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Floyd M. Boring Oral History Interview

Floyd M. Boring  

Oral History Interview with
Floyd M. Boring


U.S. Secret Service agent assigned to the White House, 1944-67


Temple Hills, Maryland
September 21, 1988
by Niel M. Johnson

[Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]


Notice
This is a transcript of a tape-recorded interview conducted for the Harry S. Truman Library. A draft of this transcript was edited by the interviewee but only minor emendations were made; therefore, the reader should remember that this is essentially a transcript of the spoken, rather than the written word.

Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. [45]) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.

RESTRICTIONS
This oral history transcript may be read, quoted from, cited, and reproduced for purposes of research. It may not be published in full except by permission of the Harry S. Truman Library.

Opened April, 1989
Harry S. Truman Library
Independence, Missouri

[Top of the Page | Notices and Restrictions | Interview Transcript | List of Subjects Discussed]



Oral History Interview with
Floyd M. Boring

Temple Hills, Maryland
September 21, 1988
by Niel M. Johnson

[1]

JOHNSON: I want to get a little background; when and where you were born and what your parents' names are.

BORING: My name is Floyd Boring; I was born in Salamanca, New York. I was raised in DuBois, Pennsylvania.

JOHNSON: What was the date of your birth?

BORING: June 25, 1915.

JOHNSON: And your parents' names were?

BORING: Earl C. Cleveland, and Frances Mary Boring.

JOHNSON: You had brothers and sisters?

BORING: I have two brothers, both deceased, James and Edward.

[2]

JOHNSON: I see. And where were you educated?

BORING: In DuBois High School, and in the Pennsylvania State Police.

JOHNSON: So from high school you went into the Pennsylvania State Police, as a patrolman?

BORING: As a private. We didn't have patrolmen.

JOHNSON: All right. How long were you with them?

BORING: I was almost five years with the State Police. That's when I came directly into here.

JOHNSON: You went into the Secret Service.

BORING: They were hiring everybody into the Secret Service from the State Police that they could find.

JOHNSON: What year would that have been when they hired you?

BORING: November 9, 1943.

JOHNSON: The Secret Service was checking with the State Police of Pennsylvania and other states?

BORING: They weren't checking. The word got out that they

[3]

were hiring, that the Secret Service was hiring. So I made an application and was accepted right off the bat. I was in the Secret Service in two weeks.

JOHNSON: What was your first assignment?

BORING: My first assignment was in New York. I was in Syosset, New York, with Franklin [Roosevelt] Jr., and the kids. Then I was assigned to the Protective Research Section in the White House, which was a holding place for people they were going to put on their detail.

JOHNSON: So when did you go to the White House?

BORING: I went on the White House detail on March 1, 1944. I was an agent. Just at the White House.

JOHNSON: What kind of hours were they working?

BORING: Well, in those days, six days a week.

JOHNSON: Forty-eight hours?

BORING: Forty-eight hours.

JOHNSON: Did your shifts change? Did they rotate?

BORING: Oh yes, they automatically changed from days to nights, to afternoons.

[4]

JOHNSON: You were married by this time?

BORING: Oh yes; I was married and had one child and one was born in 1949.

JOHNSON: You were living in Washington, D.C.

BORING: We were living at 17th Street, S.E. in Anacostia.

JOHNSON: So you started working for Roosevelt in March 1944.

BORING: I was assigned to Roosevelt; actually I was outside the window when he had his stroke.

JOHNSON: Down in Warm Springs. Did you go to any of his summit conferences, to Teheran…

BORING: I went to Potsdam.

JOHNSON: Okay, you didn't go to summit conferences with Roosevelt, only with Truman?

BORING: That's right.

JOHNSON: And you were in Warm Springs on April 12, 1945.

BORING: That's right, absolutely.

JOHNSON: I suppose you remember that pretty well.

[5]

BORING: I sure do.

JOHNSON: Can you recall some of the highlights of that?

BORING: I'll tell you the reason why I remember; there was a move on foot for Frank J. Wilson to remove all the agents from the White House detail. I had been on the White House detail, and that was kind of worrisome to me. But I found out that I wasn't one of the people they were shooting for, so I just stayed there. I remained there for, well, through two years of L.B. Johnson's time.

JOHNSON: The first two years of the Johnson administration.

BORING: That would be 24 years wouldn't it. I was up there 24 years.

