The Kennedy Detail
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Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Reader's Heartfelt Response to The Kennedy Detail

Hi Jerry.........

Frank Badalson here from Richmond VA.  I want to express how much I enjoyed and valued reading this book!  I could just send a quick email and say....."hey man, i really enjoyed this new book-thanks" ...that seems the easy way out.....too cold and insincere to me ! I wanted to take the time to express a little more than that! .....from my I see this book was from yours!  And Clint's..............  I sincerely hope you don't mind.

It's a little difficult for me to find a place to begin here.  I was in 4th grade at St Thomas More Catholic School in SE Washington DC at the moment of President Kennedy's assassination.  Mother Superior  burst into our class and stated "say a prayer for President Kennedy-he has been shot".  Of course our teacher led us in a prayer after which us 9 year old kids got back to school work.

At that time my family (Mother's side) owned a restaurant in the Eastover Shopping Center (Eastover Restaurant & Delicatessen).....considered SE DC but actually was just over the line in Eastover/Glassmanor MD.  It was a family affair and everyone in the family worked at the Restaurant including  us kids for whatever it was we could do. 

This was an extremely sad time for my family (all Catholic) Granny cried and cried all weekend.  We were not allowed to go out and play or be with any of our friends or even go to the Restaurant that weekend.  We all just watched tv.  We saw Oswald murdered on live TV.

My father, Frank Badalson Sr. was a tailor/haberdasher and considered very good at his trade at that time......he made suits for many Congressmen and had a Marine Uniform Shop in Quantico, VA.  The Summer of 1971 my Father got me a job working for Congressman William R. Anderson from TN.  I got to be quite close to the Congressman and his staff that Summer.  Mr Anderson called me in and said he wanted to appoint me as a US House Page for my senior year of high school.  Of course I said "yes sir" !  Long story short.....I quickly made it to "No 1 Page" they called it......I mainly catered to Congressmen  on the Republican side because they were short of Pages.  I did a lot for Gerald R. Ford who was Minority Whip at that time.  He came to know me by name....and I ran a lot of "errands" for him.  Of course he was the only original member of the Warren Commission that I ever knew and I was aware of that at the time......but honestly it didnt mean much to me then......too young!   Girls and cars....thats about it !

I went to college, The University of Richmond, VA and graduated in 1976.  One week later I started my career in Law Enforcement.  That lasted for 15 years. Mostly a regular beat a very busy area.....quickly got into investigating  murders, shootings, rapes, robberies and of course alot of automobile crashes...physical fights and manhandling people......among the shoplifting cases, domestic calls, smashed mailbox and loud barking dog calls....etc......all the things a busy "beat" cop gets into.   I also watched many autopsies (maybe  about a dozen or so, a lot for a beat cop)....actually right there in the room  with Dr Marcella Fiero (Patricia Cornwells-leading lady--Dr Fiero was an associate Medical Examiner, not Chief during my time) and she was quite a character!!.  I learned about ballistics from our forensic guys and just good solid police work in general.  We were a close knit Department at that time....full of honorable.....trustworthy guys.  We had to count on each other and had to have full confidence in one another.  My point here is......much like you all  in the Secret Service.......although I understand not the same.........very similar in that "I get it"...throughout your book. 

The average citizen just can't comprehend what you all had to way.......not even me....til I read your book!

No Lawyer.....Physicist.....Journalist.....etc would have any conception what it takes......what it is to investigate a homicide, understand what bullets do, what wounds should look like and above all the "physical evidence " of a case in it's entirety.  I have read  no less than 40 books since 79/80 on the Assassination.  I have read the Warren Commission report........I conducted my own analysis and investigation.......I was in Dealey Plaza in October of 1994 and spent all day  in the Book Depository and the "tour".  I went to Oswalds rooming 10th St near Patton St where Officer J. D. Tippit was slain, and to the Texas Theater.  Looking out of the Sixth Floor windows (the actual window was caged off at that time) but I looked out adjacent windows and was immediately struck  by how the distances seemed  so "short" to the problem at all for a .223 rifle with a scope.  Heck during my first years we had to qualify from the 50 yard line....using barricades......but nevertheless it was 150 feet of distance with a 4 inch barrel .38...6 shot revolver !   And I shot expert my entire career.  Of course the 50 yard line is no longer used in standard Police  qualifications.

Jerry....I can"t tell how how valuable your book is in every way.  Personally  this book fills in voids that I have always wondered about.............sure Posners book and Bugliosis 2 books are somewhat factual and I agree with most of it.....their conclusions and all. me your book finally brings it all don't  yet again try to convince everyone about all the physical evidence and what it to interpret it...........YOU don't need to.   This perspective.....from You and Clint ............just ties it all together..........I can finally say after all these years....."Case Closed"   

    (............I always wondered about the true Secret Service role.....but nothing was ever written  from a factual perspective.........I did not believe these BS stories about the  guys all drinking/partying the early morning before......and changing the route.....none of that made sense to me......but I never heard it refuted from a factual basis.)

 From an investigative standpoint there is no doubt that Oswald acted alone..........the essence of the Warren commission findings and the findings of the Dallas PD ( including what Det. Jim Leavelle says...a true homicide detective) are correct and absolutely accurate. One might fault the Warren Comm. for not having at least 1 actual police officer skilled in actual homicide investigations....evaluating evidence and putting it all together.  They did ultimately end up with an accurate assessment.  By the way.....I wonder if most people out there know the real reason Oswald was handcuffed to Leavelle for transport on Sunday??  It was because Leavelle had  responded to the scene and was assigned to Officer J. D. Tippits murder and that was the first charge lodged against Oswald. So Chief Curry and Capt. Fritz agreed Leavelle should do it.  During my "time" .....I traveled out of State twice to transport criminals, by airplane. Chief assigned those who were directly involved in the case-always.

I have debated this subject for many....many.. years....with other Law Enforcement friends.......most of them think I am nuts......"why do you care"..........well I tell them  they should cop friends all think I am a little eccentric to say the least.....but ....such a controversial subject.......warrants interest for History least that is what I think.   I wasn't there......You all were....well I know you personally were not in know what I mean !

One of the biggest debates I consistently have is this............Do you really believe  that this immense fraud and cover up you all talk about could possibly have taken place among all these Law Enforcement personnel?  really? Do you realize how many men would  have decided.....well....I'm just going to lie....and forgo my sworn oath....personal values......honesty...integrity , come on! .......I was awfully proud of my Department and every minute I served as a Police Officer.............there is no way anyone could possibly convince me or any of the men I worked with to "cover-up" anything............its hard to get this point across to lay people Jerry....very hard.

I think I will be giving away a bunch of your books as Christmas presents this year..............I know a good number of folks that really.....really need to read this book.  And it is the best Christmas present I can think of this year!!  I am mostly going to give it to those friends who have always doubted me !!! They will understand!

I want You and Clint to know that I appreciate your service......and the tremendous sacrifice and hardship (physically and emotionally) you all have endured (I also can appreciate the 48 hour days with no sleep-and certainly no overtime pay-it was expected)  during those days.......from the bottom of my heart...thank you Jerry.

 Sorry for rambling on......this is just a subject I feel very strongly about ......and I have never been remotely interested in writing any author about this subject......when I completed your felt compelled and after I saw the website.....I knew I had to write you !

Take Care, Your Friend in Virginia, Frank Badalson

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hello From A Kennedy Detail Fan!

Hi, Jerry,

I just wanted to tell you how very, very much I enjoy The Kennedy Detail. I use the present tense because I'm actually in the middle of re-reading it right now. I'm a young Kennedy fan; I'll be 25 next month. It started when I bought a biography of JFK Jr not long after his death. I was hooked, and now read and watch whatever I can about this fascinating family.

A while back, I stumbled across The Kennedy Detail documentary while channel surfing, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Wish it was available on DVD! Then I was browsing in my local Barnes & Noble one day and discovered the book! It's now one of my favorites.

I will also say (because I think you will be glad to hear it) that before I read the book, I wasn't 100% sure Oswald acted alone. I didn't buy into a specific conspiracy theory, but I thought it was possible. Not anymore! I may not have been willing to take the word of the Warren Commission as gospel, but your word *is* good enough for me!

The Secret Service agents are mentioned in plenty of books about JFK's presidency, but reading about things from their point of view really increases my admiration and respect. And you're all so humble about it.  I know y'all all would say you were just doing your jobs, but it is important for me to tell you how much I look up to you. All of this was long before my time, but future generations will not forget you. From the first, I developed an especial admiration and respect for your good friend, Clint Hill (I just finished Mrs. Kennedy and Me last week!). If you would be so kind, please give him my best wishes.

