Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Maj. Gen. Chester V. "Ted" Clifton, Jr.

Maj. Gen. Chester V. “Ted” Clifton, Jr.

Maj. Gen. Chester V. "Ted" Clifton Jr., 78
December 29, 1991

Maj. Gen. Chester V. "Ted" Clifton Jr., 78, senior military aide to President John F. Kennedy, died of lung ailments Monday in Washington's Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He joined President Kennedy's staff in 1961 and was in almost constant touch with him throughout his presidency. He was in the Dallas motorcade on Nov. 22, 1963, when the president was assassinated. He was aboard Air Force One when Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president and later served Mr. Johnson as a military aide.

Born in Edmonton, Alberta, General Clifton grew up in Tacoma, Wash., and attended the University of Washington. He graduated from West Point in 1936 and later received a master's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin. In World War II, he served in Italy in the Cassino and Anzio campaigns and in the invasion of southern France.

From Arlington National Cemetery Web Site - a contemporary press report:

Chester V. Clifton, Jr., Senior military aide to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, died December 23, 1991, Walter Reed Army Hospital. He was 78 years old and died of pneumonia after intestinal operation, family member said.

Widely known as Ted, he joined Kennedy staff in 1961 and was the officer responsible for the President's daily morning intelligence briefings on world events. He was in the motorcade in Dallas on November 22, 1963, when JFK was assassinated and made arrangements with the White House to deal with military and national security affairs after the assassination.

Remained as military aide to President Johnson until 1965, when he retired from the army, after 33 years of service.

In December 1965, he was elected president of Thomas J. Deegan Company, a public relations and management consulting firm. He then formed Clifton-Raymond Associates in 1967, and next year established Clifton Counselors, a management consultant firm that dealt mainly with publishing affairs.

General Clifton was born in Edmonton, Alberta, and grew up in Puyallup Valley near Tacoma, Washington. Attended the University of Washington, and graduated from the United States Military Academy in USMA 1936 and received a master's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin in 1948.

Before his military career, he worked as reporter for Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the New York Herald Tribune.

In World War II he served in the Field Artillery and fought in Italy, France and Germany. After the war worked in public relations in the army's Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and later became an Assistant to General Omar N. Bradley. After attending the National War College in 1954, he served with the Army's European command in Paris.

He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1956 and returned to Washington, D.C. where became the chief of information for the Army.

He was co-author, with Cecil Stoughton, of "The Memories: J.F.K., 1961- 1963," published by W. W. Norton; and served as public relations consultant in development of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

When he retired, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. Among his other medals are Legion of Merit, French Croix de Guerre and Italian Cross of Military Valor.
He lived in Washington, D.C., and is survived by his wife, Anne Bodine, and brother, John R. Clifton, of Napa, California. Sep 24, 1913-Dec 23, 1991.

The General's remains were cremated and were buried with full military honors in Section 30 of Arlington National Cemetery on May 28, 1992.

Maj. General Chester V. Clifton - "One of my favorite stories: the exchange was wonderful. I saw this word, 'Draconian,' and I must say, I wasn't familiar with it. It was in an intelligence report from the CIA. I had very carefully written in the margin, 'cruel, inhuman!' The President grabbed the report and was running through it, and when he came to that he stopped and said, 'Who put this in here?' I said, 'I did.' He said, 'That's the trouble with you military; now if you'd had a classic Harvard education, you would have known what the word meant.' So I said, 'Yes, Sir,' and later on -- oh, four or five days later -- again the same thing: we were up in the bedroom, he was going through the report, and there was some very technical military term, in the atomic energy field -- I think it was 'permissive link.' He said, 'Well, what's this mean?' I told him; he said, 'Right,' and I said, 'Mr. President, if you'd had a classic military education at West Point, you would have known what that word was.' He said, 'Touche,' and grinned. He was willing to give and take with great humor.

Bay of Pigs
At 5:15 one morning last week, President Kennedy's military aide, Brigadier General Chester Clifton, got an urgent telephone call. He told the caller to telephone the President at his weekend home in Middleburg, Va. Shortly afterward, in keeping with instructions he had given, the President was awakened and told that an invasion force of Cuban revolutionaries had landed as planned on the south coast of Cuba. So began John F. Kennedy's darkest and bitterest week as President.

Soon after he took office in January, Kennedy was faced with making a command decision on Cuba...,,897719,00.html

Berlin Wall
...Early on the morning of August 13, thousands of frightened East Germans were fleeing across the flimsy boundary into free West Berlin. At 2 a.m. there were sirens, then the rumble of tanks on the East Berlin cobblestones. East German troops carrying rolls of barbed wire, concrete pillars, stone blocks, picks, and shovels leapt out of their trucks. Four hours later, millions of Berliners lived in a huge communist pen which over the next decade would be broadened and built into an automated armed fortress of steel and concrete —a fortress which stood as a monstrous rebuke to freedom.

