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Capt. Michael D. Groves


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Michael D. Groves

D.C. Old Guard, 11/22/63

JFK honor guard at funeral.

Served in combat in Vietnam.

Died of heart attack at age 27 on 12/03/63

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/mdgroves.htm

A member of the Third Infantry ("The Old Guard"), he was assigned to command the Army Honor Guards at the White House, the Capitol and at Arlington National Cemetery during the ceremonies surrounding the funeral of President John F. Kennedy in late November 1963, and the Caisson Detachment during the funeral itself.

He died on December 3, 1963 at home while dining with his family, at the age of 27.

GROVES, MICHAEL D

CAPT HQ 1ST BG 3RD INF THE OLD GUARD FT MYER ARL VA USA

DATE OF BIRTH: 08/19/1936

DATE OF DEATH: 12/03/1963

BURIED AT: SECTION 30 SITE 897-LH

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

JFK – The Dead Witnesses by Craig Roberts and John Armstrong

http://74.125.113.132/search?q=cache:lMfJq...=clnk&gl=us

Consider the death of Army Capt. Michael D. Groves who was in charge of the Honor Guard for the Kennedy's funeral. He died on 3 December 1963 one week later while sitting at the supper table... by simply falling over in his plate. The honor guard had been practicing for a presidential funeral 3 days prior to theassassination!

Captain Michael D. Groves, MDW Honor Guard [deceased 12/3/63]:

a) "Killing The Truth" by H.E.L., p. 742---"Rebentisch remembers the color guard captain, and said he died a week later from the strain." [He is correct: see "The Death of a President", p. 638];

"JFK: The Dead Witnesses" by Craig Roberts and John Armstrong (1995), p. 3---"Captain Groves, who commanded the JFK Honor Guard for Kennedy's fu-neral, died under mysterious circumstances seven days after the funeral. While eating dinner, he took a bite of food, paused briefly as a pained look came over his face, then passed out and fell face down into his plate. He died instantly. On December 12th, his possessions and momentos---which had been sent home to Birmingham, Michigan---were destroyed in a fire of mysterious origin. The Honor Guard, for some mysterious reason, had been practicing for a presiden-tial funeral for three days before the assassination. Captain Groves was 27 years old at the time of this death. Cause of death: Unknown. Possibly poison.";

http://www.assassinationresearch.com/v4n2/v4n2part4.pdf

http://www.ancestrymagazine.com/2008/07/on...he-honor-guard/

Where Is the Honor Guard?

I was parked in front of the TV a few nights ago when I received an unexpected phone call from Bob Velke, owner of Wholly Genes. He had a puzzle he suspected (correctly, as it turns out) I wouldn't be able to resist. After we spoke, he summarized it in an e-mail:

My father-in-law, Thomas F. Reid, was a 26-year-old captain in 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment ("The Old Guard") in Ft. Myer, Virginia on 22 November 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. As captain of D Company, Tom was assigned the responsibility of organizing all of the details of the interment ceremonies (arranging for the Eternal Flame, the Irish Guard, dignitaries, etc.) at Arlington National Cemetery three days later.

Tom, now 70 years old, has decided to set down his recollections of those four days in writing and to collect testimonials from various surviving officers and ceremonial participants. So far, he's tracked down about half a dozen of them, including the bugler, handler of the caparisoned horse, a pall bearer, and others.

One of those participants, Sgt. James R. ("Pete") Holder, contributed an audiotape of his memoirs, including, among other things, a long testimonial about his hero and mentor, Capt. Michael D. Groves, the company commander of Honor Guard Company. Tom wants to track down Groves's children because he thinks they would appreciate hearing this wonderful testimonial about their dad, a man whose reputation has been otherwise assaulted by attempts to link him to "the JFK conspiracy."

This is what we know of Michael and his family, largely from obituaries:

Michael D. Groves was born 19 August 1936 in Birmingham (but some say Ann Arbor), Michigan. He went to Birmingham High School and then Eastern Michigan University (1959) as an ROTC honor graduate, entering the service immediately upon graduation. He was said to be a close friend of JFK and occasionally babysat for John Jr.

As company commander of the Honor Guard Company, Groves directed military honors at JFK's funeral on 25 November 1963. A week later, he died of a sudden heart attack (or some say poison) at the dinner table at his home in Arlington, Virginia.

He was reportedly survived by a daughter, Kelly Ann (3 years old), and his wife, Mary, who at that time was eight months pregnant with another child. Tom believes Mary was about 25 when her husband died and that she later remarried. Capt. "Mike" Groves was also survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Donald W. Groves of Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

So the orphan heirloom in this case was an audio tape with information about a man whose older child had hardly known him and whose younger child had never known him. As an Army brat myself, whose father had also entered the Army out of ROTC in the late 1950s—not to mention, whose family still has the newspaper from the day Kennedy was assassinated—this family felt familiar to me. I wanted to see what I could do.

Where to Start?

Because I spend as much time finding the living as I do finding the dearly departed, I knew this case was far from a slam dunk. Factors such as privacy laws and the mobility of our population can make locating the living more daunting than picking up the trail of a long-departed ancestor.

In this case, we were dealing with a military family, which amplified the difficulty. Where was the soldier's wife from? Mike and Mary could have met anywhere—he might have been stationed and married in any of a number of places. And if Mary had remarried, what surname might she and her children have wound up with?

I decided to practice one of my own guidelines for such cases—that is, to not obsess on the people I was seeking (Mary, Kelly Ann, and the unknown child), but to find people associated with them and work my way closer.

Bob was smart to provide as much detail as he had because one tidbit caught my eye—the fact that Mike's parents had lived in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

In Praise of Cuyahoga County

I've worked countless cases across the country, so I often have a sense of which locations are genealogy friendly, and Cuyahoga County, Ohio—where Cleveland Heights is located—is one of them. Since I'm too lazy to memorize or bookmark every single resource I use, I turned to one of my perennial favorites: <www.deathindexes.com>. I selected "Ohio" and then "Cuyahoga County," and there it was—the Cleveland Necrology Index, hosted by the Cleveland Public Library. I figured that if Mike's parents were from that area, I might be able to turn up an obituary or two that mentioned them, so I searched "Donald Groves." I hadn't expected what popped up:

Source: Plain Dealer; Cleveland Necrology File, Reel 114.

Notes: Heights Army Captain Dies at Fort Myers. A young Army captain who commanded the ceremonial troops at President Kennedy's funeral collapsed and died while eating dinner at his home at Fort Myers, Virginia, last night. The officer, Capt. Michael D. Groves, 27, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald W. Groves, who until last month lived at 2291 S. Overlook Road, Cleveland Heights. They moved to Birmingham, Mich., where Capt. Groves grew up. A sister, Darby, still lives at the Cleveland Heights address. He also is survived by his wife, Mary Frances, and a 3-year-old daughter. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, his sister said.

Where'd They Go?

This was a tremendous discovery to make so early in the search. I now knew that Mike had a sister and that his parents had returned to Birmingham, Michigan, where the soldier had grown up. I was delighted, too, that his sister was named Darby because distinctive names can often be a little easier to trace.

Since Cuyahoga County does have such handy online resources, I played with them for a while, trying to surface any other references to Darby, but no luck. Nor could I find any references to Mike or his parents. Odd. Even though it had been decades ago, I had expected to pick up a snippet or two.

So I decided to shift gears and focus on Birmingham, Michigan. Sure enough, I easily found the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) entry for his father, Donald W. Groves. He had died in 1993, but what about his wife, the soldier's mother? I turned to a fee-based site, <www.privateeye.com>, to search for Donald because many people continue to be listed for a decade or so after they've passed away—especially husbands whose wives keep the phone listed in the deceased's name. Yes, there was Donald, and since others associated with the same address are also listed, I now knew that Mike's mother's name was Gladys. I returned to the SSDI hoping to come up empty, but there she was in 1994. I explored a bit more and <www.findagrave.com> revealed that Donald and Gladys had been buried in Grand Lawn Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan, but none of the other Groves in the cemetery were useful for the purposes of this research.

What Happened to Darby?

Sadly, neither of the soldier's parents was with us any longer, so I turned my attention back to his sister, Darby, but how could I possibly find her? Since the parents had died just slightly more than a decade ago, I tried a variety of online newspaper resources (including ones local to the Birmingham area) but found nothing. This meant it was time to go back to basics.

I pulled up <www.epodunk.com>, entered Birmingham, and scrolled down to "libraries." A minute later, I left a message with the Adult Services Department of the Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham. Much to my delight, a woman named Susan called back a short while later. I provided details about Mike's parents, and the following morning Susan faxed me both of their obituaries—the genealogical equivalent of gold. (Note: Always be kind to librarians and overly generous with libraries.)

I read Donald's first, and though it told me quite a bit about him, the only survivors listed were his wife and three grandchildren. Uh-oh. What about Darby? Why wasn't she listed? Three grandchildren—so Kelly, Kelly's unknown sibling, and, presumably, a child of Darby's.

Okay, time to turn to the obituary for Gladys—ah, she was the mother of the late Michael and Darbea, not Darby.

And Darbea had predeceased her parents. How sad. But the obituary went on to state that Gladys was survived by her mother. This was good news. The obituary listed the names of four of her siblings. And, finally, the names of her grandchildren: Kelly, Kimberly, and Daryl. Almost an ideal obituary.

I reasoned that Kimberly was probably the child born shortly after Mike's death and that Daryl was Darbea's son. The obituary also included Darbea's married name (which I'm excluding here in the interest of privacy), so I decided to search the SSDI for her, but there was no such person. Huh? I turned again to <www.privateeye.com>, this time looking for her son, Daryl—and there, with the others associated with his address, was my answer. Darbea was her middle name. So I returned to the SSDI, entering what I now knew to be her first and last names, and there she was. She died in 1978. Again, I considered how difficult it must have been for Donald and Gladys to lose both of their children so young, Mike at age 27 and Darbea at 37. It made me want to find Kelly and Kimberly all the more.

On a hunch, I returned to <www.findagrave.com> to search for those with Darbea's surname buried at the same cemetery as her parents. Imagine my reaction when I spotted not only her entry, but Daryl's. Daryl, it turned out, had died a few years after his grandparents. This not only saddened me but also made me wonder whether I would be able to locate Kelly and Kimberly. If their only aunt, cousin, and their grandparents on their father's side had all passed away, who would know what happened to them?

Daryl and Gladys Point the Way

I decided to search for an obituary for Daryl and found it at <www.genealogybank.com>. It confirmed that Darbea had been his mother; it also confirmed his father's name, which I had spotted earlier when searching PrivateEye. So this was one potential contact—the soldier's brother-inlaw—but given that his wife had died decades ago, would he still be in touch with Kelly and Kimberly?

I turned to the detailed-laden obituary for Gladys. Following up the clues provided, I discovered that her mother had passed away several years later at age 99. GenealogyBank also popped up her obituary, so I was able to backtrack to the family's 1930 census entry and get an estimated year of birth for each of Gladys's siblings. I soon discovered that one of them had also subsequently passed away, but with rough birth dates; the others were easy to pinpoint.

I didn't feel that I should actually call anyone in the family, so I turned the contact information back to Wholly Genes's Bob Velke and hoped that someone would know something. The next day, Bob reported back that he had talked to everyone whose information I had sent him and a few others. There were a few avid genealogists in the family, so he bounced around from person to person, but in the end it was Mike's brother-in-law who solved the mystery. Mary had remarried to a Johnson—now how many Mary Johnson's could there be? "Oh, by the way," he asked Bob, "Do you want her phone number?" Bob's response, according to an e-mail he sent relaying the conversation, was, "Pfft, yeah." A short while later, Bob was talking to the soldier's remarried widow, who had just returned from dinner with her daughter Kim. The time

from Bob's initial phone call to me to his talk with Mary?Approximately 48 hours.

2 RESPONSES TO "WHERE IS THE HONOR GUARD?"

1. martin j dockery says:

July 26, 2008 at 8:32 pm

gentlemen: during jfk's funeral i was executive officer of b company, 3rd inf reg, ft. myer,va. my duties included supervising the irish guards who stayed in b barracks and certain activities inside st matthews cathedral. i have written down my memories of those days and will make them available to tom reid if he thinks they may be helpful. ask him to contact me if he interested. thank you. martin j dockery

2. Hartland B. Smith says:

June 11, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Michael Groves was a rather distant cousin of mine. My grandmother, Margaret Geddes Groves, was undoubtedly a sister of Michael's great grandfather, but I do not know that man's name. There were many Groves family members in the Birmingham, Michigan area and I never knew all of those who were of my grandmother's generation, or their offspring.

Michael's father, Don, lived in Birmingham during his later years.

As a resident, he was very interested in local affairs and often attended City Commission Meetings where he spoke from the audience and definitely made his suggestions and views known to the elected officials. He and his wife were often mentioned in the local newspaper, THE BIRMINGHAM ECCENTRIC, with regard to their son Michael. They were especially devastated when their apartment caught fire and they lost most of their memorabilia connected with Michael and his death. I do know that Jacqueline Kennedy sent flowers to Michael's funeral.

Edited by William Kelly
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Michael D. Groves

D.C. Old Guard, 11/22/63

JFK honor guard at funeral.

Served in combat in Vietnam.

Died of heart attack at age 27 on 12/03/63

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/mdgroves.htm

A member of the Third Infantry ("The Old Guard"), he was assigned to command the Army Honor Guards at the White House, the Capitol and at Arlington National Cemetery during the ceremonies surrounding the funeral of President John F. Kennedy in late November 1963, and the Caisson Detachment during the funeral itself.

He died on December 3, 1963 at home while dining with his family, at the age of 27.

GROVES, MICHAEL D

CAPT HQ 1ST BG 3RD INF THE OLD GUARD FT MYER ARL VA USA

DATE OF BIRTH: 08/19/1936

DATE OF DEATH: 12/03/1963

BURIED AT: SECTION 30 SITE 897-LH

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

JFK – The Dead Witnesses by Craig Roberts and John Armstrong

http://74.125.113.132/search?q=cache:lMfJq...=clnk&gl=us

Consider the death of Army Capt. Michael D. Groves who was in charge of the Honor Guard for the Kennedy's funeral. He died on 3 December 1963 one week later while sitting at the supper table... by simply falling over in his plate. The honor guard had been practicing for a presidential funeral 3 days prior to theassassination!

Captain Michael D. Groves, MDW Honor Guard [deceased 12/3/63]:

a) "Killing The Truth" by H.E.L., p. 742---"Rebentisch remembers the color guard captain, and said he died a week later from the strain." [He is correct: see "The Death of a President", p. 638];

B) "JFK: The Dead Witnesses" by Craig Roberts and John Armstrong (1995), p. 3---"Captain Groves, who commanded the JFK Honor Guard for Kennedy's fu-neral, died under mysterious circumstances seven days after the funeral. While eating dinner, he took a bite of food, paused briefly as a pained look came over his face, then passed out and fell face down into his plate. He died instantly. On December 12th, his possessions and momentos---which had been sent home to Birmingham, Michigan---were destroyed in a fire of mysterious origin. The Honor Guard, for some mysterious reason, had been practicing for a presiden-tial funeral for three days before the assassination. Captain Groves was 27 years old at the time of this death. Cause of death: Unknown. Possibly poison.";

http://www.assassinationresearch.com/v4n2/v4n2part4.pdf

http://www.ancestrymagazine.com/2008/07/on...he-honor-guard/

Where Is the Honor Guard?

I was parked in front of the TV a few nights ago when I received an unexpected phone call from Bob Velke, owner of Wholly Genes. He had a puzzle he suspected (correctly, as it turns out) I wouldn't be able to resist. After we spoke, he summarized it in an e-mail:

My father-in-law, Thomas F. Reid, was a 26-year-old captain in 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment ("The Old Guard") in Ft. Myer, Virginia on 22 November 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. As captain of D Company, Tom was assigned the responsibility of organizing all of the details of the interment ceremonies (arranging for the Eternal Flame, the Irish Guard, dignitaries, etc.) at Arlington National Cemetery three days later.

Tom, now 70 years old, has decided to set down his recollections of those four days in writing and to collect testimonials from various surviving officers and ceremonial participants. So far, he's tracked down about half a dozen of them, including the bugler, handler of the caparisoned horse, a pall bearer, and others.

One of those participants, Sgt. James R. ("Pete") Holder, contributed an audiotape of his memoirs, including, among other things, a long testimonial about his hero and mentor, Capt. Michael D. Groves, the company commander of Honor Guard Company. Tom wants to track down Groves's children because he thinks they would appreciate hearing this wonderful testimonial about their dad, a man whose reputation has been otherwise assaulted by attempts to link him to "the JFK conspiracy."

This is what we know of Michael and his family, largely from obituaries:

Michael D. Groves was born 19 August 1936 in Birmingham (but some say Ann Arbor), Michigan. He went to Birmingham High School and then Eastern Michigan University (1959) as an ROTC honor graduate, entering the service immediately upon graduation. He was said to be a close friend of JFK and occasionally babysat for John Jr.

As company commander of the Honor Guard Company, Groves directed military honors at JFK's funeral on 25 November 1963. A week later, he died of a sudden heart attack (or some say poison) at the dinner table at his home in Arlington, Virginia.

He was reportedly survived by a daughter, Kelly Ann (3 years old), and his wife, Mary, who at that time was eight months pregnant with another child. Tom believes Mary was about 25 when her husband died and that she later remarried. Capt. "Mike" Groves was also survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Donald W. Groves of Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

So the orphan heirloom in this case was an audio tape with information about a man whose older child had hardly known him and whose younger child had never known him. As an Army brat myself, whose father had also entered the Army out of ROTC in the late 1950s—not to mention, whose family still has the newspaper from the day Kennedy was assassinated—this family felt familiar to me. I wanted to see what I could do.

Where to Start?

Because I spend as much time finding the living as I do finding the dearly departed, I knew this case was far from a slam dunk. Factors such as privacy laws and the mobility of our population can make locating the living more daunting than picking up the trail of a long-departed ancestor.

In this case, we were dealing with a military family, which amplified the difficulty. Where was the soldier's wife from? Mike and Mary could have met anywhere—he might have been stationed and married in any of a number of places. And if Mary had remarried, what surname might she and her children have wound up with?

I decided to practice one of my own guidelines for such cases—that is, to not obsess on the people I was seeking (Mary, Kelly Ann, and the unknown child), but to find people associated with them and work my way closer.

Bob was smart to provide as much detail as he had because one tidbit caught my eye—the fact that Mike's parents had lived in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

In Praise of Cuyahoga County

I've worked countless cases across the country, so I often have a sense of which locations are genealogy friendly, and Cuyahoga County, Ohio—where Cleveland Heights is located—is one of them. Since I'm too lazy to memorize or bookmark every single resource I use, I turned to one of my perennial favorites: <www.deathindexes.com>. I selected "Ohio" and then "Cuyahoga County," and there it was—the Cleveland Necrology Index, hosted by the Cleveland Public Library. I figured that if Mike's parents were from that area, I might be able to turn up an obituary or two that mentioned them, so I searched "Donald Groves." I hadn't expected what popped up:

Source: Plain Dealer; Cleveland Necrology File, Reel 114.

Notes: Heights Army Captain Dies at Fort Myers. A young Army captain who commanded the ceremonial troops at President Kennedy's funeral collapsed and died while eating dinner at his home at Fort Myers, Virginia, last night. The officer, Capt. Michael D. Groves, 27, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald W. Groves, who until last month lived at 2291 S. Overlook Road, Cleveland Heights. They moved to Birmingham, Mich., where Capt. Groves grew up. A sister, Darby, still lives at the Cleveland Heights address. He also is survived by his wife, Mary Frances, and a 3-year-old daughter. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, his sister said.

Where'd They Go?

This was a tremendous discovery to make so early in the search. I now knew that Mike had a sister and that his parents had returned to Birmingham, Michigan, where the soldier had grown up. I was delighted, too, that his sister was named Darby because distinctive names can often be a little easier to trace.

Since Cuyahoga County does have such handy online resources, I played with them for a while, trying to surface any other references to Darby, but no luck. Nor could I find any references to Mike or his parents. Odd. Even though it had been decades ago, I had expected to pick up a snippet or two.

So I decided to shift gears and focus on Birmingham, Michigan. Sure enough, I easily found the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) entry for his father, Donald W. Groves. He had died in 1993, but what about his wife, the soldier's mother? I turned to a fee-based site, <www.privateeye.com>, to search for Donald because many people continue to be listed for a decade or so after they've passed away—especially husbands whose wives keep the phone listed in the deceased's name. Yes, there was Donald, and since others associated with the same address are also listed, I now knew that Mike's mother's name was Gladys. I returned to the SSDI hoping to come up empty, but there she was in 1994. I explored a bit more and <www.findagrave.com> revealed that Donald and Gladys had been buried in Grand Lawn Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan, but none of the other Groves in the cemetery were useful for the purposes of this research.

What Happened to Darby?

Sadly, neither of the soldier's parents was with us any longer, so I turned my attention back to his sister, Darby, but how could I possibly find her? Since the parents had died just slightly more than a decade ago, I tried a variety of online newspaper resources (including ones local to the Birmingham area) but found nothing. This meant it was time to go back to basics.

I pulled up <www.epodunk.com>, entered Birmingham, and scrolled down to "libraries." A minute later, I left a message with the Adult Services Department of the Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham. Much to my delight, a woman named Susan called back a short while later. I provided details about Mike's parents, and the following morning Susan faxed me both of their obituaries—the genealogical equivalent of gold. (Note: Always be kind to librarians and overly generous with libraries.)

I read Donald's first, and though it told me quite a bit about him, the only survivors listed were his wife and three grandchildren. Uh-oh. What about Darby? Why wasn't she listed? Three grandchildren—so Kelly, Kelly's unknown sibling, and, presumably, a child of Darby's.

Okay, time to turn to the obituary for Gladys—ah, she was the mother of the late Michael and Darbea, not Darby.

And Darbea had predeceased her parents. How sad. But the obituary went on to state that Gladys was survived by her mother. This was good news. The obituary listed the names of four of her siblings. And, finally, the names of her grandchildren: Kelly, Kimberly, and Daryl. Almost an ideal obituary.

I reasoned that Kimberly was probably the child born shortly after Mike's death and that Daryl was Darbea's son. The obituary also included Darbea's married name (which I'm excluding here in the interest of privacy), so I decided to search the SSDI for her, but there was no such person. Huh? I turned again to <www.privateeye.com>, this time looking for her son, Daryl—and there, with the others associated with his address, was my answer. Darbea was her middle name. So I returned to the SSDI, entering what I now knew to be her first and last names, and there she was. She died in 1978. Again, I considered how difficult it must have been for Donald and Gladys to lose both of their children so young, Mike at age 27 and Darbea at 37. It made me want to find Kelly and Kimberly all the more.

On a hunch, I returned to <www.findagrave.com> to search for those with Darbea's surname buried at the same cemetery as her parents. Imagine my reaction when I spotted not only her entry, but Daryl's. Daryl, it turned out, had died a few years after his grandparents. This not only saddened me but also made me wonder whether I would be able to locate Kelly and Kimberly. If their only aunt, cousin, and their grandparents on their father's side had all passed away, who would know what happened to them?

Daryl and Gladys Point the Way

I decided to search for an obituary for Daryl and found it at <www.genealogybank.com>. It confirmed that Darbea had been his mother; it also confirmed his father's name, which I had spotted earlier when searching PrivateEye. So this was one potential contact—the soldier's brother-inlaw—but given that his wife had died decades ago, would he still be in touch with Kelly and Kimberly?

I turned to the detailed-laden obituary for Gladys. Following up the clues provided, I discovered that her mother had passed away several years later at age 99. GenealogyBank also popped up her obituary, so I was able to backtrack to the family's 1930 census entry and get an estimated year of birth for each of Gladys's siblings. I soon discovered that one of them had also subsequently passed away, but with rough birth dates; the others were easy to pinpoint.

I didn't feel that I should actually call anyone in the family, so I turned the contact information back to Wholly Genes's Bob Velke and hoped that someone would know something. The next day, Bob reported back that he had talked to everyone whose information I had sent him and a few others. There were a few avid genealogists in the family, so he bounced around from person to person, but in the end it was Mike's brother-in-law who solved the mystery. Mary had remarried to a Johnson—now how many Mary Johnson's could there be? "Oh, by the way," he asked Bob, "Do you want her phone number?" Bob's response, according to an e-mail he sent relaying the conversation, was, "Pfft, yeah." A short while later, Bob was talking to the soldier's remarried widow, who had just returned from dinner with her daughter Kim. The time

from Bob's initial phone call to me to his talk with Mary?Approximately 48 hours.

2 RESPONSES TO "WHERE IS THE HONOR GUARD?"

1. martin j dockery says:

July 26, 2008 at 8:32 pm

gentlemen: during jfk's funeral i was executive officer of b company, 3rd inf reg, ft. myer,va. my duties included supervising the irish guards who stayed in b barracks and certain activities inside st matthews cathedral. i have written down my memories of those days and will make them available to tom reid if he thinks they may be helpful. ask him to contact me if he interested. thank you. martin j dockery

2. Hartland B. Smith says:

June 11, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Michael Groves was a rather distant cousin of mine. My grandmother, Margaret Geddes Groves, was undoubtedly a sister of Michael's great grandfather, but I do not know that man's name. There were many Groves family members in the Birmingham, Michigan area and I never knew all of those who were of my grandmother's generation, or their offspring.

Michael's father, Don, lived in Birmingham during his later years.

