Raised in a Franciscan Orphanage for fourteen years, Boston, MASS. Completed high school and two years of college at the University of Massachusetts Extension.


At Sea/ Large Oil Tankers

Sailed in all capacities from Ordinary Seaman to Boatswain, Third, Second, and Chief Officers. Master of large ocean going ships of every description to include serving as Rader Officer and Assistant Navigator in the Super Liner S. S. United States.

Due to Military front line duty in Korea, he was given an appointment to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy by Senator John F. Kennedy. He decided instead to work his way to Master so as to have a solid understanding of the business of shipping.


  • Steamship companies served with as an unlicensed able-bodied Seaman.
  • Mathiensen Tankers – Liberian Flag
  • National Bulk Carriers – Liberian Flag
  • Brodin Line – Swedish Flag
  • Tidewater Tankers – United States Flag
  • Military Sea Lift – United States Flag1962-1977
  • Steamship companies served with as a Licensed Officer: (all of below in Worldwide Service)
  • Grace Line – Third Officer, Safety Officer
  • American Trading & Production – Navigator and Cargo Officer (in charge of loading and discharging gasoline from tankers)
  • Prudential Lines – Third Officer, Safety Officer
  • Military Sea Lift Command – Navigator and earned rank of LT. U.S.N.
  • American President Lines – Navigator and Chief Officer
  • U.S. Geological Survey – Master and Marine Superintendent of three ships
  • Pacific Far East Line – Second Officer, Navigator to Master of Large Container Ship

While serving as Master or Chief Officer of the above when in shipyard for overhaul, he was responsible to the owners to ensure that all work in the deck department was carried on, as required by ABS / USCG / Owners or their representatives according to specifications.
1977 – 2001

  • Accepted as a Pilot in training by the Panama Canal Company / Canal Zone Government. Attained the rank of Senior Pilot of Large Passenger Ships, Warships and Nuclear and Trident Submarines. (Only 12 pilots of 315 were selected for this duty)
  • Piloted approximately 3,000 ships of every description, including dead ships or cold iron.
  • Served 2.5 years as Captain of the Port with many duties to include inspection of ships, firefighting operations, re-floating grounded ships and surveying collision damage.
  • Performed administrative duties and trained new pilots.


Military Duty

Drafted and served on the front lines of North Korea.
19th Infantry Regiment
Squad Leader, Runner, Commanding Officer’s Personal Radio Operator in front-line infantry company on night patrols in North Korea, engaging the enemy on numerous occasions.
Due to extensive Infantry training, he was an expert rifleman and Squad Leader, mainly in patrol action.
After 10.5 months, he was sent to Fort Dix to train new requites.

Served in Vietnam and Thailand as Chief Officer in ammunition Ships.

Was selected to fly on dangerous Top Secret missions with the Special Forces and the Navy SEAL’s in Central America (El Salvador and Honduras to gather intelligence for drug interdiction with the rank of Navy Commander (OIC).


Training and Courses, both Army and Navy

  • Firefighting
  • Gyro Compass – Loran
  • U.S. Army Deck Officers School (1962-1963)
  • Small Arms Firing Qualification
  • Survival School – Special Forces
  • Low Intensity Conflict School
  • Jungle Warfare Operations School – Special Forces
  • Special Forces Paratrooper School – Water and Land
  • Anti-Terrorist Warfare School – Fort Bragg
  • High Speed Cast and Recovery Training and Repelling
  • Naval Control of Shipping (I and II)
  • Anti-Submarine Warfare (I and II)
  • Convoy Commodore School
  • Defense of Harbors and Ports of the Panama Canal
  • Defense of Naval Ports, San Diego
  • At Sea Underway Refueling and MSC Operations
  • Damage Control Course
  • Naval Engineering Course
  • Oceanography Course
  • Naval Operations – Tactics and Logistics
  • Instructor in Handling of Submarines with tug assists at Kings Bay, Georgia.
  • Destroyer – Frigate Operations at Sea
  • Instructor in Ship handling, Norfolk VA
  • Instructor in Ship Handling and Operations and Damage Control, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
  • Precision Anchoring
  • Blind Navigation
  • Convoy Operations, Sea of Guam
  • Qualified as Port Captain – Port Services Officer of any Naval Seaport.
  • Mobilization Billet, in time of emergency, as Captain of a Naval Ship.
  • Qualified as Port Services Officer in Mayport, Florida


  • Commander USNR-R
  • United States Coast Guard; Master Unlimited. Any Oceans, Any Tonnage, from
  • Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies
  • First Class Pilot, Panama Canal, All Waters, Locks, Harbors and Dry-docks.
  • Rader Unlimited
  • ARPA
  • Abandon Ship
  • Survival Craft
  • First Aid
  • CPR
  • Advanced Maritime Firefighting
  • GMDSS Radio Operator, (Global Maritime Distress Safety System)
  • FCC Radio License for GMDSS and VHF without Restrictions
  • Wireless
  • Bridge Resource Management
  • High Speed Ocean Search and Rescue
  • Medial First Responder and Provider
  • Medical Person in Charge
  • Panama Canal Unlimited
  • STCW Fully Qualified
  • Personal Survival Techniques



  • Council of American Master Mariners
  • Institute of Navigation
  • United States Naval Institute
  • National Rifle Association


Relief Master of the Volunteer Mercy Medial Ship “White Holly” of Canvasback Missions, a Christian, Non-Profit Organization.

Served as Master of ex-USCG Cutter “Paw Paw”

Expert Maritime witness in Maritime court case, Houston Texas.

Relief Master of Russian Container Ship, “MS Eagle”. Request to take vessel from Mayport Florida to Kingston Jamaica.



Married 41 years to Reidunn Bergheim Petroni.
Gerard has two sons, Erik and Paul and two daughters, Sonya and Karina.



Long distance swimming, weight lifting, running, shooting, cycling, hiking, body surfing, reading, military history, traveling, etc.



Neptune Baptist Church, Neptune Beach Florida 32266

December 31st Gerard (Jerry) Petroni passes away from his final brain bleed and moves Home to his Savior.