John F. Kennedy (PT 109)
PT 109, a naval vessel etched into history, gained prominence during World War II for its association with Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, the future President of the United States. A Motor Torpedo Boat (PT) in the Pacific theater, PT 109 operated in the Solomon Islands. In August 1943, under Kennedy’s command, it patrolled the Blackett Strait.
The vessel faced a tragic fate when, on the night of August 2, 1943, PT 109 was rammed and sliced in half by a Japanese destroyer. Two crew members perished, and the survivors, including Kennedy, clung to debris. Displaying remarkable leadership, Kennedy aided the wounded and led his crew to a nearby island. After six days, they were rescued.
The incident became a pivotal episode in Kennedy’s life, showcasing resilience and leadership. The story of PT 109 became widely known, contributing to Kennedy’s political persona and the lore of World War II naval history.