Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.


Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.

Infobox_Person
name = Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.


image_size = 175px
caption =
birth_date = July 25, 1915
birth_place =
death_date = death date and age|mf=yes|1944|8|12|1915|7|25
death_place =
education = Harvard University, London School of Economics
occupation =
residence =
spouse =

children = none

parents = Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald
religion = Roman Catholic

Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr. (July 25, [Some sources state birthdate as July 28. ] 1915 – August 12, 1944) was the oldest of the nine children born to Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr. and his wife, Rose Elizabeth Kennedy née Fitzgerald. Older brother of future President John F. Kennedy, he was expected to bear the family's political hopes.cite book|last=Olsen|first=Jack|authorlink=Jack Olsen |title=Aphrodite: Desperate Mission|year=1970, 2004 | id=ISBN 9780743486705]

Early life and WWII service

Joseph, Jr. graduated from the prestigious Choate Rosemary Hall prep school in Connecticut in 1933 (his brother John F. Kennedy also attended) and entered Harvard University in 1934 and graduated in 1938 (political historian Theodore White was a classmate). There he played football, rugby, and crew, and served on the student council. He spent a year studying under the tutelage of Harold Laski at the London School of Economics, before enrolling in Harvard Law School. In 1940, he made his first step in what would have been his political life, as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. During this time Joe became engaged to Athalia Fetter. He left Harvard Law before his final year to enlist in the United States Navy as an aviator. He earned his wings in May 1942 and was sent to England in September 1943. He piloted the PB4Y Liberator on anti-submarine and other missions on two tours of duty throughout the winter of 1943-44. Although Kennedy had completed his 25 combat missions and was eligible to return home, he volunteered for an Operation Aphrodite mission in which he died on August 12, 1944.

Operation Aphrodite

After previous US Army Operation Aphrodite missions first conceptualized on July 23, 1944, Kennedy and Lt. Wilford John Willy (born May 13, 1909 in New Jersey) were the crew - Lt Wilford J. Willy had pulled rank over Ensign FNU Simpson (who was the regular co-pilot with Joe Kennedy Jr) in order to be on this mission - in a modified version of the B-24 Liberator (code name Anvil) in the US Navy's first Aphrodite mission. After the two Lockheed Ventura mother planes and a navigation plane had taken off, the BQ8 "robot" aircraft completed take-off from RAF Fersfield, England loaded with 21,170 pounds (9,600 kg) of Torpex to use as a guided missile on the V-3 cannon site in Mimoyecques, France. [cite web|url=http://home.att.net/~jbaugher/thirdseries4.html|title=US Navy and US Marine Corps Bureau Numbers, Third Series (30147 to 839998)|work=|accessdate=2007-04-10|publisher=Joseph F. Baugher] Following approximately 300 feet behind the drone was Colonel Elliott Roosevelt in a de Havilland Mosquito to film the mission. Kennedy and Willy remained on board while the BQ8 completed its first remote-control turn. Approximately two minutes later and ten minutes before the planned crew bail out, the Torpex detonated and destroyed the drone - the plane came down near to the village of Blythburgh in Suffolk

:quotation|ATTEMPTED FIRST APHRODITE ATTACK TWELVE AUGUST WITH ROBOT TAKING OFF FROM FERSFIELD AT ONE EIGHT ZERO FIVE HOURS PD ROBOT EXPLODED IN THE AIR AT APPROXIMATELY TWO THOUSAND FEET EIGHT MILES SOUTHEAST OF HALESWORTH AT ONE EIGHT TWO ZERO HOURS PD WILFORD J. WILLY CMA SR GRADE LIEUTENANT AND JOSEPH P. KENNEDY SR GRADE LIEUTENANT CMA BOTH USNR CMA WERE KILLED PD COMMANDER SMITH CMA IN COMMAND OF THIS UNIT CMA IS MAKING FULL REPORT TO US NAVAL OPERATIONS PD A MORE DETAILED REPORT WILL BE FORWARDED TO YOU WHEN INTERROGATION IS COMPLETED|Top Secret telegram to General Carl Andrew Spaatz|from General Jimmy Doolittle|August, 1944

Roosevelt's damaged Mosquito with injured crew members was able to limp home, and fifty-nine buildings were damaged in a nearby British coastal town. The Navy's informal board of review rejected the possibility of the pilot erroneously arming the circuitry early and instead, suspected jamming or a stray signal could have armed and detonated the payload. An electronics officer, Earl Olsen, had warned Kennedy of this possibility the day before the mission.cite book |last=Renehan, Jr|first= Edward J|authorlink=Edward Renehan|title=The Kennedys at War, 1937-1945|year=2002 |publisher=DoubleDay |location=New York|isbn=978-0385501651|pages=304] The Navy Cross citation reads:quotation|For extraordinary heroism and courage in aerial flight as pilot of a United States Liberator bomber on August 12, 1944. Well knowing the extreme dangers involved and totally unconcerned for his own safety, Lieutenant Kennedy unhesitatingly volunteered to conduct an exceptionally hazardous and special operational mission. Intrepid and daring in his tactics and with unwavering confidence in the vital importance of his task, he willingly risked his life in the supreme measure of service and, by his great personal valor and fortitude in carrying out a perilous undertaking, sustained and enhanced the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service. [http://www.orwelltoday.com/jfkbrother.shtml]

Kennedy's body was never recovered, and he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross; the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal. Lt. Willy was also posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, and both men's names are listed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial.

After death, legacy

In 1946, the Navy named a destroyer for him, the USS "Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr." (DD-850), aboard which his younger brother Robert F. Kennedy briefly served. Among the highlights of its service are the blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the afloat recovery teams for "Gemini 6" and "Gemini 7". It is now a floating museum in Battleship Cove, Fall River, Massachusetts.

ee also

*Kennedy family
*Kennedy Curse

References

External links

*findagrave|9665752 Retrieved on 2008-02-10
* [http://www.blythweb.co.uk/blythburgh/kennedy1.htm Eye Witness of Plane Crash] — Blythburgh Web


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