INTERVIEW WITH DENNIS DAVID REGARDING JFK’S BEING BROUGHT INTO THE BETHESDA NAVAL BASE
This interview was conducted in public at the JFK Lancer November in Dallas Conference, November 16, 2001. Gary Severson had contacted Dennis David, and we began tape recording on a couch just outside the meeting rooms. An impromptu audience of perhaps 20-25 persons viewed the interview.
The participants are Dennis David (DD) John Delane Williams (JDW) and Gary Severson (GS).
At the time of the assassination, David was in the Navy and assigned to Bethesda Naval Hospital. He was in charge of a detail of six men who removed the casket holding John F. Kennedy’s body from a black hearse and transporting it to the room where the autopsy was to be performed..
John Delane Williams is now a professor at The University of North Dakota, and Gary Severson is a teacher John F. Kennedy High School in Bloomington, MN.
JDW: Your name is...
DD: Dennis David.
JDW: You were at Bethesda, I believe.
DD: I was the chief of the day, senior enlisted man on duty that night for the Navel Medical
School. Now there are seven commands there, a lot of people don’t realize that.
JDW: The 22nd ?
DD: 22nd of November, 1963, I was there.
JDW: You’ve been interviewed before?
DD: Many, many times and sometimes by all kinds from all over the world. They got a computer now, and most recently, some lady in Australia, Lisbon.
JDW: One of the things we got from Gary is that you told them things that you have never seen in print or in any of your interviews before. So, wonder if you could tell us about that?
DD: The basic story that I have would be in David Lifton’s book, Best Evidence. And then the other books, as follow them. But there is a book that will be coming out called Eye of the Historian by William Wald. I have not seen the proofs so I don’t know how extensive it will be, but will delve into more into depth of the background of Paul O’Connor, Jim Jenkins, Regan, and our custom’s man, a Cliff Regan, and myself. There will be, it will deal with what we did that night as well as how it’s affected us, so what has transpired since.
In my case it happens to be a lot of a mentor of mine, a quiet guy named William Pitzer. That particular night, one of the things I typed a memorandum that described the four pieces of lead and the memorandum to whom it might concern. The worst of it, the following description of the four pieces of lead removed from the head of President John F. Kennedy during postmortem procedures dated and described four pieces of lead. There was not enough for two bullets, at least more than enough, too much for one piece of lead.
JDW: Did you weigh it at all?
DD: No, but I held them in the palm of my hand.
JDW: How much lead would you say was there?
DD: The four pieces were more or less, one of them was 3x4, by 1 mm; there was one 3x5; another was 3x2.
JDW: So, the four of them together in comparison to a single bullet that went off?
DD: There would have too much for a single bullet.
JDW: Too much for a single bullet? OK. Particularly too much for a CE399 which is missing very very little, a few grains.
DD: The pristine bullet so to speak, if you will.
DD: I got together with the ones I just mentioned. We all go together along with Cyril Wecht in 1992 and discussed a lot of this information and we went over photos. Many of the photos that we were – Rick Russo of G&G Communications out of Braintree, Massachusetts got us together and he handed us these photos, these were discussed at length. One of the things, all of us, all five of us agreed, the background on some of the photos that we could see was not consistent with what was at Bethesda at that particular time. There was a wooden structure in one of them that none of us had ever seen at the Bethesda. There was a headrest on the table in one of the photos supporting JFK’s head that we had never – it wasn’t even a part of a morgue table at Bethesda. . Things of that nature and then Reibe, who was the photography tech and it was our opinion or considered the films were touched and changed around. Even some of the ones that Reibe admitted that he had taken. There were between Reibe and J.T. Stover that night, Reibe told me there were at least 130 pictures--a mixture of black and white and some colors, 60/40 –60% black and 40% in color. To my knowledge there’s only been, very few of these were made public. Custis stated he took 15 – 17 x-rays and only 3 or 4 of those have been made public. During that conversation, when I was describing the pieces of lead were in the pill vial and I poured out in my hand and held. Custis all of a sudden looked at me and he said, “G-o-d
d-a-m-n!” I said, “What’s the matter?” He said, “On Monday, he was called up, was given some pieces of skull with four pieces of lead that had been taped with scotch tape and told to take
x-rays of it. And he said, “I asked what is the purpose of this?” They said, don’t ask, do as you are told, and shut up.