JOHNSON: When did you find out that Roosevelt had died?

BORING: Well, of course, we were all on standby because we knew he was critical. About 3:30, that's when he died, and that's when we found out. Mrs. Roosevelt had some people come in. By that time she had gotten there. This happened about 1 o'clock in the afternoon, the actual stroke. By the time they got the doctor over

[6]

there--of course, everything was different in those days, no airplanes to fly around, no helicopters--so the doctor had to drive in from Atlanta. By the time he got there--he was an expert--President Roosevelt was dead.

JOHNSON: Did you stay then with the body on the train?

BORING: That's right. All the way on the train, up to Hyde Park. We were invited to go to the funeral.

JOHNSON: Didn't they stop here in Washington, D.C.?

BORING: Just a short stop, yes.

JOHNSON: When did you first meet Truman?

BORING: Well, I met him because I was assigned back then on the White House detail to Truman, the President.

JOHNSON: What was the first instance when you actually…

BORING: Well, actually, the first instance where I met President Truman was when Roosevelt's driver got intoxicated, a guy by the name of Schneider, a Sergeant Schneider, an Army guy. So they decided that they were going to have an agent drive. One of my friends knew I

[7]

drove a big horse truck up in Pennsylvania, that you put horses in, you know. They said, "Well, let him drive, he can drive anything." So that's how I ended up with the job; actually, it was mostly outside the city, anyplace outside the city. When we were back in town, a guy by the name of Morgan Geis used to drive.

JOHNSON: Morgan Geis. How about Nicholson, didn't he become …

BORING: Nicholson was a front seater, what we call a front-seat man. He was with the President most of the time, when Jim Rowley wasn't around.

JOHNSON: But he wasn't necessarily the one who drove.

BORING: Oh, no.

JOHNSON: The front seater is just the one who rode next to the driver.

BORING: That's right. He carried the speeches and stuff like that.

JOHNSON: You became the driver for Truman, at least when he was outside of Washington, D.C.?

[8]

BORING: Right. Well, most of the time, I'd say. This is how I met him; it's a strange thing. He kept noticing me in the front seat. "By the way," he said, "I see you are driving most of the time. How are you connected with me?" I said, "Well, Mr. President, I've been assigned to drive you." And he said, "Well, could you tell me your name?" I said, "Sure I can." So I told him my name and he said, "You don't mind if I call you Floyd do you?" I said, "No." So that's the kind of guy he was.

JOHNSON: He was friendly, I suppose, to all.

BORING: Yes. He knew everybody by name, all of the agents by name. We'd bring new agents in, and he'd talk to them. He liked to talk to young people, loved to talk to young people.

JOHNSON: But he was friendly to everyone as far as you can tell?

BORING: Oh yes.

JOHNSON: So that instance, I suppose, was just a few days after he became President, or a few weeks after he became President.

[9]

BORING: Oh this was probably within ten days, because he noticed me right off the bat.

JOHNSON: He went to the funeral, of course, in Hyde Park, on the train.

BORING: That's right. But I wasn't involved in that. See, Monty Schneider could have had that job had he stayed there. When he got loaded, he thought Truman wouldn't have him, see. But he could have had the job.

JOHNSON: Did he drive drunk at one time?

BORING: No. He got drunk and disappeared, and he wasn't available. You've got to be available when the President calls for his car. That's how I got involved with it.

JOHNSON: So after the funeral of Roosevelt was over, then you came back to the White House.

BORING: That's right.

JOHNSON: And now you're working for President Truman.

BORING: That's right.

JOHNSON: If you weren't driving the Presidential limousine,

[10]

what kind of duties did you have?

BORING: Well, I was in charge of one of the shifts. I graduated to be in charge of one of the shifts. We had three shifts. I was in charge of one of those shifts. I guess at one time we had five guys, and right after the assassination attempt we had nine.

JOHNSON: Almost doubled the number.

BORING: Doubled, right.

JOHNSON: Per shift.

BORING: Right.

JOHNSON: Three shifts, seven days a week?

BORING: That's right.

JOHNSON: So you would need probably around 20 men or so wouldn't you, to man all those shifts?

BORING: We didn't have that many men. They absorbed guys by using us, for say, sometimes 14 hours a day. Say you were on the 8 to 4 shift, and there was a movement, or some kind of a thing going on in the afternoon; we would be called in for that afternoon shift, understand?

