On this day in 1944, Lieutenant Joseph Kennedy Jr. perished during a top secret, Operation Aphrodite mission. The mission required Kennedy and his co-piolet to take off in a modified B-24 Liberator, loaded with 21,000 lbs of Torpex, arm the explosives, then parachute to safety. Afterwards, the aircraft was to be guided to its target and detonated by radio control. Kennedy’s plane exploded shortly after arming the explosives. The event is widely regarded by historians as being the reason Joe Kennedy Sr. diverted all his political aspirations to his next oldest son, John F. Kennedy.