William “Bud” Liebenow passes

| February 27, 2017

William “Bud” Liebenow, the PT boat commander that took his vessel behind enemy lines to rescue the crew of PT 109 – John F. Kennedy’s crew, has passed at the tender age of 97. From the New York Daily News;

Liebenow and Kennedy were each captains of PT boats in the South Pacific in 1943 when Kennedy’s boat was destroyed by a Japanese destroyer. Kennedy and 10 other surviving crew members swam to a small island. Kennedy scratched a note into a coconut that two Solomon Islands natives carried to an American base.

Liebenow guided his boat behind enemy lines to track down the survivors of PT-109 on the island where they were hiding.

“Pulled right up to the beach,” Liebenow told WRAL-TV in 2015. “Just a part of the job really.”


The following year, Liebenow commanded a PT boat that was part of the D-Day invasion of northern France. His PT-199 was tasked with zooming around the waters off Normandy and rescuing men whose boats had been blown up by Nazi defenders. Liebenow’s boat helped rescue about 60 crew members from the destroyer USS Corry, which was sunk during the invasion struggle.

“We went in to pick up survivors and do what we could,” Liebenow told the Mount Airy News in 2014. “We spent most of that day picking up guys out of the water.”

Thanks to Mick for the tip.

Category: We Remember

Comments (12)

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  1. Atkron says:

    Fair Winds and Following Seas Sir!

  2. Sparks says:

    Rest in well deserved peace Sir.

  3. ex-OS2 says:

    Rest In Peace, Brother.

  4. 68W58 says:

    From his obituary in the Mt. Airy News:

    “Liebenow was awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star for valor in combat. He also received the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign.”

    Plus certainly the WWII Victory Medal and probably an American Campaign Medal.

  5. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Here’s a transcript of an interview with this man when he was a mere lad of 85 or so. Talk about an hones, down-to-earth fellow.


  6. 2/17 Air Cav says:


  7. Bill M says:

    Rest in Peace, Sir.

  8. UpNorth says:

    Rest in Peace.

  9. The Stranger says:

    He sounded like a very humble, matter of fact kind of guy…like most real heroes. Fair Winds and Following Seas, Skipper!

  10. Thunderstixx says:

    That such men have lived.
    RIP Sir.

  11. Carlton G. Long says: