Thursday, March 2, 2017
THE MAN WHO SAVED JACK KENNEDY
JFK+50: Volume 7, No. 2236
BUD LIEBENOW, PT-157 SKIPPER, DEAD AT 97
Mount Airy, North Carolina (JFK+50) The New York Times reported yesterday the death of 97 year old William 'Bud' Liebenow* of Mount Airy. Mr. Liebenow, who was skipper of PT-157** that rescued Lt.j.g. John F. Kennedy and his surviving crew, passed away from complications of pneumonia on Friday, February 24, 2017.
Eleven survivors of the PT109 were rescued on August 7, 1943. 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. 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."
In the New York Times obituary, Daniel E. Slotnik writes...
"Lieutenant Liebenow went on to pilot a PT boat to save more than 60 survivors of another sinking: that of the Corry, an American destroyer that was struck...during the Allied invasion at Normandy."
*William Frederick "Bud" Liebenow(1920-2017) was born in Fredericksburg, VA & graduated from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA in 1941. WFL joined the US Navy after the Pearl Harbor attack & during WWII escorted a dozen ships across the English Channel. He received Bronze & Silver Stars.
WFL worked in the railroad industry after the war. He joined the Kennedy presidential campaign in 1960 & attended the Inaugural Ball.
**PT-157 was launched on Nov 4, 1942 & assigned to the South Pacific. It was struck from the naval register on Nov 28, 1945.
"PT 109: John F. Kennedy in WWII," by Robert J. Donovan, McGraw-Hill Publishers, New York, 1961 and 2001.
"PT 157," NavSource Online, Motor Torpedo Boat Photo Archive, www.navsource.org/
"William Liebenow, 97, PT Boat Skipper Who Saved Kennedy," by Daniel E. Slotnik, March 1, 2017, Obituaries, The New York Times.
PT 157 and Crew