PTF-25 was slated for the 990 program to add 15' and
twin turbine engines - but then we "lost" her. The process of locating
this boat has been exciting and interesting.
I got into the ECU library's special collections area. The information is pretty good, but not exactly great. All of the drawings are reference drawings, not drawings of the completed project. One interesting drawings was reusing Nasty struts on the Osprey hulls. Anyway, the photographs are great. I only had time to scan a few before closing. I definitely will be making a return trip. Mainly because the project manager kept a day to day log of all activity on the project. The plug was pulled before the gas turbines were installed because the gas turbines were still in development! I have some copies of newspaper articles and such for background information and leads. Very interesting story. - Chip
(11/30/02) While conducting research on Barbour boat works in New Bern North Carolina I
encountered a wealth of information on this then-top secret project that ended
dismally. To access clear photographs and a wealth of engineered drawings and notes taken during the conversion one must go to Joyner Library
at East Carolina University. They have the Barbour Boat works records, and a
certain Mrs. Boccacio will be glad to help you. Please tell her I sent
you. I have a whole bunch of stuff on this boat, but there is much more.
My friend R.R.Rivenbark, deceased President of the Boatworks, took copious
Chronological listing of the search for PTF-25.
Below is a chronological listing of the transactions that took place to find her. Chip Marshall was able to visit the site in July 2001, taking many pictures ... PTF-25 Visit
This represents part of the activity that went on to find PTF-25
05-21-00 From Chip Marshall:
Dan: I dug out the copies of the small boat cards on the PTFs I got at the Naval Historical Center in DC and transcribed the cards verbatim, spelling errors and all. I know some of the information the cards is not totally correct, but it is an excellent starting point.
04-06-00 from Chip Marshall:
Dan: Everything I have run into concerning the 990 project tends to conflict. The small boat card I have for the 25 boat says she DID NOT get the gas turbines and the program was cancelled. I'm not saying that is the hard truth, but it is the OFFICIAL hard truth.
Then again, we could talk about the body count methods in Nam. I really do not think she was converted. But I do know that the program was far enough along for design, engineering and drawings to be produced. The only way we will really find out is to find the 25 boat.
03-08-00 from Chip Marshall:
Dan: The Osprey990 Program was stillborn for lack of funds. Originally, it was to be a test bed for the power package on the Pegasus class hydrofoils (CODAG-Combination of Diesel And Gas turbine) with the water jet propulsion.
PTF24 was to be converted, but something happened or was discovered (I do not know what yet) and a change was made to convert PTF25. She was the last of the Ospreys let go by the Navy and sat at the small boat pier at Little Creek for a long time before disposal.
From the list of drawings, it looks like the program got at least into the serious design phase before funds were but.
The first PT converted to gas turbine was PT812. She had two Metropolitan-Vickers gas turbines with two Packard diesels for low speed propulsion and variable pitch props. LOTS of problems from what I am reading. Eventually, one of the turbines let go and killed two Motormacs (unconfirmed right now, but that's the story I hear). She was assigned to Beach Jumper Unit Two in Norfolk until they decided to mothball her. Later, she was loaned to the Army for analysis of the propulsion system and eventually went to South Korea without the turbines.
Word I get is she was broken up in 1968. Sorry....I do tend to run on. As you can see, there has been LOTS of research.
01-31-01 from Chip Marshall:
Hey there! Right now it is 3:30am and I am trying to get myself tired enough to sleep. Anyway, I stumbled across this reference while surfing for (what else) PT boat information.
Below link dead and cant find a replacement: (http://www.larkcom.com/roadshack/military/airspace/eastern/cherrypt.htm)
This site details the target areas around the Cherry Point MCAS/Camp Lejuene operating area in North Carolina. One of the targets (BT-11 Piney Island Range - item 5) is a salvaged PT boat. Now we all know how often other patrol boats are incorrectly identified as PT boats. This one may have a ring (well, maybe a half a ring) of truth.
