Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Bagman's "Doomsday Football" - a Zero-Halliburton

The Bagman’s Doomsday Football - a Zero Halliburton

In the immediate aftermath of the assassination of President Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson, the heir to the power of the presidency, communicated by telephone with three people - Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Judge Sarah Hughes and his personal tax attorney J. Waddy Bullion. He called RFK to get the exact wording of the oath of office, Sarah Hughes to get her to come to Love Field to administer the oath and with Bullion he talked about the need to change his stock portfolio, expressing particular concern about his Halliburton stock.

Russ Baker, in “Family of Secrets,” (p. 132), reports that “Pat Holloway, former attorney for both Poppy Bush and Jack Crichton, recounted to me an incident involving LBJ that had greatly disturbed him. This was around 1 P.M. on November 22, 1963, just as Kennedy was being pronounced dead…The switchboard operator excitedly noted that she was patching the vice president through from Parkland Hospital to Holloway’s boss, firm senior partner Waddy Bullion, who was LBJ’s personal tax lawyer. The operator invited Holloway to listen in. LBJ was talking ‘not about conspiracy or about the tragedy,’ Holloway recalled, ‘I heard him say, ‘Oh, I got to get rid of my goddamn Halliburton stock.’”

Baker also notes that, “Halliburton was also deeply involved in defense contracting, through its subsidiary Brown and Root (Later Kellog Brown & Root KBR) the politically wired Texas engineering firm. Brown and Root had taken a giant leap into military contracting when Lyndon Johnson, its political protégé, became president.” Both G. R. and R.O. Brown were on the Halliburton board, as was John Connally, who was wounded in the fuselage of bullets that killed Kennedy.

Some have considered it peculiar that one thing Johnson did not do once he assumed the presidency, at least on the public record, was to inquire about the national security status, the military posture or the possibility that the nation would be attacked, or was under attack by foreign enemies.

In fact, the new President had twice left behind the military aide with the “black bag” containing secure communication and nuclear attack codes. The “bagman” had been left behind in the motorcade when LBJ was rushed to Parkland Hospital and then again when the new president quickly and secretly left the hospital for Air Force One. While the man with the nuclear codes did catch up to LBJ and remained nearby, he was generally ignored during the crisis.

In his book “The Day Kennedy was Shot,” Jim Bishop relates how Gearhart became “separated from the VIP portion of the motorcade as it raced to Parkland and after arriving he did not know where the President was nor whom he was. The Secret Service kept him away from the booth where LBJ had been placed and that Johnson and Gearhart had been separated again, when LBJ raced to Love Field."

Tagging along almost unnoticed on the trip to Love Field, Gearhart had to force his way onto a policeman’s lap to keep up with the president.

The “bagman” was Ira Gearhart, a military officer who carried a metal suitcase that contained the codes and ciphers the President needed to communicate with military commanders and foreign leaders or to order a nuclear strike. Gearhart had to remember the combination for the safety lock that opened the bag, and was to stay near the President at all times.

In “The Death of a President,” William Manchester wrote, “Warrant Officer Ira D. Gearhart, or Shadow, had been assigned the most sinister task in the Presidential party. No one called him by his Christian name, his surname, or even by his code name. He was the ‘man with the satchel,’ or, more starkly, ‘the bagman’. The bag (also known as ‘the black bag’ and ‘the football’) was a thirty-pound metal suitcase with an intricate combination lock. Within were various Strangelove packets, each bearing wax seals and the signatures of the Joint Chiefs. Inside one were cryptic numbers which would permit the President to set up a crude hot line to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the President of France on four minutes’ notice. A second provided the codes that would launch a nuclear attack. The rest contained pages of close text enlivened by gaudy color cartoons. They looked like comic books — horror comics, really, because they had been carefully designed so that anyone of Kennedy’s three military aides could quickly tell him how many million casualties would result from Retaliation Able, Retaliation Baker, Retaliation Charlie, etc. Taz Shepard had prepared these doomsday books. No one liked to think about them, much less talk about them, and on trips the man with the football was treated as a pariah.”