JDW: Were they the same four pieces, do you think?
DD: From what his description and mine, yes. Bear in mind this is ’63 and ’92, but from the number, the size, it sounded very similar. And then subsequent to that I also talked about the assassination of William Pitzer. Because on Tuesday, after the autopsy, I don’t know, figure the day after, I had stopped by to see Bill Pitzer, who was head, he was Lt. Commander William Pitzer, he was head of the audiovisual at Bethesda and on staff of their medical school. And he was one of my mentors for the medical service corps program. And I stopped in as I frequently did during the week, I wanted to ask him some questions about the MSC program. Bill was editing a 16mm film of the autopsy. He also had some slides and some black and whites. I was only there for 15 or 20 minutes, I looked at some of them and they were unquestionably, without a doubt, they were of the JFK autopsy. I could see that on the editing. One of the things that Bill and I, [agreed] that it was a frontal entry wound. You know, the wounds were caused by frontal entry wounds, just by what we viewed. We didn’t discuss it a length or go into detail and try to, because you know at that time, and then I left Bethesda in ’65 and I don’t recall that Bill and I ever discussed that again after that. Because on that following Monday, the people who had been in the morgue during the actual autopsy were all taken to John Stover’s office, Captain, he was the commanding officer, and signed statements. Well, what they were were, keep your mouth shut and the threat of court marshal.
JDW: Did you get one of those, too?
DD: No, I didn’t. I was never in the morgue during the autopsy per se. The closest I got was when I walked into the ante room, following the men carrying the....
JDW: Now, what was actually, at the time of the autopsy, what did you do? You helped carry the casket in, is that it?
DD: I did not help carry it. I took six men down. The other six men carried it and I was in charge of the six men, coordinated their efforts, unloaded the shipping casket from the hearse, and took it into the ante room, set it down, and then I released them. Told them to go back to their respective duty stations or back to their barracks, or where ever they had been assigned.
JDW: Now, did you actually see JFK?
DD: No. I never actually viewed the body itself.
JDW: Now, at that time, you said, a shipping casket. It wasn’t the original casket that was a...? DD: No, the following day, Saturday night, I was sitting in the livingroom with my wife, and for the first time that I had even seen a news report or anything, and I watched that now famous photo--coming out of the back of the aircraft carrier at Andrews Air Force Base. I said to my wife, something’s screwy here or some words to that effect. And she said why? That’s not the casket we got the body in. And later on, I talked, I don’t remember exactly when it was, either the following Monday or Tuesday, I happen to run into Commander Boswell and he asked me something else and we were talking and I said, “Let me ask you, which casket was the body in?” He said, “You should know, you were there.” I was only there for one casket delivery. That was the gray shipping casket. Some people have made, laughed, well that doesn’t mean the body was in the casket. But, I will assure you that my knowledge of 8 or 9 years of periods of time I’ve been around in Bethesda, when a casket came into the jetties, even from a civilian ambulance, it didn’t have 8 or 9 secret service agents guarding it.
JDW: They said they were secret service agents?
DD: One man identified himself as secret service. There were 6 of them by the way.
JDW: Now, did any of the people that you know, did they see the body in that casket?
DD: Reibe, Custis, Jenkins, O’Connor, all four did, and all four stated that when they opened the casket that the body was there in a body bag. That he was totally nude and had a cloth wrapped around his head.
JDW: And they were the ones who had to sign the agreement.
