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The man in the (AF1) doorway


Ron Ecker
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Mr. SPECTER. Were you present at the swearing in of President Johnson?

Mr. GREER. Yes, sir; I was--we were all asked to come back into the state room but I wasn't in too close. I was in the main part of the plane, as close as I could get to it, yes.

William Greer was in the stateroom, “the main part of the plane,” but he is not identified in any of the photos that Stoughton took of the ceremony. (Stoughton took several photos, before, during, and after the ceremony, link below.) I believe that everyone who is said to have been there can be seen in one or another of the photos, except Greer. Where was he and what was he doing?

Here is the famous wink photo:

stoughton.jpg

In the photo there is a man’s face in the doorway leading to the rear of the plane. I asked Gary Mack if he thinks it is Greer. Gary looked at the 8 x 10 of the photo, and said that he doesn’t think so, that Greer had more hair. I also don’t think it’s Greer. The man looks younger than Greer.

Does anyone have any idea who it is?

Here's the link to all the Stoughton photos:

http://redbud.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/ke.../oathphotos.htm

Edited by Ron Ecker
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Robin,

Thanks for that blowup! At least three people are visible in the rear passage behind the man in the doorway. Two appear to be listening to the ceremony. One is too far back to be participating. Is he standing guard for something? Is it McHugh or someone else with him?

Ron

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In his book The Zapruder Film, David R. Wrone devotes several pages to debunking Lifton’s theory of body theft and alteration. On pp. 134-135 he writes:

“The casket was under ample guard at all times during the flight, a fact that Lifton neglects to mention. Secret Service agent Richard Johnsen discreetly stood a few feet away in the hallway entrance, while Brigadier General Godfrey McHugh, JFK’s aide, stood at attention beside the casket throughout the trip during the swearing-in ceremony.”

Wrone’s source on Johnsen is Johnsen’s memo to SS Chief Rowley dated 11/30/63 on his activities on 11/22:

“While awaiting for the departure of AF #1 I was instructed by ATSAIC Stout to ride in the rear of the plane with the casket. This had been a request of President Johnson.”

Stout’s memo to Rowley, dated 11/29/63, mentions no such request by Johnson, and no such instruction to Johnsen. Stout simply says he assisted in carrying the casket aboard AF1, and the plane departed Dallas at 2:50 pm.

Could the man in the doorway in the Stoughton photo be Johnsen?

Wrone also says, as further proof that the body could not have been stolen during the swearing-in, that LBJ’s secretary Marie Fehner and the SS both “were ordered to record the names of all attendees at the swearing-in ceremony. Both lists show that the majority of JFK’s aides and staff were not present, a fact also confirmed by Cecil Stoughton, White House photographer, who snapped over a dozen photographs of the ceremony” (p. 135). (His source on Fehner’s list is Jake Jacobsen, “Analysis,” ms., LBJ Library; his cited source on the SS list is Roy Kellerman Report to Chief Rowley, 2/17/64, JFK Collection, National Archives.)

Here is a list of JFK aides and staff as identified by the LBJ Library in one or more of the Stoughton photos of the swearing-in:

Dr. Burkley

Liz Carpenter

General Clifton

Mary Gallagher

Mac Kilduff

Evelyn Lincoln

Bill Moyers

Larry O’Brien

Ken O’Donnell

Dave Powers

Pamela Turnure

(Note: Dave Powers is on the list, as he is shown in one of the photos though the library does not identify him.)

Does anyone know of a single JFK aide or staff member besides McHugh who is not on the list?

It should be noted that O’Brien is in only one photo, and it was taken before Jackie appeared and the ceremony commenced. This means that O’Brien in the other photos must be either standing behind Stoughton, consistently hidden completely behind other attendees, in the front section of the plane, or in the rear of the plane.

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One error on the list of JFK staff: Liz Carpenter was executive assistant to LBJ.

There were several men on the plane unaccounted for in the swearing-in photos: SS agents Greer (as previously noted), Youngblood, Hill, Landis, O'Leary, Stout, and Johnsen (who may or may not be the man in the doorway), and the man with the football Ira Gearhart. Two or three of these men are probably the shadowy figures seen in the rear. The others may have been behind Stoughton and/or in the press and staff area forward of the state room.

This passage from Manchester is also worth noting (p. 347): "Johnson instructed Youngblood to be sure that an agent was with the casket. Rufe replied that Behn, at Roy Kellerman's suggestion, had already established a new shift; Kellerman, Hill, Landis, and O'Leary were assigned to the slain President and his wife." This conflicts with agent Johnsen's report that he was ordered by Stout, per LBJ's request, to stay with the casket. Manchester doesn't mention Stout or Johnsen being on the plane.

If most of the men unaccounted for during the ceremony were crammed in the rear, this would probably shield any body snatchers from view, if they weren't among the snatchers themselves. Manchester tells of an incident that may be very relevant here (p. 324). As the ceremony was set to start, they realized they didn't have a Bible. AF1 steward Joseph C. Ayres went to fetch JFK's personal Bible from his private cabin in back. Under the circumstances, any men shielding secret activity going on the rear could hardly bar Ayres from coming back to get the Bible. Could he have glimpsed something he shouldn't have?

Ayres is on Jim Marrs' list of suspicious deaths in Crossfire, dying in August of 1977 (that terrible year for potential HSCA witnesses) in a "shooting accident." It would interesting to know the circumstances of the shooting.

