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JFK PT-109 Survival

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Katie Cole

on 28 March 2013

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Transcript of JFK PT-109 Survival

You may have known that John F. Kennedy was assassinated, but did you know that about twenty years earlier he was a survivor? About twenty years before JFK was elected president of the United States he was the young 26-year-old skipper of a boat known as PT-109. On the night of August 1, 1943, a few Patrol Torpedo boats anxiously remained on the waters in the Blacklett Strait after fifteen American boats left after a previous bitter encounter with Japanese destroyers. One of these PT boats carried John F. Kennedy and twelve crew members, unaware that their next encounter would be tragic.

At roughly 2:30 am, a mysterious shape made an eerie appearance in the dark distance. When Kennedy realized that a Japanese destroyer was headed his way, he quickly tried to get to his torpedoes for defense. But it was too late. The Japanese destroyer ripped the smaller boat in half, instantly killing two of the crew members and severely injuring two others. With half of their boat gone, the crew of PT-109 clung to the bow for hours, then decided to embark on a long three and a half mile swim to nearby Plum Pudding Island. by Katie Cole JFK PT-109 Survival Surviving two day on the tiny and deserted Plum Pudding Island with little to no food or drinkable water, the crew then set off on another voyage/swim to the larger island of Olasana. Here, they found a plentiful supply of coconuts to live off of for the next while. Determined to find a source of fresh water, Kennedy went to the next island over, Naru Island, and was delighted to find a box with Japanese candy, a tin of water, and a one man canoe. He brought this back to Olasana, and upon his arrival, the crew met two islander scouts for the Allies that showed them how to carve messages into the coconuts. "Fun" Facts Plum Pudding Island was "renamed" Kennedy Island, and has become a minor attraction.
Although there were many coconuts on Olasana, they didn't settle well in some of the crew members' stomachs.
John F. Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States of America.
Other crew members were very important too, not just Kennedy! Other crew members included Patrick McMahon, Edgar Mauer, John E. Maguire, Gerard Zinser, George Ross, and Raymond Albert.
John Kennedy was a member of the Harvard swim team, and he hauled Patrick McMahon on his back on the five hour swim to Plum Pudding Island. Works Cited http://listverse.com/2008/10/06/10-incredible-real-life-castaway-tales/ http://www.jfklibrary.org/JFK/JFK-in-History/John-F-Kennedy-and-PT109.aspx This is the message that was carved into the husk of a coconut: "NAURO ISL COMMANDER . . . NATIVE KNOWS POS'IT . . . HE CAN PILOT . . . 11 ALIVE NEED SMALL BOAT . . . KENNEDY" Finally, after nearly a week of challenging survival, John F. Kennedy and the crew of PT-109 were rescued on the morning of August 8th. These brave and exhausted men were honored for their courage, leadership, knowledge, and perseverance.
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