In his book “Apocalypse Soon” former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara wrote, “The concept of the Football came about in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis. President John F. Kennedy was concerned that some Soviet commander in Cuba might launch their missiles without authorization from Moscow. After the crisis, Kennedy ordered a review of the U.S. Nuclear Command and Control system. The result was the highly classified National Security Action Memorandum that created the Football. It has been suggested that the nickname Football was derived from an attack plan code named Drop-Kick.”

“The playbook is said to contain 75 pages of options, to be used against four primary groups: Russian nuclear forces; conventional military forces; military and political leadership and economic/industrial targets. The options are further divided into Major Attack Options (MAOs), Selected Attack Options (SAOs), and Limited Attack Options (LAOs). With the SATCOM radio and handset, the president can contact the National Command Authority (NCA) and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). To make rapid comprehension of the materials easier, the options are described in a heavily summarized format and depicted using simple images. The Football also contains the locations of various bunkers and airborne command-post aircraft, procedures for communicating over civilian networks, and other information useful in a nuclear-emergency situation.”

“The ‘Nuclear Football,’ otherwise known as the President's Emergency Satchel, is a specially-outfitted, black-colored briefcase used by President of the United States to authorize the use of nuclear weapons. While its exact contents and operation are highly classified, several sources have provided details of the bag. It is presumed to hold a secure SATCOM radio and handset, the daily nuclear launch codes known as the ‘Gold Codes,’ and the President's Decision Book—the ‘nuclear playbook’ that the President would rely on should a decision to use nuclear weapons be made, based on the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP). The National Security Agency updates the Gold Codes daily.”

“The Football is carried by one of the rotating Presidential Aides (one from each of the five service branches), who occasionally is physically attached to the briefcase. This person is a commissioned officer in the U.S. military, pay-grade O-4 or above, who has undergone the nation's most rigorous background check (Yankee White). These officers are required to keep the Football within ready access of the President at all times. Consequently, an aide, Football in hand, is always either standing/walking near the President or riding in Air Force One/Marine One/Motorcade with him.”

As McNamara describes it, “The case itself is a metallic, possibly bullet-proof, modified Zero-Halliburton briefcase which is carried inside of a leather "jacket". The entire package weights approximately 40 pounds (18 kg). A small antenna, presumably for the SATCOM radio, protrudes from the bag near the handle. Contrary to popular belief, the ‘football/ is not handcuffed to aides. Rather, carriers employ a black cable that loops around the handle of the bag and the wrist of the aide.”

“Zero-Halliburton” is the name of the company that manufactured the case, which brings us back to the Halliburton company and LBJ’s phone call to his tax attorney J. Waddy Bullion, concerning his Halliburton stock.

In “From Russia With Love,” a spy thriller novel read by both President Kennedy and his alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, Ian Fleming has his secret agent 007 utilize a custom attaché case that included a concealed dagger, a sniper’s rifle that broke down and fit into the stock and a special latch that exploded if not opened correctly, which seems to have been inspired by the Halliburton case.

According to the official Zero-Halliburton web site: “In 1938, Earle P. Halliburton, a globetrotting businessman, commissioned a team of aircraft engineers to build him cases that could withstand the rough terrain of the Texas oilfields in the back of his truck. The original aluminum case was born, becoming the very definition of protection and ruggedness in business and travel cases. Every effort has been made ensure that only the finest material, the most advanced techniques, and the most precise crafting are employed to make each and every case. That heritage continues today.” 

            “Today, that aluminum case, created nearly 70 years ago is the prototype for style, sophistication, and uniqueness. However, it has never lost sight of its heritage: protecting your belongings wherever your journeys take you. The original aluminum case we introduced to the world over seven decades ago has taken hold of people’s imagination and stands as icon of strength, security, endurance, and fashion. It blazed new territory for design, providing a unique, unmistakable presence that cannot be imitated.”

            “All of our signature aluminum cases start with a two-ton coil of aircraft grade aluminum. After being cut into individual pieces, the aluminum is “deep-drawn” over special steel dies using 440 tons of pressure. As the shape is formed, the molecular structure of the aluminum actually changes, resulting in a shell that’s free of wrinkling, distortion and manufacturing inconsistencies. Following the deep-draw process, the shell is heated to more than 1000 degrees Fahrenheit and then quickly cooled, making the aluminum even stronger and more durable. Each shell is then buffed and electro-chemically anodized to add color and prevent corrosion. After the shell is completed, it takes the skillful hand of a trained craftsman to make each case worthy of the Zero Halliburton name.”

