The Kennedy Detail
Read excerpts, watch videos, get book reviews and more about The Kennedy Detail at Simon & Schuster.

Visit Discovery Channel
WATCH VIDEO CLIPS Cuban Missile Crisis Protecting Jackie Memories ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holidays at the White House

"The message of Christmas- the message of peace and good will towards all men- has been the guiding star of our endeavors."
President Kennedy, 1962

Holiday Cards to the Kennedys

Every December, the White House received holiday cards from all over the world. Each card was carefully saved by White House social staff, and is now housed at the JFK Library. At left is a card from Princess Grace and Prince Rainier, III, of Monaco.

View more holiday cards sent to the White House

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Kennedy Detail Reader's Review

Simply the Best

Aaron J. Hill "christiansoldier" (Cleveland, OH USA)

This book tops any documentaries, books, or anything else out there dealing with JFK. I felt like after reading this book, not only do I feel as if I have a better knowledge of the assassination, but I also have a better understanding of the role of the Secret Service. I have gained much more respect for them as well. While I was reading this book, I felt as if I was a "fly on the wall". You feel as if you were right there with the Secret Service during every event. That is just how good and well written this book is. It also answered a lot of the questions I had. I am not one to normally reread books that I have already read, but I could easily reread this book at least five times every year. A must have for any history buff or JFK enthusiast.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Kennedy Detail Reader's Review

Different "Kennedy" Book

R. R. Costas Jr. (San Francisco, CA United States)
I really enjoyed this book. I am by no means a conspiracy junkie, but I am aware of the conspiracies out there, read at least one conspiracy book and I am aware of some of the flaws of the Warren Commission Report. However, I almost specifically bought this book because it wasn't meant to explain the assassination away or to pass judgement on the Warren Commission or the conspiracy theories. Only at the end does the author (Blaine) give his opinion on some of the conspiracy theories and what he perceived to be some attacks on the integrity of the Secret Service men that he knew better than anyone who's written a book on the assassination. It didn't seem excessive to me and it was well within his rights.
Neither did I care to find out about JFK's secret dalliances with any number of women. I'm of the school that that is nobody's business but his and his wife and if the book deviated into that topic as well as all the conspiracy theories, it'd be much longer than the 400 pages it turned out to be. You can find tons of other books and blogs about either of those topics elsewhere.

I bought the book because I thought it'd be really interesting to know more about the Secret Service detail in those days and, in particular, to read accounts of the assassination from people who were there in the moment and whose job was to prevent such a thing from happening. I had not been privy to a lot of this information from one source. I thought the book gave a fascinating look at the job of a White House Secret Service Detail, not only safeguarding the President, but also his wife and his children. Compared to what we see today, and I'm sure due in large part due to the Kennedy assassination, it seemed an incredibly simplistic and arcane way to protect the most powerful man in the world. But it was what it was and the Secret Service was not properly funded by Congress at that time.

I think the book also shows to many of us why the Kennedy assassination was such a transforming event for the nation. It does show to those of us who have no recollection of that administration, why the Kennedys gave the country such a good feeling of optimism. They simply seemed to be very decent people all around, imperfections and all, and it showed in the way they treated their Secret Service detail, generating an intense loyalty on the part of the agents. As the agents testify during the book, Presidents Eisenhower and Johnson were not quite as "personal" in their dealings with the detail. Not that they tried any less hard to protect those and every other president, but the genuine affection they had for the Kennedys was palpable.

It was interesting to learn about the agents, but also about the advance work that had to be done in preparation for any presidential trip and how the president also determines how much risk he's willing to take. Kennedy, more than Eisenhower or Johnson, seemed to have an inability to help himself when it came to greeting crowds. This, of course, generated more alarm and concern for the agents but it was the president's prerogative. JFK also preferred to remove the limos' tops pretty much as long as it wasn't raining. To him, it was important for the people to see as much of him as possible in order to generate more voter support. This was also the first time I learned that it was the president who specifically asked (in Tampa) the Secret Service to not have agents riding directly on the back of the limo, for the same purpose of visibility and connection to the crowds. It wasn't some conspirator within the service who made that decision.

The events leading up to and through the assassination were interesting to the extreme. If you know enough about the conspiracy theory there is information here on some of the better known aspects of these theories, but they are mentioned as facts and not with a view to debunk any theories. Examples are the finding of the "magic bullet", the number of shots the agents claim they heard, the car slowing down during the shooting, the positioning of the head wound as reported by agents and doctors versus what others state and the decision to switch caskets and performing the autopsy in Bethesda Naval Hospital instead of in Dallas, as the law dictated.

Particularly heartbreaking is the story of Agent Clint Hill, whose true responsibility was Mrs. Kennedy, but who is the agent we all see in the film of the shooting jumping onto the limo and shoving Mrs. Kennedy back into the car. The poor man, along with the rest of the detail, was traumatize for years and you should watch the 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace that he did in 1975 and which is described in the book. It is impossible not to feel for this man.

Some passages or chapters seemed a little lengthy or unnecessary and that's the reason I didn't give 5 stars. For new information, interesting stories, non-judgmental story-telling and a different perspective on the tragedy, I'd give it the highest ranking.

Friday, December 16, 2011

JFK and the African Student Airlift

"Education is, in truth, the only key to genuine African independence and progress."

— Senator John F. Kennedy, February 12, 1960

At a key point in the 1960 presidential campaign, a dynamic young leader from Kenya named Tom Mboya visited Senator John F. Kennedy. Mboya led a campaign of his own that would eventually bring hundreds of African students to America for higher education, including Barack Obama Sr., President Obama's father. Kennedy's decision to support the effort became an issue in the election and possibly a factor in his narrow victory.

