Tuesday, March 3, 2020

General LeMay at Dealey Plaza


Image result for General LeMay

On the short list of those who hated President Kennedy with a passion and could have killed him and got away with it – are Allen Dulles, William Harvey, J. Edgar Hoover, Jimmy Hoffa, and General Curtis LeMay. 

LeMay was never on my list of suspects until recently, when I discovered the sling on the rifle found in the Sixth Floor of the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) was from a US Air Force M13 sidearm holster for a 38 special aluminum revolver designed especially for Strategic Air Command bombers on LeMay’s instructions.

That sling was there for a reason.

I know that cherry picking facts and evidence against a particular suspect is not the way to solve a political assassination, and rather than building a case against LeMay I will try to compile an accurate profile of him and how he fits into the Dealey Plaza picture, as I will do with each of those primary suspects who hated the President and could have gotten away with murdering him.

LeMay was born in Columbus, Ohio on November 15, 1906 to a large family. Because his father changed jobs a lot and was often out of work, young LeMay became an avid fisherman and helped feed the family with his catches. At first it was a matter of survival, then it became a hobby.

Fishing would remain a lifelong passion with LeMay, as would his two other primary interests – amateur HAM radios and marksmanship with pistols, rifles and shotgun skeet shooting.

Becoming fascinated with air planes as a child, LeMay studied civil engineering at Ohio State University where he participated in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), entering the Army Air Corps in 1928 as a lieutenant, a specialist in bombing aircraft.


My father – Staff Sgt. William Kelly, Sr. served in the 8th Army Air force as a B-17 side gunner, flying 19 missions before being wounded in action. General LeMay was one of his commanding officers as he led the B-17 daylight strategic bombing missions from England, emphasizing training and tight formations of the “Flying Fortress” over “Fortress Europe.”

It is important to note that one of LeMay’s young officers at the time was Robert McNamara, an analyst who would later revamp the Ford Motor Company and was recommended to JFK on the advice of Robert Lovett, Truman’s Secretary of Defense. Lovett also suggested McGeorge Bundy and Dean Rusk.

McNamara became President John Kennedy’s Secretary of Defense who often was at odds with LeMay. 

[See: McNamara and LeMay academic paper Abstract: Personality and Politics – the Untold 

At first the Norton bomb site made for precision bombing of factories and military targets, but eventually they began, at LeMay’s suggestion, to carpet bomb entire cities, as they did with Dresden, killing thousands of civilians.

Late in the war he was assigned to the Pacific Theater where LeMay commanded the B-29 fleet that incendiary carpet bombed Japanese cities - “fire jobs” LeMay called them that killed hundred of thousands of civilians. He also was in command of the two bombers who delivered the nuclear bombs that effectively ended the war.

Unfortunately it also affirmed LeMay’s position that after enough people were killed, they would surrender, which they did.


The official history notes that: “Upon World War II's conclusion, LeMay became the Deputy Chief of Air Staff for Research and Development and was assigned to the Pentagon. He held this position for a little more than a year, when he assumed command of the United States Air Wing in Europe. His greatest accomplishment in this post was overseeing the Berlin Airlift. In 1949, he assumed command of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), a position that he held until 1957. Under his leadership, SAC became a much more advanced force, especially as all planes became jet-powered. In 1957, LeMay was appointed as Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. He became the Chief of Staff in 1961. During his time in this position, LeMay became known for his staunch opposition to communism. While a general dislike of communism ran rampant in the United States during this period, LeMay advocated a much more militant approach to stopping the spread of communism than other political and military leaders.”

After Eisenhower’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was sent packing to Europe after proposing a Northwinds – false flag “Remember the Maine,” type of operation to instigate an attack against Cuba, Kennedy appointed retired General Maxwell Taylor chairman of the Joint Chiefs after JFK read his 1960 book “Uncertain Trumpet.”

Taylor was an outspoken critic of Eisenhower’s ‘New Look’ defense policy, which Taylor “viewed as dangerously reliant of nuclear arms and neglectful of conventional forces.”

