Blog 06/04/2024 - Discovering PT-109

Discovering PT-109 by Jeff Ballard

With the recent hullaballoo over World War II in the South Pacific, MHT provides some honest touring to see Guadalcanal, the Battle of Munda & “Up the Slot” to see where Lieutenant Junior Grade John F. Kennedy’s, U.S. Navy heroic effort to save his crew of Patrol Torpedo Boat PT-109. The WWII Pacific Campaign was front & center in the news this Spring as the Commander in Chief concocted a false narrative that offended the nation of New Guinea.

On Wednesday April 17th in Pittsburg, PA, President Joe Biden not once, but twice claimed that the remains of his uncle, Second Lieutenant Ambrose J. Finnegan Jr., U.S. Army Air Force were unable to be recovered “because there used to be a lot of cannibals” in New Guinea, in the southwestern Pacific during WWII.

Biden stated; “And my uncle, they called him — Ambrose, they called him Bosie… and he became an Army Air Corps, before the Air Force came along, he flew those single engine planes as reconnaissance over war zones, and he got shot down in New Guinea, and they never found the body because there used to be a lot of cannibals — for real — in that part of the New Guinea.”

The Presidents numerous misstatements were quickly corrected by the official report of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPMAA), Finnegan was actually only a passenger on an A-20 Havoc Medium Bomber, when, for “unknown reasons, this plane was forced to ditch in the ocean off the north coast of New Guinea. Both engines failed at low altitude, and the aircraft’s nose hit the water hard. Three men failed to emerge from the sinking wreck and were lost in the crash. One crew member survived and was rescued by a passing barge.”

This official account of the 1944 incident from military records makes no mention of the plane being shot down or of any possible cannibalism as Finnegan was one of the three military men lost to the sea. The DPMAA said Finnegan was a passenger not a pilot of the plane when it was lost. “He has not been associated with any remains recovered from the area after the war and is still unaccounted-for,” according to the agency.
Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister James Marape accused President Joe Biden of disparaging the South Pacific Island nation by implying that his uncle had been eaten by "cannibals" there during WWII. Prime Minister Marape dismissed the president's comments not as outright lies but rather as "loose" talk. Biden's comments were a foreign policy blunder offending a key strategic ally as China moves to increase its influence in the region.

The President also misstated when his uncle had enlisted in the military, saying he joined “when D-Day occurred, the next day,” which was June 6th  1944, when he actually joined weeks after the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. Finnegan’s death, was noted in a telegram from General Douglas MacArthur, U.S. Army, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in the Southwest Pacific Area, expressing condolences to Finnegan’s family: “Dear Mr. Finnegan: In the death of your son, Second Lieutenant Ambrose J. Finnegan Jr., while in service of his country, you have my profound sympathy. Your consolation may be that he died in the uniform of our beloved country, serving in a crusade from which a better world for all will come. Very faithfully, Douglas MacArthur.”
White House spokesman Andrew Bates did not address the multiple discrepancies between the DPMAA’s records & Biden’s account when he issued a statement on the matter just noting “President Biden is proud of his uncle’s service in uniform.”

It isn’t a fictitious statement that Colonel Joe Mueller is the guy you want to be on the “Canal” with & will take you up the slot to Kennedy Island…no lie!

DISCOVERING PT-109 By Jeff Ballard