| Back to CE-399 Article | JFK Main Page |


Senator COOPER. Do you solemnly swear the testimony you are going to 
give to this Commission will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing 
but the truth, so help you God?

Dr. GREGORY. I do.

Mr. SPECTER. Would you state your full name for the record, please?

Dr. GREGORY. Doctor Charles Francis Gregory.

Mr. SPECTER. What is your profession, sir?

Dr. GREGORY. I am a physician and surgeon.

Mr. SPECTER. Would you outline your educational background 
briefly, please?

Dr. GREGORY. I received a bachelor of science degree from the 
University of Indiana in 1941, and an M.D. degree in medicine from 
the Indiana University School of Medicine in 1944.

Following 1-year internship and a tour of duty in the U.S. Navy, I 
undertook 5 years of postgraduate training in orthopedic surgery 
at Indiana University Medical Center.

Upon completing that training I became a member of the faculty 
at Indiana University Medical School, and remained so until 
November of 1952, when I re-entered the U.S. Navy for another 
20 months.

In 1956 I was appointed professor and then chairman of the 
Division of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Texas 
Southwestern Medical School, where I presently am.

Mr. SPECTER. Are you certificated by the American Board 
of Orthopedic Surgery?

Dr. GREGORY. I am, in 1953.

Mr. SPECTER. What experience, if any, have you had with 
bullet wounds, Doctor?

Dr. GREGORY. Beyond the rather indigenous nature of such 
wounds in the main teaching hospital at Southwestern Medical 
School, my experience has covered a tour of duty in the, Navy 
during World War II, and a considerably more active period of 
time in the Korean war in support of the 1st Marine Corps Division.

Mr. SPECTER. What is your best estimate as to the total number 
of bullet wounds you have had an opportunity to observe and 

Dr. GREGORY. I would estimate that I have dealt directly with 
approximately 500 such wounds.

Mr. SPECTER. Are you a licensed doctor in the State of Texas 
at the present time?

Dr. GREGORY. I am.


Page 118

Mr. SPECTER. What were your duties in a general way back on 
November 22, 1963, with Parkland Hospital?

Dr. GREGORY. On that date, November 22, 1963, I was seeing 
patients in the health service of the adjacent medical school 
building when about noon I was advised that the President of 
the United States had been admitted to Parkland Hospital 
due to gunshot injuries.

I went immediately to the emergency room area of the 
Parkland Hospital, and upon gaining admission to the emergency 
room, I encountered the hospital superintendent.

I inquired of him then as to whether or not the President had 
injuries which might require my attention and he indicated that 
they were not of that nature.

I, therefore, took a number of unnecessary onlookers like myself 
from the emergency area in order to reduce the confusion, and 
I went to the fifth floor of the hospital, which is the orthopedic 

And after attending a number of patients there, I prepared 
to leave. the hospital, but stopped by the surgical suite on 
my way out, to check and see if any need for my services 
might have come up, and encountered there Dr. Shaw 
who indicated to me that Governor Connally had also 
been injured, and that these included injuries to his 
extremities for which I would be retained.

Mr. SPECTER. Did Dr. Shaw then call upon you to perform 
operative aid for Governor Connally?

Dr. GREGORY. He did.

Mr. SPECTER. And when did you first see Governor 
Connally then?

Dr. GREGORY. I first saw Governor Connally after Dr. Shaw 
had prepared him and draped him for the surgical 
procedures which he carried out on the Governor's 

Mr. SPECTER. Now, did you have any opportunity to 
observe the wound on the Governor's chest?

Dr. GREGORY. I could see the wounds on the Governor's 
chest, but I could see them only through the apertures 
available in the surgical drapes, and therefore I had 
difficulty orienting the exact positions of the wounds, 
except for the wound identified as the wound of exit 
which could be related to the nipple in the right chest 
which was exposed.

Mr. SPECTER. Now what did you observe with respect 
to the wound on the Governor's wrist?

Dr. GREGORY. I did not have an opportunity to examine 
the wound on the Governor's wrist until Dr. Shaw had 
completed his surgical treatment of the Governor's 
chest wound.

At that time he was turned to his back and it was 
possible to examine both the right upper extremity 
and the left lower extremity for wounds of the wrist 
and left thigh respectively.

The right wrist was the site of a perforating wound, 
which by assumption began on a dorsal lateral surface.  
In lay terms this is the back of the hand on the thumb 
side at a point approximately 5 centimeters above the 
wrist joint.

There is a second wound presumed to be the wound of 
exit which lay in the midline of the wrist on its palmar 
surface about 2 centimeters, something less than 1 
inch above the wrist crease, the most distal wrist 

Mr. SPECTER. You say that the, wound on the dorsal 
or back side of the wrist you assume to be the 
wound of entrance.

 What factors, if any, led you to that assumption?

Dr. GREGORY. I assumed it to be a wound of entrance 
because of the general ragged appearance of the wound, 
but for other reasons which I can delineate in a lighter 
description which came to light during the operative 
procedure and which are also hallmarked to a certain 
extent by the X-rays.

Mr. SPECTER. Would you proceed to tell us, even 
though it is out of sequence, what those factors, later 
determined to be, were which led you to assume that 
it was the wound of entrance?

