“I am impressed with your research, accuracy, and willingness to ‘tell it like it is'”- Secret Service Agent Robert DeProspero, former head of President Reagan’s Detail, in a surprise e-mail to myself in 2011 (this blurb is proudly mentioned in all four of my books. I ended up corresponding and speaking to Mr. DeProspero several times since)
Robert DeProspero joined the Secret Service because of the JFK assassination- he told me it was definitely a catalyst. The Air Force veteran was on the White House Detail for LBJ, Carter and Reagan, rising to both head of the detail and, later, assistant to the Director. He was head of the VP Ford Detail during the later Nixon days. He also guarded former President Eisenhower, VP Agnew and VP Rockefeller. Bob is responsible for everyone going thru magnetometers (metal detectors) in order to get near the President, as well as stationing a hospital agent in case of trauma or an incident. He also was the instigator of bulletproof windows at the White House. Several of the men and women on his detail went on to become Assistant Directors or Directors. Bob has been called perhaps the greatest protection agent the Secret Service ever had. As one of the men who was in charge of the Presidential Protection Detail (PPD, formerly known as the White House Detail), he was part of a very elite corps:
1. Joseph E. Murphy (Teddy Roosevelt -Taft eras) 2. Dick Jervis (Wilson era) 3. Col. Edmund W. Starling (Wilson-FDR) 4. Michael F. Reilly (1943-1945) 5. George C. Drescher (SAIC 4/12/45-5/3/46; nephew Earl L. Drescher became the deputy chief of the Executive Protective Service in the late 1970’s) 6. James J. Rowley (1946-Sept. 1961) 7. Gerald A. Behn (Sept. 1961-Jan. 1965) 8. Rufus W. Youngblood (1965) 9. Thomas “Lem” Johns (Fall 1965) 10. Clinton J. Hill (Approx. 1966-1968) 11. Robert H. Taylor1 (LBJ & NIXON: 1968-Feb. 1973) 12. Richard E. Keiser (Feb. 1973-1978; Nixon, Ford, Carter) 13. John R. Simpson (Carter; 1978-1979) 14. Gerald S. Parr (Carter-Reagan; 1979-early 1982) 15. Robert DeProspero (Reagan, Jan. 1982-approx. April 1985) 16. Ray Shaddick (Reagan/ Bush; 1985-1989) 17. John W. Magaw (Bush; approximately 1989-1992) 18. Rich “Skip” Miller (Bush/ Clinton; approximately 1992-1993) 19. David Carpenter (Clinton; 1994-1995) 20. Don Flynn (Clinton) 21. Lewis C. Merletti (Clinton) 22. Brian L. Stafford (Clinton) 23. Larry Cockell (Clinton) 24.Carl Truscott (Bush) 25. Eddie Marinzel (Bush) 26. Nick Trotta (Bush) 27. Don White (Bush) 28. Joe Clancy (Obama; 2/1/09-6/30/11) 29. Vic Erevia (Obama; 2011-2013) 30. Robert Buster (Obama; 2013-2015; assistants: Thomas Rizza, Kimberly Tello) 31. Michael White (Obama/ Trump; 2015-2017) 32. Anthony Ornato (Trump)
PHOTO- 7/7/83: President Reagan meets with all the living Special Agent in Charges of the Secret Service White House Detail (WHD; later known as Presidential Protective Division or PPD). L-R: then-current SAIC Robert DeProspero [Reagan], Jerry Parr [Carter-Reagan], James Rowley [Truman-JFK], Jerry Behn [JFK-LBJ], Lem Johns [LBJ], Rufus Youngblood [LBJ], Clint Hill [LBJ], Richard Keiser [Nixon-Carter], President Reagan, and John Simpson [Carter]. Only Keiser and Hill are still living.