“The heat-tempered aluminum shell has the strength of steel at only one-quarter the weight. Extra strength hinges withstand pulling of over 400 pounds. Innovative neoprene gasket keeps out dust and moisture, providing unrivaled protection.”

“Today, the same creative spirit that challenged the conventions of what business cases should look like-while raising the expected standards for their performance-has given rise to a new generation of inventive cases with unmatched performance. We are expanding the boundaries of personal business and travel products by once again incorporating the most advanced materials available and creating solutions to satisfy your most challenging needs. A perfect combination of sound design principles and innovation that could have only come from Zero Halliburton.”

“In 1946, independent of any relationship with Halliburton, a metal fabrication company called Zierold Company changed its name to Zero Corporation. In 1952, Mr. Halliburton sold his travel case division to the recently created metal fabrication company Zero Corporation, officially ending any Halliburton Company's involvement in the making of aluminum cases. The new division was renamed Zero Halliburton.”

“In January 2007, Zero Halliburton, a division of Zero manufacturing, was sold to Japan’s largest luggage company, Ace Company Ltd. Zero Halliburton remains an American Company.”

Interesting Facts –

“Zero Halliburton cases have been used to carry Apollo mission moon rocks, academy award Oscars and skates for US speed skating team.”

“Zero Halliburton products have appeared in many movies and televisions shows over the last decades such as ‘Independence day,’ ‘Lost,’ ‘Men in Black,’ ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ and ‘Mission Impossible.’”

On April 24, 1999, President Bill Clinton left NATO's 50th anniversary summit, being held at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.. The carrier and the football were left behind. The aide walked the half-mile back to the White House alone. The integrity of the football and the state of the officer were intact. Similar incidents have occurred with Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush.

A specially modified Zero-Halliburton case was used to carry the special communications and nuclear attack codes by the president’s military aid Ira Gearhart on November 22, 1963.  

Around 1 PM on November 22, 1963, within a half hour of becoming president with the death of JFK, one of the first things President Johnson does is call his tax attorney J. W. Bullion to ask about his Halliburton stock.

According to “A Money Tree Grows in Texas,” (1968, p. 100), a $1,000 investment in Halliburton in 1948 when the company was originally available to the public would be worth $19,700.00 in 1968.

The corporate headquarters for Halliburton was listed as 3211 Southland Center, Dallas, Texas, where the Dallas Sheraton was located, the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) had set up their base station and where “Maurice Bishop” had met Lee Harvey Oswald and Anthony Veciana in the lobby in the summer of 1963.

On the board of directors of Halliburton were John B. Connally, who was wounded at Dealey Plaza, and G. R. and R.O. Brown of Brown Brothers, Brown & Root.

BK notes: As Linda M. points out, R.O. Brown was not one of the Browns of Brown  & Root, and Russ Baker notes that John Connally was not on the board at the time of the assassination. 

In his book “Family of Secrets,” Russ Baker also reports that (p. 131-132), “Meanwhile, the Kennedy assassination had put into the White House Lyndon Baines Johnson, who had a long-standing but little-known relationship with the Bush family. This dates back at least to 1953, when Prescott Bush joined Johnson in the U.S. Senate…That same year, Poppy Bush started Zapata Petroleum with Hugh and William Liedtke, who as law students at the University of Texas several years earlier, had rented LBJ’s guesthouse. Later, Bush became close with LBJ’s chief financers, George and Herman Brown, the founders of the construction giant Brown and Root (which later became part of Halliburton).

After helping establish the Continuity of Government (COG) plans in the 1980s and serving as Vice President, Cheney left government and became head of Halliburton.

Erle P. Halliburton 

Erle Palmer Halliburton (September 22, 1892, near HenningTennessee - October 13, 1957, in Los Angeles) was an American businessman specializing in the oil business.