One of the Osprey class boats spent some time in North Carolina at Camp Lejuene. And, at the moment, PTF25 is MIA. She was scheduled for gas turbine conversion. Maybe this is where she ended up. So, who do we know in the Marines?
01-31-01 from Chip Marshall:
To whom it may concern: I am researching the history of US Navy PT boats after World War Two and came across a reference to a surplus PT Boat at the Piney Island Target Area.
One of the boats I am trying to track down is PTF25. She was "last seen" at the Little Creek NAB small boat pier and has pretty much disappeared.
Could the surplus PT boat at the Piney Island Target Area be PTF25? Is a picture available of this target? If the boat is PTF25, I would like to get the information (and a picture, if possible) to the website www.ptfnasty.com and PT Boats, Inc. (www.ptboats.org).
Thanks in advance for any assistance.
02-03-01 from Chip Marshall:
Guys: I got into www.terraserver.com and found what I think may be the PT boat listed as a target at Piney Island, North Carolina. The most descriptive link is this one:
The description tells of a 275 degree run in and the target is located in Rattan Bay. I found Rattan Bay. And a line at 275 degrees lines up two points of land, perfect references for an aviator making a bomb run.
The barge target seems to be a little further out and the PT boat closer to shore, I captured the image of the PT boat. From the photo, it is entirely possible that this is an Osprey type. BUT, it could also be a 95' Coast Guard cutter. We'll just have to see what the Marines say. The range is in a restricted area to 18,000 feet, so no fly overs. I am almost sure the island and the surrounding waters are restricted.
I will be going to a Ship Chandler's store in Baltimore Saturday to see what charts they have of the area and what they show. This is the same outfit I got the up-to-date chart of Da Nang harbor from. I get down in North Carolina on business occasionally and Pamilico Sound is loaded with charter boats. Maybe if I can get in there without having to make a lot of lame explanations, we might get a picture of our "PT boat." Rattan Bay is off the intercoastal waterway, but sheltered enough that it could create problems.
Last thing I need is to be on the receiving end of fast movers, eh?
06-21-01 from Chip Marshall -- four months later:
Dan: I think I passed this information on before. If not, here it is again.
There is a target area off of the Intercoastal Waterway in North Carolina near Cherry Point MCAS that lists one of the targets as an old PT boat. The only two boats I can think of would be PT809 (which ended its days at Little Creek NAB) and PTF25 (which disappeared off the face of the earth).
The overhead images from the web show a shape that could be either of the craft. A contact I have with the Special Boat Units at Little Creek tells me this area is definitely a "DO NOT ENTER - RESTRICTED WATERS" area for civilians and is shown as a target area restricted below 5000 feet on aeronautical charts.
I contacted the PIO at Cherry Point. They say the target area does not belong to them. To date, I have not found the unit or organization the target area does belong to. The PT boat target is moored at least 2 miles from the Intercoastal Waterways channel back in a cove.
So close, yet so far.
06-22-01 from Chip Marshall:
Dan: Take a look at this. The next item I will be checking is the local historical society to see who got the records and photos of the craft build and worked on there. Sometimes these places used outside photographers for their required government work. We shall see!
06-22-01 from Chip Marshall:
Dan: I already checked into getting a couple of hours of "instruction" in a Cessna or other suitable aircraft and taking a look at the site.
Problem is NO ONE will fly anywhere near there because of the fast movers in the area (quote: "damn Marines will run your ass right over" from a former USAF spotter pilot turned civilian flight instructor). And, I think I can get better pictures from the water renting/chartering a boat. My contact in the Special Boat Units is checking into that now (how close I can really get).
I can borrow a long lens for a 35mm camera and get some shots that are all but up close and personal. Right now, that area is hot with tourists and practice flights. A certain amount of timing is needed to get in-between deployments of the Marine Air Groups (they practice a LOT before going out). Still working on this one because I got the itch something is there.
