Secret Service agent Winston Lawson has passed away 11/7/19
I spoke to Lawson in 1992 and corresponded with him a few times in 2003. He was the lead advance agent for the Dallas trip (Clint Hill’s brother in law, David Grant, was his assistant). Lawson told me that it never came to his attention that President Kennedy ever requested that the agents not ride on the rear of the limousine. Lawson was responsible for the limited number of motorcycles next to JFK’s limousine.
With Lawson’s passing, that leaves just Clint Hill and Paul Landis alive representing agents in the motorcade.
Agents Walt Coughlin, Ron Pontius, Gerald Blaine, Robert Burke, Bill Duncan and Ken Giannoules are still alive (they were on other parts of the Texas trip).
Winston G. Lawson, 91, of Virginia Beach died Thursday at Lake Taylor Transitional Hospital in Norfolk. He was born in western New York to Cecile Lawson (nee Post) and Merle Lawson. After graduating from high school in Buffalo he headed at age 16 to the University of Buffalo, graduating in 4 years with a History and Government degree. While at UB he met Barbara Barrett, who was the younger sister of his fraternity brother. They married in 1950. During the Korean War he served in Army Counterintelligence. After the war he used that experience to join the United States Secret Service where he served under 7 Presidents from Eisenhower to Reagan. Some of his favorite memories are from his time guarding Vice Presidents Humphrey and Agnew. After a long and distinguished career in which he rose to Acting Assistant Director he retired and went on to serve another 10 years with the intelligence community. Following that career he worked for Reverends Billy and Franklin Graham doing security around the world. In addition to his careers of service he volunteered for numerous organizations like Meals on Wheels, Francis Asbury United Methodist Church, Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service, Samaritans Purse, and others. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Barbara; daughter, Andrea (Don); son, Jeff (Denise); brother, Merlin (Nina); grandchildren, Matthew, Reid, Rhianna, Riley, Matt S., Emma, and Brandon, and several beloved nieces and nephews.
Vincent Palamara was born in Pittsburgh and graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in Sociology.
Although not even born when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Vince brings fresh eyes to an old case. In fact, Vince would go on to study the largely overlooked actions - and inactions - of the United States Secret Service in unprecedented detail, as well as achieving a world's record in the process, having interviewed and corresponded with over 80 former agents (the House Select Committee on Assassinations had the old record of 46 with a 6 million dollar budget and subpoena power from Congress), not to mention many surviving family members, White House aides, and even quite a few Parkland and Bethesda medical witnesses for a corresponding project. The result was Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service & The Failure To Protect President Kennedy.
Vince is also the author of the books JFK: From Parkland To Bethesda, The Not-So-Secret Service, Who's Who in the Secret Service, and Honest Answers about the Murder of President John F. Kennedy: A New Look at the JFK Assassination.
All told, Vince has been favorably mentioned in over 140 JFK and Secret Service related books to date (including two whole chapters in Murder in Dealey Plaza, The Secret Service: The Hidden History Of An Enigmatic Agency by Philip Melanson, and the Final Report of the Assassination Records Review Board, among many others), often at length, in the bibliographies, and in the Secret Service - and even medical evidence - areas of these works.
Vince has appeared on the History Channel's THE MEN WHO KILLED KENNEDY (VHS and DVD), C-SPAN, Newsmax TV, A COUP IN CAMELOT (DVD/BLU RAY), KING KILL '63, THE MAN BEHIND THE SUIT (DVD), National Geographic's JFK: THE FINAL HOURS (including on DVD), PCN, BPTV, local cable access television, YouTube, radio, newspapers, print journals, at national conferences, and all over the internet. Also, Vince's original research materials, or copies of said materials, are stored in the National Archives (by request under Deed Of Gift by the ARRB), the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Harvard University, the Assassination Archives and Research Center, and the Dallas Public Library.
Vince Palamara has become known (as he was dubbed by the History Channel in 2003) "the Secret Service expert." As former JFK Secret Service agent Joe Paolella proclaimed: "You seem to know a lot about the Secret Service, maybe even more than I do!" Agent Dan Emmett calls Vince a Secret Service expert in his new book.