Lot 84: John F. Kennedy: W.F. Liebenow

RR Auction

2015-10-06 13:04:36

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Lot 84: ALS signed "W. F. Liebenow," nine pages on five sheets, 8.5 x 11, October 17, 1988. A detailed letter describing the circumstances surrounding the sinking of PT-109 and his subsequent rescue operation, in part: "A meeting was called of the ranking officers and boat captains to discuss a rescue attempt…Many thought it a…trick to lure the boats into the open. However, it was finally decided that the PT 157 would attempt the rescue." Liebenow and his crew treated this as a "routine mission. We knew the general area of the sinking. We followed the usual tactics for operation in enemy controlled waters—that is, ran at patrol speed to keep down our wake, changed course in a zig-zagging pattern to prevent" being hit by Japanese shore batteries. The two natives who had carried JFK's famous coconut message directed PT-157 to the rendezvous. Kennedy "fired his .38 and a rifle, furnished by Evans as a signal and I answered with my .45. We hoisted him aboard and went for the rest of the crew. We pulled in through a reef and got up close to shore. Lowered our dingy and ferried the wounded aboard 1st then most of the rest waded out and got aboard. You can imagine the celebration that took place. They were all singing, the medics started passing out medical alcohol and everyone was making so much noise," Liebenow feared they would be detected. He kidded Kennedy about "letting a DD ram the PT and asked how it happened. 'Lieb,' he said, 'I just don't know.' I think anyone who's ridden a PT boat in battle can believe it." In fine condition, with punch holes to left edge. RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 462 Wednesday, 14th October 2015 Estimate: $1500-2000
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