As a resident, he was very interested in local affairs and often attended City Commission Meetings where he spoke from the audience and definitely made his suggestions and views known to the elected officials. He and his wife were often mentioned in the local newspaper, THE BIRMINGHAM ECCENTRIC, with regard to their son Michael. They were especially devastated when their apartment caught fire and they lost most of their memorabilia connected with Michael and his death. I do know that Jacqueline Kennedy sent flowers to Michael's funeral.

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http://www.whitehousehistory.org/whha_publ...ehistory_19.pdf

the jfk white huse honour guard,,b

http://www.blackopradio.com/JFK%20Chronology%202.pdf

Nov.22, 1963 .

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/jfk.htm

arlington information of the funeral of JFK.

approaching the grave the honour guard...b

Edited by Bernice Moore
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Thanks B.,

Are there any references to Groves in those posts? I scanned them and didn't see any.

If Groves was in charge of the honor guard for JFK's funeral, he must be in the photos?

Which one is he?

And are there any other published references to Groves directing the funeral?

Thanks,

BK

Edited by William Kelly
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Thanks, Bill. As usual- fascinating and valuable stuff.

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Hey Don, and it only gets more interesting.

Can you or anyone - help me find a photo of Capt. Groves at the funeral?

From one of the articles cited by Bernice (Thanks B. )

References Congressional Record as a source:

http://www.whitehousehistory.org/whha_publications/publications_documents/whitehousehistory_19.pdf

Although the death of President Kennedy brought the

Old Guard and its military traditions into the national

spotlight, the activities surrounding the funeral also

brought tragedy to the members of the Third Infantry

Regiment. Captain Michael D. Groves, the officer

responsible for the military arrangements at the funeral

of the president, died of a heart attack the next month,

on December 3, 1963, at home while dining with his

family, at the age of twenty seven. He was responsible

for the training and supervision of the body-bearers,

deathwatch, rifle firing party, and caisson escort for the

services at the White House, the Capitol, and Arlington

Cemetery. According to a speech on the floor of the

House of Representatives by Congressman James G.

Fulton of Pennsylvania, "Captain Groves worked day

and night to handle the arrangements . . . and overtaxed

himself."17

17. P. 8 of 11 Congressional Record—House, December 4, 1963, 23272.

Can anyone get this? - BK

TimeLine From Black Op Radio: (Thanks Len)

http://www.blackopradio.com/JFK Chronology 2.pdf

December 3, 1963

Today, Captain Michael D. Groves dies. Captain Groves commanded

the honor guard for JFK's funeral and dies under mysterious circumstances.

While eating dinner, he takes a bite of food, pauses briefly as a pained look

comes over his face, the falls face down into his plate. He dies instantly.

On Dec. 12, his possessions and mementos -- which are sent home to

Birmingham, Michigan are burned in a fire of mysterious origin.

Groves is 27 yrs. old at the time of his death.

OFFICIAL SITE: Captain Michael D. Groves

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/mdgroves.htm

A member of the Third Infantry ("The Old Guard"), he was assigned to

command the Army Honor Guards at the White House, the Capitol

and at Arlington National Cemetery during the ceremonies surrounding

the funeral of President John F. Kennedy in late November 1963,

and the Caisson Detachment during the funeral itself. He died on

December 3, 1963 at home while dining with his family, at the age of 27.

GROVES, MICHAEL D

CAPT HQ 1ST BG 3RD INF THE OLD GUARD FT MYER ARL VA USA

DATE OF BIRTH: 08/19/1936

DATE OF DEATH: 12/03/1963

BURIED AT: SECTION 30 SITE 897-LH

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

From Craig Robert's

THE DEAD WITNESSES

http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:mMV7atUxk9cJ:www.riflewarrior.com/+Capt.+Michael+D.+Groves+Vietnam&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

In Ebook form (.PDF

http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:lMfJqQ_jhVcJ:www.riflewarrior.com/JFK%2520the%2520dead%2520witnesses%2520order.htm+Capt.+Michael+D.+Groves&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Roberts: "Consider the death of Army Capt. Michael D. Groves

who was in charge of the Honor Guard for the Kennedy's funeral.

He died on 3 December 1963 one week later while sitting at the supper

table... by simply falling over in his plate. The honor guard had been practicing

for a presidential funeral 3 days prior to the assassination! This book is a wealth

of information for JFK conspiracy researchers. It takes each witness individually

(in chronological order of their death), and points out their relevance to the happenings

of 22 November 1963 and the aftermath."

http://books.google.com/books?id=90Wc9ZJfVVoC&pg=PA184&lpg=PA184&dq=JFK's+Funeral+Capt.+Groves&source=bl&ots=LmTukmOA2Y&sig=MYrk9rfTmUJhECGE5Zl_ySuVTAk&hl=en&ei=V8KdS5DDIML58AbszLy7Cg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAUQ6AEwADgK - v=onepage&q=&f=false

Also the author of Kill Zone – A Sniper Looks at Dealey Plaza

http://www.amazon.com/Kill-Zone-Sniper-Looks-Dealey/dp/0963906208

Vietnam: A Combat Advisor's Story

J. Martin Dockery

Captain Samuel Bird – Article claims this guy was in charge of the honor guard

at JFK's funeral, yet took over in 64.

There's a book: The Samuel Bird Story - Can anyone find a copy of this book?

http://74.125.113.132/search?q=cache:cc5Ux83ci_wJ:www.ranger25.com/B%25202%252012%2520James%2520Hopcus.htm+JFK%27s+Funeral+Capt.+Groves&cd=15&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Which brings us back to

Ancestry Magazine Jul-Aug 2008

There are two articles of interest in this compilation of magazines issues, one on the odd coincidence of a photo taken in a military cafateria in Japan that includes both John Wayne and Lee Harvey Oswald, and an explanation of how it came to be.

Then there's the article about the search for the parents of Captain Michael Groves, and how the author of the article located them so some soldiers who served with him could give them some mementos. But the article doesn't tell us what happened after the parents and sister were discovered, and what they mementos were or what the parents and sister had to say.

http://books.google.com/books?id=NDgEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA46&lpg=PA46&dq=Capt.+Michael+D.+Groves+JFK&source=bl&ots=A7vKRdoPJ3&sig=QZTKRmPm1Ac2zeuL8TwOZ6M4u0I&hl=en&ei=Uq6dS-GlDoW1tgfF0PWGBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CCUQ6AEwBg - v=onepage&q=Capt.%20Michael%20D.%20Groves%20JFK&f=false

http://books.google.com/books?id=NDgEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA46&dq=Capt.+Michael+D.+Groves+JFK&ei=C7GdS8GzM6G8yASsuo2EAQ&cd=1 - v=onepage&q=Capt.%20Michael%20D.%20Groves%20JFK&f=false

There's also the mention of Captain Groves in a thank you letter from the commander of the Irish Guards who attended the funeral.

Now I learn that the parents of Captina Groves and a sister, suspected his death was suspicious.

Certainly, if he was the Commander of the 3rd Infantry - The Old Guard, at the funeral of President Kennedy, certainly there must be some photos of him during the proceedings.

Can anyone identify him?

Captain, US Army - among the funeral photos?

Edited by William Kelly
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Sam Bird, but no Michael Groves

http://www.amazon.com/So-Proudly-He-Served-Story/dp/0963554247

The 11th Wing USAF at Kennedy's Funeral

http://www.jvmusic.net/11thWingKennedyFuneral.html

Just about every person over the age of forty-five can tell you where they were, how they felt and what they did upon hearing the news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy forty years ago this week. For Air Force members stationed with the 11th Air Base Group at Bolling Air Force Base, the afternoon of Friday, November 22, 1963 was sunny and bright. No doubt, the thoughts in many minds were of the Thanksgiving holiday less than a week away and the beginning of the shopping season leading to Christmas.

Captain Harry H. Meuser, conductor of The USAF Band, had just flown into Andrews Air Force Base with the band that morning. Meuser had that summer been appointed conductor of the band and had been involved with extensive tours throughout the United States. A return home before Thanksgiving was going to be a welcome relief. Sergeant John Bosworth, drummer, was with The USAF Pipe Band in New Orleans for weekend performances. The band had arrived the day before and toured Bourbon Street and now the men were relaxing in Navy barracks, preparing for an evening show. The Pipe Band, which was a favorite with President Kennedy, had performed many times at the White House and had recently been guests of the President when The Black Watch had performed November 13 at the Executive Mansion. In the orderly room of The USAF Honor Guard at Bolling, SSgt. Richard Gaudreau, NCOIC (Non Commissioned Officer in Charge) of ceremonial coordination, was doing paperwork. The schedule for the day was unusually light. There were no ceremonies for the honor guard. No funerals at Arlington meant troops could spend the day training and performing other tasks not associated with ceremonial duty. Plus, there were shoes to be shined and uniforms to press. Many bandsmen and honor guard troops had been released. It was, after all, a beautiful day and a chance to get started on sompre holiday shopping.

