ARRB DEPOSITION OF JOHN T. STRINGER, 7/16/96

John Stringer was the primary photographer at
the autopsy.

              -----

Page 1

            BEFORE THE
ASSASSINATION RECORDS REVIEW BOARD
In Re:
PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY
College Park, Maryland
Tuesday, July 16, 1996

The deposition of JOHN T. STRINGER, called
for examination in the above-entitled matter,
pursuant to notice, at Archives II, 6381 Adelphi
Road, College Park, Maryland, convened at 9:55 a.m.
before Robert H. Haines, a notary public in and for
the State of Maryland, when were present on behaif
of the parties:

Page 2

APPEARANCES:
  On Behalf of the Plaintiff:
    T. JEREMY GUNN, ESQ.
    General Counsel
    Assassination Records Review Board
    600 E Street, N.W., Second Floor
    Washington, D.C. 20530
    (202) 724-0088
    (202) 724-0457 Fax

ALSO PRESENT:
    DOUGLAS P. HORNE, Senior Analyst
    DAVID R. MONTAGUE, Investigator
    PHILIP D. GOLRICK, ESQ., Chief Analyst
    Assassination Records Review Board
    STEVEN TILLEY
    U.S. National Archives

CONTENTS

WITNESS EXAMINATION BY COUNSEL FOR
  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
John T. Stringer	3

STRINGER DEPOSITION EXHIBITS      MARKED

Deposition Exhibit No. 90          21
Deposition Exhibit No. 91          24
Deposition Exhibit No. 92          25

[All exhibits retained by Mr. Gunn.]

Page 3

 [1] PROCEEDINGS
 [2] Whereupon,
 [3] JOHN T. STRINGER
 [4] was called for examination by counsel for the U.S.
 [5] Department of Justice and, having been first duly
 [6] sworn by the notary public, was examined and
 [7] testified as follows:
 [8] EXAMINATION BY COUNSEL FOR U.S. JUSTICE
 [9] BY MR. GUNN:
[10] Q: Would you state your name for the record,
[11] please?
[12] A: John Stringer.
[13] Q: Mr. Stringer, have you ever had your
[14] deposition taken before?
[15] A: I have not.
[16] Q: As I mentioned to you just before we
[17] started the deposition, that I will be asking
[18] questions to you in the deposition. All of the
[19] answers that you provide will be recorded by the
[20] court reporter.
[21] We will send a copy of your transcript as
[22] printed to you, to give you the opportunity to make

Page 4

 [1] any changes to make the testimony more accurate.
 [2] And we will then incorporate those changes into the
 [3] final version of the transcript.
 [4] The tape recording that is being made of
 [5] the deposition will be kept in the Archives, as
 [6] well as the copy of the transcript before your
 [7] changes and the copy of the transcript after your
 [8] changes.
 [9] During the course of the deposition, I
[10] will be doing my best to ask clear questions to
[11] you. If you donít understand the question or it's
[12] unclear, donít hesitate to ask me to rephrase the
[13] question or restate the question. Anything that's
[14] unclear, donít hesitate to stop me. And we can try
[15] and do it in some other way.
[16] If you'd like to take a break at anytime
[17] during the deposition, don't hesitate to say so.
[18] And that can easily be accommodated.
[19] Mr. Stringer, you are under oath. And
[20] unlike in the telephone conversation that you and I
[21] had earlier, federal law pertaining to perjury
[22] would apply here.  And, so, we ask that you give

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 [1] your best and most honest recollection to the
 [2] extent that you can.
 [3] If you don't recall, then, you should say
 [4] that you don't recall. But it's very important
 [5] that we get as best a recollection as we can from
 [6] you. Do you understand what I'm saying?
 [7] A: Yes.
 [8] Q: Mr. Stringer, were you present at any time
 [9] during the autopsy of President Kennedy?
[10] A: Yes, I was.
[11] Q: What was your role generally at the
[12] autopsy?
[13] A: I took photographs of the body.
[14] Q: Is there any reason today that you would
[15] be unable to answer the questions that I'm going to
[16] ask you honestly, fully, and accurately?
[17] A: No reasons.
[18] Q: Were you ever previously under any kind of
[19] order or restraint from being able to talk about
[20] the autopsy?
[21] A: Yes, I was.
[22] Q: Can you explain, very briefly, what the

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 [1] nature of the order was or the circumstances that
 [2] put you under the order?
 [3] A:Well, I think it was the morning after the
 [4] autopsy. We were gathered into the commanding
 [5] officer's office of the Naval Medical School, who
 [6] through the fear of God and everyone - and he had
 [7] a paper that we all had to sign that we would not
 [8] talk to anyone about what had happened on that
 [9] particular night.
[10] Q: Do you remember the name of the person who
[11] gave you the order?
[12] A: John Stover.
[13] Q: Did he say why you were being put under an
[14] order not to discuss the autopsy?
[15] A: Not as far as I can recall. He just said
[16] that it was a very important thing that we were not
[17] to speak to anyone about it.
[18] Q: Did he use the term "secret" or "top
[19] secret", in terms of the substance of what had
[20] happened at the autopsy?
[21] A: I think he did.
[22] Q: Which term did he use?

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 [1] A: I remember it as "secret".  Whether it was
 [2] "top secret" or not, I don't know.
 [3] Q: Did Captain Stover say anything about
 [4] orders coming from the White House?
 [5] A: I think he said it was orders from the
 [6] Surgeon General.
 [7] Q: Mr. Stringer, have you ever had a security
 [8] clearance?
 [9] A: Yes, I have.
[10] Q: Did you have a security clearance at the
[11] time of the autopsy?
[12] A: Yes, I did.
[13] Q: When is the last time, as best you recall,
[14] that you had your security clearance?
[15] A: Oh, I donít remember. I don't remember.
[16] It was on my card what I was cleared for. I know I
[17] had it when I went to Vietnam.
[18] Q: When was that?
[19] A: It was in '68 or something, I think.
[20] Q: Did you ever have access to classified
[21] information?
[22] A: Yes.