Taylor was also critical of the Joint Chiefs of Staff system…Taylor developed a deep regard and personal affection for RFK, a friendship that remained firm until RFK’s assassination in 1968.”

As a critic of Taylor said: “The President...effectively made Taylor the President’s primary military advisor, cutting out the Joint Chiefs. Kennedy ended this uncomfortable arrangement by appointing Taylor as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a position he held until 1964.”  

Taylor received fierce criticism from H.R. McMaster in his book “Dereliction of Duty,”  which accused him of misrepresenting the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Defense Secretary McNamara, and cutting the Joint Chiefs out of the decision  making process.”

As Air Force Chief of Staff, LeMay had many confrontations with President Kennedy, Secretary of Defense McNamara, McNamara’s aide Roswell Gilpatrick and Secretary of the Air Force Eugene Zuckert. 


There were a number of administrative and budget battles including Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) vs. B-52 and the proposed B-70 “Valkyrie” bomber, a battle that LeMay lost; the control of nuclear weapons between the Atomic Energy Commission and LeMay’s Strategic Air Command (SAC), that LeMay eventually won; the use of conventional regular military over unconventional, asymmetrical (covert commando) warfare; and the use of military force verses diplomacy during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The idea of developing special forces like the Green Berets and Navy SEALS was based on the principles developed by Nazi Colonel Otto Skorzeny during World War II, and was favored by the CIA’s Ed Lansdale, who was also an Air Force General.

Lansdale had the CIA’s psychological warfare specialist – Paul Linebarger train Napoleon Valeriano in the Phillipines to fight the Huk guerrilas, using unconventional psychological warfare tactics that succeeded, and Lansdale had Valeriano begin the training of the anti-Castro Cuban forces for the Bay of Pigs. That plan was originally developed by Lansdale, USMC Colonel Hawkins and the CIA’s Jacob Easterline. Easterline had led the Operation Success task force during the Guatemalan Coup in 1954, primarily a psychological warfare operation that was to be adapted for use in Cuba.

Lansdale had Valeriano train the Cubans as commandos who were to be infiltrated into Eastern Cuba mountains in small groups and support anti-Castro Cubans already operating there, as Castro himself had successfully done.

As the CIA’s Official History of the Bay of Pigs says: “From original plans for the infiltration into Cuba of small teams of agency trained specialists in communications, sabotage and paramilitery operations….now plans called for an amphibious landing.”

When Lansdale and Valeriano were removed and the plans changed, both Colonel Hawkins USMC and the CIA’s Jacob Easterline threatened to resign, but were convinced to stay on by Richard Bissell.

According to LeMay the military was never brought into the planning for the Bay of Pigs until they were almost ready to go, when they apparently recommended a change in the operation from infiltration of commando teams to a full fledged mechanized invasion, and the location of the attack from the East Coast near the mountains to the swampy Bay of Pigs.

So the use of conventional forces over the commandos won out, but lost at the Bay of Pigs without proper air support, a failure that led to the dismissal of CIA director Allen Dulles and his Air Force aide General Charles Cabel, the brother of the mayor of Dallas.

Kennedy kept two of his hateful enemies on however – J. E. Hoover at FBI and General LeMay as Chief of Staff of the Air Force. One of the reasons, JFK confided to a close associate, was that LeMay was as feared by the Soviet generals as the Nazi German General Staff feared General Patton. But he didn’t seek or take LeMay’s advice very often.


The military brass’ desire to use blunt force came to a head over the civilian control of the military when President Kennedy ignored the unanimous recommendation of the Joint Chiefs to attack the Soviet missiles in Cuba and instead he negotiated a peaceful resolution to the crisis, much to the dismay of LeMay, who said “it was Munich all over again.”

LeMay was referring, of course, to JFK’s father’s support of Neville Chamberlain’s deal with Hitler at Munich in a futile attempt to keep England and the US out of World War II. 

