Former Secret Service agent to talk about JFK
Englewood High grad served three presidents
Jerry Blaine has been a lot of things in his life — a sailor, a student, and a Secret Service agent assigned to three U.S. presidents, including John F. Kennedy.
It’s the three years he spent with Kennedy that were documented in his New York Times best-seller “The Kennedy Detail,” and in the upcoming film due out in 2014.
The 1950 Englewood High School graduate and Korean War veteran has spent a lot of time discussing his book since it was released in 2010, but says he has just one presentation left in him.
Because of his local roots, he will give that presentation to the Highlands Ranch Historical Society at 7 p.m. Aug. 19 at Southridge Recreation Center, 4800 McArthur Ranch Road in Highlands Ranch. The PowerPoint presentation will be followed with a question-and-answer period as well as a book signing.
The talk, he said, will focus on the difference — from the Secret Service perspective — of the Eisenhower presidency and the Kennedy presidency, the Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, and the personal relationship he developed with the Kennedy family. He will also talk about the differences in the Secret Service between then and now.
Blaine, who was hired by the service in 1959 after earning a business degree from the University of Colorado, was the first agent assigned to the Kennedy detail and joined the president-elect in Palm Beach, Fla., the day after the 1960 election.
“Being the first agent on regular detail with him, I had quite a bit of interaction with him. I had a lot more after he hit me in the head with a golf ball,” he said. “If he wasn’t tied up in the affairs of state, he would stop by the post and shoot the breeze. He was very personal that way.”
And while Kennedy was extremely personal with Blaine and the other agents, one thing Blaine won’t discuss in the presentation and does not address in his book is the personal affairs of the president — something that has been heavily documented, and not all of which Blaine says is anywhere near close to the truth.
“A lot of it is exaggerated, including the Marilyn Monroe thing, which is blown way out of proportion,” he said. “It didn’t define the Kennedy administration.”
While some of what may be holding Blaine back is an unwritten code between agents never to discuss First Family matters openly, he said he was compelled to write the book a few years back after “the conspiracy theorists began to kidnap history.”
“It was time to put together the facts of what happened. That’s why I wrote the book,” he said. “We knew from the day after Kennedy was elected we were working under a different circumstance than we were working under with Eisenhower.”
Blaine, who saw the president for the last time when he left Fort Worth for Dallas the day he was shot, will address the assassination, and said he is happy to answer questions surrounding all of the theories that have circled it for the last 50 years.
“We were always concerned about a sniper, because he was so vulnerable,” Blaine said. “He was so unpredictable he was predictable as far as going into crowds, and he loved the open-top limousine in parade situations. ... It was very difficult to stomach.”
To RSVP for the Aug. 19 event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The event is free for members, but a suggested donation of $1 is requested for non-members. Light refreshments will be served beginning at 6:30 p.m.. The event is from 7 to 8:30 p.m.