Read More

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Kennedy Detail Reader's Review

Eye opening, Riveting, Better than a Clancy novel!

Okay folks, if you want an insiders scoop on the events leading up to, and just after, November 22nd, 1963- Read this book. There are times that will surprise you, times that bring you to tears, and times that will shock you.

View this from the eyes of the men who were quite literally there. You will see what happens behind the scenes of a protection detail, the toll it takes on the agents & their families, and from a select few-what is was like to lose a President. As they retell the unfolding events, you almost become a member of their team. You see it through their eyes-from the agents on foot near the Presidential limo and the ones riding in the follow-up car. Every detail is etched in their memories, and now laid out in print for you to read. The accompanying photos, and the JFK quotes at the beginning of each chapter allow you to experience that era, whether you lived in that time or not.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Alta-Aurelia students study Kennedy assassination onsite

left to right - Molly McDaniel, James Curbow, Joseph Coll, Kaitlin Brake, chaperone Keila Glienke and Chayce Glienke enjoyed their educational visit to Dallas, Texas in November. They are shown here in front of the former School Book Depository, which now houses a permanent museum on the 6th Floor. Photo contributed.

Dave Curbow has been an educator in the Alta (now Alta-Aurelia) High School for several years now, teaching primarily English and Creative Writing, but he also teaches a cIass called Critical Thinking - which is definitely not a class from the "old days," when you and I were in school.

The Critical Thinking class encourages its students to do just that - to seriously THINK about subjects, looking at them from all angles and points of view and making informed choices on what to believe.

One of the subjects in the class is the November 22,1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. Curbow says he uses the Kennedy assassination as a class topic because of the distinct positions that have developed between those who believe it was the act of Lee Harvey Oswald alone and those who believe it was a conspiracy. And because there is so much written on it,Curbow says, the information can be easily accessed by the students.

Read More Here

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Kennedy Detail Reader's Review

The book--THE KENNEDY DETAILI just got done reading the book--THE KENNEDY DETAIL by GERALD BLAINE. I would strongly recommend this book to the forum. It is one of the best books i ever read.

Friday, December 9, 2011

JFK Assassination Logic: Evaluating Conflicting Evidence with John McAdams and Gary Mack

Join Marquette University political scientist Dr. John McAdams Saturday, December 10, 2011, at 2 p.m. as he addresses how to think, reason and understand conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

Dr. McAdams has published more than 20 articles in scholarly journals on subjects as diverse as voting behavior in congressional elections, campaign finance, social class and politics, the death penalty and racial disparity in incarceration. For the past 15 years, he has taught a course on the assassination to upper-division Marquette undergraduates and run the Kennedy Assassination Home Page, a website author and former prosecutor and Vince Bugliosi has called “the premier JFK assassination Web site, clearly superior in depth and scholarship to that of his peers.” Dr. McAdams lives in Shorewood, Wisconsin.

Museum Curator Gary Mack moderates the conversation with Dr. McAdams, which will provide a blueprint for understanding why conspiracy theories arise and how to evaluate their often contradictory claims.

Following the program, Dr. McAdams will sign copies of his new book, JFK Assassination Logic: How to Think about Claims of Conspiracy. Visit for further details.

About Dallas Art News

Dallas Art News is your source for art news, reviews, calendar, museums and galleries for Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and around Texas. Dallas Art News also covers Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

The Kennedy Detail Reader's Review

If you only read  1 book about JFK... Make it this one. 

Compelling and well written, this book makes the 'conspiracy theorists' look pitiful and deluded. The fact that the 'conspiracy theory' JFK notion is so huge, seems in many peoples mind to imbue it with credibility. Sorry, but fact's have credibility, emotional pandering to widesread paranoia does not. I wanted to know more about JFK and the assasination, and not have to put up with annoying theories that rely on the weakest evidence, I read this book and was glad I did. Furthermore, upon having read it I feel sure that JFK himself would rather the story be told by his most trusted aides rather than some half baked 'author' trying to make a name for himself in history in rather the same way as Oswald himself was. The fact Clint Hill, Mrs Kennedys trusted agent, put his name to this book speaks for itself.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Kennedy White House

Restoring the White House

Mrs. Kennedy soon set about making the White House into a real home for her family. She turned the sun porch on the third floor into a kindergarten school for Caroline and 12 to 15 other children, who came every morning at 9:30. There was also a swimming pool, a swing set, and a tree house on the White House lawn for Caroline and John Jr. White House Blue Room after restoration, 24 January 1963.

Mrs. Kennedy also thought about what the White House represented to its many visitors and to citizens everywhere. She wanted people to have a greater appreciation of the history of America's most famous residence and its past inhabitants. Her first major project as first lady was to restore and preserve the White House. She enlisted the aid of many experts, established a White House Fine Arts Committee, and created the post of White House curator. Gathering outstanding examples of American art and furniture from around the United States (including many items that had belonged to former presidents and their families), she restored all the public rooms in the White House. CBS Television asked Mrs. Kennedy to present a televised tour of the newly restored White House. Eighty million Americans watched the broadcast, and it earned Jacqueline Kennedy an honorary Emmy Award.