Just out of curiosity, I know you do some public appearances. How often are you in/near North Carolina? It would be amazing to hear you speak, and an honor to shake your hand.

Whoops, looks like I rambled longer than I meant to! I have an English degree, it's what I do--communicate. ;) Take care!

With deepest respect,
Collyn Loftis

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stephen Gyllenhaal To Pen, Direct ‘The Kennedy Detail’

Stephen Gyllenhaal has signed as screenwriter and director of The Kennedy Detail, which focuses on the men of the Secret Service protective detail assigned to President John F. Kennedy. The project is targeted for a November 2013 release, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. “This is the project of a lifetime and I could not be more excited to be part of it,” said Gyllenhaal. “Everyone knows how this story ends, but the true stories told through the eyes of this extraordinary band of brothers, from JFK’s election to that awful day in Dallas, have never been told. It is time to share their perspective with the world”.  Gyllenhaal has begun work on the script with his research including interviews with many of the surviving members of President Kennedy’s protective detail and their family members. The film will be based on the New York Times best-selling book The Kennedy Detail by former agent Gerald Blaine and award-winning journalist Lisa McCubbin, with a foreword by former agent Clint Hill. Hill has signed as a special advisor to the project, and McCubbin and Hill will be associate producers. The Kennedy Detail is being produced by Atchity Entertainment International (AEI) of Los Angeles, Atchity and Chi-Li Wong producers, and Ramos & Sparks Group of Tallahassee, Florida, with Richard Ramos and Rober

Monday, July 9, 2012

DVD Review - The Kennedy Detail

Often when I review TV shows they have to be really good for me to hold onto the DVD afterwards, instead of selling it. So when I picked this DVD to watch, I pretty much knew it would be a solid one to review, but was going to hit my ‘To Sell’ pile pretty quickly. Because really, what new information could this tell me?

“JFK’S Secret Service Agents Reveal the Inside Story of an American Tragedy Secret Service Agent Clint Hill was just ten feet from President John F. Kennedy, desperately trying to hurl his body in front of the gunfire, when the president’s head exploded before his eyes. Covered with blood and pieces of the president’s brain, Agent Hill pushed Jackie Kennedy into the back seat and, clinging to the trunk of the open top limousine as it sped away from Dealey Plaza to Parkland Hospital, all he could do was slam his fist in anger, and give the thumbs down sign to the agents in the follow-up car behind him. For nearly fifty years, the close-knit group of men who protected JFK have refused to talk about that tragic day. Until now.”

Despite my own feelings about the assassination of JFK, this Discovery special, 'The Kennedy Detail', was a heartbreaking watch. Seeing grown men of the secret service, nearly 50 years after the fact, crying and sobbing as they recount their stories was hard to watch. The show was both insightful and thought provoking, but really it just reaffirms in me that we lost one of the great people of the world that day. And yeah, I happily put this DVD into my collection.

A From Me!!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Major Motion Picture Based on THE KENNEDY DETAIL Planned for 50th Anniversary of Assassination

As the 50th anniversary approaches in 2013 for one of the darkest, saddest days in modern American history – the assassination of President John F. Kennedy – plans have been announced for production of a major motion picture based on the New York Times bestselling book, The Kennedy Detail, written by former Secret Service agent Gerald Blaine and award-winning journalist Lisa McCubbin, with a foreword by former agent Clint Hill.

Ramos & Sparks Group (R&S) of Tallahassee, Florida, in conjunction with Atchity Entertainment International (AEI) of Los Angeles, California, today announced they have secured the rights and optioned the book for an independent feature film closely following the book, thereby “setting the record straight in answer to Oliver Stone’s fanciful JFK.”

The venture will be produced by the collaboration The Kennedy Project, LLC. Blaine, a key member of President John F. Kennedy’s security detail, teamed with McCubbin to provide a first-hand account of protecting the 35th President and his family immediately following his election in November, 1960 through the tragic day in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.

This critically acclaimed account was released in late 2010 as the first book written about the President and his family with the cooperation of the men charged with his protection. The first-hand account, told within the 427 pages of The Kennedy Detail and an Emmy-nominated documentary of the same title, is comprised of individual tales of loyalty, honor and ultimately, loss.

