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 Flag
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, refloating grounded ships and surveying collision damage.
Performed administrative duties and trained new pilots.
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 SEALs in Central America (El Salvador and Honduras to gather intelligence for drug interdiction with the rank of Navy Commander (OIC).
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
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
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
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.
Advanced Maritime Firefighting
GMDSS Radio Operator, (Global Maritime Distress Safety System)
FCC Radio License for GMDSS and VHF without Restrictions
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