WWII Navy officer who helped rescue Kennedy dies at age 97

MOUNT AIRY, NC (AP) — The WWII Navy officer who guided his warship into Japanese territory to rescue the future President John F. Kennedy and his crew is dead at age 97.

The daughter of William “Bud” Liebenow said Sunday he died in Mount Airy, North Carolina. Susan Liebenow of Arlington, Virginia, said her father died Friday from pneumonia complications.

Liebenow was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and recently graduated college when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. He joined the Navy and served on the fast, small and heavily armed attack vessels called PT boats.

After Kennedy’s PT boat was destroyed in the South Pacific in 1943, Liebenow guided his vessel behind enemy lines to find Kennedy and 10 other survivors.

Kennedy invited Liebenow and his family to the presidential inauguration in 1961.

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