SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT (OR AT LEAST A
LITTLE STRAIGHTER ANYWAY) WITH RESPECT TO
THE TESTIMONY OF DR. CHARLES GREGORY AND
JOHN CONNALLY'S WRIST FRAGMENTS
I've taken note of a series of mistakes made by author Vincent
Bugliosi (VB) in the Endnotes section of his 2007 book "Reclaiming
History" regarding the Warren Commission testimony of Dr. Charles F.
Gregory of Parkland Hospital (as his testimony relates to the various
bullet fragments associated with injured Texas Governor John B.
I've already talked about one of VB's Gregory-related mistakes in my
book review for "Reclaiming History". (At least I'm nearly certain I can
label it a mistake on Mr. Bugliosi's part.)
And in addition to the "CE690/CE691" X-ray snafu talked about in my
review, I've found a couple of other related errors that appear in the
"RH" Endnotes (on the CD that comes with the book).
These discrepancies are quite small overall, and don't really affect
the bottom-line "Oswald Killed JFK And Acted Alone" conclusion reached
by Mr. Bugliosi in his stellar book in any way at all.
But, just for the record, I thought I'd point out these discrepancies
anyway, because they do deal with the fairly-important matter of the
bullet fragments that were found inside Governor Connally in 1963.
Also: These mistakes, when corrected, certainly tend to buttress the
overall "lone assassin" scenario even more, in my opinion (vs. these
topics remaining unaddressed and left "as is" in VB's book). .....
On Pages 439 and 440 of "Reclaiming History's" Endnotes, Mr. Bugliosi
"How many fragments were removed from Connally's wrist? Dr.
Gregory, who performed the surgery on Connally's wrist, is dead, and
the record he left behind to answer this question is contradictory.
"In his Parkland Memorial Hospital "Operative Record," prepared
on the afternoon of November 22, 1963, he writes in fractured and
confusing syntax: "Small bits of metal were encountered at various
levels throughout the wound [to the right wrist] and these were
wherever they were identified and could be picked up were picked up
and have been submitted to the Pathology department for identification
and examination" (CE 392, 17 H 18).
"So no specific number of fragments is mentioned. In his Warren
Commission testimony on April 21, 1964, Gregory said that "there were
two fragments retrieved in the course of dealing with this wound
[right wrist] surgically...I thought I had retrieved two of them" (4 H
123). There's no other reference in his testimony, or that of Dr.
Robert Shaw (who operated on Connally's chest), or of Dr. Tom Shires
(who operated on Connally's thigh), that any other bullet fragments
"Dr. Gregory's recollection of removing only two fragments
conflicts, of course, with Dr. Vincent Guinn's testimony that he
subjected THREE bullet fragments from Connally's wrist to NAA.
"The likelihood is that Gregory removed three fragments on
November 22, 1963, and five months later in his testimony he forgot
the exact number." -- VB; "RH"; Pages 439-440 of Endnotes
Now, Vince is definitely mistaken when he says this in the above "RH"
excerpt: "There's no other reference in his [Gregory's]
testimony...that any other bullet fragments [above and beyond a total
of two] were removed."
Because I've found a reference in Gregory's first Warren Commission
session of March 23, 1964 (a session that VB has apparently overlooked
entirely, since Vince only cites Gregory's April 21, 1964, testimony,
which was Gregory's second WC session), which has Gregory saying that
he retrieved "two or three" metal fragments from Connally's wrist
during surgery. .....
ARLEN SPECTER -- "Did you observe any foreign objects identifiable as
bits of fragments or portions of a bullet missile?"
DR. CHARLES F. GREGORY -- "A preliminary X-ray had indicated that
there were metallic fragments or at least metallic fragments which
cast metallic shadows in the soft tissues around the wounded forearm.
Two or three of these were identified and were recovered and were
observed to be metallic in consistency. These were turned over to
appropriate authorities for further disposition."
MR. SPECTER -- "Approximately how large were those fragments, Dr.
DR. GREGORY -- "I would judge that they were first--flat, rather thin,
and that their greatest dimension would probably not exceed one-eighth
of an inch. They were very small."
