Could the Secret Service Have Saved J.F.K.?
They are the most examined few seconds in American history. At 12:30 P.M. on November 22, 1963, bullets fired into the open roof of the presidential limousine tore through John F. Kennedy’s body. The first shot to hit the president went through his neck, but did not kill him. Within five seconds another shot damaged his brain and skull. During the critical time between the first shot and the fatal blow—about five seconds in which the president’s life might have been saved—the Secret Service agents within a few feet of the man they were duty-bound to protect—failed to take evasive action.
Roy Kellerman, the leader of the security detail, did not seem to know what was happening. He thought a firecracker had gone off. William Greer, at the wheel of the president’s car, did not immediately speed up or swerve away from the shots. Paul Landis, in the vehicle trailing Kennedy’s, did not jump forward to protect the president with his body; neither did Jack Ready. Clint Hill, riding a few feet behind and to the president’s left, was part of the First Lady’s detail. After the fatal shot was fired, he leapt onto the rear of the presidential limousine and kept her from jumping off the back.
The White House Secret Service is famous for its split-second reflexes and for being trained to take a bullet for the commander in chief. Why didn’t that happen on November 22? Extensive studies by five separate government committees, legions of amateur sleuths, as well as hundreds of books have added to the confusion.
Admittedly old news but interesting in light of the Secret Service’s recent scandal’s. I’m old enough to remember the JFK assassination and it’s depressing to think he died because his detail was out partying the night beforeas the article suggests.