FROM: SA Jerry D. Kivett -- Vice Presidential Detail
US Secret Service
DATE: Nov. 29, 1963
SUBJECT: Statement regarding events in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, November, 1963.
I arrived Love Field, Dallas, Texas, at approximately 10:30 am CST, from Fort Worth, Texas. I was driven from Fort Worth by SA Warner, Dallas Field office, and SA Shannon was also in the car. SA Shannon had worked the previous midnight at Fort Worth and was catching a commercial flight from Dallas to Austin in order to work the following midnight at the LBJ Ranch.
Upon arrival at Love Field, I immediately contacted SA Lawson, and assisted him in advance arrangements prior to the arrival of the President and the Vice President. I assisted him in arranging motorcade cars and various other duties as he directed. I contacted the local representative of Continental Airlines and obtained four pillows to be used in case the President and his party wanted to sit on the back of the convertible. I was in constant contact with Art Bales as to the exact location and time of arrival of the Vice President and Presidential aircraft. I also conferred with Mr. Jack Peuterball (phonetic), political advance officer, on who was going to greet the Vice President when he arrived.
AF-2, with the Vice President and party aboard, arrived at 11:35 am CST. I was at the foot of the ramp when Vice President and Mrs. Johnson and party disembarked. Vice Presidential Detail agents accompanying the Vice President were ASAIC Youngblood, ATSAIC Johns, and SA Taylor. Other White House Detail agents were also on board. The Vice President was greeted by the local committee consisting of 15 persons. ASAIC Youngblood and ATSAIC Johns remained in close proximity to the Vice President, SA Taylor remained in close proximity to Mrs. Johnson- and I was making sure that the Vice President and others moved to the proper area to greet the President, and also was keeping an eye on the Presidential plane so as to advise ASAIC Youngblood of its location.
AF-I, with the President and party aboard, arrived at 11:40 am CST. The Vice President was at the foot of the ramp to greet President and Mrs. Kennedy when they descended the steps of the plane. After the President was greeted by the reception committee (same committee that greeted the Vice President), he walked past his automobile and up to the crowd which was behind a waist-high cyclone fence. He and Mrs. Kennedy began to shake hands with those assembled there. The Vice President and Mrs. Johnson also went past their cars to the fence and also started shaking hands. ASAIC Youngblood and ATSAIC Johns remained in close proximity to the Vice President with SA Taylor in close proximity to Mrs. Johnson. I was alternating between remaining in close proximity to the Vice President and seeing that the Vice President's car and follow-up car were staying right behind the Presidential car and follow-up car as President and Mrs. Kennedy and Vice President and Mrs. Johnson moved down the fence to their left shaking hands.
When President and Mrs. Kennedy took their positions in their car, I assisted ASAIC Youngblood and ATSAIC Johns in getting Vice President and Mrs. Johnson in their car. The Vice Presidential car was a 1964 Lincoln convertible with the top down. The driver was Herschel Jacks, Department of Public Safety, and ASAIC Youngblood rode in the right front seat. In the back seat were Senator Yarborough, Mrs. Johnson, and the Vice President--left to right. As the motorcade started moving out, I ran alongside the Vice President's car for approximately 15 to 25 yards and then jumped into the Vice Presidential follow-up car, a 1963 Mercury 4 door sedan. This vehicle was driven by Joe Rich, Department of Public Safety, with Cliff Carter, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, in the middle front seat, and I was in the right front seat. SA Taylor and ATSAIC Johns were in the back seat, left and right sides respectively. The motorcade proceeded out of the airport and along the motorcade route.
The entire route was well lined with people, and on several occasions when the crowds were large, I opened the door of the vehicle to be prepared to get out if necessary.
During the entire parade route, I could not see the Presidential car well, but I could see the Presidential follow-up car and observed the agents standing on the running board.
On one occasion (exact location unknown), the Presidential car stopped and a few well-wishers went over to the car to shake his hand. The stop was very brief and none of the crowd made an attempt to shake the Vice President's hand. During this time I had the door open and was standing halfway out of the car, prepared to go up to the Vice President's car if necessary. During the motorcade, as we moved further downtown, the crowd became increasingly heavy and I noticed numerous persons watching the motorcade from windows of the various buildings we passed. All agents in the Vice Presidential follow-up car were closely observing the crowd both along the streets and watching from the windows.
Approximately three minutes before the assassination, in the very downtown part of Dallas, I observed a young white male approximately 21 years old, running toward the Presidential car. As he got alongside the Presidential follow-up car, SA Ready, who was working the right front running board, jumped down from the follow-up car and forcibly shoved this individual back into the crowd. We continued along the motorcade route and turned off Main Street. At this point, SA Lawson in the lead car gave a "5-minutes to Trade Mark signal" -- moments later the first shot was heard.
See additional statement for actions during and after assassination.
