University Archives

Lot 147

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Two Letters Regarding JFK and His Service on PT 109

Two letters concerning John F. Kennedy's early Naval Reserve service. The first being 1p, measuring 8.5" x 11", no place, no date. A typed letter signed "Gerard E. Zinser"; Zinser served with Kennedy and had been the last survivor of PT-109. The typed statement concerns the incident on August 1, 1943, when the patrol torpedo boat ran into a group of Japanese destroyers and was rammed, killing two crew members. It reads, in part: "Kennedy towed Patrick 'Pappy' McMahon about one hour getting him back to the part of the boat that was still floating. He also towed him 4 hours to the first island and also 4 hours to the second island. He also swam out approximately three nights trying to hail down a P.T. Boat. He left at the first sign of darkness in the evening, and stayed out in Ferguson Passage treading water, returning in the morning to the island where we men were. Each time he was exhausted and several of us would hurry him from the beach up on the island behind trees and bushes to keep the Japs from spotting him. When the collision occurred it aggravated his back, but he kept from showing he was hurting. In all my 20 years of Naval service I met many good officers, but none could equal John F. Kennedy."

The second letter is 1p, measuring 8.5" x 11", Urbana, Illinois, October 23, 1968. An autograph letter signed from E.T. Drewitch to a Mr. Yachwak. Drewitch had also served aboard PT-109 with Kennedy, and his letter has a black and white photocopy of an image of the crew attached at the bottom of the letter. It reads, "I would appreciate the copies of the New Fronton News issues, if you wish to send them to me." Accompanying the letter is a larger print of the photograph, with each member identified and a heart drawn around Kennedy's name. Both with light edge toning. The second letter has flattened mail folds. From the collection of Ron Hoskins, assassinologist. 

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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