“This book is about a ‘band of brothers’ who committed their lives every day to guarding the President and his family,” said Dr. Ken Atchity, President of Atchity Entertainment International, who will serve as the film’s producer along with AEI partner Chi-Li Wong. “The unique relationship between this President and those charged with his safety is a story that will add a previously unknown perspective into the brief, but well-chronicled era known as the Kennedy Administration.”

“As a life-long student of the Kennedy Administration and the events of November 22, 1963, I could see immediately that this book provided a clear picture and keen insight into the everyday workings of the administration as well as that horrible day in Dallas,” said Rich Ramos, who along with Bob Sparks of Ramos & Sparks Group, will also serve as producers. “The true story contained inThe Kennedy Detail needs to be brought to theaters around the world so that history can be presented accurately, once and for all.”

Plans call for a release in late 2013, nearly 50 years to the day of the assassination of President Kennedy. The Emmy-nominated documentary based on The Kennedy Detail, narrated by Martin Sheen, was executive-produced by Ken Atchity and Chi-Li Wong, along with Renegade83, and first aired on Discovery Channel in 2010. Jerry Blaine and Lisa McCubbin also served as producers.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Michael Rae out to support National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

Michael T. Rae doesn’t like fund-raising.

What’s worse is that in his work, he’s not permitted to ask his co-workers for contributions. So, there’s no passing of a sheet around the office like most of us see when it’s Girl Scout cookie sale time.

No, when this attorney with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Cleveland needs to come up with the $1,750 entry fee to take part in the Police Unity Tour that travels on bicycle from New Jersey to Washington, D.C., every year, he needs to get creative.

And this year, Rae’s getting pretty romantic.

In previous years, Rae’s done a lot of selling.

“EBay is a great place,” Rae said.

He should know, because he’s successfully taken to the Internet’s largest garage sale to peddle one-of-a-kind items to fund his charity work.

Currently, Rae’s selling “The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence,” by Gerald Blaine. The books are signed by Blaine, who was one of Kennedy’s agents, and Clint Hill, the agent who famously jumped up on the back of the limo in which Kennedy was riding the day he was shot in Dallas.

Also closing out sales this week were copies of “Unbroken,” the story of a former POW’s struggle to readjust to life after war, by Laura Hillenbrand; and “Abraham Lincoln,” a biography by former presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. George McGovern.

Any proceeds raised from sales of this type of merchandise go directly to the Police Unity Tour, which marks its 16th year in May.

During the four-day ride, law enforcement officials from across the country gather to honor those who died in the line of duty.

The first ride, in 1997, consisted of 18 riders. Rae said that in 2011, more than 1,200 took part and that they donated $1.325 million for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

According to, the charity has donated a total of $8.4 million to the fund since 1997.

And, in 2005, $5 million was pledged to support the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington. The museum is set to open in 2014 at Judiciary Square in Washington. The area surrounding is home to the FBI’s D.C. office, U.S. Tax Court and D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.

The 55-year-old Rae said he’s participated eight times so far and plans to take part again this year, from May 9-12.

In addition to his fund-raising through collectible goods, Rae is offering another of his many skills to area residents.

Rae, who became an ordained minister when a friend asked him to officiate her daughter’s wedding, said he’s available for hire to those who are getting married or who’d like to renew their vows.

His fee? A $150 contribution to the Police Unity Tour.

Rae is ordained through Universal Life Church Monastery, which helps those interested in performing these types of services get their official licenses online.

His first wedding ceremony united Brandilyn and Bryan Maibach in Tallmadge on Oct. 23, 2010.

His longtime friend, Robyn Fry of Mentor, asked him to perform her daughter’s wedding.

“The kids wanted someone that was special to them and that their ceremony would mean something not only to them, but also to the person involved with the ceremony,” Fry said. “We thought of Mike, and without hesitation, he said yes, filed the paperwork and become ordained — just for them!! He is truly a great friend.”

Fry said having Rae in charge of things gave her great comfort.

“He will do anything for you,” Fry said. “... He is very special. It meant everything to my husband and me to look at the front of the church, see our daughter on her special day — and be in such great care with Mike.