/s/ SA Jerry D. Kivett
STATEMENT BY JERRY D. KIVETT CONCERNING THE EVENTS OF NOVEMBER 22, 1963
November 29, 1963
I was riding in the Vice Presidential follow-up car immediately behind the Vice President's car and the third car behind the President's car. The Vice President's car was a 1964 steel gray Lincoln convertible, borrowed from Ford Motor Company, Dallas, Texas and was driven by Herschel D. Jacks, Texas Department, Public Safety. ASAIC Youngblood was riding in the right front seat of this vehicle. In the back seat were Senator Yarborough, Mrs. Johnson, and the Vice President left to right. The Vice Presidential follow-up car was a 1963 yellow 4-door Mercury Sedan, also borrowed from Ford Motor Company, driven by Joe H. Rich, Texas Department, Public Safety. Cliff Carter, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, was seated in the middle of the front seat and I was seated in the right front seat. In the rear seat was SA Taylor and ATSAIC Johns, left to right respectively. The motorcade had just made a right turn from Main Street and then made an immediate left turn on to Elm Street. The motorcade was heading slightly downhill toward an underpass. As the motorcade was approximately 1/3 of the way to the underpass, traveling between 10 and 15 miles per hour, I heard a loud noise--someone hollered "What was that?" It sounded more like an extremely large firecracker, in that it did not seem to have the sharp report of a rifle. As I was looking in the direction of the noise, which was to my right rear, I heard another report--then there was no doubt in my mind what was happening looked toward the Vice Presidential car, and as I did so, I could see the spectators, approximately 25-50, scattering--some were falling to the ground, some were running up a small hill, and some were just standing there stunned--here I heard the third shot. I could see the President's car, and observed Mrs. Kennedy, who seemed to be standing up in the car and trying to get out. I was getting out of the car to get to the Vice President's car and assist Youngblood; I had reached for my gun but did not draw it for I could not tell where the shots were coming from; when I saw the Presidential car speed down the street since I could not get to the Vice Presidential car, I fell back into the follow-up car and hollered to the driver to go-go, and the car lurched forward behind the Vice President's car. During this time, I don't know exactly what happened, but it seems that the Vice Presidential follow-up car was moving quite slow. ATSAIC Johns was out of the car (I have no knowledge of what actions he took), and as we moved out, ATSAIC Johns was left. SA Taylor was seated to my left rear, and since all the actions took place on my right, I do not know what action he took. Cliff Carter, to the best of my knowledge remained still in the middle front seat.
Once we left the area, I could see all three cars--the President's car (I could not see any principal party and could only see Clint Hill on the back of the car. The follow-up car, with some agent holding the AR-15 pointed in the air--The Vice President's car (I could not see the Vice President, but could see ASAIC Youngblood lieing over the area where he had been sitting -- I don't recall seeing Mrs. Johnson or Senator Yarborough). We were traveling at a high rate of speed. ATSAIC Roberts said over the radio, and this is not a direct quote but to the best of my recollection -- To the hospital -- to the hospital, as fast as possible -- Lawson, are we going to the hospital? -- Hurry, he's hit -- Then Roberts called to Youngblood, I answered since Youngblood was using Baker frequency with our follow-up car however, I had a Charlie set in the follow-up car also. Roberts said to cover our man good, I replied that Youngblood had him covered -- at this point Youngblood, who had switched his radio to Charlie, answered and stated that he had him covered and to take off, we were right behind them. It took approximately 4 minutes from the time the first shot was fired until we reached the hospital. As soon as we reached the hospital, ASAIC Youngblood and myself ran the Vice President into the Hospital and continued running with him until we reached an isolated room. SA Taylor immediately followed with Mrs. Johnson. As we were taking the Vice President into the hospital, Roberts informed him that the President had been shot and was critically injured and probably would die. Once inside the hospital, we had the Vice President and Mrs. Johnson in an isolated room. We pulled all window shades so as no one would know our exact location. At first it was the Vice President, Mrs. Johnson, Youngblood and myself. Moments later, Emory Roberts came in and said the President would not make it. A discussion followed as to what action would be taken and all agents were in agreement that we should leave the hospital as soon as possible fly to Washington and go to the White House, which was the safest location for the Vice President to go. The Vice President asked for Congressman Homer Thornberry and Congressman Jack Brooks to join him in the isolated room, he also asked that someone go to get coffee for he and Mrs. Johnson. Cliff Carter who also had come into the room went to get the coffee. Roy Kellerman came into the room and discussed the President's condition with the Vice President. The Vice President did not want to leave the hospital immediately and fly to the White House because he said it would appear presumptuous on his part. ASAIC Youngblood told me to get in touch with Austin, Texas and Washington, DC and have agents assigned to the Vice President's daughters immediately. I located a phone which was being manned by a member of a telephone company, who had accompanied the Presidential party and who had an open line to the Signal Board in Washington. I asked first for Chief Rowley, then Chief Paterni and ended up talking to Chief Wildy. I told him to call Austin and have an agent assigned immediately to Lynda Bird Johnson and as she could probably be located at Kinsolving Dormitory, University of Texas. That an agent should also be assigned immediately to Lucy Baines Johnson, who could best be located at National Cathedral for Girls, Washington, DC. Since I was talking to the Signal Board I asked for Austin, Texas. I talked to SA Paine, advised him to get an agent with Lynda as soon as possible. He put SA Lockwood on the phone and I told him to find Lynda and stay with her until he heard further word and that she was probably at Kinsolving Dormitory, University of Texas. Upon completing these calls, I went back to the room where the Vice President was.
