Comments from George Schneider:[ George is our resident expert on all small boat history.
This is his analysis on what PTFs are where.]
The only place I have seen the number on a PTF it was hammered into the bullnose chock.
I've heard the fuel-tank rumor pertaining to PBR's, but not to PTF's. Its not surprising there's no regular BuShips/NavSea label plate on the boats; craft used in covert operations are often stripped of identifying marks to prevent absolute proof of origin if they're captured, even though the source is usually obvious. I may have described to you that the numbers punched on PTF 22's bullnose were "crude." It didn't look like a shipyard job; I would guess that it was done to distinguish the boats after they were brought back from Vietnam. Its even possible that identities were mis-applied at that point.
The markings on the chock on the PTF 22 were on the base plate, right on the centerline in the way of the chock, towards the aft edge and readable from aft.
Interesting that the number painted on the house didn't appear accurate. ...so the one in Florida may be the PTF 9 after all, although the PTF 9 was reported lost in Vietnam.
Yes, NavSea does record to whom each one was sold, but I've never explored how to locate that information after the "List of Successful Bidders" is no longer hot.
Here's the information I have: In 1990 I visited General Propulsion's yard they used to have in Huntington Beach CA, near Long Beach. A manager there told me that they had some of the PTF engines in that yard, but that all the boats were on the East Coast. He said they had bought 8 of the boats, of which 5 were in a numerical series except for one number gap.
I have seen the sales catalogues, but not the list of successful bidders, so I can't tell you for sure the source of this information, but here's what I have:
PTF 5, 7, and 11 were offered on a sale that closed 6/21/77. World Wide Enterprises of Long Beach was successful bidder on 5 and 11, 7 was not awarded.
PTF 3, 6, 7, and 12 were offered on a sale of 12/08/77. General Propulsion were awarded all four.
PTF 10, 18, and 19 were offered on a sale of 2/05/80. Pounds Marine Salvage in England got the 10, the other two were not awarded
PTF 18 and 19 were again offered in a sale of 4/22/80 and General Propulsion received them.
To make 8 boats, I can assume that World Wide was affiliated with General Propulsion. PTF 3, 5, 6, and 7 makes four boats in the series described, not 5 as he claimed, but since they got 11, 12, 18, and 19, the math says there could only have been four.
Of these, the PTF website identifies PTF 3, 5, 6, 7, and 12 at Great Bridge, 18 as the one on the LCU at Newport News, 19 at Ft. Lauderdale, and 11 not located. This dispersal is what's under skepticism right now. I would imagine the painted number that you saw was used in this list, so your skill at differentiating the products by builder will be significant. If the reported numbers were right, there should be 4 Westermons and 1 Boatservice hulls at Great Bridge and Trumpys at Newport News and Ft. Lauderdale