Post-JFK Assasination Audio Revealed

Recovered flight tape reveals details of confusion after JFK assasination


A newly discovered audio recording of Air Force One radio traffic during the flight from Dallas to Andrews Air Force Base immediately after the assassination of John F. Kennedy gives the public a rare, real-time glimpse into internal high-level communications on Nov. 22, 1963. [See a slide show of the 10 youngest presidents.]

Capturing the confusion of the moment, a voice from the Situation Room reports: "All available information on president follows: He and Governor Connally of Texas have been hit in the car in which they were riding. We do not know how serious the situation is. ... We are getting our information over the tickers. Over." [Read Robert Schlesinger's U.S. News interview with Caroline Kennedy.]

Another plane, carrying the secretary of state to Tokyo, can be heard confirming that it has turned around to return all members of the cabinet to the United States. "It really does bring back the immediacy and the shock and the tragedy of the assassination," says Susan Cooper, director of public affairs for the National Archives. The tape was donated to the Archives by the Raab Collection, a private autograph dealer.

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