Class: Higgins Motor Torpedo (PT) Boat
At: Higgins Industries, New Orleans, Louisiana
Commissioned: January 1944
Length: 78 feet
Beam: 20 feet
Draft: 5 feet, 6 inches
Displacement: 56 tons
Armament: Two 20mm guns; one 40mm gun; two single and two twin 50 cal. machine guns; torpedoes and depth charges on roll-off racks
National Museum of the Pacific War
340 East Main Street
Fredericksburg, Texas 78624
Fax (830) 997-8220
Latitude: 30.2711155175, Longitude: -98.863631632
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PT-309 is the only restored PT Boat to have seen actual combat service during World War II. Stationed in the Mediterranean, she fired over 100 torpedoes during the war and was credited with sinking five enemy ships. She was also responsible for the capture of an Italian MAS (PT equivalent) boat. PT-309 was nicknamed “Oh Frankie” following a meeting between the boat’s first skipper, Wayne Barber, and Frank Sinatra at a night club in New York City just prior to her departure for the European Theater.
With the assistance of PT Boats, Inc., PT-309 was located in Greenport, New York operating as a charter fishing boat. She was purchased in 1994 by the Admiral Nimitz Foundation for the museum. She sailed under her own power from New York to Galveston, Texas, a 45 day journey.
After nearly three years of dedicated work by a volunteer crew that included Seabees from the Houston area, the PT-309 has been almost completely restored. More than a quarter of the boat’s original planking was replaced. She was “commissioned” in the Texas Navy in 1998. Members of the SeaBee unit were present in uniform for the event.