The Kennedy Detail
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Saturday, April 30, 2011

From John Lindstrom Gongwer News Service

History’s Judgment

Let us all now learn us some history.

History is being made daily, at least in little bits and pieces that add up to larger sections of the endless puzzle. Occasionally, there is a call for more historical knowledge. Slightly more often, interesting interpretations of history are voiced.

Since history is a subject taught in schools, it is interesting what the legislature so far is attempting to enact with school funding in light of the history of the last 20 or so years.

In that regard, consider two comments. The first is some 20 years old, spoken to a reporter — yes, this reporter — by a House Republican staff member. Sadly, the reporter has forgotten who the staffer was, but his comments at the time were striking, considering the current attitude.

It was during the debates over what would become Proposal A, itself a major part of history, and the reporter was either earnestly attending to action on the floor or trying to stay awake, when he was accosted by the youngish staffer.

“Is it true the legislature cut school funding in the ’80s?” the staffer said.

Well, yes, the reporter said, but remember that it only did so after enduring several years of what was then the worst recession since the Great Depression.

“Huh,” sniffed the staffer haughtily (no, he did really, quite haughtily in fact). “Republicans will never cut school funding.”

The second comment comes little more than a week ago from Rep. Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant), who said once the 2011-12 budget was completed he wanted to understand how funding for education was derived (that would be for K-12 schools, community colleges and higher education), because “I cannot find rhyme or reason for how it’s done now.”

He made these comments after the community colleges appropriations subcommittee he sits on had just voted to slash the community colleges budget by 15 percent.

This comes on top of appropriations bodies in both the House and Senate voting to chop K-12 schools (the Senate committee has voted to trim it by $170 a pupil, the House subcommittee by at least $285 a pupil) and on top of proposed cuts of at least $200 million to higher education.

These are actions all taken by Republicans. Remember, nearly 20 years ago the young Republican staffer confidently said Republicans would never cut school spending, but 20 years of economic changes changes as well one’s attitude.

The proposed spending cuts come as Governor Rick Snyder is preparing next week to issue his special message on education. As he has so far with everything, he has kept this document very tightly under wraps. But most people expect the message will be heavy again on making changes to personnel policies and a call to use “best practices” in order to keep control on overall costs.

Education is one more area in which people want luxury on the cheap, more for a lot less, a Harvard degree for the cost of a one-room schoolhouse.

It is also an area where there is virtually no disagreement that Michigan’s economic future is tied critically to the quality of its education. After all, the most significant change the state made to education policy in the last decade was to require a stricter curriculum through high school, and anecdotally, according to a number of both K-12 and university officials, that policy is starting to bear fruit.

In the last decade the call also went out for Michigan to double the number of college graduates. While there is an honest disagreement over whether all students need college degrees, there has been no disagreement that virtually everyone who wants a good, sustainable career will need skills beyond high school. Hence, the remarkable growth in community college enrollment.

Which makes the choices the state has made in education in the past decade somewhat startling, especially when considering higher education. The Senate Fiscal Agency presented a document a week ago that looked at overall state spending in the last decade. Cutting to the chase, state spending barely increased over the past 10 years compared to inflation, but spending on higher education fell by nearly 35 percent during the same time (that percentage includes Mr. Snyder’s proposed cut of this year).

Spending on K-12 schools declined more slightly, 6.2 percent, and on community colleges by 7.6 percent. Again, those cuts include the potential revenue declines from Mr. Snyder’s proposed budget.

Taken altogether, one recognizes the state had to keep its budget balanced during the economically repressed years and recognizes as well that turning to the public to finance more spending, be it for schools, colleges or anything else, was both politically and economically unpalatable.

Still, given the future potential that education holds for the state, looking at the decennial spending figures and the current budgetary attitude of state policymakers, one could be forgiven for a queasy feeling.