At 1340 EST the news from Dallas, Texas flashed around the world, forever changing our history. Capt. Meuser recalled, "We were on the bus when someone came running up to say the President had been shot." Many band members had driven to Andrews in their own cars and had already departed for a long weekend. Back at Bolling, Gaudreau was listening to the radio when the words "Bulletin, Bulletin, Bulletin," came over the airwaves. The orderly rooms of The USAF Band and Honor Guard sprang to life. Capt. Albert J. Zuber, commander of the honor guard, ordered an immediate squadron recall, and MSgt. Hunnicutt and SSgt. Gaudreau began making phone calls. Leaves were canceled and plans to meet Air Force One began. The band was ordered to stand by.

In New Orleans, Pipe Major Sandy Jones received a call from Washington ordering The Pipe Band's immediate return to Bolling. Bosworth and the other stunned members of the band packed and headed for transport.

Gaudreau assembled an Air Force casket team to meet Air Force One as the plane bearing the President's remains winged back to Washington. Gaudreau says that when they arrived at Andrews, they found that other services had also sent teams to carry the President's casket. "Everything was very confused, no one knew what was happening." MDW (Military District of Washington) took charge of the casket team, having the OIC (Officer in Charge), Army 1st Lt.

Samuel Bird, assemble a six man joint service team to carry the coffin. SSgt. Gaudreau was chosen to represent the Air Force. "It was a matter of being in the right place at the right time." The casket team was expanded to eight members the next day when the President's coffin was found to be very heavy. Because of the weight of the coffin and the ceremony that would have the team carry it up the thirty-six steps of the Capitol on Sunday, on Saturday night Lt. Bird had

the team carry a dummy coffin up and down the steps at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. They even persuaded one of the Tomb Guards to sit in the coffin for added weight as they practiced carrying the coffin evenly up and down the steps in order to achieve perfection. Gaudreau later wrote: "Thinking back, I still remember that Friday as a madhouse of mass confusion. Only when the young lieutenant Sam Bird took charge did things fall into

place. I am only glad that I could make my small personal contribution to giving our President a fitting farewell."

PHOTO

The joint service casket team carrying Kennedy's

coffin into the White House in the early morning

hours of Saturday, November 23. Sgt. Richard

Gaudreau is in the center on the right (near) side of

the coffin. Lt. Sam Bird is at the back of the coffin,

actually helping to carry the weight of the heavy

casket. Later that day the casket team was

expanded from six members to eight members.

The Pipe Band arrived back in Washington and returned to Bolling, landing just ahead of the plane carrying cabinet members who were on the way to Japan for a summit meeting when they received the news of the President's death. Because of the President's fondness for pipe music, The Pipe Band was invited to play at the interment ceremony which had been set for Monday, November 25 at Arlington. Letitia ("Tish") Baldridge, White House Social Secretary and friend of Mrs. Kennedy, was in contact with Capt. Meuser about the music the bands would play on the funeral procession. At the Captain's suggestion, one of the pieces chosen was Chopin's "Funeral March."

During the long weekend, while the band rehearsed and practiced marching, The USAF Honor Guard provided troops for the various ceremonies. Fifteen men were used for the security cordon at the White House, eleven were in the White House honor guard cordon, two were on the death watch, fourteen were used at the Capitol as honor guard cordon, and forty were used as a cordon at Arlington. A flight consisting of twenty-seven troops with one OIC would march in the parade and participate in the graveside ceremonies as part of a joint service formation. One of the guards accompanying the body was A3C Kenneth L. Freeman. SSgt. Dewey Hicks stood the first watch when the casket was brought to the Capitol Rotunda, a scene viewed by millions on

television.

Accompanying the casket as it moved on a caisson from the White House to the Capitol on Sunday was a joint service drum corps. In the eighteen-man corps were members of The USAF Band's Drum and Bugle Corps, Sergeants Harold Ludwig and Rodney Goodheart, and Airmen Bill Mojica and Jim Dinkins. To this day the sound of their drums playing the somber muffled beat is still etched in many memories.

Monday, November 25 turned out to be a bright, sunny, but very cold day. The Pipe Band reported to Arlington in the early morning for a run-through of the graveside ceremonies to take place later that day. "We rehearsed in our full outfits," (kilts with the special Billy Mitchell tartans designed for the band) recalled Bosworth, "and it was cold as hell." After their dry run, The Pipe Band moved to an area near the Old Amphitheater to run through the music and marching one more time to ensure perfection. Meanwhile, the President's remains were moved from the Capitol to St. Matthew's for the funeral mass. Once again, SSgt. Gaudreau and the seven other members of the casket team flawlessly took their precious cargo to the waiting caisson. They moved down the steps of the Capitol to the strains of the hymn "O God of Loveliness." The USAF Band joined in the procession to the church playing the Chopin "Funeral March," "Vigor in Arduis" (Hymn to the Holy Name), and, as author William Manchester related, "the most famous of them all and the most dolorous - and, at the end, the redeeming 'America the Beautiful.'"

The procession stopped briefly at the White House, then continued on to the church. At 1:30 p.m., the funeral procession left St. Matthew's and began the several mile trip to Arlington. The march took over an hour. From their position on the hill in front of the Custis-Lee Mansion, The Pipe Band had the perfect view to watch the magnificent, solemn pageantry of a state funeral unfold. Bosworth related that they were waiting in position for about an hour and a half and could see each unit as it approached the gates to Arlington. The U.S. Marine Band led the procession, followed by troops from each branch of the service, including The USAF Band whose playing of Chopin's "Funeral March" would become a memorable event of that day. The caisson was pulled by six

matched white horses and flanked by the eight enlisted casket bearers including Gaudreau, the national colors, the presidential flag, and the caparisoned horse, "Black Jack." Behind the military escort stretched a long line of limousines and cars carrying the mourners.

Below: The USAF Pipe Band at the funeral

PHOTO

Shortly before 3 p.m., the Kennedy family, accompanied by ninety-two heads of state, prime ministers, and United States officials, gathered by the grave site as The U.S. Marine Band struck up "Ruffles and Flourishes" and "The Star-Spangled Banner." The casket was borne to the grave accompanied by the strains of "Mist Covered Mountains," played by The USAF Pipe Band, who slowly marched by the grave and onto the street led by Drum Major Seamus (Jim)

Neary. Overhead, fifty jet fighters flew in formation followed by Air Force One, piloted by USAF Col. James Swindal. SSgt. Gaudreau had a moment of panic, fearing that the bearers would allow the casket to slide into the open grave. A corps of Irish cadets executed a silent drill as Cardinal Richard Cushing began the traditional Catholic commitment rites with, "O God, through whose mercy the souls of the faithful find rest, be pleased to bless this grave." The sky above was bright and clear on that crisp autumn day, as the solemn ceremony quickly came to its conclusion. "I am the resurrection and the life..." Cardinal Cushing finished the burial rites and led all in "The Lord's Prayer," then stepped back as the military honors began. Gaudreau and the other casket team

members held the flag tight over the casket. He worried about passing out, but after the twenty-one gun salute, the traditional three rifle volleys, and "Taps," the team perfectly folded the flag into the triangle reminiscent of the cocked hat from the American Revolution. The folded flag was presented to Mrs. Kennedy and the funeral party departed. Only then did Lt. Bird march the casket bearers away, pausing once to render one last hand salute to his Commander in Chief.

The USAF Band, Pipe Band, and Honor Guard returned to Bolling that evening with the knowledge that they had contributed to a momentous event that would forever be remembered. In the Friday November 29, 1963 issue of the Bolling Beam newspaper, Col. Frank E. Marek (Commander of Bolling AFB), thanked the Air Police, Ceremonial Unit, USAF Bandsmen, Transportation Division, Billeting Section, Food Service Personnel, and volunteers from various tenant units for their superior performance during the four days of the funeral.

Captain Harry Meuser retired from The USAF Band in 1964 and taught for many years as well as performing as a bassoonist. John Bosworth retired from The USAF Band in 1984 as a Senior Master Sergeant and is still quite active as a percussionist. The drum he used in the Kennedy funeral was on display at Arlington National Cemetery for three years. Richard Gaudreau retired from the Air Force in 1979 as a Senior Master Sergeant. He performs funeral duties with his local VFW in Bloomsburg, PA, a service which he says he is proud to perform. His polished shoes are on display at The USAF Honor Guard building at Bolling AFB. Lt. Sam Bird was severely wounded in Vietnam and died in 1984.

