Generals and Admirals at Dealey Plaza
While Gen. Taylor was on a special mission to Vietnam, General LeMay chaired a Sept. 25, 1963 meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for a briefing by CIA officer Desmond FitzGerald on CIA covert operations against Cuba. FitzGerald mentioned the fact that the CIA was seeking disenchanted Cuban military officers to oppose Castro, much like the German military attempted an assassination and coup against Hitler in 1944. FitzGerald said they had identified about ten such officers, but they had not developed the confidence to talk to one another. That was not a problem in the U.S. military, as the Joint Chiefs of Staff were united in their recommendation that the US military should invade Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis and other than General Taylor, their hatred of the president and his policies.
General Maxwell Taylor
General Maxwell Taylor - Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Taylor was brought out of retirement to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs by President Kennedy, after Kennedy read a book Taylor wrote on military strategy. Taylor led the investigation into the failure at the Bay of Pigs. He was close friends with RFK, who named one of his sons after Taylor. At the time of the assassination Taylor was in a meeting at the Pentagon with the German General Staff, which included two German generals who were involved in the July 20, 1944 plot to kill Hitler, but escaped retribution. The Germans later reported that they were perplexed by Taylor's response to the news of the assassination. He continued the meeting as if nothing had happened, and then took a nap. As US chief representative to NATO, Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer may have also attended that meeting. For more on Taylor: JFKCountercoup2: General Maxwell Davenport Taylor
General Lyman L. Lemnitzer - Appointed by President Eisenhower, Lemnitzer became the fourth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1960-1962. Near the end of WWII Allen Dulles and Lemnitzer met with German military officers to arrange the unconditional surrender of German forces in Italy and Southern Austria, without consulting the President. After the war Lemnitzer helped establish NATO. After disagreements with President Kennedy over Berlin, Cuba and Southeast Asia, Lemnitzer endorsed the Northwoods plan to fake an attack on the USA, blame Cuba and use the attack as a justification of an invasion of Cuba. Lemnitzer was removed as Chairman on September 30, 1962 and was appointed Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (NATO) where he served from 1962 - 1969. Lemnitzer, in 1975 served on President Ford's Commission on CIA Activities within the USA.
General Victor "Brut" Krulak USMC SACIA - At the Pentagon Krulak was assigned to the position of SACIA - Special Assistant for Counter-Insurgency Activities, which was responsible for support CIA covert operations, primarily in Cuba and Vietnam. As a marine officer in the South Pacific, one of Krulak's marine units was rescued from a Japanese held island by Lt. J. F. Kennedy and PT-109, an incident depicted in the book and the movie.One evening Krulak visited JFK at the White House, apparently after hours, because there is no record of it. Krulak said he took Kennedy a bottle of whisky that he had promised him for rescuing his troops in the South Pacific. Krulak's adjunct Colonel Walter Higgins, wrote the memo of the September 25, 1963 meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when CIA officer Desmond FitzGerald briefed them on the status of CIA covert ops against Cuba, specifically mentioning their "detailed study" of the July 20, 1944 German military plot to kill Hitler, that the CIA was adapting for use against Castro.