Dr. GREGORY. Yes.  Assuming that the wrist wound, 
which included a shattering fracture of the wrist bone, 
of the radial bone just above the wrist, was produced 
by a missile there were found in the vicinity of the 
wound two things


Page 119

which led me to believe that it passed from the. dorsal or 
back side to the volar.  The first of these----

Mr. SPECTER. When you say volar what do you mean by 

Dr. GREGORY. The palm side.

Mr. SPECTER. Proceed.

Dr. GREGORY. The first of these was evidence of clothing, 
bits of thread and cloth, apparently from a dark suit or 
something of that sort which had been carried into the 
wound, from the skin into the region of the bone.

The second of these were two or three small fragments 
of metal which presumably were shed by the missile after 
their encounter with the firm substance which is bone.

Mr. SPECTER. As to the bits of cloth which you describe, 
have you had an opportunity earlier today to examine a 
coat, heretofore identified and marked by a picture bearing 
Commission Exhibit No. 683, which we will have later 
testimony on as being Governor Connally's coat?

Dr. GREGORY. I have.

Mr. SPECTER. And what, if anything, did your examination 
disclose with respect to the wound of the right wrist?

Dr. GREGORY. Well, the right sleeve of the coat has a 
tear in it close to the margin at a point which is, I think, 
commensurate with the location of the dorsal surface, 
the back side of the wrist, forearm where the two may 
have been super imposed and both damaged by the 
same penetrating body.

Mr. SPECTER. Is the nature of the material of the suit 
coat the same as that which you found in the wound 
of the wrist?

Dr. GREGORY. It is.  As a matter of fact, at the time 
that the wound was treated, and the cloth was found, 
the speculation was made as to the kind the color of 
the suit the Governor was wearing and moreover the 
thread was almost identifiable as mohair or raw silk 
or something of that nature and entirely consistent 
with this fabric.

Mr. SPECTER. Was the color, which you speculated 
about, the same as which you see in this Jacket?

Dr. GREGORY. Yes; it was my impression it was black 
or either dark blue.

Mr. SPECTER. You say there was something in the X-ray 
work which led you to further conclude that that was the
 wound of entrance?


Mr. SPECTER. Will you proceed now to show the 
Commission those X-rays, please?

Dr. GREGORY. This is an X-ray made in the lateral view 
of the Governor's wrist at the time he was brought to 
the hospital prior to any surgical intervention.

Mr. SPECTER. As to the first X-ray, Dr. Gregory, would 
you identify the date when it was taken?

Dr. GREGORY. Yes; this film was made on November 
22, 1963, as indicated by a pencil marking on that film, 
and it further hears the assigned X-ray number of 
219-992, which was that of the patient, Governor John 

Mr. SPECTER. May it please the Commission we shall 
reserve number 690 and 691 for later identification of 
those photographs and X-rays.

Senator COOPER. So ordered.

Dr. GREGORY. If you will notice in addition to the 
apparent fracture of this, the radial bone here.

Mr. SPECTER. Are you now describing a second 

Dr. GREGORY. No; these are two taken at right angle 
of the Governor's wrist prior to attention.  These are 
diagnostic film, one made with the hand palm down 
and one with the hand turned 90°.

Mr. SPECTER. Do they bear identical numbers then?

Dr. GREGORY. They do.

Mr. SPECTER. Is there any mark on them at the present 
time which distinguishes them by way of marking or number?

Dr. GREGORY. Other than the pencil markings on each 
of these two films and my own which I attached last 
evening for convenience.

Mr. SPECTER. Can you mark one of them as "A" and 
one as "B," so that when you describe them here we 
will know which you are referring to?

Dr. GREGORY. Very well.  Let the record show that 
"A" stands for the anteroposterior


Page 120

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.

Mr. 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 opinion?

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.

Mr. SPECTER. What is the basis of distinction between 
that which is an artifact and that which is a real shadow 
of the metallic substance?

Dr. GREGORY. A real shadow of metallic substance 
persist and be seen in other views, other X-ray copies, 
whereas artifacts which are produced by irregularities 
either in the film or film carrier will vary from one X-ray 
to another.

Mr. SPECTER. Is it your view that these other X-ray 
films led you to believe that those are, in fact, metallic 

Dr. GREGORY. As a matter of fact, it is the mate to 
this very film, the lateral view marked "B", which 
shows the same three fragments in essentially the 
same relationship to the various levels of the forearm 
that leads me to believe that these do, in fact, represent 
metallic fragments.

Mr. SPECTER. Will you describe as specifically as you 
can what those metallic fragments are by way of size 
and shape, sir?

Dr. GREGORY. I would identify these fragments as 
varying from five-tenths of a millimeter in diameter to 
approximately 2 millimeters in diameter., and each 
fragment is no more than a half millimeter in thickness.  
They would represent in lay terms flakes, flakes of 

Mr. SPECTER. What would your estimate be as to their 
weight in total?

Dr. GREGORY. I would estimate that they would be 
weighed in micrograms which is very small amount of 
weight. I don't know how to reduce it to ordinary 
equivalents for you.

It is the kind of weighing that requires a microadjustable 
scale, which means that it is something less than the 
weight of a postage stamp.

Mr. SPECTER. Have you now described all the metallic 
substances which you observed either visually or 
through the X- rays in the Governor's wrist?

Dr. GREGORY. These are the three metallic substance 
items which I saw. Now if I may use these to indicate 
why I view the path as being from dorsal to volar, from 
the back of the wrist to the palm side, these have been 
shed on the volar side suggesting that contact with 
this bone resulted in there being flaked off, as the 
remainder of the missile emerged from the volar side 
leaving the small flakes behind.

