Three of the crew were Missing In Action (MIA) Ensign Plant, MM1c Rudolph Ballough and QM3c William R. Dean. Together, the crew waited during the day then used a pair of abandoned banca boats. On January 20, 1942 at dawn they reach the vicinity of Napo Point and ashore, found Philippine Army soldiers who took them to U.S. Army Captain Geo H. Cockburn, 91st Infantry Division, 92nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion who gave them food and water and by 4:30pm they arrive at Mariveles.

References
At Close Quarters PT Boats in the United States Navy pages 3, 5, 8-13 (January 18-20, 1942), 26, 53, 59, 450 (MTBS-1), 453 (MTBS-3), 486 (PT-31 loss), 488 (PT-31 grounded), 560 (index PT-31)
Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) - U.S. Navy Motor Torpedo Boat Operational Losses
"PT-31 destroyed to prevent capture, Subic Bay, Philippine Islands, 19 Jan. 1942."
Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) - Bataan and Corregidor December 1941–May 1942
"Torpedo boats: PT-31, PT-32, PT-33, PT-34, PT-35, PT-41"
Navy Source PT-31 (photos)

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Last Updated
September 26, 2021

 

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