THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT JOHN F.
KENNEDY ON NOVEMBER 22, 1963, AT
Statement of Special Agent Clinton J. Hill, United States Secret Service, concerning
his activities and official duties on November 22, 1963. Statement dated November
I, Clinton J. Hill, Special Agent, United States Secret Service, arrived at Love
Field, Dallas, Texas, at 11:40 a.m. on November 22, 1963, from Fort Worth, Texas,
aboard Air Force No. One (USAF #26000) with President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy. President
and Mrs. Kennedy debarked the aircraft first from the rear ramp followed by Governor
and Mrs. John Connally and by three or four Congressmen and Senators, and then myself
and ASAIC Roy H. Kellerman.
Upon alighting, President and Mrs. Kennedy were greeted by a small reception committee
and Mrs. Kennedy was presented a bouquet of red roses. I ran over to the Secret Service
Follow-up car immediately upon my arrival and placed my topcoat and a small folder containing information on this Dallas stop of the Texas trip on the floor of the
car. I then went back to where the President and Mrs. Kennedy were greeting an elderly
lady in a wheel chair.
The general public was restricted from the ramp area of Love Field by a permanent
chain-link fence. There were a number of photographers and correspondents on the
ramp area covering the arrival.
The President noticed the large number of people being restrained by the fence and
walked over to the crowd and began shaking hands. He moved from his right to his
left down the fence. Mrs. Kennedy accompanied him. I remained very close to Mrs.
Kennedy observing the outstretched hands of well-wishers to make sure no weapons were extended
toward Mrs. Kennedy and that nothing was handed to her. I accompanied Mrs. Kennedy
behind the President along the fence and then to the Presidential automobile which
was waiting to take President and Mrs. Kennedy and Governor and Mrs. John Connally to
the Trade Mart for a luncheon, after a 45 minute motorcade through downtown Dallas.
President and Mrs. Kennedy entered the automobile with the President getting into
the right rear seat and Mrs. Kennedy into the left rear seat. Mrs. Connally got into
the left jump seat and Governor Connally into the right jump seat. SA William Greer
was driving the automobile with ASAIC Roy H. Kellerman in the right front seat. I went
to the left rear side of the Presidential automobile and stood on the airport ramp
along side where Mrs. Kennedy was sitting.
As the Presidential automobile began to move forward at 11:55 a.m. I walked along
side of the left rear of the automobile for about 150 feet, and since there were
no people at all on the airport ramp I went back to the automobile immediately behind
the Presidential Automobile and mounted the forward portion of the left running board.
SA Sam Kinney was driving this Secret Service Follow-up car which was a 1955 Cadillac
9-passenger convertible specifically outfitted for use by the Secret Service. ATSAIC
Emory Roberts was sitting in the right front seat and operating the two way radio.
SA John Ready was on the forward portion of the right hand running board; SA William
McIntyre on the rear portion of the left hand running board; SA Paul E. Landis on
the rear portion of the right hand running board; Mr. Kenneth O'Donnell, Presidential
Appointment Secretary, was seated on the left side of the second seat; Mr. Dave Powers,
Presidential Receptionist, was seated on the right side of the second seat; SA George
Hickey was seated on the left side of the third seat- and SA Glen Bennett was seated
on the right side of the third seat.
The Presidential Follow-up car was followed by a 1964 Lincoln 4-door convertible
occupied by Vice-President and Mrs. Lyndon Johnson, Senator Ralph Yarborough, with
ASAIC Rufus Youngblood in the right front seat. This automobile was followed by a
Secret Service follow-up car for the Vice President, and then came automobiles occupied by
photographers, correspondents, Senators and Congressmen.
Preceding the Presidential automobile was a Dallas Police Department Lead car in
which SA Winston Lawson of the Secret Service was riding. Police motorcycles preceded
and flanked the motorcade. There were two police motorcycles on the left side of
the President's Secret Service follow-up car running abreast of one another between the
automobile and the crowd of people.
My instructions for Dallas were to work the left rear of the Presidential automobile
and remain in close proximity to Mrs. John F. Kennedy at all times. The agent assigned
to work the left rear of the Presidential automobile rides on the forward portion
of the left hand running board of the Secret Service follow-up car and only moves
forward to walk alongside the Presidential automobile when it slows to such a pace
that people can readily approach the auto on foot. If the crowd is very heavy, but
the automobile is running at a rather rapid speed, the agent rides on the left rear of the
Presidential automobile on a step specifically designed for that purpose.