Mr. SPECTER. Are the X-rays helpful in any other way 
in ascertaining the point of entry and the point of exit?

Dr. GREGORY. There is a suggestion to be seen in 
Exhibit B, the lateral view, a suggestion of the pathway 
as seen by distortion of soft tissues.  This has become 
a bit irregular on the dorsal side. There is evidence of 
air in the tissues on this side suggesting that the 
pathway was something like this.

Mr. SPECTER. And when you say indications of air 
on which side did you mean by "this side," Doctor?

Dr. GREGORY. Air distally on the volar side.  There 
is some evidence of air in the tissue on the volar 
side too but they are at different levels and this 
suggests that they gained access to the tissue 
plans in this fashion.

Mr. SPECTER. Would you elaborate on just what 
do you mean by "this fashion,"


Page 121

indicating the distinctions on the level of the air 
which suggest that conclusion to you?

Dr. GREGORY. Recall that I suggested that the 
wound of entrance, certainly the dorsal wound 
lay some distance, 5 cm. above the wrist joint, 
approximately here, that the second wound 
considered to be the wound of exit was only 2 cm. 
above this point, making the pathway an oblique 

Mr. DULLES. Would you show that on your own wrist?


Mr. DULLES. We have to explain this a little for the 
record but I think it would be very useful.

Dr. GREGORY. I think you will have an opportunity to 
see the real thing a little later if the Governor makes 
his appearance here.

But the wound of entry I considered to be, although 
on his right hand, of course, to be approximately at 
this point on the wrist, and the wound of exit here, 
which is about the right level for my coat sleeve held 
at a casual position.

Mr. SPECTER. Let the record show you made two 
red marks on your wrist, which are in the same 
position as that which you have described 
heretofore in technical language.


Mr. SPECTER Had you finished the complete explanation 
on the indicator from the air levels which you had 
mentioned before?

Dr. GREGORY. Yes.  The air is a little bit more visible 
to the dorsal surface, closer to the skin here, not so 
close down at the lower portion, not so much tissue 
destruction had occurred at the point of the 

Mr. SPECTER. Before proceeding to the other factors
indicating point of entry and point of exit, Dr. Gregory, 
I call your attention to Commission Exhibit No. 399, 
which is a bullet and ask you first if you have had an 
opportunity to examine that earlier today?

Dr. GREGORY. I have.

Mr. SPECTER. What opinion, if any, do you have as 
to whether that bullet could have produced the wound 
on the Governor's right wrist and remained as intact 
as it is at the present time?

Dr. GREGORY. In examining this bullet, I find a small 
flake has been either knocked off or removed from 
the rounded end of the missile.

(At this point Representative Boggs entered the room.)

I was told that this was removed for the purpose of analysis. 
The only other deformity which I find is at the base of the 
missile at the point where it Joined the cartridge carrying 
the powder, I presume, and this is somewhat flattened and 
deflected, distorted.  There is some irregularity of the 
darker metal within which I presume to represent lead.

The only way that this missile could have produced this 
wound in my view, was to have entered the wrist backward.  
Now, this is not inconsistent with one of the characteristics 
known for missiles which is to tumble.  All missiles in flight 
have two motions normally, a linear motion from the muzzle 
of the gun to the target, a second motion which is a spinning 
motion having to do with maintaining the integrity of the 
intial linear direction, but if they strike an object they may 
be caused to turn in their path and tumble end over, and 
if they do, they tend to produce a greater amount of 
destruction within the strike time or the target, and 
they could possibly, if tumbling in air upon emergence, 
tumble into another target backward.  That is the only 
possible explanation I could offer to correlate this missile 
with this particular wound.

Mr. SPECTER. Is them sufficient metallic substance missing 
from the back or rear end of that bullet to account for the 
metallic substance which you have described in the 
Governor's wrist?

Dr. GREGORY. It is possible but I don't know enough about 
the structure of bullets or this one in particular, to know 
what is a normal complement of lead or for this particular 
missile.  It is irregular, but how much it may have lost, I 
have no idea.

Mr. DULLES. Would the nature of the entry wound give you 
any indication as to whether it entered backward or whether
 it entered forward?

Dr. GREGORY. My initial impression was that whatever 
produced the wound of the wrist was an irregular object, 
certainly not smooth nosed as the business


Page 122

end of this particular bullet is because of two things.  The 
size of the wound of entrance, and the fact that it is 
irregular surfaced permitted it to pick up organic debris, 
materials, threads, and carry them into the wound with it.

Now, you will note that Dr. Shaw earlier in his testimony 
and in all of my conversations with him, never did indicate 
that there was any such loss of material into the wrist, 
nor does the back of this coat which I have examined 
show that it lost significant amounts of cloth but I think 
the tear in this coat sleeve does imply that there were 
bits of fabric lost, and I think those were resident in the 
wrist.  I think we recovered them.

Mr. SPECTER. Is the back of that bullet characteristic of 
an irregular missile so as to cause the wound in the wrist?

Dr. GREGORY. I would say that the back of this being 
flat and having sharp edges is irregular, and would possibly 
tend to tear tissues more than does an inclined plane such as 

Mr. SPECTER. Would the back of the missile be sufficiently 
irregular to have caused the wound of the right wrist, in
 your opinion?