A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy - Feb. 14, 1962 (1 & 2 of 6)

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Kennedy Detail Reader's Review

A Dignified Tribute to the Agents Who Served the Kennedys 

A paean to the Secret Service agents who worked with John and Jacqueline Kennedy (and their children), this book provides a unique perspective on the assassination. For those readers who are seeking yet more salacious tales from Camelot this is not the book. For those readers who seek to read yet more conspiracy theories this also is not the book. However, it does provide excellent context about the workings of the Secret Service circa 1963. One of the most astonishing take away points is how the security around the president has grown exponentially since 1963 and, consequently, how remote the president is from the people who have elected him. That is not the purpose of this book, of course, but it is an inescapable conclusion. It is true that this book does not attempt some sort of remote objectivity about the Kennedys or the assassination but read it if you want to understand the world of the Secret Service. I came away with a renewed respect for their awesome duty.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Historians Claim New Research Shows Oswald Acted Alone in JFK Assassination


Few historical events have received more attention or been more carefully reenacted than the assassination of President Kennedy.

Yet as the country approaches the 48th anniversary of that tragic day in Dallas, a team of historians and retired Secret Service officers claims to have used new technology on old evidence to solidify the judgment that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

The NatGeo channel will air the new tests as part of a one-hour documentary this Sunday night called "JFK: The Lost Bullet."

Historian Max Holland led the team that applied digital technology to a number of home movies taken on Nov. 22, 1963, including the famous Zapruder film.

Holland told Fox News this marks the first time these disparate amateur films, some of which have not been seen in years, have been brought together, digitally enhanced and presented in a coherent way.

"I'd say a main thrust of it is to break the stranglehold that the Zapruder film has on our perception of what happened. In a sense, we've all been 'Zaprudered,'" he said. "The film was so graphic, disturbing, mesmerizing, that it became more of our perspective on the assassination than even the perspective of the assassin, which should never have happened."

Another startling claim of the NatGeo team is that the new digital upgrades allow the public to see, in the amateur footage taken that day by Robert Hughes, a shadowy figure moving about inside the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building -- a figure believed to be Oswald.

"And our conclusion is that he fired three shots in about 11 seconds, which is almost double, you know, the six seconds in Dallas meme that most people know when they think about the assassination: six seconds, three shots in six seconds. We say three shots in 11 seconds, which is a much easier -- for I'd say, someone of Oswald's skill -- effortless task," Holland said.

When asked if there are any "holy grails" of JFK assassination research still out there -- pieces of evidence known by researchers to exist but which have not yet seen the light of day -- Holland cited Oswald's tax returns. Those returns have never been released.

Holland said it's easier to pry documents from the CIA than from the IRS.

The JFK special airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. NatGeo is partly owned by the same parent company as Fox News.

Fox News' James Rosen contributed to this report.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thank you Ernest for this Great Post About Presidential Limos!


There have been any number of famous and legendary beasts over the years. The first that comes to mind is the misunderstood creature from “Beauty and the Beast.” There’s also Cincinnati’s Kings Island Amusement Park where its own “Beast” – a gut-clenching, teeth-chattering wooden roller coaster – has been thrilling fans since 1979.

But the remarkable beast we’re going to talk about today is another story entirely. Also known as Cadillac One, when General Motors unveiled President Barack Obama’s new presidential limousine before his inauguration in January 2009, Secret Service agents immediately dubbed this wonder on wheels: “The Beast.”

Certainly, presidential cars have drawn attention since Teddy Roosevelt decided to buy the first car using taxpayer dollars, a snazzy white Stanley Steamer. His successors also were interested in having hot wheels, with Taft opting for a Model M Steamer as well as a pair of Pierce Arrows reserved for state occasions. (Incidentally, while it’s true that Taft was an exceptionally large individual, it is only a nasty rumor that there actually had to be two Pierce Arrows so the cars could pull in tandem an oversized carriage in which the jovial Taft smiled and waved at the adoring crowds.)

Anyhoo, the current official car replaces the 2004 Cadillac DTS limo favored by George W. Bush. In the interest of leaving no stone unturned when it comes to balancing the budget, Obama seriously considered keeping the Bush car. Unfortunately, the spotted cowhide seats and LED party lights were not to his taste.

According to Cadillac, Obama’s Beast includes many design elements found in the brand’s popular current models, the CTS sport sedan and Escalade. The vehicle has a stylish dual-textured grille and distinctive front and rear lighting, as well as top-of-the-line security features that even LeBron James doesn’t have in his Escalade.

For example:

  • The armored doors on the Beast are about 8” thick and weigh as much as a cabin door on a Boeing 757. (One source claimed the doors could withstand a hit from an asteroid.)
  • The windows are 5” thick. Now, spread your thumb and forefinger to what you think is about a 5” span – and imagine glass that thick. Yes. Really.
  • The car is equipped with Kevlar-reinforced Goodyear Regional RHS truck tires, but should the run-flat tires be blasted away – the vehicle can escape at speed on its special steel rims.
  • Even the gas tank is armor-plated and equipped with a special foam that will prevent it from exploding, even from a direct hit.
  • And finally, it appears that while the size of the engine and other goodies under the hood remain secret, it’s probably safe to say that the limo has a little more oomph than the Ford Escape Hybrid President Obama drove in Chicago before the election.

Before moving on to other interesting tidbits about the Beast, here’s a fun historical note: Prior to World War II, the Secret Service made it a point to choose hefty cars and went on to equip them with easy-to-reach weapons, two-way radios, and running boards wide enough for a Secret Service Agent to jump alongside for added protection.

In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt commissioned a Lincoln V12 convertible especially for his use that was nicknamed the “Sunshine Special.” But after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the Secret Service didn’t feel the car was safe enough. The very next day, gangster Al Capone’s heavily armored 1928 Cadillac 341A Town Sedan was confiscated from an impound lot and rushed into service for the U.S. Government. With bulletproof tires, inch-thick windows, storage compartments for submachine guns, and more, the mob’s gangster-mobile served the president well until the “Sunshine Special” could be toughened up and made suitable for the war years.