Ambassafor Joe Kennedy’s support of Chamberlain was seen as a coward’s response to a bully, while JFK himself wrote, “While England Slept,” his Harvard Pulitzer Prize thesis that proposed the reason for England’s weak position was their own failure to rearm their military after World War I.

One of the last things JFK saw, and recognized, was the Umbrella Man’s umbrella, meant as a protest of JFK’s pro-Communist policies in Cuba and the USSR. And it is no coincidence the Umbrella Man said he was encouraged to make his one man protest by others in his building’s cafeteria, which included the offices of the US Army Intelligence. Those officers dined with the Umbrella Man and told him that the umbrella was a symbol and sign detested by the Kennedys. So he says he instigated his one man’s protest at the moment JFK was shot in the head.

As with the Bay of Pigs, there was more to the Cuban Missile Crisis that dovetails with the assassination, and deserves additional attention in relation to how it fits the coup scenario, but here the focus is on LeMay. And there’s a lot about LeMay and the Cuban Missile Crisis in Caroline Kennedy’s book “Listening,” which will also get more attention down the line.

There’s been some attention and speculation as to whether JFK listened in to the Joint Chiefs when he left the Oval Office – stormed out, with a bad bearing on LeMay. Actually LeMay was quite up front with JFK when he said, “You’re in a pretty bad fix, Mr. President.” And when JFK asked LeMay to repeat that, JFK replied, “Well, you’re in it with me!”

But when JFK leaves the room with the tape recorders running, it is not LeMay but US Marine Corps General Shoup who talks the most, saying LeMay was correct in his assessment and the Joint Chiefs were unanimous in their recommendation they attack Cuba immediately and take the missiles out. JFK had spent a veterans holiday with Shoup, who had personally seen serious combat in the South Pacific, as had JFK, and both knew the horrors of war and were still afflicted with those memories.

 At one point in the movie “Thirteen Days,” staring Kevin Costner as JFK’s chief assistant and former Harvard football team mate Kenny O’Donnell, there's a scene worth recounting. In the movie, a prequil to Oliver Stone’s “JFK,” the President mentions a book, Barbara Tuchman’s Pulitizer Prize winning “The Guns of August,” that sickened him because of its portrayal of politicians and generals making stupid decisions early in WW1 that cost millions of lives, and JFK wasn’t about to make such a decision.

LeMay had already made decisions that killed hundreds of thousands in carpet bombing of German and Japanese cities, and personally pulled the trigger on the only two nuclear weapons ever detonated over populated civilian cities And he controlled the USAF Strategic Air Command fleet as well as the ICBM nuclear strike force, so he knew all about weapons, and had no qualms about using them.

At the top of the nuclear heap there are the B-52 bombers that were kept flying in the air on station 24/7 – as portrayed in the movie, “Dr. Strangelove – Or How I Learned to Love the Bomb,” that includes portrayals of generals like LeMay and Walker.

When LeMay first took over SAC the nuclear arsenal was in the hands of the Atomic Energy Commission, and LeMay had to pry them loose to arm his bombers, which he did. Then he had a series of major budget wars over developing the B-70 supersonic jet bomber to replace the B-52 fleet, or go with the ICBMs and Polaris sub missiles. LeMay fought for the B-70 supersonic jet bomber – nicknamed “Valkyrie,” had a few test models built, and was so interested in the details of the revolutionary plane (a military version of the Concorde), that he personally made specifications for certain items – like pilot survival gear.

Now I remember a guy from Margate, N.J. named Upperman whose white buck tail deer fishing lures were unique, hand made artificial bait that worked so well –the US Navy ordered hundreds of them that were included in a Navy pilot’s survival kit. 

In the movie “Dr. Strangelove,” after the go-code was given, and confirmed by the code book in the safe, Captain Slim Pickens goes through a survival kit taking inventory of its items – rubles, gold, lady’s stockings, rubbers, - sparking Pickens to quip that “A guy could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with this.”

