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Solomon Islands
Eroni Kumana dies at 93; helped rescue JFK and his PT-109 crew
Eroni Kumana dies at 93; helped rescue JFK and his PT-109 crew

On a moonless night in the summer of 1943, a Japanese destroyer tore through a U.S. Navy patrol-torpedo boat guarding the waters around the Solomon Islands. The boat was PT-109, skippered by a young lieutenant from Massachusetts named John F. Kennedy. Two of Kennedy’s 13 men were killed in the collision, and others were injured or sickened by the fuel that poured from their sinking vessel. Desperate for refuge, they swam for five hours to reach a small island. One man was so badly burned that Kennedy towed him with the strap from the wounded sailor’s life jacket clamped in his teeth. Over the next days Kennedy returned repeatedly to the water, swimming past exhaustion in...

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