However, the Beast wouldn’t be a truly presidential ride if it didn’t have more to offer than impregnable safety. The back of the car comfortably seats four and is higher than a normal car, presumably to accommodate the freakishly tall members of the First Family. It also has countless features sure to appeal to all the Obama clan.

Peek in the back and you’ll find all kinds of goodies, starting with a hideaway desktop with a laptop computer and Wi-Fi for Mr. O; a satellite phone and direct lines to the Pentagon and Vice President

(for . . . ?); twin bedazzled Kindles loaded with Harry Potter and Twilight series books to keep Malia and Sasha entertained on long rides; a pantry stocked with pudding cups, Skittles and Dr Pepper; Beggin’ Strips for Bo; a flat screen TV and a DVD collection including classics like “Saved by the Bell” and “West Wing;” Michelle’s mobile accessory closet and law library . . . . Now, that’s a beast any world leader would be proud to call his (or her) own.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quarterly Review

News of Jack, part 2

Safeguarding JFK and his family was evidently one of the most daunting tasks ever performed by the American secret service (The Kennedy Detail, Discovery, 20th of November). President Kennedy realised that his popularity depended on close physical contact with the people. During motorcades, accordingly, he would make impromptu stops and immerse himself in the adoring crowd. At such times, he was almost impossible to protect. Indeed, Kennedy himself pointed out how easy it would be to kill him. Well before the events in Dealey Plaza, the requirements of presidential politics and personal security were at loggerheads.

It was surprising to learn that the members of this elite group, “the best of the best” according to their own reckoning, were so badly paid. Yet there were compensations. Required to spend long periods away from their own families, they became part of Kennedy’s extended family and shared in its joys and sorrows. Predominantly men of humble origins from small towns, they had ample opportunity to meet the famous and glamorous people who surrounded the first family. Today, they remain fiercely loyal to their former boss, who despite his exclusive background clearly possessed the common touch. No mention was made of his well-documented peccadilloes.
In programmes like this, it is the incidental items that stay in the mind – Jackie’s blood stained stockings and the struggle to get the President’s cumbersome coffin into Air Force One. One member of JFK’s entourage recalled being asked how bad the President’s injuries were. “It’s as bad as it gets” was all he could manage.

There is a striking similarity between mourning and melancholia, as Freud observed. The men of the Kennedy detail, who experienced both, bear witness.


Friday, November 25, 2011

The Kennedy Detail Reader's Review

THE KENNEDY DETAIL,,,,,,,,,,the real story,,,,,facing the dangers

For purposes of this review, I have selected EZT which was my "back-up" call sign wen I was assigned to the Presidential White House Detail.

Without going into a long detailed explanation of my backgound let me suggest that as a Secret Service Agent I often considered what a great story I could possibly tell considering
all of the experiences I had in some manner or another.  But as time went by and I became involved in other federal law enforcemnt agencies I realized that if you were going to do
such a project  you would need considerable self discipline and ambition. Needless to say, I developed neither.
So when Jerry called and told me what he planned to do and asked if I could help it took me about thirty seconds to say ABSOLUTELY!!!!!! And I am glad I did.
Having worked with Jerry Blaine and prior thereto with Clint Hill, I personally believe that they have done a tremendous job. This book ........ in my opinion, will probably end up as a
required reading for individuals studying political history in the future. And for what it is worth, I personally could not think of two more honest, intelligent and dedicated persons to
have written some real history,,,,,,,,and if I may ,,,,history moving more rapidly than a speeding locomotive.

Having worked with Clint Hill on the First Lady/Children's detail insuring the welfare of the those family members and subsequently being on the same Presidential protective shift as
Jerry Blaine allowed me to work with two of the most honest, dedicated and unselfish individuals that I have had the pleasure of knowing andI have no doubts that the other Secret
Service Agents which were all part of the same teams would heartily agree with this assessment.

Finally, although I alluded to this before, THE KENNEDY DETAIL is not only an excellent read but will be read by many, many persons in the future.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

History of the Secret Service

When the United States Secret Service (USSS) was established, its main duty was to prevent the illegal production, or counterfeiting, of money. In the 1800s, America's monetary system was very disorganized. Bills and coins were issued by each state through individual banks, which generated many types of legal currency. With so many different kinds of bills in circulation, it was easy for people to counterfeit money. During President Lincoln's Administration, more than a third of the nation's money was counterfeit. On the advice of Secretary of the Treasury Hugh McCulloch, President Lincoln established a commission to stop this rapidly growing problem that was destroying the nation's economy, and on April 14, 1865, he created the United States Secret Service to carry out the commission's recommendations.
The Secret Service officially went to work on July 5, 1865. Its first chief was William Wood. Chief Wood, widely known for his heroism during the Civil War, was very successful in his first year, closing more than 200 counterfeiting plants. This success helped prove the value of the Secret Service, and in 1866 the National Headquarters was established in the Department of the Treasury building in Washington, D.C.
During the evening of the same day President Lincoln established the Secret Service, he was assassinated at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., by John Wilkes Booth. The country mourned as news spread that the President had been shot. It was the first time in our nation's history that a President had been assassinated. As cries from citizens rang out, Congress began to think about adding Presidential protection to the list of duties performed by the Secret Service. However, it would take another 36 years and the assassination of two more Presidents -- James A. Garfield (March 4, 1881-September 10, 1881) and William McKinley (1897-1901) -- before the Congress added protection of the President to the list of duties performed by the Secret Service.