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 [1] Q: What was the highest level of security
 [2] clearance that you had?
 [3] A: I think it was top secret, I believe.
 [4] Q: I'll switch the topic a little bit.
 [5] Mr. Stringer, do you have any records in your
 [6] possession that relate to the autopsy of President
 [7] Kennedy?
 [8] A: No, I do not. I had a copy of that thing
 [9] that I had to sign at one time, but I donít know
[10] where it is now.
[11] Q: When you're referring to the thing that
[12] you signed, do you mean -
[13] A: From -
[14] Q: - the order from Captain Stover?
[15] A: Yes, from Captain Stover.
[16] Q: As far as you know, you donít have a copy
[17] of that any longer?
[18] A: No. I had someone send me some copies of
[19] the pictures, which I sent back.
[20] Q: Do you remember who it was who sent you a
[21] copy of the pictures?
[22] A: Livingstone.

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 [1] Q: Was that Harry Livingstone? Does that -
 [2] A: Yes. They were in black and white.
 [3] Q: Mr. Stringer, have you spoken to anyone
 [4] about the fact that you would be having your
 [5] deposition taken today?
 [6] A: Only my wife.
 [7] Q: Would it be fair, then, to say that you
 [8] didn't speak to anyone, other than your wife, about
 [9] the substance of the deposition or anything about
[10] the autopsy?
[11] A: That's correct.
[12] Q: Have you ever received any instructions
[13] from anyone affiliated with the United States
[14] govermnent about statements that you should or
[15] should not make regarding the autopsy, other than
[16] the order not to discuss the autopsy?
[17] A: No.  I was - At one time, I was told
[18] that I could talk to a Dr. Lattimer when I was
[19] under that order.
[20] Q: Do you remember approximately what time
[21] that was that you spoke to Mr. Lattimer - Dr.
[22] Lattimer?

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 [1] A: No. It was when I was still in Bethesda.
 [2] In fact, he came out there to speak to me.
 [3] Q: Itís my understanding that the
 [4] conversation with Dr. Lattimer took place around
 [5] 1972. Does that seem generally correct to you,
 [6] or -
 [7] A:It could be.
 [8] Q: After the autopsy, did you ever speak to
 [9] any of the physicians who were present at the
[10] autopsy regarding the autopsy?
[11] A: No, I don't think so.
[12] Q: So, for -
[13] A: I can't remember.
[14] Q: You don't remember, for example, ever
[15] speaking to Dr. Humes about the autopsy?
[16] A: No, I don't think so.
[17] Q: Do you remember speaking with anyone else
[18] who was present at the autopsy, other than the
[19] doctors, about the autopsy?
[20] A: Well, I had a corpsman there, but we never
[21] spoke about it.
[22] Q: Is the corpsman named Mr. Riebe?

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 [1] A: Yes, correct.
 [2] Q: When is the last time you saw Mr. Riebe,
 [3] approximately?
 [4] A: Well, when he graduated from the photo
 [5] school there.  I haven't seen or heard from him
 [6] since then.  And that was - that was soon after
 [7] the autopsy, I believe.
 [8] Q: So, that would be the early to mid '60s
 [9] was the last time you saw Mr. Riebe; is that
[10] correct?
[11] A: Yes.
[12] Q: Do you recall that you and I had a
[13] telephone conversation a few weeks ago?
[14] A: Yes.
[15] Q: Other than that conversation, I'd like to
[16] find out what other times you have spoken to
[17] officials of the U.S. government about the autopsy.
[18] And let me go back and ask, did you ever
[19] speak to anyone about the autopsy during the time
[20] that the Warren Commission was in existence?
[21] A: No.
[22] So, you then never testified to the Warren

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 [1] Commission?
 [2] A: No.  That's correct.
 [3] Q: Do you recall that in around l966 you went
 [4] to the Archives to review some of the autopsy
 [5] material?
 [6] A: Correct.
 [7] Q: Do you remember speaking with anyone
 [8] affiliated with the U.S. government about the
 [9] autopsy between the time of the autopsy and the
[10] 1966 inventory?
[11] A: No.
[12] Q: After the 1966 inventory, what was the
[13] next time that you spoke to anyone affiliated with
[14] the U.S. government about the autopsy?
[15] A: I don't think I have ever spoken to anyone
[16] with the government about it.
[17] Q: Do you remember, in the late 1970s, there
[18] was a congressional inquiry called the House Select
[19] Committee on Assassinations?
[20] A: Yes.
[21] Q: Do you remember speaking with anyone, by
[22] telephone or in person -

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 [1] A: No.
 [2] Q: - affiliated with the House Select
 [3] Committee?
 [4] A: No.
 [5] Q: Do you remember speaking with David
 [6] Lifton - Let me withdraw that.
 [7] Do you recall the name David Lifton?
 [8] A: Yes, I do.
 [9] Q: Do you remember speaking with David Lifton
[10] at or about the time that you spoke with Dr.
[11] Lattimer?
[12] A: I don't remember when I spoke to David
[13] Lifton.
[14] Q: Do you remember speaking with him on the
[15] telephone?
[16] A:Yes, I do.
[17] Q: Mr. Stringer, could we go back and talk
[18] about part of your career fora couple of moments?
[19] A: Mm-hmm.
[20] Q: Did you graduate from college?
[21] A: No.  I went to Maryland University.
[22] Q: You never received a degree from Maryland?

