Joseph Patrick Kennedy Jr. Born as the first child of Joseph Patrick Kennedy Sr. and his wife Rose in 1915. Joe Jr. spent his early years in Massachusetts. After graduating from Harvard in 1938 (were he played football, rugby, and crew) Kennedy attended Harvard Law School. In 1940, Kennedy made his first jump in politics serving as a delegate to the 1940 Democratic National Convention. In 1941, Kennedy enlisted in the U.S. Navy as an aviator. He earned his wings in May, 1942, and was sent to England in September 1943. After completing his standerd 25 missions, Kennedy volunteered for dangerous work in testing a new type of guided missile. On July 23, 1944, Kennedy along with co-pilot Wilford Willy were flying a special test flight in a specialized B-24 Liberator which was carrying a test missile. Less than a minute after the two had bailed out over Mimoyecques, France the B-24 exploded. Kennedy and Willy were honored with Navy Cross for their gallantry.