Jump to content
The Education Forum

NPR Shares Clint Hill's Recollections About 11,22,1963.

Joe Bauer

Recommended Posts

From today's NPR news site:

Hill had been positioned on the running board of the follow-up car, just behind the presidential limousine. As the motorcade progressed through Dealey Plaza, however, excitement turned to horror as Hill heard a loud noise over his right shoulder.

"I didn't think at first it was a gunshot," Hill recalled. "I thought it was a firecracker or something. But when I saw the president's reaction, I knew that was not normal. I mean, he threw his hands to his throat and started to fall to his left."

Hill immediately ran from the follow-up car and onto the back of the presidential limousine. As he climbed on board, there was another shot, striking the president in the head. After this shot, the first lady climbed onto the trunk to meet Hill, who guided her back into the vehicle. Hill used his body as a shield as the presidential limousine sped toward the hospital.

"I thought, 'This wound is not survivable,'" Hill recalled. "I didn't think he had a chance."


In the aftermath, Hill was riddled with guilt. In his book Five Days in November, he recalls accompanying Jacqueline Kennedy, who was still wearing her bloodstained suit, to Johnson's swearing-in aboard Air Force One.

"As I look at her face, streaked with tears, her eyes so hollow and lifeless, a wave of guilt and shame washes over me," Hill recalls in the book. "How did I let this happen to her?"



The state funeral of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 25, 1963.

Abbie Rowe/White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

The feeling didn't pass in the coming years. Hill finished his stint with Jacqueline Kennedy in 1964 and went on to serve three more presidents afterward, but he still struggled with guilt after the assassination.

"We received no counseling at all," Hill said of the Secret Service. "There was no PTSD in those days."

By 1975, Hill had developed ongoing health issues related to his emotional state after the assassination. He failed his annual physical examination and was told that the Secret Service would have to retire him. Hill was 43 years old.

"It was all aftermath of the Kennedy assassination," Hill recalled. "I then went into an extreme depressed state at my home in Virginia. I lived on two packs of cigarettes a day and a bottle of scotch. That's how I slept."

Hill recalls "how did I let this happen to her (Jackie.)"

Yes, but how about ..."let this happen to the president himself?"

The article writer says Jackie leaped out on the trunk to "meet Hill." ???

Didn't look that way to me and a million others. Looked like she was retrieving something.

Hill always makes it a point in seemingly every interview I've ever viewed of him, to specifically mention how many people were hanging out of high building windows and stationing themselves on roof tops and stairwells throughout the motorcade through downtown Dallas that day.

I always sensed he felt a need to do so to dissipate the criticism his agency and all the other JFK protection security agencies were heavily confronted with in no one even looking up at the open windows of the TXSBD at least for the few minutes before and during JFK's limo drive underneath.

I wonder why Hill was the only SS agent that was so wracked by guilt regards the JFK shooting that his life fell completely apart the next 12 years.

There were 7 or 8 other SS agents within feet of JFK when his head was brutally blown apart. As well as two Dallas Motorcycle cops also just feet away and who were actually sprayed with JFK's exploding brain matter and blood.
Hill's marriage fell apart. He became a drinker. He had to be let go.

If any SS agents should have had such guilt and remorse about JFK it would have been limo driver Bill Greer and agent Roy Kellerman.

Kellerman didn't even attempt to crawl over the passenger seat separation bar to cover JFK.

Greer slowed the limo almost to a stop. Allowing the shooter a slower moving target opportunity.


Edited by Joe Bauer
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...