Page 14

 [1] A: No. That's correct.
 [2] Q: What subjects did you study at the
 [3] University of Maryland?
 [4] A:I was in pre-med for a year, and then I
 [5] went to the medical school and took medical drawing
 [6] and photography.
 [7] Q: Can you tell me what kinds of courses you
 [8] would study for medical drawing and photography?
 [9] A: Well, it was a course there. It was
[10] called Art As Applied To Medicine.  And they had
[11] regular courses in drawing, and photography, and
[12] motion pictures. It was headed by a Dr. Clark. I
[13] was there for three years.
[14] Q: Just in a very general way, how many
[15] courses would you estimate that you took in medical
[16] illustration?
[17] A:Well, the first time - the first year, I
[18] took gross anatomy with the medical students. We
[19] were on a cadaver. And after that, we went in to
[20] drawing - in to basic drawing, and then in to
[21] medical drawing.
[22] Then we went in to the photography, and

Page 15

 [1] making of slides and photographs in the operating
 [2] room, and in the laboratory, and on patients pre-
 [3] and post-operative.
 [4] Q: During these courses, did you become quite
 [5] familiar with terms of anatomy?
 [6] A: Yes.
 [7] Q: And did you obtain competence in medical
 [8] illustration?
 [9] A: Yes.
[10] Q: Could you tell me, just in a very general
[11] way, what medical photography is?
[12] A: Well, it's the illustration of medical
[13] cases, pre- and post-operative, for the teaching of
[14] doctors and - not teaching, but to make a medical
[15] record of the patients, and also for teaching of
[16] doctors.
[17] Q: Does medical photography involve autopsy
[18] photography, as well?
[19] A: Yes, it does.
[20] Q: Other than the subject matter, which would
[21] be presumably closeups of portions of the human
[22] anatomy, how does the technical training for

Page 16

 [1] medical photography differ from other forms of
 [2] photography?
 [3] A: Well, basically, all of the photography is
 [4] the same, but you have different uses. In
 [5] medicine, you have to show the defect. In portrait
 [6] photography, you get away from the defects.
 [7] Q: Other than your training at the University
 [8] of Maryland, did you have any other formal training
 [9] in either medical illustration or medical
[10] photography?
[11] A: No.
[12] Q: What kinds of skills would you say would
[13] be required for a person to be a competent
[14] professional medical photographer?
[15] A: Well, you have to be able to take the
[16] blood and the guts. And, basically, that's about
[17] it, I think.
[18] Q: That would be the only kind of specialty
[19] that you would need for medical photography?
[20] A: Oh, no. Well, you have to be competent as
[21] a photographer.
[22] Q: After you attended the University of

Page 17

 [1] Maryland, what is the first position that you had
 [2] in the area of medical photography?
 [3] A: I went to - it was Milwaukee, Wisconsin,
 [4] to Columbia Hospital there, and set up a medical
 [5] art and photo lab there. And that was in 1941, I
 [6] think.
 [7] Q: Was the Columbia Hospital affiliated with
 [8] the U.S. government in any way?
 [9] A:No, it was not.
[10] Q: So, you were a civilian at that time?
[11] A: That's correct.
[12] Q: What was your next position after the
[13] Columbia Hospital?
[14] A: After that, I joined the Navy.
[15] Q: Were you a medical photographer at the
[16] time that you joined the Navy?
[17] A: Yes, in art and photography.
[18] Q: Art and photography?
[19] A: Mm-hmm.
[20] Q: Is that around l94l?
[21] A: No, in `42. It think it was October of
[22] `42.

Page 18

 [1] Q: How long were you in the Navy?
 [2] A: I was in the Navy till '49, I think it
 [3] was. Then I got out and became a civilian, as the
 [4] director of medical photography.
 [5] Q: Now, is that at Bethesda?
 [6] A: Yes; correct. At the Naval Medical
 [7] School.
 [8] Q: During the period 1942 to 1949, was your
 [9] work in the area of medical photography -
[10] A: Yes, I was -
[11] Q: - and illustration?
[12] A: I was officer in charge of medical
[13] photography.
[14] Q: Where were you in charge of medical
[15] photography?
[16] A: At Bethesda. Before that, I was in San
[17] Diego. I first came in the Navy, and went to
[18] Bethesda. I was there for almost a year. Then I
[19] went to San Diego, and set up a lab out there.
[20] Q: As of 1949, did the Navy have any
[21] photography school - medical photography schools,
[22] other than at the Bethesda Naval Medical School?

Page 19

 [1] A: No, they did not.
 [2] Q: So, then, you were the director of medical
 [3] photography at the only -
 [4] A: Yes.
 [5] Q: - facility that the Navy had for teaching
 [6] medical photography?
 [7] A: That's correct.
 [8] Q: Did you, yourself, teach photography?
 [9] A: Yes.
[10] Q: How long did you teach photography?
[11] A: Well, from the time I was there till the
[12] time I retired.
[13] Q: When did you retire?
[14] A: In `74. In February of `74. We also had
[15] chiefs there that were also teaching. I was the
[16] director of them.
[17] Q: Do you have - or could you give me a
[18] rough estimate of how many students you taught
[19] during the time you were at Bethesda?
[20] A: There was an average of four every six
[21] months, and sometimes there were seven. So, you go
[22] with that by about 30 years.

