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Guarding Jackie


Clinton J. Hill was born in Larimore, North Dakota. He went to high school in Washburn and went on to graduate from Concordia College. He joined the Army in 1954 and became a counterintelligence special agent. In 1957 he left the Army and joined the Secret Service. In 1958, he was assigned to President Eisenhower’s detail. After John Kennedy was elected, Hill was excited to learn that he would be staying on at the White House. He admitted he was disappointed when assigned to protect the First Lady instead of the President, but he came to admire her and enjoyed working for her. He was promoted, and put in charge of other agents who also protected her.

On this date in 1963, Hill was at the White House as the President and First Lady prepared for a trip to Dallas. The President met with entertainers Lena Horne and Carol Lawrence. He issued a statement regarding a scientific conference in Geneva Switzerland involving the allocation of radio frequencies for communication satellites. In Congressional business, he signed into law regulations regarding tidal lands in Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.

For her part, Mrs. Kennedy was busy packing. She was scheduled to appear at the Chamber of Commerce breakfast in Fort Worth on November 22. She was known as a fashion icon and put a great deal of thought into what she would wear. She carefully chose a pink suit with a matching hat. Hill remembered that the day seemed remarkably normal.

Two days later, of course, President Kennedy was dead. After the President was shot, Hill jumped onto the limousine. He placed his body across the President and First Lady to protect them from further danger.

Hill remained assigned to Mrs. Kennedy until 1964 when he his duties shifted to President Lyndon B. Johnson. Later he was given responsibility for all protection details. He retired in 1975. In an interview that year, he spoke about his deep regret that he hadn’t prevented Kennedy’s assassination. In 2012 he wrote “Mrs. Kennedy and Me” about his experiences as Jackie Kennedy’s bodyguard.

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher

Biography. "http://www.biography.com/people/clint-hill-21389061#synopsis" http://www.biography.com/people/clint-hill-21389061#synopsis Accessed 28 August, 2014.

Interview with Clint Hill. "http://www.bloomberg.com/video/-five-days-in-november-charlie-rose-11-25-Ax~LtOu4RW2MHKUXik18Ng.html" http://www.bloomberg.com/video/-five-days-in-november-charlie-rose-11-25-Ax~LtOu4RW2MHKUXik18Ng.html Accessed 28 August, 2014

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1963