Mr. SPECTER. Will you state your full name for the record, please?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Rufus Wayne Youngblood.
Mr. SPECTER. How old are you, Mr. Youngblood?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Forty.
Mr. SPECTER. And by whom are you employed?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. The U.S. Secret Service.
Mr. SPECTER. How long have you been so employed?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Since March of 1951.
Mr. SPECTER. What is your educational background, sir?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology, Bachelor of Industrial Engineering.
Mr. SPECTER. In what year?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. 1949.
Mr. SPECTER. How were you occupied from termination of your college work until starting with the Secret Service?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I worked for Bradshaws, Inc., which was a refrigeration and air-conditioning concern in Waycross, Ga., and then worked for Alvin Lindstrom, who is a consulting mechanical engineer in Atlanta, Ga.
Mr. SPECTER. And would you outline in general terms what your duties have been with the Secret Service since the time you joined them?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I began in the Secret Service as a special agent, criminal investigator, and started off at the Atlanta field office, and stayed there about a year and a half. This time was spent in investigation of Government forged check cases, bond cases, counterfeiting, and similar investigations.
(At this point, Chief Justice Warren withdrew from the hearing room.)
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I came to the Washington, D.C. area, and worked in the Washington field office, a continuation of the same type of work I had done in Atlanta, plus the beginning of the protective work, working on temporary assignment at the White House detail. And then in 1953 I was assigned to the White House detail and worked there during the Eisenhower Administration about 6 years, and returned to the Atlanta field office for 3 more years in that area, during which time President Eisenhower would come to Augusta and Albany, and on two occasions on foreign trips I was called in.
And after 3 years in that field office, I returned to Washington again, assigned to the White House detail. The last part of the Eisenhower Administration and the beginning of the Kennedy Administration.
And in March of 1961, I was assigned to the Vice-Presidential detail. This, at that time, was part of the Washington field office. And I have been on an assignment with the Vice-Presidential detail since March 1961, except for a 1-month period when I returned to the White House detail. And then back to the Vice-Presidential detail.
But during this time, the Vice-Presidential detail changed from a field office assignment to a small independent office, and then, later, in October of 1962, when legislation was passed, changing the laws relative to protection of the Vice President, it became a larger detail. And I have been on the Vice-Presidential detail in the occurrence at Dallas, and returned to the White House detail when Mr. Johnson became the President.
And during this period of time, I have been a special agent, assistant special agent in charge, and was scheduled to be the special agent in charge of the Vice-Presidential detail. But due to what occurred in Dallas, I went to the White House as an assistant special agent in charge. Any other particulars?
Mr. SPECTER. Well, what was your rank at the time of the Dallas trip, specifically on November 22, 1963?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I was the assistant special agent in charge of the Vice-Presidential detail.
(At this point, Chief Justice Warren entered the hearing room.)
Mr. SPECTER. And as such, were you responsible for the security of the Vice President on that trip?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, what is your current rank?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Assistant special agent in charge of the White House detail.
Mr. SPECTER. And, as such, do you hold one of the three positions of the assistant special agent in charge at the White House detail?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. And is that a rank comparable or exactly the same as that now held by Special Agent Kellerman?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir; he is senior to me, but it is a comparable rank.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, would you outline briefly and in general terms the activities of Vice President Johnson during the few days immediately before Friday, November 22, 1963?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. On Tuesday of that week we made a trip from the ranch to Dallas, and we went by commercial plane actually, from the ranch to Austin in the Vice President's plane, and from Austin to Dallas on a commercial plane. And while in Dallas, he addressed the Bottlers Convention. And we returned to the plane, flew back to Austin, then flew back to the ranch later that night, and remained at the ranch the next day and through Thursday.
And on Thursday we went to San Antonio, to join the group coming down from Washington.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, when did Vice President Johnson then address the Bottlers Association in Dallas?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. That was on Tuesday.
Mr. SPECTER. November 19?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I would have to look at a calendar.
Mr. SPECTER. The preceding Tuesday.
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. The preceding Tuesday before the 22d; yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, outline in a general way Vice President Johnson's activities on the morning of November 22d, before he arrived in Dallas, if you would, please.
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Well, our day began at the hotel in Fort Worth, where we had stayed overnight. And that morning we went down to a mezzanine floor where we met with President Kennedy and a group of White House people. We went across from this hotel to a parking lot across the street, and they had a speaker stand there, and they addressed an assembled gathering.