Page 20

 [1] Q: What other duties did you have as the
 [2] director of medical photography, in addition to
 [3] teaching courses?
 [4] A: At Bethesda?
 [5] Q: At Bethesda.
 [6] A: Well, I was on a inventory committee, and
 [7] just collateral duties that came up. But,
 [8] basically, it was in charge of the photo lab.
 [9] Q: Did you have any responsibility for taking
[10] autopsy photographs during the time that you were
[11] the director of medical photography?
[12] A: Yes.
[13] Q: Approximately, how many autopsies did you
[14] photograph a year?
[15] A: I don't know. Maybe - It would all
[16] depend upon the case. if it was important, then
[17] they - then it was photographed. I didn't do it
[18] all this time. We sent down a corpsman to do it.
[19] And it would maybe average one a week, I guess.
[20] Q: Would it be fair to say, then, that you
[21] had a significant amount of experience in autopsy
[22] photography as of 1963?

Page 21

 [1] A: Yes.
 [2] Q: Do you know if anyone in the Navy who had
 [3] more experience with autopsy photography than you
 [4] did, as of 1963?
 [5] A: Not as far as I can know.
 [6] Q: Mr. Stringer, have you ever received any
 [7] citations or awards for quality of your
 [8] photography?
 [9] A: Well, for - I mean, just letters of
[10] commendation. And when I retired, I got a pin -
[11] or whatever it was - for outstanding service or
[12] something.
[13] Q: Mr. Stringer, during the course of the
[14] deposition, I'm going to show you certain exhibits
[15] that I'd like to ask you some questions about.
[16] The numbering of the exhibits corresponds
[17] not to simply the deposition that we're doing
[18] today, but to other depositions. So, the numbers
[19] will not appear to you to be in any kind of
[20] sequence.
[21] [Deposition Exhibit No.90
[22] marked for identification.]

Page 22

 [1] BY MR. GUNN:
 [2] Q: The first one I'd like to show you is
 [3] number MD 90. And I'd like to ask you if you have
 [4] previously seen that document?
 [5] MR. GUNN: I will state for the record
 [6] that it's a document that appears on its face to
 [7] have been dated May 2nd, 1957. And it is marked
 [8] Exhibit MD 90 for this deposition.
 [9] THE WITNESS: It brings back a lot of
[10] memories.
[11] BY MR. GUNN:
[12] Q: Do you remember having seen this document
[13] before?
[14] A: No, I have not. I don't remember seeing
[15] it.
[16] Q: Do you know who R.C. Richardson is?
[17] A: No, I don't remember him. No.
[18] Q: I'd like to read one portion of this, and
[19] then ask you about whether this is a reasonably
[20] accurate description of the kind of work that you
[21] do. And the portion I'll be reading is the last
[22] third of the very first paragraph on the first

Page 23

 [1] page, beginning:
 [2] "In addition, since the field of color
 [3] photography is an ever-changing science, it is
 [4] necessary for Mr. Stringer to carry on a continuous
 [5] training and research program, in order to keep the
 [6] medical photography school abreast of the most
 [7] advanced photographic procedures. His photographs
 [8] of the various anatomical structures of the human
 [8] body, body cavities, as well as fundus lesions of
[10] the human eye are outstanding examples of the
[11] photographer's art. Much of the photographic work
[12] required in compiling Volumes 1 and 2 of the Color
[13] Atlas of Pathology was accomplished by the medical
[14] photography department under the supervision of
[15] Mr. Stringer, and he is given credit for this work
[16] in the forward of Volume 2, which, together with
[17] Volume 1, are unique in the field of pathology."
[18] Just a couple of questions, if I could,
[19] about that passage.
[20] Would you say that it would be accurate
[21] that it's important - or it was important for you
[22] in your position to carry on continuous training

Page 24

 [1] and research programs in the developments in
 [2] photography?
 [3] A: Yes.
 [4] Q: And were some of your works published in
 [5] the Color Atlas of Pathology?
 [6] A: Yes.
 [7] [Deposition Exhibit No. 91
 [8] marked for identification.]
 [9] BY MR. GUNN:
[10] Q: Mr. Stringer, let me show you another
[11] document, which I hope brings back some fond
[12] memories for you.
[13] A: Frank Kruez.
[14] Q: The document that you've been handed is
[15] marked Exhibit MD 91 for this deposition. It's
[16] dated on its face February 15th, 1962, to Mr. John
[17] T. Stringer from Commanding Officer, National Naval
[18] Medical Center.
[19] Mr. Stringer, have you previously seen the
[20] document that's now marked Exhibit 91?
[21] A: I think I have seen this one.
[22] Q: Is this the kind of document that you were

Page 25

 [1] referring to when you stated that letters had been
 [2] put into your file?
 [3] A: Yes.
 [4] Q: Could you tell me who F.P. Kroitz is,
 [5] please?
 [6] A: Kruez?
 [7] Q: Kruez.
 [8] A: He was the CO of the Naval Medical Center.
 [9] He was an admiral. He was an orthopedic surgeon.
[10] And I used to take pictures for him when he was in
[11] surgery, when he was a captain.
[12] Q: So, Admiral Kruez was, himself, aware of
[13] your own talents by virtue of his having worked
[14] with you in-
[15] A: Correct. And on some of these other ones,
[16] like on the balloon thing, I went with a Captain
[17] Barron that.
[18] [Deposition Exhibit No. 92
[19] marked for identification.]
[20] Q: Mr. Stringer, let me show you one
[21] additional document, marked Exhibit 92, which
[22] appears to be on its face - and I'll ask you if

Page 26

 [1] this is correct - an application for federal
 [2] employment that you may have signed. But that's a
 [3] question I will ask you.
 [4] The first question for you is, have you
 [5] previously seen the document that is now marked
 [6] Exhibit No. 92?
 [7] A: I guess, I have.
 [8] Q: Is that your signature on the last page?
 [9] A: Yes.
[10] Q: Previously in the deposition you mentioned
[11] that you went into civilian work in 1949. Do you
[12] recall that?
[13] A: Yes, I think so.
[14] Q: Do you see the date on the application on
[15] the first page, which appears to be 6/23/49?
[16] A: Yes.
[17] Q: Does this help - does that help refresh
[16] your recollection as to whether this may have been
[19] an application that you filled out for civilian
[20] employment in 1949?
[21] A: I guess, it was.
[22] Q: Could you turn to the third page of