Dr. GREGORY. I think it could have; yes.  It is possible.

Mr. SPECTER. Would it be consistent with your observations 
of the wrist for that missile to have penetrated and gone 
through the right wrist?

Dr. GREGORY. It is possible; yes.  It appears to me since 
the wound of exit was a small laceration, that much of the 
energy of the missile that struck the Governor's wrist was 
expended in breaking the bone reducing its velocity 
sufficient so that while it could make an emergence 
through the underlying soft tissues on his wrist, it did 
not do great damage to them.

Mr. SPECTER. Is there any indication from the extent of 
the damage to the wrist whether the bullet was pristine, 
that is: was the wrist struck first in flight or whether 
there had been some reduction in the velocity of the 
missile prior to striking the wrist?

Dr. GREGORY. I would offer this opinion about a high 
velocity rifle bullet striking a forearm.

Mr. SPECTER. Permit me to inject factors which we 
have not put on the record although it has been brought 
to your attention previously: Assume this is a 6.5-millimeter 
missile which was shot from a rifle having a muzzle velocity 
of approximately 2,000 feet per second, with a distance of 
approximately 160 to 200 feet between the weapon and 
the victim; and answer the prior question, if you would, 
Dr. Gregory, with those factors in mind?

Dr. GREGORY. I would fully expect the first object struck 
by that missile to be very badly damaged, and especially
 if it were a rigid bone such as the wrist bone is, to. literally 
 blow it apart.  I have had some experience with rifle wound
  injuries of the forearm produced by this type of missile, 
  and the last two which I attended myself have culminated 
  in amputation of the limb because of the extensive damage 
  produced by the missile as it passed through the arm.

Considerably more than was evidenced in the Governor's 
case either by examination of the limb itself or an examination 
of these X-rays.

Mr. SPECTER Now, as to the experience you had which you 
experienced which resulted in amputations, what was the 
range between the weapon and the victim's limb, if you know?

Dr. GREGORY. The range in those two instances, I concede 
was considerably shorter but I cannot give you the specific 
range.  By short I mean perhaps no more than 15 or 20 yards 
at the most.

Mr. SPECTER. Would the difference between the 15 or 20 
yards and the 160 to 250 feet make any difference in your 
opinion, though, as to the damage which would be inflicted 
on the wrist had that bullet struck it as the first point of 

Dr. GREGORY. No, sir; I don't think it would have made that 
much difference.

Mr. SPECTER. Do you know what the color was of the 
fragments in the wrist of the Governor, Dr. Gregory?

Dr. GREGORY. As I recall them they were lead colored, silvery, 
of that color. I did not recall them as being either brass or 

Mr. SPECTER. Are there any other X-rays of the Governor's 
wrist which would aid the Commission in its understanding 
of the injuries to the wrist?


Page 123

Dr. GREGORY. Only to indicate that there were two fragments 
of metal retrieved in the course of dealing with this wound 

For the subsequent X-rays of the same area, after the initial 
surgery indicate that those fragments are no longer there.

And as I stated, I thought I had retrieved two of them.  The 
major one or ones now being missing.  The small one related 
to the bone or most closely related to the bone, and I will put 
back up here----

Mr. SPECTER. On the new X-rays which you put up, would you 
identify them first by indicating the date the X-ray was taken?

Dr. GREGORY. Yes; the date of the X-ray is the same, 
November 22, 1963, and they may be identified as Exhibit "C" 
anteroposterior view postoperative, which is this one.

Mr. SPECTER. Did they bear the same numbers, Dr. Gregory?

Dr. GREGORY. They will bear the same numbers; yes.

Mr. DULLES. I think you had better get them marked. We 
haven't got them marked yet "A," "B," and "C."

Representative BOGGS. Postoperative, these are after the 

Dr. GREGORY. These two.  This one was made before the 
wound was dealt with.

Mr. SPECTER Which one?

Dr. GREGORY. "A" is the one made before the wound was 
dealt with surgically.

Senator COOPER.  Could you mark it 4 "A,"  "B,"  "C," and 
"D," Doctor?

Mr. McCLOY. Is that "B," we have had another "B" here, 
you know?

Dr.  GREGORY.  This  is  "C."   "A"  and  "C"  are comparable  
X-rays,  one  made before and one made after the operation 
was carried out.

Before the operation, you will note a large fragment of metal 
visible here, not visible in this one. You will also note a small 
satellite fragment not visible here.  A second piece of metal 
visible preoperatively is still present postoperatively.

No effort incidentally is made to dissect for these fragments.  
They are small, they are proverbial needles in hay stacks, and
we know from experience that small flakes of metal of this
kind do not ordinarily produce difficulty in the future, but that 
the extensive dissection required to find them may produce 
such consequences and so we choose to leave them inside 
unless we chance upon them, and on this occasion, those 
bits of metal recovered were simply found by chance in the 
course of removing necrotized material.

Other than that the X-rays have nothing more to offer so far 
as the wrist is concerned.

Mr. SPECTER. May we then reserve 692 for "C" and 693 for 

Dr. GREGORY. I will put the other marks on these.

Senator COOPER. So ordered.

Dr. GREGORY. For your convenience.

Mr. DULLES. Was the wound of exit in the wrist also jagged 
like the wound of entry or was there, what differences were 
there between the wound of entry and the wound of exit?

