Air Force Vet Cyril Wecht, 91, dies

| May 14, 2024 | 53 Comments

I know…who the heck is Cyril Wecht? Well, the AF vet part is legit (albeit in a non-distinguished sort of way – he’s a doc who made Captain O-3 on this first hitch and got out in 1962). Well, you have heard of his ‘work’.

This is the fella who was asked to review the Warren Commission Report on the assassination of John F. Kennedy and declared it to be balderdash, kicking off decades of conspiracy theories which continue to this day. Mafia hit?
CIA  rub-out? MIC taking out a Vietnam buildup obstacle? Have at it, pretty much every conspiracy theory links back to him.

After reviewing the autopsy documents, discovering the president’s brain had gone missing and viewing an amateur video of the assassination, Dr. Wecht concluded the commission’s findings that there was a single bullet involved in the attack that killed Kennedy and injured Texas Gov. John Connally were “absolute nonsense.” Wiki

If a missing Presidential brain triggered him, we should have conspiracy theories about almost all of the recent ones, no? One may note that there were THREE bullets, not one.

Dr. Wecht’s lecture circuit demonstration detailing his theory that it was impossible for one bullet to cause the damage it did on that November day in Dallas made its way into Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK” (1991) in the courtroom scene showing the path of the “magic bullet.”

Noted defense lawyer F. Lee Bailey called Dr. Wecht the “single most important spearhead of challenge” to the Warren report. Dr. Wecht’s verbal sparring with future U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, a staffer on the commission, also became well known, culminating in an accusation in his book “Cause of Death” that the politician’s support of the single-bullet theory was “an asinine, pseudoscientific sham at best.”  WaPo

Reading his famous cases, seems to me he had at best a 50% track record on celebrity causes, but I tend to support Occam’s Razor, too.

Out of the four official examinations into the Kennedy assassination, Wecht is the only forensic pathologist who has disagreed with the conclusion that both the single bullet theory and Kennedy’s head wounds are mutually consistent. Wiki ibid

The three legs of the Kennedy theory – the “magic bullet”, the impossibility of Oswald firing so accurately so fast, and the ‘second shooter’ sounds.

1) The magic bullet trajectory through several layers of obstacles (mostly soft) has been proven – and demonstrated – to be possible. In short, Carcano 6.5 ammo used a very heavily jacketed round nosed bullet and has extremely good penetration. One or two bodies and a seat cushion? Not a worry? Matter of fact, 6.5s are NOTED for penetration as good as or better than larger .30 caliber equivalents. Some of the ballistically best cartridges in history were and are 6.5s, too. Is the Carcano the best rifle in the world? Not especially, but surplus Carcanos bagged an adequate share of venison for years after the war.

2) Impossibly fast? Go to Dealey Plaza. Believe I read once that the furthest shot was something like 79 or 80 yards. That is NOT a long distance, folks, especially when your target is traveling in a straight line away from you AND you have a 4X scope AND are shooting from a rest. And Oswald qualified Expert at least once in the Marines – may not have always, but it shows he at least was trained. Fast? Believe all three rounds were fired in something like 7 seconds (note – 8.3 per linked article below.) Much is made of some ‘experts’ who claimed on TV that chambering and firing three rounds that fast was impossible – except Oswald started with one in the spout, so he was only chambering TWO rounds in 7 seconds. In a relatively soft-recoiling rifle, too…bet a HUGE chunk of readers could easily do the same. His actual group was close to a foot in diameter, too – pretty lousy at 80 yards but again, with a 4X scope, very, very possible.  Try this:

The official Warren Commission inquiry into the shooting concluded the following year that Oswald was a lone gunman who fired three shots with a Carcano M91/38 bolt-action rifle in 8.3 seconds.

But when the Italian team test-fired the identical model of gun, they were unable to load and fire three shots in less than 19 seconds – suggesting that a second gunman must have been present in Dealey Plaza, central Dallas, that day….  History Network

So they claim it took them NINE SECONDS to run the bolt once?  (Insert Italian Army joke here). As PINO Joe would say, “C’mon, man!” (Try looking at a timepiece, say ‘Boom!” and wait for 9 seconds to pass. Try to stay awake.)