Then they returned to the hotel, and there was a breakfast meeting in the hotel. They attended that. And, after that, we formed a motorcade and went to the field nearby in Fort Worth and boarded Air Force 2, and flew into Dallas.
Mr. SPECTER. Approximately what time did the Vice Presidential plane arrive in Dallas?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. About 11:35.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, will you tell the Commission in general terms what Vice President Johnson did upon arrival at the Love Field?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. All right, sir.
This plane, Air Force 2, had on board the Vice President and Mrs. Johnson and other officials. And we disembarked from the plane and were met by a welcoming committee composed of local dignitaries. And then we moved from that area where we disembarked over to the area of the ramp, which would be pushed out when Air Force 1, the President's plane, arrived. And when his plane did arrive, which was just a few minutes after ours, roughly 10 minutes, we went out to the foot of the ramp and Vice President Johnson and Mrs. Johnson headed the reception committee to greet the people who came off of Air Force 1.
Mr. SPECTER. Approximately how long did. the activities in greeting the crowd and. the general reception last at Love Field on that morning?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Do you mean from the time we arrived on Air Force 2 until we left?
Mr. SPECTER. Yes.
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I think it was about 15 minutes.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, in what position in the motorcade was Vice President Johnson's automobile?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. We were following the Presidential followup car, and the motorcade up to our point--there was a lead car, the President's car, the Presidential followup car, and then our car.
Mr. SPECTER. Was there, to your knowledge, in advance of the lead car a car known as the pilot car?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir; in all probability. This is a normal police arrangement.
Mr. SPECTER. And would you identify the occupants of Vice President Johnson's car, indicating the positions in the car of each individual?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. All right, sir. The driver of this car was Hurchel Jacks, and he is with the State Highway Patrol. And behind him was Senator Ralph Yarborough, from Texas. And in the middle back seat was Mrs. Johnson. And on the right-hand side of the back seat, behind me, was the Vice President. And I was in the front seat on the right-hand side.
Mr. SPECTER. And what kind of an automobile was it?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. This was a Lincoln convertible, a four-door convertible.
Mr. SPECTER. Is this a specially constructed automobile, or was it obtained locally for use during this trip?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. It was obtained locally for use during the trip.
Mr. SPECTER. And what car immediately followed the Vice President's automobile?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. The Vice Presidential detail had a followup car which followed our car.
Mr. SPECTER. What kind of an automobile was that?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. It was either a Lincoln or a Mercury, I don't know the exact make. It was a Ford product, and it was a four-door car. But it was closed.
Mr. SPECTER. Can you identify the occupants of that car, stating where each sat?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. The front seat, the driver, I think his name is Rich. He is always on the Texas Highway Patrol. In the front seat in the middle is Cliff Garter. He is an assistant to the Vice President's staff.
(At this point, Representative Boggs withdrew from the hearing room.)
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. On the right-front side was Jerry Kivett. He is one of the agents on the Vice Presidential detail. And in the back seat, behind the driver, was Warren Taylor, and in the back seat on the other side was my agent, Lem Johns.
Mr. SPECTER. Do you know how many cars there were in the balance of the motorcade?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. No, sir; I don't.
Mr. SPECTER. What was the maximum speed at which the motorcade proceeded from Love Field down to the downtown area of Dallas?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I doubt if the motorcade ever exceeded 20 miles or 25 miles an hour, and most of the time it was going slower than that.
Mr. SPECTER. What was the minimum speed, would you estimate, during that time?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. We actually came to stops during this time.
Mr. SPECTER. How many stops?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. More than one. Two or more.
Mr. SPECTER. What occurred during the course of those stops, or what prompted them?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Well, these stops were made by the Presidential car to greet well-wishers, students on one particular occasion, and other groups of well-wishers, that were assembled along the streets.
Mr. SPECTER. Did Vice President Johnson greet anyone at those stops?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. He did greet them, but he didn't leave the car, I think. He remained in the car. I got out of the car and stood by the side of it on more than one occasion. He waved at people, and some did run over, and I think he did touch some. But he didn't leave the car.
Mr. SPECTER. How far behind the President's followup car did the Vice President's followup car drive?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. The Vice President's followup car?
Mr. SPECTER. Pardon me the Vice President's automobile.
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. We usually stayed on motorcades like this about two or three car lengths behind.
