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Thursday, November 21, 2013

James Tague: Wounded on Dealy Plaza In Dallas On November 22, 1963

James Tague

Have you ever heard of James Tague? He may just be one of the biggest unfortunate victims of fate in American history. On November 22, 1963,  the 27-year-old car salesman was late for a lunch date to meet his girlfriend (and future wife). During his trip through downtown Dallas, Texas, Tague was driving east on Commerce street, the southernmost of the three streets which go under the triple underpass. Nearing Dealey Plaza, Tague came upon traffic caused by President Kennedy's motorcade, and he was forced to stop his car halfway under the triple underpass. Barely aware of the President's visit, but with his lunch plans indefinitely delayed, Tague soon "got out of his car and stood by the bridge abutment."

(Testimony of James Tague - Warren Commission, 553)

From this coincidental vantage point, Tague was able to view the presidential motorcade traveling west on Elm Street. He had no idea he was about to become both a witness to and a victim of the most infamous assassination of a Untied States president.

Tague said had only been standing for five or ten seconds before the first shot rang out, which he  claimed sounded as if someone had lit a very loud firecracker. "It certainly didn't sound like a rifle shot. It was a loud cannon-type sound."

(Testimony of James Tague - Warren Commission, 553)

In his testimony for the Warren Commission, Tague claimed that he next "turned his head away from the motorcade but heard two more shots. In an interview, Tague explained that the first shot was a "flat sound" whereas the other two were sharp "cracks" which sounded like true rifle shots. It is somewhat unclear from his testimony what Tague did between the first shot and the third shot. But at that time he said "something stung me in the face."

Evidently, Tague had been wounded by the time the third shot was fired. He actually reported feeling that slight "sting" but initially ignoring it because he had been "consumed by what was transpiring in front of him."

(Richard E. Trask. Pictures of the Pain: Photography and the 
Assassination of President Kennedy. 1994)

But, after the third "crack," Tague claimed that he ducked behind the abutment to the triple underpass for a moment. He next glanced around the abutment just in time to see the presidential limousine accelerate out of Dealey Plaza, toward the Stemmons Freeway. He said then, in his words, "I did what anyone would do. I scanned the area to see what was going on."

(Interview with James Tague, May 6, 1997)

Immediately after the shooting, Tague claimed to have seen a motorcycle policeman stop, draw his gun and run up the embankment (or grassy knoll) toward the railroad tracks after parking his cycle on the north curb of Elm. Later, this policeman was identified as Clyde Haygood, the first officer on the grassy knoll after the shooting. Like many in Dealey Plaza, Tague said he then moved toward the activity on the knoll until reaching Haygood who had by that time, returned to his motorcycle.

While Tague was with Haygood, another witness reported to Haygood that a shot had come from the Texas School Book Depository. Haygood radioed the Dallas Police dispatcher and asked that the Depository be sealed off, using the code number "142." While reporting to dispatch, he also mentioned a man (Tague) who had been wounded by flying concrete.

(Jim Marrs. Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy. 1989)

When another Dallas police officer, Buddy Walthers, arrived, Tague reported to Walthers that he recalled something had "struck him on the face" while standing by the triple underpass, Walthers looked up and said, "Yes; you have blood there on your cheek."

The most important issue with Tague's wound became the question of what had caused it. Did the wound result as one of the three shots Tague claimed he had heard fired during the Kennedy assassination?

(Testimony - Warren Commission, 553)

Detective Buddy Walthers asked Tague where he had been standing when he was wounded. The two then headed back to the location where Tague had stood. About fifteen feet from the location where Tague had been standing under the triple underpass, on the upper part of the Main Street south curb, Walthers noticed a "very fresh scar" impact that looked as if a bullet had struck there and taken a small chip out of the curb's concrete. The detective told Tague it looked as though a bullet had been fired from one of the Houston and Elm Streets intersection buildings and had hit the curb.

In his Warren Commission testimony, Tague said there was a mark that "quite obviously (was made by) a bullet, and it was very fresh."

 (Testimony - Warren Commission, 553)

"To Walthers, it was most obvious that the projectile either came from the School Book Depository or the Dal-Tex Building due to the angle with which it struck the curb"

(Richard E. Trask. Pictures of the Pain: Photography and the 
Assassination of President Kennedy. 1994)

He even stated to another deputy "From the looks of it, it's probably going to be in the school book building."

(Richard E. Trask. Pictures of the Pain: Photography and the 
Assassination of President Kennedy. 1994)

Interestingly, most sources, including Crossfire by Jim Marrs, Case Closed, Pictures of the Pain and Groden's The Killing of a President make the mistake of claiming his wound was on Tague's left cheek. In an interview, Tague himself said it was his right cheek, and the scratch seen in most photos was entirely unrelated, and a week old by that time.

This curb surrounding the scar chip was not cut out until August 1964, and is now in the National Archives. The scar chip was 23 feet 6 inches (7.2 m) east of the east edge of the triple underpass railroad bridge, about 20 (6.1 m) feet from where Tague stood during the attack.

 James Tague

50 Years Later

It is 2012, fifty years after the terrible events in Dallas. In that time, the assassination of John F. Kennedy has been explored more than any other tragedy America has endured. Conspiracy theories abound. Some still refuse to believe the findings of the Warren Commission. They desperately search for an answer to the question of whether a conspiracy killed the president.