For more on Krulak: JFKCountercoup2: General Victor H. Krulak
General Curtis LeMay - Air Force Chief of Staff, LeMay was temporary chairman and ran the Sept. 25, 1963 meeting while General Taylor was on a special mission to Vietnam. On the Friday before the assassination LeMay wrapped up a two day conference of USAF generals at Maxwell AFB in Alabama. He then went on a hunting and fishing expedition to Michigan with entertainer Author Godfrey. When notified of the assassination, LeMay requested a USAF special mission pick him up at Toronto, and then changed that to Warton, Canada, near where he was apparently hunting and fishing. JFKCountercoup2: AF's Top Generals Complete Two-Day Meetings at MAFB
General Author Godfrey USAF Reserves - A pilot himself, Godfrey owned a special plane given to him by Eddie Rickenbacker, the president of Eastern Airlines. Godfrey picked up LeMay in Alabama and together they went to Detroit and then on to a special hunting and fishing preserve and private club that Godfrey belonged to. At the time of the assassination Godfrey was back at his entertainment studio in New York City, so he must have left LeMay back in Michigan/Canada. JFKCountercoup2: Godfrey Wings Off To Hunt With Gen. LeMay
General Edward Lansdale USAF - Lansdale was technically a special warfare and counterinsurgency specialist with the CIA, but given a general's rank in the Air Force. After defeating a suspected communist insurgency by Hulks in the Philippines, Lansdale brought a Philippine counter-insurgency expert Napoleon Villaneuve with him to help train anti-Castro Cuban commandos in Central America, the brigade that would go ashore at the Bay of Pigs. At first Lansdale and others involved in the planning of the operation intended for small groups of commandos be trained and infiltrated into Cuba on the eastern end of the island, where they could set up staging areas in the mountains as Castro himself had done. These commando were called the Pathfinders, and some were infiltrated into Cuba a few weeks before the Bay of Pigs. At some point the plan changed from infiltrating the commandos in small groups to a full fledged mechanized landing, that failed. Lansdale later led Operation Mongoose, the post - Bay of Pigs covert action program to get rid of Castro, and left the CIA/USAF a few months before the assassination. He apparently stayed at a Fort Worth hotel on the eve of the assassination and appears in photographs at Dealey Plaza.
General Edwin Walker - U.S. Army General Walker was relieved of his European command after distributing John Birch Society and other right wing radical literature to his troops. President Kennedy had him psychologically evaluated, before he moved to Dallas to drum support for right wing and John Birch Society programs. At a February 1963 party at his home, set up for the Oswalds to meet the Paines, at the home of Magnolia Oil company engineer Volkmar Schmidt, Schmidt talked with Oswald for a few hours, suggesting to him that General Walker should be killed as Hitler should have been, specifically mentioning the July 20, 1944 attempt. On April 10, 1963 someone took a shot a Walker through his home office window, and Oswald was later, after the assassination of the President, blamed for that incident as well. Before George deMohrenschildt left for Haiti, the Oswalds gave him a copy of the backyard photo of Oswald with the weapons and communist publications, on which Marina wrote "Hunter of Fascists, ha ha."
General Thomas Powers - Said to be even more of a right-wing fanatic than LeMay, if that is possible. Vice Commander of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) under Gen. LeMay 48-54, Commander of SAC 57-64. Established Operation Chrome Dome putting B-52 nuke bombers in the air 24-7. During the Cuban Missile Crisis on Oct. 24, 1962, Powers raised the SAC defcon to level 2, without presidential authorization, and did so over non-secure communications so the Soviets would know it. When the RAND corp recommended changes in the command structure to restrain a non-authorized attack, Powers responded: "Restrant? Why are you so concerned with saving their lives? The whole idea is to kill the bastards. In the end if there is one Russian and two Americans left, we win!"
Gen. David M. Shoup USMC
General David Monroe Shoup served as the twenty-second Commandant of the Marine Corps from January 1, 1960 until his retirement from active service, December 31, 1963.
As a colonel in World War II, General Shoup earned the Nation's highest award, the Medal of Honor, while commanding the Second Marines, 2d Marine Division, at Betio, a bitterly contested island of Tarawa Atoll. The British Distinguished Service Order was also awarded him for this action. The following citation accompanied his award of the Medal of Honor:
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of all Marine Corps troops in action against enemy Japanese forces on Betio Island, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands, from November 20 to 22, 1943.
General Shoup was nominated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on August 12, 1959 to be the 22d Commandant of the Marine Corps, and his nomination for a four-year term was confirmed by the Senate. Upon assuming his post as Commandant of the Marine Corps on January 1, 1960, he was promoted to four-star rank.
On January 21, 1964, shortly after his retirement, General Shoup was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by President Lyndon B. Johnson for exceptionally meritorious service as Commandant of the Marine Corps.
