Last surviving member of crew that rescued Kennedy dead at 87


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Greenville, S.C. — The Greenville News reports that Jack Gardo, the last survivor of the crew that rescued John F. Kennedy from an island in the Pacific Ocean during World War II, died in his sleep Wednesday. The Greenville native, suffering from dementia over the past few years, was 87.

Seventy years ago, Gardo and the rest of the PT-157 crew was tasked with rescuing survivors of PT-109, after the torpedo boat was attacked by a Japanese destroyer. The Associated Press reports that the whereabouts of the survivors were unknown until “a native islander arrived with a coconut in which Kennedy had scrawled their location.” Although Gardo did not know who Kennedy was at the time, the Greenville News says, he did follow Kennedy’s career once he entered politics. Gordo and his wife Guynell also declined an invitation to attend Kennedy’s inauguration.

A funeral has been scheduled for Monday.