President Theodore Roosevelt's son Archie salutes as his brother Quentin stands at ease during a roll call of the White House Police. The White House Police eventually came to be known as the Uniformed Division of the Secret Service. Photo Courtesy of the Library of Congress
Since 1901, every President from Theodore Roosevelt on has been protected by the Secret Service. In 1917, threats against the President became a felony (a serious crime in the eyes of the law), and Secret Service protection was broadened to include all members of the First Family. In 1951, protection of the Vice President and the President-elect was added. After the assassination of Presidential candidate Robert Kennedy in 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969) authorized the Secret Service to protect all Presidential candidates.
Today's Secret Service is made up of two primary divisions -- the Uniformed Division and the Special Agent Division. The primary role of the Uniformed Division is protection of the White House and its immediate surroundings, as well as the residence of the Vice President, and over 170 foreign embassies located in Washington, D.C. Originally named the White House Police, the Uniformed Division was established by an Act of Congress on July 1, 1922, during President Warren G. Harding's Administration (1921-1923).
The Special Agent Division is charged with two missions: protection and investigation. During the course of their careers, special agents carry out assignments in both of these areas. Their many investigative responsibilities include counterfeiting, forgery, and financial crimes. In addition to protecting the President, the Vice President, and their immediate families, agents also provide protection for foreign heads of state and heads of government visiting the United States.

The Secret Service protects President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961) and his motorcade. Photo Courtesy of the National Archives

Monday, November 21, 2011

A rare look inside Secret Service training

By Elaine Quijano 

(CBS News)

LAUREL, Md. - The starting pay is $52,000, clothing provided. The employer warns the job is physically demanding and requires working long hours in undesirable conditions.

CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano reports there is no shortage of applicants for ths position - protecting the most famous house in America.

When you think of the Secret Service, you probably think of the plainclothes agents who surround the president. But it's another branch, called the uniformed division, that's in charge of securing the White House.

This elite force of 1,400 officers has jurisdiction within the White House gates, and beyond.
"The uniformed division has very broad arrest powers," said Sgt. Scott Saras. "They can obviously arrest for federal offenses but they can also make arrests for local offenses in the District of Columbia."

A mock-up of Air Force One is seen at the Secret Service training ground.
A mock-up of Air Force One is seen at the Secret Service training ground. 

(Credit: CBS News/Elaine Quijano)
Saras is an instructor at the Secret Service's training center outside Washington. CBS News was given rare access to the 550-acre wooded facility. It features a mock-up of Air Force One. A street set that would be the envy of any Hollywood director is used for simlutations of high intensity scenarios.
"We are going to give them repetitions," Saras said. "We want to give them repetitions to where they are able to just react as opposed to having to think."

More than 16,000 applied to join last year, and just 200 were chosen.
"It's been a long journey, I'll say that," said recruit Tim Connelly. Connelly's a former Marine who served two tours in Iraq. " It's a lot of training. And it's difficult training."

Explaining the difference between the two, Connelly said, "The Secret Service - we are protecting people. In the Marine Corps you are assaulting the enemy, locating and trying to eliminate. So it's something I've had to focus on in particular even more than some other people, drawing back and not just rushing through."
In one drill on the street set, Connelly found himself outnumbered and outgunned. "It is kind of similar to combat. You can be bored and think this is an easy job and all of a sudden you have three gunmen taking shots at you. You got to be on your game from moment one. You can't have first day jitters or anything like that because that could be the day that something bad happens."
The worst happened on Nov. 1

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Sixth Floor Museum to Screen Zapruder and Stolley Film on November 19

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza will screen Zapruder and Stolley: Witness to an Assassination (a Roger Sherman film). The screening will be on Saturday, November 19 at 2 p.m. 

On November 22, 1963 Dick Stolley, Los Angeles bureau chief for Life Magazine, was urgently summoned to the ticker tape machine: “The President has been shot,” he was told. He jumped on a plane to Dallas, tracked down Abraham Zapruder and managed to secure the rights to his home movie film, the only eyewitness film to capture the entire assassination. A few years ago, Dick sat down and recounted this story from his point of view. In a gripping 35-minute conversation, Dick recounts how he followed a tip that led him to Zapruder.

Following the world premiere of Zapruder and Stolley: Witness to an Assassination, join us for a conversation with Dick Stolley moderated by Museum Curator Gary Mack.

“Zapruder and Stolley is utterly engaging.” --Tom Brokaw

“Dick Stolley is a national treasure, and his ability to calmly, clearly tell the story of one of America’s saddest days is truly remarkable. This documentary is devoid of the usual bells and whistles. It’s just unbelievably powerful, old-school storytelling. And what a story it is.” --John Huey, Editor-in-Chief, Time Inc.

The event is $5 or free with paid admission to the Museum. 

Visit for further details!

Moment in History



Floyd Boring and Roy Kellerman were the two ASAIC's of the Kennedy Detail reporting to Jerry Behn, the SAIC..

Floyd was involved in the Blair House attempt on the life of Harry Trueman by two Puerto Rican nationalists in 1950- ( The Truman family was living there while the White House was being renovated. It is located across the street from the White House.). Floyd ended up shooting one of the two people involved in the assassination attempt. It is not the one on the ground. He was killed by a mortally wounded White House Police officer by the name of Leslie Coffelt. Stuart Stout, one of the shift leaders on the Kennedy Detail was also involved. He was manning a Thompson Sub Machine gun just inside the main door to the Blair House in case the potential assassins made it that far.. The story is in the book, this is a photo of Floyd right after the attempt.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Kennedy Detail Reader's Review

"Keep the ivy league charlatans off the back of the car"
 CJA "CJA" (Minneapolis, MN) 

Blaine was a secret service agent assigned to protect Eisenhower and Kennedy; he resigned in 1964 to work for IBM. He did advance work for the Tampa motorcade that took place several days before Dallas, as well as advance work for the Austin stop that never happened. Although he was not present on November 22, 1963, he knows all the agents involved and was able to get everyone to talk many years later. The assassination was understandably traumatic for the agents, a trauma made worse by the absence of counseling or discussion of the trauma.