Mr. SPECTER. And did your distance on this occasion conform to your customary practice of being that distance behind?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. And what is the reason, if any, for staying that distance behind the President's followup car?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Well, mainly so the crowd can see the Vice President, and he can see them. If you are too close behind the Presidential group, the crowd will be watching the President and will watch him as he goes by, and then they will miss the next. man. So it gives the people a chance to recover and look back and see him, and they to see each other.
Mr. SPECTER. I show you a photograph which has been marked as Commission Exhibit No. 354, and ask you if you are able to identify what that is a picture of.
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. And what does that depict?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Well, it is a picture showing the main street, Houston Street and Elm Street, and the assassination occurred on Elm Street.
Mr. SPECTER. Are you familiar at this time with the identities of Main, Houston, and Elm?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir; when I have a map such as this ahead of me.
Mr. SPECTER. All right. How far behind the President's automobile was the Vice President's automobile in which you were riding when the Vice President's automobile turned right off of Main Street onto Houston?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. You ask again how far were we behind the President's car? Did you mean, sir, how far were we behind the Presidential followup car?
Mr. SPECTER. No; I meant the President's car on that occasion.
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Well, we were a distance of about two car lengths behind the followup car, and they were probably one car length behind the Presidential car. But this would be a guess on my part
Mr. SPECTER. What was the situation with respect to the' crowd which was lined up on Houston and Elm as you approached that intersection?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. On Houston Street, on the side where the tall building is, the crowd was still somewhat continuous. On the side which is the park side, the crowd was smaller. They did have some people there, but it wasn't continuous in the same way it was on the building side.
Mr. SPECTER. What is your best estimate of the speed of the Vice President's car as you proceeded down Houston Street toward Elm Street?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Well, our speed, of course, was governed by the vehicles in front of us, but I would say we had just made one turn, and it was only a block there before we would make another turn. It was approximately 10 miles an hour, between 10 and 15.
Mr. SPECTER. I show you a photograph which has been marked as Commission Exhibit No. 348, and I ask you if you are now able to identify what that building is?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir; I am now able to identify it.
Mr. SPECTER. What is that building, sir?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. That is the School Book Depository Building.
Mr. SPECTER. Where, as best you can recollect, was the Vice President's car at the time the first shots. were heard? And would you take Commission Exhibit No. 354 and take the red pencil and mark as closely as you can the exact position on Commission Exhibit 354 of the Vice President's car with the capital letter "A" there?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. At the time of the first shot, did you say?
Mr. SPECTER. Yes, sir.
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. It will be in this area here, I should think.
Mr. SPECTER. I want the Vice President's car at this time.
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Well, this is what I am attempting to locate. It would be in the vicinity of this "X" right here, I do believe.
Mr. SPECTER. All right. Now, will you describe--
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Excuse me. You said put an "A" here?
Mr. SPECTER. Yes, please. Will you describe just what occurred as the motorcade proceeded past the intersection of Houston and Elm Streets?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Well, the crowd had begun to diminish, looking ahead and to the right the crowd became spotty. I mean it wasn't continuous at all like it had been. As we were beginning to go down this incline, all of a sudden there was an explosive noise. I quickly observed unnatural movement of crowds, like ducking or scattering, and quick movements in the Presidential followup car. So I turned around and hit the Vice President on the shoulder and hollered, get down, and then looked around again and saw more of this movement, and so I proceeded to go to the back seat and get on top of him.
I then heard two more shots. But I would like to say this. I would not be positive that I was back on that back seat before the second shot. But the Vice President himself said I was. But--then in hearing these two more shots, I again had seen more movement, and I think someone else hit a siren--I heard the noise of a siren.
I told the driver to close it up, and stick close to that car in front. And right away we started a hasty evacuation speed, and left this immediate area, and we were following close behind. And I had a radio which was on a Baker frequency, where I could communicate back with the agents in my followup car. And they had a Charlie frequency, which was on the same network of the Presidential motorcade. And I called back and said I am switching to Baker frequency--I said, "I am switching to Charlie." And as I switched, I heard some transmission over the Charlie sets saying for me to keep my man covered, and I heard Kivett reply to Emory Roberts that he was covered, and I saw agents in the followup car, the Presidential followup car signaling us to stay close. I asked the driver what his opinion was as to--I don't know for exact sure just where we were going, but I knew our best protection was to stay with that Presidential followup crew. And I asked the driver if he had passed the Trade Mart. He said he passed it and we were going on to the hospital. And I heard indications over the radio that we were going to the hospital. We had a very fast ride there.
