ON THE ASSASSINATION OF
PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ss:
I, David F. Powers, make the following affidavit concerning my knowledge of the events of November 21 and 22, 1963.
I traveled to Texas with the Presidential party on November 21, 1963, on AF-1. After a stop in Houston, we spent the night in Fort Worth, Texas. On the evening of November 21st, we were discussing the size of the crowd in the Rice University Stadium at Houston, and the President asked me how I thought it compared with the crowd the last time he was there. I said that the crowd was about the same as the one which came to see him before but there were 100,000 extra people on hand who came to see Mrs. Kennedy. President Kennedy then made a comment to Mrs. Kennedy to the effect that she was a great asset on the trip and that seemed to make her happy, although at that particular moment she was very tired, having spent many hours that day traveling in the plane and on motorcades.
The next day we proceeded on to Dallas and arrived at Love Field at approximately 11:30 a.m. The President and Mrs. Kennedy were in high spirits and as they were leaving the plane I jokingly remarked to the two of them that they looked like Mr. and Mrs. America and that they should not both wave in the same direction as it would be too much for anyone to receive all that attention at once. They were the first to leave the Presidential plane (AF-1) and were greeted by Vice President and Mrs. Johnson (whose plane had already arrived at Dallas ), along with other members of the Dallas reception committee. President and Mrs. Kennedy then went over to greet the airport crowd which was standing behind an iron fence. I was assigned to ride in the Secret Service automobile which proceeded immediately behind the President's car in the motorcade. That Secret Service follow-up automobile was an open car with two Special Agents in the front seat, two Special Agents in the rear seat and two Special agents on each of the t wo running boards. I sat in the jump seat on the right side of the car and Kenneth O'Donnell sat in the jump seat on the left side of the car.
The crowd in Dallas was very friendly and very enthusiastic. In my opinion it was twice as large as the crowd that was present when Mr. Kennedy campaigned in Dallas in 1960. Kenneth O'Donnell and I were observing the size and disposition of the crowd in order to evaluate the local political situation. President Kennedy was sitting on the extreme righthand side of his automobile, with his arm extending as much as two feet beyond the right edge of the car, and Mrs. Kennedy was seated on the extreme left of the back seat. They were seated at the opposite ends of the back seat in order to give their full attention to the crowds on each side.
As we proceeded through Dallas the motorcade slowed down on a number of occasions, but I do not believe it ever stopped. When we passed through the heart of Dallas, the crowds were about ten deep. We then turned off of Main Street onto Houston and made the sharp swing to the left up Elm Street.
At that time we were traveling very slowly, no more than 12 miles an hour. In accordance with my custom, I was very much concerned about our timing and at just about that point I looked at my watch and noted that it was almost exactly 12:30 p.m., Which was the time we were due at the Trade Mart. I commented to Ken O'Donnell that it was 12:30 and we would only be about five minutes late when we arrived at the Trade Mart. Shortly thereafter the first shot went off and it sounded to me as if it were a firecracker. I noticed then that the President moved quite far to his left after the shot from the extreme right hand side where he had been sitting. There was a second shot and Governor Connally disappeared from sight and then there was a third shot which took off the top of the President's head and had the sickening sound of a grapefruit splattering against the side of a wall. The total time between the first and third shots was about 5 or 6 seconds. My first impression was that the shots came from the right and overhead, but I also had a fleeting impression that the noise appeared to come from the front in the area of the triple overpass. This may have resulted from my feeling, when I looked forward toward the overpass, that we might have ridden into an ambush.
At about the time of the third shot, the President's car accelerated sharply,
with the follow-up car driving right behind it. Mrs. Kennedy climbed onto the
back of the car. Perhaps she may have been looking for help and perhaps she
really didn't know what she was doing. I think Special Agent Clinton Hill saved
her life by climbing up on the back of the car and pushing her into the back
seat because she probably would have fallen off the rear end of the car and
would have been fight in the path of the other cars proceeding in the
We proceeded at a high rate of speed to Parkland Hospital. Upon arriving at the emergency entrance, I raced over to where President Kennedy lay and Special Agent Hill and I, along with Special Agent Kellerman, placed him on a stretcher. The three of us and Special Agent Greer pushed him into the emergency area. I stayed with Mrs. Kennedy the entire time at the hospital. She went in and out of the emergency room and when she wasn't in the emergency room, she sat on a chair right outside the emergency room door. I believe Ken O'Donnell went to call the Attorney General as soon as we arrived at the hospital.
I accompanied the President's body and Mrs. Kennedy on the trip from the hospital to the airport. Some seats were removed from a rear compartment of the President's plane and the casket was placed there. On the trip back to Washington, Mrs. Kennedy refused to change her clothes or eat, but did sip some coffee. Upon arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Mrs. Kennedy declined to take a helicopter to Bethesda Naval Hospital but instead chose to ride with President Kennedy's body in the hearse. Kenneth O'Donnell and I stayed with Mrs. Kennedy and the other members of the President's family at Bethesda until the early hours of the morning on November 23, 1963.
Signed the 18th day of May 1964 at Washington, D.C.
(S) David F. Powers,
DAVID F. POWERS.