Dr. GREGORY. The wound of exit was disposed transversely 
across the wrist exactly as I have it marked here.  It was in 
the nature of a small laceration, perhaps a centimeter and 
a half in length, about a half an inch long, and it lay in the 
skin creases so that as you examined the wrist casually it 
was a very innocent looking thing indeed, and it was not 
until it was probed that its true nature in connection with 
the remainder of the wound was evident.

Senator RUSSELL. When did you first see this bullet, Doctor, 
the one you have just described in your testimony?

Dr. GREGORY. This bullet?

Senator RUSSELL. Yes.

Dr. GREGORY. This morning, sir.

Senator RUSSELL. You had never seen it until this morning?

Dr. GREGORY. I had never seen it before this time.

Mr. SPECTER Dr. Gregory, what was then the relative size 
of the wounds on the back and front side of the wrist itself?

Dr. GREGORY. As I recall them, the wound dimensions 
would be so far as


Page 124

the wound on the back of the wrist is concerned about a 
half a centimeter by two and a half centimeters in length.  
It was rather linear in nature.  The upper end of it having 
apparently lost some tissue was gapping more than the 
lower portion of it.

Mr. SPECTER. How about on the volar or front side of the 

Dr. GREGORY. The volar surface or palmar surface had a 
wound disclosed transversely about a half centimeter in 
length and about 2 centimeters above the flexion crease 
to the wrist.

Mr. SPECTER. Then the wound on the dorsal or back side 
of the wrist was a little larger than the wound on the volar 
or palm side of the wrist?

Dr. GREGORY. Yes; it was.

Mr. SPECTER. And is that characteristic in terms of entry 
and exit wounds?

Dr. GREGORY. It is not at all characteristic of the entry 
wound of a pristine missile which tends to make a small 
wound of entrance and larger wound of exit.

Mr. SPECTER. Is it, however, characteristic of a missile 
which has had its velocity substantially decreased?

Dr. GREGORY. I don't think that the exchange in the 
velocity will alter the nature of the wound of entrance 
or exit excepting that if the velocity is low enough the 
missile may simply manage to emerge or may not emerge 
at all on the far side of the limb which has been struck.

Mr. DULLES. Would this be consistent with a tumbling 
bullet or a bullet that had already tumbled and therefore 
entered back side too?

Dr. GREGORY. The wound of entrance is characteristic 
in my view of an irregular missile in this case, an irregular 
missile which has tipped itself off as being irregular by 
the nature of itself.

Mr. DULLES. What do you mean by irregular?

Dr. GREGORY. I mean one that has been distorted.  It is 
in some way angular, it has edges or sharp edges or 
something of this sort.  It is not rounded or pointed in 
the fashion of an ordinary missile.  The irregularity of it 
also, I submit, tends to pick up organic material and carry 
it into the limb, and this is a very significant takeoff, in my 

Mr. SPECTER. Have you now described all of the 
characteristics on the Governor's wrist which indicate 
either the point of entry or the point of exit?

Dr. GREGORY. There is one additional piece of 
information that is of pertinence but I don't know 
how effectively it can be applied to the nature of the 
missile. That is the fact that dorsal branch of the radial 
nerve, a sensory nerve in this immediate vicinity was
partially transected together with one tendon leading to 
the thumb, which was totally transected.

This could have been produced by a missile entering in 
the ordinary fashion, undisturbed, undistorted.  But 
again it is more in keeping with an irregular surface 
which would tend to catch and tear a structure rather 
than push it aside.

Mr. SPECTER. Would that then also indicate the wound 
of entrance where that striking took place?

Dr. GREGORY. I believe it is more in keeping with it, yes.

Mr. SPECTER. As to the thigh wound, what, if anything, did 
you observe as to a wound on the thigh, Dr. Gregory?

Dr. GREGORY. I was apprised that the Governor had a 
wound of the thigh, and I did examine it immediately the 
limb was available for it after Dr. Shaw had completed 
the surgery.

The wound was located on the inner aspect of the thigh, 
a little to the front surface about a third of the way up 
from the knee.  The wound appeared to me to be rounded, 
almost a puncture type of wound in dimension about 
equal to a pencil eraser, about 6 mm.

I suspected that there might be a missile buried here 
and so an X-ray was obtained of that limb, and----

Mr. SPECTER. Have you brought the X-ray with you?

Dr. GREGORY. Yes; I have.

Mr. SPECTER. On what date was that X-ray taken?

Dr. GREGORY.  This X-ray is marked as having been 
taken on November 22, 1963.  It indicates that it was 
made of the left thigh, and it belongs to John Connally, 
John G. Connally.


Page 125

Mr. SPECTER. That Says "G" instead of "C"?

Dr. GREGORY. Yes.  It appears to me to be a "G."  The 
number again is 219-922.

Mr. SPECTER. Is that the same number as the other 
X-rays bear?

Dr. GREGORY. I believe it is, yes.

Mr. SPECTER. May we reserve then Commission 
Exhibit No. 694 for that X-ray?

Senator COOPER. It may be so done.

Dr. GREGORY. There are a series of these films. Would 
you like them marked subsequently "E", "F," and "G"?

Mr. SPECTER. Insofar as you feel they are helpful in 
characterizing the wounds, do mark them in that way.

Dr. GREGORY. All right.