I told the driver to go as fast as he could without having a wreck. There was some conversation between the Vice President and myself while we were going to the hospital. I told him that I didn't know how serious it was up in the front car, but when we arrived at the hospital, I would like to get out of the car and go into the building and not stop, and for him to stay close to, myself and the other agents. He agreed to. When we arrived at the hospital, we immediately went right in. As we stopped at the hospital, two of my agents from the Vice Presidential car, follow-up car, were coming up to meet us, and two from the Presidential followup were coming to meet us, and, with this group, we proceeded into the hospital and then went into a room. I posted one man at the door and said, not to let anyone in unless he knew him, was certain of his identity.
I told Jerry Kivett and Warren Taylor to pull all the shades and blinds, which they did. And they also busied themselves with evacuating a couple of people out of there. There was a nurse and a patient in there.
Mr. SPECTER. Before you go on, Mr. Youngblood, let me drop back and pick up a few of the details theretofore.
What would your best estimate be of the speed of the Vice President's car at the time you heard that first explosive noise?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Oh, approximately 12 miles an hour.
Mr. SPECTER. And had you maintained the distance which you have described heretofore behind the President's followup car?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, generally. Sometimes as we went around corners, we tried to close up the gap a little bit. But as soon as we got on a straight stretch, we would drop back two or three car lengths.
Mr. SPECTER. Well, at this particular time, what is your best recollection of the distance between the Presidential followup car and the Vice President's car?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. We are on Elm Street now.
Mr. SPECTER. At the time the first shot occurred.
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. We were two or three car lengths behind.
Mr. SPECTER. And how far behind the President's car was the Presidential followup car at the time of the first shot?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I would think somewhat less than a car length.
Mr. SPECTER. What is your best estimate of the total timespan between the first and third shots which you have already described?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. From the beginning to the last?
Mr. SPECTER. Yes, sir.
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I would think 5 seconds.
Mr. SPECTER. And you have described the first shot as being an explosive noise. How would you describe each of the second and third shots?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Well, there wasn't too much difference in the noise of the first shot and the last two. I am not really sure that there was a difference. But in my mind, I think I identified the last two positively as shots, whereas the first one I thought was just an explosive noise, and I didn't know whether it was a firecracker or a shot. It seems, as I try to think over it, there was more of a crack sound to the last two shots. That may have been distance, I don't know.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, as to time interval--was there longer or less time or the same between the first and second shots and the second and third shots?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. There seemed to be a longer span of time between the first and the second shot than there was between the second and third shot.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, did you have any reaction or impression as to the source or point of origin of the first shot?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I didn't know where the source or the point of origin was, of course, but the sounds all came to my right and rear.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, how about as to the latter two shots, would the same apply, or would there be a different situation there?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. No; all of them seemed to sound that they were from the right.
Representative FORD. Did they sound on the surface or in the air or couldn't you discern?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I couldn't say for certain. I don't know.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, did you then or have you ever had any contrary impression that the shots might have come from in front as opposed to the rear of the automobile?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, you say that you hit the Vice President's shoulder, and at that time you were indicating your left hand, I believe.
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Which hand did you use in hitting the Vice President's shoulder?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. My left, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. And which shoulder of the Vice President did you hit?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. His right, because I turned this way. I turned to my left, with the hand out, and then came into his right shoulder.
Mr. SPECTER. And when you moved from the front to the rear seat, would you describe in as much detail as you can your relative position with respect to the position of President Johnson's body?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Well, the Vice President says that I vaulted over. It was more of a stepping over. And then I sat on top of him, he being crouched down somewhat.
Mr. SPECTER. Indicating towards the left?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. He moved towards the center, or towards his left, yes, sir, and down. And then I sat on this portion of his arm here.
Mr. SPECTER. Indicating the right upper portion of the arm from elbow to the shoulder?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir; generally.
Mr. SPECTER. And what were the positions of the other occupants of the back seat at the time you sat on the Vice President?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Mrs. Johnson more or less moved into a forward--just moved forward. And Senator Yarborough also moved forward, and possibly he moved over a little to the right. I am not sure. But we were all below the window level of the car. And those two generally were forward. But the Vice President was forward and a little to his left.
Mr. SPECTER. In what direction did you look when you were first sitting on the Vice President?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. What direction did I look?
Mr. SPECTER. Yes.
