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Last Dallas officer on duty when JFK shot retires

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Last Dallas officer on duty when JFK shot retires

12:00 AM CDT on Tuesday, July 29, 2008

By MICHAEL E. YOUNG / The Dallas Morning News



REX C. CURRY/Special Contributor

Sgt. Graham H. 'Greyhound' Pierce hugged Claudia Hill, his former clerk, during his retirement party at the Dallas Police Department's southeast division substation on Monday. He was a rookie and was at home when President Kennedy was shot, but later that day, he patrolled South Dallas.


Sgt. Graham H. Pierce and his wife, Ruth Ann, take in the humor during his retirement party.)

Long and lean, Sgt. Graham H. Pierce won his nickname early in his career with the Dallas Police Department, sprinting and catching a suspect in his first foot chase.

To almost everyone in the department over the next 45 years, Sgt. Pierce would be known as "Greyhound."

But when "Greyhound" Pierce retired on Monday, he took with him another distinction: He was the last member of the department who was working the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

As a rookie fresh from the academy in 1963, Sgt. Pierce was assigned to the night shift, so he was home sleeping when the president was killed on Nov. 22.

By the time he reported to work at 11 p.m., Lyndon Baines Johnson was president and Dallas City Hall was a madhouse of reporters searching for scraps of news and photographers desperate to find that special shot.

He spent the next eight hours on patrol in South Dallas, where a somber crowd milled through the streets, shocked that such a thing could happen in their town.

On Monday, he stood in a big room at the southeast division substation before his wife, children and grandchildren, fellow officers and department brass and looked back over his career.

"Forty-five years has been a long time," said Sgt. Pierce, 67. "But it went by awful fast. I still remember being a rookie on the street, just out of the academy.

"I just can't remember anything in between," he joked.

No one in the room believed him for a second. Speaker after speaker honored him for his dedication, his leadership, his willingness to do whatever needed doing.

Sgt. Pierce actually left his job about a month ago to use up vacation time, said his supervisor, Lt. Brian Cornish.

"But one day we were really short on supervisors, and he showed up," Lt. Cornish said.

Deputy Chief Patricia Paulhill, commander of the southeast patrol division, recalled the first time she met Sgt. Pierce.

"It was my first day at southeast and I walked in, a brand new sergeant, and I said, 'I'm Sgt. Patricia Paulhill. Can you tell me where my office is?'

"There was a nice looking gentleman sitting there, and he never looked up," she said. All she heard was a muffled laugh.

She asked again and he pointed her toward the end of the hall, where she found a few cells on one side, and a room packed with file cases on the other.

"He politely told me I had the second drawer on the right hand side," she said.

Assistant Chief Floyd Simpson, who presented Sgt. Pierce with a plaque from the city of Dallas, remembered working with him in southeast, too.

"In my mind, you're an icon," Chief Simpson said. "You're my hero."

Sgt. Pierce spoke last, a quiet man unaccustomed to such attention.

"I knew I'd have to do this," he said as he started his speech. "I've been thinking about it for a week. I'm still thinking about it – I don't know what I'm going to say."

So he spoke from the heart, to the friends he's made over 45 years, as he looked toward a new phase of life.

"The bad part is going to be missing all of you," he said. "And the sad part is there is probably someone here I'll never see again.

"But you'll always be in my memory."


Best Regards in Research,


Don Roberdeau

U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, CV-67, "Big John," Plank Walker

Sooner, or later, The Truth emerges Clearly

Discovery: ROSEMARY WILLIS Zapruder Film Documented 2nd Headsnap : Westward, Ultrafast, & Directly Towards the "Grassy Knoll"

Dealey Plaza Professionally-surveyed Map Detailing 11-22-63 Victims locations, Witnesses, Photographers, Suspected trajectories, Evidentiary artifacts, & Important information & considerations

President KENNEDY "Men of Courage: 4 Principles" speech, and a portion of fellow researchers articles and my research & discoveries, 1975 to present

T ogether

E veryone

A chieves

M ore


National Terror Alert for the United States:


"Drehm seemed to think the shots came from in FRONT OF or BESIDE

the President." (my EMPHASIS)

----CHARLES F. BREHM, a combat gunfire experienced, United States

Army Ranger, World War II, D-day veteran, & very close Dealey Plaza

attack witness, quoted only minutes after the attack, and while he

is still standing within Dealey Plaza (11-22-63 "Dallas Times Herald,"

fifth & final daily edition, which mis-spelled his name)

"Another eyewitness, Charles Brehm, said he was 15 feet away from the

President when he was shot.

'He was waving, then the FIRST shot hit him and that awful look

crossed his face.' " (my EMPHASIS)

CHARLES F. BREHM, a combat gunfire experienced, United States Army

Ranger, World War II, D-day veteran, & very close Dealey Plaza attack

witness (quoted to the "Associated Press," 11-22-63)

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