Michigan had an education system envied by many, built at a time when the state’s driving industry offered high-paying jobs to virtually anyone regardless of their educational status. Why was that? Perhaps the answer can be found again in history, from the father of one of this reporter’s college roommates, a gnarled, muscular but weary man who was a veteran of the 1937 GM sit-down strike (another great historical moment) and who said sharply to his son as he dropped him off to college: “You ain’t never working on the line.”

But our recent education policy has been driven almost solely by the issue of balancing cost, and less on the issue of teacher training and qualification, and almost not at all on the issue of ensuring that children are ready to learn and encouraging parental involvement in education.

This all at a time when worldwide, especially in China and India, the ferocious push towards education has been worried over. One can ask if the real threat from China towards the U.S. economy is in the amount of debt China owns or in its push to create top universities.

So the questions asked should come less, perhaps, from what is immediately financially expedient and necessary, and more from what may be best in terms of our future history. We are daily making history in little pieces, and little decisions can have major consequences.

Consider this lengthy analogy: this week Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research hosted two Secret Service agents who were part of the Dallas detail for President John F. Kennedy. Gerald Blaine has co-authored a book with Lisa McCubbin called The Kennedy Detail. Clint Hill wrote the foreword. Both are now old men. Mr. Blaine, a garrulous storyteller, said he wrote the book in part because he was fed up with the nonsense from conspiracy theorists (to put it on record, Lee Harvey Oswald killed Mr. Kennedy).

Mr. Hill, more somber and reserved, will be forever remembered as the Secret Service agent who leaped aboard the presidential Lincoln as the attack occurred.

To audiences at MSU and a Lansing-area bookstore, the men plainly, directly and spell-bindingly described the assassination. Mr. Hill, assigned to protect First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and another agent were on the following car to the Lincoln.

Mr. Hill described how as the motorcade turned onto Dealy Plaza in Dallas, past the Schoolbook Depository, he heard a loud report from his rear and right. Sweeping his eyes across the scene he immediately could tell Mr. Kennedy had been shot.

Running as quickly as he could, as the Lincoln began to accelerate, he nearly reached the car as the kill shot was fired and was forever immortalized in the Zapruder film as the sickening flash of red and white as Mr. Kennedy was hit.

As Mr. Hill told it: “There was blood, brain matter and bone all over the car, all over Mrs. Kennedy,” a momentary pause, “all over me.” The shocked Mrs. Kennedy was trying to gather parts of Mr. Kennedy’s skull from the trunk of the car as Mr. Hill got on the vehicle and pushed her back to the seat.

Compelling as that story was, the lesson to heed was told by Mr. Blaine. On November 18, 1963, just four days earlier, Mr. Kennedy took part in a 28-mile long motorcade in Tampa, Florida. Secret Service agents were on the back of the Lincoln at that time, and Mr. Kennedy ordered them off. Having agents on the car made him look overprotected, the president told the agents, said Mr. Blaine, and he wanted to be accessible to the public.

Obeying that order, that decision made in a moment, meant no agents were on the back of the Lincoln as it rode through Dallas. But what if they had been, what if they had provided a shield to Mr. Kennedy, or at least would have been able to cover him after the first shot?

Mr. Blaine summed up their careers in a heartbreaking phrase: they had been a “100 percent failure.”

Those are words to haunt one from history and should put into context the potential meaning of our decisions today. In education, in public safety, in economic development, in environmental protection, what do we do now to ensure we are not 100 percent failures?

John Lindstrom is publisher of Gongwer News Service. For nearly 50 years in Michigan, Gongwer News Service has provided independent, comprehensive, accurate and timely coverage of issues in and around Michigan’s government and political systems. For subscription information, including a free trial, visit Gongwer online.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Letter of Appreciation form MSU's Cynthia Kyle

Agents Blaine and Hill and Lisa….

My mind has written a number of notes to you in the aftermath of your visit, all equally eloquent (I’m sure) but not written.

They all said thank you for your profound visit, and for the talk that continues through the community about it, and for the stories swapped about your visit (can you believe that Clint Hill rode in my car????) and the stories that are continue beyond that. I had lunch today with an old friend who was at the morning lecture and the book signing. She was telling another friend about the events when she noticed that people around them had quieted. Then they asked if she would speak up a bit so they could hear her account of your visit.