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Almost all directions.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you have a reaction with respect to looking in the direction from which you thought the danger was emanating?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I think I first looked to the right--but to the right, forward, up, as much as I could scan, and also the, people in the Presidential followup car. Because I recall seeing at the time one of our agents, Hickey, who was in the Presidential followup car, in almost a standing position with an AR-15 looking back and up.
Mr. SPECTER. Are you able to fix the precise time of the assassination?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I would say 12:30. I was to keep the times. The Vice President was asking me if we were running on time, and so forth. And so he asked me how much further, and I would call back to our followup car and ask them how many more miles and so forth.
So, for this reason, I was at that time keeping up with the time very closely. And when we turned the corner, I noticed an illuminated clock sign on this building, which I now know is the School Book Depository Building.
And that clock indicated 12:30. And the reason it is significant is because this was the time we were supposed to arrive at the Trade Mart.
Representative FORD. As you looked at the school depository building, and noticed this clock, where is the clock? Can you identify it?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. This, right here.
Representative FORD. It is on top of the roof?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir; right up here.
Representative FORD. And this is after you turned from Main Street on to Houston Street?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. We were on Houston Street--just as soon as we got on Houston Street. And I looked up and I saw it there.
Representative FORD. Did you notice anything else on the building as you scanned it from the top down, or from the bottom up?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I noticed open windows, and some people, I think. But I didn't notice this particular window.
Representative FORD. You saw nothing unusual in any of the open windows that you noticed?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Well, sir, all through the day here we had been passing buildings with windows and people. And that I saw. But I saw nothing unusual.
Mr. SPECTER. Mr. Youngblood, what is your best estimate as to the time it took to get to Parkland Hospital after the shooting occurred?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I believe it was between 5 and 8 minutes, something of that nature.
(At this point, Representative Ford withdrew from the hearing room.)
Mr. SPECTER. And at what speed did your automobile proceed, based on your best estimate, en route from the shooting to Parkland Hospital?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I believe we were going around 60 or 70 miles an hour at times.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, did you observe President Kennedy or Governor Connally being removed from the President's automobile?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. No, sir; because I had--as I mentioned before I had told the Vice President, or suggested to the Vice President that we did not want to linger, and get into the building as quickly as we could, and we would find out the condition of the other party after we got into a safe place.
Mr. SPECTER. Had they already been taken in by the time you arrived at the scene?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. No, sir; I don't hardly see how they could have been, because we arrived almost simultaneously with them. It was just a matter of opening the door and getting out of the car and hastily walking right on past. I think they were in the act of removing these people, but I don't think they would have had time to have removed them.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you enter the emergency entrance as well?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, I interrupted you before when you were describing the security arrangements which you were making on the room to which you took the Vice President. Would you continue and describe for us what occurred thereafter?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. At what point?
Mr. SPECTER. I interrupted you. You were in the room, you had pulled the shades down, and were making security arrangements for the Vice President.
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Well, we were in a corner of this room, and there was the Vice President, Mrs. Johnson, and myself at first, with agents Kivett and Warren Taylor also in the big room, but not right over in the corner at the beginning. And shortly thereafter Emory Roberts came in. He was one of the White House detail agents. He told us that the situation--situation with President Kennedy looked very bad. The Vice President asked me what I thought--what we should do. And I said I think we should evacuate the hospital as soon as we can, and get on the plane, and return to Washington. And Emory Roberts concurred. And the Vice President agreed. But he wanted to get a better report on the condition and so forth.
Then we were joined by many others. Congressman Homer Thornberry came in, and Congressman Brooks, and Cliff Carter, and the Vice President had some conversations with these gentlemen. And at one time Cliff went out and got coffee. And then Mr. Ken O'Donnell and Roy Kellerman came down on one occasion, and Ken O'Donnell said for us to return to Washington, and to go ahead and take the President's plane.
The Vice President was worried about Mrs. Kennedy. So Mrs. Johnson thought that she would go see Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Connally. She did. Agents Kivett and Taylor went with her. Then later, after she came back, Ken O'Donnell and Roy Kellerman came down again and told us that the President had died.
Mr. SPECTER. About what time was that, sir?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I don't know. I had told Lem Johns to try to keep up with all the times. I think it is a matter of record. I believe you have it in other documents.
Mr. SPECTER. Now, are you referring to a document which I will mark as Commission Exhibit 355?
(The document referred to was marked Commission Exhibit No. 355 for identification.)