[11]

JOHNSON: Yes.

BORING: We would have to work right straight through.

JOHNSON: But they did pay overtime?

BORING: No, no overtime.

JOHNSON: And it was a 48-hour week?

BORING: That's right.

JOHNSON: Six days a week.

BORING: They owed me 80-some odd days when I …

JOHNSON: They changed to a 40-hour week, though, didn't they in '49 or '50 ?

BORING: They changed it around 1950, I think it was.

JOHNSON: Did you work with the White House police force?

BORING: We worked in conjunction with the White House police

JOHNSON: Did you have any supervisory duties over the White House police?

BORING: No, they had their own supervisory force.

[12]

JOHNSON: They had their own places to man, their own locations…

BORING: They had their own supervisors. They had a captain, I think, and on down.

JOHNSON: Did you do any of the advance work?

BORING: Oh yes, a lot of it. I did advances in Potsdam.

JOHNSON: You were there with Rowley?

BORING: That's right, doing advances. I have been all over the country.

JOHNSON: Did you have any problems with the advance work in Potsdam?

BORING: No.

JOHNSON: You had to work with the Russians to some extent didn't you?

BORING: Well, yes, but they were fairly easy to get along with. You know they do police work something similar to what we do. I mean, policemen, the world over, are pretty much alike.

[13]

JOHNSON: They've got to have the same concerns, I guess, and the same kind of techniques and methods.

BORING: That's right. The British are good and so are the French. I've worked in both places--with the British and the French--and the Russians too. I did the advance work for Eisenhower--the pre-advance--when Gary Powers was shot down in the U-2.

JOHNSON: When the President was on the Williamsburg, were you on the Williamsburg or did you…

BORING: Most of the time. Most of the time I was on one of the shifts. They had, for instance, two guys on day work, two guys on 4 to 12, and one man on midnights, and sometimes two men on midnights. We worked it out among ourselves.

JOHNSON: But you were on board the Williamsburg, or did you have another boat that accompanied the Williamsburg?

BORING: Oh no, no, I was on the Williamsburg.

JOHNSON: But was there a Secret Service…

BORING: Yes, there was the Lenore.

[14]

JOHNSON: And it accompanied the Williamsburg on many of…

BORING: It accompanied the Williamsburg on most things. We had a couple of agents on there.

JOHNSON: And that was a yacht.

BORING: That's right. It's now the Honeyfitz.

JOHNSON: And where's it anchored?

BORING: This President doesn't use a yacht. It was used by JFK; they called it the Honeyfitz.

JOHNSON: Does it still exist?

BORING: Oh I'm sure it does. It is privately owned.

JOHNSON: Did you have any problems with security for the President when he was on his yacht? Were there any incidents of danger and threats?

BORING: Well, one danger--the President couldn't wait one morning until I got down there, to get off the boat. It was on the Potomac River, near an island. He couldn't wait, and so the President gets in the water, and he was a bum swimmer. He was about like he

[15]

was as a driver; he was going like this here, and losing ground. So I got back upstairs, and I saw his plight. They were getting all excited, and these fellows were going to drop a boat almost on top of him. I said, "Hold on there, don't do that." So I just took one of these--a life preserver--and it almost went on top of him. He grabbed that thing, and we pulled him in.

JOHNSON: That was about his only sport, I guess, his swimming.

BORING: Yes, it was. He loved swimming.

JOHNSON: Are there any trips that stand out in your mind, in regard to providing protection?

BORING: Well, of course, the Potsdam trip was unique in itself. We landed, I think, in Brussels as I recall, and they had a left-handed drive car there. I was driving that thing, and it was unusual for me.

JOHNSON: On the left hand side of the road.

BORING: That's right. Actually we were driving across bridges, you know, that were pontoon bridges, and I guess you may have heard this story. I don't know whether you've heard it or not. We were waiting outside; I was

[16]

waiting near the car. They had a colonel riding back and forth with the President, you know, just as company, and [George C.] Drescher--that was one of his last trips over there--got into the car. This guy, the colonel, says to President Truman, "Listen, I know you're alone over here; your wife hasn't arrived yet," and he said, "If you need anything like, you know, I'll be glad to arrange it for you."

JOHNSON: This was the colonel?

