Segment 4


Disanza had trains and tanks on the deck of his ship. The train cars were too big to fit underneath the deck. When a storm confronted the ship they had to go on deck to secure everything on deck. One time they got into a storm off of Cape Hatteras and one of the lifeboats was washed right off of the ship. Disanza almost drowned there. His feet were hanging off of the edge of the ship. He almost lost himself on that trip. As soon as the ship up righted he was able to save himself. The Merchant Marine was a good life if you liked the ocean. Disanza did not enjoy the ocean. He was happy to get into the Army but initially he had to ride in boats. Disanzas training in the Army was pretty basic. Disanza was in Junior Navy ROTC so he learned a lot of things before he ever got in the service. Disanza knew the manual. He did his basic training in New Orleans and Maryland. Most of his training was in New Orleans. In Maryland Disanza got involved with the OSS. Disanza got involved with the crash boats. They would go from New Orleans to Tampa Florida just training on the boats. The boats were the number one thing they trained on. They put the boats on the deck of a big whaler and brought them overseas. A crash boat was six feet longer than a PT boat. In most cases they were faster than PT boats because they did not carry torpedoes. They carried 5000 gallons of fuel like a B-17. The boats could burn 160 gallons of fuel an hour at top speed. Top speed was about 47 to 48 miles per hour. In knots it was about 42 or 43 knots. The crash boat would constantly hit the water at top speed. The front of the boat would come up and the back of the boat would hit. Every ripple or wave was hit by the boat. It was never a smooth ride. They were not that comfortable. Disanza was in the engine room of the crash boat. It was interesting. It was a huge engine. Disanza was familiar with Packard engines because he was familiar with the Packard cars. They had an eight inch bore with a four inch stroke. They were made purposely for the crash boats. Some PTs had the Packard engine. They always had decent Marine engines. They were happy with the Packards. They had massive carburetors with big doors which allowed for a massive amount of fuel to go into the engine. The crash boats were used to going out and picking up aviators who had ditched in the ocean. There were 13 in the crew. The boat hit some coral one time and it bent the propellor. They pulled into shallow water and Disanza and the chief engineer hopped in the water to check it out. They used their gas mask as a type of scuba mask. Disanza and the chief went down and took the knob off. They had a jack with three chains on it and they wrapped it around the propeller. They put the jack against the side of the boat and they jacked it out. Disanza and his crew were able to repair the propeller.


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