Saturday, September 29, 2018

Disposition of Assassination-Related NPIC Photographic Records

Assassinations Records Review Board (ARRB)
CALL REPORT 10/04/96

Dave Montague and Douglas Horne called Velma Reumann (nee Vogler)

We asked her to recap her Navy experience up to the time of the Kennedy assassination. She said she completed OCS in 1956, then served at the following locations: Newport, Rhode Island; Naples, Italy; Bainbridge, Maryland; and then the Naval Photographic Center at Anacostia. She said her tour of duty at NPC began in 1963 and ended in 1966.

She began her tour of duty as Personnel Officer, and prior to the end of her tour, also assumed the larger duties of Administrative Officer, as well.

NPC Command Structure: she said that approximately 300 people worked at NPC, and that there were 3 separate photographic departments, or entities, as follows: Still Photo Lab, Motion Picture Lab, and Research and Development.

Names: she remembered that the C.O. had been CAPT McNair, the X.O. had been DDR Kubbe….Tom Atkins (detailed to the White House for the making of both still and motion picture photography); Sandra (Sandy) Spencer, whom she remembered as an E-6 (First Class Petty Officer)……

She was inspecting the Barracks in Arlington on Friday, November 22, 1963, when she heard of the JFK assassination; she then went back to NPC at Anacostia before going home on Friday. She does not recall any photography related to the assassination taking place on Friday before she went home, and she did not work Saturday, Sunday, or Monday (the day of the funeral). …

She vaguely remembers some photographic work related to the assassination being done within the 2 or 3 weeks period following the assassination, but does not know what kind of photography it was, or what the subject matter was.


She has a strong, independent recollection of NPC personnel boxing-up all photographic materials (“everything we – the film department – had”) related to the assassination on the orders of Robert Kennedy and sending them to the Smithsonian Museum for permanent storage sometime with 6 months or so after the assassination.

She cannot remember whether the orders from Robert Kennedy were in writing, or oral, but she was quite firmly of the impression in 1996 that the direction had come from Robert Kennedy. 

In order to test the strength of her Smithsonian recollection, I asked her whether she may have been confusing the Smithsonian with the National Archives or some other government body; she replied emphatically that she knew the difference between the National Archives and the Smithsonian, and reiterated that the boxed material went to the Smithsonian. She said she was certain of this because she, herself, was required to call an official at the Smithsonian to discuss the imminent transfer, and recalls that the individual to whom she spoke was as surprised by the selection of the Smithsonian as she was. 

Unfortunately, she does not remember the official’s name or job description, nor does she remember the exact date of this transfer. When I asked her initially when the materials were transferred, she said she did not remember. When I asked her whether it was closer to six months after the assassination, or one month after the assassination, she said it was probably closer to six months afterward, than one month afterwards.

I asked her if she was ever aware of the Zapruder film being shown, or present in the building at NPC, and she said no.

She said that there was general awareness during lunchroom conversations at NPC shortly after the assassination that the autopsy doctors had been silenced, i.e. were forbidden to talk about the autopsy. She said she thought NPC probably did do some autopsy photography, but could not remember why she had this impression.

She had no knowledge of the disposition of records, other than the material boxed up by the photographic department and sent to the Smithsonian. She had no records of her own relating to contemporaneous events in which she was involved at the time of the assassination. END

Madonia Exhibit #13

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