Page 27

 [1] Exhibit No. 92, and look at the portion where it
 [2] refers to education, under number 18 on the
 [3] application?
 [4] A: Mm-hmm.
 [5] Q: As you look through that now, does
 [6] everything on section 18 appear to you to be
 [7] accurate?
 [8] A: Now, section 18; is it?
 [9] Q: Yes, referring to education - the
[10] portions that we discussed just a few moments ago.
[11] A: I guess. I don't - Yes, I guess.
[12] Q: It refers to moulage and moulage
[13] prosthesis.
[14] A: Correct.
[15] Q: Could you explain what that is, very
[16] briefly?
[17] A: A moulage is where you take a copy of the
[18] body - we used to do it with plaster - and then
[19] make a model for it. Exhibits. They used to make
[20] artificial ears out of moulage.
[21] And we did - oh, when they first did the
[22] operation on the hip, we went into the morgue and

Page 28

 [1] made a cast of it. And then we made a - just
 [2] modeled that, and then colored it out.
 [3] Q: Okay.
 [4] A: In fact, there's been several books
 [5] written on moulage. I think it's gone by the
 [6] wayside now.
 [7] Q: If we can go back for a moment to the
 [8] teaching that you did at Bethesda, were there any
 [9] concepts or points that you attempted to teach your
[10] students regarding any particular difficulties
[11] related to medical autopsies - photographing
[12] autopsies?
[13] A: What do you mean by that?
[14] Q: Was there anything different that you
[15] would have stressed or tried to teach the students
[16] regarding autopsies that would have been different
[17] from any other form of medical photography?
[18] A: Well, they should be identified - the
[19] autopsies - by number. And there are different
[20] angles you have to take, to show the defect.
[21] Generally, the doctor tells you what to take.
[22] Q: Anything else that you can think of that

Page 29

 [1] would be of particular importance for autopsies?
 [2] A: Well, these people that came in, they were
 [3] trained as corpsmen. And they were not
 [4] photographers. We had to teach them photography -
 [5] basically, the medical training they've had as to
 [6] some anatomy and things like that.
 [7] So, we tried to show them the basic - It
 [8] was only a six-months course. We showed them the
 [9] basic facts of photography as applied to medicine.
[10] (See attached curriculum for medical
[11] photography/school.)
[12] Q: I'd like to go back to some of the things
[13] that you just mentioned. When you said that the
[14] autopsy should be identified by number, what did
[15] you mean by that?
[16] A: Well, by the autopsy number.
[17] Q: And how would a body be identified by
[18] number? I don't mean, how do you get the number?
[19] But how is it you identify the body?
[20] A: Each body as a autopsy number, A so-and-so. And
[21] we had a little ruler that you put the
[22] number on, and then put that in part of the

Page 30

 [1] picture.
 [2] Q: So that when the photograph was exposed,
 [3] the identification number would be next to the
 [4] deceased?
 [5] A: Correct.
 [6] Q: What would the purpose of doing that be?
 [7] A: For identification.
 [8] Q: So that there wouldn't be any question
 [9] about whose body was in the photograph; is that
[10] fair?
[11] A: Correct. Yes.
[12] Q: Is there any other way that the decedent
[13] would be identified during the course of taking
[14] autopsy photos?
[15] A: Well, we had a thing where you could open
[16] up the cassette and put the number in on it.
[17] Q: When you say "open up the cassette", you
[18] mean of the camera?
[19] A: The film holder.
[20] Q: The film holder.
[21] A: And have it identified by the number.
[22] Q: And how did that work exactly? Did you

Page 31

 [1] have a tape with the number on it, and put it on
 [2] the film, or some other -
 [3] A: No. You had a - Yes, you had a tape
 [4] there where the light came through it. And then it
 [5] put it on the film.
 [6] Q: So that the film would actually be exposed
 [7] to show the number?
 [8] A: Yes, on that particular part.
 [9] Q: Is there any other way that there would be
[10] an identification in the photography?
[11] A: Well, we had a log, where each of the jobs
[12] was given a number. And that was written in the
[13] log; the name, the diagnosis, the doctor that
[14] ordered it, the autopsy number or the surgical
[15] number. And that was written in a log every day.
[16] Q: Did the log contain a listing of the
[17] number of photographs that had been taken at the
[18] autopsy?
[19] A: Correct.
[20] Q: Where was that log maintained?
[21] A: In the office of the photo lab.
[22] Q: Would the log identify the type of film

Page 32

 [1] that was used in the autopsy?
 [2] A: Yes.
 [3] Q: Did the log identify the type of camera
 [4] that was used in the autopsy?
 [5] A: No, because at that time we only used the
 [6] four-by-five Graphic view camera. So, we knew what
 [7] was being taken. If it were just movies, then it
 [8] was written in there that it was done by motion
 [9] picture.
[10] Q: Did you, at some time, take motion
[11] pictures of autopsies?
[12] A: I don't remember taking any autopsies.
[13] Q: Did the log that was in the photo lab have
[14] a particular name, other than just "log"?
[15] A: On the front of it, it said "log".
[16] Q: If we were to try to identify that log or
[17] find the log, is there any term that you could
[18] think of as how that might be identified?
[19] A: Well, what we used to do - we used to put
[20] them in the archives, but I don't know what they've
[21] done in the last 23 years. But that's not the
[22] Archives here. hat was at Bethesda.

