Olasana, South Pacific (JFK+50) After having made the long swim from the wreckage of PT109 to Plum Pudding Island, Lt. j.g. John F. Kennedy and his surviving crewmen swam to Olasana Island seventy-one years ago today, August 4, 1943.
Short on food and coconut milk, Lt. Kennedy ordered his crew to swim to the island closer to Ferguson Passage in hopes of being rescued.
Olasana is located one and three quarters of a mile southwest of Plum Pudding.
They began their swim at noon with JFK again towing the badly burned "Pappy" McMahon.
Robert J. Donovan, in his book PT 109, John F. Kennedy in World War II, describes the severity of McMahon's condition...
"It broke Kennedy's heart to look at him. Scabs forming over his burned eyelids made it difficult for him to see. The palms of his hands were swollen to a thickness of three inches. They were cracked...and he could look deeply into his own flesh."
The weary swimmers arrived at an islet west of Cross Island at 3 in the afternoon.
According on Donovan...
"The eleven survivors gathered in the trees behind the curved beach on the southeastern tip of Olasana, whence they could look straight across another half-mile of water to Naru Island bordering Ferguson Passage."
The decision was made to stay in the spot and not risk exploring the island which was twice as large as Plum Pudding.
The water in Ferguson Passage was too cold that evening for anyone to attempt to swim out to seek help.
"PT109, John F. Kennedy in World War II," by Robert J. Donovan, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1961, 2001.
IKE WARNED OF BAD SITUATION IN ASIA
Seattle, Washington (JFK+50) President Dwight D. Eisenhower, speaking before the Governors Conference meeting here in Seattle sixty-one years ago today, August 4, 1953,warned that the situation in Asia was "ominous for the United States".
The President also said that the defense of French Indochina was a necessity to prevent a communist takeover.
Mr. Eisenhower's speech marked the origin of the Domino Theory which held that if one nation in Southeast Asia fell to the communists, all the other nations of the region would fall as well, like a set of dominoes.
JESSE OWENS WINS OLYMPIC LONG JUMP
Berlin, Germany (JFK+50) African-American athlete Jessie Owens won a gold medal here in Berlin at the Summer Olympic Games seventy-eight years ago today, August 4, 1936.
Owens, who was a graduate of Ohio State University, won the long jump at 26 feet, 5 and one-half inches which set an Olympic record.
Known as "the Buckeye Bullet", Jesse Owens set a record that was to stand for 24 years. At Ohio State, he won 8 individual NCAA championships.
Owens was born in Oakville, Alabama in 1913 and died at the age of 66 in Tuscon, Arizona in 1980.
Jesse Owens is quoted as saying...
"I let my feet spend as little time on the ground as possible. From the air, fast down, and from the ground, fast up."