NEW YORK (CBS 2) – When former President John F. Kennedy ordered his Secret Service agents not to ride on the back of his Dallas motorcade, agent Clint Hill knew he shouldn’t have listened to the Commander-in-Chief.
Almost 50 years later, Hill still blames himself for not taking the fatal bullet.
“Because I didn’t fulfill my responsibility of getting there to protect the president. That was my job,” Hill told CBS 2’s Don Dahler.
It was that fateful day in Dallas when the young President was assassinated and Hill and agent Gerald Blaine remember it like it was yesterday. Now the two are speaking out about the death in a new book called “The Kennedy Detail.”
The two remember every detail of what was supposed to be an 11-mile ride to the Dallas Trade Mart.
“After the first shot rang out, I saw the president grab at his throat and slump forwards to his left. I knew something was wrong,” said Hill, who, with Blaine, was also assigned to protect the president.
Hill was the man who leapt onto the back of the car after the shots were fired to push Jackie Kennedy down into her seat.
“She was trying to retrieve something that came off the president’s head to the right rear. She didn’t know I was there, so I grabbed her and pushed her back in the seat as best I could,” Hill recalled.
After Lyndon Johnson was sworn in, Blaine was on duty protecting him that first night when a man approached in the dark from the wrong direction.
“I heard a noise coming around the house. I picked up a Thompson sub-machinegun and jammed one into the chamber and put it to my shoulder and had my finger on the trigger. All of a sudden I saw the profile. So I knew who it was,” Blaine said.
It was President Johnson, who was almost shot by his own agent.
For the record, both men believe Lee Harvey Oswald was the only shooter, and they also dismiss rumors of an affair between Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe.
“I saw no evidence of anything going on,” Blaine said.
When asked if the affair could have happened without the secret service knowing, Blaine said absolutely not.
Blaine said every agent on duty during the assassination will be defined by that day for the rest of their life.
A few months before the president was killed, the Kennedys lost a newborn son, Patrick.
The agents said that traumatic experience drew the couple even closer together, and that’s why Jackie Kennedy broke her normal routine and accompanied her husband to Dallas on that fateful day.