The Confession of Secret Service Agent Clint Hill

Secret Service Agent Clint Hill & Friends- I am always on their minds

Vince Palamara Secret Service Expert & Author





Secret Service JFK

Secret Service, JFK, President Kennedy, James Rowley, Gerald Behn, Floyd Boring, Roy Kellerman, John Campion, William Greer, Forest Sorrels, Clint Hill, Winston Lawson, Emory Roberts, Sam Kinney, Paul Landis, John "Jack" Ready, William "Tim" McIntyre, Glenn Bennett, George Hickey, Rufus Youngblood, Warren "Woody" Taylor, Jerry Kivett, Lem Johns, John "Muggsy" O'Leary, Sam Sulliman, Ernest Olsson, Robert Steuart, Richard Johnsen, Stewart "Stu" Stout, Roger Warner, Henry "Hank" Rybka, Donald Lawton, Dennis Halterman, Walt Coughlin, Andy Berger, Ron Pontius, Bert de Freese, Jim Goodenough, Bill Duncan, Ned Hall II, Mike Howard, Art Godfrey, Gerald Blaine, Ken Giannoules, Paul Burns, Gerald O'Rourke, Robert Faison, David Grant, John Joe Howlett, Bill Payne, Robert Burke, Frank Yeager, Donald Bendickson, Gerald Bechtle, Howard Norton, Hamilton Brown, Toby Chandler, Chuck Zboril, Joe Paolella, Wade Rodham, Bob Foster, Lynn Meredith, Rad Jones, Thomas Wells, Charlie Kunkel, Stu Knight, Paul Rundle, Glen Weaver, Arnie Lau, Forrest Guthrie, Eve Dempsher, Bob Lilley, Ken Wiesman, Mike Mastrovito, Tony Sherman, Larry Newman, Morgan Gies, Tom Shipman, Ed Tucker, Harvey Henderson, Abe Bolden, Robert Kollar, Ed Mougin, Mac Sweazey, Horace "Harry" Gibbs, Tom Behl, Jim Cantrell, Bill Straughn, Tom Fridley, Mike Kelly, Joe Noonan, Gayle Dobish, Earl Moore, Arthur Blake, John Lardner, Milt Wilhite, Bill Skiles, Louis Mayo, Thomas Wooge, Milt Scheuerman, Talmadge Bailey, Bob Lapham, Bob Newbrand, Bernie Mullady, Jerry Dolan, Vince Mroz, William Bacherman, Howard Anderson, U.E. Baughman, Walt Blaschak, Robert Bouck, George Chaney, William Davis, Paul Doster, Dick Flohr, Jack Fox, John Giuffre, Jim Griffith, Jack Holtzhauer, Andy Hutch, Jim Jeffries, John Paul Jones, Kent Jordan, Dale Keaner, Brooks Keller, Thomas Kelley, Clarence Knetsch, Jackson Krill, Elmer Lawrence, Bill Livingood, J. Leroy Lewis, Dick Metzinger, Jerry McCann, John McCarthy, Ed Morey, Chester Miller, Roy "Gene" Nunn, Jack Parker, Paul Paterni, Burrill Peterson, Max Phillips, Walter Pine, Michael Shannon, Frank Stoner, Cecil Taylor, Charles Taylor, Bob Taylor, Elliot Thacker, Ken Thompson, Mike Torina, Jack Walsh, Jack Warner, Thomas White, Ed Wildy, Carroll Winslow, Dale Wunderlich, Walter Young, Winston Gintz, Bill Carter, C. Douglas Dillon, James Johnson, Larry Hess, Frank Farnsworth, Jim Giovanneti,Bob Gaugh,Don Brett, Jack Gleason, Bob Jamison, Gary Seale, Bill Sherlock, Bob Till, Doc Walters...

Search This Blog

Friday, June 18, 2010

6/6/10 article on Secret Service Agent Mike Howard


Collin County man lives 'secret' life

Ronnie Baker / Staff Photo - Mike Howard served as a Secret Service agent behind the scenes with Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and their families. Behind him are reminders of his time with the Johnson family.
By Marthe Stinton, mstinton@acnpapers.com
Published: Sunday, June 6, 2010 10:05 PM CDT

Imagine exaggerating on a resume. Now imagine exaggerating on a resume, getting hired, and being assigned to work with the first lady of the United States in one of the most controversial times in U.S. history. For former Secret Service agent Mike Howard, one little exaggeration took him farther than he ever thought he would go: the White House.

Upon walking into his home, it is very clear that Mike Howard is a native Texan. It is even clearer that this retired agent has served his country in almost every aspect, from military, to Secret Service, to police and now to instructor. However, perhaps what's unclear about this man is what story he will tell next.

