Joseph P Kennedy Jr Post 11-11

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Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.

Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr., older brother of President John F. Kennedy, was born in Nantasket, Mass., 25 July 1915. He attended Harvard College and Harvard Law School, enlisting in the Naval Reserve 24 June 1941. After flight training, Kennedy was commissioned Ensign 5 May 1942. He served with Patrol Squadron 203 and Bombing Squadron 110 before joining a special air unit in Britain in 1944. He was appointed Lieutenant 1 July 1944. Lt. Kennedy took part in a secret project to destroy German V-2 rocket launching sites by the use of radio controlled drone aircraft loaded with explosives. The plane could not take off by radio control, however, and Kennedy volunteered to take her into the air where guidance systems would take over. After exhaustive preparations he and another brave flyer, Lt. W.J. Willy, took off from Win-farthing 12 August 1944. However, the drone exploded with two enormous blasts, killing both officers. Lt. Kennedy was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously for this dangerous mission in the drone Liberator bomber.

His citation testifies: "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."


Naval Historical Center

Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (DD-850) was launched by Bethlehem Steel Co., Quincy, Mass., 26 July 1945; sponsored by Miss Jean Kennedy, sister of Lt. Kennedy; and commissioned at Boston 15 December 1945, Comdr. H. G. Moore in command.