“The truth of the matter is, he will do these things for all of his friends, he is someone you can count on. He is always volunteering for numerous agencies and donating his time and effort to worthy causes. I am so lucky to have him as a friend.”

Rae said he’s performed two other weddings since then, including one for a colleague who got married at the lighthouse on Marblehead.

He said he tailors the ceremonies to the needs of the bride and groom, ensuring it’s exactly what they want. He dresses for the occasion, wearing a suit and stole bearing the symbols of the major religions, but said his is a non-denominational ceremony.

“Anything they want to do, I’m game,” he said. “A lot of people don’t have a home church, so they look for a minister.”

Rae gets quiet when he talks about his efforts to raise money. He said it embarrasses him, and that because he’s limited by federal rules that preclude him from asking for donations from colleagues, he has a more difficult time than those on the local law enforcement level.

Still, he hasn’t had trouble making his goal. In fact, last year he said he raised enough to boost two more riders — including Jeremy Benedict of Cleveland Clinic's police force. Benedict received $350 from Rae after raising $1,400 on his own. Mentor Police Officer Erik Kupchik has done the ride five times, and Assistant Lake County Prosecutor Lisa Neroda also has participated.

Rae is among the charity’s biggest cheerleaders, freely discussing its mission and the joys of taking part.

“I just want people to know the two core statements,” he said. “We ride for those who die. And we ride to remember.”

For those unfamiliar with the Police Unity Tour, it’s a remarkable gathering of active law enforcement officials, who travel 300 miles by bike in memory of those who’ve given their lives in the performance of their duties.

Each rider wears a bracelet bearing the name of a deceased officer.

The riders travel in pairs on the road, as Rae said, in a nod to the “thin blue line.”

“The blue line is meant to depict police officers,” he said. “There’s a thin line between society and chaos, and that’s police officers.”

The riders are led by a team of motorcyclists and tailed by a support team that moves around them while ensuring their safety and preparing meals and tending to other needs.

Once they reach the monument at Judiciary Square in Washington, Rae said riders meet up with the “survivors.” Family members of those who’ve died descend on Washington for a candlelight vigil honoring the fallen on the night after the riders arrive.

Rae described downtime when they get to sit and talk.

“It’s a sorority you don’t want to be a member of,” he said. “I go up and say, ‘what’s your story and why are you here.’ ”

He said during those conversations, he met in person someone he'd corresponded with for months before the ride. Debbie Greene is the mother of a young police officer who was killed Oct. 30, 2010, in Hoonah, Alaska. Anthony Wallace was legally deaf, but worked his way from a troubled childhood to a wrestling scholarship, then on to a job with his four-person force.

When Greene came to visit him from her home in Florida, he took her on a ride-along during which he was shot by what Rae described as a “mentally ill man who held a grudge.”

Rae said the suspect had been arrested by Wallace previously and he retaliated.

During their conversation, Greene asked Rae for directions to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. After he obliged, she confided that her brother’s name was listed on the wall.

They kept in contact after the Tour’s events, and Rae got her hooked up with Concern of Police Survivors, a group that works to help “assist in the rebuilding of the lives of surviving families and affected co-workers of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.”

COPS conducts events, works with families, and is sponsor of National Police Week, which takes place in Washington, D.C., this year the week following the Police Unity Tour.

Rae looks on his time spent taking part in the cycling event as just something he can do for those who have fallen. He thought for a minute and said he thinks he’s taken about two years worth of his annual leave to do the rides.

He said he gets in about 3,000 miles a year on his bike, including 500 to 800 in the months before the May ride.

“I ride the streets,” he said. “We have wonderful street lights in Mentor. When the weather gets warmer (Rae and his girlfriend Martha) hit Lakeshore and the bike paths in Eastlake.”

He said he has struggled with getting time on the bike in the past few months because of the poor weather. This past week, for instance, as been too cold for him to head out. But, he said he’s a common sight in the area.

“The people in Mentor know me,” he said. “They probably think, ‘there’s that nut on his bike again.’ ”

If you'd like to help:

To contact Michael T. Rae about performing weddings or renewals of marriage vows, send an e-mail to, or call him at 440-974-2070, or 216-849-1542.

To make a donation in Rae’s name, send a check made out to Police Unity Tour to Mike Rae, Attn: PUT, 2400 Orange Ave., 2nd Floor, Cleveland, OH 44101-9726.