BORING: That's right. And he [the President] said, "Hold it; don't say anything more." He said, "I love my wife, and my wife is my sweetheart." He said, "I don't want to do that kind of stuff." And he said, "I don't want you to ever say that again to me." That's about the way he ended it.

JOHNSON: That was at Potsdam?

BORING: That's right. That's the way he ended that thing. Then I had another incident with him, and you'll probably get a kick out of this. These are funny incidents. One day he comes out, and like all of us, he had forgotten to button his fly. I was fighting for ways to tell him that his fly was open. I was looking around, and I said, "Mr. President, your horse is going to run away with you

[17]

if you don't close up that barn." He said, "Gee, thanks very much." He closed up his fly. He must have heard that one himself sometime.

JOHNSON: Well, his father was a horse and mule dealer, so he probably had.

BORING: Anyway he was going over to meet a group from the DAR, so it was a good thing to remind him. It was just a funny incident.

JOHNSON: Did you ever get in on intercepting letters, phone calls that might have been considered threatening?

BORING: I used to work there; I used to work in that particular field.

JOHNSON: In the mail room?

BORING: Not in the mail room; in the place where we read letters.

JOHNSON: Where was that?

BORING: In the PRS, what they called the Protective Research Section.

JOHNSON: In the White House.

BORING: In the White House, yes.

JOHNSON: In the West Wing?

[18]

BORING: East Wing.

JOHNSON: East Wing. In the basement?

BORING: No. No, it was on the third floor.

JOHNSON: The top floor.

BORING: Up where the Naval Aides were now, where the Aides' offices are. This was back in the forties now.

JOHNSON: Yes.

BORING: We would classify these letters into handwritten, and typewritten, try to classify the handwriting. When I say handwriting, [whether it is] backhand, or whatever it is. And then [we'd put them] into "threats," "abusive letters," that type of thing. Then we'd send them out in the field. If they got abusive or threatening, we would send them out into the field for investigation.

JOHNSON: You'd send samples of the letter…

BORING: We'd refer them to the field, to the nearest field office to make sure that the guy was investigated by our own office. Sometimes they would arrest the guy, if he made a threat, and of course, they actually had a copy of the letter right with them. So if he made a threat, they would pick him up.

[19]

JOHNSON: You had a card file on these people?

BORING: We had files on them, not only card files, but big files. Some of these people were just voluminous writers.

JOHNSON: These were psychotics?

BORING: Oh sure.

JOHNSON: Hardly any of what we call ideological types, you know, who were against Truman on policy, as a matter of political policy?

BORING: Well, see, you had that all the time. But when they would sneak into being abusive, the minute they got abusive, then we referred them out into the field. They'd come over and talk to them. Tell them, you know, "We don't mind if you talk to the President or write to him, or disagree with him, but you can't become abusive. You can't call him a son of a bitch," or whatever.

JOHNSON: That would be enough to kind of trigger your interest?

BORING: Oh yes, you're damn right it would, because then

[20]

he's getting abusive, and so the next step is that he may feel he could kill him.

JOHNSON: Make a bodily threat.

BORING: That's right.

JOHNSON: I've seen a lot of letters that came after he fired MacArthur…

BORING: Oh yes.

JOHNSON: That some people might call abusive, but you didn't bother much with those, did you?

BORING: No.

JOHNSON: We've got them at the Library.

BORING: I was involved in that MacArthur thing. I was in the car; we had a '37 Chevrolet. I don't know whether you knew this.

JOHNSON: Oh, you were over on Wake Island?

BORING: Sure.

JOHNSON: Okay, before we get to that, we've got another incident that we've got to focus on of course. Well,

[21]

before we talk about the November 1, 1950 incident, was there anything prior to that that would have prepared you for this possibility, or would have represented something that you would have considered pretty dangerous? Were there any dangerous incidents where you thought you had to draw a gun, or anything like that?

BORING: No.

JOHNSON: Prior to the November 1, 1950 incident?

BORING: No. I can't recall of anything, although we knew about the group down in Puerto Rico. We knew about those people.

JOHNSON: You knew that some of them were extremists?

BORING: We knew they were extremists; they could be a possibility. But we didn't know for sure. They were investigated; they had been investigated.

JOHNSON: You had a field man down in San Juan, didn't you?

BORING: Oh yes. Yes.

JOHNSON: Did he have any file on this [Griselio] Torresola?

