The men who saved JFK’s life http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-28644830
Most articles on President John Fitzgerald Kennedy tend to focus on the man’s assassination in Dallas in 1963; few if any recall that the man known to the world as JFK had actually lived a rather rich, if short life up until that point in time. Born into the illustrious Kennedy clan from Massachusetts (whose ancestors hailed from Dunganstown, County Wexford in Ireland), John and his brother Bobby were destined to reach high office, in a fashion not dissimilar to their father, Joe Kennedy. John started the war as an Ensign with a desk job, but later graduated to the position of Lieutenant (Junior Grade) and held command of a Motor Torpedo Boat, PT-101.
While there, and after participating in a number of previous actions, PT-101 was rammed and sunk by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri, on the 2nd of August 1943. The survivors clung to wreckage and eventually were able to swim to a nearby island. JFK towed his badly-burned senior enlisted mate, Patrick McMahon to safety by clenching his life vest strap between his teeth.
There they waited until two natives, Eroni Kumana and Biuku Gasa, arrived by canoe and were able to take a message, scratched into a coconut to the naval authorities to arrange for a rescue. The message simply read;
COMMANDER… NATIVE KNOWS POS’IT…
HE CAN PILOT… 11 ALIVE
NEED SMALL BOAT… KENNEDY
JFK later had the coconut shell made into a paperweight which he kept on his Oval Office desk, ironically made from the timbers of another sunken ship, the HMS Resolute. Kumana sadly passed away at the age of 93, on Saturday 2nd of August.