Rae sells items as a fundraiser for his entry fees at, using the seller name mikemarty48stf.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas dedicates a permanent exhibit to President John F. Kennedy

On Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as he rode through Dealey Plaza, also know as “The Front Door of Dallas.”

Since Presidents Day 1989, The Sixth Floor Museum has created a permanent exhibit to chronicle Kennedy’s life, death and legacy.

The museum is located in the former Texas School Book Depository where Lee Harvey Oswald took the fatal shots that killed the president. Evidence suggests the shots were fired from the sixth floor.

Inside, behind glass walls, a replica of the crime scene showcases how the boxes of books were stacked to create a rifle nest in front of the window the shot was taken from.

“Even though I’ve been here several times, that corner still gives me chills when I look at it,” 65-year-old Dallas resident Gene Harris said.

The rest of the sixth floor is filled with all-things-Kennedy, from his campaign trail and inauguration to some of the challenges he faced in office, such as the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Signage, pamphlets and circulars on the walls also show anti-Kennedy sentiment from Americans of the time.

“Not everybody was a Kennedy supporter,” said Ron Derrek, a 32-year-old accountant from North Carolina visiting Dallas on business. “Its cool that they show both sides and not just Kennedy supporters.”

The seventh floor of the museum houses temporary exhibits. Currently a 17-foot Texas School Book Depository sign is on display. The sign originally hung on the building in the ‘60s and has been in storage for more than 30 years, making this the first time it has been seen publicly since the late ‘70s.

Liza Collins, public relations and the museum’s advertising manager, said it’s a great place for people of all ages to come and experience.

“The best thing about the museum is that this is where history took place,” she said.

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jbshorthorn

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jack Walsh, 79, Secret Service agent who guarded JFK’s family has died.


In this 1965 Globe front page photo, John Kennedy Jr. ran down a street in England, with Jack Walsh keeping pace.

Jack Walsh was a relatively new Secret Service agent when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and he soon was assigned to protect Jacqueline Kennedy and her two young children, Caroline and John Jr.

“Those were difficult times,’’ said Jim Christian, a retired special agent in charge with the Secret Service. “The nation was in mourning, she was probably the most important person in the United States, and the country pretty much adopted the children.’’

The assignment brought Mr. Walsh more than the standard chores of missing his children’s birthdays so he could guard the children of America’s Camelot. As fascination with the Kennedys increased, writers sought him out to see if he would share secrets.

“We would get repeated calls from people writing the unauthorized Kennedy books. He wouldn’t take a call,’’ said Mr. Walsh’s son David, of Cincinnati. “Whatever happened behind the walls at the Kennedy compound, stayed behind those walls.’’

Mr. Walsh, who became agent in charge of protecting the late president’s children and was so well loved by the family that he was a pallbearer at the funeral of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, died in his home of cancer Thursday. He was 79 and had lived in Milton for more than 40 years.

‘Jack had one of the more difficult jobs in the Secret Service.’

Jim Christian, retired special agent in charge with the Secret Service.

“Jack had one of the more difficult jobs in the Secret Service,’’ Christian said. “He had to keep Washington happy and that meant keeping the children safe, and it also meant keeping her happy. That was an enormous balancing act.’’

When the president’s widow lived in New York City, she “wanted to keep those children safe, but she also wanted them to have normal lives,’’ Christian said. “The desire was that the children and their friends would not see the agents, but the agents had the responsibility of not letting anything happen. With all the other protectees, you were right there. Here, you were trying to stay out of the way, sometimes on busy New York streets.’’

Mr. Walsh, he said, “did it all, and he did it well.’’

Despite efforts to fade into the scenery, Mr. Walsh occasionally showed up in books by and about the Kennedys, or on the Globe’s front page, as he did May 17, 1965. In a photo, John Kennedy Jr. runs joyously down a street in England as a smiling Mr. Walsh towers over him, keeping pace.

Sarah Bradford’s 2000 book, “America’s Queen,’’ quoted a letter Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis wrote in 1967 about a trip to Ireland. She thought she was swimming alone on the coast when a current threatened to sweep her away.

“I was becoming exhausted, swallowing water and slipping past the spit of land, when I felt a great porpoise at my side,’’ she wrote. “It was Mr. Walsh. He set his shoulder against mine and together we made the spit.’’