3) Sounds – if you have been to Dealey Plaza, buildings enclose it pretty well on two sides – it echoes a bit. Trees blocking his shot? Nowadays, yes – but at the time they were much smaller and his shots were pretty much unobstructed.

Could Oswald have done it with what he had? Three rounds (two chambered) with a bolt action and a 4X scope at less than 100 yards? Have at it.

Category: Veterans in the news

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USMC Steve

Watching the Zapruder enhanced film, one could clearly see Kennedy’s brain being vaporized out of the top of his head. And yes, most any high power rifle round plunking one in the nugget will do the same thing. It is called hydrostatic shock.

Anonymous

Yup… .308 vs. watermelon:

RGR 4-78

I used a friends 7mm mag to do that to an armadillo once, everything on the inside was out, and mush.

SFC D

My uncle used a 7mm mag on a grouse. Nothing left but wings.

26Limabeans

My last moose was a cow taken with a .444 Marlin.
Maybe 50 yds moving away, base of the skull shot.
Everything intact, no exit wound.
But then again, we’re talkin moose.
Maine moose lottery ends tomorrow.
Get your application in now.

RGR 4-78

That would have made a spectacular puff ball of feathers.

SFC D

No shit, there I was… deer hunting with my uncle. I hadn’t seen a damn thing all day, went back to the truck to wait for him. I’m sitting on the tailgate, relaxing with a cigarette, and he comes out of the woods towards me. He looks off to his left, looks bake at me, and puts his finger to his lips, shush. He unslings his rifle, drops to one knee, and BOOM! He yells “GOT HIM!” I’m thinking “well sumbitch, if he just dropped a deer right next to me, I’m never hunting again”. He walks about 15 feet, bends down, and picks up… wings. Feathers and bird goo all over the place.

e.conboy

Aaaaah, good times huh?

SFC D

We never should’ve been allowed anywhere together without adult supervision. Add my dad into the mix and things got extremely silly.

JustALurkinAround

I’m laughing at my mind’s image of the post-blast arma-diller.

Like Officer Barbrady said, “cows turn themselves inside-out all the time”.

2banana

Keeping this conspiracy together for 60 years would be nearly impossible. 100s of people in the know. Not one had a death bed talk or released any information? These would be government employees.

Sailorcurt

I wrote a research paper on the Warren report and the assassination when I was in college. I came to the same conclusion.

Yes, there were some strange things that occurred, but there always are. There were some inconsistencies in the testimony and evidence, but there always are. Some evidence conveniently turned up missing or was destroyed, which happens more often than you would believe…especially in high profile cases where such evidence would bring a pretty penny from a “collector”.

Is it possible that there was a coverup and conspiracy? I suppose it’s remotely possible. Is it probable? Oh hell no. The sheer number of people that would have to have been involved would have been vast and as 2banana pointed out, for all of them to have kept their mouths closed all this time is unimaginable.

RGR 4-78

How far away was President Kenedy when the first shot was fired? I have heard he was only about 30 yards away at the first shot, then the limo continued to move away.

Sailorcurt

Actually, the number of shots was based primarily on the empty casings found at the window where the shots were taken. The witnesses and Zapruder film were inconclusive because of echoes and other sounds that could be mistaken for shots. The audio quality was poor and it was a very noisy environment.

They can get the timing of the two shots that hit from the film and those were about 5 seconds apart. Based on the rifle they considered about 3 seconds the minimum between shots so the first shot was taken likely no less than 8 seconds before the final shot.

The final shot was just shy of 89 yards. Based on the speed the vehicle was traveling and the time between shots, the first shot would have been from 40 to 50 yards. Could have been closer though, if the interval between the first and second shots was 4 or 5 seconds.

If the shot that missed was the second shot, then the first would have been from about 60 yards, but because the two that hit were only about 5 seconds apart, they considered the possibility that the first and third shots were the hits unlikely, just because according to witnesses, the shots weren’t that close together and were unevenly spaced.

The thing is, a scope isn’t great at close range. It’s hard to see anything through a scope up close and if it was zeroed for, say 100 yards, hitting a moving target, at a steep down angle, from that close with a scope would have been difficult. Especially because I’m sure he was wracked with adrenaline before the first shot…probably shaking like a leaf. It really doesn’t surprise me that the closest shot was the one that missed.