For the B-70 bomber LeMay wanted a special weapon – one that had to be designed – a lightweight, plastic, floating stock for a small caliber 22 – 25 caliber rifle, the barrel of which can fit into the stock.  This became the Armalite AR-5 – the rifle in the James Bond movie “From Russia with Love,” that came with the weapons and money filled specially equipped attache case.

For LeMay’s bomber pilot survival kit LeMay wanted a special pistol as well. Apparently because weight is a major factor in a nuclear bomber’s performance, LeMay wanted a special 38 revolver made out of aluminum instead of steel.

While Colt only made 2,000 and another manufacturer more, it was soon determined that the aluminum .38 special could only be used once, and was thereafter unuseable, as the aluminum was unable to withstand repeated use. So it was only kept in survival kits in SAC bomber safes, along with the nuclear codes. It was kept in a leather holster and a leather and cloth sling – identical to the USAF sidearm holster sling attached to the rifle found on the Sixth Floor of the TSBD and allegedly used in the assassination of the President.

Since LeMay’s special aluminum .38 revolver was unuseable, they were recalled and ordered destroyed with the aluminum recycled, though as many as 50 have survived, probably taken home by retiring pilots before the recall and destruction order, and these are prized by collectors and often imitated.

LeMay also ordered a number of special Armalite AR-5 (later AR-7) survival rifles for use by his bomber crews. As seen in the 007 movie "From Russia with Love," As noted: "The Armalite AR-7 Explorer survival rifle was a design by Fairchild Engine and Aircraft Corporation's famous ArmaLite Division. It was an improvement of the earlier AR-5, which had been designed for the USAF's MA-1 survival weapon trials but wasn't adopted. It was a simple .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle with a barrel, action, and magazine made of aluminum alloy and a combination buttstock / storage case made of polymer. The barrel / action group and magazine fit inside the stock, which was water-resistant and foam-filled to make it buoyant."

AR-5-7 007's Sniper rifle developed as a survival weapon for the Air Force under LeMay's request. 

As with the fate of his special pistol, LeMay only ordered a dozen AR-7s before the B-70 budget was killed in favor of the ICBMs, that were developed by former Nazi Weiner Von Braun, and used to put a man on the moon (July 20, 1970 – the anniversary of the Valkyrie plot to kill Hitler).

Then there's the AR-15 that became the M-16, that LeMay had a role in its adaption by the military.


"Enter General LeMay. As the famous story goes, the general was attending a Fourth of July celebration in 1960, and was approached by a salesman from Colt, looking to reintroduce the AR-15 as a viable service rifle. The salesman placed two watermelons on a shooting range – one at 50 and one 150 yards (LeMay colorfully opted to eat a third watermelon) – and handed an AR-15 and loaded magazines to LeMay. The general shot the rifle, and was instantly sold – he placed an order for 80,000 AR-15 rifles on the spot for the U.S. Air Force."

While I was casing the internet for LeMay guns, there was one for sale that was inscribed by LeMay to a US Army general, which reminded me of the .38 Special revolver General William Donovan of the OSS gave as a gift to Ian Fleming, the creator of 007, who was then Assistant to the Chief of British Naval Intelligence. At Donovan's request, Fleming drew up a charter for a national intelligence agency, so the pistol was a gift for doing the charter. 

In looking up the background of the Army general, I found that he was the Commander of all US Army Reserve Units in the country, which fits in with the hypothesis that the US Army Reserves were used in the assassination much like the German Home Guard were used in the Valkyrie Plot to kill Hitler. 

Further research revealed that at some point, in line with McNamara's streamlining of the military, there was a suggestion to unify the Army Reserves and the State National Guard units under one command. LeMay, a former ROTC and Reservists himself, then suggested that ALL of the Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force Reserves be unified under one command, but neither suggestion was every seriously considered or adopted.

LeMay must have given the Army Reserve general a gift pistol for a reason.

Other LeMay guns: 


Another budget war that LeMay lost was the multi-billion dollar contract for the FTX-111 jet fighter-bomber. In his oral history, LeMay says that it was all a political decision because Boeing clearly had the better plane, but the contract went to General Dynamics.

