While an undergraduate at Harvard (1936–40) he served briefly in London as secretary to his father, who was ambassador there. His Harvard honors thesis on the British failure to judge the threat of Nazi Germany was published as Why England Slept (1940). Enlisting in the navy in Sept., 1941, he became commander of a PT boat in the Pacific in World War II. In action off the Solomon Islands (Aug., 1943), his boat, PT 109, was sunk, and Kennedy was credited with saving the life of at least one of his crew.
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