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. This is our shift report, and this is the times that Lem Johns was keeping that day. He shows 1 p.m., President Kennedy died at Parkland Hospital.
Mr. SPECTER. Was that daily shift report prepared under your supervision, Mr. Youngblood?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. Did you review it and approve it when it was completed, after the end of the workday on November 22?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Well, not exactly at the end of the workday, sir. These agents would keep notes. And in this particular case you can see that this one, it says, "Date completed, December 2" down at the bottom. That is when he got around to typing it.
Mr. SPECTER. Well, does this document bear your initial in any place?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir; up at the top. The "RYW" is my initials.
Mr. SPECTER. And does that signify your approval shortly after completion of the document?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir.
Mr. SPECTER. All right. Would you go ahead and tell us what your activities were from the time you had learned that the President had died?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Well, when Mr. O'Donnell and Roy Kellerman told us that he had died, the Vice President said, "Well, how about Mrs. Kennedy?"
O'Donnell told the Vice President that Mrs. Kennedy would not leave the hospital without the President's body. And O'Donnell suggested we go to the plane and that they just come on the other plane. And I might add that, as a word of explanation, there were two jet planes, one Air Force 1, in which the President flew, and the other Air Force 2, in which the Vice President and his party flew on. And O'Donnell told us to go ahead and take Air Force 1. I believe this is mainly because Air Force 1 has better communications equipment and so forth than the other planes.
President Johnson said that he didn't want to go off and leave Mrs. Kennedy in such a state. And so he agreed that we would go on to the airplane and board the plane and wait until Mrs. Kennedy and the body would come out. Shall I go on?
Mr. SPECTER. Yes. Proceed. Did you then depart from Parkland Hospital?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir: previous to all of this, I had Johns, my agent, line up some unmarked police cars so that they would be ready when we did decide to evacuate the hospital.
So we left the room and proceeded out to these cars. The car that we went in was driven by Chief Curry, the Dallas Police Chief, and Congressman Thornberry was in the front seat, and the Vice President and I were in the back seat. And I had told the Vice President before we left the room that I would prefer that he stay below window level, and stay close with me as we went out, and that I would also prefer Mrs. Johnson to go in another car, but she would be accompanied by agents. And Mrs. Johnson did get in a second car. She was accompanied by Warren Taylor and Jerry Kivett and Congressman Brooks, and also Glen Bennett, another agent from the White House.
And as we started to leave the hospital area, that is drive away, just as we started away, Congressman Thomas saw us leaving--I imagine he saw Congressman Thornberry, and he said, "Wait for me." I don't think he saw the Vice President. And I told the driver to continue. I didn't want to stop there in front of the hospital. But by this time Congressman Thomas was right over at the side of the car, and the Vice President said, "Stop and let him get in."
So he got in in the front seat with Congressman Thornberry, having Congressman Thornberry move over closer to the driver. And then we started out again. This probably takes longer to tell about it than it actually took. It was about a 30-second stop.
We started out again, and the Vice President asked Congressman Thornberry to climb on over and get in the back seat, which he did, while the car was in motion. And then that put Congressman Thornberry behind the driver, and on the Vice President's left, and I was on his right.
And we continued on our way. We were momentarily stopped as we were leaving the hospital on this access road. There was a truck or delivery or something coming in there. We were stopped for one moment. But then the police got us on through, and we went on out to the main roads, and we were getting a motorcycle escort.
And they started using the sirens, and the Vice President and I both asked Chief Curry to discontinue the use of sirens, that we didn't want to attract attention. We were going on an unscheduled different route. We were not using any particular route. But in telling Lem Johns to get a car available, I told him to be sure and get a local driver who knew the area, a local policeman who could take us any route that we needed to go, and knew all the areas of evacuation and so forth.
So we went on to the airport. But we did have him stop using the sirens. And just before arriving at the airport, I called on the radio and told Air Force 1 to be ready to receive us, that we would be coming on board immediately. We arrived there and ran up the ramp onto the plane.
Mr. SPECTER. And how long after that did the swearing-in ceremonies occur? Approximately?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I would say in the neighborhood of about 40 or 45 minutes after that.
Mr. SPECTER. How long after the arrival of the Vice President on the plane did the party of the late President Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy arrive at the plane?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Approximately--after we got on the plane, I would say it was approximately 30 or 35 minutes before Mrs. Kennedy and that party arrived.
