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10/7/1960- President John F. Kennedy addresses at the podium.
Inside The Time Two Solomon Islanders Saved John F. Kennedy
History - Science
In the midst of World War II, Solomon Islanders Eroni Kumana and Biuku Gasa saved a group of American Navy personnel while scavenging a shipwreck. Little did they know that they had also rescued a future president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and that they would later be hailed as heroes by other Americans.
Before he became president, Kennedy enlisted in the Navy and was stationed in the Pacific when his patrol torpedo boat was sunk by a Japanese destroyer. He and the surviving members of his crew swam for hours to the nearest islands, and it was upon arriving on their second island that they were found by Kumana and Gasa.
As luck would have it, Kumana and Gasa were members of the Coastwatchers, an intelligence organization founded by Australia which delivered information on the Japanese to the Allies. Since they had no means of radio communication, Kennedy carved a message into a coconut and gave it to Kumana and Gasa to take to the nearest Coastwatchers base.
Kennedy and his crew were eventually saved, but sadly he never got to see Kumana or Gasa again. However, the Solomon Islanders never forgot the future president, with Kumana calling Kennedy his honorary chief and giving his family’s heirloom shells to be placed on Kennedy’s grave in 2008.