LeMay had an obvious affinity and probably friends over at Boeing as the B-17, B-29 and B-52 were all clearly his planes, but they say General Dynamics had key players in it’s corner - Asst. Sec. Defese Roswell Gilpatrick – and working “security” they had former FBI agent I.B. Hale.

Now Jim DiEugenio over at Kenndys and King, recently wrote an article that looked closely at the TFX-111 deal and concluded that there was no “scandal,” and to go with General Dynamics was the right, rather than the political decision. 

I just want to know why an FBI stakeout team watched the twin sons of I.B. Hale illegally break into the Vegas apartment of Judyth Cambell Exner, and didn’t do anything about it? The FBI said it had something to do with the TFX and not the assassination. If so what? 

Since the accused assassin of the President Lee Harvey Oswald went to high school with the Hale twins, and their mother obtained Oswald jobs, including the one at Jaggers/Chiles/Stoval, the idea the break in had something to do with the assassination was squelched when they said it more likely had something to do with the Boeing-Gen. Dynamics battle over the TFX-111 funding. I don’t know, but there must be some more records on this.


B-70 or ICBMs, Boeing or General Dynamics, it didn’t matter, LeMay had his finger on the trigger of all of the nuclear weapons except those aboard the Navy’s Polaris missiles. The Navy didn’t like either version of the TFX-111, or agree with McNamara’s determination that one plane be used by all of the services. The Navy wanted their own plane, but had to settle for the combined fighter-bomber.

Once he had control over the weapons, the bombers and the missiles LeMay organized and recruited a special security police to protect them, getting into the details of the special guard unit’s training, uniform and weapons. 

They also had to develop a fool proof system to ensure that such a nuclear weapons force would not be hijacked or unleashed except under very strict procedures.

The system is complex, but simply understandable in the deleniation of the lines of military command, which is different than the presidential line of succession.

The presidential line of succession goes from the President to the Vice President to the Speaker of the House and the Secretary of State.

The military line of command, capable of going to war, goes from the President to the Secretary of Defense, to the Assistant Secretary of Defense to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In his book “The Skorzeny Papers,” USAF Maj. Ralph Ganis  – says that the capability to commit political assassination – even the execution of a President was there in place, – but could have only been used by those with the command authority to do so – much like the authority to go to nuclear war and the military line of command.

While the extant Air Force One radio transmissions – that include mention of General LeMay, have been edited and do not contain a lot of what we know were on them from the original unedited transcript (read by three reputable journalists) we know what was heard, especially by the USAF radio technicians that manned the radios through which the communications were transmitted.

One such technician, on his deathbed, made sure to relate the fact that shortly after the assassination there was broadcast over the military channel the fact that there was more than one assassin. 

Another such White House Communications Agency (WHCA) radioman said in the hours after the assassination that, “- the Joint Chiefs are now in Charge.”

This is reminiscent of General Haig who, shortly after John Hinckley shot President Reagan, went on live TV to announce that he was “in charge,” at the White House Situation Room.

It is also similar to Vice President Dick Chaney ordering the Air Force to shoot down commercial airliners that do not respond to the order to land. Chaney did this during the first few hours of the 9/11 crisis when President Bush was in the air aboard Air Force One. Because of the situation
the pilot took the plane so high that it lost communications, and had to land – at Barksdale Air Force Base in Schriveport, La., a SAC base with a state-of-the-art underground, nuclear proof Command and Control Center. (For more on this see: AF1 on 9/11 TV documentary). As long as President Reagan was alive, Chaney was Vice President and out of the military chain of command that went from the President to the Secretary of Defense, and bypasses the Vice President.


To me, the most significant aspect of the assassination that involves LeMay is his chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff while General Taylor was in Vietnam on September 24, 1963. That's when they were briefed by the CIA’s Desmond FitzGerald about the CIA’s detailed study of the German military’s plot to kill Hitler, which was being adapted for use against Castro. While the CIA couldn’t get a cadre of disenchanted Cuban military officers to stage an assassination and coup against Castro, that was no problem with the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, who were pretty much unanimous in their distrust and hatred of the President.