Mr. SPECTER. And how long after the swearing-in ceremonies did the plane take off for the Washington area?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. After the swearing-in ceremonies, it took off immediately. It was just a matter of letting the people who had to get off the plane, such as Judge Hughes and Chief Curry disembark, and as soon as they had disembarked, we closed the door and started taxiing out.
Mr. SPECTER. Were there any conversations between Vice President Johnson and anyone else with respect to advice on the swearing-in ceremonies?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir. I think probably the first thing the Vice President did after he got on board the plane was to place a call to the Attorney General. In fact, he talked to the Attorney General, I believe, two times--at least two times.
Mr. SPECTER. Were you present when those conversations occurred?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I was present when he placed the first call. I think he placed the first call from the bedroom there of the plane. Then someone from the Attorney General's office called back--not the Attorney General, but someone from the office-- and gave the wording of the oath.
Mr. SPECTER. Were you informed as to what advice Vice President Johnson received from Mr. Kennedy with respect to the time of swearing in?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. I heard him discussing this--because after we got on board the plane I told them to pull down the shades, and then I told the Vice President, I am going to stick with you like glue while we are on the ground here. And so we were joined by Mrs. Johnson and then by Congressman Thornberry and Thomas, and Congressman Brooks. And I heard them discussing about taking the oath immediately, right there in Dallas. I heard the Vice President ask about anyone in particular that should administer the oath. And as I gathered from conversation, it was anyone who was authorized to administer a Federal oath. And then he put in calls to Judge Hughes, and he told me to expect Judge Hughes and to be sure she could get through the security lines.
Mr. SPECTER. Well, were you informed that Attorney General Kennedy advised Vice President Johnson that he should have himself sworn in as promptly as possible?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Well, as I said, I was in the area, in their immediate vicinity, when they were talking about it. And this is what I gathered from hearing them talk--that the Attorney General had told him to go ahead and be sworn in there, as soon as possible.
Mr. SPECTER. And upon arrival back in Andrews Air Force Base, what activity, if any, were you engaged in then, along with President Johnson?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Well, on the plane, on the flight up here, there had been numerous radio contacts in making arrangements and so forth. But when we actually arrived, Mrs. Kennedy and the body were removed first by the lift that was provided, and then when the ramp was in place, our party disembarked from the plane, and then President Johnson had a short statement that he was to make, and we went over to an area where the microphones were set up, and he made this brief statement. And then we proceeded from there to the awaiting helicopter, which was just a few yards away. We boarded the helicopter and flew in to the south grounds of the White House.
Mr. SPECTER. And did you then accompany President Johnson to his home?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. He didn't go to his home at that time; but the answer to your question is yes, when he did go later that night. You see, he went to his office in the EOB, the Executive Office Building, and conducted business there until in the vicinity of 9 o'clock. And then he went home, at which time I accompanied him, and many other agents.
Mr. SPECTER. Would you describe briefly what security arrangements if any were instituted on that day for the Vice President's daughters?
Mr. YOUNGBLOOD. Yes, sir.
While we were in the hospital, receiving these reports relative to President Kennedy's condition, I asked Mrs. Johnson--I knew generally where Luci and Lynda were, but I wanted to get the very latest from her, since sometimes these girls might visit a friend or a relative. And I knew that Lynda was going to the University of Texas, and that Luci was going to National Cathedral. So I confirmed the locations with Mrs. Johnson and then told Agent Kivett, who was in our presence at the time I was talking to her, to make the necessary calls to have Secret Service protection placed around Lynda and Luci. And Agent Kivett made these calls and then came back and reported to me that Lockwood, from Austin, who is in the San Antonio office, but he was in Austin at the time, had proceeded to the University of Texas to get Lynda, and that an agent from the Washington field office would go but and get Luci at the school.
Mr. SPECTER. Mr. Chief Justice, I move for the admission into evidence of Commission Exhibits No. 354, which is a reproduction of the overhead shot, and 355, which is a reproduction of the Vice Presidential detail schedules.
The CHAIRMAN. They may be admitted.
(The documents heretofore marked for identification as Commission Exhibits Nos. 354 and 355, were received in evidence.)
Mr. SPECTER. That concludes my questions, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Craig, any questions?
Mr. CRAIG. No, sir.
Mr. MURRAY. I have no questions, Mr. Chief Justice.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, Agent Youngblood, thank you very much for coming and testifying. We appreciate it.
We will adjourn now. We will adjourn until 9 in the morning.
(Whereupon, at 6:20 p.m., the President's Commission recessed.)