Jim Mitchell CRD History

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Jim Mitchell, Capt, USNR-TAR, Retired


1971-1978 - Coastal River Squadrons

    I recently found your web site and enjoyed the pictures and memories, so I thought I would send you a few of my own. 

    I was assigned to Coastal River Squadron ONE,  RIVDIVs 12 & 13 from Oct 1972 to May 1977.  I served as:  OIC, MST-2; AOIC, PTF-21; OIC, MST-3; and OIC, PTF-20. 

    One of our assignments on PTF-21 was Harpoon Missile Guidance System target platform, where a Harpoon radar system was mounted in the nose of a jet and it flew attack profiles at us while we tried to out maneuver it, which we couldn’t, even using chaff round fired from our 81mm mortar, the radar flew over our engine compartment every time.  The two u/w pictures of PTF-21 were taken by PH2 Konishi, from Naval Missile Center, Point Mugu, California, during these ops.

    You may note the 40mm mounted on the bow of the pierside picture of PTF-21, that was taken in 1976 (note the “Don’t Tread On Me” Union Jack on the bow), the OIC had the 40mm moved to the bow to try and improve planeing and speed, it didn’t have a noticeable effect on either.  

    A further note on the PTF-22 discussion by Skip Kohler, I was OIC of  MST-2 (SEAL Support) in 1973/4 when PTF-22 arrived at the PTF Facility in Subic Bay, RP, I actually signed for it as the MST-3 OIC was on leave.  When I returned 15 months later as OIC, MST-3 (Seal/PTF Support), PTF-22 was still there, over budget and delayed six months in its scheduled return to CONUS.  I was ordered to get it back “as is” on the first available ship.  We did a sea trial and blew an engine, seems a NRF worker left a rag in one of the cylinders, the engine was replaced and PTF-22 was sent back still needing a lot of work.  I heard about the flooding and beaching later.  PTF-22 could have been re-floated and saved if not for the direct intervention of the then Commander of CRS-1, Capt W. Robinson, who arrived on scene off San Clemente Island on the USS Flagstaff, and tried to tell the LDO Salvage Officer how to do his job.  The LDO, disagreeing with Capt Robinson’s idea and not appreciating his “help”, cast off and ceased salvage ops until the next day, after Capt Robinson was ordered out of the area.  Seems the Area Commander told Robinson “it was his boat until it went aground, now it was his and his salvage officer would take it from there.”  Well, the tide went in and out several times during this process and basically destroyed PTF-22 (see PTF-22 pictures).  This event/ loss was a significant factor in the decision to end the wooden PTF boat program. 

    I have also include photos of Napier Deltic engines being put in PTF-20, a picture of PTF-20 being lifted out of the water at Naval Station, San Diego, and some underway pictures of PTF-20 taken by the OIC of PTF-23 during some joint ship attack ops (KOMAR EX) we conducted against our ships off the California coast.  Oh yes, and a couple of pictures of  the “other” PTFs, the aluminum hulled PTFs 23 & 24. 

    Thanks again for your web site and your devotion to the “warboats” and the men who served on them.

Jim Mitchell

 

PTF-20        
       
         
PTF-21        
     
         
PTF-22 remains        
   
         
PTF-26        
     
PTF-24       Unknown PTF
       
Sea Spector        
   

First Spector

       
Osprey        
       
         

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