Page 33

 [1] Q: So, the archives at the Bethesda Naval
 [2] Medical Center would be the place to look for that,
 [3] you would guess?
 [4] A: I would guess.
 [5] Q: For something from the 1960s?
 [6] A: [Nods head up and down]
 [7] Q: Is there any other way that the decedent
 [8] would be identified by number or any other unique
 [9] identifier, in addition to what you've already
[10] mentioned?
[11] A: Nothing.
[12] Q: You mentioned the three different ways
[13] that there would be some identification or record
[14] of the decedent by number. Was it a standard
[15] practice in 1963 to record all of those for
[16] autopsies that were being performed at Bethesda?
[17] A: Unless they were told not to do it, yes.
[18] Q: That was standard procedure as of 1963?
[19] A: Yes, on all of the specimens in the lab.
[20] They used to bring some up from the morgue, and
[21] then do them in the lab. And they would put the
[22] number on it with a ruler.

Page 34

 [1] Q: So, these then - the photographs would be
 [2] not only of the body of the deceased, but any
 [3] sections that had been taken -
 [4] A: Correct.
 [5] Q: - or any body parts?
 [6] A: Correct.
 [7] Q: All of them would be identified by the
 [8] number?
 [9] A: Yes.
[10] Q: After the photographs were taken or
[11] exposed, in the ordinary course what would happen
[12] to those photographs from the autopsies?
[13] A: They would be sent to our lab, and they
[14] would be then taken out of the film holders and
[15] then processed. If it were black and white, they
[16] would be done in the black and white lab. If they
[17] were color, they would then go to the color lab.
[18] Q: And you had labs at Bethesda that could
[19] handle both black and white, and color?
[20] A: Correct.
[21] Q: After the photographs had been developed
[22] in the lab, would the fact that they had been

Page 35

 [1] developed in the lab also be recorded in the log
 [2] that you mentioned earlier? 
 [3] A: Yes. In other words, this chit that we
 [4] had on each of the jobs had on there what was taken
 [5] in black and white, how many prints were made, if
 [6] they were black and white or color. And then it
 [7] would also say who did it.
 [8] Q: What happened to the photographs after
 [9] they had been developed?
[10] A: They were -
[11] Q: Would they be kept at the photo lab, or
[12] sent somewhere else in Bethesda?
[13] A: The photographs were released to the
[14] doctor for the patient's record and the negatives
[15] were filed in the photo lab office. And then when
[16] they got full, then they were sent to archives. In
[17] other words, we could only keep so many.
[18] Q: Were new folders or new files opened for
[19] each autopsy that was performed at Bethesda?
[20] A: Each job had its own number and file.
[21] Q: Were copies of the photographs ever sent
[22] to other patient files or some other place at

Page 36

 [1] Bethesda or elsewhere?
 [2] A: Well, the doctor got all the prints. In
 [3] other words, he signed for the prints. And the
 [4] negatives were filed in the photo lab. In other
 [5] words, we didn't file any prints.
 [6] Q: Okay. So, then, the print of the - taken
 [7] from the autopsy would be sent to the doctor, who
 [8] may or may not put it in the patient file?
 [9] A: That's right, yeah. The doctor picked
[10] them up in the photo lab and signed for same.
[11] Q: Okay.
[12] A: In other words, they were supposed to go
[13] into the patient's file.
[14] Q: Okay.
[15] A: And he signed for them when he picked them
[16] up.
[17] Q: Earlier you had mentioned some things that
[18] you taught - you particularly taught your
[19] students. And we've just been talking about the
[20] identification process.
[21] The second one that you mentioned was that
[22] you needed to teach the students about the angles

Page 37

 [1] that would be taken - viewing angles for the
 [2] autopsy. What did you mean by that?
 [3] A: Well, if it were inside the body, you had
 [4] to have - had to show them how to light it and
 [5] what they wanted, if it were a liver, spleen,
 [6] kidney.
 [7] Q: Did angles come into play in showing
 [8] wounds or injuries of a person who may have died of
 [9] trauma?
[10] A: Yes.
[11] Q: What kinds of angles would you typically
[12] teach students should be taken for traumatic
[13] injuries to the body?
[14] A: Well, it's mainly done in shadow and
[15] lights.
[16] Q: Would it be standard practice to take a
[17] picture of the entire body, then a mid photograph
[18] showing perhaps the torso, and then a closeup of a
[19] wound of entrance, or a knife wound, or something
[20] of that sort? How would that work?
[21] A: Well, it depended upon what the doctor
[22] wanted. But, basically, in a trauma, you would

Page 38

 [1] shoot a picture of the whole body, to show what was
 [2] there.
 [3] Q: And was it standard practice to show
 [4] closeups of a wound of entrance, whether it's a
 [5] knife wound or a bullet wound?
 [6] A: Well, here again, it would depend upon
 [7] what the doctor told you to shoot.
 [8] Q: Okay.
 [9] A: Basically, you are working for the doctor,
[10] what he wants. Except when he sends a patient to
[11] the lab. And then, on the chit, it tells you what
[12] he wants. But when you're in the operating room,
[13] or in the morgue, or something, you're basically
[14] under his control.
[15] Q: Okay. You previously mentioned that, at
[16] Bethesda, you had a four-by-five camera; is that
[17] correct?
[18] A: Correct.
[19] Q: What kind of camera was the four-by-five
[20] that you had?
[21] A: It was a Graphic, G.r-a-p-h-i-c. A
[22] Graphic view camera.

