Miller Center

Presidential Image Gallery

John Kennedy on PT 109

July 31, 1943
Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

In 1943, future President John F. Kennedy served in World War II as commander of a motor torpedo boat called PT 109 in the South Pacific. In August of that year, a Japanese destroyer sunk the boat, and Kennedy heroically led his crew on a three mile swim to land. For these endeavors, Kennedy was awarded the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Medal for Valor and a Purple Heart for injuries he sustained.

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