John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917 – 1963) was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. After Kennedy's military service as commander of the USS PT-109 during World War II in the South Pacific, his aspirations turned political. Kennedy defeated former Vice President and Republican candidate Richard Nixon in the 1960 U.S. presidential election, one of the closest in American history. He is the youngest man and the only practicing Roman Catholic to be elected President. To date he is also the only President to have won a Pulitzer Prize. Events during his administration include the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, the American Civil Rights Movement and early events of the Vietnam War.