Posted by: SJS | March 15, 2012

Formal photo of Lt. JFK, USN in WWII

As evidenced by several recent stories in the national media, there are no limits to the fascination and curiosity of the American public for details about the life and legacy of President John F. Kennedy.  Of particular interest is the chapter of JFK’s life that was devoted to his service in the US Navy during World War II.

JFK formal shot

Lt. John F. Kennedy, USN

JFK’s legacy as the skipper of PT 109 and the role he played in leading his crew to safety after their boat was spilt in two by a Japanese warship remains one of the most enduring accounts of heroism in American military history.       In the autumn of 1960, when I was nine years old, my Uncle Rob O’Neill took me and several of my cousins to a sidewalk along Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia where we became part of a huge and very vocal throng cheering for a passing motorcade in which JFK stood in the back of his limousine passing by.

The memory of that day still sends a current of excitement up and down my spine.  Remembering that JFK and Red Stahley both served in the Navy’s Mosquito Fleet in WWII has the same effect on me.

CORRECTION:  In my previous post, I identified PT 367 as part of Squadron (Ron) 27.  The correct Ron for the 367 was Ron 18.  My thanks to Gary Paulsen for getting me the correct info on this issue.  The ongoing dialogue among the PT “extended family” on the blog and the website are exactly what I hoped for when I launched these ventures last year.  Please keep connecting!


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