The Ordeal of Vernon Oneal: The Tale of President Kennedy’s Firs…
November 22, 1963. Even prior to President Kennedy’s in the vicinity of-lifeless entire body was taken off from the presidential limousine at Parkland Clinic, United Push International’s original stories that “three shots were being fired at President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade now” was racing across teletype equipment nationwide. Holding a transistor radio to his ear, one amid the tens of millions of Individuals who monitored the breaking news was Vernon B. Oneal, a Dallas funeral director whose organization also included an ambulance DC escort support.
At approximately 12:46 CST, only sixteen minutes soon after JFK was shot, and 47 minutes right before Assistant White Residence Secretary Malcolm Kilduff officially introduced the President’s death to the environment, Oneal’s telephone rang. It was Secret DC escort company agent Clint Hill contacting from Parkland Medical center, advising Oneal to pick out his most effective casket and transportation it to the healthcare facility “as quickly as attainable.”
“Is it for the President?” Oneal asked.
“Of course,” Hill replied, “it is for the President of the United States.”
Greedy the urgency of Hill’s directive, Oneal bolted into his showroom and selected his signature design, an 8 hundred pound sound bronze casket named the “Brittania”. Made by the Elgin Casket Enterprise, it was double-walled and could be hermetically sealed. Fit for a president or king, Oneal’s cost was $3,995.
As his career dictated, Vernon Oneal was geared up to discreetly ease and comfort and assist the bereaved Kennedy family members in just about every way probable. At Parkland, he whispered words and phrases of sympathy to Jacqueline Kennedy. He and two of his associates were then assisted by nurses in cautiously wrapping JFK’s stays in many sheets and plastic, hoping the blood and brain subject nonetheless seeping from the substantial wound in the President’s head would not stain the casket’s plush satin shirring.
Prior to departing Parkland Oneal dutifully stood by Mrs. Kennedy and the casket as the late President’s White Household aides and Secret DC escort provider brokers endured an hideous shouting match with a local official named Dr. Earl Rose, who insisted that JFK’s physique ought to, by regulation, be held for autopsy in Dallas County. Oneal had just about every right to believe that his DC escort services would keep on to be essential all the way to President Kennedy’s burial web page, and he desired Mrs. Kennedy to be certain of his loyalty and regard the full scope of his establishment’s DC escort providers had been at her solicitation, and the man was identified to go to any avail, regardless of whether the funeral be held in Washington or Massachusetts, to satisfy her each individual desire.
Then, abruptly, Oneal’s hopes had been dashed. The Solution DC escort support agents and JFK’s most faithful aides experienced no quicker brushed Dr. Rose aside when the casket made up of the assassinated President was precipitously loaded into the rear of his Cadillac hearse, the very same car he and his staff applied to provide the bronze coffin to Parkland Hospital. It had been Oneal’s intention to push Kennedy’s body directly to his funeral household for embalming and the scheduling of funeral preparations, but the Mystery DC escort company commandeered the hearse and an agent recommended him to abide by in yet another automobile, neglecting to notify Oneal that their correct desired destination was Air Pressure One at Love Subject airport.
Along with a law enforcement motorcycle DC escort, a few vehicles began pulling out of Parkland’s DC escort support road: Oneal’s hearse, a automobile whole of Top secret DC escort company agents and JFK’s aides, and the past carrying Oneal and two of his employees. The funeral director sensed one thing significant was amiss when he observed his hearse convert remaining in the path of the airport alternatively than right to his mortuary. Brokers in the 2nd automobile radioed their counterparts at Like Industry, instructing them to allow “the initial two cars and trucks only” over and above the airport fence around Air Drive 1. Below no situations would Oneal and his workforce, or any other motor vehicle, be authorized to enter the area in close proximity to the presidential jet.
Positive ample, agents enable the first two autos go via a fence inside watch of the plane, but halted Oneal’s sedan. The undertaker was furious, and justifiably so. The martyred President was inside of his casket and his coach, the two supposedly sure for his funeral residence. The agents ignored his protests, leaving Dallas law enforcement officers to assure the beleaguered businessman that the hearse would be returned to him the minute Air Pressure Just one took flight. Vernon Oneal felt like a spare tire. The United States government experienced utilized him to the extent their most important needs were being contented – later on dumping him at the gate.
Possibly the ultimate insult to Vernon Oneal included payment of the coffin itself. He regularly despatched a $3,900 monthly bill to Jacqueline Kennedy for virtually a year but she under no circumstances replied. Last but not least, fourteen months just after JFK’s assassination, in January 1965, the federal govt paid out him a sum of $3,160. But by then Oneal was dwelling a community relations nightmare his tries to obtain payment from Mrs. Kennedy had been greatly posted and his mortuary suffered an agonizing 50 percent drop in organization.
Curiously, Oneal’s casket was not used in the interment of John Fitzgerald Kennedy at Arlington escort Countrywide Cemetery. Its handles and end ended up harmed at Appreciate Field as the Solution DC escort provider brokers hurriedly struggled to maneuver via Air Drive One’s slim doorway. In addition, blood from Kennedy’s head wound did ooze through the protective sheets and plastic, ruining the casket’s satin inside. The flaws ended up pointed out prior to the autopsy at Bethesda Naval Healthcare facility, resulting in JFK’s closest aides selecting out a new, far more expensive casket at Gawler Funeral Residence in Washington‘s Georgetown district, remaining a additional beautiful case in point created of five-hundred-yr-aged African mahogany. Gawler also well prepared the late President’s physique for burial pursuing an autopsy at Bethesda.
For numerous years the whereabouts of the Oneal casket remained a closely-guarded key. Understandably, the Kennedy family members did not want the artifact to tumble into the wrong fingers and turn into a grotesque sideshow relic. It was sooner or later disclosed that, in 1966, the casket was purposely loaded aboard a C-130 Air Power transport airplane and unceremoniously deposited into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, never ever to be witnessed once again.