Testimony Of Frederick S. O'Sullivan

The testimony of Frederick S. O'Sullivan was taken on April 7-8, 1964, at the Old Civil Courts Building, Royal and Conti Streets, New Orleans, La. by Mr. Wesley J. Liebeler, assistant counsel of the President's Commission.

Frederick S. O'Sullivan, having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

Mr. LIEBELER. My name is Wesley J. Liebeler. I am a member of the legal staff of the President's Commission investigating the assassination of President Kennedy. Staff members have been authorized to take the testimony of witnesses by the Commission pursuant to authority granted to the Commission by Executive Order No. 11130, dated November 29, 1963, and Joint Resolution of Congress No. 137.
I understand that Mr. Rankin wrote to you last week telling you that I would be in touch with you concerning the taking of your testimony, and that he enclosed with his letter a copy of the Executive order and the joint resolution just referred to, as well as a copy of the rules of procedure of the Commission relating to the taking of testimony of witnesses. Did you receive the letter?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER. The documents I referred to were enclosed with it; were they not?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER. One of the things the Commission is interested in is the background of Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin, to the extent that knowledge of his background can assist the Commission in evaluating Mr. Oswald's possible motive, if it is true, as it was alleged, that he was the assassin. Before we get into the knowledge that you may have of Oswald, would you state your full name for the record.
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Frederick Stephen Patrick O'Sullivan.
Mr. LIEBELER. What is your address, Mr. O'Sullivan?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. 413 Heritage Avenue, Gretna, La.
Mr. LIEBELER. You are a member of the New Orleans Police Department, as I understand. Is that correct?
Mr. LIEBELER. You are a detective on the vice squad?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Right.
Mr. LIEBELER. How long have you been with the New Orleans Police Department?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Six years.
Mr. LIEBELER. You were born here in New Orleans? Is that correct?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. I was.
Mr. LIEBELER. And how old are you now?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Twenty-six.
Mr. LIEBELER. I understand that you knew Lee Oswald when he attended a junior high school here in New Orleans. Is that correct?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Yes; Beauregard Junior High.
Mr. LIEBELER. Beauregard Junior High?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. On Canal Street.
Mr. LIEBELER. Your own education included attendance at Beauregard Junior High School?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. It did.
Mr. LIEBELER. How long did you go to Beauregard?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. One year.
Mr. LIEBELER. And where did you go prior to that time?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. St. Dominic's.
Mr. LIEBELER. St. Dominic's?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Elementary school.
Mr. LIEBELER. Here in New Orleans?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. In Lakeview in New Orleans.
Mr. LIEBELER. After you left Beauregard, where did you go?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. I went to Warren Easton Senior High School.
Mr. LIEBELER. Is that here in New Orleans also?
Mr. LIEBELER. And did you graduate from Warren Easton High School?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. I did.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you attend college at any place?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Yes; I am in college in Loyola right now through a police department scholarship.
Mr. LIEBELER. Tell us everything that you can remember about Oswald when you knew him at Beauregard Junior High School, how you met him, what contacts you had with him, just the whole story.
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. All right. I was a cadet in Civil Mr Patrol, and while I was in Beauregard we were having a recruiting drive to get more cadet members in the New Orleans squadron, and there were three fellows at the school that I talked to in particular about joining that. One was Joseph Thompson, one was Edward Voebel--I am not sure how that name is spelled--and Lee Harvey Oswald. My reason for asking Oswald to join was I noticed--we had a drill team, we were real proud of our drill team.
Mr. LIEBELER. This was a marching team?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. A marching unit; yes, sir, and Oswald carried himself always erect, always gave the impression that he could be marching, that he may be marching, eyes straight ahead, head straight, shoulders back, so he impressed me as the sort of a fellow that would really fit well on the drill team. He seemed like he could--well, he even gave the impression that he would make a pretty good leader if he ever got into the squadron, so with this recruiting drive I asked the three of them to come out to the airport. I explained what we did out there, marching and flying on the weekends and so forth to them at school. Joseph Thompson and Oswald and Voebel all three came out to the airport. Joe Thompson stayed in the squadron, and Oswald came to one or two meetings, possibly three, along with Voebel. However, Voebel then joined the Civil Air Patrol at Moisant Airport, and because he was a closer friend of Oswald, he evidently talked Oswald into coming out to the squadron he had joined.