Through anecdote and then through a detailed accounting of the trips leading up to Dallas, Blaine gives a very good sense of the camaraderie and difficulties experienced by the Kennedy detail. Kennedy emerges from the account as a charismatic man who was loved and respected by his agents and who took time and effort to get to know his agents. The sordid Kennedy who supposedly used his agents to set up or cover up sex parties is not found in this account. Perhaps Blaine refrained from telling a few salacious stories. But more likely, the stories are themselves myths. Kennedy certainly had an active sex life, but clearly the man's focus was on being President, and he was fundamentally decent in dealing with others. It's interesting that we choose to measure "morality" on the basis of the extent to which one leads a conventional monogamous sex life. Kennedy's unconventional sex life was hurtful and was a character flaw. But it does not fully define the man. I'd rather have a guy with the decency and judgment of Kennedy with his finger on the button than monogamous guys like Nixon, Carter, or Bush.

The account is especially forceful in dismissing the elaborate conspiracy theories that defy logic and that take poetic license with the record. The eyewitnesses heard three shots and saw the back of Kennedy's head explode. Oswald had a clear and even easy shot. One agent thought he heard a shot from the grassy knoll, but it is clear that this was simply an echo effect.

The pain of Clint Hill -- Jackie's agent who ran to the vehicle after the first shot only to see Kennedy's head explode before he got there, and who threw Jackie back into the car and then covered both her and the President -- is well told. If only he could have gotten there sooner -- though it's hard to see how he could have acted any differently.

The real problem was the motorcade itself -- in a open top, unarmored vehicle completely exposed to a sniper. The problem was compounded by publishing the route in advance. One simply cannot protect the President under such circumstances.

One device the agents tried to use in such motorcades was to ride behind the President on a running board in the back of the vehicle. This tactic, however, was counterproductive. The whole ideal of the motorcade was to expose the President. Thus, Kennedy told his agents to "keep the ivy league charlatans off the back of the car." A classic bit of Kennedy wit. The agents weren't insulted by the remark and instead knew it was Kennedy's way of making and reinforcing a point.

Blaine points out that in the end even having the men on the back of the car would not have worked. First of all, the car was going through a thinning crowd and was going to speed up to hit an entrance ramp. So, even when agents rode on the running boards, the protocol was to jump off at this point. Also, Oswald's shot was so easy, it would not have made any difference any way.

This is a very moving book that inspires respect for the secret service and for Kennedy himself.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Kennedy Whitehouse: Jacqueline Kennedy Entertains

This video podcast was originally created to accompany the special exhibit, "Jacqueline Kennedy Entertains: The Art of the White House Dinner." The video was produced by David McSweeney of Tenor Technologies and narrated by Frank Rigg, Museum Curator Emeritus of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Creator: Video produced by David McSweeney of Tenor Technologies. Narrated by Frank Rigg, Museum Curator Emeritus of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Kennedy Whitehouse: Arts and Culture

Pablo Casals

50 years ago this month, world-renowned cellist Pablo Casals gave an historic concert at the White House. The event was just one example of President and Mrs. Kennedy's support of the arts, or what JFK called "our contribution to the human spirit."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Kennedy Detail Reader's Review

Barbara A. Benedict "beagleboy" (Everett, WA)

The Kennedy Detail was about the 1963 Assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 3, 1963 from the point of view of the Secret Service members of that date. The book was excellent and it showed the effect it had on the members of the Secret Service. We only see the Secret Service at the time if the president's appearance. It starts way before that date with surveillance, motorcades, etc. The president's death had a profound effect on the Secret Service members but they had a new president to guard and to help Mrs. Kennedy bring her husband back to Washington. The Secet Service members had to keep going and not deal with what they had seen. Some members had immediate reactions and some went on for years to figure out what they were feeling. This was written by a member of the of the Secret Service who left to take a job at IBM and after he retire he corresponded with other members of the Secret Service. One of the saddest stories is about Clint Hill who jumped on the car to stop Mrs Kennedy from trying to capture the president's brain matter. While being interviewed by Mike Wallace for 60 Minutes, Clint Hill was struggling to deal with those memories but he did and lived out the last years of his life in peace. This was a wonderful book and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Photo Gallery

Tom Dillard image shows the interior of the empty presidential limousine, ready for the Kennedys and the rest of their party to arrive at Love Field and begin their motorcade tour of Dallas.
At far left is Dallas Morning News chief photographer Jack Beers and the tall man beyond the car is Secret Service agent George Hickey.

Friday, November 4, 2011

1964 FBI Reenactment - Malcolm.E.Barker Slide compilation. 24/5/64

Photographic slide of the FBI/Secret Service reenactment of the Kennedy assassination in Dealey Plaza on May 24, 1964. The car representing the president's limousine heads west on Elm Street, toward the triple underpass.

The car used to represent the president's limousine in the reenactment was actually the Secret Service car that had been directly behind the presidential limousine in the motorcade on November 22, 1963.

The driver in this picture, Secret Service agent George Hickey, rode in the follow-up car at the time of the assassination.

The north side of Dealey Plaza is visible to the right. Signs directing traffic to Stemmons Freeway and other highway signs line the right side of the road.


