Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Robert Manning on 86972

From The Kennedy Presidency An Oral History of The Era
by Deborah Hart Strober and Gerald S. Strober

[Note This book is an updated edition of “Let Us Begin Anew:” An Oral History of the Kennedy Presidency by the same authors]

page 450

We took off from Honolulu in one of the presidential aircraft and were several hundred miles west of there.

Several cabinet secretaries were with us, as was Pierre Salinger. I had been in the press, so I knew by the sound that there was a flash on the news ticker. I walked toward the communications area and the sergeant had a piece of wire copy in his hand. He said, “The secretary [Rusk] will have to see this.”....

It was a flash saying: “Dallas. President Kennedy shot.” Then a bulletin. “Perhaps shot fatally.” We took it to Rusk and he asked me to bring the Cabinet secretaries to his compartment. We immediately got on the phone with the White House Situation Room. They confirmed that something had happened and that the president had been rushed to the hospital. Rusk got on the public address system and told everybody we had some bad unclear news: President Kennedy had been wounded and we were going to turn back. Salinger got in touch with the White House and used his code name. He said "This is Wayside. What word do you have on Lancer?” At the other end the fellow said "Lancer is dead. Rusk then went back on the PA system and said "I am sorry to have to bring you this grievous news, but President Kennedy has been killed. We now have a new president. May God bless our President and the United States of America.

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