Saturday, July 25, 2015



Hull, Massachusetts (JFK+50) One hundred years ago today, July 25, 1915, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy announced the birth of their first child, Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr.*

Joe Junior was delivered by Kennedy family doctor Frederick L. Good in a rented cottage, where the Kennedys were spending the summer, located on Atlantic Avenue in Nantasket**.

Joe attended Choate School and the London School of Economics before attending Harvard where he graduated cum laude in 1938.  He joined the United States Navy in June 1941 and was awarded his aviator wings in May 1942.

Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. became "one of the most experienced pilots in the  navy."  Twice he was scheduled to return to the States but volunteered to stay to run additional bombing missions, some of them coinciding with the Normandy invasion.

On the second occasion that Joe was scheduled to return home, he told his crew to do so, but he remained.   Joe volunteered for a special assignment known as Operation Aphrodite.  The target was to be a German vengeance weapon bombing site located  in northern France.  

Before he took off on the mission, Joe told a friend, "If I don't come back, tell my Dad I love him very much."

On August 12, 1944, Joe's B-24 Liberator, loaded with 21,150 pounds of explosives, was in position at 2000 feet when it exploded before Joe and his navigator could parachute to safety as planned.

The remains were never found and the wreckage of the B-24 was scattered over an area 3 miles x 2 miles. After his death, Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. was awarded the Air Medal and Navy Cross for heroism.  

In 1945, As We Remember Joe***, a book of remembrances for Kennedy family, friends and associates, was published.  The book included a forward by brother Jack along with his essay titled "My Brother Joe."

*Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (1915-1944) graduated from Harvard in 1938.  He studied at the London School of Economics and was a delegate to the 1940 Democratic Convention.  Joe joined the US Navy earning his wings as a naval aviator in May 1942.  He completed 25 combat missions before volunteering for the one that took his life.

**Nantasket Beach, located in Hull, Massachusetts, is one of the busiest beaches in the Boston area.  Its name is derived from the Wampanoag word meaning "where the tides meet." 

***As We Remember Joe (1945) is described at as "scarce and one of the most difficult to obtain JFK related books."  It is estimated that there were a total of 360 copies printed.  The price is $1850.


"Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., Pilot (1915-1944)," Bio.,

"Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.," John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum,

"Lt. Joe Kennedy," by Trevor Jermy, edited by Lester Curtis, Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum,

"Top Secret Drone Mission That Killed Joseph Kennedy, Jr." by Ed Grabianowski, February 21, 2013,

"What if Joseph Kennedy, Jr. had not died on WWII mission?," by Jagdtigerl,

Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.
John F. Kennedy Library Photo