The Courageous Men of Torpedo Boat Squadron 3



 The remarkable story of PT boats in the Philippines and the rescue of General MacArthur by John J. Domagalski is  now available

During the opening days of World War II in the Pacific, a small group of American sailors in the Philippines were propelled into the forefront of the fighting. They were manned with six small wooden torpedo (PT) boats and led by a courageous, larger-than-life character in Lieutenant John D. Bulkeley. The men of Torpedo Boat Squadron 3 faced insurmountable odds as they conducted a series of heroic operations against the navy and air power of Imperial Japan.

As America’s defense of the Philippines crumbled under the weight of a massive Japanese assault, the courageous activities of Bulkeley’s men made headlines across the U.S.—often as the only good news coming from the bleak Pacific front. The unit achieved everlasting fame by evacuating General Douglas MacArthur from the front. Then the squadron continued to fight on until all six of its torpedo boats were lost under fire. The fate of the doomed American defenders was sealed when the Japanese won the battle for the islands in the spring of 1942.

The exploits of the unit were immortalized in the blockbuster 1945 movie They Were Expendable, starring John Wayne and Robert Montgomery, but since then the saga of Bulkeley and his men has slipped into history. Under a Blood Red Sun revives the story of the Philippine PT-boats through the intertwined accounts of Bulkeley and his subordinate officers and men. It is a story of the courage and sacrifice of men thousands of miles from their homeland, representing American gallantry and fighting.


UNDER THE BLOOD RUN SUN : The remarkable story of PT boats in the Philippines and the rescue of General MacArthur by John J. Domagalski is available at and everywhere fine books are sold. 

also by John J. Domagalski   

Into the Dark Water: The Story of Three Officers and PT-109


what people are saying about

Into the Dark Water: The Story of Three Officers and PT-109

…Domagalski performs a highly proficient job as he brings these skippers, their crews, and their boat to life, in the process emphasizing that while PT-109 remains most closely connected to Kennedy, the little warship had plenty of other adventures before the future president arrived in the South Pacific

—Stone  and Stone World War II Reviews 

“I thoroughly enjoyed the book, inasmuch as I learned things that I never knew. . . . I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in PT boats and their history.”

—T. Garth Connelly, in PT Boat World

History has long recorded that John F. Kennedy’s heroic efforts after the sinking of his PT-109 led to his successful political career as Representative, Senator, and ultimately President. But, as John Domagalski demonstrates in this thoroughly researched narrative, there was far more to the boat’s achievements in the South Pacific than the terrifying night when a Japanese destroyer cut her in two. This account crackles with intensity.
—Paul Stillwell, Naval historian and author

Well researched and written,Domagalski has done something admirable with the PT 109 saga.

—Naval Historical Foundation 

“The author is a Pacific War Historian specializing in Guadalcanal fighting. His account of one ship and its three commanding officers not only sheds light on PT-109, but also on the service of the torpedo boat crews in general. It took daring initiative to command a tiny warship aggressively and this book conveys their audacity in full measure.

—WWII History 1/9/2015

…illuminates the difficult conditions of PT Boat combat. The Brave crews of these undersized vessels routinely fought at night, endured poor logistics and rough seas, and engaged much larger ships, while enduring attacks from land, sea, and air… Domagalski brings to life a host of other brave officers and sailors who consistently fought insurmountable odds to contribute capabilities uniquely fitted to the island waters they patrolled. Kennedy himself later remarked that The war made us. It was and is our greatest moment” In Into the Dark Water, Domagalksi illustrates exactly how and why”

—Journal of America’s Military Past 3/16/2015

“…an insightful and well-written new work that pays homage not only to PT-109 but to the patrol torpedo community as a whole… .With this new offering, John Domagalski brings PT-109 and her crew back to life once again and, in doing so, honors all who served in the patrol torpedo service.

—Military Review 


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