DD: Yes. O’Connor and all, O’Connor and Jenkins, Paul and Jim Jenkins, they had worked for morticians prior to coming into the Navy. They knew what a body bag was, I know what a body bag is, I helped put many people in body bags – not very happily, but in Viet Nam. Shipping caskets, it was exactly the same kind of shipping casket we ship bodies out of Viet Nam with.
JDW: When were you in Viet Nam?
DD: 1968 to 1967, 15 months.
JDW: Fun? Huh?
DD: Oh, yes, that’s the only tour I wouldn’t want to repeat in my entire naval career. For obvious reasons. But, there’s no mistaking a body bag for a plastic sheet that some of the disclaimers have claimed about. Again, these four men were present when it was open, the body bag was opened and they helped to lift and put the body of the late president in the light plastic on the table. One of the remarks that Reibe made at this session was, “I walked around to the head and he said Denny, I could put both fists inside the skull and not touch the sides.”
JDW: This conference, the meeting you had in 1992, where was it at?
DD: In Pittsburgh. Its never been made public to my knowledge.
JDW: Do you recall the date of that? Or month?
DD: Like February, March of ’92. If you want to contact me, I started to bring it with me, well Rick Russo paid for all of this and did all of it and he’s never made this public. So, I don’t know what he intends to do with it. The last time I talked with him was about 6 months ago. There was snow on the ground, so it was early in ’92, there was snow and it was colder than the devil in Pittsburgh, I remember that.
JDW: In North Dakota, that could be 5 months.
JDW: I Got your business card.
DD: The business number is no longer effective, but the home number is good, 6240. Area code 217. After I retired from the Navy in ’76 I worked for about 10 years, personnel director for Stokley Denning Company. Then I quit that when the guy who hired me said he was retiring, I said I’m gone too. And then I opened up a furniture restoration/repair because I had been doing it on the side and developed a pretty good clientele. And they kept saying why don’t you open up a shop. So, I opened up a shop. And a friend of mine who was doing it part time and was ten years older than I, and he was heavily into selling antiques and antiques dishes and so forth, so I bought a store which I still own and am trying to get sold. He said I’ll rent from you and then what clients I have I’ll turn them over to you to do furniture restoration repair. So I did that for about ten years and then in January of 2000/Christmas of 1999-2000 I said that’s it. I retired for the third time, no more. Now all I do is substitute school teaching.
JDW: What do you teach?
DD: Any subject, I just sub in, whatever is required.
JDW: How did you happen, this meeting in ’92, how did you happen to get together?
DD: Rick Russo from G&G Communications got us together. I suspect, he got money through JFK Lancer or David Lifton or Harrison Livingston. By that time there were a lot of books that had our names in it. So then, a couple of years after that, Rick called me one night and said – we talked about hypnotic regression. He said would you be willing to do it. I said sure, why not. I’ll do it, I have nothing to hide. So he set it up. And in ’95 I, um Spiegel, I’ll show you his, B.J. he is a psychiatrist, lives in New York and he does hypnotic regression. This is him here -Herbert Spiegel. And he actually
JDW: Actually I have heard of him.
DD: Yes, he has, if I remember correctly, he told me he had used this hypnotic regression for criminal cases that were used at the Supreme Court of the United States. And we put – they put me under, and when I came out I figured 15-20 minutes. It turned out to be 3 ½ hours. But, we have—I have that on tape. Again, Rick Russo had done that, so I’m a little
JDW: Did you find anything out?