There are no words to describe, to even think about, how memorable your visit to East Lansing was.

Let me share some other follow ups:

You might want to look at the IPPSR website about your visit. We’re learning hear to edit video and audio, so forgive first efforts, but people were asking for same:

A column on education references visit:

A local political online magazine’s story:

A local entertainment weekly:

I have been asked for the names of folks who attended various events. Rad Jones has been asked about agents in town for your visit from the MSU alumni magazine editor.

Schuler Books & Music sold 89 books during the signing, in addition to the 60 sold during the earlier events. They were wowed by the reaction.
Thank you again for inspiring, awe-inspiring visit.

All best,

Cindy Kyle

Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Signing at Rainy Day Books - Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Gerald Blaine, Lisa McCubbin and Clint Hill discuss The Kennedy Detail

Gerald Blaine

EVENT: Gerald Blaine and Clint Hill discuss the new book The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence.

ABOUT GERALD BLAINE: As a Special Agent of the Secret Service on the White House Detail, Gerald "Jerry" Blaine had the privilege of serving three U.S. presidents during one of the most tumultuous times in American history. After resigning from the Secret Service following John F. Kennedy's assassination, Blaine embarked on a career path with IBM Corporation and became a leading expert in high-level security, lecturing worldwide on the use of computers in Criminal Justice and Intelligence. In 1990, Blaine retired from IBM and joined ARCO International Oil and Gas in Dallas, Texas as the Director of International Security, Government Relations and Foreign Affairs. After retiring from ARCO in 1999 Blaine spent four years with Hill & Associates, an Asian-based consulting company, as a Senior Consultant, and finally retired from the corporate world in 2003. He now lives in in Grand Junction, Colorado with Joyce, his wife of more than fifty years. The couple has two children and four grandchildren.

ABOUT CLINT HILL: Clint Hill is a former United States Secret Service agent who was in the presidential motorcade during the John F. Kennedy assassination. Hill remained assigned to Mrs. Kennedy and the children until after the 1964 presidential election. He then was assigned to President Lyndon B. Johnson at the White House. In 1967, when Johnson was still in office, he became the Special Agent in Charge (SAIC) of Presidential protection. When Richard Nixon came into office, he moved over to SAIC of protection of Vice President Spiro Agnew. Finally, Hill was assigned to headquarters as the Assistant Director of the Secret Service for all protection. He retired in 1975.

DATE & TIME: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 7:00 PM

LOCATION: Unity Temple on The Plaza, Sanctuary, 707 W 47th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64112

ADMISSION PACKAGE: $28.00 plus Tax includes one Hardcover copy of The Kennedy Detail, one Stamped Admission Ticket, and one Guest Ticket (if needed). Order a copy of the book using the Add To Cart button below, and specify the number of Tickets you need in the Notes field (one or two). If you'd like to pick up your Order at the door of this Event, choose In-Store Pick-Up as your shipping option and add in the Notes field that you'd like At-Event Pick-Up. Your Order will be held under your name at Will Call. The cutoff time for online ordering is 2:00 PM on the day of the Event

EVENT FORMAT: Gerald Blaine and Clint Hill will discuss this new Book, followed by a Booksigning. A Stamped Admission Ticket is required for the Booksigning.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Your Inspirational Book

Dear Mr. Blaine,

Hi, my name is Molly Gerson. I am currently reading your book and felt an overwhelming need to contact you and thank you. My whole life I have had a fascination with history. However, in the recent months, that fascination has evolved into a true encompassing passion. This passion grew out of an interest in one historical event: the Kennedy assassination.

I began to read every possible thing I could on the Kennedy family. I find the Kennedys and especially the assassination to be pivotal to our nation's history. My interests began to grow to include the lives of all US presidents. I soon realized that with this passion, I wanted to alter my studies at the University of Southern California and one day becomes a high school history teacher, to spread knowledge about the topic of history and share my fervor for it.