"I was assigned to protect Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy," Howard said. "I was working a counterfeit case and they called and said, 'You're being reassigned.' Mr. Sorrels, the agent in charge of the Dallas (branch), called me in his office and said, 'You're going to be working with the first lady.' I thought, 'That's not going to work - I don't speak Bostonian and she doesn't speak Texican.' I was scared to death."

But the fear soon turned to a lasting friendship with the first lady, one that started with a small exaggeration in his personnel file.

"When you first come into the Secret Service, one of the things they ask you is what you are good at," Howard said. "One of the things they asked me was my hobbies, and one of them was that I was a horseback rider. On the card it gives you an option: good, better, best and expert; and guess what I put? 'Expert.'"

Howard said when he met Mrs. Kennedy, she was ecstatic.

"She said, 'Oh, you're Mr. Howard. I'm so glad you're here; now I can ride every day if I want to, can't I?" Howard said. "What am I going to say? All I could think to say was, 'Yes, Ma'am.'"

Howard said he became very good friends with Mrs. Kennedy, calling her "gracious" and "always a lady."

"It's hard to imagine a first lady being just another lady," Howard said. "That's all she was: a lady. It was always 'Mr. Howard' this and 'Mr. Howard' that - it was never 'Agent Howard.' She was great to work with."

Howard spoke of several outings he had with the first lady, including shopping excursions, dinners and the fateful trip to Texas.

According to Howard, because of his experience with the Saginaw Police Department he was sent to accompany the president and first lady during the Fort Worth leg of their Texas tour. When they arrived it was after midnight, and crowds of people lined the streets in front of the Texas Hotel. Howard assisted the couple to their room on the last night they would spend together.

"The next morning was the big breakfast," Howard said. "Everyone was giving their speeches, and I was asked to have Mrs. Kennedy come down from her room. Well, the worst thing you can do is tell a woman to hurry up - especially the first lady."

He had tried to pass off the assignment to other agents, but he said, "That didn't work." Howard said that before he could even knock on the door, she opened it.

"There she was; she was all dressed in that pink suit, pink pillbox hat and leather purse," Howard said. "She said, 'Oh good morning, Mr. Howard, isn't it a beautiful day?' And it was. It had been raining all morning, but all of a sudden it was beautiful."

Howard escorted President Kennedy and the first lady to Carswell Air Force Base, where they boarded Air Force One for the short flight to Dallas. Howard, along with other agents, stayed behind and swept the hotel rooms before their scheduled trip to Love Field, where they were to meet the president and head to Austin.

"We were fixing to leave the room when we heard the TV say there were shots fired in Dallas," Howard said. "We went downstairs and found a 1963 white Ford Interceptor that belonged to Tarrant County Sheriff Lon Evans. I told him I needed his car and that I wasn't sure what was going on but that shots had been fired. He asked where we were going, and I said, 'Dallas.'"

Upon arriving in Dallas, Howard went straight to Parkland Hospital, where fellow agents directed him to the emergency room.

"I went in and they were working on President Kennedy, and in the other room they were working on John Connolly because he was hit also," Howard said. "As I was standing there, Mrs. Kennedy walked in and the pink suit I had seen her in that morning was all spattered in blood. They asked the priest to come in to administer the last rites. We then took the body into the hearse and then to Air Force One. That was the last time I saw Mrs. Kennedy like that."

In an unusual turn of events, the next morning Howard received orders that he was to protect the Oswald family.

"People wanted to kill the whole family. Emotion was very high," Howard said.

Fellow agent Charlie Kunkel went with Howard to the Oswald's home. However, the family was nowhere to be found. According to Howard, he picked up a pad of paper on the table.

"We could tell it had been scribbled on, so we picked up a pencil and" - Howard pantomimed rubbing a pencil on a sheet of paper - "sure enough, it said, 'Executive Inn,'" he said. "It was the only clue we had."

The two agents went to the inn, where they waited until the next morning to take the family into protective custody. Marina Oswald requested that the men take her by the house to get supplies for the baby.

"As we left there, we had the police radio on and they said that they were fixing to move Lee Oswald from the city jail to the county jail," Howard said. "They said that Oswald had been shot and that he was on the way to the hospital. Mamma Oswald translated for Marina - who only spoke Russian - and said, 'She would like to go see my son.' When we arrived at the hospital, the surgeon was cursing, saying, 'I had the S.O.B. saved and he died of shock.'"

When asked about the transition from protecting the First Family to protecting the assassin's family, Howard said, "You just tighten your belt and do your job."

"It was hard because I was protecting the president and first lady one day, and then I had the assassin's family the next," Howard said. "That really hits you; but by order of the president and when you are an agent with the Secret Service, you do your job."

After the Kennedy assassination, Howard worked with Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and their families. After his retirement from the Secret Service, Howard was a police officer for the city of Frisco for 20 years. He is now a concealed handgun license instructor and also teaches classes for Collin College's SAIL program. Howard has made and continues to make presentations about his life during the Kennedy and Secret Service years.