JFK+50: Volume 6, No. 2032A COCONUT MESSAGE LEADS TO RESCUE OF JFK AND PT109 CREW
Cross Island, Solomon Islands (JFK+50) Seventy three years ago today, August 6, 1943, Lt. John F. Kennedy along with two friendly natives, Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana, canoed to Cross Island to pick up Ensign Barney Ross.
Lt. Kennedy picked up a coconut and with his knife carved a message. JFK asked the natives to take it to the coastwatcher on Wana Wana.
The message reads...
"Nauro Isl - Commander - Native Knows Posit - He Can Pilot - 11 Alive - Need Small Boat - Kennedy"
The natives canoed to Rendova Harbor 38 miles away with the coconut message...soon help would be on the way to rescue the survivors of PT109.
After the rescue, JFK managed to retrieve the coconut and later had it encased in wood and plastic. It was displayed on his desk in the Oval Office at the White House. Today it can be seen at the JFK Library.
Dave Powers, Presidential assistant and later curator, said that it was the most important object in the library because without it, all the rest would have never been possible.
"Coconut shell paperweight with PT109 rescue message," John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, www.jfklibrary.org/
"11 ALIVE...NEED SMALL BOAT...KENNEDY," Letters of Note, April 20, 2011, www.lettersofnote.com/
"PT 109, John F. Kennedy in WWII," by Robert J. Donovan, McGraw-Hill Publishers, New York, 1961, 2001.