DD: Yes, that why I could be a little more explicit on the memorandum. It went back --I could describe the detail of the pieces of lead that were removed from the head and they showed me while I was under, they showed me a number of photographs and I picked up one and said, “No, this is not right. There is an entry wound there.” And it was a picture and of course it was from a picture that I had seen on the Tuesday afternoon. That this was a picture that I described to them and then they showed me some others and it was a little terrifying I guess. And then on Will Pitzer, they talked about – they covered a lot of detail on Will Pitzer, his death in 1966. And I’ve contended for years that it wasn’t suicide which was the official verdict pretty well. Then about a year later, Rick called me one night, he said, “I’m in Chicago, just attended a meeting where we were discussing J.F.K. material. He said, “Are you sitting down?” I said, “Yah, why?” He said, “Well, he had come out of the meeting and a man walked up and asked him about William B. Pitzer, Lt. Commander First William Bruce Pitzer. We had not discussed that, had not even come up in the meeting. Of course, I told him yes. He said, “Well, this man says he knows who did it.” So, we began to do some checking and in ’98 -- I went, I and my wife, went to Ithaca, New York and talked to retired Green Barret Lt. Colonel Dan Marvin. And he told me that in September of 1966, no in July of 1966, he was a special forces colonel in Kentucky and he and another gentleman were called out of office, out of class, taken outside. And this man separated them individually, talked to them individually, identified himself as a CIA agent, offered him/asked him if he would under take a job for him, told him that the job was a navel officer who was a traitor and called him by name, Lt. Commander William B. Pitzer. Dan said, “I turned it down because it was within continental limits and the CIA is chartered only to do so outside the U.S.” He the man then thanked me, left, went over and talked to the other man. The other individual, he says I don’t know whether he did, whether he took the job, what he did. But, he then showed me a set of official orders with his name on it, it was a group orders of several officers who were at the special forces school. He said this man, Captain Stovik or Steppy*, was there with Allan Eagleson was there and some others, we went back to...and we went back to the Army. They said, no, there’s never been a man in the army by that name, that Reiker*. We have a set of official orders, name, rank, serial number, the whole ball of wax. Took us about 14 months, 15 months, and they finally came back and said, “Yah, we do, he was in and out.” We finally located the man, he is a physician, practicing in a little town about 16 miles north of Salt Lake City, in Idaho. He lives in Idaho.
*In a telephone conversation between David and Williams, this person was identified as David H.
And so people have called him and he won’t talk to us. That’s where it is right now.
JDW: This Marvin, if I’m not mistaken
DD: Dan Marvin.
JDW: Yah, he is doing interviews, he’s been on the – there is actually a video made with him.
DD: Yes. Nigel Turner interviewed around, about the time Nigel Turner interviewed me for The Men Who Killed Kennedy, about ’94, ’95. I am sorry, but my memory of the exact years and dates gets a little fuzzy.
JDW: I can understand that. We are probably about the same age, so.
DD: Well, I’m 64, I’ll be 65 in a few months.
JDW: Ok, well you got me by about 2.
JDW: Maybe 1 ½.
DD: I’ve had, there’s a couple of other people out of California that I’m in touch with. They tried to get to this physician up there, he won’t discuss with them. Well, my next ambition
JDW: Do you know the physician’s name?
DD: Yes sir. I’ve got it at home. I’ve got his home address, his home telephone number, his address—at least current as of 6 months ago.
JDW: Ok, I’ll give you a call after I get home. I can’t call you before then.
DD: Well, my ambition is that sometime within the next year, I have a brother that lives in San Jose, California I haven’t seen and a classmate who lives in Oregon and this doctor one day he is going to find me standing in front of him. I’m just going to flat walk in on him.*
Joyce Pitzer is still alive and lives Silver Spring, Maryland. And she is about 87, somewhere between 85 and 88 years old right now. I’m not even sure of her exact age. She is scared to death, still. The last time I talked with her she said, “I wish people would leave me alone.” So when researchers call and ask me about it, I recommend that they just not bother. Because she is still frightened. I am in touch with her son, Robert, who lives in Los Angeles. I talked with him two weeks ago – the last time I talked with. I’ve talked with him several times. He has, as the next of kin, has been able to get some classified/declassified documents and other documents under the Freedom Information Act that we could not because we are not next of kin.
*This doctor is David H. Vanek.