As the motorcade moved from Love Field through downtown Dallas toward the Trade
Mart, there were four (4) occasions before we reached the end of Main Street where
I moved from the forward portion of the left running board of the follow-up car to
the rear step of the Presidential automobile. I did this because the motorcycles that were
along the left hand side of the follow-up car were unable to move up alongside the
President's car due to the crowd surging into the street. The motorcycles were forced
to drop back and so I jumped from the Follow-up car and mounted the President's car. I
remained in this position until the crowd thinned and was away from the President's
automobile, allowing the motorcycles to once again move up alongside of the automobile.
When we approached the end of Main Street the crowd was noticeably less dense than
had been the case prior to that point.
The motorcade made a right hand turn onto Elm Street. I was on the forward portion
of the left running board of the follow-up car. The motorcade made a left hand turn
from Elm Street toward an underpass. We were traveling about 12 to 15 miles per hour.
On the left hand side was a grass area with a few people scattered along it observing
the motorcade passing, and I was visually scanning these people when I heard a noise
similar to a firecracker. The sound came from my right rear and I immediately moved
my head in that direction. In so doing, my eyes had to cross the Presidential automobile
and I saw the President hunch forward and then slump to his left. I jumped from the
Follow-up car and ran toward the Presidential automobile. I heard a second firecracker type noise but it had a different sound-- like the sound of shooting a revolver into
something hard. I saw the President slump more toward his left.
I jumped onto the left rear step of the Presidential automobile. Mrs. Kennedy shouted,
"They've shot his head off;" then turned and raised out of her seat as if she were
reaching to her right rear toward the back of the car for something that had blown
out. I forced her back into her seat and placed my body above President and Mrs. Kennedy.
SA Greer had, as I jumped onto the Presidential automobile, accelerated the Presidential
automobile forward. I heard ASAIC Kellerman call SA Lawson on the two-way radio and say, "To the nearest hospital, quick." I shouted as loud as I could at the Lead
car, "To the hospital, to the hospital."
As I lay over the top of the back seat I noticed a portion of the President's head
on the right rear side was missing and he was bleeding profusely. Part of his brain
was gone. I saw a part of his skull with hair on it lieing in the seat. The time
of the shooting was approximately 12:30 p.m., Dallas time. I looked forward to the jump
seats and noticed Governor Connally's chest was covered with blood and he was slumped
to his left and partially covered up by his wife. I had not realized until this point
that the Governor had been shot.
When we arrived at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, I jumped off the Presidential
automobile, removed my suit coat and covered the President's head and upper chest
with it. I assisted in lifting the President from the rear seat of the automobile
onto a wheel type stretcher and accompanied the President and Mrs. Kennedy into the Emergency
Room. Governor Connally had been placed in an Emergency Room across the hall.
I exited the Emergency Room almost immediately because of the large number of doctors
and nurses in the room, which was quite small. I asked a nurse standing outside of
the Emergency Room in which the President was lieing to please have everyone except
those Medical Staff members necessary leave the emergency ward. She immediately began
screening medical staff members.
I asked for the nearest telephone. ASAIC Kellerman exited the Emergency Room and
told me to contact the White House in Washington and to keep the line open continually.
I asked SA Lawson for the telephone number of the Dallas White House switchboard
and he gave it to me. I dialed the Dallas White House operator and told him to connect
me with the White House in Washington and to keep this line open continuously. He
ASAIC Kellerman came out of the Emergency Room again and took the telephone and
asked for SAIC Gerald A. Behn, Secret Service, The White House, Washington. This
was approximately 12:39 p.m. Kellerman told Behn that there had been a double tragedy;
that the President and Governor Connally had both been shot and that I would keep him advised.
I took over the telephone and told Mr. Behn that the situation was extremely critical.
The operator cut into the line and said The Attorney General wanted to talk to me. He asked me what the situation was and I advised him that the President had been
injured very seriously and that I would keep him advised as to his condition.
Mr. Kellerman came back out of the Emergency Room and said, "Clint, tell Gerry that
this is not for release and not official, but the man is dead." I told that to Mr.
Behn and then requested that he immediately contact the Attorney General and other
members of the President's family so that he could advise them of the situation rather
than having them hear it over some news media.
I then received a request from Mr. O'Donnell to obtain a casket immediately so that
we could transport the body back to Washington, D.C., as quickly as possible. I contacted
the Hospital Administrator and asked for the name of the nearest mortuary. He said it would be O'Neil, Inc. I telephoned them and identified myself and requested
that they bring the best casket immediately available at the mortuary to the Parkland
Memorial Hospital Emergency Entrance and deliver it to me. The casket arrived in
about twenty minutes at approximately 1:40 p.m. We wheeled it immediately into the Emergency
Room where the President's body lay.