This I understand is Exhibit E, then and it is a single 
X-ray made on the anterior posterial view of Mr. 
Connally's thigh.  The only thing found is a very small 
fleck of metal marked with an arrow here.  It is that 
small, and almost likely to be overlooked.  This was not 
consonant with the kind of wound on the medial aspect 
of his thigh.

Our next natural assumption was that that missile having 
escaped from the thigh had escaped the confines of this 
X-ray and lay somewhere else.  So that additional X-rays 
were made of the same date and l submit two additional 
X-rays identified again as belonging to John G. Connally, 
the left lower extremity, November 22, 1963, and these two 
are numbered 218-922, and they are an anterial posterior 
view which I will mark "F," and a lateral view which I will 
mark "G."

Mr. SPECTER. May we reserve 695 for "F," and 696 for "G"?

Senator COOPER. So ordered.

Dr. GREGORY. Careful examination of this set of X-rays 
illustrated or demonstrates, I should say, a number of 
artificial lines, this is one and there is one.  These lines 
I think represent rather hurried development of these 
films for they were taken under emergency conditions.  
They were intended simply to let us know if there was 
another missile in the Governor's limb where it might 
be located.

The only missile turned up is the same one seen in the 
original film which lies directly opposite the area 
indicated as the site of the missile wound or the wound 
in the thigh, but a fragment of metal, again microscopic 
measuring about five-tenths of a millimeter by 2 millimeters, 
lies just beneath the skin, about a half inch on the medial 
aspect of the thigh.

Mr. SPECTER. What is your best estimate of the 
weight of that metallic fragment?

Dr. GREGORY. This again would be in micrograms, 
postage stamp weight thereabouts, not much more 
than that.

Mr. SPECTER. Could that fragment, in your opinion, 
have caused the wound which you observed in the 
Governor's left thigh?

Dr. GREGORY. I do not believe it could have.  The 
nature of the wound in the left thigh was such that so 
small a fragment as this would not have produced it 
and still have gone no further into the soft tissues than 
it did.

Mr. SPECTER. Would the wound that you observed 
in the soft tissue of the left thigh be consistent with 
having been made by a bullet such as that identified 
as Commission Exhibit 399?

Dr. GREGORY. I think again that bullet, Exhibit 399, 
could very well have struck the thigh in a reverse 
fashion and have shed a bit of its lead core into the 
fascia immediately beneath the skin, yet never have 
penetrated the thigh sufficiently so that it eventually 
was dislodged and was found in the clothing.

I would like to add to that we were disconcerted by 
not finding a missile at all.  Here was our patient with 
three discernible wounds, and no missile within him 
of sufficient magnitude to account for them, and we 
suggested that someone ought to search his belongings 
and other areas where he had been to see if it could be 
identified or found, rather.

Mr. SPECTER. Had the missile gone through his wrist 
in reverse, would it likely have Continued in that same 
course until it reached his thigh, in your opinion?


Page 126

Dr. GREGORY. The missile that struck his wrist had 
sufficient energy left after it passed through the radius 
to emerge from the soft tissues on the under surface 
of the skin.  It could have had enough to partially enter 
his thigh, but not completely.

Mr. SPECTER. In the way which his thigh was wounded?

Dr. GREGORY. I believe so; yes.

Mr. SPECTER. What did you do, Dr. Gregory, with the 
missile fragments which you removed from his wrists?

Dr. GREGORY. Those were turned over to the operating 
room nurse in attendance with instructions that they 
should be presented to the appropriate authorities 
present, probably a member of the Texas Rangers, 
but that is as far as I went with it myself.

Mr. SPECTER. I now show you a part of a document 
heretofore identified as Commission Exhibit 392, a 
two-page report which bears your name on the second 
page, and I ask you if this is the report you made of 
the operation on Governor Connally?

Dr. GREGORY. It appears to be the same; yes.

Mr. SPECTER. Are the facts set forth therein true and 

Dr. GREGORY. In essence they are true and correct; yes.

Mr. SPECTER. Dr. Gregory, does that report show the 
name of the nurse to whom you turned over the metallic 

Dr. GREGORY. There are two nurses who are identified 
on this page.  One is the scrub nurse, Miss Rutherford, 
and the second is the circulating nurse, Mrs. Schrader.

Mr. SPECTER. And is one or the other the nurse to 
whom you turned over the metallic fragments?

Dr. GREGORY. I do not remember precisely to whom 
I handed them.  I do not know.

Mr. SPECTER. I now hand you a document marked 
Commission Exhibit No. 679, which Dr. Shaw used to 
identify the wounds on the Governor's back, and I ask 
you to note whether these documents accurately 
depict the place and the identity of the entry and exit

Dr. GREGORY. They do not in that, though the location 
of the wounds on the forearm is correct, and the 
dimensions, it is my opinion that entrance and exit terms 
have been reversed.

Mr. SPECTER. Would you delete the inaccurate 
statement and insert the accurate statement with 
your initials by the side of the changes, please? Will 
you now describe the operative procedures----

Mr. DULLES. Could I ask one question that relates, I 
think, to your question. Assuming that the wrist wound 
and the thigh wound were caused by the same bullet, 
would you agree that the approximate trajectory is as 
indicated in this chart where Dr. Shaw has drawn a 
trajectory that he assumed taking into account three 
bullets instead of two?  I am only asking you about the 
two wounds, namely the wrist and the thigh.