On November 22, 1963, the Texas School Book Depository building was the focus of world shock, grief, and outrage when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dealey Plaza. Twenty-six years later, John F. Kennedy and the Memory of a Nation opened on the building's sixth floor, where significant evidence was found. Using nearly 400 photographs, 45 minutes of documentary films, and artifacts, this exhibition recreates the social and political context of the early 1960s, chronicles the assassination and its aftermath, and recognizes Kennedy's lasting impact on American culture.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

1964 FBI Reenactment - Malcolm.E.Barker Slide compilation.

Photographic slide of the FBI/Secret Service reenactment of the Kennedy assassination in Dealey Plaza on May 24, 1964. The car representing the president's limousine heads west on Elm Street, toward the triple underpass.

The car used to represent the president's limousine in the reenactment was actually the Secret Service car that had been directly behind the presidential limousine in the motorcade on November 22, 1963.

The driver in this picture, Secret Service agent George Hickey, rode in the follow-up car at the time of the assassination.

The north side of Dealey Plaza is visible to the right. Signs directing traffic to Stemmons Freeway and other highway signs line the right side of the road.


On November 22, 1963, the Texas School Book Depository building was the focus of world shock, grief, and outrage when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dealey Plaza. Twenty-six years later, John F. Kennedy and the Memory of a Nation opened on the building's sixth floor, where significant evidence was found. Using nearly 400 photographs, 45 minutes of documentary films, and artifacts, this exhibition recreates the social and political context of the early 1960s, chronicles the assassination and its aftermath, and recognizes Kennedy's lasting impact on American culture.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Kennedy Detail Reader's Review

great book from a bona fide Kennedy reader
Clementine Dare "Clementine" (Gilbert, Arizona, USA)

I'm one of those people that buy all the Kennedy books and read them. As a consequence I've learned quite a bit about the family and the Kennedy era. This book included many tiny details that were new to me (for example, when Air Force One landed in Love Field, it was after a very brief flight because they wanted to capitalize on the effect of disembarking from Air Force One). I thought Clint Hill came across as deeply honorable. I was touched and impressed to learn that the after all the sacrifice his job entailed his wife met JFK for the first time at the funeral. This book was also very personally written, I like how the author debunks various rumors surrounding the agents and conspiracy ideas. Just an amazing read. I recommend this book to any student of history or anyone with interest in the Kennedy era.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Obama Visits The West Coast

Secret Service agents turn away from the blast of air from Air Force One as President Barack Obama departs from San Francisco International airport in San Francisco, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011. Obama is on a three-day trip to the west coast. (Photo Eric Risberg)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Kennedy Detail Reader's Review

An intriguing and inspiring read, impossible to put down.
John Day

The Kennedy Detail is an inspiring and intriguing read, one which lays bare the sacrifices of nearly anonymous men taking on a sisyphean task, and doing so without the slightest hint of self promotion or eventual reward. The book paints a vivid picture of men who constantly navigated the opposing needs of retail politics versus perfect security, using physical strength, endurance, acumen and psychology to constantly balance risks in real time, knowing always that a single moment's lapse could spell disaster.

The story is riveting, matched by an equally heartbreaking understanding that for a half a century these men have lived with the searing guilt and gnawing self-doubt of having lost a president during one of the most critical and volatile time periods in US history. This clearly wasn't an easy book to write.

It is difficult these days for most of us to recognize and truly comprehend the context of the events of November, 1963. Most of us simply weren't there, or weren't yet adults. But Blaine's recounting provides a window into the men, their lives, families and struggles, and the global and local events that shaped their day. It reveals the men of the secret service as the best of the best, not just in physical ability and mental acuity, but also in commitment, integrity, and duty.

It is this last aspect which gives the book its greatest impact - these were men for whom commitment was, and is, the guiding principal in their lives. It seems clear that JFK's commitment to the country was mirrored by the author and all the men whose entire lives were devoted to protecting the president and his family.

While this is a book that may primarily be of interest to those of us who remember using Brylcreem, it's one worth passing along to the younger generation around us. Examples of selfless duty and lifelong integrity are as valuable today as they were then.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Emmys!

R-L: Jay Renfroe, Jay's Mom, Joyce Blaine, Lisa McCubbin, Ken Atchity, Chi-Li Wong & Clint Hill

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paul J. Nyden: The JFK assassination: Agent recalls dark day

By Paul J. Nyden

"The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence"

By Gerald Blaine and Lisa McCubbin

Simon & Schuster Gallery Books, 427 pages. Hardcover, $28.

Back on Nov. 22, 1963, a team of Secret Servicemen failed in their task to protect the life of the president of the United States.

Jerry Blaine, a member of that elite team, tells his story for the first time in his book, "The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence."

Blaine also writes about the tragic memories of several of his fellow Secret Service agents. Kennedy often banned them from his car and frequently jumped into crowds of people gathered around him, giving little notice to his protectors.

Blaine is the first member of Kennedy's Secret Service detail to write a book about the assassination.

On that tragic day in 1963, there were only 43 Secret Service members assigned to protecting Kennedy. The Secret Service's annual budget of $4.1 million funded 300 agents.

After JFK was killed, the agency expanded. Today, the Secret Service has 4,000 agents and an annual budget of more than $1.6 billion.

Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots that day. The first shot was fired at Kennedy, and the second hit Texas Gov. John Connally. When the third shot hit Kennedy in the head, Secret Service agents immediately knew, Blaine recalls, that the devastating wound would prevent him from functioning as president, even if he were not killed.

