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Vincent E. Drain

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Vincent E. Drain: Agent worked on JFK inquiry

10:04 AM CDT on Wednesday, June 14, 2006

By JOE SIMNACHER / The Dallas Morning News

On Nov. 22, 1963, FBI Special Agent Vincent E. Drain was just back from lunch when Dallas police radio traffic pulled him into the biggest case of his career.

About 10 minutes later, he was in the trauma room at Parkland Memorial Hospital, where doctors were trying to save President John F. Kennedy's life. Mr. Drain found himself immersed in history as it unfolded.

His assignments included escorting Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle and other evidence to Washington, D.C., on a midnight flight aboard an otherwise empty C-135 Stratolifter. About 24 hours later, he made the return flight to Texas on an F-104 Starfghter.

Mr. Drain, 86, died Sunday of a stroke at UT Southwestern University Hospital.

Services will be at 2 p.m. today at Sparkman Hillcrest Funeral Home in Dallas. Burial will be at Ridgeview Memorial Park in Allen.

"He absolutely adored his work," said his wife, Ruth Vandeveer Drain of Dallas. "Going to work every day ... he was just so happy to be in the FBI."

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Mr. Drain was born in McKinney. He received a bachelor's degree from what is now the University of North Texas.

He wanted to serve in the Army Air Corps but could not pass the vision est. He taught school and coached football in Wylie before attending the FBI Academy. He graduated in 1941.

He spent 28 years of his 35-year FBI career in Dallas, his wife said.

Mr. Drain was extensively involved in the investigation of Kennedy's assassination but, out of loyalty to the FBI, did not write a book about his time on the case, his wife said.

He did recount his story for one of the eyewitness accounts that Larry A. Sneed used for his 1998 book No More Silence: An Oral History of the Assassination of President Kennedy.

The afternoon of the assassination, Mr. Drain was in the Parkland trauma room and at Love Field when the president's body was taken aboard Air Force One.

About 8 p.m., Mr. Drain's superiors in Washington demanded the rifle for testing. He first had to assure Dallas authorities that he would personally protect the chain of evidence. In Mr. Sneed's book, Mr. Drain said he would take the evidence to Washington, wait until it was examned and bring it back.

The negotiations and packing took hours, well past the last Dallas flight to Washington.

"We were told that the FBI in Washington wanted the material by morning if we had to walk it up there," he said in his account.

Mr. Drain arranged for a C-135 transport to fly him from Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth to Washington.

"This was an empty plane, and they were flying high and really letting her go," Mr. Drain said. "During the flight they let me listen to all the shortwave broadcasts about the British, Fr! ench and Canadians -- calling their troops and their submarines going to sea -- because they were afraid the Russians might attack."

Mr. Drain later took other evidence to Washington and back. He worked on the investigation, including interviewing Oswald's wife, Marina, whom he met the night of the assassination.

He said he was part of a team that worked long hours on the case.

Mrs. Drain said her husband did "tons of interviews" and testified before the Warren Commission.

He looked at it as simple dedication to a job:

"The thing about it is that the FBI agents are just like schoolteachers, doctors, lawyers or merchants; there's nothing superhuman or magic in the work. It's hard work, and you have to face it out."

Mr. Drain retired in 1977.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Drain is survived by stepson Arthur Vandeveer Basham of Edina, Minn.; brother Lee Drain of Dallas; two sisters, Mary Frances Nyland of Plano and Dorothy Harlow of Garland; and four stepgrndchildren.

E-mail jsimnacher@dallasnews.com

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Apart from Drain's role in the events surrounding Kennedy's assassination, he was also one of the investigators and interrogators of Joe Civello after he was arrested at the Mob's Apalachin meeting in 1957.

Drain was also a huge fan of Bill Decker. At a Criminal Bar Association luncheon in 1960, Drain gave a stirring speech lauding Decker and his long service.

Drain below.


Edited by James Richards
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  • 13 years later...
  • 3 weeks later...
4 hours ago, Bart Kamp said:

Here is some more Drain docs, and here

All docs thanks to Malcolm Blunt

Wow!  And LHO was vaccinated on June 8, 1963 by Dr. A. J. Hideel!

Edited by Daniel Rice
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