PLATTSBURGH — John F. Kennedy is one of 32 World War II veterans scheduled to fly to out Saturday as part of the latest North Country Honor Flight.
The Plattsburgh man, who bears almost the same name as the 35th U.S. president, actually met him aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutter USS Eagle in 1962, where he served as master chief boatswain’s mate.
Kennedy, whose middle name is Francis, said that the president was very easy to talk with, since they were both World War II veterans.
The president asked the Plattsburgh man if he had any trouble with his name, and he replied that he’d had none at all, that he was “very proud to have that name.”
“I thought you might be getting blamed for some of my mistakes,” the president responded with a wide smile.
‘NEVER GOT HIT’
Kennedy, 88, who served on a light cruiser in the South Pacific during World War II, fought in the critical battles of Leyte Gulf and Luzon, among others.
“I was in a lot of action, but we never got hit,” he said from his Plattsburgh home on Friday.
Sharp in his memory is a typhoon that overturned three destroyers and ripped a sea plane from where it had been lashed to the stern of his ship.
“That gives you an idea of how rough it was,” he said.
PenAir will send two aircraft to fly the veterans, 32 guardians and four Honor Flight crew members to and from Washington, D.C., to visit the National World War II Memorial.
A flag-raising ceremony for them will be observed at the Plattsburgh Veterans Park at the U.S. Oval at 6:45 a.m. Saturday. It will be followed by a motorcycle motorcade around the Oval and neighborhood before proceeding to Plattsburgh International Airport.