One of the things that he has obtained is a death scene/crime scene picture of Bill. And I have not yet seen it. He sent a copy to Allen Eagleson. Allen talked to me Tuesday, this past Tuesday, and told me that while it is a little ragged, the picture fairly, clearly indicates that there are two entry wounds in the forehead. So, you tell me how a man could shoot himself twice in the brain. Right and left temple and commit suicide. That’s like the guy down here in Texas—
JDW: Well, he shot himself four or five times.
DD: Yah, with a rifle yet.
GS: Did you describe, when you went out to get the keys, what you saw on the pictures, the films that he was editing?
DD: Yah, pictures.
JDW: You obviously maintained an interest in the assassination over the years, more than an interest it sounds like.
DD: Yah, I was afraid to talk about it.
JDW: Tell me about that.
DD: Well, let’s face it, I was 26 years old, I have two children, small boys. My wife and I were just starting to get someplace. And, there were too many people that died rather suddenly under mysterious circumstances who had been involved with the picture thing. In that respect I was just as much a causality as any body else and kept my mouth shut. Number two, I was in the process, because I had already made my application for the medical service corp in ’63. I took it the first time in ’64 and missed it by three numbers. The next year I was number three on the list in ’65. Also I knew the agent who had dictated the memo which I typed, told me “you realize this is classified information and to be treated as such.” Which meant that until it was officially declassified, if I say anything, I am subject to court marshal. Because of one of the tasks that I had at Bethesda during the last year and a half that I was there, when I worked in the office, the administrative office directly for Captain Stover because his secretary was out on terminal cancer leave. She was gone for 17 months and never missed a paycheck. That’s how much sick leave she had built up. I also took care of any classified documents which came in. In fact they did a special background so I could handle top secret, which we never got. We were never in the position to need them. But, we would receive secret and confidential information. I would sign for it [receive it], log it in with the title and subject and then take it down and get the classified controllers officer and the two of us would seal it and sign it and put it in the safe. So, believe me I know what they meant when they said classified.
JDW: Now, when did you feel any degree of comfort talking about this?
DD: I talked about it with family on occasion. And every time I would, my wife would tell me to shut up. Joe, we should forget about that. Then in 1974, I was the executive officer for the medical research unit at Great Lakes. I picked up the paper, the Waukegan Sun. There’s an article in there that a group from some college in Pennsylvania had given a presentation of JFK assassination at Lakeland College, there in Lake County Illinois. And I read it and the more I read it the madder I got, cause it was so much propaganda, so erroneous that I literally got made. So I picked up the phone and called this reporter and said, how do I get ahold of these people? He said, “Why do you want to know?” Because they don’t know what and the hell they are talking about. He felt [unintelligible] and said well how do you know? Because I was there! I could almost visualize from the tone of his voice, he said “Who are you?” Naw, I am not telling you my name, I’m still on active duty. He said I guarantee in a minute that I will not release you name, I will use any alias you want. He said we can do this, under the law reporters don’t have to reveal there source you see. Okay, I said I’ll talk with you. So he set up a date. The next day we meet for lunch and talked for a couple three hours and then he published it in the Sun Times. That was the first time I had ever talked about it with anybody other than those that were involved or my own immediate close family friends. Even kids that I went to high school with that were good friends of mine never knew about it. Actually until about 1980. Because even then I didn’t say anything.
In early ’79, I got a call, I can’t remember his name now, but he was a reporter. He said when you said you were going to bury yourself in a small town, you weren’t kidding. He said, I’ve been looking for you for six months. And then he told me that he had been contacted by David Lifton, who wanted to talk to him. And I found out that a history professor at the University of Tennessee, who was a friend of David Lifton’s, had read the article in the Waukegan Sun and sent it to David. He had archived it. And then when I meet David, he told me I came in contact with it – he was getting ready to go to press with his book “Best Evidence” and he was going through this old material and he came up with this newspaper article so that’s how he got ahold of the reporter and the reporter went back and told him and then David called me. He said when we were talking, I told him basically what I told you – unloading this shipping casket from the black hearse and then going back up front some 20-30 minutes later, watching the Navy ambulance come in with Mrs. Kennedy and McNamara and several government officials. All of a sudden, David said stop, wait a minute. You saw then before you saw the casket. I said NO. We had already delivered the casket, we had already received it. Then I saw them come in. He said It wasn’t a black hearse. I said, Yes, it was a black hearse. Then we got going around and he asked me if I knew of anybody that was there that same night. And I couldn’t remember the names exactly, but I gave him a few names. And about 6 weeks later, he called me back and he said, first I want to thank you for talking to me, secondly I corroborated everything that you told me. He said, can I come out and visit you? I said certainly. And this evidence was the result of that.