Your book is an incredible contribution to history. Like I said, I have read a great deal about the assassination. However, reading about the event from the perspective of the Kennedy detail has truly touched me. In your book you describe that not only did you all lose a president, but you also lost a personal friend. I was overwhelmed by emotion reading about the moments that changed history, how in a split second power was transferred from beloved John F. Kennedy to new president Lyndon B. Johnson. I am certain that I will never again read such a remarkable, personal account of the events in 1963.

Thank you so much, as your book has only incited a greater determination in me to achieve my goal of becoming a history teacher. Stories like these can never be forgotten, but passed on and remembered for generations.


Molly Gerson
University of Southern California

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Secret Service agents visit Naperville to discuss JFK’s death

By Marie Wilson

When conspiracy theories started to run rampant in the months and years after the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy, the Secret Service agents who protected him made very few statements about them.

But when former Secret Service agent Jerry Blaine retired, he began reading some of the theories online, and ideas claiming presidential drivers or agents had a hand in the murder “got personal,” he said.

“What the agents decided to do is set the record straight and make sure we at least had a say in history,” Blaine said Saturday while discussing his book “The Kennedy Detail” at Anderson’s Bookshop in downtown Naperville. “It was not until June of last year that we sat down and emotionally discussed the assassination.”

Blaine joined co-author and former Naperville resident Lisa McCubbin and former Secret Service agent Clint Hill for the discussion and book signing attended by about 200 people.

Blaine described the hectic routine of his job as one of less than 50 men assigned to protect Kennedy and his family.

And Hill, one of the agents closest to Kennedy when shots were fired, told the assassination story from his point of view.

On what was a warm November day in Dallas, windows were open at the high-rises surrounding the streets where the president’s vehicles proceeded to a campaign stop, Hill said. He was scanning a building to his left when he heard an “explosive noise” from his right, which turned out to be the first gunshot fired from a sixth-story window by Lee Harvey Oswald.

After the first shot:

“What I saw was the president grabbing at his throat and moving to the left,” Hill said, speaking quickly, as though his words were memorized and well-practiced. “I knew he was in trouble and something was wrong.”

After the second shot:

Hill said he tried to “cover and evacuate,” a Secret Service technique that would have allowed his body to block those of the president and Jackie Kennedy.

After the third shot:

Hill saw a “gaping hole” in Kennedy’s head as blood, brains and bone sprayed out from the gunshot wound, covering his clothing as well as Jackie Kennedy’s.

“I assumed the wound was fatal,” Hill said.

In an era of what Blaine called “pre-technology agents,” grief counseling wasn’t available after the assassination. Neither was time to discuss the tragedy and its emotional effects.

“One thing you never got on the detail was sleep,” Blaine said. “After you finished 20-hour days, all you could do to wind down was talk to the guys you worked with. . . . We became like brothers because we spent our entire lives together. We were traveling 80 percent of the time.”

Writing “The Kennedy Detail” helped Blaine, Hill and the other agents McCubbin interviewed finally to speak about Kennedy’s assassination and find a bit of an emotional release, McCubbin said.

“It turned out to be a real healing process for these men writing this book,” she said.

Read more:

The State News Reports - Eyewitnesses to Kennedy Assassination Speak

Kyle Campbell

On Nov. 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas and echoed across the country. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and the world was left to wonder why.

In the near half century since, a multitude of conspiracy theories have developed, but former Secret Service agents Clint Hill and Gerald Blaine, who were with Kennedy and his family from his election until his untimely death, have come forward to give their eyewitness views on the events of that day.

On Tuesday morning, Blaine, Hill and journalist and longtime friend Lisa McCubbin discussed the events of that day at the Union as part of a national tour.

Blaine, along with McCubbin, authored “The Kennedy Detail,” a recent book revealing a firsthand account of the Kennedy assassination from the view of Kennedy’s security team, including Hill — who is famous for jumping on Kennedy’s car after the shots to cover his body.

