Clint Hill Helps Mrs. Kennedy After the Shooting

Clint Hill Helps Mrs. Kennedy After the Shooting (Illustration) Social Studies American History American Presidents The Kennedys Assassinations Disasters

Clint Hill was so upset by what happened in Dallas—when President Kennedy was shot and killed—that he took early retirement at the age of forty-three. 

In 1975, when he was no longer on duty, Hill agreed to talk with Mike Wallace in a Sixty Minutes interview. 

The following are brief excerpts from that program in which Mr. Hill talked publicly, for the first time, about the assassination.

WALLACE: Can I take you back to November twenty-second in 1963? You were on the fender of the Secret Service car right behind President Kennedy's car. At the first shot, you ran forward and jumped on the back of the president's car—in less than two seconds—pulling Mrs. Kennedy down into her seat, protecting her. First of all, she was out on the trunk of that car—

HILL: She was out of the backseat of that car, not on the trunk of that car.

WALLACE: Well, she was— She had climbed out of the back, and she was on the way back, right?

HILL: And because of the fact that her husband's—part of his—her husband's head had been shot off and gone off to the street.

WALLACE: She wasn't— She wasn't trying to climb out of the car? She was—

HILL: No, she was simply trying to reach that head, part of the head.

WALLACE: To bring it back?

HILL: That's the only thing—

At that point, Hill had to regain his composure before continuing.

WALLACE: Was there any way— Was there anything that the Secret Service or Clint Hill could have done to keep that from happening?

HILL: Clint Hill, yes.

WALLACE: "Clint Hill, yes"? What do you mean?

HILL: If he had acted about five-tenths of a second faster, or maybe a second faster, I wouldn't be here today.

WALLACE: You mean you would have gotten there and you would have taken the shot?

HILL: The third shot, yes, sir.

WALLACE: And that would have been all right with you?

HILL: That would have been fine with me.

WALLACE: But you couldn't. You got there in less than two seconds, Clint. You couldn't have gotten there. You don't—you surely don't have any sense of guilt about that?

HILL: Yes, I certainly do. I have a great deal of guilt about that. Had I turned in a different direction, I'd have made it. It's my fault.

WALLACE: Oh, no one has ever suggested that for an instant! What you did was show great bravery and great presence of mind. What was on the citation that was given you for your work on November twenty-second, 1963?

HILL: I don't care about that, Mike.

WALLACE: "Extraordinary courage and heroic effort in the face of maximum danger."

HILL: Mike, I don't care about that. If I had reacted just a little bit quicker, and I could have, I guess. And I'll live with that to my grave.

Forty-seven years after the shooting, Clint Hill and other Secret Service agents agreed to be interviewed about the assassination.  Their recollections are now part of a book and a documentary entitled "The Kennedy Detail."

See, also:

Video:  Clint Hill - "It's My Fault"

Image and Affidavit Excerpts:  Special Agent Clinton J. Hill

Video:  Clint Hill and Gerald Blaine - Interview for "The Kennedy Detail"


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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5155stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jan 14, 2014

Updated Last Revision: Jul 09, 2018

Media Credits

Photo, U.S. National Archives.

Information on Sixty Minutes interview, courtesy NPR Fresh Air from WHYY (Terry Gross interview with Mike Wallace, November 8, 2005). 

Interview quotes excerpted from Between You and Me by Mike Wallace with Gary Paul Gates. Published by Hyperion. Copyright 2005 Mike Wallace. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.


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"Clint Hill Helps Mrs. Kennedy After the Shooting" AwesomeStories.com. Jan 14, 2014. Jul 19, 2018.
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