When the Clifton copy of the Air Force One radio transmission recordings from 11/22/63 were released, I immediately compared it to the copy I had transcribed, and noticed some important aspects that were edited out of the copy of the tape I had received from the LBJ Library years earlier and transcribed. On the new tape, a man identifies himself as “Colonel Dorman – General LeMay’s aid” who wanted to get an important message to LeMay, who was flying back to DC from Canada, where he was said to be on a fishing vacation.
While we don’t know what the message was, I identified Dorman and found he was from near Trenton, where I also was living at the time, and found a phone number for him. While Dorman had died in combat in Vietnam, his widow answered the phone and acknowledged that she was the wife of Colonel Dorman, General LeMay’s aide. She said that on the day JFK was killed she was working in the White House on the historic restoration project begun by Mrs. Kennnedy. She worked for a man named “Castro,” who when informed of JFK’s death, closed all the curtains and told them to leave. Mrs. Dorman said she went to a chapel to pray, and then went home. She said she lived on General’s Row alongside Arlington Cemetery.
MRS. DORMAN’S SON
I also talked on the phone with Mrs. Dorman’s son, who was about ten years old at the time of the assassination who recalls climbing a tree in Arlington Cemetery and watching the burial of JFK from a high perch. He also said that his father once took him on a tour of General LeMay’s private command and control plane – nicknamed “Speckled Trout,” that was an airborne command post. It was not the plane sent to pick up LeMay from a Canadian airport on the day of the assassination.
MAJOR HAROLD R. PATTERSON – AKA “STRANGER”
Also on the Clifton tape is an excerpt edited out of the LBJ Library version of the tape, in which Pierre Salinger – the President’s Press Secretary – aboard the Cabinet Plane over the Pacific, receives a radio call from the Situation Room in the White House to return to DC immediately.
Salinger took the message to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, the senior officer aboard, who wanted to know who was giving this instruction. Salinger said it was from an officer who identified himself as “STRANGER” in the White House Situation Room. Rusk said they couldn’t take orders from someone named “STRANGER” and wanted to know who it was. Salinger went to the pilot and requested the code book, but when the pilot opened the plane’s safe, the code book was missing! So Salinger went back on the radio to the Situation Room and requested the full identify of “STRANGER.”
After a little while, the Situation Room responded saying “STRANGER” was Major Harold Patterson, who Salinger personally knew and vouched for.
As I now had his name, I looked Patterson up and found him in Virginia and called him on the phone. He acknowledged being in the Situation Room at the time of the assassination, working for the White House Communications Agency (WHCA). He also acknowledged talking with Salinger and the fact that the code book aboard the Cabinet Plane was missing.
We talked for a little while and he was quite honest and open with me, but a few days later when Jefferson Morley called him he clammed up, and wouldn’t talk, as someone must have got to him.
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