THE SKIPPER SPEAKS
Daily Chronicle of WILLIAM RANEY, PT RON 19 WWII
Dr. Raney's daily chronicles
from his tour of duty with PT RON 19 appear to have been at least a
semi-official record which he may have typed from handwritten notes.
Details of work and personnel are thorough, but he also includes informal
personal observations. The pages as we received them are a challenge
to scan, as the typing fades out toward the bottom of the page. We are
working toward a legible transcription, but felt what we had so far was
worth making available to anyone who might be interested.
I. Background of copy obtained
by Seabees93.net: Lib Conner, wife of Bob Conner, 93rd Seabees
II. Preface: C. J. Willis, PT RONs 19
III. Original introduction: William A.
LIBCONNER email to: Milton W. BUSH: Bob Ankers (PT RON 19, 23) is her neighbor
and has given her a copy of "The Skipper Speaks," the daily
chronicles of William Raney.
The Skipper Speaks:
A WWII Chronicle of William Raney (PT RONs 19, 23)
Robert Ankers was the senior radar officer for an MTB squadron. He was with RON 19 and when it was decommissioned (as
you have in your treatise) on May 15, l944,, he went to RON 23 where he was until being ordered back to the States in August
44. He also told me about the "black cats" and how they patrolled at night over to Rabaul. He has an interesting story about
finding out his brother was to be at Guadalcanal and a black cat flew him down there. He spent 4 days hunting, only to find the
boat the brother was on just as it was departing.
They lived in tents at the PT base and SeaBees built floors for some of them (called by them "hotels"). Of course they had to
sleep by day as they patrolled by night and it was HOT. The tents (or at least some of them) were pyramid tents with 8 cots
and that was the type he slept in with JFK, not at Green Islands, however.
The SeaBees also built some docks for the boats, but they tied the boats to coconut trees with 3 inch rope, using 2 lines, bow
and stern, per boat.
His three best friends were: Bob Helsby and William Raney of RON 19 and Ed Parker of RON 23. Ed was the radar man for
Raney compiled his daily chronicles and some letters from his wife into a volume:
The Skipper Speaks. I have brought it home
to Xerox two pages of names --there are 2 names for each boat in 19 and the ones of 19 after they went into 23. It appears
hastily typed on an old typerwriter. 10 type, many misprints and often a bad ribbon, enough to slow you down. (It was a daily
chronicle which Raney wrote out in hand and then typed on an old typewriter as he got a chance.) 142 pages are diary, 60 of
them from the Green Islands. The last nine pages are handwritten. I have glanced through to see what he says during the Green
Islands period. There are detailed descriptions of every patrol (he must have kept a diary because he couldn't remember such
detail) but nothing I could find which describes any layout, e.g. he goes to refuel but it doesn't say where.) Then his wife's letters
and a few of his own which seem to end before he goes overseas.
Preface: C.J. Willis, PT RON 19
William A. Raney
was Executive Officer aboard P.T. 242 from the time the boat was Commisioned
in New Orleans in April, 1943 until he was promoted to Captain of P.T.244 on
March 30, 1944. I was on the boat with him from November 1, 1943 until he
became Skipper of P.T. 244. Approximately 5 months.
was from Carey, MS. He graduated from Mississippi State and immediately
enlisted in the U.S.N.R. training at
University and received the rank of Ensign.. Further Naval Training at
MTBSTC, Melville, R.I. on P.T. Boats. After the war ended he attended Comell
U. earning the PHD degree majoring in soil physics. In 1950 he returned to
serve as Professor of Soils at Mississippi State. From 1956 until retirement
in 1979 he held a research position with tile U.S. Department of Agriculture
in Beltsville, MD. He married Susan Jane Moore in 1943 and they have three
daughters and four grandchildren. He retired in Carey, MS. using his soil
physics principles to improve production of flowers and vegetables on three
acres of land where he lived. He is now deceased.
Raney was an “enlisted mans officer”. He worked right along with all of us
helping with all the chores required to keep the boat in fighting condition.
His Chronicles begin September, 1943 when the Squadron is leaving Tabago
Naval Base in Panama with the Boats being loaded on Tankers for the trip to
the South Pacific and ends in November 1944 on his return back to the U.S.
from the South Pacific. He was relieved from duty on his P.T.244 Boat at the
same time that I was relieved of duty on our P.T.242 Boat when we were at
GREEN Island. This was about November 1, 1944.
~ Introduction from original compilation: Nov. 2001
Dr. William A. Raney
at 81 years of!~, in retirement from 30 years in government service, started
out in the U.S. Navy during World War II as an Ensign. He attended
Midshipman School at Columbia University in New York City after graduation
from Mississippi State. The PT school at Mellville, R.I. was his next
assignment. He and Susan Jane Moore were married on February 22, 1943 so
they spent their first days together in Newport, R.I. HigginsBoat Company in
New Orleans built Patrol Torpedo Boats so after graduation from P.T. school
Bill and Jane moved to New Orleans where Ron 19 formed and boats were
assigned. About 6 months later Ron 19 left New Orleans for the “Shake Down
Cruise” in Miami. From Miami the boats were driven to Panama where they were
loaded on tankers for the trip to the South Pacific war zone. The boats were
unloaded in 2 days and driven to Rendovainth<» .Colnm~r. Toio«~ „~—