"PT-109" was a song by Jimmy Dean about the adventures of John F. Kennedy and the crew of the PT-109. The boat was famous even before Kennedy ran for office because it was cut in two after being rammed by a Japanese destroyer, after which came a survival story, and rescue by native islanders Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana by canoe, though the islanders were not included in this version of the story.
In 1961 Dean had recorded "Big Bad John", a song that would become his biggest hit ever, and echoed at the end of "PT-109". It went to number one on the country and pop charts. He had five more top forty songs in 1962. "PT-109" was his biggest hit in 1962, reaching the top ten as Kennedy was still president. The song was Dean's sixth release on the country chart and peaked at number three and stayed on the country chart for thirteen weeks. "PT-109" also went to number eight on the pop chart and number two on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart. It was one of several military themed singles of the 1960s, along with the "Ballad of the Green Berets", "Billy and Sue", "Gonna Raise A Ruckus Tonight", "Sky Pilot (Part One)", and "Soldier Boy."