Dr. GREGORY. It would strike me, sir, that the trajectory 
to the wrist and the subsequent wound of the thigh 
could be lined up easily in a sitting position.

Now, those two could probably be lined up with a 
trajectory of the wound in the chest as well, but this 
would require a more precise positioning of the

Mr. DULLES. But do you agree in general, taking the two 
wounds with which you are particularly familiar, that that 
would have been the trajectory as between the wrist and 
the thigh as drawn on that chart?

Dr. GREGORY. Yes, essentially so; yes, sir.

Mr. SPECTER. For the record, how was that chart 
identified, Doctor?

Dr. GREGORY. This is identified as Commission Exhibit 

Mr. SPECTER. Would you outline briefly the operative
procedures which you performed on the Governor, please?

Dr. GREGORY. Yes.  The wound on the dorsum of the 
Governor's wrist was treated by debridement, which 
means to remove by sharp surgical excision all 
contaminated tissues and those which are presumed 
to have been rendered nonviable by force. This meant 
removing a certain amount of skin, subcutaneous


Page 127

tissue, fat, and all of the particles of clothing, threads of 
cloth, which we could identify; and, incidentally, a bit of 
metal or two.

That wound was subsequently left open; in other words, 
we did not suture it or sew it together. This is done in 
deference to potential infection which we know often 
to be associated with retained organic material such as 

The wound on the volar surface or the palmar side of 
his wrist was enlarged. The purpose in enlarging it was 
an uncertainty as to the condition of the major nerves in 
the volar side of the wrist, and so these nerves were 
identified and explored and found to be intact, as were 
adjacent tendons. So that that wound was then sutured, 

After this, the fracture was manipulated into a hopefully 
respectable position of the fragments, and a cast was 
applied, and some traction, using rubber bands, was 
applied to the finger and the thumb in order to better 
hold the fracture fragments in their reduced or 
repositioned state.

Mr. SPECTER. Dr. Gregory, could all of the wounds 
which were inflicted on the Governor, that is. those 
described by Dr. Shaw. and those which you have 
described during your testimony, have been inflicted 
from one missile if that missile were a 6.5 millimeter bullet 
fired from a weapon having a muzzle velocity of 
approximately 2,000 feet per second at a distance of 
approximately 160 to 250 feet, if you assumed a trajectory 
with an angle of decline approximately 45 degrees?

Dr. GREGORY. I believe that the three wounds could have 
occurred from a single missile under these specifications.

Mr. SPECTER. Assume, if you will, another set of 
hypothetical circumstances: That the 6.5 millimeter bullet 
traveling at the same muzzle velocity, to wit, 2,000 feet per 
second, at approximately 165 feet between the weapon 
and the victim, struck the President in the back of the neck 
passing through the large strap muscles, going through a 
fascia channel, missing the pleural cavity, striking no bones 
and emerging from the lower anterior third of the neck, after 
striking the trachea.  Could such a projectile have then 
passed into the Governor's back and inflicted all three or 
all of the wounds which have been described here today?

Dr. GREGORY. I believe one would have to concede the 
possibility, but I believe firmly that the probability is much 

Mr. SPECTER. Why do you say that, sir?

Dr. GREGORY. I think that to pass through the soft tissues 
of the President would certainly have decelerated the 
missile to some extent. Having then struck the Governor 
and shattered a rib, it is further decelerated, yet it has 
presumably retained sufficient energy to smash a radius.

Moreover, it escaped the forearm to penetrate at least 
the skin and fascia of the thigh, and I am not persuaded 
that this is very probable.  I would have to yield to 
possibility.  I am sure that those who deal with ballistics 
can do better for you than I can in this regard.

Mr. SPECTER. What would your assessment of the
likelihood be for a bullet under those hypothetical 
circumstances to have passed through the neck of 
the President and to have passed through only the 
chest of the Governor without having gone through 
either the wrist or into the thigh?

Dr. GREGORY. I think that is a much more plausible 
possibility or probability.

Mr. SPECTER. How about the likelihood of passing 
through the President and through the Governor's 
chest, but missing his wrist and passing into his thigh?

Dr. GREGORY. That, too, is plausible, I believe.

Mr. SPECTER. Are there any other circumstances 
of this event which have been related to you, 
including the striking of the President's head by a 
third bullet, which would account in any way, under 
any possibility, in your view, for the fracture of the 
right wrist which was apparently caused by a missile?

Mr. GREGORY. May I refer to this morning's discussions?

Mr. SPECTER. Yes, please do.

Dr. GREGORY. This morning I was shown two 
additional missiles or portions of missiles which 
are rather grossly distorted.

Mr. SPECTER. Let me make those a part of the 
record here, and ask if those are the missiles which 
have heretofore been identified as Commission Exhibit 
568 and Commission Exhibit 570.


Page 128

Dr. GREGORY. These items represent distorted 
bits of a missile, a jacket in one case, and part of 
a jacket and a lead core in the other.

These are missiles having the characteristics 
which I mentioned earlier, which tend to carry 
organic debris into wounds and tend to create 
irregular wounds of entry.  One of these, it seems 
to me, could conceivably have produced the injury 
which the Governor incurred in his wrist.

Mr. DULLES. In his wrist?


Mr. DULLES. And in his thigh?

Dr. GREGORY. I don't know about that, sir.  It is 
possible.  But the rather remarkably round nature 
of the wound in the thigh leads me to believe that 
it was produced by something like the butt end of 
an intact missile.