GS: It has been a long time since I read the description of, front and back, your activity and the activity, the front and back. Wasn’t there another casket?
JDW: Which was my question, did you ever see the other casket?
DD: No. At about 0230, 0300, I took a break and went to the Dee Duck. He looked at me kinda funny. Dee Duck in Navy is slang for cafeteria. So I went down to the cafeteria to get some coffee. There were some kids sitting around and things. We started talking about it and they said “Did you know there was a second casket that came in?” Yah, I heard about it, but were did it come? Did you know that the brain came in separately and was on a gurney, they wheeled it down to the morgue on a gurney in an emesis basin with a towel over. I mean, even dead, there was already. I will say that after I received the shipping casket, we downloaded that, I stopped and checked the various spaces that were under our control to make sure they were doing what they were suppose to be. And I was standing on the second floor, at the rotunda of the Naval Medical Center, and I saw a helicopter land on the pad. At the end of hole number 2 I think it is at the golf course. But, it was just getting dusk, but they were enlisted uniforms you could tell from that. They also had some crates. My assumption now is that was probably their equipment. Because it turned out that was probably the office escort for the body they talked about. A few minutes later the ambulance pulled in off of Wisconsin Avenue, pulled into the circular driveway and pulled out up front. Mrs. Kennedy got out and came in. Wisconsin Avenue at that time, I think, was 6 lanes – 3 each way. Was literally bumper to bumper and not moving. That in front of Bethesda, from the driveway to Wisconsin Avenue, you couldn’t see a spot of grass. There was that many people. I have no ideas how many people were standing there. But, a few thousand, I think. And the driveway was lined on both sides by policeman from Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Rockville. There were caddy police, there were State police, it was just mind boggling what was going on. And after that, I went on at around 11 o’clock was when I was down around the morgue. When, I am almost certain, the administrative watch officer for the hospital stopped me and asked me, said, “David do you know of anybody who can type and has security clearance?” Yes, I am a Mad Tech and I have classification up to through secret. A Mad Tech is a medical administrative technician, where the requirements said you had to be able to type. And so he introduced me to this agent who then told me he wanted me to type up a memorandum. Where could we do it? And so I took him up to the administrative office of the Naval Medical school. And he said I was being selected to type his dictation and as I was typing the dictation, he sat this pill bottle down, when he finished, actually he pulled it out, he took the memorandum out of the typewriter and was proof – read over it, and I picked up this pill bottle and was holding it like this. He said, go ahead, if you want to took at it. So, I uncapped it and poured them out into my hand. And when I put them back –
JDW: What was his name?
DD: Seaver or O’Neal are two names that ring a bell, but I can’t swear that that was it, because I ran into those people several times that night.
JDW: One of then, or are you not sure either?
DD: I’m not sure it was even one of them. Its been, I know I’ve kicked myself many times for not documenting a little more what I did. But, I didn’t see the need for it at the time.
GS: Was that Friday night?
DD: That was Friday night, yes sir, about 11 and 2300 hours that night.
GS: When did you first talk to the secretary RN? Was it a week or a few days?
DD: The first time I ever actually remember talking to Paul O’Connor or Custis was 1992. Because I was staff, they were students, they were in laboratory school, I was not an instructor, so I had little or no intercourse at all with students.