This article appeared in the Bolling Beam newspaper, Friday, November 28, 2003. Special thanks to Harry Meuser, Richard Gaudreau, John Bosworth, Seamus Neary, Harry Gleeson, and Harold Copenhaver for contributing their personal reminiscences of that historic weekend.

If you were involved in the Kennedy funeral in any way and you have a story you'd like to share, please e-mail me – Jari Villanueva.

So Proudly He Served – Samuel Bird

This is the story of the All American Boy. Born and raised in middle America, Kansas, Sam takes up marching in the school band. He meets a young girl named Annette, who will later play a intregal role in his life. His love of the discipline and regimentation, leads him to Missouri Military Academy, where he excells in all his classes, and knows that he wants to be a career soldier. By the time he graduates he is accepted in one of the nations most prestigous private military colleges, The Citadel. He advanced throught the ranks to become one of the highest ranking cadets. He joins the Army in 1961 and serves in Korea, as an aide to the commanding general, and is appointed to go to the Presidential Honor Guard The 3d United States Infantry, The Old Guard, at Ft. Myer, VA, where unbeknownst to him, he will become one of the most recognised soldiers in modern American history. On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy is assasinated, and it is LT. Sam Bird and members of the military honor guard who will accompany and escort the body of the fallen president from Air Force One continuosly until he is laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A few years later, while serving in Viet Nam, CPT Bird will be greivously wounded in an enemy ambush, where many of his men are killed and he will loose half of this skull and brains to enemy machinegun fire. Miracuosly Sam survives and while living at home recoupperating from the massive injury, Sam meets his old friend Annette, who falls for her former schoolmate,even though his is only part of the vibrant young man she once knew. They spend the next 15 years together enjoying life to the fullest extent that life can offer Sam, even though he is almost completely confined to a wheelchair. Sam's last visit to his old duty station at Ft. Myer, is met with honor and dignity as he is the guest of honor. This is a story of inspiration, devotion, dedication and courage, of a Real American Patriot and Hero.

http://www.ranger25.com/B 2 12 Kennedy 11 25 63.htm

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library photo # SC 49-079-1555-6/63

CPT Sam Bird on the end of President Kennedy's casket leaving St. Mathew's Cathedral November 25, 1963. More on CPT Bird on the B 2-12 Memorial page and the photographs page. From a Wall Street Journal interview before his death:

"The coffin, made from 500-year old African mahogany, weighed 1300 pounds. Oh the White house steps the bearers strained. and Lt. Samuel R. Bird moved forward to help. Today, paralyzed from a head wound suffered in Vietnam, bird struggles to articulate his pride as the 23-year-old officer in charge of the casket detail. "I can still hear the muffled drums. I can still see the American flag on the casket-even the name of the company that manufactured the flag".

Readers Digest 1989

I didn't learn about leadership and the strength of character it requires from an Ivy League graduate course. I learned by watching one tall captain with proud bearing and penetrating eyes

The Courage of Sam Bird (Readers Digest 1989) By B.T. Collins

I met Capt. Samuel R. Bird on a dusty road near An Khe, South Vietnam, one hot July day in 1966. I was an artillery forward observer with Bravo Company, 2nd/12th Calvary, 1st Cavalry Division, and I looked it. I was filthy, sweaty, and jaded by war, and I thought, Oh, brother, get a load of this. Dressed in crisply starched fatigues, Captain Bird was what we called "squared away"—ramrod straight, eyes on the horizon. Hell, you could still see the shine on his boot tips beneath the road dust.

After graduation from Officer Candidate School, I had sought adventure by volunteering for Vietnam. But by that hot and dangerous July, I was overdosed on "adventure," keenly interested in survival and very fond of large rocks and deep holes. Bird was my fourth company commander, and my expectations were somewhat cynical when he called all his officers and sergeants together.

"I understand this company has been in Vietnam almost a year and has never had a party," he said.

Now, we officers and sergeants had our little clubs to which we repaired. So we stole bewildered looks at one another, cleared our throats and wondered what this wiry newcomer was talking about.

"The men are going to have a party," he announced, "and they're not going to pay for it. Do I make myself clear?"

A party for the "grunts" was the first order of business! Sam Bird had indeed made himself clear. We all chipped in to get food and beer for about 160 men. The troops were surprised almost to the point of suspicion—who, after all, had ever done anything for them? But that little beer and bull session was exactly what those war-weary men needed. Its effect on morale was profound. I began to watch our new captain more closely.

Bird and I were the same age, 26, but eons apart in everything else. He was from the sunny heartland of Kansas, I from the suburbs of New York City. He prayed every day and was close to his God. My faith had evaporated somewhere this side of altar boy. I was a college dropout who had wandered into the Army with the words "discipline problem" close on my heels. He had graduated from The Citadel, South Carolina's proud old military school.

If ever a man looked like a leader, it was Sam Bird. He was tall and lean, with penetrating blue eyes. But the tedium and terror of a combat zone take far sterner qualities than mere appearance.

"Not One Step Further." Our outfit was helicoptered to a mountain outpost one day for the thankless task of preparing a position for others to occupy. We dug trenches, filled sandbags, strung wire under a blistering sun. It was hard work, and Sam was everywhere, pitching in with the men. A colonel who was supposed to oversee the operation remained at a shelter doing paper work. Sam looked at what his troops had accomplished, then, red-faced, strode over to the colonels' sanctuary. We couldn't hear what he was saying to his superior, but we had the unmistakable sense that Sam was uncoiling a bit. The colonel suddenly found time to inspect the fortifications and thank the men for a job well done.

Another day, this time on the front lines after weeks of awful chow, we were given something called "coffee cake" that had the look and texture of asphalt paving. Furious, Sam got on the radiophone to headquarters. He reached the colonel and said," Sir, you and the supply officer need to come out here and taste the food, because this rifle company is not taking one step further." Not a good way to move up in the Army, I thought. But the colonel came out, and the food improved from that moment. Such incidents were not lost on the men of Bravo Company.

During the monsoon season we had to occupy a landing zone. The torrential, wind-driven rains had been falling for weeks. Like everyone else I sat under my poncho in a stupor, wondering how much of the wetness was rainwater and how much was sweat. Nobody cared that the position was becoming flooded. We had all just crawled inside ourselves. Suddenly, I saw Sam, Mr. Spit and Polish, with nothing on but his olive-drab under shorts and his boots. He was digging a drainage ditch down the center of the camp. He didn't say anything, just dug away, mud spattering his chest, steam rising from his back and shoulders. Slowly and sheepishly we emerged from under our ponchos, and shovels in hand, we began helping "the old man" get the ditch dug. We got the camp tolerably dried out and with that one simple act transformed our morale.

Sam deeply loved the U.S. Army, its history and traditions. Few of the men knew it, but he had been in charge of a special honors unit of the Old Guard, which serves at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery and participates in the Army's most solemn ceremonies. He was the kind of guy whose eyes would moist during the singing of the National Anthem.

Sam figured patriotism was just a natural part of being an American. But he knew that morale was a function not so much of inspiration as of good boots, dry socks, extra ammo and hot meals.

Dug His Own. Sam's philosophy was to put his troops first. On that foundation he built respect a brick at a time. His men ate first; he ate last. Instead of merely learning their names, he made it a point to know the men. A lot of the soldiers were high-school dropouts and would-be tough guys just a few years younger than himself. Some were scared, and a few were still in partial shock at being in a shooting war. Sam patiently worked on their pride and self-confidence. Yet there was never any doubt who was in charge. I had been around enough to know what a delicate accomplishment that was.

Half in wonder, an officer once told me, "Sam can dress a man down till his ears burn, and the next minute that same guy is eager to follow him into hell." But he never chewed out a man in front of his subordinates.

Sam wouldn't ask his men to do anything he wasn't willing to do himself. He dug his own foxholes. He never gave lectures on appearance, but even at God-forsaken outposts in the Central Highlands, he would set aside a few ounces of water from his canteen to shave. His uniform, even if it was jungle fatigues, would be as clean and neat as he could make it. Soon all of Bravo Company had a reputation for looking sharp.

One sultry and miserable day on a dirt road at the base camp, Sam gathered the men together and began talking about how tough the infantryman's job is, how proud he was of them, how they should always look out for each other. He took out a bunch of Combat Infantryman's Badges, signifying that a soldier has paid his dues under fire, and he presented one to each of the men. There wasn't a soldier there who would have traded that moment on the road for some parade ground ceremony.

That was the way Sam Bird taught me leadership. He packed a lot of lessons into the six months we served together. Put the troops first. Know that morale often depends on small things. Respect every person's dignity. Always be ready to fight for your people. Lead by example. Reward performance. But Sam had another lesson to teach, one that would take long and painful years, a lesson in courage.