Prior to United States entry into World War I, Halliburton gained exposure to shipboard engineering as a member of the United States Navy. After his honorable discharge in 1915, he headed for the oilfields of California, where he was able to apply techniques analogous to the technology with which he had worked in the Navy. His drive and his sense of innovation soon brought him into conflict with his boss, Almond Perkins. Halliburton later quipped that getting hired and getting fired by the Perkins Oil Well Cementing Company were the two best opportunities he had ever received.[1]

Halliburton and his wife Vida C Tabor Halliburton established the New Method Oil Well Cementing Company in Oklahoma in 1919. By 1922, this company was operating as Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Company, which later became known as Halliburton Company on July 5, 1961. He also designed the aluminum suitcases which are now manufactured by Zero Halliburton.

Halliburton (/ˈhælɨbɜrtən/NYSEHAL) is one of the world's largest[7] oilfield services companies with operations in more than 70 countries. It has hundreds of subsidiaries, affiliates, branches, brands, and divisions worldwide and employs over 60,000 people.[6]
The company has dual headquarters located in Houston and in Dubai, where Chairman and CEODavid Lesar works and resides, "to focus [the] company’s Eastern Hemisphere Growth."[8] The company will remain incorporated in the United States.[9][10][11]

Halliburton's major business segment is the Energy Services Group (ESG). ESG provides technical products and services for petroleum and natural gas exploration and production. Halliburton's former subsidiary, KBR, is a major construction company of refineriesoil fieldspipelines, and chemical plants. Halliburton announced on April 5, 2007 that it had finally broken ties with KBR, which had been its contracting, engineering and construction unit as a part of the company for 44 years.[12]

Company History:
Zero Corporation is a leading designer and manufacturer of enclosure, cooling, and other systems, primarily for the electronics industry. Zero products include electronic cabinets, card cages, backplanes, power supply, and such thermal management systems as closed-loop air conditioning systems and motorized impellers. Sales to the electronics and related industries account for nearly 75 percent of Zero's annual revenues. Zero is also a leading worldwide designer and manufacturer of air cargo containers, systems, and accessories for companies including American, United, Airbus, and others. On the consumer level, Zero manufactures the world-famous line of Zero Halliburton luggage; these distinctive metal suitcases, briefcases, and carrying cases are sold in more than 30 countries. With manufacturing plants in the United States, Europe, and Mexico, Zero serves a customer base of over 20,000, none of which accounts for more than five percent of Zero's annual sales, which reached $206 million in 1995 (fiscal year ended 3/31/96). Throughout its history, Zero has been so successful at capturing the largest share of its market that the "zero case" has become a generic term.

Scrap Metal Origins

German immigrant Herman Zierold founded a small sheet metal business in Los Angeles in the early part of the century. By the end of the Second World War, Zierold's company had ten employees and annual sales of about $300,000; Zierold himself delivered his company's precision aluminum and sheet metal products. In 1951, Zierold sold his business to Jack Gilbert, who renamed the company Zierold Manufacturing Co. Gilbert had dropped out of high school after his father died during the Depression. Working a variety of jobs, including a stint with Douglas Aircraft during the Second World War, Gilbert decided to go into business for himself. Gilbert's interest was in the nascent electronics industry and the need for precision sheet metal products. "I looked at 30 or 35 companies," Gilbert told Forbes, "until I found Zierold Metal Co. Zierold was into precision aluminum work, and that was the future in sheet metal."

Gilbert offered Zierold $350,000 for the company, with a $50,000 down payment raised by mortgaging his home. Gilbert and Zierold agreed that Zierold would finance the rest; if Gilbert missed installments, the business would revert back to Zierold. According to Gilbert: "Herman went down the street and made a bet with a scrap dealer that he'd have the business back in a year." By the time Gilbert paid off the last of his installments, however, Herman Zierold was accepting stock in the company instead of cash.

In the postwar years, Los Angeles and other areas were overcrowded with sheet metal companies, but Gilbert's former association with Douglas led him in a direction that would help Zierold stand out from the rest. From friends at Douglas, Gilbert learned that company was purchasing precision aluminum boxes to cover their electronic systems, paying as much as $600 for a custom-made box to house electronic components. As Gilbert told Forbes, "I couldn't believe it. I thought those parts ought to sell for about $35."