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SS agent Rufus Youngblood's report to the Chief dated 11/29/63 helps clarify where people were who were not in Stoughton's photos:

"When Judge Hughes arrived, the oath was administered, and Cecil Stoughton, White House photographer, took photos of this event. His photos show most of those who witnessed this event within the stateroom and thru the passageway door leading to the front of the plane. There were some witnesses who were not in the pictures since we were on the side of the stateroom where the photographer was. These persons included myself, an Air Force steward, and an agent who was stationed at the rear of the plane with the President's body."

It's interesting that Youngblood in his official report apparently couldn't name the agent "who was stationed at the rear of the plane with the President's body," and that this agent was not stationed at the rear of the plane at all during the swearing-in but was with Youngblood at the front end of the stateroom.

Clint Hill's WC testimony also adds perspective:

Mr. SPECTER. And were you present during the swearing-in ceremonies of President Johnson?

Mr. HILL. I was aboard the aircraft; yes, sir.

Mr. SPECTER. Did you witness those ceremonies?

Mr. HILL. Well, the Presidential compartment was so small that not all persons on the aircraft could get in. I was in the forward portion of the aircraft, right adjacent to the area that the President was sworn in.

Also, SS agent Glen A. Bennett is to be added to those who were on board AF1. He really goes into detail in his report dated 11/23/63, which ends this way:

"(At Parkland) I immediately went to the Vice-President's auto and accompanied him to a room on the ground floor of the hospital. I then continued with the Vice-President back to Washington, D.C. where I was relieved."

Edited by Ron Ecker
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Robin, I was very impressed by the enlargement of the (Stoughton) photo of the rear door of AF1, which showed mysterious figures behind the men in the doorway. I had never seen such an enlargement of the Stoughton photos before.

Your enlargement has now disappeared from this thread and I could not locate it on your website. I, for one, would be very grateful if you were to do a series of enlargements of every Stoughton photo which shows that rear door. Perhaps you could post them on your website.

Thank you.

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Robin, I was very impressed by the enlargement of the (Stoughton) photo of the rear door of AF1, which showed mysterious figures behind the men in the doorway. I had never seen such an enlargement of the Stoughton photos before.

Your enlargement has now disappeared from this thread and I could not locate it on your website. I, for one, would be very grateful if you were to do a series of enlargements of every Stoughton photo which shows that rear door. Perhaps you could post them on your website.

Thank you.

Thanks for the comments.

Yeh i had to delete the attachment to make room for other pics.

I find it hard to re-produce quality photo's on Johns site, when i only have 400k to play with.

Here is the link to all the photo's.

If you click on any of the small photo's they will open up, and underneath the image is a download link for a 6MB Enlargement of the small pic.

http://redbud.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/ke.../oathphotos.htm

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Here is the link to all the photo's.

If you click on any of the small photo's they will open up, and underneath the image is a download link for a 6MB Enlargement of the small pic.

http://redbud.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/ke.../oathphotos.htm

Thank you, Robin. I see there is also an even larger image, sometimes up to 80MB and a zoom feature.

Before this thread fades away, can anyone guess who the mystery figures behind Kellerman might be, given who we know was at the scene but not accounted for at the swearing-in?

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Here’s a link to an article about the death of James B. Swindal, who piloted AF1 on the flight from Dallas to DC. Includes details of the loading of the casket (no “cables” or other means of securing the casket mentioned).

http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?Content...76-571ed790cb7b

I followed the link to an article about AF1, and found a couple of items worth mentioning. Both involve presidential paranoia, or something. You tell me:

President Johnson reconfigured the interior of 26000. Additional seals were added, and the seats were reversed to face the rear of the aircraft - - toward the president's compartment. Johnson liked to be able to keep an eye on his passengers, and the cherry wood partitions that separated the passengers from the stateroom were replaced with clear plastic dividers.

And this:

One feature of 26000, which did not carry over into the Nixon administration, was the taping system on board. By orders of the president, the system that recorded all incoming and outgoing calls on 26000 was removed.

http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/annex/an32.htm

The dolt! Nixon removed the taping system from AF1, but not from the White House. His bad.

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can anyone guess who the mystery figures behind Kellerman might be, given who we know was at the scene but not accounted for at the swearing-in?

Two possibilities are SS agents Glen A. Bennett and Stewart G. "Stu" Stout, Jr.

Bennett had joined the White House detail on 11/10/63, in time for the Florida and Texas trips, though Sam Kinney told Vince Palamara that Texas was Bennett's first trip. In his 11/23/63 after-action report Bennett makes no mention whatsoever of what he did aboard AF1. He does say in his report that in Dealey Plaza he "saw the shot hit the President about four inches down from the right shoulder." Trouble is, about the time JFK was shot in the back, eagle-eyed Bennett was looking off to the right at the crowd by the R.L. Thornton Freeway sign, as can be seen in Betzner:

bennett.gif

Stout is the agent who according to agent Johnsen told Johnsen to stay with the body aboard AF1 per LBJ's request, though Stout makes no mention of this in his report. Youngblood reported that among those observing the swearing-in with him from the door to the forward press section was "the agent" who had been ordered to stay with the body. Agent Johnsen? Then where was Stout?

According to Palamara, Stout quit the SS soon after Dallas and became a White House usher. Stout died in the White House of "a sudden heart attack" in late 1963 or early 1964.

http://www.acorn.net/jfkplace/03/VP/0006-VP.html

Edited by Ron Ecker
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