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JFK’s coconut message in ’43

April 11, 2016

PT Boat Red

JFK's coconut message

The recent death of Eroni Kumana of the Solomon Islands has rekindled memories of the role that he played in the rescue of future president John F. Kennedy after Kennedy and his crewmates from PT 109 were stranded on a remote island after their boat was smashed by a Japanese ship in 1943.

It was Kumana and his crewmate Gasa who suggested that Kennedy use a coconut to transmit a message; the two scouts also showed JFK how to carve the words into the coconut shell. These were the words that were scratched into what became the most famous coconut in history:

NAURO ISL.
COMMANDER…NATIVE KNOWS
POSIT…HE CAN PILOT…11 ALIVE
NEED SMALL BOAT…KENNEDY

Kumana and Gasa paddled 38 miles at great risk through Japanese-controlled waters to deliver the message to the coast-watcher who then radioed the news to the Navy squadron commander on Rendova Island. Two rescue boats brought PT…

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  1. Thanks so much for reblogging this post from PTBoat Red. I really appreciate your support. I hope that the readers of quirkywritingcorner will enjoy it.

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