06-22-01 from Chip Marshall:
Dan: This guy sounds alright! AND, if Camp Lejuene was responsible for "disposing" of PTF25, I would bet that the PT boat target in area BT-11 is PTF-25. I'll just see how close I can come off of the Intercoastal without getting my ass bombed or arrested.
From Dan Withers to John Mathias:
Thursday, June 21, 2001 8:32 PM
You have no doubt received the copies of my conversation with Scott Cummings, formerly with NSWC. I am the webmaster and primary info digger for the www.ptfnasty.com web site. It has grown from a few photographs to a full blown history of the PTFs and their final fates. But, the search goes on for PTF-25.
The trail seems to end at the NSWC front gate. If you go to the PTFs Today tab on the site you can see what we know about them. If you are the local historian and general whopper teller, what can you share with us about the "990 Program" and what became of PTF-25.
If a different procedure is required to get this information, please let me know how to proceed. If you can shed any light on the other "questionable" histories I would appreciate that too.
I have been working with Legal to get some copies of PTF drawings. That has been mired down for over a year. If there are any photographs available I would like to add them to the Gallery too.
Thanks for your help.
06-22-01 from John Mathias (Naval Surface Warfare Center - NSWC) :
Dan, PTF 25 (1968 by Sewart Seacraft) -- aluminum hull. We called the aluminum boats "Osprey" not "Nasty". Was deactivated in 1978 for conversion to Osprey 990 Program (Combatant Craft Improvement Program (CCIP) funds) -- plan was to use it as test platform for gas-turbine waterjet propulsion system (replace the dreaded Napier-Deltics).
Found not to be a suitable platform, PTF was disposed of by by Special Boat Unit TWENTY (SBU 20), in 1980. DRMO at Camp LeJeune, NC was responsible for disposal. I don't know if it was sold or picked up by a museum or other Gov't entity.
Sorry, that's as far as I can get you. If you track it down please let us know -- and we'll certainly be on the lookout for any other info. Please keep in touch.
Thanks and have a damn great hazy gray Navy day, Jack
From Dan Withers to John Mathias:
June 22, 2001 9:56 AM
Good morning Jack, and thanks for the reply.
Thanks a million for the new direction to search on the "great Osprey mystery of 2001". It sounds like you were an active participant with that craft.
For us tech weenies, could you expand on your comment, "found not to be a suitable platform." How far did you actually get? Turbines installed? Sea Trials? Was the strut mod that you describe for all Ospreys? Were the originals just to flimsy?
While I'm asking, did you do any Nasty conversions or modifications? The drawing list seems to imply that there were some.
Its great that you are willing to share the information. We will update the web pages with the latest "leads" on the trail to 'ole 25.
Thanks a million and I will keep you in the loop with our findings.
06-22-01 From John Mathias (Naval Surface Warfare Center - NSWC) :
Dan, I don't think the gas turbine/waterjet engine installation got very far, although the boat was in Barbour Boat Works in New Bern NC in preparation for the mods. The strut mod I did was for back fit into only only one Osprey (only one was operational and there were only a few. The original strut design and installation resulted in fatigue and some serious hull cracking -- aluminum hull and structure.
I'm not sure but I believe the enormous success of CPIC ended any future for OSPREY PTF. NASTY was already dead.
07-07-01 Blind e-mail from Dan Withers to PIO (Public Information Officer) Cherry Point, MCAS (Marine Corp Air Station):
Good Evening: I represent a group of Vietnam Era veterans that served on various patrol boats in and around DaNang, RVN during that conflict. Our organization is Combatant Craft of America. ( www.combatantcraft.org ) One of the families of those boats is designated the PTF. There were very few of these and they were generally operating on missions for the CIA. Only since the early 90's has most of this history become unclassified. Take a look at www.ptfnasty.com for the details on these boats. There were originally 22 of the PTF "Nasty" class boats produced that were 80', wooden hulls that were primarily used for clandestine missions into North Vietnam. The US Navy wanted to expand that fleet and commissioned another 4 similar boats to be produced from aluminum, but the war was over before they were really used in Vietnam. They then found themselves used for training and other odd missions. These four boats were called PTF "Ospreys" and were 95'. One of these, PTF-25, was selected for a special conversion. The Napier Deltic T-18-37 diesels (3100hp ea.) were to be replaced in 1979 with two Garret PF990 gas turbines providing propulsion through two water jets generating about 6,000 hp. The conversion was engineered but never completed.