Along these same lines, if the assassination was a coup d’etat, and General LeMay gave his approval and had foreknoweldge of the event, then control over communications was a key aspect of the coup plans, as required by the practical handbook – Ed Lutwak’s “Coup d’etat.

As HAM radio operators are proud of the fact that, "LeMay was a Heathkit customer and active amateur radio operator and held a succession of call signs; K0GRL, K4FRA, and W6EZV. He held these calls respectively while stationed at Offutt AFB, Washington, D.C. and when he retired in California. K0GRL is still the call sign of the Strategic Air Command Memorial Amateur Radio Club.  He was famous for being on the air on amateur bands while flying on board SAC bombers. LeMay became aware that the new single sideband (SSB) technology offered a big advantage over amplitude modulation for SAC aircraft operating long distances from their bases. In conjunction with Heath engineers and Art Collins (W0CXX) of Collins Radio, he established SSB as the radio standard for SAC bombers in 1957."

 "Surfin': More Hamming at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue". National Association for Amateur Radio.
^ "Amateur Radio and the Rise of SSB"(PDF). National Association for Amateur Radio.

In that regard LeMay was in the loop, as his personal hobbies not only included fishing and shooting, but he was also an amateur HAM radio operator and personal friend of Arthur Collins. Collins was the Cedar Rapids, Iowa radio buff who built a short wave radio receiver that was capable of tuning in the field reports from US Navy Admiral Byrd and his artic explorers. Collins then relayed the information to the Navy, and the military then hired Collins to build them similar radios, establishing Collins Radio as a major defense contractor. Admiral Byrd was related to his financial supporter and cousin, D. H. Byrd, the Dallas oil and aviation defense contractor who owned the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD) at the time of the assassination.

Just as LeMay was off fishing at the time of the assassination, Byrd was off hunting on s safari in Africa.

Because of his association with LeMay, Collins built the radios used by all SAC aircraft as well as the Executive Administration fleet that included Air Force One, LBJ’s plane and the Cabinet plane, over frequencies used exclusively by the military. As can be heard on the Air Force One tapes, Collins Radio’s “Liberty” station (aka Fishbowl), in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was the relay station for all of the broadcasts on November 22, 1963, and thus controlled key communications.


The official story is that General LeMay was fishing at a remote Michigan lake resort where his wife’s family frequently vacationed, and he says in his oral history that he was ordered back to Washington immediately after the assassination.

We know from the second (Gen.) Clifton version of the Air Force One tapes, in a section edited out of the cassette tapes released to the public, that General LeMay was out of contact with his chief adjunct Col. Dorman, who was trying to use the Air Force One – Liberty station relay to get an important message to LeMay while he was enroute back to Washington from a remote Canadian airbase that must have been the closest with a runway capable of handling the executive jet the Air Force at Andrews had sent to pick up LeMay. It should also be noted that this jet was not LeMay’s personal Command and Control plane that was nicknamed “Speckled Trout,” a very elusive fish that can only be caught at certain places at specific times. 

Those who are trying to determine exactly where LeMay was fishing at the time of the assassination have identified two places, one in Michigan and the other in Canada, where LeMay may have been at the time of the assassination. The one in Michigan seems to fit the bill closer to his wife’s family lodge, and one of the nearby lodges was owned by Jimmy Hoffa, another one of those on the short list of Kennedy haters who had the capability to kill the President and get away with it. Someone is reportedly making a documentary film about a LeMay-Hoffa fishing expedition, one that should be interesting.

The lodge in Canada identified by another LeMay enthusiast will be included in his book on the assassination. He has convinced me that his location, an exclusive hunting and fishing lodge, ten miles from where LeMay departed, is probably where LeMay was fishing. Owned by Detroit car manufacturers, it is an exclusive resort used only by industrial big shots, and while it didn’t have telephone service, the ability for its patrons to remain in contact with their companies was maintained by short wave radio. And you can bet, if LeMay was in on the deal, he wasn’t fishing but glued to the radio at the time of the assassination and in on the communications loop that was controlled by his friend Art Collins.