[22]

BORING: Yes. We had files on all of them.

JOHNSON: [Oscar] Collazo and Torresola were in their file?

BORING: Yes.

JOHNSON: And apparently they were not aware, though, that they were in Washington, D.C. at that particular time.

BORING: Oh no. You see, our borders are so open, that people come back and forth. You see, these guys from Puerto Rico could enter any time they wanted to.

JOHNSON: Sure. Okay, why don't you describe that day of November 1?

BORING: I'll tell you, it was a beautiful day, about 80 some degrees outside. As a matter of fact, Mr. [Leslie] Coffelt was in the center post right there at the Blair House, and I was kidding him about getting a new set of glasses. I wanted to find out whether he had got the glasses to look at the girls, or what, you know, just kidding. Then he moved from there; he was replaced by what we call a "push." Everybody starts to make a move to go to the next post.

[23]

JOHNSON: So there was a shift there, a new location for each one.

BORING: A shift and relocation.

JOHNSON: By the White House policemen.

BORING: Right; we moved but in a different way. So, when they were moving, the next guy up would be [Donald T.] Birdzell. He was in the place at that time, and, of course, Coffelt had moved down to the end booth, where he was shot, right in the booth [by Torresola]. Well, let's put it this way; when the first shot went off, the first click [of Collazo's pistol], that's when I started to fire. I only shot two shots. I thought I hit him on the first shot, and I think I hit him on the second shot.

JOHNSON: On the second shot.

BORING: I think I hit him in the chest. Yes.

JOHNSON: Just checking here [article in Whistle Stop, Fall 1979] to see if this corresponds with your recollections. Just to give you a little piece of this: "Collazo drew his Walther P-38, pointed it at Birdzell…

[24]

BORING: At Birdzell.

JOHNSON: Yes. "...and pulled the trigger. Birdzell heard a metallic click as Collazo's gun misfired. He turned to see Collazo pounding the weapon with his left fist while holding it against his chest. At this instant the gun went off, a bullet striking Birdzell's right leg. Despite his wound Birdzell ran out into Pennsylvania Avenue, drawing his revolver when he reached the center of the street. Horrified pedestrians scampered into doorways to take cover. Collazo fired at Birdzell again as he ran but did not hit him. Believing him to be in flight, Collazo started up the steps of the Blair House. It was then that Boring and Davidson began firing on Collazo from the east guard booth."

BORING: No. I fired on him after the "click."

JOHNSON: When you heard that click?

BORING: When I heard that click, and I heard this sound, the shell go off, and Birdzell ran into the street, I fired on him [Collazo].

JOHNSON: That's when you fired?

[25]

BORING: That's right. That's where I was aiming and fired, and I thought I hit him in the head, but apparently the bullet creased the top of his head. All right, now Davidson was standing right alongside of me shooting right over my ear here…

JOHNSON: Was he to the right of you or to the left?

BORING: He would be on my right side, because I was in this booth here. We were in this booth talking, and he started to shoot. He was on the inside of me, so it would be on my left side.

JOHNSON: Okay.

BORING: Right. Now he started to shoot and he emptied the gun--just "Choot, choot, choot, choot, choot, choot"-just like that. Well, I only shot two shots. I've got the rounds downstairs, to show, you know. So I pulled back the gun again and I'm positive I hit this baby right in the chest, and that's when he fell down. He told one of the guys, the agents, that interviewed him afterwards; he said, "The guy in the gray suit hit me in the chest."

JOHNSON: I'm just checking the article again, to see…

[26]

BORING: Do you have in the article there about the President coming to the window?

JOHNSON: It's mentioned here.

BORING: That's a lot of baloney!

JOHNSON: Is that right?

BORING: It makes a great story, though.

JOHNSON: We also have the statement that Davidson "jumped into a doorway leading to the Blair House basement."

BORING: No, he was in the booth.

JOHNSON: He was in the booth.

BORING: That's right, he [Collazo] shot at both of us.

JOHNSON: And Davidson then…

BORING: I ran behind a tree; there was a tree there, a big tree. As a matter of fact, I think you could probably see it there.

JOHNSON: Then it says "Davidson then resumed firing. Separated from Collazo by the bars of the iron fence,

[27]

Boring and Davidson, both expert marksmen, were unable to get a clear shot at Collazo."

