I was behind my desk at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, when we received word that President Kennedy had been shot. Yuma was where we busied ourselves testing parachutes and airdrop equipment of US and foreign origin. The news of his assassination hit us, as it did the entire nation, like a shock-wave and got me thinking about the Army’s Special Forces, remembering what they had meant to JFK.
The very next day I volunteered for Counterinsurgency and Guerrilla Warfare training. By mid-January of 1964 I was a student at the Special Warfare Center in Fort Bragg, North Carolina and on my way to earning the right to wear the Green Beret. I recalled how the Commander-in-Chief had described that special headgear as “the symbol of excellence, the mark of distinction, the badge of courage” and I wanted, more than anything, to be a part of that elite group of unconventional warriors he had admired.
The training was accomplished by highly motivated instructors, all of whom, with exception of the few CIA “advisors,” had seen at least one year of combat as a Green Beret. CIA personnel were involved in instruction related to terrorism and assassination techniques, to the extent of going into detail on how the JFK “hit” was perpetrated, including film footage and photographs taken in Dealey Plaza that fateful day. This Top Secret instruction was given on “Smoke Bomb Hill” in an old cantonment area at Fort Bragg. One classroom-type wooden building with raised stage, surrounded by barbed-wire topped fences and patrolled by MPs or guard dogs, was the training facility used for such highly classified subjects.
I shared a “gut feeling” with a few others in my class that our CIA instructors had first-hand knowledge of what happened in Dallas. A sobering thought, particularly so in view of my motives for joining Special Forces. During a coffee break one day, an instructor casually remarked on the “success of the conspiracy in Dallas,” tending to confirm my suspicions that the President’s murder was conceived, executed and covered up by high-level echelons within our government. I attempted to rationalize this by believing there had to have been compelling reasons, with no malicious intent as such on the part of loyal Americans who deemed it necessary, at significant risk to themselves, to wrest the White House from one considered ill-equipped to lead our nation in those troubled times.
What I subsequently gleaned led me to believe that evil factions in certain agencies within our government had engineered and executed the conspiracy that left President Kennedy dead. The acknowledgement to me by the Don of a Boston area Mafia family that he had refused a “Company” (CIA) request for use of his people in the “hit” on JFK will be covered in detail in Part 7: An Offer From the Don.
On 4 January 2001 former Green Beret Captain John J McCarthy Jr., an officer who does not endorse my book Expendable Elite, told me he had received word from a former Miami Police detective that “…they had word on the street that Kennedy was going to be shot in Miami” and that was a month before he was assassinated in Dallas — and that plans were changed for JFK’s safety, fed my appetite to dig deeper into what I believed to be a conspiracy. McCarthy concluded by telling me, “This information was turned over to the Secret Service, but it never made it into the Warren Commission or any other files.”
As I sat riveted to my TV set in November 1993, viewing a lengthy 30th anniversary documentary on the assassination in Dallas, I was hit between the eyes with a fact that shook me to the core, took me back in time to August, 1965 and reinforced my belief in the reality of CIA directed political assassinations. At the documentary’s conclusion I was stunned to see the name of William Bruce Pitzer flash across the screen in a list of violent deaths putatively linked to the cover-up of a conspiracy to kill JFK.
It was early in August, 1965 that I was asked by the CIA to kill US Navy Lieutenant Commander William Bruce Pitzer.
Next week: Part Three — Orders to Kill (continued)