RGR 4-78

Thanks.

SFC D

It was the beginning of that “vast right-wing conspiracy” that woman spoke of.

Roh-Dog
Jimbo

That’s an easy shot. 80 yds at a slow moving target. You could almost do that with a pistol with a 8” barrel. They must have had non firearms experts trying to repeat what an expert marksman did. And the brain being hit with a high speed bullet. What would be left of a squirrel at that range. USMC Steve has that right. This Dr knew nothing of firearms forensics or graduated at the bottom of his class.

USAFRetired

I was in elementary school in 1963 and a couple years later I read the Warren Report. I was on a waiting list at the MCAS Beaufort for months to check out the book.

In the mid-90s I acquired Gerald Posner’s book Cased Closed. It provided me enough info to put to rest the Conspiracy theories in my mind.

Anonymous

A “grassy knoll gunman” would’ve killed Jackie and Gov Connally too shooting JFK from that angle. Oswald was a lone nut.

5JC

I believe Oswald did indeed do it by himself but the behest of the Soviets.

Fyrfighter

Saw a discussion / documentary on this recently, can’t recall the name. It’s premise was that the head wound, showing vastly different wound pattern than the other hits was caused by a faster, lighter bullet, like that of an M-16. Such a weapon was carried by one of the secret service in the back seat of the presidential limo, but laying on the floor so as to not be visible. The suggested that as he grabbed that weapon, there was a booger hook / bang switch scenario at a very inopportune moment, and thereby the fatal head wound. The Presidents brain going missing would tend to be in line with a coverup of such a nature. They didn’t rule out that this was an intentional / conspiracy type event, they focused primarily on the idea that it was highly likely that this was the source of the fatal bullet, not as much on the how / why that weapon was fired.

YMMY but as the past few years have proven, the deep state, and FBI in particular as NOT to be trusted..

KoB

YMMY but as the past few years have proven, the deep state, and FBI in particular as NOT to be trusted..” ^THIS^ Add the CIA, The (In)Justice Dprt, and most career politicians to the list.

The truth will never be known…at least in our lifetime, and probably never. I personally believe that LHO did NOT act alone, tho he may not have known that he would be the fall guy for all of this. We all know what a money/power hungry POS LBJ was and don’t forget that Bush I was a DD in the CIA then.

Jimbo

I don’t think the brain would have been vaporized with a bullet from a hand gun. The Bullet just wouldn’t have the energy to do that from a .38, or .45. I don’t know what caliber was carried, but that was a common rd back then.

Fyrfighter

Agreed. they were saying an M-16, so a 5.56. At close range, it would definitely get the job done..

Jimbo

M-16 up close with armor piercing round. I think it could pass through without exploding the head. I know at 15’ a deer head stayed in tact and the bullet passed through with minimal damage using a soft point. 3 shots clean through. Not enough depth for the bullet to expand properly at that range. And you would have powder burns under 3’. Nice 7 pointer by the way.

Fyrfighter

True, AP round would be different, but in ’63, the 5.56 was brand new, and I don’t recall what sort of ammo they said the Secret Service was using, but likely NOT AP.. Agree on the powder burns, but as botched as the autopsy was, who knows if there were any.. Also, if the round passed through part of the seat first, that would have taken the powder burns instead.. Either way, I’m not even slightly inclined to believe the “party line” on this one, too many shady actors involved..

Jimbo

Just for clarification it was one to the head and two in the heart. Quick and clean. I have a habit of shooting till movement stops. My bad.

Skivvy Stacker

There were two people in that back seat; JFK and Jackie. Just in front of them by only a few inches were a set of jump seats occupied by the Governor and First Lady of Texas. There was no room in that limo for anyone else in the back seat.
I have seen accusations that Agent Roy Kellerman, who was driving the limo, drew his sidearm and fired. I consider this to be nothing less than contemptible. Mr Kellerman is no longer alive to defend his honor, and there would have been absolutely no reason for him to have drawn a weapon, since his job was to get that limo out of Dealy Plaza ASAP.