While Shoup's experience in WWII, like the President, made him want to avoid war, he sided with the other Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Cuban Missile Crisis when they wanted to invade Cuba. After JFK stormed out of an Oval Office meeting with them, leaving the tape recorder running, Shoup was overheard saying to General LeMay: "I agree with that answer, general, I just agree with you, I just agree with you a hundred percent. Somebody's got to keep him from doing the goddamn thing piecemeal. That's our problem. Go in there and frig around with the missiles. You're screwed. You go in there and frig around with anything else, you're screwed," Shoup had added.
General Earle Gilmore "Bus" Wheeler, (January 13, 1908 - December 18, 1975) was a U.S. Army General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In 1964 he succeeded Maxwell D. Taylor as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and held that post until 1970. Wheeler died in Frederick, Maryland after a heart attack, while being transported by ambulance from his West Virginia home to Washington D.C.
Considering the large number of general officers available in 1964 with distinguished combat records in World War II and Korea, the staff officer Wheeler was a surprising choice for the top Pentagon post. His relative lack of combat experience, however, might actually have been seen as a plus in the eyes of the new president, Lyndon B. Johnson. The latter was not known for his tolerance of independent thinking, and Wheeler's dutiful acquiesence in Johnson's conduct of the Vietnam War is a failure for which Wheeler has been harshly criticized by some historians.
General William Odom - Commander of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (ACSI). John Newman served under him for two years. When Thomas Powers, author of Intelligence Wars, asked Odom - what makes a good intelligence case officer? Odom thought about it and replied, "Did you see the Paul Newman, Robert Redford movie The Sting? Well that's it." That tells me that Odom took Paul Linebarger's class on propaganda and psychological warfare at the Center for International Studies. Joe Smith, in his book Portrait of a Cold Warrior, describes how Linebarger had his students read David Maurer's The Big Con, which was a linguists study of the slang used by con artists and confidence men, which became the basis for the movie The Sting.
Admiral George Whelan Anderson, Jr.
The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) in charge of the US blockade of Cuba during Soviet missile crisis in 1962, died March 20, 1992, Arleigh Burke Pavilion nursing home in McLean, Virginia. He was 85 years old and lived in Washington, DC. He died of congestive heart failure, his family said.
Many military experts had expected that he would become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). But a series of major policy disputes with Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara sidetracked his 36-year Navy career, and he was abruptly replaced as operations chief in 1963. Shortly after that, President John F. Kennedy, pleased with the Navy's handling of the blockade, appointed him as US Ambassador to Portugal. During 3 years there, encouraged plans for peaceful transition of the Portuguese colonies in Africa to national independence.
After leaving his post in Portugal, he returned to Government service from 1973 to 1977 as member and later chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
In the Cuban crisis, the US forced the removal of Soviet nuclear missiles from the island. Kennedy was quoted as telling him, "Well, Admiral it looks as though this is up to the Navy," to which he replied, "Mr President, the Navy will not let you down." Time magazine featured him on its cover, calling him "an aggressive blue-water sailor of unfaltering competence and uncommon flare." But he bridled at the extent of McNamara's insistence on civilian involvement in running the operation, regarding it as usurpation of traditional military authority. Historians say that the 2 men even debated specific ship deployments in an argument that erupted in the Situation Room of Pentagon.
Admiral William "Red" Rayborne, developed Hyman Rickover's nuclear submarine fleet and the Polaris missile. Appointed by President Johnson as Director of Central Intelligence after John McCone, despite not having any intelligence experience. Was Director of CIA during the Ramparts magazine exposure of CIA use of student and non-profit organizations. Replaced in 1966 by his deputy Richard Helms.
Admiral Chester Bruton. Decorated WWII submarine commander Communications-electronics director of the Joint Staff of the Commander in the European Command 58-60, after which he retired and went to work for Collins Radio in Dallas. Friends with George deMohrenschildt, who visited Bruton and his wife with Marina and Lee Oswald, staying for lunch and lounging by the pool. While deMohrenschildt's idea was to try to get Bruton to get Oswald a job at Collins Radio, after all he worked at a radio factory in USSR, Oswald made his dislike of military top brass very known by insulting Bruton. In 1992, when I obtained Bruton's DC phone number and called him, his daughter answered the phone and said that her father had just died and she was there to collect his effects.