Casey O’Brien – News Editor
On February 7, the Justice Studies department held a Skype session in Rosen Auditorium with Clint Hill, a former Secret Service agent who was present at the assassination of President John Kennedy. In a packed room, Hill, who served on the Secret Service from Presidents Eisenhower to Ford, recounted his experiences from the fateful day.
Hill was assigned to Mrs. Kennedy while she was First Lady, and was in the car directly behind the Presidential car throughout the procession. Hill observed large crowds as they drove through the streets, making a sharp turn onto Elm Street. Hill said they observed windows open in the Texas School Book Depository, but “didn’t see anything unusual.”
As the Lincoln convertible slowed down, Hill recounted scanning the grassy knoll and seeing people on the overpass. It was then he heard an explosive noise over his right shoulder, and saw President Kennedy grabbing his throat. Hill ran to the President’s car, with the objective of shielding the Kennedy’s; when watching footage of the shooting, Hill is the agent who jumps on to the back of the car.
Observing the President’s condition, Hill gave the order to immediately drive to the hospital. Upon arriving to the hospital, doctors attempted to revive the President, but there was nothing they could do. Hill was the one to make the call to the President’s brother, letting him know things were looking bad, not wanting to say over the phone his brother was dead.
Hill was asked by Mrs. Kennedy to stay with her Secret Service detail, and he did until November of 1964. He described her as “an extremely articulate, intelligent woman.” When speaking of the Kennedy’s, Hill spoke fondly, noting the President took time to get to know the agents, and was always friendly with them.
During the question portion of the Skype session, the conspiracy theories of a second shooter were brought up; Hill said “there was no shooter on the grassy knoll,” only Oswald. He also added it was a myth that the route the car took was changed; the car was unable to go down Main Street due to a blockade at the end, impossible to get around.
Hill, who now lives in California, has written a book about his experience assigned to protecting Mrs. Kennedy, called “Mrs. Kennedy and Me,” now available in bookstores.