Clinton J. Hill
on November 22, 1963
Clinton J. Hill was born in
1932. He attended Concordia College, Minnesota, where he studied
history. After graduating in 1954 he joined the US Army. He left
in 1957 and found work with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy
Hill entered the Secret Service in September 1958. Hill did investigative and protection work in Denver until 1959 when he was assigned to the staff of the White House where he helped to protect Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy.
In November 1963 Hill went on the presidential trip to Texas. His special duty was to protect Jackie Kennedy. On the motorcade tour of Dallas on 22nd November, 1963, Hill rode on the running board of the Secret Service car immediately behind the presidential car.
Hill was the only Agent to leave the follow-up car and attempt to protect those in the Presidential car. He rode spread-eagle over President and Mrs. Kennedy as the limousine raced to Dallas' Parkland Hospital.
Hill was given an award from Mrs.
Kennedy for "Extraordinary courage and heroic effort in the
face of maximum danger."
Hill remained assigned to Mrs. Kennedy and the children until after the 1964 presidential election. He then was assigned to President Johnson at the White House. Later, he became agent in charge of presidential protection in '67 when Johnson was still in office and when Nixon came in, he moved over to Vice President Agnew, SAIC job. Then they assigned Hill to headquarters where he became an assistant director for all protection. He retired in 1975.
Agent Clint Hill rides on the rear
step of the Limousine in Dallas.
Highlights of the
3/9/1964 Warren Commission
Testimony of Secret Service Agent Clint Hill
(H 2 132-44)
HILL. When we finally did reach Main Street, the crowds had built
up to a point where they were surging into the street. We had
motorcycles running adjacent to both the Presidential automobile
and the followup car, as well as in front of the Presidential
automobile, and because of the crowds in the street, the President's
driver, Special Agent Greer, was running the car more to the
left-hand side of the street more than he was to the right to
keep the President as far away from the crowd aspossible, and
because of this the motorcycles on the left-hand side could not
get past the crowd and alongside the car, and they were forced
to drop back. I jumped from the followup car, ran up and got
on top of the rear portion of the Presidential automobile to
be close to Mrs. Kennedy in the event that someone attempted
to grab her from the crowd or throw something in the car."
SPECTER. Did you have any other occasion en route from Love Field
to downtown Dallas to leave the followup car and mount that portion
of the President's car?
Mr. HILL. I did the same thing approximately four times...The preceding Monday, the President was on a trip in Tampa, Fla., and he requested that the agents not ride on either of those two steps [on the side of the car]. (Hill, who was not present in Florida, heard this from other agents.)
SPECTER. Did you have any occasion to notice the Texas School
Book Depository Building as you proceeded in a generally northerly
direction on Houston Street?
HILL. Yes, sir. It was immediately in front of us and to our
SPECTER. Did you notice anything unusual about it?
HILL. Nothing more unusual than any other building along the
way...We scan the buildings and look specifically for open windows,
for people hanging out, and there had been, on almost every building
along the way, people hanging out, windows open.
SPECTER. And did you observe, as you recollect at this moment,
any open windows in the Texas School Depository Building?
HILL. Yes, sir; there were.
SPECTER. Now, what is your best estimate of the speed of the
President's automobile as it turned left off of Houston onto
HILL. We were running still 12 to 15 miles per hour, but in the
curve I believe we slowed down maybe to 10, maybe to 9...Well,
as we came out of the curve, and began to straighten up, I was
viewing the area which looked to be a park. There were people
scattered throughout the entire park. And I heard a noise from
my right rear, which to me seemed to be a firecracker. I immediately
looked to my right and, in so doing, my eyes had to cross the
Presidential limousine and I saw President Kennedy grab at himself
and lurch forward and to the left... I jumped from the car, realizing
that something was wrong, ran to the Presidential limousine.
Just about as I reached it, there was another sound, which was
different than the first sound. I think I described it in my
statement as though someone was shooting a revolver into a hard
object--it seemed to have some type of an echo.
put my right foot, I believe it was, on the left rear step of
the automobile, and I had a hold of the handgrip with my hand,
when the car lurched forward. I lost my footing and I had to
run about three or four more steps before I could get back up
in the car. Between the time I originally grabbed the handhold
and until I was up on the car, Mrs. Kennedy--the second noise
that I heard had removed a portion of the President's head, and
he had slumped noticeably to his left. Mrs. Kennedy had jumped
up from the seat and was, it appeared to me, reaching for something
coming off the right rear bumper of the car, the right rear tail,
when she noticed that I was trying to climb on the car. She turned
toward me and I grabbed her and put her back in the back seat,
crawled up on top of the back seat and lay there...We were running
between 12 to 15 miles per hour, but no faster than 15 miles
SPECTER. How many shots have you described that you heard?
SPECTER. Did you hear any more than two shots?
HILL. No, sir...at the time that I jumped on the car, the car
had surged forward. The President at that time had been shot
in the head.
SPECTER. Would you tell us with more particularity in what way
he grabbed at himself?