Gilbert set out to produce a box that was simple and inexpensive to make, developing a process to make deep-drawn boxes. In the deep-drawn process, aluminum was subjected to pressures high enough to press--rather than stretch--the metal around a die, creating a seamless box. Because the metal was pressed, causing its molecules to flow around the die, the process eliminated the weaknesses associated with stretching metal. By developing his own dies, Gilbert was able to produce boxes in standardized sizes far more quickly and cheaply than if the boxes needed to be custom-made. Gilbert began taking orders from the aerospace and electronics industries for boxes of various sizes. The company bore the cost for designing and building the dies, which at the time cost between $300 and $1,200, eating into the profits, if any, of an order and placing a heavy financial burden on the company.

By the mid-1950s, the strain of producing the dies forced Zierold to turn business away. Gilbert sought financing, but he worried about losing control of the company. A Small Business Administration loan, however, kept the business afloat, and in 1957, Zierold received new help in the form of a $250,000 investment by Alfred Reddock, a venture capitalist. After Reddock agreed to join the company's board of directors, Zierold gained the credibility it needed to go public, which it did in 1959. A name change soon followed. For years, many of the company's customers had been mistaking "Zierold" for "Zero," going so far as to make out checks to the company under that name. In response, Gilbert changed the company's name to Zero Manufacturing Co.

Over the next decade, the company continued building its collection of dies. An acquisition offer in the mid-1960s by Bendix led Zero to expand its operations beyond California. With no intention to sell, Gilbert nonetheless met with Bendix in order to discover the reasons behind that company's interest in Zero. Learning that Bendix was intent on acquiring sheet metal operations located near the Californian, southern, and New England aerospace markets, Gilbert traveled to manufacturers in those areas, signing on such large concerns as Martin Marietta and Raytheon as Zero customers. Soon after, Zero opened manufacturing facilities in Massachusetts and Florida. Despite gaining such large companies as customers, Gilbert remained determined that no company would account for more than five percent of Zero's sales; as a result orders generally averaged $10,000 or less.

A Brief Stumble in the 1970s

Gilbert next sought to diversify the company's operations. In 1969, Zero purchased the Halliburton luggage-making operations from the Halliburton oil service company. The Zero Halliburton line soon gained worldwide fame. Sales of the line of luggage and cases for photographic equipment rose from $200,000 at the time of the acquisition to nearly $3 million by the end of the 1970s. The company next moved into producing aircraft hydraulic systems and related aircraft devices. Zero's reputation was also enhanced by being chosen to build the cases that would transport moon rocks gathered from the first lunar landing back to Earth.

Yet the company stumbled in the early 1970s. Pursuing a plan to round out the company's operations, Zero made a number of other acquisitions seeking to bring the company into the heating and cooling business. However, a downturn in the economy, and especially in the electronics industry, cut deeply into Zero's profits and caused the company to post operating losses--including a $2 million write-off from selling its new acquisitions--in the first two years of the new decade. By 1973, Zero again turned profitable, earning $600,000 on sales of $22 million. The company changed its name again, to Zero Corporation. The company's success, particularly the success of its deep-drawn manufacturing process, had already caused the zero box to become a generic name in the electronics and aerospace industries.

Zero's collection of dies had grown to over 1,500, which gave the company an edge over competitors making costlier custom-made enclosures, while discouraging others from entering the field in direct competition with Zero. By the late 1970s, nearly all of Zero's die collection had been fully amortized. Sales, with customers including 35 of the 50 largest computer manufacturers in the United States, such as IBM, Burroughs, and Digital Equipment, reached $66 million by 1979, with net earnings of $4.7 million, and a five-year compounded growth rate of 25 percent. The following year, Gilbert retired from full-time management of the company and was replaced by Howard W. Hill. Two years later, Hill was joined by Wilford "Woody" Godbold, a former mergers and acquisitions specialist with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, a Los Angeles law firm. Godbold, who was raised in Hawaii, went to Stanford as an undergraduate, and received a law degree from UCLA after a stint in the Navy, had served as Zero's corporate counsel before joining the company as executive vice-president. When Hill retired in 1985, Godbold took over as chief executive officer.

