Fletcher Prouty's Interview with the ARRB, Part Three
Updated: Oct 11, 2021
Regarding the 112th Intelligence Corps (INTC) Group and/or the 316th INTC Detachment
Prouty could not support his allegations. First, he told the ARRB that he did not make the phone call, but that he was called:
Wray: Let me ask you now about something else in the wake of the assassination. In your book, you talk about an incident in which you contacted an individual in US Army Intelligence in San Antonio after the assassination; and the next questions sort of deal with --
Prouty: Read that again, please -- I think I missed a sentence that's important. Just start from the beginning --
Wray: Okay; in your book, you talk about how you contacted a person that you knew in US Army Intelligence in San Antonio --
Prouty: It didn't work that way. He contacted me.
Wray: He contacted you? Okay. Maybe I should rephrase it and say you had contact with --
Prouty: Yeah. Well ... he called me, which is relatively routine. The only thing was, by the time he called me, I had retired. But that's all right. He called me. Because I didn't know he had this on his mind, so I wouldn't have ... would not have called him.
Prouty could not remember who he spoke to:
Wray: Do you recall when this conversation took place?
Prouty: '64, '65. Something like that.
Wray: And do you recall who this person was?
Prouty: He was the number two man, as I understand it, to Col. Reich, who was the commander of a military unit down there in Houston; and that should be a matter of record. That's how he introduced himself to me.
Prouty did not know this person prior to the phone call:
Wray: Did you know this person before that conversation?
Prouty: No. No -- again, it's one of those things where we never dealt by voice ... I had dealt with the unit, by different orders, but ... no.
They showed Prouty a roster of people from the 316th and he couldn't pick out who had called him.
Wray: Col. Reich was the commander of the 316th Intelligence Corps Detachment in San Antonio, which was assigned to the 112th Intelligence Corps Group. I have a roster of individuals who were assigned to the 316th --
Prouty: Good. I've never seen it, that I know of.
Wray: This roster, I should say, is a roster based on the information we've been able to find from the Archives as our best understanding of the people that were assigned there in November of 1963. There are other rosters of individuals who arrived after that time.
Prouty: (long pause) Now, since these things were generally kept to a relatively small group ... I think I was speaking to his (Reich's) deputy, and I don't see him here. See, we didn't -- like, I didn't, even know Reich was involved; when we dealt with this crowd, because of the level I worked at, I dealt with the 112th, which was the senior organization. And I think the man I was talking to was clearly the deputy to this person, and ... I mean ... that's just the way I can tell you ... I don't know, like the other people ...
Wray: Okay ... But you don't recognize the name on the list of the 316th?
Prouty: I only recognize Reich's [name] because I know since then Reich was the commander there.
Prouty is then shown a roster from the 112th:
Wray: This is the roster -- this is the 112th's Group Headquarters. Now this is actually dated, I think, from December 1963.
Prouty: Yup. December 1963. (Long pause) See, we never dealt by name with the organization. In fact, the few times that we had anything to do with this kind of a crowd would be when they'd call us, because they didn't want things to cross. And usually, it would be a call from Fort Myer. Like, I don't remember ever having a call from Col. Reich, although I knew who Reich was, since he was the --
Wray: Let me go back and see if -- sort out where we are with this individual. Let me ask you directly: do you recall who the person was? Do you recall the person's name?
Prouty: No. I'd have to ... I was quite surprised, because it was when I had retired and left; and the chance of me having contact with people I'd never even worked with was rare. What he was doing -- somehow, he put it together himself, I guess -- was telling me, sort of like [an] introduction; he said that Col. Reich was very upset that he found out that nobody had been assigned to Dallas. And thinking, you know, that among the different units that might have been assigned to Dallas, he would have been one of them, just -- you know -- one of three or four, maybe. That's a regular business. I had no way of knowing, since I wasn't on duty in those days, that this had come up. And it just confirmed other things; that, geez -- if he wasn't in Dallas, [then] how the heck did that happen? Because it's just as automatic as going to lunch. These units are created for presidential protection. They're trained for presidential protection.
Wray: Back on the person ... you don't recall the person's name. You don't recognize the name on the list. Did I understand [you] correctly to say that you did not personally know this person? It was not an acquaintance of yours before the call?
Prouty: I didn't know anybody in the outfit. The only way we would know is, getting calls where they might ask questions; like, they were asked to send ten men to [Ft.] Holabird, you know, to the school. Okay, we'd see that they got orders for that. But that was secretarial, mostly. We didn't meet the people. (Pause) Like the U-2 pilots. I never knew a U-2 pilot by name, and we had loads of them.
Wray: Let me back up and ask my question again, because I think we'd like to hear clearly what your answer is. I was inquiring about how it was -- why this individual sought you out to contact you.
