Roy Kellerman, ASAIC of The Kennedy Detail

Roy Kellerman, ASAIC of The Kennedy Detail

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Roy Kellerman

Roy Herman Kellerman (March 14, 1915 – March 22, 1984) was a U.S. Secret Service Agent assigned to protect President John F. Kennedy when he was assassinated on November 22, 1963. In his reports, later testimony and interviews, Kellerman outlines in detail his role in the immediate aftermath of the assassination, controlling key evidence of the crime and guiding doctors during the official autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital.

Contents [hide]
1 History
2 Actions during assassination
3 Controller of evidence
4 In Pop Culture
5 See also
6 References
7 External links

[edit] HistoryKellerman, a Macomb County, Michigan native, graduated from high school in 1933 and worked for the Dodge division of Chrysler sporadically from 1935 until 1937 when he was sworn in as a trooper for the Michigan State Police. Kellerman joined the Secret Service in Detroit just before Christmas, 1941, transferring temporarily to the White House detail in March 1942 and permanently one month later. After the assassination, he was promoted, retiring from the Secret Service in 1968 as an assistant administrator. He died in St. Petersburg, Florida on March 22, 1984 of unreported causes.

[edit] Actions during assassinationAs the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of November 22, 1963 Shift Team #3, Kellerman was riding in the front passenger seat of the presidential limousine. The driver was Secret Service Agent William Greer. Like all Secret Service agents assigned to protect the President of the United States, Kellerman was trained to use his own body as a shield, taking a bullet if necessary in the line of duty.

Kellerman was the nearest agent to the President during the attack. In the uncropped Zapruder film, he can be seen turning his entire torso to view Kennedy at a time when the president shows distress. Then, he turns back around to face forward in a relaxed position, which he maintains as the remaining shots are fired into the president and the limo speeds away from the scene.

The recently stabilized version of the Zapruder film displays even greater detail of Kellerman's actions during the shooting, including his raising a radio handset and an apparent momentary glance at Greer. Both actions take place after Kennedy is seen to be in distress but before the fatal head shot.

Kellerman testified to the Warren Commission, "I turned around to find out what happened when two additional shots rang out and the President slumped into Mrs. Kennedy's lap and Governor Connally fell to Mrs. Connally's lap."[1] As clearly seen in the Zapruder film and Ike Altgens photo number six, Kellerman did not start his head turn rearward until Zapruder film frame 253 to 254.

Kellerman also testified to the Warren Commission, "I am going to say that I have, from the firecracker report and the two other shots that I know, those were three shots. But, if President Kennedy had from all reports four wounds, Governor Connally three, there have got to be more than three shots, gentlemen."[2]

He further testified to the Warren Commission that after he remembered hearing the first audible muzzle blast or mechanically suppressed fired bullet bow shockwave, the assassination then ended in a "flurry of shells" coming into the limousine that reminded him of a jet sonic-boom sound quickness.[3]

[edit] Controller of evidenceKellerman's report and later testimony indicate that he was with the president without interruption from the motorcade's departure from Love Field, through the entire autopsy and embalming and up until the president's remains were brought back to the White House. In photographs and footage of the casket being loaded aboard Air Force One at Love Field, and later upon its arrival at Andrews Air Force Base, Kellerman can be seen directing the movements of the president's casket.

Kellerman maintained his composure immediately after the violent death of the president he was charged to protect, managing events as they continued to develop. Kellerman testified that he played a role in the autopsy at Bethesda, including guiding the doctors toward specific conclusions regarding bullet locations. Kellerman also took personal custody of the x-rays and photographic negatives at the conclusion of the autopsy and took them with him as he rode in the ambulance that transported the president's casket to the White House. When asked by the House Select Committee on Assassinations staff why he wanted this material, he said "...the point is, he was our man, everything belonged in the White House."."[4]

With Kellerman in charge of local events (and with the assistance of Greer), the Secret Service maintained custody of the most important evidence of the crime, including the president's body, clothing, limousine, forensic tissues, and autopsy photographs and X-rays, returning everything to the White House before the sun rose on November 23, 1963, less than fifteen hours from when the first shot was fired.

According to his widow June, Roy Kellerman believed there was a conspiracy behind the death of JFK.." [5]

[edit] In Pop CultureA reference to Roy Kellerman can be found in the hit TV series "Prison Break". In the show Special Agent Paul Kellerman is a secret service agent who is deeply involved in covering up a government conspiracy.

[edit] See alsoKennedy assassination theories
Warren Commission Testimony of Roy H. Kellerman
[edit] References1.^ Roy Kellerman Treasury department report dated 11-29-63, also Warren Commission Report, Volume 18, page 724
2.^ Warren Commission testimony, starting in Warren Commission Volume 2, page 62
3.^ Warren Commission testimony, starting in Warren Commission Volume 2, page 62
4.^ HSCA interview dated 11-29-77, page 7
5.^ "Vanity Fair" November 1994; March 2, 1992 interview of June Kellerman by Vince Palamara, as referenced in Philip H. Mellanson, with Peter F. Stevens, The Secret Service: The Hidden History of an Enigmatic Agency, (Carroll & Graf, 2002), p. 85
Philip H. Mellanson, with Peter F. Stevens, The Secret Service: The Hidden History of an Enigmatic Agency, (Carroll & Graf, 2002), p. 77.
Obit, The Washington Post, March 30, 1984
"The Secret Service: In Their Own Words" by Vince Palamara
[edit] External linksRoy Kellerman at Find a Grave