Thursday, August 7, 2014



Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) The United States Congress overwhelmingly approved the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution a half-century ago today, August 7, 1964.

The resolution, which passed 416-0 in the House of Representatives and received only a couple of opposing votes in the Senate, authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to do...

 "whatever is necessary...(to assist) any member of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty".

The resolution was proposed by the Johnson administration after an alleged naval engagement in the Gulf of Tonkin two days earlier between North Vietnamese patrol boats and destroyers U.S.S. Maddox and U.S.S. Turner Joy.

The only votes cast against the resolution were by Democratic Senators Morse of Oregon and Gruening of Arkansas.

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution


Solomon Islands (JFK+50) The survivors of PT109,  including 11 of the 13 man crew and their commander, Lt. John F. Kennedy, were rescued 71 years ago today, Saturday, August 7, 1943, by PT boats of the United States Navy.

The survivors were met first by Reginald Evans*, an Australian coast watcher who had been alerted by JFK's message carved on a coconut and brought to him by local natives.

Evans radioed this message to Lumberi at 9:20 a.m.

"Eleven survivors PT boat on Gross Is X Have sent food and letter advising senior come here without delay X Warn aviation of canoes crossing Ferguson"

Robert J. Donavan writes that Evans dispatched 7 scouts by canoe to retrieve the "senior" member of the 109 crew from Olasana.

Lt. Kennedy was hidden in the canoe and covered with dead palm fronds as the natives paddled out into Blackett Strait.

When they reached shore, JFK stuck his head out of the palm fronds and said to Evans "Hello, I'm Kennedy."

JFK suggested to Evans that he be permitted to pilot PT boats back to Olasana to pick up his crew.

When PT 157 arrived to pick Lt. Kennedy up, he was upset with the delay in the rescue operation and vented his unhappiness to Lt. W. F. Liebenow who had greeted him with these words...

"Calm down, Jack, we have some warm food for you." 

JFK replied sarcastically...

"No thanks, I've just had a coconut."

It was after midnight when JFK rejoined his crew on Olasana and shuttled them aboard PT 157.

*JFK could not remember Evans' name but had a letter from him which appeared to be signed by A. Rinhaus and that is the name JFK would know him by for the next 17 years.

 In the first article about the 109 incident, John Hersey identified him as Lt. Wincote.  Robert Donovan says that it was not until after JFK became president that Evans was finally correctly identified.


"PT 109: John F. Kennedy in WWII," by Robert J. Donovan, McGraw-Hill Publishers, New York, 1961 and 2001.

PT 157 and Crew


Falmouth, Massachusetts (JFK+50) Fifty-one years ago this afternoon, First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy gave birth to a baby boy.

The premature birth came at 12:52 p.m.local time  at Otis Air Force Base Hospital.

Mrs. Kennedy had been rushed to the hospital by helicopter from her home at Hyannisport.

The baby boy, born five and a half weeks premature and weighing 4 pounds 10.5 ounces, suffered from respiratory complications often seen in early births.

According to Secret Service agent Clint Hill, because the President had no travel plans for the day, Air Force One and other jets in the VIP fleet were unavailable.

JFK was still en route at the time the baby was delivered.  The President arrived 40 minutes later.

The baby boy, named Patrick Bouvier Kennedy after JFK's grandfather and Mrs. Kennedy's father, was transferred at 5:55 Children's Hospital Medical Center in Boston for specialized treatment.

The President traveled to Boston to be with Patrick while Clint Hill stayed at Otis with the First Lady.

Clint Hill writes...

"Every time I thought about baby Patrick, so small and alone inside the incubator, it nearly tore me apart.  Throughout this time, Mrs. Kennedy seldom woke up, but continued to remain in a stable condition."

Patrick Bouvier Kennedy passed away the next morning and funeral services were held on Saturday, August 10 in Boston.


"Mrs. Kennedy and Me," by Clint Hill with Lisa McCubbin, Gallery Books, New York, 2012.