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77' x 19' 11" x 4' 6"
2 x Twin .50 cal MG
4 x 18" torpedoes
During the night December 6-7, 1942 departed on a patrol under the command of Lt. Frank Freeland as part of a striking force with PT-59, PT-36, PT-37 plus PT-48 and PT-40. At 11:35pm, the other PT Boats spotted the enemy force of destroyers and a larger vessel and started their attack runs. PT-44 fired all four of her torpedoes then departed safely, claiming two hits. Afterwards, the enemy vessels retired to the north.
During the night of December 9, 1942 PT-44 with PT-59 patrolled three miles off Kamimbo Bay on Guadalcanal. Spotting a Japanese barge the pair opened fire. Next, lookouts aboard PT-59 spotted surfaced I-3. At 7:03am, PT-59 launched two torpedoes from 400 yards one of which hits the stern of the submarine. A geyser of water spouts high in the air, followed by a tremendous explosion. The second torpedo passed under PT-44.
During the night of December 11, 1942 PT-44 under the command of Lt. Frank Freeland with crew including Lt(jg) Charles M. Melhorn, Ensign John D. Chester and quartermaster Willard A. Crowe along with PT-110 were patrolling off Kamimbo Bay on Guadalcanal. Over the radio, they received a radio report of an enemy force between Cape Esperance and Savo Island.
Fates of the Crew
Iron Bottom Sound
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