GS: So, Lifton was talking to them independently.
DD: Yes. When he first contacted them, I had no ideas who he would be talking to. I had seen Custis and Reibe, ...Reibe was a student after the fact, but Custis was on staff. I probably seen him because one of the men at the, one of the instructors in the medical photography was one Jack Taylor and he and I pulled two and half years duty together in North Africa in ’59 to ’61. When he left, I had left before he did, and he got to Bethesda after I did so we were still pretty tight together. Since my wife joined me when I was in North Africa, so he knew Dot and he knew my oldest boy, he was born over there. So I stopped down periodically to see him too, just to chew the fat and tell some tall sea tales. And I probably talked with Reibe, but I don’t remember what I did. The only time I remember talking to him for sure was 1992, thirty some years later.
GS: Did you work for Pitzer for a while?
DD: No, I never worked for Bill. When I was at Bethesda, I started out in the administrative office, then they moved me to the correspondence training division, where I would take home professional books, review them, write questions that they would put on their correspondence course for training, so reserved officers and reserved enlisted could get retirement off of motion points. The lady I worked for there was a medical Navy Captain Giaconda Rita Saraenio. For a friend, you wouldn’t ask for a better friend, but for a boss, she was a bitch. Pardon my French.
Lady in the Audience: I’ve heard it before. It’s okay.
GS: She got her money’s worth out of you.
DD: Oh, yes. Then they put me in finance liaison, where I ordered materials, this like that, handled physical supplies for the medical school. Then the captain’s secretary was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she went on leave and they moved me up and I took her place and was there 17 months. The only reason I got out of that job was because I got commissioned and it was not longer appropriate to put me there. But, I had taken the series of tests for the medical service corp in ’64 and again in ’65 repeated it. Word came down, I got the word on the 29th of August that congress had approved the bill. Everyone of us that was trying to begin a commission, we knew the minute the selection board met, we know when it left their hands and went to the bureau messenger, when it went from there to the senate. Of course our promotions were devised and consented by the president. But, congress had to put their signature. And I got a call from a friend of mine in the House, just signed the bill, the president is going to sign it. You are in, your name’s there. Another little amusing thing, a couple of days before that, Captain Stover had a good [unintelligible] in dress whites, which is that ice cream collar thing like this. I went in, he said, fasten this damn thing. So, I said, I could never do that. He said, you’d better, you’re going to have to wear one one day. He said, I’m not telling you anything. But, if you don’t know what I’m saying, then you are dumb. So, I had a pretty good idea that I had it made at that time. But, then we received our commissions the first working day in December, whatever day that was, it was about the 1st or 2nd. I and another man were sworn in, and Smokey looked at me and said, “Well, we can’t call you David anymore. Nobody knows you as Dennis, so it will just have to be Mr. D.” And that what it was the next 12 years I was on active duty. Everywhere I went, people called me Mr. D. What’s rather amusing I worked directly before all this. About 6 months ago, Allen Eagleson talked with Smokey who lives in Portsmith, and his remarks to Allen.
GS: When you were observing the editing of the 16mm film with this Mr. Pitzer what was the interaction, was it just you two in the room?
DD: Just us two, yes.
GS: Did you have any exchange about what he was thinking, what you were seeing?
DD: The best that I can recall was the remarking on the size and the positions of the wounds. A lot of what I am telling you now is what I recall after going under hypnotic regression. Because when they brought me out I was to remember everything that I had learned and wasn’t to repress it. That there was a distinct bullet entry wound, if you start like at the corner of the right eye and go right up the hairline on Kennedy. There was an entry wound there about the size - my little finger would probably just about fit into it. Believe me I can recognize, I have seen enough in my time, I know an entry wound from an exit wound. There was no doubt about it.
JDW: Now you saw that on the photograph.
DD: On the photograph, yes and on the film. I get the impression that it was taken clips off of the 16 mm film at the same time. I don’t know for what intent purposes, I have no idea. Our general feeling was that it was definitely the president, the body of the president. And secondly that the shots came from the front.