“My task was to research for about six years on this book to make sure that everything we put down in that book was fact,” Blaine said. “That’s when you find out that there are erroneous reports, there are conflicts. Some of the reports conflict with other reports. So we decided we better make sure we’re accurate.”

Blaine and Hill discussed their experiences as service members on the Kennedy detail, beginning with their first encounters — Blaine with the president and Hill with the first lady and family — all the way down to the disturbing details of Kennedy’s murder.

Hill said despite speculation about potential conspiracies, no significant evidence has pointed to any perpetrator other than Lee Harvey Oswald.

The event was sponsored by the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. The institute’s director, Doug Roberts, said it was a great opportunity because Kennedy’s Secret Service is relevant to MSU and to him personally.

Several members of the Secret Service at the time were MSU alumni, and one of the agents was Roberts’ father, Emory Roberts.

“My brother lives in Jacksonville, Fla., and he, by chance, found out that (Blaine, Hill and McCubbin) were doing a book tour down there,” Doug Roberts said. “He talked to them, and they of course mentioned that they knew our father. So I called them after and said, ‘Can I talk you into coming to East Lansing?’ And one thing led to another.”

Students, teachers and community members from the surrounding areas, such as Dennis Schwartz of Okemos, gathered to hear the personal stories about one of the country’s most beloved first families.

Schwartz said Kennedy has been one of his heroes since childhood, and he always has been interested in Kennedy’s legacy.

Schwartz expressed his appreciation for what Blaine and Hill have done with their book and speeches such as this.

“It’s important to put on the record people who were there, directly participated (and) directly observed so it’s preserved for future history what actually happened,” he said.

Criminal justice freshman Tyrone Bonds shares a similar fascination about Kennedy, but his interest is focused more specifically on the president’s death.

Bonds said he still believes there was a greater conspiracy behind the assassination after listening to Blaine and Hill’s accounts, but he found their stories to be gripping.

“When (Hill) said Jackie Kennedy held her husband in her arms after he was shot, that’s what really stood out,” he said. “The presentation was absolutely wonderful. I really enjoyed it.”

Photo Credit: Lauren Wood The State News Reprints

U.S. Secret Service Agent Clint Hill speaks about details of the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963 in Dallas, as he was present at the time, seen in the upper left hand of the projected photograph riding behind the president’s vehicle. Hill was speaking with the co-authors of The Kennedy Detail, U.S. Secret Service Agent Gerald Blaine and Lisa McCubbin, Tuesday morning in the Union.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

St. Louis on the Air - Archives -The Kennedy Detail

April 21, 2011

A discussion with two former United States Secret Service agents who served in President John F Kennedy's security detail on the day he was assassinated.Guests

Clint Hill
former Assistant Director
United States Secret Service
served under five presidents

Gerald S. Blaine
former Agent
United States Secret Service
Author, The Kennedy Detail

Lisa McCubbin
The Kennedy DetailRelated Information

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

Related Events

St. Louis County Library Foundation Presents Secret Service Agents Gerald Blaine and Clint Hill
Thursday, April 21st
7:00 p.m.
Library Headquarters at 1640 S. Lindbergh Blv
(314) 994-3300
St.Louis County Library Website

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

JFK’s Secret Service opens up, say no conspiracy behind assassination

BY DAN ROZEK Staff Reporter/

Story Image

Retired Secret Service agents (from left) Gerald Blaine and Clint Hill, with co-author Lisa McCubbin, signed copies of Blaine's book, “The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence” at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville Saturday. |

Within seconds of shots being fired at President John F. Kennedy, Secret Service Agent Clint Hill climbed onto the president’s still-moving, convertible limousine and saw Kennedy slumped over with a “gaping” wound in his head.

“I assumed the wound was fatal. I turned, I gave a thumb’s down to the follow-up car,” Hill said Saturday, as he recounted the traumatic Nov. 22, 1963 assassination in Dallas of the nation’s 35th president.