I advised the Air Force Aide that we wanted Air Force No. One moved to a different
location at Love Field and to have it secured completely away from the view of the
General Public. I requested that no press be admitted to the area in which Air Force
One was to be placed. I requested SA David Grant to notify the Dallas Police that we
did not want to use the same entrance to Love Field that previously had been planned.
I then went with the Hospital Administrator and checked the shortest and most direct
route from the Emergency Room to the emergency platform where the O'Neil hearse was waiting.
I advised ATSAIC Stuart Stout of the route and requested that it be cleared of personnel.
The President's body, accompanied by Mrs. Kennedy, exited the Emergency Room at
approximately 1:58 p.m. and proceeded to the emergency entrance platform. The casket
was placed in the back of the O'Neil, Inc., hearse and Mrs. Kennedy, Admiral George
Burkley (the President's Physician), and I entered the back of the hearse with the casket.
SA Andrew Berger drove the hearse- ATSAIC Stuart Stout rode in the center front seat
and ASAIC Kellerman rode in the right front seat.
We departed Parkland Memorial Hospital at 2:04 p.m. SA Lawson rode in the Dallas
Police Department Lead Car. A Secret Service follow-up car followed immediately behind
the hearse. The motorcade arrived at Air Force One, Love Field, at 2:14 p.m.
At 2:18 p.m the casket was placed aboard Air Force One with Mrs. Kennedy accompanying
it. The casket was situated in the left rear corner of the aircraft where four seats
had been removed. Mrs. Kennedy sat in one of the two seats immediately across the
aisle from the casket.
The aircraft could not immediately depart because Vice-President Johnson had to
be sworn in as the 36th President of the United States and it was necessary to wait
for a Judge to arrive to do this. All personnel on Air Force One including Mrs. Kennedy
were requested to witness the swearing in ceremony which took place in the Presidential
Compartment of Air Force One at 2:38 p.m. I also attended.
I departed Love Field, Dallas, aboard Air Force One at 2:47 p.m. en route to Andrews
Air Force Base, Maryland. I arrived at Andrews Air Force Base at 5:58 p.m. I assisted
in moving the casket bearing the President's body from Air Force One to a U.S. Navy ambulance. Mrs. Kennedy got in the back of the ambulance with the casket as did Attorney
General Robert Kennedy, who had joined Mrs. Kennedy aboard Air Force One upon arrival
at Andrews Air Force Base. General Godfrey McHugh also rode in the back of the ambulance. The ambulance was driven by SA Greer with ASAIC Kellerman, SA Landis, and
Admiral Burkley riding in the front seat. I followed in the car immediately behind
the ambulance with Dr. John W. Walsh, Dave Powers, Kenneth O'Donnell and Larry O'Brien.
The motorcade departed Andrews Air Force Base for Bethesda Naval Hospital, Bethesda,
Maryland, at 6:10 p.m. We were escorted by motorcycle police officers. The motorcade
arrived Bethesda Naval Hospital at 6:55 p.m. Mrs. Kennedy, the Attorney General,
SA Landis and I went immediately inside and via elevator to the 17th Floor of the hospital,
the location of the Presidential Suite. Members of the immediate family and close
friends were waiting in the suite.
The President's body was taken to the morgue at the hospital, accompanied by ASAIC
Kellerman, SA Greer, and Admiral Burkley, for an autopsy. SA Landis and I secured
the 17th Floor of the hospital and remained there with Mrs. Kennedy. We established
a communications system with the White House and handled all telephone calls both incoming
and outgoing, screening each and every call. Any person attempting to reach the 17th
Floor was also screened.
At approximately 2:45 a.m., November 23, I was requested by ASAIC Kellerman to come
to the morgue to once again view the body. When I arrived the autopsy had been completed
and ASAIC Kellerman, SA Greer, General McHugh and I viewed the wounds. I observed a wound about six inches down from the neckline on the back just to the right of
the spinal column. I observed another wound on the right rear portion of the skull.
Attendants of the Joseph Gawler Mortuary were at this time preparing the body for
placement in the casket. A new casket had been obtained from Gawler Mortuary in which the
body was to be placed.
I went back to the 17th Floor of the hospital at approximately 3:10 a.m. The President's
body was taken from the U.S. Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland, at 3:56 a.m., accompanied
by Mrs. Kennedy and Attorney General Kennedy, in the rear of a U.S. Navy ambulance driven by SA Greer. ASAIC Kellerman rode in the right front seat. I rode
in the right front seat of a White House limousine immediately behind the ambulance.
The motorcade was accompanied by motorcycle police and arrived at the White House
at 4:24 a.m. The casket was taken immediately to the East Room and placed in the center of
the room on a catephalt.
Clinton J. Hill
U.S. Secret Service