Wicker: The search for phones began. Jack Gertz, traveling with us for AT&T, was frantically moving them by the dozen into the hospital but few were ready yet. I wandered down the hall, found a doctor’s office, walked in, and told him I had to use the phone. He got up without a word and left. I battled the hospital switchboard for five minutes and finally got a line to New York The whole conversation [with New York] probably took three minutes. Then I hung up, thinking of all there was to know, all there was I didn’t know. I wandered down a corridor and ran into Sidey and Chuck Roberts of Newsweek. They’d seen a hearse pulling up at the emergency entrance and we figured they were about to move the body. We made our way to the hearse—a Secret Service agent who knew us helped us through suspicious Dallas police lines—and the driver said his instructions were to take the body to the airport. That confirmed our hunch, but gave me at least another wrong one. Mr. Johnson, I declared, would fly to Washington with the body and be sworn in there. We posted ourselves inconspicuously near the emergency entrance. Within minutes they brought the body out in a bronze coffin . Mrs. Kennedy walked by the coffin, her hand on it, her head down, her hat gone, her dress and stockings spattered. She got into the hearse with the coffin. The staff men crowded into cars and followed. That was just about the only eyewitness matter that I got with my own eyes that entire afternoon. Roberts commandeered a seat in a police car and followed, promising to “fill” Sidey and me as necessary. We made the same promise to him and went back to the press room.
Davis: Jiggs Fauver, of the White House transportation office, grabbed my arm and said, “Come with me. We need a pool. Don’t ask any questions.” I grabbed my typewriter and left .
Smith: I ran back through the hospital to the conference room. There Jiggs Fauver grabbed me and said Kilduff wanted a pool of three men immediately to fly back to Washington on Air Force One, the Presidential aircraft. “He wants you downstairs, and he wants you right now,” Fauver said. Down the stairs I ran and into the driveway, only to discover Kilduff had just pulled out in our telephone car. Charles Roberts Sid Davis and I implored a police officer to take us to the airport in his squad car. On the way to the airport, the young police officer driving said, “I hope they don’t blame this on Dallas.” I don’t know who it was in the car that said, “They will.” The Secret Service had requested that no sirens be used in the vicinity, but the Dallas officer did a masterful job of getting us through some of the worst traffic I have ever seen. As we piled out of the car on the edge of the runway about 200 yards from the Presidential aircraft, Kilduff spotted us and motioned for us to hurry. We trotted to him and he said the plane could take two pool men to Washington; that Johnson was about to take the oath of office aboard the plane and would take off immediately thereafter. I saw a bank of telephone booths beside the runway and asked if I had time to advise my news service. He said, “But for God’s sake, hurry.” Then began another telephone nightmare. The Dallas office rang busy. I tried calling Washington. All circuits were busy. Then I called the New York bureau of UPI and told them about the impending installation of a new President aboard the airplane.
Wicker: [In the press room] we received an account from Julian Reed, a staff assistant, of Mrs. John Connally’s recollection of the shooting . The doctors had hardly left before Hawks came in and told us Mr. Johnson would be sworn in immediately at the airport. We dashed for the press buses, still parked outside. Many a campaign had taught me something about press buses and I ran a little harder, got there first, and went to the wide rear seat. That is the best place on a bus to open up a typewriter and get some work done. On the short trip to the airport, I got about 500 words on paper—leaving a blank space for the hour of Mr. Johnson’s swearing-in, and putting down the mistaken assumption that the scene would be somewhere in the terminal.