Prouty: It was a surprise to me; except that he could identify himself as being, as I recall, the deputy of the unit. Well, the units usually went to these assignments, as I understand it, by rote. You know; if it was on your beat, you went. Like a baseball schedule -- if the Orioles are going to play in Los Angeles, they're supposed to be there. But if some other team went there that day, something happened. Well, that's what he was saying. He said that they didn't know they were supposed to be in Dallas, because nobody had called them. It wasn't on their list. Well, after the deal was over, they wondered why they weren't. And that was the question: why weren't they? Well, it wasn't my business to know either, and furthermore, I wasn't here at the time. I was out of the country. So I couldn't have participated in it even -- anyway. As a matter of fact, I that's the first thing I told him -- I said, "Hell, I wasn't even here." I was interested in the fact that he called, because it was the first time it had ever occurred to me that the rote ... the advance orders hadn't taken effect. And I wondered what happened to the system. That's all we ever knew about it was ... the schedule. The President's going to make a trip, so somebody's going to this city, and someone's going to be in that city. And I don't know how familiar you are with a job like that ... [there's] a lot of advance ... like, when I went to Mexico City with the Secret Service when Eisenhower was going down there back in the 50's -- geez, we were in Mexico City, I think, at least three weeks before the President went down there, doing all kinds of prepatory [sic] work. You know, who'd take the windows of this building, who'd close those, who'd be on the roof of this building, where will the sniper be ... I mean, that's business. And it's a lot of work. It's not casual. It isn't just 'run out there for one day and back again.' Well, since I knew that's the way they worked [sic], I figured, "where the hell were they?" Well, that begins to ask some pretty big questions. But that was just my own wondering, "why weren't they there?" When I see windows open -- why the hell weren't the windows closed? And if they weren't closed, something very serious is wrong. Not just casually -- this is 100 years of Secret Service work. This is a profession. And since I had gone with them myself on a trip to Mexico City when the time was such that Eisenhower's people were a little concerned about Mexico City ... we really did that town over. Well, it's a profession -- they have a book on what to do. One thing you do is you keep the windows closed. If a window opens, there's a sniper on that window immediately. That's why they have lots of military scattered in civilian clothes around there -- to be sure that nothing happens. And they can keep it from happening. But why the hell weren't they there in Dallas? ... That was my point. The fact that this guy called me is almost an irrelevant issue. I think he felt the way I did; he was trying to find out why his unit wasn't there.
The conversation moved to another topic and then came back to the phone call:
Gunn: So when someone called you, then from the 316th, it was your understanding -- at least at that time - that the person normally would have reported to Fort Myer, but they were going and calling you because they how [sic] they --
Prouty: (Crossly) Such a thing never crossed my mind. The man that called me was an individual. I don't even know if he was on duty, and I had never seen him. There were certain things I wouldn't tell him. But what he told me was what had gone on in his command when they found out that the schedule had been interrupted. So I listened to him talk. I had no reason for taking with the guy.
The ARRB came back to the phone call one last time and Prouty was starting to have doubts:
Zimmerman: Well, I was going to ask you -- when you spoke to this deputy to Colonel Reich ... Did he mention to you that Army units had been present in Houston, San Antonio, and the other cities on the Texas trip, and not Dallas? Or they just were not present on the Dallas trip?
Prouty: Well, the assumption was, from the person -- and since I've seen the list of names, and he's not on there, I'm beginning to wonder seriously whether he was really in that crowd; because you must have every name that there is in the outfit.
In February 1977, Tim Wray wrote a memo on Army Intelligence in Dallas. Here is his conclusion about the phone call:
I mentioned in my book, On the Trail of Delusion - Jim Garrison: The Great Accuser, that the ARRB found that Prouty could not back up any his allegations. James DiEugenio answered my critique of Prouty in his "Fred Litwin's Follies" series:
"The other point is about the lack of military protection for Kennedy in Dallas. When asked by the ARRB if he had any notes on this, Fletcher said he did not. (See page 6 of the ARRB summary of the interview) Fletcher did have the notes of the call. And Len Osanic has seen them. His informant said that, as late as January 1964, when he reported to the 316th Field Detachment—which was very close to the 112th Military Intelligence Group in San Antonio—there were still arguments between the two commanders about why they were not detached to go to Dallas. (ARRB interview with Col. Bill McKinney 5/2/97) Especially since some of the officers there had been trained in presidential protection at Fort Holabird. McKinney called Prouty about it since Fletcher would likely have arranged the air transportation for the unit. After all, it’s a four drive from San Antonio to Dallas. Also, after the film was released, a daughter of one of the high level officers called Len. She told him that, over the assassination weekend, there was an argument at her home over this particular issue. Namely why there was no military protection forwarded to Dallas. (Interview with Osanic, 2/6/2021)"
DiEugenio just flat out contradicts the source he cites. He brings up Col. Bill McKinney and says that he “called Prouty about it [a detachment for Dallas] since Fletcher would likely have arranged the air transportation for the unit.” If you read the actual interview with William McKinney, you find out that at the time he was just a PFC “who had just completed basic training and was attending intelligence training in Ft. Holabird, MD. It is important to note that McKinney had not yet reported to the 316th on November 22, 1963 and was not in Texas.” What’s worse is that McKinney did talk to Prouty, as DiEugenio claims, except that the call was in 1977 or 1978 and it was about a story he was working regarding train track conditions [Prouty worked for Amtrak].
Previous Relevant Posts on Fletcher Prouty
A summary document of his interview with the ARRB
Another summary document from the ARRB about Prouty's allegations and army intelligence.
Prouty had some very unsavory relationships with antisemitic groups.
Was Fletcher Prouty's Trip to Antarctica Unusual?
Regarding Christchurch, New Zealand and The Christchurch Star