A collection of World War II memorabilia will be on view at the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum at the Quadrangle from July 10, 2007, through February 24, 2008, in the special exhibition The Mosquito Fleet: World War II PT Boats.
The collection is on loan from Agawam resident Frank J. Andruss, Sr. Among the hundreds of artifacts on display is the uniform worn by Gerard Zinser, who served on PT-109 with John F. Kennedy and was the last member of the original crew who survived the collision that sank the boat. The exhibit also includes a photo and newspaper article about young Harold W. Marney of East Springfield, who died when the boat was rammed by the Japanese destroyer "Amagiri." PT boats were shallow draft wooden boats designed to launch torpedoes in any kind of weather. They also carried machine guns, cannons and depth charges and were credited with sinking many enemy supply barges and destroyers in the Pacific. PT boat squadrons were nicknamed "The Mosquito Fleet." Another uniform on display is that of Lt. Leighton Wood, commander of PT 124, who won the Silver Star for the probable sinking of two Japanese destroyers in the Guadalcanal area. Objects that belonged to Lt. John D. Bulkeley, the Medal of Honor winner who rescued General MacArthur from the Philippines, are included in the exhibit along with a model of PT 41, which Bulkeley commanded. Posters, boat models, training manuals and design plans, ammunition, helmets, flags, pins and patches, photos, maps, and souvenirs brought back by PT Boat crew members will be on view. Visitors can also see historic film footage from Elco, the company that manufactured PT Boats.