Mrs. Johnson stated that she would like to visit Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Connally. Someone, I don't remember who, I think it was a member of the hospital staff, showed Mrs. Johnson to Mrs. Kennedy's location and to Mrs. Connally's location where she visited briefly with each. She was accompanied at all times by SA Taylor and myself. Upon returning to the isolated room where the Vice President was located, I overheard Ken O'Donald tell the Vice President that the President was dead. It was then decided to leave the hospital immediately. ASAIC Youngblood told me to get in touch with Air Force One to advise them to fuel for a cross country flight and to move to another part of the airport. I located a phone which was opened to the Dallas Signal Board and contacted Air Force One, cannot recall who I talked to. I advised them to refuel the plane for a cross country flight, and to move it to another location. I was advised that the plane was refueled and ready to go and that they were in the process of trying to locate another location. I told him to call me back as soon as they moved to a new location. I returned to the room where the Vice President was and Youngblood told me we are leaving right now. We exited from the hospital by the same room we had entered. SA Taylor and myself accompanied Mrs. Johnson, placed her in an unmarked police Sedan and drove immediately behind the car carrying the Vice President to the airport. A car of Secret Service agents followed directly behind us. This vehicle (the one Mrs. Johnson was in) was driven by an uniform police officer, name unknown, with SA Taylor, SA Bennett, in the front seat; in the rear seat were Congressman Brooks, Mrs. Johnson, and myself, left to right. I requested Mrs. Johnson to crouch down in the seat so that she could not be seen from the outside, she did so immediately. Upon arrival to the airport (Love Field) SA Taylor and myself ran Mrs. Johnson up the ramp into the airplane. Upon instructions from ASAIC Youngblood, all window shades in the airplane were pulled down and check points were established at both doors leading to the Vice President's area of the airplane, (Air Force One). At first the Vice President was put in the State Room, i.e. where the beds were; however he said this was in bad taste and he moved up to the sitting room, i.e. where the table and television set are located. At first inside this area were the Vice President, Mrs. Johnson, Cliff Carter, Marie Fehmer, Jack Valenti, members of the Vice President's staff, Paul Glynn, Vice President's Air Force Valet, ASAIC Youngblood and myself. SA Taylor manned the check point at the front door leading to the State Room and SA Bennett manned the check point at the rear door leading to the State Room. There followed a series of conferences between the Vice President, Congressman Homer Thornberry, Congressman Jack Brooks, and Albert Thomas. The Vice President and the others in the State Room where also watching television accounts of the President's Assassination. I do not recall what necessarily was discussed and at one time or another various members of the White House staff came back to the State Room to talk to the Vice President. It was decided that the plane would remain and wait for Mrs. Kennedy and the President's body. Malcolm Kilduff asked me to inquire of the Vice President if he wanted any press to go back on the plane with him. I inquired of the Vice President wishes in this matter and he said yes, let me talk to Kilduff. I then asked Kilduff to come in and talk to the Vice President. About this time we received word that Mrs. Kennedy and the President's body were on the way. During the discussions that took place in the State Room, the Vice President stated that he had talked with the Attorney General and they agreed that the Vice President should take the oath of office of President of the United States as soon as possible. The Vice President added that he had been able to contact Judge Sarah T. Hughes and she would be at the plane in 10 minutes to administer the oath of office. About this time Mrs. Kennedy and the President's body arrived at the airplane. The Vice President and Mrs. Johnson attempted to console Mrs. Kennedy in the State Room where she was. It cleared of all personnel exception of Vice President, Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Kennedy, ASAIC Youngblood, and a member or two of the White House staff, exactly who I cannot recall. Judge Hughes soon arrived and prepared to administer the oath of office. The Vice President invited all who wished to observe the proceedings into the State Room. I do not know exactly who was there, but to the best of my knowledge the following persons were there: Vice President, Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Kennedy, Ken O'Donald, Dave Powers, Congressmen Brooks, Thomas, and Thornberry, Marie Fehmer, Elizabeth Carpenter, Cliff Carter, Jack Valenti, Paul Glynn, ASAIC Youngblood, ATSAIC Johns, myself, Mariam Smith of the United Press International and Captain Stoughton, White House photographer. The Vice President took the oath of office at approximately 2:40 PM in the airplane and it was airborne enroute to Washington, D.C., at 2:47 pm.
The foregoing account of events is to the best of my knowledge.
/s/ Jerry D. Kivett
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