The above 03/23/64 testimony can be found on Page 98 of WC Volume #6.
[DVP Edit (December 12, 2011) -- Regardless of how many metal fragments Dr. Charles Gregory thought he removed, we can be certain that Gregory removed at least four metal fragments from John Connally's right wrist, because this photo of CE842 (the Connally wrist fragments) exists at the National Archives. And that picture clearly shows four pieces of metal.]
And there's another error that also appears on the "RH" Endnotes CD,
dealing with "fragments" that were visible on two of Governor
Connally's pre-operative X-rays (CE690 and CE691). .....
"If 2.4 grains was lost from the stretcher bullet, and the three
fragments that were reportedly removed from Connally's wrist
collectively weighed 0.5 grain, did the seven or eight (4 H 119-120,
WCT Dr. Charles F. Gregory) fragments REMAINING in Connally's body
weigh more than 1.9 grains? Since they were never removed, we cannot
be categorical in our answer, but the available evidence strongly
suggests they did not." -- VB; "RH"; Page 443 of Endnotes
The above VB quote could probably be categorized as more of an
understandable "misinterpretation" of Dr. Gregory's testimony on Mr.
Bugliosi's part, because Vince obviously thinks Gregory is talking
about "bullet" fragments in the WC passage referred to by Bugliosi. But
Gregory is definitely NOT talking about "seven or eight" BULLET
fragments being visible on Connally's pre-operative X-rays in his
testimony on page 120 of WC Volume 4.
Instead, Gregory was actually referring to "seven or eight" BONE
fragments in that portion of his testimony, which (to me) is quite
obvious, because his "seven or eight" remark comes right on the heels
of talking about the "comminuted" fracture of Connally's wrist, and
not about any "metal" fragments at that point.
Plus, it's further obvious that Gregory is not talking about
"bullet" (or "metal") fragments there when he said "seven or eight",
because in Arlen Specter's VERY NEXT question, he switches gears and
asks "Will you continue to describe what that X-ray shows with respect
to metallic fragments, if any?", which must mean that Gregory's
previous remarks a couple of seconds earlier were not referring to
anything relating to "metallic" fragments seen on the Governor's X-rays.
Here are the pertinent portions of Dr. Gregory's testimony (via Pages
119 and 120 of WC Volume #4):
DR. CHARLES F. GREGORY -- "Let the record show that "A" stands for the
anteroposterior view, Exhibit No. 691, and "B" stands for the lateral
view, Exhibit No. 690, of the right wrist and forearm. "A" then
demonstrates a comminuted fracture of the wrist with three fragments."
ARLEN SPECTER -- "What do you mean by comminuted?"
DR. GREGORY -- "Comminuted refers to shattering, to break into more
than two pieces, specifically many pieces, and if I may, I can point
out there is a fragment here, a fragment here, a fragment here, a
fragment here, and there are several smaller fragments lying in the
center of these three larger ones.
MR. SPECTER -- "How many fragments are there in total, sir, in your
DR. GREGORY -- "I would judge from this view that counting each
isolated fragment there are fully seven or eight, and experience has
taught that when these things are dismantled directly under direct
vision that there very obviously may be more than that."
MR. SPECTER -- "Will you continue to describe what that X-ray shows
with respect to metallic fragments, if any?"
DR. GREGORY -- "Three shadows are identified as representing metallic
fragments. There are other light shadows in this film which are
identified or interpreted as being artifacts."
Well, nobody's perfect. And I guess nobody should really expect any
book the size of Vincent Bugliosi's "Reclaiming History" to be
completely error-free. But the very few mistakes that crop up within
VB's exemplary JFK book (and CD) are not nearly significant enough in
nature, in my view, to warrant the dismissal of Mr. Bugliosi's
ultimate "Lone Assassin" determination.
A conspiracy theorist's mileage with respect to my last remark will,
of course, vary.
David Von Pein
LINK TO ORIGINAL POST (DECEMBER 14, 2007)
"RECLAIMING HISTORY ERRORS"
BUGLIOSI'S STRANGE CONTRADICTION ON PAGES 423 & 424
ANOTHER "ERRORS" LINK