Monday, August 01, 2005

On August 1st in military 1943 and 1966

On August 1st in military history….in 1943. PT-109, carrying future president John F. Kennedy, is rammed, cut in two and sunk by a Japanese destroyer off Kolombangara Island in the Solomon Islands. Two of Lt. Kennedy’s crew are killed, but he and 10 others survive and are thrown into the water. They make it to a coral island where Kennedy swims back out to try and flag down a passing American ship. He was unsuccessful, so the survivors later swim to a larger island where they meet some natives. The natives take a message carved on a coconut to an American coast watcher and then are later paddled there by the natives where the US Navy picked them up. Lt. Kennedy is awarded the Navy and Marine Corps medal for gallantry instead of a court-martial for not paying attention and getting his boat sunk. Hollywood made a movie of this event entitled "PT-109" (Duh!) in case you feel the need for a 60’s-era World War II film. Fast forward to today and imagine the film that would have been made about John Kerry’s "heroic" actions in Vietnam if he had been elected president. Yuck!

On August 1st in military history….in 1966. A former Eagle Scout and ex-Marine, Charles Whitman, climbs the University of Texas bell tower and proceeds to shoot 46 people (killing 16) before being shot to death by an Austin policeman. Like Gunnery Sergeant Hartman said in "Full Metal Jacket", "Yet another example of what a motivated Marine and his rifle can do."


At 1:12 AM, Blogger Lone Ranger said...

Somehow, Hollywood left out a part of the PT-109 story. The reason John Kennedy was in the Pacific is that his father Joe had him shipped there after being caught climbing out the window of a foreign embassy in DC. Seems Jack was having an affair with an ambassador's wife.

A lot of people believe that his life-long back injury was suffered in the PT-109 collision, but he got it playing varsity football. Before he joined the Navy, he was rejected by the Army because of the injury.


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