Enemy Fire. I left Bravo Company in December 1966 to return to the States for a month before joining a Special Forces unit. Being a big, tough paratrooper, I didn't tell Sam what his example had meant to me. But I made a point of visiting his parents and sister in Wichita, Kan., just before Christmas to tell them how much he'd affected my life, and how his troops would walk off a cliff for him. His family was relieved when I told them that his tour of combat was almost over and he'd be moving to a safe job in the rear.

Two months later, in a thatched hut in the Mekong Delta, I got a letter from Sam's sister, saying that he had conned his commanding officer into letting him stay an extra month with his beloved Bravo Company. On his last day, January 27, 1967—his 27th birthday—the men had secretly planned a party, even arranging to have a cake flown in. They were going to "pay back the old man." But orders can down for Bravo to lead an airborne assault on the North Vietnamese regimental headquarters.

Sam's helicopter was about to touch down at the attack point when it was ripped by enemy fire. Slugs shattered his left ankle and right leg. Another struck the left side of his head, carrying off almost a quarter of his skull. His executive officer, Lt. Dean Parker, scooped Sam's brains back into the gaping wound.

Reading the letter, I felt as if I'd been kicked in the stomach. I began querying every hospital in Vietnam to find out if Sam was still alive. But in June, before I could discover his fate, I was in a firefight in an enemy-controlled zone. I had thrown four grenades. The fifth one exploded in my hand. I lost an arm and a leg.

Nearly a year later, in March 1968, I finally caught up with Sam. I was just getting the hang of walking with an artificial leg when I visited him at the VA Medical Center in Memphis, Tenn. Seeing him, I had to fight back the tears. The wiry, smiling soldier's soldier was blind in the left eye and partially so in the right. Surgeons had removed metal shards and damaged tissue from deep within his brain, and he and been left with a marked depression on the left side of his head. The circles under his eyes told of sleepless hours and great pain.

The old clear voice of command was slower now, labored and with an odd, high pitch. I saw his brow knit as he looked through his one good eye, trying to remember. He recognized me, but believed I had served with him in Korea, his first tour of duty.

Slowly, Sam rebuilt his ability to converse. But while he could recall things from long ago, he couldn't remember what he had eaten for breakfast. Headaches came on him like terrible firestorms. There was pain, too, in his legs. He had only partial use of one arm, with which he'd raise himself in front of the mirror to brush his teeth and shave.

He had the support of a wonderful family, and once he was home in Wichita, his sister brought his old school sweetheart, Annette Blazier, to see him. A courtship began, and in 1972 they married.

They built a house like Sam had dreamed of—red brick, with a flagpole out front. He had developed the habit of addressing God as "Sir" and spoke to him often. He never asked to be healed. At every table grace, he thanked God for sending Him Annette and for "making it possible for me to live at home in a free country."

In 1976, Sam and Annette traveled to the Citadel for his 15th class reunion. World War II hero Gen. Mark Clark, the school's president emeritus, asked about his wounds and said, "On behalf of your country, I want to thank you for all you did."

With pride, Sam answered, "Sir, it was the least I could do."

Later Annette chided him gently for understating the case. After all, he had sacrificed his health and career in Vietnam. Sam gave her an incredulous look. "I had friends who didn't come back," he said. "I'm enjoying the freedoms they died for."

I VISITED Sam in Wichita and phoned him regularly. You would not have guessed that he lived with pain every day. Once, speaking of me to his sister, he said, "I should never complain about the pain in my leg, because B.T. doesn't have a leg." I'd seen a lot of men with lesser wounds reduced to anger and self-pity. Never a hint of that passed Sam's lips, though I knew that, every waking moment, he was fighting to live.

On October 18, 1984, after 17 years, Sam's body couldn't take any more. When we received the news of his death, a number of us from Bravo Company flew to Wichita, where Sam was to be buried with his forebears.

The day before the burial, his old exec, Dean Parker, and I went to the funeral home to make sure everything was in order. As dean straightened the brass on Sam's uniform, I held my captain's hand and looked into his face, a face no longer filled with pain. I thought about how unashamed Sam always was to express his love for his country, how sunny and unaffected he was in his devotion to his men. I ached that I had never told him what a fine soldier and man he was. But in my deep sadness I felt a glow of pride for having served with him, and for having learned the lessons of leadership that would serve me all my life. That is why I am telling you about Samuel R. Bird and these things that happened so long ago.

CHANCES ARE, you have seen Sam Bird. He was the tall officer in charge of the casket detail at the funeral of President John F. Kennedy. Historian William Manchester described him as "a lean, sinewy Kansan, the kind of American youth whom Congressmen dutifully praise each Fourth of July and whose existence many, grown jaded by years on the Hill, secretly doubt."

There can be no doubt about Sam, about who he was how he lived and how he led. We buried him that fall afternoon, as they say, "with honors." But as I walked from that grave, I knew I was the honored one, for having known him.

B.T. Collins recovered from severe war wounds to become the highly acclaimed director of the California Conservation Corps and later chief of staff to the governor of California. He is presently California's deputy state treasurer.

I also found another picture of Sam Bird and BT Collins, the ultimate FO of

FO's. BT lost and arm and leg later during what I think was his 3rd

consecutive tour. He was a bachelor and had found a home in the Army and

kept extending but only if he could stay in the field with the grunts.

No Ass't fire direction officer or other meaningless duty for this

artyman. When he died about 10 years ago, he was mourned by the entire

state of California and was so well know there. Among other

accomplishments, he had been the Chief of Staff for CA governor Jerry

Brown and as a Republican at that. He died in office as a legislature for

the state of CA. He is as much a casualty of the war as any KIA we are

dealing with but not recognized as are so many. I think this picture is

quite appropriate for BT and Sam seem to me to have been cut from the same

bolt of cloth. Real Warriors in the purest sense.

Edited by William Kelly
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Thanks B.,

Are there any references to Groves in those posts? I scanned them and didn't see any.

If Groves was in charge of the honor guard for JFK's funeral, he must be in the photos?

Which one is he?

And are there any other published references to Groves directing the funeral?

Thanks,

BK

there were references by name i checked each photo but none were titled, yes he must be in the photos that is what i was mainly after but have not found any with names listed not even at the jfk museum, perhaps in some of the coffee table books, could be......will keep him in mind, thanks very interesting material...best b :)

Edited by Bernice Moore
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Guest Tom Scully

Bill,

I got the impression from reading the 2008 Ancestry Magazine article that the author is mocking attempts similar to the one your are doing.

...Tom wants to track down Groves's children because he thinks they would appreciate hearing this wonderful testimonial about their dad, a man whose reputation has been otherwise assaulted by attempts to link him to "the JFK conspiracy."...

....A week later, he died of a sudden heart attack (or some say poison) at the dinner table at his home in Arlington, Virginia....

I don't understand the potential advancement of the work, which seems to be removing doubt that there was a conspiracy and a cover up related to the murders of the president and of Lee Oswald. There seems to be no evidence, except for the sudden death, a week later, of the young officer who led the deceased president's honor guard...11 days after the date the president was actually killed. The LA Times story dated Dec. 5, reported the cause of death as a heart attack. Even if compelling evidence of murder could be obtained, how would it contribute to the solving the mystery of who murdered the president and why the conspirators were protected from being properly investigated and held accountable?

Edited by Tom Scully
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I fail to see the relevance of this. Why would Groves be expected to have known enough to be eliminated?

We do have this bizarre claim for which no evidence is provided from John Armstrong, the father of the perhaps the stupidest assassination theory ever:

"The Honor Guard, for some mysterious reason, had been practicing for a presiden-tial funeral for three days before the assassination."

So the top brass conspired to kill the president but they wanted him to have a dandy send off so they risked the security of the operation by starting the rehearsal days before they blew his brains out? That only makes sense to some one who would believe the "Harvey and Lee" theory. I guess Judith Vary Baker, James Files, Betty Oliver and Gordon Arnold all witnessed these early rehearsals as well.

But even if true wouldn't they have to bump of the whole honor guard and not just the CO? Did the Navy, Marine,Air Force and Coast Guard honor guards rehears beforehand as well? Did any of them die early?

What about the doctor who signed his death certificate was he on it? I assume he was autopsied was the ME in on it as well?

Edited by Len Colby
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I fail to see the relevance of this. Why would Groves be expected to have known enough to be eliminated?

We do have this bizarre claim for which no evidence is provided from John Armstrong, the father of the perhaps the stupidest assassination theory ever:

"The Honor Guard, for some mysterious reason, had been practicing for a presiden-tial funeral for three days before the assassination."

So the top brass conspired to kill the president but they wanted him to have a dandy send off so they risked the security of the operation by starting the rehearsal days before they blew his brains out? That only makes sense to some one who would believe the "Harvey and Lee" theory. I guess Judith Vary Baker, James Files, Betty Oliver and Gordon Arnold all witnessed these early rehearsals as well.

