Why, having just survived – barely – a sinking at sea and a deserted island shipwreck; worried over the mounting numbers of aircraft shot down in his older brother Joe’s unit, he warned his younger brother, Bobby, not to go into aviation; thoroughly disenchanted with heroics and war in any form and wanting only to relax while stationed at the Submarine Chaser Training Center in Miami – young Lt. Kennedy would take ten flying lessons himself, and solo, is a complete mystery. This flight logbook is, seemingly, the sole evidence of the inexplicable event – of which, hitherto, no note has been taken.
Here Kennedy’s instructor has recorded JFK’s flights, which Kennedy then certifies with his signature (“John F. Kennedy – Lt., U.S.N.R.”). Student pilot Kennedy has also filled out, in print, that section at the front of the logbook entitled “Identification” and sub-titled, “In Case of Serious Accident Please Notify.” This information – that Joseph P. Kennedy at Somerset Importers on Madison Avenue in New York City, and Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy in Hyannis Port - be notified in case of an airplane crash, would prove prescient, but ironic: they would receive word, soon enough, that a son perished in the air, but it would not be Jack. In August of that year, news would come to Hyannis Port of the death of Joe Kennedy, Jr
., over Europe - and later still, in 1948, of daughter Kathleen, in an airplane crash in France. What must have seemed to Jack Kennedy in his life, a veritable curse, would continue after his death: his only son and namesake, John F. Kennedy Jr., would die in 1999, when a small plane he was piloting crashed into the sea.
Document Signed (twice), being a Student Pilot’s Log Book, partially printed and accomplished in autograph and manuscript; 3 pages, oblong folio, no place [Miami, Florida], May 19, 1944 – May 29, 1944. (Log Book is approximately 100 pp., albeit the documentary portion of concern, but 3pp.) Very rare of this early date.