HILL. He grabbed in this general area.
Zapruder frame #246 showing
the president reacting to his throat shot.
SPECTER. You are indicating that your right hand is coming up
to your--to the throat?
HILL. Yes, sir.
SPECTER. And the left hand crosses right under the right hand.
HILL. To the chest area.
SPECTER. To the chest area. Was there any movement of the President's
head or shoulders immediately after the first shot, that you
HILL. Yes, sir. Immediately when I saw him, he was like this,
and going left and forward.
SPECTER. Indicating a little fall to the left front.
SPECTER. Now, what is your best estimate on the timespan between
the first firecracker-type noise you heard and the second shot
which you have described?
HILL. Approximately 5 seconds.
FORD. It was 5 seconds from the firecracker noise that you think
you got to the automobile?
HILL. Until I reached the handhold, had placed my foot on the
left rear step.
Mrs. Kennedy is reaching to the
rear as Agent Hill jumps on the rear of Limo.
SPECTER. You say that it appeared that she was reaching as if
something was coming over to the rear portion of the car, back
in the area where you were coming to?
HILL. Yes, sir.
SPECTER. Was there anything back there that you observed, that
she might have been reaching for?
Mr. HILL. I thought I saw something come off the back, too, but I cannot say that there was. I do know that the next day we found the portion of the President's head.
SPECTER. Where did you find that portion of the President's head?
Mr. HILL. It was found in the street. It was turned in, I believe, by a medical student or somebody in Dallas...I simply just pushed and she moved--somewhat voluntarily -- right back into the same seat she was in. The President -- when she had attempted to get out onto the trunk of the car, his body apparently did not move too much, because when she got back into the car he was at that time, when I got on top of the car, face up in her lap... At the time of the shooting, when I got into the rear of the car, she said, "My God, they have shot his head off." Between there and the hospital she just said, "Jack, Jack, what have they done to you," and sobbed...I heard Special Agent Kellerman say on the radio, "To the nearest hospital, quick."....He said, "We have been hit."...I had my legs -- I had my body above the rear seat, and my legs hooked down into the rear seat, one foot outside the car...
Agent Hill on the limousine as it speeds down the highway.
The back seat of the Limo as photographed
White House Garage 11-23-63
right rear portion of his head was missing. It was lying in the
rear seat of the car. His brain was exposed. There was blood
and bits of brain all over the entire rear portion of the car.
Mrs. Kennedy was completely covered with blood. There was so
much blood you could not tell if there had been any other wound
or not, except for the one large gaping wound in the right rear
portion of the head...
I went into the emergency room with the President, but it was
so small, and there were so many people in there that I decided
I had better leave and let the doctors take care of the situation.
So I walked outside; asked for the nearest telephone; walked
to the nearest telephone. About that time Special Agent in Charge
Kellerman came outside and said, "Get the White House."
I asked Special Agent Lawson for the local number in Dallas of
the White House switchboard, which he gave to me. I called the
switchboard in Dallas; asked for the line to be open to Washington,
and remain open continuously. And then I asked for Special Agent
in Charge Behn's office. Mr. Kellerman came out of the emergency
room about that time, took the telephone and called Special Agent
in Charge Behn that we had had a double tragedy; that both Governor
Connally and President Kennedy had been shot. And that was about
as much as he said. I then took the telephone and shortly thereafter
Mr. Kellerman came out of the emergency room and said, "Clint,
tell Jerry this is unofficial and not for release, but the man
is dead." Which I did. During the two calls, I talked to
the Attorney General, who attempted to reach me, and told him
that his brother had been seriously wounded; that we would keep
him advised as to his condition...
remained with Mrs. Kennedy except for one time when I was requested
to come to the morgue [at Bethesda] to view the President's body...I
saw an opening in the back, about 6 inches below the neckline
to the right-hand side of the spinal column.
SPECTER. And did you have a reaction or impression as to the
source of point of origin of the second shot that you described?
Mr. HILL. It was right, but I cannot say for sure that it was rear, because when I mounted the car it was--it had a different sound, first of all, than the first sound that I heard. The second one had almost a double sound--as though you were standing against something metal and firing into it, and you hear both the sound of a gun going off and the sound of the cartridge hitting the metal place, which could have been caused probably by the hard surface of the head. But I am not sure that that is what caused it.
SPECTER. Now, do you now or have you ever had the impression
or reaction that there was a shot which originated from the front
of the Presidential car?
Clinton J. Hill, Statement, November
President and Mrs. Kennedy entered
the automobile with the President getting into the right rear
seat and Mrs. Kennedy into the left rear seat. Mrs. Connally
got into the left jump seat and Governor Connally into the right
SA William Greer was driving the automobile with ASAIC Roy H.
Kellerman in the right front seat. I went to the left rear side
of the Presidential automobile and stood on the airport ramp
along side where Mrs. Kennedy was sitting.
