Navy of­fi­cer who helped res­cue JFK

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - LOCAL - As­so­ci­ated Press

MOUNT AIRY, N.C. The WWII Navy of­fi­cer who guided his war­ship into Ja­panese ter­ri­tory to res­cue fu­ture Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy and his crew has died at age 97, his daugh­ter said Sun­day.

Wil­liam “Bud” Liebenow died Fri­day from pneu­mo­nia com­pli­ca­tions, said Su­san Liebenow of Ar­ling­ton, Vir­ginia.

Liebenow was born in Fred­er­icks­burg, Vir­ginia, and­was a new col­lege grad­u­ate when the Ja­panese at­tacked Pearl Har­bor in 1941. He joined theNavy and vol­un­teered for ser­vice on the fast, small and heav­ily armed at­tack ves­sels called PT boats.

Liebenow and Kennedy were each cap­tains of PT boats in the South Pa­cific in 1943 when Kennedy’s boat was de­stroyed by a Ja­panese de­stroyer. Kennedy and 10 other sur­viv­ing crew mem­bers swam to a small is­land. Kennedy scratched a note into a co­conut that two Solomon Is­lands na­tives car­ried to an Amer­i­can base.

Liebenow guided his boat be­hind en­emy lines to track down the sur­vivors of PT-109 on the is­land where they­were hid­ing.

“Pulled right up to the beach,” Liebenow told WRAL-TV in 2015. “Just a part of the job re­ally.”

Kennedy in­vited Liebenow and his fam­ily to the pres­i­dent’s in­au­gu­ra­tion cer­e­mony18 years later, Su­san Liebenow­said.

But Liebenow’s naval ca­reer didn’t end with that res­cue.

The fol­low­ing year, Liebenow com­manded a PT boat that­was part of the D-Day in­va­sion of north­ern France. His PT-199 was tasked with zoom­ing around the wa­ters off Nor­mandy and res­cu­ing men whose boats had been blown up by Nazi de­fend­ers. Liebenow’s boat helped res­cue about 60 crewmem­bers fromthe de­stroy­erUSS Corry, which­was sunk dur­ing the in­va­sion strug­gle.

“We went in to pick up sur­vivors and do what we could,” Liebenow told the Mount Airy News in 2014. “We spent most of that day pick­ing up guys out of the wa­ter.”

Af­ter the war, Liebenow worked as a chemist for the Ch­e­sa­peake and Ohio Railway and re­tired af­ter 30 years, his fam­ily said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.