BORING: No, that's not true.

JOHNSON: That's not it. Well, we want to get it straightened out.

BORING: He had emptied his gun. There were only six shots in there.

JOHNSON: Davidson had emptied his gun?

BORING: He had emptied the shells out of his gun. The guy now turns around and he's starting to shoot at us.

JOHNSON: You mean Collazo?

BORING: Collazo. And that's when I took aim at him and hit him right from behind a tree.

JOHNSON: From behind a tree. Okay, is it this big tree right here?

BORING: Right.

JOHNSON: Okay, and that's to the east side of Blair House.

BORING: Right. See, I ran up behind this tree here.

[28]

JOHNSON: So you shot from behind the tree.

BORING: That's right.

JOHNSON: And that's when he fell.

BORING: That's right. That's when he hit the dirt. Yes. I thought I hit him on the first shot, you know. I couldn't figure out, what the hell, why he was still standing up.

JOHNSON: Here it says, "Vincent P. Mroz, another Secret Service agent, stepped from the basement level door at the east end of the Blair House and also fired at Collazo. Bullets from the security man richoted off of the bars with one cutting through Collazo's nostril; another shot nicked his ear and a third went through Collazo's hat but did not touch his head."

BORING: That's right.

JOHNSON: Was that one of yours?

BORING: That's right; that nicked the top of his head.

JOHNSON: Through his hat.

BORING: That's right. I figured the guy had a big head; he had a little tiny head.

[29]

JOHNSON: "Inside Blair House Secret Service agent Stewart Stout was on duty in the front hall." It says he "raced to a gun cabinet and seized a Thompson automatic submachine gun. He waited for someone to try to come through the front door."

BORING: That's right, he did. He kept his post; that's what was the plan. And he would have got shot there, really, when he came through.

JOHNSON: So you really had just two actions going on here.

BORING: You've got one action going on with Coffelt and Torresola, and we've got an action going on between us, Davidson and I, and Collazo. That's the action.

JOHNSON: Yes, so you really didn't see Torresola or pay much attention to him because you were concentrating on Collazo.

BORING: I never seen him.

JOHNSON: He was the one that was killed by Coffelt.

BORING: That's right, no doubt by Coffelt.

JOHNSON: You haven't had a chance to read this over yet,

[30]

but if there are any other corrections to be made, we certainly want to get them.

BORING: The problem is, that these fellows are never at the scene who always make up these reports, you know. They had President Truman coming to the window upstairs, and I'm supposed to have waved and told him to go back. But he never showed up there.

JOHNSON: He never did put his head out?

BORING: No. What happened was that [Howell G.] Crim came to the front door, and stuck his head out. I said, "Get the hell back in there."

JOHNSON: Did he open the front door?

BORING: Yes. This guy's laying down on the ground; I've got the gun kicked away from him. And Crim's at the front door trying to figure out what was going on. I didn't know whether he [Collazo] had any friends with him; I didn't know what the hell was going on.

JOHNSON: Now, Stout had a submachine gun by that door, but Crim opens the door anyway?

BORING: That's right. This is after all the action's over.

[31]

JOHNSON: Okay, but when Collazo dropped, was that the last shot fired?

BORING: That was the last shot fired.

JOHNSON: That was your shot?

BORING: That's right.

JOHNSON: Then what did you do?

BORING: Well, of course, naturally the gun laid right there by his hand, so I kicked the damn thing out of the road. I didn't want to give him an opportunity to get up and start shooting again.

JOHNSON: Now, he's right by the front step.

BORING: That's right. Laying right in front of the steps.

JOHNSON: And you didn't move his body.

BORING: No, I didn't touch him.

JOHNSON: Just kicked the gun away.

BORING: That's right. As a matter of fact, I kicked the gun away, and also I knew enough about murder trials to

[32]

know, "don't lose that gun." "What the hell happens to the gun?" You have to have continuation with the gun. I turned it over to the Metropolitan Police. I said, "Watch that gun and give me your name." I think it was Sergeant Weber. I said, "I'm going to be going up into the house, but you know, remember what the hell you're doing." So that's how it happened.

JOHNSON: So you went up to see the President.

BORING: Went up to see the President. He said, "What the hell is going on down there?" I said, "I don't know'."

JOHNSON: You were the first one he talked to?

