THE SECRET SERVICE. An elite team of men who share a single mission: to protect the president of the United States. On November 22, 1963, these men failed—and a country would never be the same. Now, for the first time, a member of JFK’s Secret Service detail reveals the inside story of the assassination, the weeks and days that led to it and its heartrending aftermath. This extraordinary book is a moving, intimate portrait of dedication, courage, and loss.
Drawing on the memories of his fellow agents, Jerry Blaine captures the energetic, crowd-loving young president, who banned agents from his car and often plunged into raucous crowds with little warning. He describes the careful planning that went into JFK’s Texas swing, the worries and concerns that agents, working long hours with little food or rest, had during the trip. And he describes the intensely private first lady making her first-ever political appearance with her husband, just months after losing a newborn baby.
Here are vivid scenes that could come only from inside the Kennedy detail: JFK’s last words to his tearful son when he left Washington for the last time; how a sudden change of weather led to the choice of the open-air convertible limousine that day; Mrs. Kennedy standing blood-soaked outside a Dallas hospital room; the sudden interruption of six-year-old Caroline’s long-anticipated sleepover with a friend at home; the exhausted team of agents immediately reacting to the president’s death with a shift to LBJ and other key governmental figures; the agents’ dismay at Jackie’s decision to walk openly from the White House to St. Matthew’s Cathedral at the state funeral.
Most of all, this is a look into the lives of men who devoted their entire beings to protecting the presidential family: the stress of the secrecy they kept, the emotional bonds that developed, the terrible impact on agents’ psyches and families, and their astonishment at the country’s obsession with far-fetched conspiracy theories and finger-pointing. A book fifty years in coming, The Kennedy Detail is a portrait of incredible camaraderie and incredible heartbreak—a true, must-read story of heroism in its most complex and human form.
A medic burst out of the trauma room, and instinctively Clint Hill took a step toward Mrs. Kennedy. “He’s still breathing,” the man said as he rushed past. Mrs. Kennedy stood up. “Do you mean he may live?” she asked.
No one answered.
Kellerman handed the phone back to Hill and rushed back into the trauma room.
“Clint, what happened?” Jerry Behn asked earnestly.
“Shots fired during the motorcade,” Clint said as he kept an eye on Mrs. Kennedy across the hall. “It all happened so fast. We were five minutes away from the Trade Mart. . . . The situation is critical. Jerry, prepare for the worst. . . .”
The operator cut into the line, “Attorney General Robert Kennedy wants to talk to Agent Hill.”
“What’s going on down there?!” Bobby Kennedy demanded.
“Shots fired during the motorcade,” Clint repeated. “The president is very seriously injured. They’re working on him now. Governor Connally was hit too.”
“Well, what do you mean, seriously injured? How serious?”
Clint swallowed hard. It was all he could do to keep it together. “It’s as bad as it can get.”
—From The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence
The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence
Published on Aug 27, 2013
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza presented a panel discussion featuring Former Secret Service agents Gerald Blaine and Clint Hill and author Lisa McCubbin talking with The Sixth Floor Museum’s Curator Gary Mack about what happened on November 22, 1963 and in the months leading up to and following President Kennedy’s assassination. This presentation took place on November 20, 2010 as part of a tour to promote their book, “The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence” (2010). To see related films, photos, documents and oral histories from The Sixth Floor Museum’s collection, visit our online collections database (http://emuseum.jfk.org). Or make a research appointment to explore the books, DVDs and other materials available in the Museum’s Reading Room (http://www.jfk.org/go/reading-room).
As a Special Agent of the Secret Service on the White House Detail, Gerald “Jerry” Blaine had the privilege of serving three U.S. presidents during one of the most tumultuous times in American history. After resigning from the Secret Service following John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Blaine embarked on a career path with IBM Corporation and became a leading expert in high-level security, lecturing worldwide on the use of computers in Criminal Justice and Intelligence. In 1990, Blaine retired from IBM and joined ARCO International Oil and Gas in Dallas, Texas as the Director of International Security, Government Relations and Foreign Affairs. After retiring from ARCO in 1999 Blaine spent four years with Hill & Associates, an Asian-based consulting company, as a Senior Consultant, and finally retired from the corporate world in 2003. He now lives in in Grand Junction, Colorado with Joyce, his wife of more than fifty years. The couple has two children and four grandchildren.
Lisa McCubbin is the coauthor of the New York Times bestsellers, Mrs. Kennedy and Me and The Kennedy Detail. An award-winning journalist, she has been a television news anchor and reporter, hosted her own radio show, and spent more than five years in the Middle East as a freelance writer. Visit her at LisaMcCubbin.com.
Clint Hill is a retired United States Secret Service agent who will forever be remembered for his courageous actions in the presidential motorcade during the John F. Kennedy assassination. Assigned to protect Jacqueline Kennedy, Hill remained with Mrs. Kennedy and the children for one year after the tragedy. Proudly and humbly serving five presidents—Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford—Hill rose through the ranks of the most elite protective force in the world, during the tumultuous time that encompassed the Vietnam War, the assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy, and Watergate. He retired in 1975 as Assistant Director, United States Secret Service, responsible for all protective forces. In 2012, he penned his remarkable memoir, Mrs. Kennedy and Me, which became a #1 New York Times bestseller.
JFK Assassination – Former S.S. Agent speaks after 50 years.
Clint Hill, a former Secret Service Agent for JFK talks to 60 Minutes, Australia about his perspective of the assassination of the President of the United States in November 1963. Thanks to Channel Nine, Australia and 60 Minutes for the footage.