Korean War Page of warboats.org



Korean War era Combatant Craft

History - Throughout most of its history, Korea has been invaded, influenced, and fought over by its larger neighbors. Korea's closed-door policy, adopted to ward off foreign encroachment, earned it the name of "Hermit Kingdom." Japanese, Chinese, and Russian competition in Northeast Asia led to armed conflict, and Japan defeated its two competitors and established dominance in Korea, formally annexing it in 1910. Japan remained firmly in control until the end of World War II. Near the end of the war, the April 1945 Yalta Conference agreed to establish a four-power trusteeship for Korea. With the unexpected early surrender of Japan, the United States proposed-and the Soviet Union agreed-that Japanese troops surrender to US forces south of the 38th parallel and to Soviet forces north of that line. . .  More at this Link

This section covers those boats that came out after the end of WWII and were operated around the world.


Dan passed on your email to me. I know a lot about the history of the boat you saw in the boneyard at Little Creek. Below is what I sent Dan. If you are interested in a more expanded story (she had quite a history), please let me know.

This boat is what was left of PT-809/Guardian/DR-1 Retriever. Her Packards were replaced with diesels at Trumpy and Sons in 1959 or so. After the airdales were finished with her at Little Creek, she was turned over to the Special Boat Squadrons for their use. They did not want anything to do with her and she sat at the pier for some time (with the pumps running ALL the time). The SBS CO sent a letter to PT Boats, Inc. asking if they were interested (they were not) and the retired Navy Captain running the USS Alabama exhibit showed some interest. Eventually, she was put up for sale (scrap) but the buyer never made good on the deal. I was told that she was broken up at Little Creek for scrap, which may or may not be true. She was put into service as PT-809 in 1952 and lasted in service to 1988. Quite a long time. And some VERY interesting stories too. One of my contacts was a Chief Bosun with the Naval Administrative Unit, the outfit that ran the Presidential Yachts. Jim Thomas said he remembered seeing her at the Washington Navy Yard when he was there in the 60s.

If you have a moment, I'd like to ask a couple of questions concerning what you saw at Little Creek. I have some pictures of the boat (in the water) that would absolutely confirm your sighting.

Thanks for your time and any assistance.

Chip Marshall

For the Korean War-era boats there would be PT809 through PT812. The USAF also had nifty Crash Boats in the 1950's that had a layout similar to the WW2 Higgins-built PTs but were around 85 feet (I don't know what they were called or who built them). If you get into landing craft, you will have to put a size limit on them. After the LCT/LSU/LCU type craft you get out of the boats into ocean-going ships category (see www.navsource.org for information on this type). Of the 'gator craft there would be LCP, LCP(R), LCP(L), LCVP, LCM-3, LCM-6, LCT-5, LCT-6 (and perhaps others that I've not included). The craft developed during WW2 were kept in service and were improved. Example: The 50-foot Mk 3 LCM evolved into the 56-foot Mk 6 LCM (that continues to be a workhorse) and spawned a newer design called the 78-foot Mk 8.


For the Korean War entries, we should add spots for the Navy's four developmental PT boats: PT-809, 810, 811, and 812.   The 810 and 811 boats became PTF-1 and PTF-2, but 809 hung around for a long, long time as DR-1.


Initially named Guardian, it was an escort for the Presidential yachts After the presidential yachts were discarded it was used as a drone retriever for target drones.  Also known as Retreiver, DR-1 was based at NAB Little Creek.  I remember seeing it tied up to the piers in the mid-1980's when I was there on active duty for training with the USNR.  I'm told that after failing to sell it, the USN broke it up in the early 1990s.

  Retriever (DR-1) as Guardian (ex-PT809) in the mid-1960s.