The 1980s and Beyond

Under Godbold, the company again began a series of acquisitions to diversify operations, buying eight companies in the first half of the decade for a total outlay of about $20 million. These new acquisitions--for example, the 1985 purchase of Contempo Engineering Co. of Glendale, California, a maker of air conditioning systems for computer installations--centered primarily on the electronics industry. The company's customer base grew to include 187 of the 200 largest electronics manufacturers, giving Zero an 85 percent share of the enclosure market. Zero's production facilities had grown to include 16 plants in the United States and England. By then, rather than contracting Zero to custom-make a die, many manufacturers were designing their electronics equipment to fit one of Zero's 1,700 basic dies, which had expanded to provide capacity for some 40,000 box sizes ranging from a few inches to six-foot boxes used to house Stinger missiles. "But there always seems to be one more size we haven't made," Godbold told the Los Angeles Business Journal, and Zero continued to design and produce custom dies for new orders. Most orders involved short production runs, producing high margins for the company--generally nine to ten percent, compared to three percent among most metal manufacturers.

Zero's 1985 sales topped $117 million, bringing net earnings of $11.5 million, which included a $7 million gain from the sale of its Ocean Technology subsidiary. Aiding Zero's growth was the growth of its subsidiaries, particular its Electronics Solutions subsidiary, a computer manufacturing subcontractor acquired in 1985. Between 1987 and 1988, revenues jumped from $139 million to $171 million, with a rise in earnings to $16 million in 1988.

However, a slump in the electronics industry, and cuts in defense spending as the Cold War ended, coupled with a slide into a recession as the 1990s began, slowed Zero down. Sales, which neared $200 million in 1990, fell to $160 million. Per share income also dropped, from $1.02 to $0.62. In an effort to cut operating costs, Godbold moved its Los Angeles factory to Salt Lake City, slashing the company's expenses for workers' compensation, health care, and wages. The company consolidated a number of its remaining California plants to cut operating costs further. Godbold, who served as chairman of the California Chamber of Commerce, was widely criticized for the move. Yet, as Godbold told World Trade, "It wasn't an easy thing for us, but the costs of doing business in the state were eating us alive. We had to do it to remain competitive."

The Utah move helped spur the company's sagging profits. Zero also began a new wave of acquisitions, including the 1993 purchase of J.H. Sessions & Sons of Connecticut, which manufactured case hardware such as handles and hinges and other materials for annual sales of $4 million. Orders from the airline industry also picked up--after a long slump due not only to the recession, but also to fears of terrorism surrounding the Gulf War--including a contact to supply baggage/cargo systems to 50 of United Airlines' Airbus planes. Yet the company's foreign sales were hurt by the slide into the European recession, which saw international revenues drop from over $21 million in 1992 to $15.5 million in 1994.

Total sales grew only at four percent between 1992 and 1995, as compared to the company's former 18-year, 25 percent average growth rate. Nonetheless, Zero remained solidly profitable, with net earnings climbing from $9.7 million in 1991 to nearly $15 million by 1994. In 1995, Zero began acquisitions of three new companies, Precision Fabrication Technologies, which manufactured modular enclosures, data communications products, and accessories for the electronics and telecommunications industries; Electro-Mechanical Imagineering, Inc. (EMI), a maker of enclosure, mounting, and protective devices for closed-circuit television security devices; and G.W. Pearce & Sons Ltd., a UK-based deep-drawn aluminum products manufacturer. Combined, these acquisitions added $16 million to Zero's revenues. Total revenues reached $206 million in fiscal year 1996, producing net earnings of nearly $17 million.

Several more acquisitions followed in the first half of 1996. The Zero Halliburton line expanded to include cases for the booming mobile computing market. In January 1996, Zero launched a new subsidiary, Zero Integrated Systems, to design, engineer, and manufacture completely integrated electronic systems, as well as to provide cost analysis and quality testing services. After more than forty years, Zero had at last moved inside the box.

Principal Subsidiaries: Air Cargo Equipment; Electronic Solutions; Integrated Systems; McLean Engineering; McLean Europe; McLean Midwest; Nielson/Sessions; Samuel Groves & Co. Limited (Birmingham, England); Stantron/PFT/EMI; Zero Enclosures.


Linda Minor said...

