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CLIINT HILL, 10-9-11

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Published October 09, 2011, 11:30 PM

Memories of JFK assassination haunt former Secret

Service agent and North Dakota native (with audio)

MOORHEAD - Nov. 22, 1963, is on Clint Hill's mind every day. The

former Secret Service agent assigned to protect Jackie Kennedy the

day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated is still haunted

with guilt nearly 50 years later.

By: Amy Dalrymple, INFORUM

MOORHEAD - Nov. 22, 1963, is on Clint Hill's mind every day.

The former Secret Service agent assigned to protect Jackie

Kennedy the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated is

still haunted with guilt nearly 50 years later.

The Washburn, N.D., native and Concordia College graduate was

on the running board of the car behind the presidential limousine in

Dallas. He heard the first shot and jumped onto the presidential

vehicle in an attempt to shield the Kennedys from gunshots. Hill

made it just as the first lady was reaching for the top of Kennedy's


He received recognition for "extraordinary courage and heroic effort

in the face of maximum danger."

But Hill, who battled depression and alcoholism for years as a

result of that day, still wonders if he could have done more.

"I still have a sense of responsibility and a guilt feeling I should

have been able to do more, because I was the only one who had

that chance," Hill said in an interview last week with The Forum.

Hill, who served five presidents during his time with the Secret

Service, will return to Concordia this week to accept an Alumni

Achievement Award.

"I tried to tell them that I didn't think I was worthy of the honor,

but they insisted," said the 79-year-old, who now lives in the

Washington, D.C., area.

Hill also will give a public talk on Wednesday night, along with Lisa

McCubbin, co-author of "The Kennedy Detail," which gives the

Secret Service agents' account of the assassination.

North Dakota native

Hill was born in 1932 in Larimore, N.D., and was adopted as a baby

by Chris and Jennie Hill of Washburn.

Hill graduated from high school in Washburn and attended

Concordia, where he majored in history and physical education and

excelled at football and baseball.

After Hill graduated from Concordia in 1954, he served in the U.S.

Army as an intelligence agent.

Hill's Secret Service career began in 1958.

When Kennedy was elected, Hill anticipated he would be assigned

to protect the president because he had been assigned to

President Dwight Eisenhower.

He was shocked to learn that he'd instead be protecting the first


"I was very upset about it," Hill said. "I didn't really want that


But it turned out to be the best job in the Secret Service at the

time, Hill said.

Jackie Kennedy and Hill built up a trust and became friends, though

she always called him Mr. Hill, and he always called her Mrs.


"We shared secrets, and we got to know each other very well," Hill


That historic day in Dallas was unusual because the first lady was

campaigning with Kennedy, something she often shied away from


During the motorcade, Hill was positioned behind Jackie Kennedy

on the follow-up car and was scanning people taking photos from a

grassy area off to the left.

Then he heard an explosive noise over his right shoulder, and his

eyes scanned past the presidential vehicle.

"I saw the president grab at his throat and kind of move to his left.

I knew something had happened," Hill said.

"I jumped from the follow-up car and ran toward the presidential

vehicle," he said. "My attempt was to get on the back of the

presidential car and place my body above the president and Mrs.

Kennedy so that I would shield them from anything that was a

possibility of happening.

"There was a second shot, apparently, but I didn't hear it because I

was running.

(MY INSERTION....HILL first started to jump from the SS followup vehicle

at Z-290 to 308, then, he was running on Elm Street)

"Then the third shot happened just as I was approaching the

presidential vehicle. I slipped, had to regain my steps, got up on

the car. The president had been hit in the upper right rear of his

head with that third shot.

"There were blood and brain matter and bone fragments

throughout the entire area, including myself. He slumped to his left.

Mrs. Kennedy came up from her seat onto the trunk of the car

trying to grab some of the material that came off his head. … I

grabbed her and put her back into her seat. When I did that, the

president's body fell into her lap.

"The right side of his face was up, and I could see his eyes were

fixed. There was a hole in the upper right rear of his head. It

appeared to me that he was dead."

