Thursday, January 17, 2019
He Saved JFK's Life-- Part 6: All Those Who Saved Kennedy
The epic story of the sinking of the PT-109, survival and rescue of its crew and the coconut, of course, would go on to become part of the Kennedy lore and a presidential selling point. Seventeen years after rescuing the crew, Liebenow helped Kennedy campaign in Michigan. Kennedy said he regularly met veterans who swore that they were on the boat that rescued him in the Pacific.
"Lieb." Kennedy told his old friend, "If I get the votes of everyone that claims to have been on your boat the night of the pickup I'll win in a landslide."
When Kennedy won, he kept the coconut shell, which he had made into a paperweight on his desk in the Oval Office.
After the war, William Liebenow married, had two children and worked as a chemist for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway.