Please report any broken links or trouble you might come across to the Webmaster. Please take a moment to let us know so that we can correct any problems and make your visit as enjoyable and as informative as possible.

NavSource Online:
Motor Torpedo Boat Photo Archive


98' Aluminum Motor Torpedo Boat:

  • Laid down 27 June 1949 by the Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT
  • Launched 7 August 1950
  • Completed 9 February 1951
  • Assigned to the Potomac River Naval Command 1 November 1959 as a civil defense boat and escort for the Presidential Yacht Barbara Ann, later Honey Fitz
  • After the Presidential yachts were deposed, the Guardian was released from Presidential service and transferred to Fleet Composite Squardon SIX (VC-6), 16 December 1974. She was modified at
    Cambridge, MD for use in retrieving target drones in various ranges along the Virginia/Maryland/North Carolina coast. The Soviets were quite adept at recovering the drones and all of their electronic technology. It was felt that something fast like a PT boat might aid in the recovery of the drones. The Guardian was based at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base and renamed DR-1 aka Retriever. Later she was assigned to the special boat unit in support of the Navy SEALs
  • Placed out of service in 1988
  • Scrapped in 1990. She was the longest serving PT boat.


  • Displacement 47 t.
  • Length 98'
  • Beam 26' 6"
  • Draft 5' 6"
  • Speed 40+ kts.
  • Armament: Two 40mm mounts, two 20mm mounts, one 81mm mortar and one smoke generator
  • Propulsion: Four 2,500hp W-100 Packard gasoline engines, four shafts (Converted in 1959 to eight 250hp General Motors 6-71 diesel engines).
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    PT-809 586k c. May 1949
    Starboard side and overhead plan view
    Photo from U.S. Small Combatants: An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman
    Robert Hurst
    PT-809 586k 24 February 1951
    Underway off the Electric Boat plant at Groton, Connecticut. Note the framing on deck for torpedo launching racks, which were never fitted
    Photo from U.S. Small Combatants: An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman
    PT-809 712k Original photo: Running at high speed in Cheaspeake Bay with PT-811 off her port quarter
    Photo from the July 1952 edition of Bureau of Ships Journal
    Replacement photo: PT-809 (foreground) and PT-811 are shown underway on early test runs in Chesapeake Bay. Both were designed to carry torpedoes (note spaces marked on the deck of PT-809), but neither ever did. The 81mm mortar on deck (to port) opposite the twin 20mm Oerlikon, failed its operational tests in 1952 but was resurrected
    for Vietnam
    Photo from U.S. Small Combatants: An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman
    Original photo: Jim Swank
    Replacement photo: Robert Hurst
    PT-810 241k PT-809, PT-810 and PT-811 in formation
    From the collection of Steven Ribiero and LCDR Robert Beveridge, USN, Ret.
    Jerry Gilmartin, MMC(SW), USN, Ret.
    PT-810 247k
    PT-809 48k 16 July 1969
    Yachts Honey Fitz and Sequoia with escort vessel Guardian cruise Potomac river.
    PT-809 169k Washington Navy Yard, District of Columbia. View looking northwards from over the Anacostia River, March 1970. The Presidential Yacht Sequoia and her Secret Service protective craft, Guardian (formerly PT-809), are alongside the finger pier in the center. The bathyscaphe Trieste is on display in the parking lot immediately above and between those two vessels.
    U.S. Navy photo KN-19277 by PHC Tommy Cobb
    Naval History and Heritage Command

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships:


    PT-809 (q. v.) was under the Potomac River Naval Command in November 1959 as a Civil Defense boat and as escort to the Presidential Yacht Barbara Ann, later Honey Fitz. The name Guardian was assigned to her at the request of Captain [Evan P.] Aurand, Naval Aide to President Eisenhower, but her official designation remains PT-809.

    Back To The Main Photo Index Back to the Patrol Craft/Gunboat/Submarine Chaser Index Back to the Motor Torpedo Boat (PT) Photo Index

    Comments, Suggestions, E-mail Webmaster

    This page created by Joseph M. Radigan and maintained by Tom Bateman
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History