But later that day at Parkland Hospital, Hill couldn’t bring himself during a frantic phone call to tell then Attorney General Robert Kennedy that his brother was gone.

“He said, ‘How bad is it?’ Well, I did not want to tell him that his brother was dead,’ ” recalled Hill, now 79. “So, I simply said, ‘It’s as bad as it can get.’ With that, he just hung up the phone.”

Hill was one of nearly two dozen members of President Kennedy’s former Secret Service detail to share his memories of the assassination in a new book. The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence offers an inside, accurate look at both Kennedy and his slaying, said co-author Gerald Blaine during an appearance with Hill at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville.

“What the agents decided to do was to set the record straight, and make sure that we at least have a say-so in the history,” said Blaine, a 79-year-old retired Secret Service agent who with journalist Lisa McCubbin wrote the book.

The book largely backs the official Warren Commission report that concluded gunman Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he killed Kennedy from a sixth-floor sniper’s perch in the Texas School Book Depository.

Though conspiracy theories have swirled around the assassination for more than 45 years, the Secret Service agents who were there don’t accept those claims, said Blaine and Hill.

“For the most part, the Warren Commission got it right,” said Hill, whose recollections of the assassination — which he witnessed from the car directly behind Kennedy’s limousine — form a key part of the story. His own role was immortalized in the famous Zapruder film showing him leaping onto the limousine and pushing Jacqueline Kennedy down into the car to shield her after the shots erupted.

There were 34 agents on the White House detail at the time of Kennedy’s assassination and Blaine — who was also a member of the detail — interviewed all of the survivors when he began putting the book together more than five years ago. Some had never spoken publicly before about the killing, Blaine said.

“We wanted to make sure we were 100 percent accurate,” said Blaine, who also pored through archived documents, including the entire 27-volume Warren Commission report.

Some who heard the agents on Saturday describe the assassination said they don’t doubt their account of what happened that day.

“They’ve convinced me this is the real story,” said Naperville resident Carson Schuler, who was a 19-year-old college student when Kennedy was slain on a trip to Dallas in advance of his 1964 presidential re-election campaign.

Both Blaine and Hill were in Texas with the Kennedys when the president was slain. Hill — who was assigned to protect the First Lady — was barely a dozen feet away in the Secret Service follow-up car when the first shot rang out.

Hill described how he jumped off his car and ran toward the presidential limousine, reaching the vehicle just as a bullet struck Kennedy in the head.

As soon as he saw Kennedy’s injuries, he realized the president likely was dead.

“I could see that his eyes were fixed, there was a gaping hole in the upper right rear of his head about the size of my palm,” said Hill, struggling to hold his composure.

Doctors at Parkland Hospital worked feverishly to revive Kennedy, at one point even saying they believed he was breathing, but then pronounced the president dead, Hill said.

Agents had to quickly find a casket to carry Kennedy back to Washington, D.C., then break its handles off so it would fit inside Air Force One, he recalled.

Before the plane could take off, a federal judge had to be brought aboard to swear in Lyndon Johnson as Kennedy’s successor, while a devastated, blood-spattered Jacqueline Kennedy stood by his side. Then there was nothing to do but fly home.

“It was the longest, most quiet flight we’ve had in our lives,” Hill said softly.

Monday, April 18, 2011

On the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs, lessons in presidential humility

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

From Jon Meacham.

Humility is a rare presidential trait; the effort of will required to win the office and then hold it does not ordinarily allow for much self-awareness, much less self-criticism.

This April marks the 50th anniversary of an episode at once humiliating and instructive: the failed American-backed operation against Fidel Castro at the Bay of Pigs. Humiliating because the attack was a disaster; instructive because President John F. Kennedy realized he had made a terrible mistake — and he pledged to learn from it.

He was candid about the scope of the mess. “How could I have been so stupid?” he asked himself and others in the aftermath. Fifteen hundred men had been sent to the beaches; later estimates suggested it would have taken a whole division — 15,000 men — to successfully conduct an amphibious operation of this scope. To a CIA officer he admitted, “In a parliamentary system I would resign.” Kennedy learned official-seeming presentations from officers wearing what he called their “fruit salad” of ribbons were not always reliable.