Herman Brown, the founder of Brown & Root, died in 1962. Neither he nor his brother, George Rufus Brown, had any sons. Herman did adopt a boy but he kept his name of Stude. It appears the R.O. Brown mentioned was Robert O. Brown, who was an officer with Erle Halliburton's company in Oklahoma, which bought Brown & Root after Herman's death. Robert O. Brown

Published: February 12, 1983

BROWN Robert O. age 74 of Duncan, OK passed away Thurs Feb 10, at Okla Memorial Hospital . Retired Senior Vice President, Secretary and General Legal Counsel of Halliburton Co, Mr. Brown graduated from OU, with a BA degree and from OU Law School in 1932. Survived by his wife, Virginia of the home, 2 daughters, Mrs. Clark C. Doughert of Edmond and Sally North of Long Beach , CA and 4 grandchildren. S...

Read more:

Unknown said...

It is significant that the "Football" was separated from President Reagan at the time of the attempted assassination on March 31, 1981 at the Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC. The officer carrying the bag is clearly visible in news footage of the shooting. He falls to the ground at the first sound of gunfire, several yards behind Reagan, and then gets up once the shooting stops and runs away from the President and the scene. He does not return for hours, and then in the company of a Secret Service agent who is demanding an activation card for the device from Reagan's wallet, already in the possession of FBI agents who were collecting evidence at GWU Hospital, where Reagan was recovering. The FBI agent called his superior, Director William Sessions, who was in the White House Situation Room. An argument had been going on there for some time between forces loyal to Reagan and those loyal to then-Vice-President George Bush. General Alexander Haig was frantically trying to activate a command and control device there. Sessions instructed the FBI agent not to give up the card and wallet and Haig emerged from the situation to tell the press, "Gentleman, I am in charge here until the Vice-President returns," usurping the succession rules of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, but doubtless following the more recent rules of Continuity of Government planning. Haig had, just six days before, been replaced as head of Emergency Management for the White House by VP Bush. In 2001, on 9/11, his son, then-President Bush was aboard Air Force One following the attacks, and complained on Sixty Minutes on the first anniversary, that his secure communication phone to all government agencies and command centers went dead for a period of two hours, forcing them to land at a military installation for him to have command control over the emergency. Similarly, the secure Federal Exchange lines at the Pentagon, to all other agencies, went dead at 1:30 pm EST on November 22, 1963 for several hours, the exact moment of the assassination in Dallas (12:30 pm CST.

William Kelly said...

Thank you Linda. Russ Baker also noted that R.O. was not a "Brown Brother" but I am interested in learning more about Earle and the Zero company that bought out Halliburton's case company.

Unknown said...

nice written

lzambeni said...

Hello Bill, thank you so much for the details about the "football" outlined by McNamara (presumably circa '63). It's interesting to know it weighed approx. 40lbs (!) and was metal but with a leather "jacket". I'm trying to identify Ira Gearhart in photos and film (JFK assassination ID's are my hobby). I've done genealogy research on him and cannot find a photo of him - at any age - anywhere. However, his WWII Army Draft Card describes him thusly: 5'9", 160#, brn hair, rudddy complexion, blue eyes. News stories and/or his obit describe him as "bespectacled" and usually wearing "civlilan clothes" to blend in with other JFK staffers.

In color footage taken outside Parkland, 3 men are seen hurriedly maneuvering around a car and past DPD officers into the ER Amb. bay then turning to go toward the entrance door. The man leading the way is carrying a heavy, squat, broad bag with his left hand - similar in dimensions to the photo you've posted at the top. It seems "heavy" because his left arm is straight at his side and he is counter-balancing the wt of the bag by leaning to the rt and holding with his right arm and hand out from his body, just like the bagman in the photo at the top of your page. He is my candidate for Gearhart. My only problem is you have described it several times as the "black bag" and this bag is a med/light blue - rather like the blue on AF-1. Have you heard specifically that Gearhart's bag was "black"? Or, is it possible the leather jacket was color coordinated with the AF-1 colors - perhaps to be less obvious due to its innocuous looking color? Any further details about Gearhart's appearance (circa '63) or of his football would be helpful! Thanks in advance, Bill!