The wall would become the greatest public relations disaster of our age, with endless pictures of desperate men and women, rushing the barrier and being shot down, and then left to die on the concrete no man's land. Kennedy and other Presidents would use it as a stage to unmask the what Ronald Reagan called "the evil empire."

This wall was no symbol
When it happened we were all caught off guard — including Kennedy. He was on board his yacht, the Marlin, pushing off from the family dock in Hyannis Port, Massachussets, preparing for a well-deserved cruise with family and friends and a couple of bowls of fish chowder, his favorite dish. A military duty officer rushed down to the beach with the first flash. He walked into the surf in full uniform to deliver the grim news to Brig. Gen. Chester Clifton, the Presidents military aide who signaled the Marlin back to port. He handed the dispatch to Kennedy who read it in silence. "You go ahead," Kennedy told the family as he got into a golf cart with Clifton to ride back to his house.

Kennedy remained silent for several minutes. Then he blurted, "Why in hell didn't we know about it?" Clifton responded that out of more than 40 contingency plans he had read for Berlin he could not recall a single one that dealt with the possible construction of a barrier...,8599,171352,00.html

Jim Root - ...Senior Military Aid to Kennedy Chester Clifton, as I understand it, kept the Kennedy calander and was responsible for getting Kennedy to and from his daily appointments, he may have had a major imput on the motorcade route decission. This man was assigned by General Maxwell Taylor to this position and Clifton in the motorcade at the time of the assassination. I might also point out that upon graduation from West Point, Chester Clifton's first commanding officier was Edwin Walker. See:

ITEM for sale - From the Estate of General Chester V. Clifton
Note to Brig. Gen. Chester V. Clifton from Allen Dulles Re: Sukarno & JFK

ITEM for sale From the Estate of Gen. Chester V. Clifton, Jr.:
President Kennedy’s first “efficiency report” to the Secretary of the Army for his Military Aide, Brigadier General Chester V. Clifton, Jr., concluding “I do not want this assignment as my Military Aide to interfere in any way with his early promotion which, based on my observation, he merits…” – in July, Clifton was promoted to Major General!

Title John F. Kennedy
Number 53567
Size 7" x 9.75"
Date June 16, 1961
Place Washington, D.C.
Category Presidential
Price $5,500.00

Typed Letter Signed “John Kennedy” as President, two pages, 7” x 9.75”, separate sheets. The White House, Washington, June 16, 1961. To Secretary of the Army Elvis J. Stahr, Jr. On pale green stationery. Staple holes at upper edge, slightly reduced in size at top of both sheets. Fine condition.

In full, “This letter covers the efficiency report period, January 20, 1961 to May 31, 1961, for Brigadier General C.V. Clifton, assigned as Military Aide to the President. You and the Army can be proud of your representative who demonstrates his integrity, his imaginative resourcefulness, and his innate intellectual courage whenever he is called upon. General Clifton attends to his assigned tasks of representing the United States Army -- and you -- in an outstanding manner.

“His additional duties as Defense Liaison Officer are carried out with a most sensitive appreciation of the needs and viewpoints of the Secretary of Defense and of all the services. He performs all of these duties with courtesy, consideration for others, and most cooperatively with the other members of my staff. His mature judgment, basic knowledge and professional talents are contributed on every occasion to achieve the end results that I desire.

“I realize that General Clifton has been in the rank of Brigadier General for more than four years, and would normally be under consideration for promotion to Major General. I have previously stated that I do not want this assignment as my Military Aide to interfere in any way with his early promotion which, based on my observation, he merits, and in that higher rank, I would intend to retain him on my staff.”

Five weeks later, on July 24, 1961, Brigadier General Chester V. Clifton, Jr. (1913-1991) was nominated by President Kennedy to be a Major General. President-elect Kennedy had appointed Clifton Military Aide on January 19th, a day before his inauguration. Clifton was the officer responsible for the President’s daily morning intelligence briefings on world events. Major General Clifton was in the motorcade in Dallas on November 22, 1963, when JFK was assassinated and made arrangements with the White House to deal with military and national security affairs after the assassination. He remained as Military Aide to President Johnson until 1965, when he retired from the Army, after 33 years of service.