Hill gave a thumbs-down to the follow-up car, and agents yelled to

the lead driver to go to Parkland Hospital. Hill continued lying on

the back of the car to shield the Kennedys as the car sped 80 mph

to the hospital.

'Downward spiral'

After the assassination, Hill continued to be assigned to the first

lady and the children until the election.

He was then assigned to President Lyndon Johnson and served

him during the tumultuous time that included the assassinations of

Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

Hill also protected Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

In 1970, a promotion had Hill working an administrative desk job,

and for the first time since the assassination, he had time to think.

That day in Dallas was never far from his mind.

"I gradually deteriorated emotionally, and that affected my physical

well-being," Hill said.

In 1975, doctors said he wasn't fit for the Secret Service, and he

retired at age 43.

Hill returned to North Dakota and worked on his sister's farm for

about six weeks, "trying to get everything out."

That year, he also spoke about the assassination for the first time

in a famous interview with Mike Wallace of "60 Minutes." Prior to

that, Hill hadn't talked about that day with anyone, not even his


Hill's emotional state only worsened in his retirement.

"By 1976, I was once again in a downward spiral, and that lasted

until 1982," Hill said. "I had a great big bottle of scotch and a carton

of cigarettes, and I laid on a couch in my very dark basement."

Then in 1982, a doctor told Hill he either had to change or die.

"I decided I wanted to live," Hill said.

Without any help, Hill quit drinking and did some security work for

Chrysler, Mesa Petroleum and Billy Graham during the 1980s.

Decades after the assassination, Hill was still not talking about that

day. He declined to be interviewed in 2003 for the 40th anniversary

of the event.

"I didn't want to talk about any of this type of thing and never did,"

Hill said. "We as agents never talked about the assassination

among ourselves. I never discussed it with any member of my


Then fellow Secret Service agent Gerald Blaine and journalist Lisa

McCubbin began working on the book "The Kennedy Detail."

Hill said McCubbin convinced him that it would benefit history if he

revealed details of that day from his perspective.

Contributing to the book proved to be beneficial for Hill, and he's

now talking more openly about that day for the first time, nearly 50

years later.

Hill and McCubbin also are collaborating on a book, "Mrs. Kennedy

and Me," that will be published in the spring of 2012.

In 1990, Hill did something he wishes he would have done earlier:

He returned to Dallas and walked Dealey Plaza and looked out the

window of the sixth floor.

"I came to the conclusion that on that particular day, because of

everything involved, the weather, the angle of the building, the way

the street was configured and the way the motorcade was running

at the time that I did everything I could, and I really couldn't have

done any more than that," Hill said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590

If you go

What: Speech by former Secret Service agent Clint Hill and Lisa

McCubbin, co-author of "The Kennedy Detail"

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Concordia Knutson Campus Center Centrum

Info: The event is free and open to the public. A Q&A session and

book signing will follow.[/font style]


Best Regards in Research,


Donald Roberdeau

U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, CV-67, plank walker

Sooner, or later, The Truth emerges Clearly

For your considerations....

Homepage: President KENNEDY "Men of Courage" speech, and Assassination Evidence, Witnesses, Suspects + Outstanding Researchers Discoveries and Considerations.... http://droberdeau.bl...ination_09.html

Dealey Plaza Map Detailing 11-22-63 Victims precise locations, Witnesses, Films &

Photos, Evidence, Suspected bullet trajectories, Important information & Considerations, in One Convenient Resource.... http://img831.images...dated110110.gif

Visual Report: "The First Bullet Impact Into President Kennedy: while JFK was Hidden

Under the 'magic-limbed-ricochet-tree' ".... http://img504.images...k1102308ms8.gif

Visual Report: Reality versus C.A.D. : the Real World, versus, Garbage-In, Garbage-Out....


Discovery: "Very Close JFK Assassination Witness ROSEMARY WILLIS Zapruder Film Documented

2nd Headsnap: West, Ultrafast, and Directly Towards the Grassy Knoll"....


T ogether

E veryone

A chieves

M ore

For the United States:



Edited by Don Roberdeau
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