As the Presidential automobile began to move forward at 11:55
a.m. I walked along side of the left rear of the automobile for
about 150 feet, and since there were no people at all on the
airport ramp I went back to the automobile immediately behind
the Presidential Automobile and mounted the forward portion of
the left running board.
SA Sam Kinney was driving this Secret Service Follow-up car which
was a 1955 Cadillac 9-passenger convertible specifically outfitted
for use by the Secret Service. ATSAIC Emory Roberts was sitting
in the right front seat and operating the two way radio. SA John
Ready was on the forward portion of the right hand running board;
SA William McIntyre on the rear portion of the left hand running
board; SA Paul E. Landis on the rear portion of the right hand
running board; Mr. Kenneth O'Donnell, Presidential Appointment
Secretary, was seated on the left side of the second seat; Mr.
Dave Powers, Presidential Receptionist, was seated on the right
side of the second seat; SA George Hickey was seated on the left
side of the third seat- and SA Glen Bennett was seated on the
right side of the third seat.The Presidential Follow-up car was
followed by a 1964 Lincoln 4-door convertible occupied by Vice-President
and Mrs. Lyndon Johnson, Senator Ralph Yarborough, with ASAIC
Rufus Youngblood in the right front seat. This automobile was
followed by a Secret Service follow-up car for the Vice President,
and then came automobiles occupied by photographers, correspondents,
Senators and Congressmen.
Preceding the Presidential automobile was a Dallas Police Department
Lead car in which SA Winston Lawson of the Secret Service was
riding. Police motorcycles preceded and flanked the motorcade.
There were two police motorcycles on the left side of the President's
Secret Service follow-up car running abreast of one another between
the automobile and the crowd of people.
My instructions for Dallas were to work the left rear of the
Presidential automobile and remain in close proximity to Mrs.
John F. Kennedy at all times. The agent assigned to work the
left rear of the Presidential automobile rides on the forward
portion of the left hand running board of the Secret Service
follow-up car and only moves forward to walk alongside the Presidential
automobile when it slows to such a pace that people can readily
approach the auto on foot. If the crowd is very heavy, but the
automobile is running at a rather rapid speed, the agent rides
on the left rear of the Presidential automobile on a step specifically
designed for that purpose.
As the motorcade moved from Love Field through downtown Dallas
toward the Trade Mart, there were four (4) occasions before we
reached the end of Main Street where I moved from the forward
portion of the left running board of the follow-up car to the
rear step of the Presidential automobile. I did this because
the motorcycles that were along the left hand side of the follow-up
car were unable to move up alongside the President's car due
to the crowd surging into the street. The motorcycles were forced
to drop back and so I jumped from the Follow-up car and mounted
the President's car. I remained in this position until the crowd
thinned and was away from the President's automobile, allowing
the motorcycles to once again move up alongside of the automobile.
When we approached the end of Main Street the crowd was noticeably
less dense than had been the case prior to that point.
The motorcade made a right hand turn onto Elm Street. I was on
the forward portion of the left running board of the follow-up
car. The motorcade made a left hand turn from Elm Street toward
an underpass. We were traveling about 12 to 15 miles per hour.
On the left hand side was a grass area with a few people scattered
along it observing the motorcade passing, and I was visually
scanning these people when I heard a noise similar to a firecracker.
The sound came from my right rear and I immediately moved my
head in that direction. In so doing, my eyes had to cross the
Presidential automobile and I saw the President hunch forward
and then slump to his left. I jumped from the Follow-up car and
ran toward the Presidential automobile. I heard a second firecracker
type noise but it had a different sound-- like the sound of shooting
a revolver into something hard. I saw the President slump more
toward his left.
I jumped onto the left rear step of the Presidential automobile.
Mrs. Kennedy shouted, "They've shot his head off,"
then turned and raised out of her seat as if she were reaching
to her right rear toward the back of the car for something that
had blown out. I forced her back into her seat and placed my
body above President and Mrs. Kennedy. SA Greer had, as I jumped
onto the Presidential automobile, accelerated the Presidential
automobile forward. I heard ASAIC Kellerman call SA Lawson on
the two-way radio and say, "To the nearest hospital, quick."
I shouted as loud as I could at the Lead car, "To the hospital,
to the hospital."
As I lay over the top of the back seat I noticed a portion of
the President's head on the right rear side was missing and he
was bleeding profusely. Part of his brain was gone. I saw a part
of his skull with hair on it lying in the seat. The time of the
shooting was approximately 12:30 p.m., Dallas time. I looked
forward to the jump seats and noticed Governor Connally's chest
was covered with blood and he was slumped to his left and partially
covered up by his wife. I had not realized until this point that
the Governor had been shot.
When we arrived at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, I jumped
off the Presidential automobile, removed my suit coat and covered
the President's head and upper chest with it. I assisted in lifting
the President from the rear seat of the automobile onto a wheel
type stretcher and accompanied the President and Mrs. Kennedy
into the Emergency Room. Governor Connally had been placed in
an Emergency Room across the hall.