Page 39

 [1] Q And is Graphic a brand name?
 [2] A: Yes. Was that a monorail camera, or a
 [3] field camera?
 [4] A: It was on a monorail that you focused back
 [5] and forth. You had the different lenses for
 [6] magnification.
 [7] Q: Now, if that's on a monorail, I assume
 [8] that it would be somewhat heavy; is that correct?
 [9] A: It's on a tripod.
[10] Q: So, it's on a tripod?
[11] A: It was mounted on a tripod, on a three-wheel
[12] Salzman tripod.
[13] Q: In the area of 1963, did you ever use a
[14] medium-format camera at autopsies?
[15] A: No. At that time, we were in the process
[16] of changing from a four-by-five to 35 millimeter.
[17] And we were - the commanding officer wouldn't let
[18] us purchase any more four-by-five film, because we
[19] were in the midst of buying the 35 millimeter
[20] cameras and the films.
[21] Q: What I'd like to do, if we could, is go
[22] through the different formats of cameras: 35

Page 40

 [1] millimeter, medium format, and view cameras. Just
 [2] get a very brief description about the differences
 [3] among those, so we can understand what's happening.
 [4] With the 35 millimeter camera, that would 
 [5] also be called a small-format camera -
 [6] A: Yes.
 [7] Q: - is that fair?
 [8] A: Hand held.
 [9] Q: Hand-held camera. And that's the kind
[10] that is most typically used by people today?
[11] A: At the present time, yes.
[12] Q: How does a medium-format camera differ
[13] from a 35 millimeter camera, just in a very
[14] general -
[15] A: You're talking about a 120. It's the size
[16] of the film.
[17] Q: Size of the film.
[18] A: And they are also roll cameras - I mean,
[19] roll film.
[20] Q: When you refer to 120, what does that mean
[21] - for the film?
[22] A: It's the size of the film. Like a 35

Page 41

 [1] millimeter, 120.
 [2] Q: Is that about two and a quarter inches?
 [3] A:I think so.
 [4] Q: Is that about what it is? And it would be
 [5] fair to say, I assume, that a view camera is the
 [6] large-format camera?
 [7] A: Yes. And we had a four-by-five view
 [8] camera, a five-by-seven back, and an eight-by-ten.
 [9] I forget the name of the eight-by-ten, but it also
[10] had a five-by-seven back on it. And it was a very
[11] expensive camera.
[12] Q: Did you ever use the five-by-seven or
[13] eight-by-ten back cameras for autopsies?
[14] A: No. We used that generally for
[15] portraiture.
[16] Q: Could you explain, in just a very brief
[17] way, how the four-by-five camera works - the
[18] Graphic view camera that you had?
[19] A: Well, you have a ground glass, where you
[20] focus on that. And you have the patient or the
[21] body - whatever it is. And you're on a tripod.
[22] And you can move the tripod, or you can move the

Page 42

 [1] camera. And, basically, it was very cumbersome,
 [2] but that's the way it was years ago.
 [3] And then, also, we used four-by-five speed
 [4] Graphics, but basically for public relations. That
 [5] was with the big flash and all.
 [6] Q: Okay. The speed Graphic camera would be
 [7] easier to use from hand-held positions -
 [8] A: Yes.
 [9] Q: - is that right?
[10] A: Correct.
[11] Q: So, both the speed Graphic and the Graphic
[12] view camera are both four-by-five, but one of them
[13] is much larger and more cumbersome than the other;
[14] is that right?
[15] A: That's correct. Or their backs - Maybe
[16] the four-by-five speed Graphic is a little bit
[17] larger than the view camera, but - It was heavy
[18] but you could hold it up to your eye; where the
[19] view camera had to be on a tripod.
[20] Q: Is the speed Graphic the kind of camera
[21] that we typically think of in old movies with -
[22] A: Yes, PR work.

Page 43

 [1] Q: - with the press person taking
 [2] photographs?
 [3] A: That's correct.
 [4] Q: Jimmy Olsen and Superman.
 [5] A: Yeah, with a big flash bulb in it.
 [6] Q: Okay.
 [7] A: And then after that, they came out with
 [8] the electronic flash - the speed flash.
 [9] Q: Was there anyway of using l2O film in a
[10] Graphic view camera?
[11] A: You could have a back on it, yes.
[12] Q: A back that would hold a roll film?
[13] A: Yes.
[14] Q: Did you have any backs that would hold
[15] roll film in the photo lab in Bethesda around 1963?
[16] A: I believe we did.
[17] Q: Did you ever use that back that would hold
[18] 120 film during autopsies?
[19] A:I don't think so.
[20] Q: Now, you previously used the word
[21] "cumbersome" to describe the Graphic view camera,
[22] and said that you needed to hold - needed to have

Page 44

 [1] a tripod in order to hold it.
 [2] If it is larger, heavier, more cumbersome,
 [3] what would be the purpose for using a Graphic view
 [4] camera in an autopsy?
 [5] A: Well, at that time, it was the only - the
 [6] one available that was good, and that's all we had.
 [7] Q: Do you need more light for a Graphic view
 [8] camera than for 35 millimeter?
 [9] A: Oh, yes.
[10] Q: So, it needs more light, as well?
[11] A: It needs more light, yes.
[12] Q: What about the quality of the image from a
[13] four-by-five versus a 35 millimeter in 1963. Did
[14] one of them provide a better quality image?
[15] A: I think a four-by-five did, because -
[16] Well, now, the films have become much better. But,
[17] back in those days, a four-by-five film was good.
[18] Q: For a small-format camera, usually a 50
[19] millimeter lens is considered to be standard or
[20] normal. Does that seem fair? Does that make sense
[21] to you?
[22] A: In medicine, it was a 55 millimeter.

