Monday, January 14, 2019
He Saved JFK's Life-- Part 4: "We Were the Most Expendable"
Kennedy needed to get a message for help through to Allies and with these natives. A big problem was that he didn't speak their language and they didn't speak English. He did not have any paper, but he did have a knife and an island full of coconuts.
He picked one up and began to carve. "11 ALIVE", he wrote. "NEED SMALL BOAT."
It worked. The coconut was carried to an Australian coast watcher, who relayed the message to the U.S. base on the island of Rendova. But when it arrived, the Navy brass were skeptical. Could this coconut be a trap to lure U.S. forces into an ambush? It was decided that only one boat could be sacrificed for a rescue attempt.
Seventy years later, when William Liebenow was asked why his boat, the PT-157, was picked for the job he'd say they were "the best boat crew in the South Pacific." He's also offer up this reason on occasion and that was one of his crew member's jokes: "We were the most expendable."