BORING: Yes. I said, "I don't really know what was going on." I said, "I don't really know." I said, "All I know is that somebody was out here shooting. I think they were trying to get into the house, but I'm not positive."

JOHNSON: So then what did you do after that?

BORING: Well, of course, we were going out then; we were going out to…

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JOHNSON: That's right, you were going over to Arlington Cemetery, for a ceremony honoring Sir Arthur Dill…

BORING: That's right.

JOHNSON: You had to be in the car with him.

BORING: We did; we went in the car, yes.

JOHNSON: Were you the driver?

BORING: No, Morgan Geis drove it.

JOHNSON: Geis drove that, and you sat next to him in the front seat?

BORING: No, Nicholson did; either Nicholson or Rowley, I can't remember which.

JOHNSON: Where were you then in that little caravan?

BORING: I was in the follow-up car.

JOHNSON: The follow-up car, right behind him.

BORING: Yes.

JOHNSON: Did they have one in front and one behind?

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BORING: No. The lead car is not to be confused with the follow-up car; the follow-up car is a large car that has, you know, the fire power in it.

JOHNSON: But the lead car comes in front of the Presidential limousine; you've got a car in front?

BORING: That's right.

JOHNSON: But there were armed agents in there, too?

BORING: Oh yes.

JOHNSON: Then the President's car, and then the follow-up car, but the follow-up car had more firepower than the lead car?

BORING: Oh, the follow-up car had most of the firepower.

JOHNSON: What does that mean?

BORING: You've got automatic rifles, automatic weapons.

JOHNSON: High-powered?

BORING: High-powered, A-15s.

JOHNSON: But in those days was it the Thompson submachine guns…

[35]

BORING: We had Thompson submachine guns, but right after that we had A-15s, right after the beginning of the Vietnam war.

JOHNSON: Yes.

BORING: We also had shotguns.

JOHNSON: Okay, shotguns and the Thompson submachine guns.

BORING: And hand guns, of course.

JOHNSON: You describe this gun that you have as a .38 caliber…

BORING: Special Detective's Special.

JOHNSON: Is that a Smith-Wesson?

BORING: No, it's not a Smith-Wesson; it's a Colt.

JOHNSON: Oh, Colt, .38 Police Special.

BORING: Yes, but they called it a Detective's Special.

JOHNSON: It has a short barrel.

BORING: A two-inch job.

JOHNSON: Is that as accurate as the pistols used by the

[36]

Puerto Ricans?

BORING: No.

JOHNSON: Not as accurate?

BORING: No. Of course, they were shooting at a very close range, and fortunately for Birdzell, this guy didn't know how the hell to shoot a gun. The other guy, Torresola, loaded the gun for him, from what I get from the investigation. You see, he didn't know enough to pull the thing back. He was lucky to get by that first shot.

JOHNSON: And all of this happened in about two or three minutes?

BORING: Oh hell, less than that, oh, much less than two minutes. Much less than two minutes. It's just like click, run out to the street, this guy shoots, right. How long does that take, maybe three seconds. All right, then I shot the one shot.

JOHNSON: Did you have a shoulder holster?

BORING: Oh, I had a hip holster. And I shot the one shot;

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I thought he was going to go down, because I had a nice, clear shot at him.

JOHNSON: He ignored you; he didn't shoot at you then?

BORING: He shot at me once. He came back, like towards Davidson and I, and shot one shot, because he knew where that shot came from. It almost knocked his hat off. He came back to shoot at us; he did shoot one time.

JOHNSON: One shot at both you and Davidson.

BORING: Yes.

JOHNSON: Did it come close?

BORING: No, it broke the windows out in back of the booth. I guess it was about a foot maybe; missed us by a foot.

JOHNSON: But Davidson shot all of these, and didn't hit him?

BORING: He never hit him.

JOHNSON: And he was out. And you had used only two of the six that you had.

BORING: You've got to remember when you're dealing with Davidson--I loved the guy, he was a great guy--[he

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was] nervous as a cat, a jumpy guy, but a nice man.

JOHNSON: You were a little more calm.

BORING: Well, I guess so.

JOHNSON: Did he have the same kind of pistol, Davidson?

BORING: Davidson had a four-inch pistol, a big four-inch pistol.

JOHNSON: A four inch…

BORING: A regular-issue pistol. You see, these were issued to us, and when we could qualify with them, we could u