Thursday, May 6, 1943
May 6, 1943
JFK wrote a letter to his lifelong friend Lemoyne Billings. He described a sobering incident that occurred to him during the first day of his arrival in the Solomon Islands. His troop transport ship was attacked by Japanese warplanes and the captain of the ship was killed in the raid. One of the Japanese pilots was shot down and rather than surrending, took out his pistol while floating next to the ship and starting firing at the sailors watching him from the deck. As Kennedy recounts,
That slowed me a bit, the thought of him sitting in the water – battling an entire ship… It brought home very strongly how long it’s going to take to finish the war.
The Japanese pilot was killed by a sailor on deck who shot him in the head.