Yet he took responsibility in public, understanding that in politics, as in life, to whom much is given, much is expected. Kennedy said, “There’s an old saying that victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan… I am the responsible officer of this government.”

Read More at Need to Know on PBS

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Secret Service shares secrets

The men who guarded JFK talk about their experiences on Nov. 22, 1963

by Bill Castanier

For Doug Roberts, director of the Michigan State University Institute for Public Policy and Social Research and a former state treasurer, Nov. 22, 1963, is etched in memory. He was a 16-year-old in the 11th grade at a suburban Maryland school, and he remembers the day vividly. He should: His dad, Emory Roberts, was at the site of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Emory Roberts was the Secret Service agent in charge, riding in the passenger seat of a car right behind the limousine carrying Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, Texas Gov. John Connally, his wife, Nellie, and two Secret Service agents.

Doug Roberts said his teachers withheld the news of the assassination until last period.

“They knew there would be pandemonium,” he said. “When they gave us the news, they said a Secret Service agent had also been killed (the victim was later identified as Dallas policeman J.D. Tippit). “I thought I lost a president and a father. I jumped up and ran down the hall to a phone.”

Doug Roberts called his mother: “Is Dad OK?”

Without hesitating, she said, “He’s OK.”

Three days later Doug Roberts found out that at the time of the phone call his mother had no idea if his father was safe or not. “When I asked her, she said we would’ve dealt with it then.”

Yet, that same day, Emory Roberts returned to Washington on the flight with the new president, Lyndon Johnson. His mother drove to the White House with Robert’s older brother to pick him up, just as she done many, many times after a day on the job.

Doug Roberts remembers his father coming home and going to the Underwood Upright to type up his report, which he would give to Doug to read that night.

“In all due respect, my father was a Joe Friday — ´just the facts.´ He wrote that he had heard two or three shots. When I asked him why he didn’t know the exact number, he said, ‘The brain is not a tape recorder.’”

Doug Roberts said immediately after the shooting, his father had made the decision to move the rest of the detail to protect Johnson; Emory Roberts was the one who informed Johnson he was president.

These are the types of recollections and records that former Secret Service agent Gerald Blaine used in compiling his account of the assassination for the recently published book, “The Kennedy Detail.”

“Detail” delivers a point-by-point personalized account of the assassination, using details drawn from the men who were charged with protecting President Kennedy.

Blaine — who was in Austin at the time of the assassination, advancing the next leg of the Kennedy trip — said that after the agents gave their reports to the Warren Commission, “nothing was ever discussed.”

Blaine went on to a career in private security consulting after serving three presidents over a five-year period. He said he was motivated to set the record straight by the many conspiracy books and movies that have been produced over the years, including director Oliver Stone’s 1991 film “JFK,” and such books as Jim Garrison’s “On the Trail of the Assassins” and Mark Lane’s “Rush to Judgment.”

“They made such a mess of history,” Blaine said, “and this book dispels their conspiracy theories.”

The author, who co-wrote “The Kennedy Detail” with Lisa McKubbin, said the most difficult aspect of writing the book was the “renewal of old memories.”

He recalls sitting down with a number of agents and going over every detail of the day.

“It was quite a healing. They didn’t have trauma counseling then, and we were totally dedicated to the president.”

Blaine knows that the book won’t satisfy conspiracy theorists: “They’ve spent 47 years trying to hang on to their theories and they will always find an enemy.” But Blaine said agents who were on the site that day firmly believe Lee Harvey Oswald was the single gunman, operating alone.

Doug Roberts is sponsoring an appearance by Blaine and McCubbin at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Parlor C of the MSU Union; RSVPs are required; call (517) 353-1731. Also in attendance will be former Secret Service agent Cliff Hill, who was the first agent to reach the presidential limousine following the shooting, and former Secret Service agent Rad Jones, an MSU graduate and now an MSU Criminal Justice professor.