Book Co-Author
Memories JFK, 1961-1963
Authors: Cecil Stoughton & Chester V Clifton
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Date Published:1/04/1980
Format:Paperback Book
Language: English
RRP $48.95 Price $44.06
Approx Delivery
10 Days
Paperback Book

Book Description:
In 1961 President John F. Kennedy's friend and military aide, General Chester V. (Ted) Clifton, assigned Captain Cecil Stoughton of the Army Signal Corps to the full-time job of keeping a photographic record of President Kennedy's days in the White House. Captain Stoughton had extraordinary opportunities to photograph JFK as president, as father, as husband, in moments of crisis and tension, of joy and relaxation, of stern responsibility and of love.Hugh Sidey, the Time-Life correspondent, himself a friend and close observer of the Kennedys, writes: "It remains a curiosity of these times how many people were touched in a special way by John F. Kennedy. The young people reserve a special joy for him, something they salvaged in a way we barely understand when they were seared by his death while they were still younger. Those of us who lived in the Kennedy years find the memories come back stronger than ever with even the slightest encouragement. The unusual human dimensions of the man propelled him through politics and gave his presidency its flavor and lasting meaning."This book is not a deliberate assessment of his stewardship. It is a collection of memories, a compendium of emotion captured on film in Kennedy's thousand days.

Cecil Stoughton

Cecil Stoughton was born on 18th January 1920. His parents separated when he was a child and he spent sometime in a boys' home in Omaha before rejoining his mother.

Stoughton studied singing at William Penn College in Oskaloosa before joining the United States Army during the Second World War. He was trained as a photographer and after the war he worked for the public information office. The head of the organization was Major General Chester Clifton.

In 1961 Clifton was appointed as a military aide to President John F. Kennedy. According to Richard B. Trask: "Captain Stoughton had so impressed John F. Kennedy with pictures of his inauguration that the new President, through his military aide, appointed him his official photographer." According to Stoughton: "Prior to JFK, we had Eisenhower, and there was no need for a photographer. He was about 63 years old and he didn't have the charm and charisma of President Kennedy and he didn't have a family that engaged the American public."

Amanda Hopkinson has argued that: "Stoughton handled colour well, but also shot in carefully contrasted black-and-white, which could be sent down the wires and transferred to the print media with rapid effect. He alternated his large-format Hasselblad portrait camera with a hand-held 35mm, which was more flexible when he accompanied the presidential retinue."

Barbara Baker Burrows, who worked for Life Magazine, has claimed: "As much as any, when these pictures were published around the world, they helped create the aura that later came to be called Camelot." It is estimated that Stoughton took over 8,000 photographs of the Kennedy family.

Stoughton was with John F. Kennedy when he was assassinated on 22nd November, 1963. Stoughton travelled back to Washington with Lyndon Baines Johnsonand Jackie Kennedy on Air Force One and was asked to photograph the swearing-in of the new president.

Photo of LBJ pinning medal on Clifton
Superb Signed Photograph! President Johnson awards his retiring Military Aide Major General C.V. “Ted” Clifton the Distinguished Service Medal in a White House ceremony – Clifton had been in the presidential motorcade in Dallas and witnessed Johnson’s swearing-in aboard Air Force One

Photograph Signed in red ink “To Ted Clifton / with affection / Lyndon B. Johnson” as President. Color, 8” x 10”. Minute crease in upper right blank corner. Stamping on verso: “34929 3 Aug 1965.” Fine condition.

United Press International story datelined “Washington, Aug. 3 (UPI) – President Johnson’s retiring military aide said today that the President was leading the nation through difficult times with ‘great care and great courage.’ Maj. Gen. Chester V. Clifton, Jr. paid tribute to the President after Mr. Johnson awarded him the Distinguished Service Medal at a White House ceremony. General Clifton, who also was military aide to President Kennedy, retired from the Army Saturday [July 31, 1965] after 33 years service.”

President-elect Kennedy had appointed Brigadier General Chester V. “Ted” Clifton, Jr. (1913-1991) his Military Aide on January 19, 1961, a day before his inauguration. Clifton was the officer responsible for the President’s daily morning intelligence briefings on world events. In July, he was promoted to Major General. As his Military Aide, Clifton accompanied the President to Dallas and was in the motorcade on November 22, 1963, when JFK was assassinated. Major General Clifton was among those aboard Air Force One who witnessed the swearing-in of Lyndon B. Johnson as 36th President of the United States. Clifton returned to Washington with the new President, accompanying the body of the late President. Major General Clifton was responsible for making arrangements with the White House to deal with military and national security affairs immediately after the assassination. He remained as Military Aide to President Johnson until 1965, when he retired from the Army, after 33 years of service.


Anonymous said...

Very informative. If you are interested in some original Ted Clifton pictures taken by Stoughton and Abbie Rowe, please email me at Thank you.I have about 50 or so.

Unknown said...

can you please explain his role in the cuban missile crisis which was for 13 days? I am not able to find any information on it.