While we don’t know what the urgent message LeMay’s aide Colonel Dorman was trying to convey to him, we do know from the Andrew’s Log that LeMay disobeyed an order from Secretary of the Air Force Zuckerman as to which airport he was to land, as LeMay frequently disobeyed orders from McNamara and Zuckerman. LeMay just pretty much ignored them.

Without getting into the details, many believe, as I do, that it was General LeMay who was the cigar smoking four star general at the autopsy who Navy technician Paul O’Conner refers to in his recollections of the autopsy.

Few of the LeMay enthusiasts believe it was just a coincidence that LeMay was on a fishing expedition when the assassination occurred. Even if LeMay was in on it, he had to be put out of the way, as the thinking goes, for security reasons. Those who planned the Dealey Plaza Operation in detail thought that the murder of the President would be immediately recognized as a conspiracy of more than one gunman, as it was, and Oswald the Patsy points the finger directly at Fidel Castro, which could have sparked an invasion of Cuba, but they didn’t want to start a nuclear war.

In order for that not to happen, LeMay had to be taken out of the military chain of command, if only for a few hours, and the nuclear strike force had to be neutralized.


At the time of the assassination, the military officer (Ira Gehart) with the “football,” the black bag with the nuclear codes, who always accompanies the President, was separated from the JFK as he was in the last car in the motorcade, along with the White House Communications Agency (WHAC) officers, whose office and base station was set up at the Dallas Sheraton hotel. They followed the President and LBJ to Parkland hospital, but were separated again when LBJ suddenly left for AF1 before the death of the President was announced.

At Air Force One, LBJ made a number of phone calls, though they weren’t recorded as the AF1 recording system only kicked in when the plane was in the air. We know that LBJ called RFK in Washington DC to ask him for the wording of the oath of office. He also called Federal Texas Judge Hughes to tell her to come to Love Field and AF1 in order to administer the oath. He also called a Dallas lawyer friend named Goldberg. 

He is also known to have called J. Waddy Bullion, his tax and investment attorney and said that he now - ostensibly as a result of the assassination, he will have to sell his Haliburton stocks.

Haliburton just happens to be the Texas company that made the heavy duty attache case that the nuclear football with the code books was contained in, as Gehert was trying to catch up with him.

While LBJ didn’t ask about the nuclear football, he did wonder aloud, “If the missiles were flying.”

At the same time, aboard the Cabinet plane over the Pacific, on the way to Japan for a conference on Vietnam, Press Secretary Pierre Salinger learned of the assassination over the wire service ticker tape. He informed Secretary of State Dean Rusk, the senior administration official on board, who recognized the assassination as something that would affect us all. “'If this is true,’ Secretary Rusk said, ‘this is going to have repercussions around the world for years to come.’" 

As it still does today.

When the plane’s radio operator informed them that “Stranger” at the White House Situation Room had ordered them to return to Washington, D.C., Rusk wanted to know the identity of “Stranger,” but when they opened the plane’s safe, the code book was missing!

So, as we learn from the Air Force One radio tapes, security protocol was broken when Salinger asked the White House Situation Room for the identity of “Stranger,” – WHCA Major Patterson, who Salinger knew personally and vouched for his authority.


Shortly after taking over the Strategic Air Command in 1949, LeMay was dismayed that the SAC bombers were not properly protected by security. Then, as the story goes, " After ordering a mock bombing exercise on Dayton, Ohio, LeMay was shocked to learn that most of the strategic bombers assigned to the mission missed their targets by one mile or more. 'We didn't have one crew, not one crew, in the entire command who could do a professional job' noted LeMay."

