PT-109 CREW (GERARD E. ZINSER) - TYPESCRIPT SIGNED - HFSID 254610
Sale Price $680.00
PT 109: GERARD ZINSER
The last surviving member of the crew signs a typescript praising skipper JFK's heroism. An unsigned 4x6 photo of Zinser is included.
Typescript signed: "Gerard E. Zinser", 8½x11 card stock paper. Typescript titled "Gerard Zinser: Last Surviver [sic] of PT 109." In full: "26-year old John F. Kennedy arrived in the Solomon Islands early in April 1943 and on the 25th was given command of PT 109. As the fighting moved westward, the squadron was shifted first to Russells, and then in mid-July to Rendova Harbor. Here its job was to seal off Blackett Strait as an avenue for bringing Japanese reinforcements to Vila and Munda. Almost every night PTs slipped through Ferguson Passage and poked around the strait. Then on August 1 an urgent message arrived from Guadalcanal. Based on radio intercepts, it predicted that the Tokyo Express (Japanese destroyers carrying troops and supplies) might be running that night. It ordered Rendova to put a maximum number of PTs in Blackett Strait. The sky was cloudy, and the men could see no distance at all. Nor could they hear anything; there was strict radio silence. Patrolling blindly at about 2 A.M. - no sign of either friend or foe - PT 109 swung around and headed southeast down the strait. 'Ship at two o'clock,' Motor Machinist,s Mate 2/c Harold Marney sang out from the forward gun turret. On the Japanese destroyer Amagiri, Commander Kohai Hanami decided to ram. When sighted, the PT was already too close for his guns. He ordered his coxswain to turn the wheel sharply to starboard, and the destroyer veered toward the target. The Amagiri piled into the starboard side, slicing PT 109 in two just behind the cockpit. Gerard Zinser's most vivid memory of that night is of his skipper, Lt. John F. Kennedy, saving a sailor by gripping the man's life jacket laces in his teeth. Zinser is the last man alive who was aboard PT 109 the night it was rammed and cut in two. Two crew members were killed. Kennedy towed Patrick McMahon, who had been badly burned, by gripping the laces of McMahon's life jacket in his teeth. Gerard E. Zinser: 'Kennedy towed Patrick 'Pappy' McMahon about one hour getting him back to the part of the boat that was still floating. He also towed him 4 hours to the first island and also 4 hours to the second island. He also swam out approximately three nights trying to hail down a P. T. Boat. He left at the first sign of darkness in the evening, and stayed out in Ferguson Passage treading water, returning in the morning to the island where we men were. Each time he was exhausted and several of us would hurry him from the beach up on the island behind trees and bushes to keep the Japs from spotting him. When the collision occurred it aggravated his back, but he kept from showing he was hurting. In all my 20 years of Naval service I met many good officers, but none could equal John F. Kennedy."Accompanied by unsigned, middle-aged photo of Zinser (b/w, 4x6). Gerard Zinser, the only career navy man in the PT109's crew, retired from the navy in 1957, becoming a mailman. He and six fellow crewman rode a PT 109 float in Kennedy's inaugural parade. Zinser was an extra in the film PT 109, released in June 1963, a story based on Robert Donovan's book of the same title, from which this transcript is excerpted. Zinser attended Kennedy's funeral, and died at age 82 in 2001, the last crewman of the fateful mission. Fine condition.
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