Former U.S. President, John F. Kennedy was assassinated 51 years ago during a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.
Former Secret Service agent Clint Hill, the man who protected Kennedy discussed that frightful November 22, 1963 day on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
Below is a transcript excerpt of our chat:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Can you run us through the day that President Kennedy got shot and more specifically what was your detail?
Clint Hill: I was in the Secret Service at the time and my principle responsibility was Mrs. Kennedy and we had gone to Texas the day before on November 21st, 1963 and we traveled through San Antonio, Houston and Fort Worth and spent the night in Fort Worth. Then on the 22nd we traveled from Fort Worth to Dallas for the President to make a speech at the Trademark in Dallas, Texas but they wanted a motorcade through the downtown section of Dallas because the reason for the trip was to give maximum exposure to President and Mrs. Kennedy, Vice President and Mrs. Johnson, Governor and Mrs. Conley because they were very concerned about the election in 1964 which was about a year away. They hadn’t done too well in 1960 in Texas and they wanted to improve that, so they wanted to give the people of Texas an opportunity to see these people. So, we went through Dallas using open cars, they were specially built secret service cars but they were convertible cars so people would have the chance to really be up close and personal with their president. They crowds in Dallas that day were very large and enthusiastic and for the most part friendly and everyone in the Presidential Party was really pleased with the way that things were going, we traveled down Main Street in Dallas and the crowds were 15 to 20 deep on each side of the street screaming and hollering. People were hanging out of windows on the side of buildings, on rooftops, fire escapes and wherever they could be to get a better view of the president and as we progressed we had to make a turn off of Main Street to enable us to get to the destination for the speech and that put us right on a street called Elm Street which passed us right by a building called the Texas School Book Depository and as we progressed down Elm Street I was right behind the running board of the car directly behind the presidential vehicle, it’s called the Secret Service follow up car and I was on the left hand side in the forward position because that put me closest to Mrs. Kennedy. I was observing the areas to the left which was a grassy area with a few people not many and immediately ahead there was going to be a triple underpass, we had to go under to get to the highway that would take us to our speech site and then all of a sudden over my right shoulder I hear this explosive noise at first I thought it might have been a firecracker or something because it really didn’t sound like a gun and I started to turn toward that noise to see if I could identify what it was and I only got as far as the rear of the presidential vehicle with my eyes because I saw what happened and I saw the President grab at his throat, move violently to his left and I knew something was wrong and apparently it was a gunshot so I jumped from my position and ran towards the presidential vehicle with the intent to get on top of the back of it as a shield for President and Mrs. Kennedy so that no more harm could be done and so I was running and there was a motorcycle officer immediately to my left making a lot of noise with his motorcycle unit and they told me later that there was a second shot when I ran but I couldn’t hear it because that motor noise and then just as I approached the presidential vehicle a third shot rang out and it hit the President in the head and I not only heard that but I felt it because it was so violent that when it entered the President’s skill it entered low in the rear and then it erupted out of the right rear side of the President’s head and blood, brain matter and skull fragments came out of that wound and was all over the car and all over me and Mrs. Kennedy and as I started to get out Mrs. Kennedy got out as well and started climbing up to the back of the trunk and was trying to reach some of that material that had come out of the President’s head and she didn’t even realize that I was there. So I grabbed her and put her back into the back seat and when I did that his body fell into Mrs. Kennedy’s lap and the right side of his face was up and I could see that his eyes were fixed and there was a hole in his skull and I could see no brain matter was left in that area and I could see that it was a fatal wound so I turned and gave a thumbs down to the other agents in the follow up car and screamed at the driver to get us to a hospital and we took off down the freeway at a high rate of speed going to the hospital.