Until about two weeks ago that boat, it seemed, had disappeared off of the face of the earth. Then we traced it to the Naval Surface Warfare Center and talked to a man who had been involved in the engineering and conversion. We now know that the boat conversion was to take place at New Bern at the now non-existent Barbour Boat Yard. Our last leads then show it was disposed of through DRMO at Camp Lejeune.
There is a target area, BT-11, off of the Intercoastal Waterway that lists one of the targets as an old PT boat. The only two boats we can think of would be PT809 (which ended its days at Little Creek NAB) and PTF25 (which disappeared off the face of the earth). The overhead images from the web via www.terraserver.com show a shape that could be either of the craft. A contact we have with the Special Boat Units at Little Creek tells us this area is definitely a "DO NOT ENTER - RESTRICTED WATERS" area for civilians and is shown as a target area restricted below 5000 feet on aeronautical charts. One of our members has contacted the PIO at Cherry Point. They say the target area does not belong to them. To date, we have not found the unit or organization the target area does belong to. The PT boat target is moored at least 2 miles from the Intercoastal Waterways channel back in a cove.
Your LCpl. David Hudson has a great article on BT-11 in The Windsock Online (e-zine). So, with all of this information, we are trying to get any information that we can about that boat that may very well be PTF-25. This could close the door on the mystery as to where did PTF-25 disappear to. Is it possible to get someone to take a photograph of that boat and email it to me to confirm or deny its identity? One of our foremost PTF historians for the webpages lives in DC area and would be available to assist in anyway possible to aid this confirmation. Any help would be greatly appreciated as the search goes on.
07-09-01 Reply from LCpl. David Hudson:
Good morning sir,
I don't know much about these craft, furthermore, I doubt it will be in too good of shape. If possible I would like to send you the photos for identification. Maybe you could also tell me what to look for on the boat. Do you think this is really it, and if so what do you think should be done with it?
07-09-01 Reply from G. M. Daugherty Public Affairs Chief MCAS Cherry Point :
We are currently researching this and hope to have an answer soon. LCpl. Hudson is hoping to do another story on the PTF if this is, in fact, it.
Hope to be able to confirm or deny its existence soon.
07-10-01 From Chip Marshall:
Damn, y'all done good thar son! I just hope the Lance Corporal does find himself a pile of aluminum shavings. This past weekend, a naval aviator described to me in detail what "inert" ammunition does to targets (and why they have to replace targets all the time).
07-10-01 Email from Odle Wood:
Dan, I think the mystery of PFT-25 is about to be solved! Our target PT Boat, what's left of it, at BT-11 was delivered in 1979 from Barbour Boat Yard in New Bern, NC. They had it was stored in a special building at a cost of $5000 per month to the govt. Part of the modification had been completed, we publish the length as 126 ft. Engines were never reinstalled.
The Targets Dept. reconfigured the superstructure to resemble a Komar Missile Craft and placed as a target about 1980. I have not located any written documentation yet, the information is via our retired Targets Officer.
I do have a color photo taken after reconfiguration. I made a B&W hopefully faxable copy and can mail the original.
I have a real interest in PTFs. I went on a night training mission outside Subic Bay in 1964 on what I believe were (PTF) #3 and 4.
07-10-01 E-mail from LCpl Hudson:
Sir, I'm going out on a CH-46 range sweep tomorrow. They are going to put down right on the boat.