At the time of the assassination, Jones was the youngest agent to have served on a presidential detail.

Blaine and McCubbin are also scheduled to do a signing at the Okemos Schuler Books location at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Gerald Blaine and Lisa McCubbin 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 19 Parlor C, Michigan State University Union

RSVP at (517) 353-1731 The authors are also doing a signing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, at Schuler Books & Music, 1982 Grand River Ave., Okemos

Monday, April 11, 2011

Warren Report - Presidential Requests - Agent's Statements

For those who have not read the Warren Report, or chose to simply ignore it, I have posted below statements submitted by Special Agent in Charge Jerry Behn, ASAIC Floyd Boring, ATSAIC Emory Roberts, SA Jack Ready and SAIC Clinton J. Hill regarding presidential requests... I paraphrased the statements in the book, but here are the originals submitted to the Warren Commission:

Behn et alWH18_CE_1025 (2)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Statement by Winton "Win" Lawson


The Kennedy Detail

As a member of the Kennedy Detail, I conducted the security advance in Dallas for President Kennedy’s fatal trip. I have shared my every thought and emotion with Jerry Blaine regarding the planning and the day of the assassination. Jerry's support for the agents who served in Dallas that tragic day has been steadfast and he knows 2what we were confronted with in carrying out our mission. He has capture the heart and soul of an agent who wanted to do his job to the best of his ability.

Jerry Blaine and I journeyed together through eh Kennedy years. His integrity is impeccable and he personifies the Kennedy Detail agents. His loyalty is to the truth and has experienced everything a White House detail agent could experience during his years of service.

Jerry Blaine's The Kennedy Detail is a "must read" for anybody who wants to know the true story of the events surrounding JFK's assassination. The Kennedy Detail is an authentic and compelling perspective of that tragic day that leaves you wondering, could this happen again?

Blaine takes you behind the scenes and lets you walk in the shoes of the Secret Service agents who protected President Kennedy around the clock. As one of the agents, I can tell you, Jerry Blaine nailed it. Masterfully written, the book provides an insider's point of view to this historic and tragic event that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Secret Service agents carry a commission book that sates we are worthy of trust and confidence. Jerry Blaine remains to this day as worthy of trust and confidence. He was an extremely dedicated agent. I have known Jerry for over fifty years and he remains the dedicated former agent that he was when on active duty years ago.

If you read just one book about the Kennedy assassination, make it The Kennedy Detail.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Calendar of Events - Midwest Book Tour

Calendar of Events

Midwest Book Tour

April 15

The Standard Club
320 South Plymouth Court
Chicago, IL
(312) 427-9100

(lunchtime, exact time to come)

The Book Stall will conduct book sales at the luncheon.

April 16

Anderson’s Book Shop

Talk/Signing, 2pm
123 W Jefferson Ave
Naperville, IL
(630) 355-2665

April 16 - RADIO

The Nick D Show (WGN), 7pm

Live In-Studio

April 18 – April 20

Lansing, MI

Details per MSU to be included in comprehensive schedule.
They have provided a detailed itinerary.

April 21

St. Louis County Library Foundation
1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO

Talk/Signing – 7:00pm


Puddn’head Books will conduct book sales.

April 21 - TV - RADIO

7:30 AM - KTVI-TV

Live, in-studio

9:00-10:00 AM - KTRS-Radio

Live, in-studio

News 11 at Noon - KPLR/KTVI

April 26

Unity Temple on the Plaza
707 West 47th Street
Kansas City, MO
(816) 561-4466

Sponsored by KMBZ.

Rainy Day Books will conduct book sales.

May 21

Gaithersburg Maryland Book Festival
Gaithersburg City Hall Grounds

10:00 am – 6:00 pm

May 24

Williamsburg Virginia.

June 3

Bookworm of Edwards
295 Main St., C101
Edwards, CO

October 22

West Virginia Book Festival
Charleston Civic Center

11:00 AM