And when the Warren Commission Report came out, I was totally astounded, I mean it just flabbergasted me when I saw was the Warren Commission. One of the first things was that it was a rear entry wound. The second item that Humes admitted that he had destroyed first class items, items accomplished at the scene of the crime, on the body of a crime victim. Which is illegal to begin with or to say the least.
And from my knowledge of Humes, and I knew him the whole period of time that I was there, saw him daily, several times a day. His statement that he destroyed it because he didn’t want the blood on that document, he could of cared less. Dr. Humes was the kind of individual who had ambitions of being an admiral and any body who was senior to him could provide him a avenue to do so and told him to kiss his butt size, he would have said where and how often.
JDW: You knew him personally, then.
DD: Yes sir. [laughs] I am sorry, yes I did. Boswell, too. Because the officers on the staff, I dealt with a lot of them on daily bases. Especially when I was in Captain Stover’s office, because they would have to cut through me to get to him. So they knew me and they knew me by my name and rank.
JDW: Just a thing about your name. You are listed here as DUR.
DD: Durshriner means the woodwork or the cabinetmaker.
JDW: Oh, I thought that was your name.
DD: Oh no, Dennis Duane David is my name. My great-grandfather immigrated from Peterside Germany about 1840, settled in Huntingburg, Indiana. –Was a cabinetmaker and a coffin maker and operated a business there at that time called Durshriner. So when I went into furniture repair and restoration, I just took something out of the family and used it. My e-mail address is
de high de hu which in Celtic Scotch and my dad’s ancestry comes from the Highlands is black David. So that’s why that e-mail is like that.
JDW: Well, you have told us a lot here. I really appreciate this, thank you very much.
DD: More than welcome. I tell ya it is the same tail I have told a lot of other people and it hasn’t changed in thirty years.
JDW: Well, that’s good.
DD: Maybe a little wordage perhaps, but the same thing.
GS: Do you ever get indication that the CIA or other interests are upset with you or that they have gotten any cease and desist orders?
DD: No, not officially. Not that I know of. I have had people, friends of mine, friends and others, that, especially looking at the book and that, particularly what happened, then maybe I ought to think twice before I talk about too much. But, other guys, like this, first when David asked me once why? Why? I said well or would the book, I would say, “Well, why did you keep silent before?” Cause I was 26 years old, had two kids, a lovely wife, I wanted to see my kids grow up and I’d like to see my grandkids. Well, by 1980, my kids were grown. I already got, at that time I had about 12, now I have 17 grandkids and 3 great-grandkids. Also the fact that so much documentation and so much has been coming out of the books, the medias, from David Lifton and others, and with Jim Jacobs and Custis, others went public, I don’t think they dare do anything. Because, I’ve got three sons that say “Dad, if you ever die under mysterious circumstances, rest assured we’ll find out why”. They are just as opinionated and bullheaded and stubborn as I am, so. My youngest son came in, it hasn’t been maybe 6 or 8 weeks ago, when he found out I was coming down here, he said, “Dad, if anything happens to you, they better stand back, because I am coming after them”.
JDW: Who do you think “they” is?
DD: Good question. I think because of my involvement with Pitzer I am not so sure with what I know about Kennedy would put me in an extreme amount of danger. There are friends of mine who no longer will talk to me. They were just acquaintances, I should say. But because I pushed for the picture thing, that was CIA involvement. Some of my friends think I may be in danger. I don’t think so, I have no feeling of paranoia anyway about it. And my basic response now is, “If they want to do something about it, my number is in the phone book.” So, I don’t worry about it. Either my wife. In 1980, she was almost in tears when I told David Lifton that I would go public. Now, other offers that other people have talked to her and other friends, she is like me, what will be, will be. That’s about where I got to date.
JDW: Well, I want to thank you very much.
DD: Your’e very welcome, sir.