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A People at War headerNational Archives and Records Administration
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Prelude to War
New Roles
Women Who Served
The War in the Pacific
The War in Europe
The Memphis Belle
Lt. Joseph Kennedy, Jr
101st Airborne Division
Science Pitches In

The War is Over


The U.S. Navy also played a part in the air war in Europe by providing antisubmarine patrol aircraft. Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., piloted a Navy PB4Y-1 patrol bomber like the one shown here.

US Navy PB4Y-1 patrol bomber

He and his crew participated in many patrols over the North Atlantic, English Channel, and Bay of Biscay searching for German submarines. In 1944 Lieutenant Kennedy volunteered for Project Anvil (also known as Operation Aphrodite) in which explosive-laden bombers were piloted part way to their target, and, after pilot bail out, were guided by radio control to their targets in France. The targets usually chosen for these missions were German submarine pens or V-2 rocket-launching sites.

Kennedy's plane exploded shortly after takeoff, and he and his co-pilot were killed instantly. Later missions were carried out successfully. However, at the time, the plan was so secret that even Kennedy's parents knew little of the operation. (read letter, page 1 and page 2).