Only problem is, I don't know where it is, I've been to BT-11 before, but wasn't aware of how large the range actually is. You said you've already found the suspected ship with satellite imagery. Perhaps you can give me a coordinate, vector, map or something to find it. Otherwise I'm going to have some trouble as I'm not too familiar with the ship.
Thanks for your help, I'll send you some photos tomorrow and you can give it a look.
07-10-01 E-mail from Chip Marshall:
Dan: Attached are two .jpeg maps I made up from what I had at the office. I had some trouble getting the images from Terraserver here for some reason, so I just made the maps. The coords should be close to right on if the targets are still there.
I included enough landmarks so the pilot could get a number of fixes. The fast mover course track on the one map was from the website for the targets. Basically, two points of land are lined up directing the attackers to a third spot.
As I remember from the overhead imagery, the roads on the island look exactly like the map (like little cul-de-sacs). There does not seem to be too much topography and the ground cover is mostly tall grass with some trees.
Hopefully, your buddy the lance corporal should not have too many problems.
07-10-01 E-mail from Chip Marshall:
Dan: I took the time at lunch to work the Terraserver site more. The shots come from the USGS imagery on the Terraserver website. In addition to the maps I sent before, this should do it.
USGS Satellite Imagery overall view of area: http://terraserver.homeadvisor.msn.com/image.asp?S=14&T=1&X=114&Y=1211&Z=18& W=0
USGS Satellite Imagery of boat: http://terraserver.homeadvisor.msn.com/image.asp?S=10&T=1&X=1832&Y=19387&Z=1 8&W=0
7-12-01 E-mail from LCpl Hudson:
Good afternoon sir,
Sir sorry I didn't send these out yesterday. I guess I should explain first. They just made me the editor here, so I was unable to get out on the range sweep. I sent my roommate instead. I spent a good 30 minutes explaining in thorough detail to the slow lad exactly what a PT boat looks like, how long it should be, and it's relation to the barge, etc. etc. However the near-sighted Texan managed to take about 97 pictures of the barge and two of the PT boat. Just proof that if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.
Anyway in my spare time I've been doctoring up the photos he did take (there was a lot of fog and he was further away than I would have liked). Anyway here they are. The first one shows the location in relation to the barge, the second is a profile, and one more of the stern. The keel looks damaged amidships, but the bow is a spot on match to your PTF. If you have Photoshop or something you can zoom in and see it a little better. It appears to be rusted and has some bullet holes, I can't tell if there are engines, but you can see what I assume is the housings for them.
So it does appear, as is substantiated by the station officers and papers that this is your missing boat. If you can confirm this for me, I believe I will get started on a story about it. If there's any other photos or stuff you'd like, let me know. I'm going to try and get out on the boat myself to get some more pictures, will try and get more info for you when I do.
07-12-01 E-mail from Chip Marshall:
Dan: Damn! Is this what they call aluminum Swiss cheese or what?!?!? Looks like the fast movers have really worked her over.
Regarding the conversion, it looks like those two long openings in the deck were for the gas turbines and the more square openings just aft were the hatches for the water pumps. Didn't see any exhaust out the back like some of the European designs. Most likely, it was out through stacks.
The 126 feet checks out since she was lengthened for the gas turbine conversion. I'd sure like to see those shots "before." Right now it looks like she is sitting on the bottom just waiting for life as we know it to end. WOW!
07/20/01 Email from Odle Wood:
Dan, One of our Test Range Trackers, T.R. Brown, remembers PTF25 arriving at BT-11. He helped remove equipment and inside structures from the boat.
There was one bunk with a tag, naming a electrician named Harris who was killed, apparently on the boat. The tag stated that the bunk was not to be used.
He also remembers the boat's reconfiguration to a missile boat was done by the Marines working at the range. The plan was drawn up by Sgt. Garner, the Marine in charge of the reconfiguration.
This story is becoming more interesting.