Fyrfighter

My error, it’s been a while since I saw that show, it was the vehicle BEHIND the presidential limo, an agent in the back seat of that vehicle that they were suggesting.
Yeah, seems stupid to suggest that the driver would be the one to draw a weapon.

jeff LPH 3 63-66

Was going to mention the secret service possible AD untill I read your comment. The Navy doctor wasn’t allowed to be in on the examination and I think that the x-rays went south. Was in Great Lakes Navy Boot Camp when JFK was shot. Our Brink’s Fire arms instructor/gunroom head and former NYC LEO retiree who worked at the NYPD Range told me once that he and his boss tried copying the shooting from the range tower with the same rifle that was used. Forgot what he basically told me years ago….

5JC

A number of shooters have replicated the three shots in the time or less on camera. Dr. John Lattimer, who was hired by the Kennedys to review the Warren Commission report, did it numerous times under the same conditions, including well into his 80s.

SFC D

I saw FBI Agent Seeley Booth do it on “Bones”.

SFC D

Old tanker

I got really tired of the debate about firing 3 rounds in the allotted time as virtually every one of the arguments against started with an empty chamber instead of a loaded one. That flies in the face of logic about anyone intent on murder starting with an empty gun. It’s as if they don’t realize the rifle was a clip fed repeater and no one starts with an empty chamber.

The other part about the missing brain… Part of it was in Jackies lap as her statements later indicated. Another part fell out at the hospital. The rest likely was spread out all over the interior of the car due to hydrostatic shock as already noted.

SFC D

I was today years old when I learned about the “empty chamber” point you make. Makes perfect sense, a little disappointed in myself for not realizing that.

Skivvy Stacker

One of the funniest contradictions I ever saw a conspiracy buff make was in a documentary in which he had a Manlicher-Carcano rifle of the same type used by Oswald. He was saying; “there’s no way in the world Oswald could have operated the bolt this fast…” as he was operating the bolt THAT FAST.
To be clear, he was working the bolt at just a bit faster than rapid fire with a revolver.

Hack Stone

Hack Stone remembers when he heard that JFK was killed. The news was so shocking that Hack Stone shit himself. In his defense, he was only 5 months old at the time.

Jimbo

At school they rolled a tv in on a stand so we could hear about what was going on. He was a pretty popular president at the time. Everyone was grieving at the situation and loss. I didn’t get out of school early though. I was living in San Diego at the time, Dad was a RM3-Radio and teletype repairman in the Navy.

Odie

All I remember from that day, is my programs were not on, and this news was on all 3 channels.

26Limabeans

Just curious….will the good doctor be buried in whole
(see what I did there?) or will the CIA keep his brain in a jar?

Skivvy Stacker

I’ve actually read the JFK Autopsy Report [it’s available online]. There is nothing in that report that is inconsistent with what the Warren Commission concluded.
As to the “Magic Bullet”…it’s only magic if you seat Gov Connelly directly in front of JFK at the same level, and have him facing directly forward. Connelly was actually about 6″ left, and 4” lower than JFK, and had turned to his right [looking over his right shoulder] after the first shot was fired and missed [wounding the third person hit by fire that day; James Teague, who was his by fragments from a ricochet near the railroad overpass].
You have to look at this assassination for what it actually was; a cold blooded MURDER, nothing more, not some vast, world spanning conspiracy involving LBJ, FBI, CIA, KGB, Mafia, Girl Scouts, and Daughters of The American Revolution.

SFC D

You left out the Masons, the IRA, and the Teamsters.

11B-Mailclerk

Discordians!

Hack Stone

Is it too late to include the Adorable Deplorables?

SFC D

They’re in! But no Boy Scouts!

Jimbo

What we learned from this assassination is people are passionate about politics. Even with all the protection afforded the president now. A weirdo still manage to shoot Reagan.

5JC

Sadly if Trump isn’t in prison or otherwise disqualified from office he will have to be killed by the left as well. He has made too many enemies at the CIA and DOJ to be allowed back in office. They won’t give up the power he will try to claw back and will take measures to protect themselves.

Odie

The left, and just about every 3 or 4 letter agency in DC, haven’t made many friends with we the people either.

He has claimed in the past, we got them, we got them all. It will be interesting to see who “them” is. It may even include some one never would have suspected as being dirty, or against us.

Hack Stone

Do vegetarians listen to Meat Loaf?

26Limabeans

Or Captain Beefheart before he died.

Odie

Things that make you say, hmmm.