Kirksey, Andrew Jackson, TM2c

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Last Rank
Torpedoman 2nd Class
Last Primary NEC
TM-0000-Torpedoman's Mate
Last Rating/NEC Group
Torpedoman's Mate
Primary Unit
1943-1943, TM-0000, USS No Name (PT-109)
Service Years
1942 - 1943
TM-Torpedoman's Mate

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Robert Keniston (Bob), OS2 to remember Kirksey, Andrew Jackson, TM2c.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Reynolds, GA
Last Address
Fifth Ave
Manchester, GA
(Wife~Floye Ann Kirksey)

Casualty Date
Aug 02, 1943
Hostile, Died
Artillery, Rocket, Mortar
Pacific Ocean
World War II
Location of Interment
Manila American Cemetery - Taguig City, Philippines
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Wall of the Missing (Cenotaph)

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
World War II FallenUnited States Navy Memorial The National Gold Star Family RegistryWW II Memorial National Registry
  2017, World War II Fallen
  2017, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
  2017, The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2017, WW II Memorial National Registry

 Tributes from Members  
John F. Kennedy and PT 109 posted by Burgdorf, Tommy (Birddog, TWS Memorial "A" Team), FC2 432
 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

 Duty Stations
Surface Vessels USS No Name
  1943-1943, TM-0000, USS No Name (PT-109)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1943-1943 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/New Georgia Campaign (1943)
  1943-1943 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Northern Solomon Islands Campaign (1943-44)
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Jul 21, 1942, Service Entry Date & Enlisted Serial Number 636-67-65
  Apr 03, 1943, Transfer to Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB) Squadron 2 from MTB Training Center, Portsmouth, RI
  Jul 01, 1943, Promoted to Torpedoman 2nd Class
  Aug 02, 1943, Missing In Action due to enemy action Near New Georgia Area line of duty
  Nov 25, 2017, General Photos2
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

In Blackett Strait, south of Kolombangara in the Solomon Islands, the starless, moonless night of August 1-2, 1943, was profoundly dark, inky blackness.  USS PT-109 stood at her station, one of fifteen PT boats that had set out to engage, damage, and maybe even turn back the well-known "Tokyo Express," a name given to the Japanese navy's supply convoy to soldiers fighting the advance of U.S. forces in the islands farther south.  When the patrol actually did come in contact with the "Tokyo Express" three Japanese destroyers acting as transports with a fourth serving as escort. The encounter did not go well.  Thirty torpedoes were fired without damaging the Japanese ships.  No U.S. vessels suffered hits or casualties.  Boats that had used up their complement of torpedoes were ordered home.  The few that still had torpedoes remained in the strait for another try. What then transpired may well be the most famous small-craft engagement in U.S. naval history.

PT-109 was one of the boats left behind.  The boat's commander, LTJG John Fitzgerald Kennedy, future U.S. President, rendezvoused his boat with two others.  The three boats spread out to make a picket line across the strait.  At about 2:30 in the morning, a shape loomed out of the black darkness three hundred yards off PT-109's starboard bow.  Kennedy and his crew first believed it was another PT boat.  When it became apparent that it was one of the Japanese destroyers, Kennedy attempted to turn to starboard to bring his torpedoes to bear but there was not enough time.  The Japanese destroyer, later identified as the AMAGIRI, had begun a 400 mile run for Rabaul when a lookout spotted something small dead ahead.  Correctly believing the unidentified boat to be an American PT boat the AMAGIRI's commanding officer ordered the helmsman to speed directly toward the object.  PT-109 was struck just forward of the forward starboard torpedo tube, ripping away the starboard aft side of the boat.  Most of the crew were knocked into the water.  The one man below decks miraculously escaped, although he was badly burned by exploding fuel.

Fear that PT-109 would go up in flames drove Kennedy to order the men who still remained on the wreck to abandon ship.  When the fire began to subside, Kennedy sent his men back to what was left of the boat.  Floating on and around the hulk, the crew took stock and discovered that two crewmembers had disappeared in the collision, very likely killed at impact.  All the men were exhausted, a few were hurt and several had been sickened by the fuel fumes.  There was no sign of other boats or ships in the area and the men were afraid to fire their flare gun for fear of attracting the attention of the Japanese who were on islands on all sides.  Although the wreckage was still afloat, it was taking on water and it capsized on the morning of August 2.  After a discussion of options, the men abandoned the remains of PT-109 and started swimming for an islet nearby.

Torpedoman's Mate Second Class Andrew Jackson Kirksey was one of the two missing PT-109 crewmembers killed in the collision.  He entered the Navy from Georgia on July 1, 1942, and joined the crew of PT-109 on May 1, 1943.  When the collision occurred he reportedly was at his machine gun turret battle station which was located at almost the point of impact.  His body was never found and his name has been inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines.  He left behind a wife and a son who was born in October 1942.  Crewmembers reported that for days before the collision TM2 Kirksey had been tormented by premonitions of death to the point of upsetting his crewmates.
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