Years later, my University of Dayton, Ohio school mate and Committee for an Open Archives (COA) and COPA associate John Judge, attended a social function at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. Judge was a conscientious objector counselor who had a number of Air Force clients on the base, and went there on occasion. He told me that at one occasion at Wright-Pat he met a SAC B-52 pilot. When Judge asked him what he was doing on November 22, 1963, the pilot said he was in the air on alert over their routine station. When they heard news of the assassination over regular AM radio news bulletin, he expected a change in orders, and went to get the code book to decode any new orders, but the code book was missing! He was surprised when no change in orders came.

When they landed, the pilot said he talked to other B-52 pilots, and they all said they had the same experience.

As John Judge asked, “Who had the power to remove the code books from SAC and Special Executive planes?

And now we know that among the items in those safes were M-13 USAF sidearm sling and holsters with aluminium 38 special revolvers as part of the survival kits, a sling identical to the sling on the Mannlicher Carcano rifle said to have been used to kill President Kennedy.

On November 22, 1963, while Air Force Chief of Staff LeMay was off fishing in Michigan or Canada, the rest of the Joint Chiefs were at the Pentagon, meeting with their West German counterparts from the German General Staff, two of whom were participants in the July 20, 1944 assassination and coup attempt against Hitler, but escaped being identified. The Germans were incredulous at the response of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on hearing the news of the assassination. Chairman Taylor resumed the meeting, and then afterwards, took a nap.


When Dallas entertainment writer Tony Zoppi was questioned by the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), he told them about General LeMay's close association with Havana/Vegas Casino operator Charles "Babe" Baron. Zoppi was supposed to go to Havana with Jack Ruby, but went to Vegas instead to cover a "Rat Pack" show. Baron was connected to the Chicago outfit, and was a General in the US Army Reserves. 

When the HSCA checked in with Baron, he was visiting LeMay at the time. 

Without mentioning his name, LeMay's daughter, in a lengthly oral history interview, says that her son's godfather was a Vegas casino operator and a US Army General who often visited her father. LeMay always picked up General Baron at the airport and carried his luggage. She also neglects to mention where in Michigan her family vacationed and where LeMay was at the time of the assassination. 

I don't think LeMay was the mastermind or brains behind the Dealey Plaza Operation. For one, it wasn't his style. He'd just as soon fire a missile than make a surgical strike to the head. 

The Dealey Plaza Operation was a bit convoluted if not complex, with the Oswald-Castro deception, an ongoing, coordinated psychological warfare campaign that was beyond the comprehension of LBJ, J. Edgar Hoover and LeMay. 

But if the assassination was a coup, they all had to be in on it, or compromised. I think they were in on it.

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This article is dedicated to Nicholas Hopkins who just wrote me:

"Hey Bill, Just wanted to say a quick hello and hope all is well. I donated $55.00 today to your GoFundMe. I hope it helps, even if in a small way. On a semi-related note, I was watching the recent documentry on Netflix about RFK, and I found myself in tears by the 5th episode. Between JFK, Malcom, MLK and RFK, I can’t help but feel sadness and anger. I feel like all of humanity was robbed of a greater peace and closeness by men in power like the Dulles,LeMay’s, of world, who wanted to maintain status quo. America needs belated justice and closure on the sordid saga of murders from the 60’s. It’s not fair what happened to the Kennedy family, and though I never knew them, my heart hurts for them."

"So keep pushing, keep doing the noble work you are doing. Myself and others are behind you all the way. You are a good man to take on this dangerous work, so please be careful as well."

"Sending you good vibes and positive energy. Sincerely, Nick"


Sletten Mienskip said...

One of the military intelligence officers who worked in the Rio Grande Building was Edward Coyle, who told the ARRB "Now let’s face it: I don’t know how many people know it, you know, but
the general public does not know that in the event of a military takeover in the United States that the Army is in control? The Army is in control."

Brandon said...

AR-15 or an AR-5?

Unknown said...

Wonderful essay, Bill .... Thanks!

Rachel said...

What a paper Bill. LeMay had representatives. I collect all i can on those links. John Judge as you know believed LeMay was well aware of the plan. This paper has interesting details.

William Kelly said...

Thank you Brandon, it should have been a AR-5 - and I have corrected that.