Kennedy's trip to Texas was the first time his usually private wife Jacqueline made a political appearance with him since he was elected president three years earlier.

During his trip Kennedy received warm welcomes from people in Houston, San Antonio and Fort Worth.

"It was the hidden loner the Secret Service agents worried about most," Blaine writes.

And while there are no apparent ties with Oswald, the "Dallas Morning News" printed a full-page advertisement the day of the assassination paid for by the American Fact-Finding Committee. The ad accused Kennedy of being a traitor who supported communism.

In a foreword to Blaine's book, Clint Hill, a fellow Secret Service agent also on duty in Dallas that day, wrote: "No matter how much training you've had, nothing prepares you for the emotions and nightmares that follow the horror of seeing a human being alive one instant, their head blown open the next."

Throughout his book, Blaine and his fellow agents tell how friendly the president, his wife and children were to them.

Read More

Copyright 2011 The Charleston Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kelly Shawn Meeko (Blaine) passed away

Dear family and friends,

Our daughter, Kelly Shawn Meeko, after fighting a sixteen year battle with cancer and radiation side effects passed away. In all of that time there was never a complaint, there was always faith in her lord Jesus and there was more courage than I have ever witnessed from anyone in my life.

As long as she was able, she home schooled Jay and her two children, Joseph and Kayla and taught them the sound basics of learning while teaching them the human values of life and living, plus she passed on her faith. Her husband Jay was with her every step of the way and together they made the nucleus of a wonderful family.

Jay gave Kelly a surprise birthday party in February of this year and Kelly had everything going for her and had a wonderful evening with family and friends who had flown in for the occasion. She danced, laughed and celebrated.

After that the toll off her illness cascaded on her. Because of the massive amounts of radiation required to kill the massive tumor located behind her nose those sixteen long years ago, the effects steadily took their toll. After a septic coma in August she continued her fight and mustered up the grit to survive, but slowly her vision faded and she could no longer, hear nor talk, She breathed through a trachea with the help of oxygen and fed through a stomach tube. On this past Thursday, while Jay was with her, she could no longer muster up the energy to complete a breath and passed on. It was time and I have no doubt that she is finally in heaven reaping the rewards of her steadfast love and devotion to her savior, Jesus Christ..

Funeral arrangements have been made at the Bateman Carroll Funeral Home, 520 West Powell Blvd. in Gresham Oregon 97030. for 3;00 pm, Sunday, October 23 rd.

The Meeko family home address is 15 SE 49 th circle, Gresham Or. 97080. I am sure they would love to receive cards or letters of comfort..

Jerry and Joyce Blaine

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Kennedy Detail Reader's Review

Definitive History. The True Insider Story

Gerald Blaine has written the definitive insider account of the Secret Service security detail of the Kennedy Administration, and particularly of the specific events of that faithful day in Dallas. Written from the perspectives of those who actually worked the detail, the reader gets the true history of John Kennedy's Secret Service protection. Co-written by Lisa McCubbin, who deserves kudos for making the narrative an easy and enjoyable read, the book validates the finds of Vincent Bugliosi's exhaustive "Reclaiming History" and Gerald Posner's "Case Closed" on the Kennedy assassination.

Yes indeed it was that low life Lee Harvey Oswald, who killed President Kennedy. All the nitpicking, convoluted and speculative arguments surrounding the CIA, the Mafia, the Russians, The Cubans, and LBJ himself will not change the logical conclusion that Oswald was the lone gunman.

What is it about human nature that draws so many to conspiracy theories? It doesn't just involve the Kennedy assassination. Some to this day believe that Edwin Stanton may have played a part in the Lincoln assassination. There are those who push the notion that singer Mario Lanza was done in by the mob. Lanza actually died from complications of phlebitis. Many push the theory that TV's Superman George Reeves was murdered by a jealous former mobster boyfriend of his last lady friend. A study of the facts points to a likely suicide by Reeves. And lets not forget the conspiracy theory that the Kennedys themselves had Marilyn Monroe put to sleep to keep her quiet about her alleged affairs with JFK and RFK. Proof please.

If you took all the JFK conspiracy theories and all their infinitive unending speculations, the number of possible suspects of those involved in the Kennedy assassination would fill a football stadium. Unless you are part of the "Don't confuse me with the facts my mind is made up" crowd buy Gerald Blaine's book and relive history as it was.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Emmys!

 With my wife Joyce, Ken Atchity, Kayoko Mitsumatsu, Clint Hill & Lisa McCubbin

With Fred Griffin

Monday, October 10, 2011

Huge fan of book

Dear Mr. Blaine,

I wanted to write you and say how much I enjoyed your book. Having
read through many books on the Kennedy Presidency and legacy, your
book lent a credibility that simply cannot be questioned. Thank you
for encouraging the guys to lend their recollections to what is sure
to become a definitive account of those tragic events.

If you ever make it back through Los Angeles, perhaps for the
paperback, I'll be sure to attend the signing.

I know you guys don't like the term hero. Fair enough. But you had a
heroic job, did heroic things, lived a crazy schedule barely balancing
your family life with your work life that only a hero could pull off;
so you'll forgive me when I say, you sir, are a hero.

Thank you for this book. Thank you for your service.

Fred Shahadi

Friday, October 7, 2011

Michelle Obama tells Secret Service: 'Just tell me when — where to run'

First lady Michelle Obama made a rare trip to Secret Service headquarters Wednesday, where she glimpsed the intricate work that goes into protecting her family — and the potential danger of that mission.

After an hour long tour of the agency’s protective intelligence division and the joint operations center, Obama called the daily tasks performed by the Secret Service “pretty scary.”