But even if true wouldn't they have to bump of the whole honor guard and not just the CO? Did the Navy, Marine,Air Force and Coast Guard honor guards rehears beforehand as well? Did any of them die early?

What about the doctor who signed his death certificate was he on it? I assume he was autopsied was the ME in on it as well?

Hi Tom, hi Len,

And to answer your questions, I don't know. I'm not making any allegations.

It's Len who writes idiot speculations like: "So the top brass conspired to kill the president but they wanted him to have a dandy send off so they risked the security of the operation by starting the rehearsal days before they blew his brains out? That only makes sense to some one who would believe the "Harvey and Lee" theory. I guess Judith Vary Baker, James Files, Betty Oliver and Gordon Arnold all witnessed these early rehearsals as well. But even if true wouldn't they have to bump of the whole honor guard and not just the CO? Did the Navy, Marine,Air Force and Coast Guard honor guards rehears beforehand as well? Did any of them die early?"

Len, you want to pick a fight and argue with somebody, don't introduce idiot bullxxxx like this into my research or lines of inquiry. That's all you talking, speculating and adding bullxxxx that tries to make my inquiry look silly. YOU ARE THE ONE WHO BROUGHT THAT JUNK TO THE TABLE. Don't do it with me.

You read the Ancestory article, the guys looking for the parents or children, says why they are important, and then when he finds them, doesn't introduce them, quote them or tell us anything at all about them.

Well I received an email and phone call from a former neighbor of Captain Groves' parents, and THEY- the parents suspected he was murdered. The father worked for FORD Motor company and was taken care of by the company. There's also a sister who suspected he was murdered.

They also said he didn't just command and direct the funeral, but also handled, until the assassination, and was relieved by LBJ upon his return to DC, the White House communications.

The former neighbor also said the parents said clearly that the official date of his death is wrong and he died earlier, before JFK's funeral.

So now, if he was the commander of the funeral, as the official reports say, how come we can't come up with a photo of him at the funeral?

I'm not making this stuff up, just trying to answer some basic questions.

At least it's more worthwhile than chasing CVB.

Bill Kelly

Edited by William Kelly
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Michael D. Groves

D.C. Old Guard, 11/22/63

JFK honor guard at funeral.

Served in combat in Vietnam.

Died of heart attack at age 27 on 12/03/63

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/mdgroves.htm

A member of the Third Infantry ("The Old Guard"), he was assigned to command the Army Honor Guards at the White House, the Capitol and at Arlington National Cemetery during the ceremonies surrounding the funeral of President John F. Kennedy in late November 1963, and the Caisson Detachment during the funeral itself.

He died on December 3, 1963 at home while dining with his family, at the age of 27.

GROVES, MICHAEL D

CAPT HQ 1ST BG 3RD INF THE OLD GUARD FT MYER ARL VA USA

DATE OF BIRTH: 08/19/1936

DATE OF DEATH: 12/03/1963

BURIED AT: SECTION 30 SITE 897-LH

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

I haven't looked him up yet but I met a member of President Kennedy's honor guard. I think he said he was a marine. His name was Tim Cheek and he worked as an Allstate Insurance man in Holiday, FL in the '90's. My father and I were his clients. He retired over a decade ago and I can't say for sure if he's alive, but I believe he is.

Here's a bit about him. Can anyone post the "famous" photo on him? I'll keep looking -- but am I off topic?

http://www.jfklibrary.org/Historical+Resou...Pallbearers.htm

Kathy C

Edited by Kathleen Collins
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Michael D. Groves

D.C. Old Guard, 11/22/63

JFK honor guard at funeral.

Served in combat in Vietnam.

Died of heart attack at age 27 on 12/03/63

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/mdgroves.htm

A member of the Third Infantry ("The Old Guard"), he was assigned to command the Army Honor Guards at the White House, the Capitol and at Arlington National Cemetery during the ceremonies surrounding the funeral of President John F. Kennedy in late November 1963, and the Caisson Detachment during the funeral itself.

He died on December 3, 1963 at home while dining with his family, at the age of 27.

GROVES, MICHAEL D

CAPT HQ 1ST BG 3RD INF THE OLD GUARD FT MYER ARL VA USA

DATE OF BIRTH: 08/19/1936

DATE OF DEATH: 12/03/1963

BURIED AT: SECTION 30 SITE 897-LH

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

I haven't looked him up yet but I met a member of President Kennedy's honor guard. I think he said he was a marine. His name was Tim Cheek and he worked as an Allstate Insurance man in Holiday, FL in the '90's. My father and I were his clients. He retired over a decade ago and I can't say for sure if he's alive, but I believe he is.

Here's a bit about him. Can anyone post the "famous" photo on him? I'll keep looking -- but am I off topic?

http://www.jfklibrary.org/Historical+Resou...Pallbearers.htm

Kathy C

I just want to share a picture I found of President Kennedy's funeral. This is an aerial photo of his coffin in St. Matthew's Cathedral. I never saw this photo before. I don't recall ever seeing a photo inside the Cathedral.

Kathy C

post-5645-1268679227_thumb.jpg

Edited by Kathleen Collins
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I fail to see the relevance of this. Why would Groves be expected to have known enough to be eliminated?

We do have this bizarre claim for which no evidence is provided from John Armstrong, the father of the perhaps the stupidest assassination theory ever:

"The Honor Guard, for some mysterious reason, had been practicing for a presiden-tial funeral for three days before the assassination."

So the top brass conspired to kill the president but they wanted him to have a dandy send off so they risked the security of the operation by starting the rehearsal days before they blew his brains out? That only makes sense to some one who would believe the "Harvey and Lee" theory. I guess Judith Vary Baker, James Files, Betty Oliver and Gordon Arnold all witnessed these early rehearsals as well.

But even if true wouldn't they have to bump of the whole honor guard and not just the CO? Did the Navy, Marine,Air Force and Coast Guard honor guards rehears beforehand as well? Did any of them die early?

What about the doctor who signed his death certificate was he on it? I assume he was autopsied was the ME in on it as well?

Hi Tom, hi Len,

And to answer your questions, I don't know. I'm not making any allegations.

It's Len who writes idiot speculations like: "So the top brass conspired to kill the president but they wanted him to have a dandy send off so they risked the security of the operation by starting the rehearsal days before they blew his brains out? That only makes sense to some one who would believe the "Harvey and Lee" theory. I guess Judith Vary Baker, James Files, Betty Oliver and Gordon Arnold all witnessed these early rehearsals as well. But even if true wouldn't they have to bump of the whole honor guard and not just the CO? Did the Navy, Marine,Air Force and Coast Guard honor guards rehears beforehand as well? Did any of them die early?"

Len, you want to pick a fight and argue with somebody, don't introduce idiot bullxxxx like this into my research or lines of inquiry. That's all you talking, speculating and adding bullxxxx that tries to make my inquiry look silly. YOU ARE THE ONE WHO BROUGHT THAT JUNK TO THE TABLE. Don't do it with me.

Bill you are the one who included the claim about the early funeral practice.Obviously Armstrong and Roberts were implying that the early practice indicated foreknowledge and that Groves was murdered because of it

Well I received an email and phone call from a former neighbor of Captain Groves' parents, and THEY- the parents suspected he was murdered. The father worked for FORD Motor company and was taken care of by the company. There's also a sister who suspected he was murdered.

What steps did you take to confirm this guy was who he claims to be? Why did they (supposedly) think he was murdered? Are you insinuating he father took a bribe to shut up about the matter?

They also said he didn't just command and direct the funeral, but also handled, until the assassination, and was relieved by LBJ upon his return to DC, the White House communications.

This makes little sense the presidential guards are Marines, AFAIK they don't handle such logistical functions which would probably be handled by White House staff

The former neighbor also said the parents said clearly that the official date of his death is wrong and he died earlier, before JFK's funeral.

This guy sounds less credible than than Gordon Arnold

So now, if he was the commander of the funeral, as the official reports say, how come we can't come up with a photo of him at the funeral?

1) He wasn't "the commander of the funeral",according to your source "he was assigned to

command the Army Honor Guards at the White House, the Capitol and at Arlington National Cemetery during the ceremonies surrounding the funeral of President John F. Kennedy in late November 1963, and the Caisson Detachment during the funeral itself."

2) Presumably there are photos of him but none of the ones anyone here has found include his name in the caption.

I'm not making this stuff up, just trying to answer some basic questions.

They don't seem likely to help you figure out who killed JFK and why?

At least it's more worthwhile than chasing CVB
.

What does Claus von Bulow have to do with anything?

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