Mr. SPECTER. I now hand you an exhibit heretofore 
identified as Commission Exhibit 388, which depicts 
the artist's drawing of the passage of a bullet 
through the President's head, and I ask you, first 
of all, if you have had an opportunity to observe 
that prior to this moment?

Dr. GREGORY. Yes, I saw this illustration this morning.

Mr. SPECTER. Well, if you assume that the trajectory 
through the President's head was represented by the 
path of a 6.5-mm. bullet which fragmented upon striking 
the skull, both the rear and again the top, is it possible 
that a fragment coming at the rate of 2,000 feet per 
second from the distance of approximately 160 to 250 
feet, could have produced a fragment which then 
proceeded to strike the Governor's wrist and inflict 
the damage which you have heretofore described?

Dr. GREGORY. I think it is plausible that the bullet, 
having struck the President's head, may have 
broken into more than one fragment.  I think you 
apprised me of the fact that it did, in fact, disperse 
into a number of fragments, and they took tangential 
directions from the original path apparently.

Mr. SPECTER. Assuming the fact that the autopsy 
surgeon presented for the record a statement that 
the fragments moved forward into the vicinity of 
the President's right eye, as the diagram shows, 
that there were approximately 40 star-like fragments 
running on a line through the head on the trajectory, 
and that there was substantial fragmentation of the 
bullet as it passed through the head, what is your 
view about that?

Dr. GREGORY. I think it is possible that a fragment 
from that particular missile may have escaped and 
struck the Governor's right arm.

Mr. SPECTER. Did you have an opportunity to 
observe the slides and films commonly referred 
to as the Zapruder film this morning?

Dr. GREGORY. Yes; I saw those this morning.

Mr. SPECTER. Did they shed any light on the 
conclusions--as to your conclusions with respect 
to the wounds of the Governor and what you 
observed in the treatment of the Governor?

Dr. GREGORY. Yes, to this extent.  It seemed to 
me in frames marked 234, 235, and 236, Governor 
Connally was in a position such that a single 
missile entered his back, could have passed 
through his chest, through his right forearm, 
and struck his thigh. That is a possibility.

I looked at the film very carefully to see if I could 
relate the position of Governor Connally's right 
arm to the movement when the missile struck 
the President's head, presumably the third 
missile, and I think that the record will show 
that those are obscured to a degree that the 
Governor's right arm cannot be seen.  In the 
Governor's own words, he did not realize his 
right arm had been injured, and he has no idea 
when it was struck. This is historical fact to us 
at the time of the initial interview with him.

Mr. DULLES. Could I ask just one question?  If a 
bullet had merely struck the Governor's arm 
without previously having struck anything else, 
is it conceivable that impediment of the bone 
that it hit there would be consistent with merely 
a flesh wound on the thigh?  Do you follow me?

Dr. GREGORY. Yes; I follow you. I would doubt it 
on the basis of the kind of wound that the Governor 
has. Now the kind of wound in the Governor's right 
forearm is the kind that indicates there was not 
an excessive amount of energy expended there, 
which means either that the missile producing it 
had dissipated much of its energy, either that or 
there was an impediment to it someplace else 
along the way.


Page 129

It is simply that there was not enough energy loss 
there, and one would expect a soft tissue injury 
beyond that point to be of considerably greater 

Mr. SPECTER. Dr. Gregory, did I take your deposition 
back on March 23. 1964, at Parkland Hospital?

Dr. GREGORY. Yes; you did.

Mr. SPECTER. Have you had an opportunity to 
review that deposition prior to today?

Dr. GREGORY. Yes; I have looked it over.

Mr. SPECTER. Do you have anything to add, Dr. 
Gregory, that you think would be helpful to the 
Commission in any way? 

Dr. GREGORY. No, sir; I do not.

Mr. DULLES. Are you in agreement with the 
deposition as given?

Dr. GREGORY. Yes.  I don't think there are any--
there is any need to change any of the essence of 
the deposition.  There are a few typographical 
errors and word changes one might make, but the 
essence is essentially as I gave it.

Mr. SPECTER. I have no further questions, sir.

Senator COOPER. I would just ask this question.  
In your long experience of treating wounds, you 
said some 500 wounds caused by bullets, have you 
acquired, through that. knowledge of ballistics and 
characteristics of bullets?

Dr. GREGORY. Within a very limited sphere.

Senator COOPER. I know your testimony indicates 

Dr. GREGORY. I have been concerned with the 
behavior of missiles in contact with tissues, but I 
am not very knowledgeable about the design of a 
missile nor how many grains of powder there are 
behind it.  My concern was with the dissipation of 
the energy which it carries and the havoc that it 
wreaks when it goes off.

Senator COOPER. You derived that knowledge 
from your actual study of wounds and their treatment?

Dr. GREGORY. Study of wounds together with 
what I have read from the Army proving grounds, 
various centers, for exploring this kind of thing.  
I don't own a gun myself.

Mr. McCLOY. You are from Texas and you do 
not own a gun?

Dr. GREGORY. Well, sir, I went from Indiana to 
Texas.  My father gave me a .410 shotgun, but he 
took it away from me shortly after he gave it to me.

The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, thank you very much.

Dr. GREGORY. Thank you very much, sir, Mr. 
Chief Justice.

(A short recess was taken.)

| Back to CE-399 Article | JFK Main Page |