An in-depth and unbiased analysis of all of the possible scenarios involving James Tague being wounded in Dealey Plaza is one of many requisites for reaching a conclusion about what actually happened during the assassination of John Kennedy.

Did a shot fired from an assassin cause Tague's wound? Perhaps it was something else.

Yet, if Tague's wound was a the result of a gunshot, Tague is the only person, in addition to Kennedy and Texas Governor John B. Connally, known to have been wounded by gunfire in Dallas' Dealey Plaza that day.

For the Warren Commission, Tague was asked "Do you think that it is consistent with what you heard and saw that day, that the shots could have come from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository?" He responded "Yes."

Read on, because it seems Tague has changed his stripes.

The most important issue regarding James Tague's wound is from which shot did a bullet or part of a bullet strike the curb, causing his wound. There have been several theories explaining which bullet caused the wound to Tague's cheek.

The two most common theories involve either the first or third bullets causing the wound. Although some claim it was hasty, even the Warren Commission concludes, "The mark on the south curb of Main Street cannot be identified conclusively with any of the three shots fired. Under the circumstances it might have come from the bullet which hit the President's head, or it might have been a product of fragmentation of the missed shot upon hitting some other object in the area" 

(Warren Report, 117.) 

If some authors are, indeed, correct with their controversial theory, and a fourth shot was fired that day in Dealey Plaza, due to the timing problems associated with cycling the bolt on Oswald's rifle, the presence of that fourth shot implies the presence of a second gunman. And, was Tague wounded from one of those four shots, not one of three as concluded by the Warren Commission?

Tague, now 77, says he is sure he was hit with pieces of concrete when a bullet intended for Kennedy missed the president’s limousine and struck the curbside a few feet away from him.

"We walked across the street just in time to hear this man (according to many authors, probably Charles Brehm) sobbing, 'His head exploded. His head exploded,'" Tague told the station. "And Officer Haygood said, 'Who's head?' And he said, 'The president's.'"

Tague's wounds did not require medical care and were mentioned only briefly in media reports. It was not until his story was picked up by The Associated Press several months later that investigators examined the ricocheting bullet.

On this 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK, James Tague now says he believes Oswald was innocent and that Kennedy was killed by a team of hit men hired by then-Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. 

“Finding this was no big deal, it’s like a crossword puzzle — you just got to start putting the pieces together,” Tague told “Kennedy’s assassination was not a conspiracy, it was a coup.”

("Accidental Victim' in JFK Assassination Recalls Shooting." November 21, 2013)

Here, in his own words, is what James Tague believes:

"For you Historians it will not take much research to find out what a bi- polar sick man Lyndon Johnson was. I feel sorry for his 2 daughters by Lyndon and Ladybird, I hope they do not read this book. One of his Secret Service agents probably said it best “if he was not President, he would be locked up in a nut house.” His friend who handled the cover-up, head of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover was without morals, I cover Hoover in an earlier chapter. There was the big money and power, the men who where admired as pillars of society who let their power and greed get to them and allow a murder. They supplied the money without asking questions to keep their lilly white hands clean. There were the known and main planners, Lyndon Johnson’s attorney Edward Clark, Head of the National Democratic Party Clifford Carter, Owner of the School Book Depository, co-founder of LTV and Malcolm Wallaces employer David Harold Byrd, Billionaire oil man Clint Murchison Sr., Billionaire oil man H. L. Hunt, George and Herman Root of Brown & Root, and others. 

"Lee Harvey Oswald was a patsy to the shooting, but not completely innocent of involvement. There was at least 3 shooters, probably 4 shooters, and maybe as many as 5 shooters. Two shooters are known, Malcolm Wallace and Loy Factor, a third shooter was seen by Ed Hoffman behind the fence, and the forth shooter was probably the third man on the sixth floor. There is eyewitness and finger print evidence on Wallace and a confession by Loy Factor to three reputable men."

 (James T. Tague. LBJ and the Kennedy Killing.

In 2003, on the 40th anniversary year of the assassination, Tague published a book, Truth Withheld, detailing his experiences during and after the assassination.

And, of course now, in 2013, Tague hopes a new book he is writing on the subject will solve the mysteries surrounding the assassination.

“I have never found the right words to describe it. It’s like it happened in a movie or something,” Tague told “Fifty years later, I still haven’t fully accepted that he was killed right in front of me.”

My View

I believe Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone shooter who fired three rounds on November 22, 1963. I largely believe in the findings of the Warren Commission.

Whether Oswald had ties to organized crime and used those ties to aid his deed, I don't know. James Tague cannot be discredited for giving reports after witnessing the assassination and being wounded during the time it took place; however I think one of three bullets caused the chip from the curb to explode, or perhaps the mar in the concrete had been caused by something else that had occurred recently prior to the assassination.

There is always the possibility that Tague was wounded by some debris other than concrete -- perhaps a rock from a tire or maybe some object that serendipitously flew through the air at the time. An unfound object may have been riding the wind or thrown by a spectator at these, the most examined moments in our brief American history.

Lyndon Johnson and hired hit men? Quite frankly, James Tague, I wonder if you need a little extra cash so you wrote a new book to pad those golden years. LBJ was a lot of things to a lot of different people, but I just can't picture him as  Godfather to J. Edgar Hoover. Good luck on your new project.

President Lyndon B Johnson
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