Mr. LIEBELER. At Moisant Field?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. At Moisant Airport.
Mr. LIEBELER. Right.
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Yes. Incidentally, Oswald---I didn't know this until I read it in the paper--lived only a half a block from me for a short time. I lived in Lakeview at 800 French Street, I believe, and he lived either in the 800 or the 700 block of French Street.
Mr. LIEBELER. That would have been in 1963 when he came here to New Orleans? Is that correct?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Oh, I didn't live there at that time. No, I moved from French Street around 1957.
Mr. LIEBELER. Can you remember anything else about Oswald at the time he was in Beauregard Junior High School with you, about his friendships? Did he have many friends at that time, or do you recall?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. No; I believe he and I, because of the spelling of our last names, were possibly in the same homeroom in the morning, but I really don't recall anything. i don't recall much about any of the students at Beauregard or at Warren Easton. I sort of--I was an athlete, and we stayed away from the rest of the students. They had a thing that they kept us away from the rest of the students pretty much.
Mr. LIEBELER. You say you were an athlete at Beauregard?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER. What particular sport were you involved in?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Football and track, and the same at Warren Easton.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did Oswald, as far as you know, ever have anything to do with sports activities?
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you remember whether Oswald and Voebel were close acquaintances at that time, or do you know?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Only in that Voebel left the New Orleans squadron and went out to Moisant and evidently---or I believe he talked Oswald into coming out there with him.
Mr. LIEBELER. Now you don't know of your own knowledge whether or not Oswald ever did join the Civil Air Patrol, do you?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. No; I don't know that he signed any papers or had uniforms or anything. I know that he came out to New Orleans Airport and attended some of the meetings, but Whether he just--you see, a lot of time people would come out and sit in the classes to deride whether they wanted to join or not. We will allow this, hoping to get more cadets. I don't know that he ever signed any papers or joined. You can check with the Louisiana Wing Headquarters and they can give it to you.
Mr. LIEBELER. You don't know whether Oswald ever did actually go out to Moisant Field to Civil Air Patrol meetings at that place?
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you have rifles as a part of your Civil Air Patrol program? Did you have rifle practice and drill with rifles?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. We didn't drill with rifles, but we did belong to the NRA and we did fire rifles on the range, and also when we went to summer camp we would fire on the range.
Mr. LIEBELER. NRA is the National Rifle Association? Is that correct?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Correct.
Mr. LIEBELER. What kind of rifles did you fire when you went to summer camp?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Now I am getting summer camp mixed up with the National Guard. I believe we fired .22's in the CAP.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you ever observe Oswald engage in rifle practice of any kind in connection with CAP activities?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. No, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you know whether or not Oswald ever did engage in any rifle practice in connection with the CAP?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. No, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you know David Ferrie, F-e-r-r-i-e?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Yes, sir; I know him.
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you know of any Connection between Oswald and David Ferrie?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. No; I have no personal knowledge of anything.
Mr. LIEBELER. Ferrie was involved with the CAP squadron at New Orleans Airport at the time Voebel and Oswald came out to, join it? Is that correct?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Ferrie was in charge of the squadron, and then there was a Captain Hinton. Now I was in the squadron for 6 years, so I am not sure who was in charge at what particular time. I am not sure. He could have been. He may have been, but I am not sure. I know that when he left the New Orleans squadron, Ferrie did have something to do with the Moisant squadron, so he may have. If he wasn't in charge when Oswald was out at New Orleans Airport, he may have been in charge when he went to Moisant Airport.