She recommended that the Secret Service award Mr. Walsh its highest commendation and requested that he lead the detail protecting the family.

“He was fiercely loyal and loved loyalty more than anything else,’’ said Geoffrey Kierstead, a friend and retired Secret Service agent. “And he was so loyal to the Kennedy family.’’

The feeling was mutual. Raymond L. Flynn, a former mayor of Boston, knew Mr. Walsh and his family since their childhoods in South Boston.

“I was in New York jogging one day through Central Park, and Jacqueline Kennedy was there,’’ he said. “She was sitting by herself trying not to be noticed, but I recognized her. I went over and introduced myself and said, ‘I’m a friend of Jackie Walsh.’ I ended up sitting with her for 45 minutes. All she wanted to do was talk about him.’’

John F. Walsh grew up in South Boston and, despite traveling the world with the Kennedys, never really left.

Photos of Southie hang in his Milton home. He attended Gate of Heaven Church in South Boston and its high school.

When he served in Korea with the Marines, he answered the obligatory “where you from’’ with: “Gate of Heaven.’’ Pressed to provide more, he would add: “I and 8th,’’ the street corner close by his family’s home.

Mr. Walsh was part of the Aces, a street gang from the days when pride was the weapon young guys wielded.

“He was known as Jack Walsh, I and 8th, one of the Aces,’’ David said. “He hadn’t lived in Southie for a long, long time, but you’d never know it.’’

Standing several inches above 6 feet, Mr. Walsh started going gray while still in high school.

“He had silver hair at 18 years old,’’ said his son John II, of Milton.

After returning home from Korea, Mr. Walsh graduated from Suffolk University and worked at City Hall until he became a Secret Service agent.

When the Kennedy children were too old for Secret Service protection, Mr. Walsh switched to the Boston office and coordinated protection when Pope John Paul II visited Boston in 1979. The Walsh family was up front during Mass, receiving Communion from the pope.

In 1963, Mr. Walsh married Ann Welch, whom he always called “my Ann.’’ Family was so important that while guarding the Kennedys in New York, he sometimes drove to Milton just to spend the night, and headed back the next day.

As if to make up for holidays and birthdays he missed while on duty, in retirement “he went to every one of his grandchildren’s games,’’ David said.

In addition to his wife and two sons, Mr. Walsh leaves a daughter, Maura Walsh-Hammer of Hingham; another son, Matthew of New York City; a brother, Joseph of Hyde Park; a sister, Ellen Concannon of South Boston; and nine grandchildren

A funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. today in Gate of Heaven Church in South Boston. Burial will be in Milton Cemetery.

When his illness progressed, Mr. Walsh “had three requests: ‘I want to die in my bedroom, I want to be waked at O’Brien’s Funeral Home in South Boston, and I want my funeral at Gate of Heaven,’ ’’ David said.

Mr. Walsh may have spent years training his watchful gaze on those who made history, but in the end his own past was most important.

“The best praise is when the people you grew up with and lived with respect you,’’ Flynn said. “That’s the greatest tribute that Jackie got. He traveled with presidents, popes, and prime ministers, but the people who love him the most are the people he grew up with.’’

Bryan Marquard can be reached at

Friday, January 6, 2012

Readers Reviews


by Spanky

I purchased the book and the audio CD. I started reading the book and could not put it down. I read it in one night. The Title of the book is right, lots of "detail." An Outstanding well written book. I purchased the CD for my husband and he (like myself) was in awe for what the secret service do, and what they did that day.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Readers Reviews

Treat yourself to history

(New York USA)

Having lived through the JFK assassination at a very young age, it was a great insight into the events of the day which I then recalled in vivid detail as I read The Kennedy Detail by Gerald Blaine and Lisa McCubbin. It was detail oriented, a little slow in spots but brought to the forefront the sacrifices these brave men and women have contributed over the years. The agonizing step by step detail about the final political trip by the Kennedys and leading up to those "six seconds" in Dallas only served to undersocre the elements of danger that went with their job and meager salaries. When I was done I felt like I had relived each and every one of those minutes from the inaugeration tothe final burial at Arlington.

Inspirational, insightful and a good book. So get a warm drink, bundle up in front of the fire and pull up the afghan and read a piece of history. I guarantee that you won't be sorry.