Mr. LIEBELER. But you don't know of any time that Oswald associated with or knew Ferrie through the Civil Air Patrol?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. No; I am not sure of any.
Mr. LIEBELER. Now you said that you had no personal knowledge or no direct knowledge of any relationship between Oswald and Ferrie?
Mr. LIEBELER. Do you have any information that would lead you to believe that there was a relationship between these two men?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Only that when all of this broke with Oswald, I went through all of the old CAP files that were available, trying to get some information for the Secret Service, the people who had called me up at home, and----
Mr. LIEBELER. Where were these files located?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. These files are in the possession of one Robert Boylston.
Mr. LIEBELER. Who was he?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. He was also a member of the CAP at the time we all were, at New Orleans.
Mr. LIEBELER. How did the records come to be in his possession?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. He is a senior member now. He has maybe recently dropped out, but he was a senior member and these records were just turned over to him in the whole filing cabinet. They are all old records. I am trying to get the thing straight in my mind. Of course, I have been trying to get it straight in my mind, just what I know and what I have heard. It gets kind of confusing when you read so much. Sometimes you remember things that you don't really remember, you know.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did you find anything in these files that related to Ferrie or Oswald?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Well, we found papers signed by Ferrie but nothing in relation to Oswald. His name wasn't mentioned in anything at all that we could find, so we assumed at that time that Oswald was in the Moisant squadron. I believe they even had in the paper the dates, and we checked those particular dates and it turned out that Ferrie was in a transition between the New Orleans squadron and the Moisant squadron in these dates, so he could have been involved either way with Oswald. I don't know if he was involved, he could have been.
Mr. LIEBELER. But you found nothing in the files?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Nothing concrete.
Mr. LIEBELER. That you investigated as to the relation between Oswald and Ferric?
Mr. LIEBELER. Am I correct in understanding that there has been publicity here in the New Orleans area concerning a possible relationship between Oswald and Ferrie?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Yes, sir; I believe Captain Ferric was arrested. I am sure he was arrested, and I believe it was in connection with this Oswald situation. He was booked at the first district station. I don't know just what he was charged with, I believe just 107, under investigation of whatever it was, I don't know.

Mr. LIEBELER. Now you go ahead.
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Lieutenant Dwyer, Paul Dwyer, from the New Orleans Police Department, intelligence division, I accompanied him out to New Orleans Airport where we found Dave Ferrie's airplane. We wanted to check it to see if it was flyable, to see possibly whether he had been flying it lately, with the thought that he may have transported Oswald. to Dallas. This isn't my thought, this was brought up to me, and we found his plane, but his plane was not in flyable condition. It. had fiat tires, instruments missing, needed a paint job. We also checked to see if he had rented an aircraft from any of the companies out there, and one company in particular said that they wouldn't rent him an airplane.
Mr. LIEBELER. Did they tell you why?
Mr. LIEBELER. You are a detective on the vice squad? Is that correct?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. LIEBELER. Are you assigned to a particular aspect of vice activities here in New Orleans?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. No, sir; there are only nine of us to cover the whole city. Therefore, we handle any vice, gambling, prostitution, homosexuals, handbooks. Anything that comes under the vice laws, we handle.
Mr. LIEBELER. You have never had any contact with Ferrie in connection with your activities on the vice squad? Is that correct?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. No; Ferric lives or he did live in Jefferson Parish. We have no authority in Jefferson Parish. [Deletion.]
Mr. LIEBELER. Now see if you can recall or think back to your experiences in the Beauregard Junior High School, and tell us if you can remember anything else or if there is anything else that you want to add what you have already said about your knowledge of Oswald and his activities at the time he was at Beauregard Junior High School.
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Well, I have put quite a bit of thought on this ever since it all happened, especially since I have gotten this correspondence relative to what I know about it, and as much as I would like to help you as much as I can, I just can't think of anything else. I don't want to say something I am not sure of. Well, actually, even if I thought of something, I would tell you and tell you I are not sure, but there is nothing else I can think of.
Mr. LIEBELER. All right. I have no other questions at this time, and if there is nothing else that you want to add to the record, on behalf of the Commission, I want to thank you very much for your cooperation.
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Yes, sir; thank you.