Page 45

 [1] Q: Fifty-five millimeter lens for a small-format
 [2] camera?
 [3] A: Yes.
 [4] Q: For something that would be - for a lens
 [5] that would be standard or normal for a large-format
 [6] camera, what would the millimeter of the lens be?
 [7] A: I think, about 50 millimeter.
 [8] Q: For a Graphic view camera, what about a
 [9] lens that would be a wide-angle lens? What would
[10] be the millimeter of the lens?
[11] A: Well, we had 28 millimeters. We had a
[12] series of lenses that we could choose from.
[13] Q: During an autopsy, would you change the
[14] size of the lens as you were taking photographs?
[15] A: Very seldom. You would move the camera
[16] back and forth.
[17] Q: So, would you, in the ordinary course,
[18] apply or use the standard or normal lens during an
[19] autopsy?
[20] A: Correct.
[21] Q: Typically, how many films or sheets did
[22] the back of a four-by-five camera hold?

Page 46

 [1] A: Two, one on either side. You had to
 [2] change it around to put it - to take the other
 [3] one.
 [4] Q: Was there something called a press pack
 [5] that you're familiar with?
 [6] A: Yes. There was a press pack that could
 [7] take 12 exposures, I think.
 [8] Q: During autopsies, would you ever use a
 [9] press pack?
[10] A: No, not that I know of. In fact, the
[11] press pack, I don't think had the color film. That
[12] was all black and white.
[13] Q: Would it be standard practice in 1963 to
[14] have autopsy photographs all in color?
[15] A: Generally, they were done both. Color and
[16] black and white.
[17] Q: When it was done in black and white, would
[18] you use a press pack or just the back that would
[19] hold two?
[20] A: No, just the back that would hold two.
[21] Q: Did the photo lab in Bethesda in 1963 have
[22] any Calumet cameras?

Page 47

 [1] A: I believe so. The Calumet is also called
 [2] a graphic view type camera.
 [3] Q: Were those ever used during it? Were
 [4] those ever used during an autopsy?
 [5] A: Probably so. I don't remember.
 [6] Q: What would be the reason for using a
 [7] Calumet versus a Graphic view camera, or vice
 [8] versa?
 [9] A: Basically, they're the same. Like a Ford
[10] and Chevrolet, I mean.
[11] Q: It was your personal preference, though,
[12] then to use the Graphic view camera? Is that fair,
[13] or some other explanation?
[14] A: No. When I used it at the autopsy?
[15] Q: Yes.
[16] A: I used the camera that was on the tripod.
[17] Q: That's what you would always use?
[18] A: Yes, the camera that was on the tripod.
[19] Q: Okay. Does that mean that - Well, could
[20] the Calumet camera go onto the tripod?
[21] A: Yes.
[22] Q: Okay. So, in some instances, there may be

Page 48

 [1] the Calumet and you would use that. And some
 [2] instances, the Graphic; and you would use that.
 [3] A: That's correct.
 [4] Q: Did the photo lab have a Graphlex camera
 [5] in 1963?
 [6] A: Yes. You mean the kind you look down
 [7] into?
 [8] Q: Yes.
 [9] A: Yes.
[10] Q: Approximately -
[11] A: But it was never used.
[12] Q: Okay.
[13] A: It was used before that. It was an
[14] antique.
[15] Q: Approximately, how many different four-by-five
[16] cameras were used at the photo lab around
[17] 1963?
[18] A: The speed Graphic, you're talking about
[19] or -
[20] Q: Yes, including the speed Graphic.
[21] A: Each of the students had a speed Graphic
[22] outfit that they carried for their own use while

Page 49

 [1] they were there. And, basically, the numbers that
 [2] we had, I don't remember.
 [3] Q: Other than the speed Graphic cameras that
 [4] were used by the students, approximately how many
 [5] other large-format cameras were available around
 [6] 1963?
 [7] A: There was the one eight-by-ten that had
 [8] the five-by-seven back on it. And there were
 [9] probably two just four-by-five, because we always
[10] kept the one in the lab.
[11] Q: Are you familiar with a camera named
[12] Burnhall?
[13] A: No.
[14] Q: Okay. Did the photo lab have any medium-format
[15] cameras around 1963?
[16] A: I think we had a 120 there. We had it,
[17] basically, for the school.
[18] Q: Was that a Mimiya flex; do you recall?
[19] A: We had some, yes, Mimiya flexes there.
[20] Q: Do you - Did you have any Hasselblads?
[21] A: No,we wish we did.
[22] Q: Any other medium-format cameras that you

Page 50

 [1] remember having there?
 [2] A: Yeah, Mimiya we had. I remember that now.
 [3] And then the 120, 1 think it was. But then after
 [4] that, we went to the Nikon. But that was after
 [5] that.
 [6] Q: The Nikon was a 35 millimeter -
 [7] A: Correct.
 [8] Q: - or a medium format?
 [9] A: No, it was 35 millimeter.
[10] Q: Okay. Could we switch from cameras now
[11] and talk a little bit about film?
[12] A: Mm-hmm.
[13] Q: You mentioned that you would - it would
[14] be typical to take black and white, as well as
[15] color film during an autopsy. And that it would
[16] typically be the two sheets of black and white that
[17] would be used. What kind of black and white film
[18] was used around 1963?
[19] A: Panatomic X rings a bell. I don't
[20] remember, to tell you the truth.
[21] Q: And that would take a negative image -
[22] A: Yes.

Page 51

 [1] Q: - is that right?
 [2] A: The color film was basically a positive
 [3] image, because it was used as a slide generally.
 [4] Q: But the black and whites would always be
 [5] made into prints, and not used -
 [6] A: Yes. Yes, they're for publication,
 [7] because generally they didn't have color
 [8] reproduction, so they used black and white.
 [9] Q: Do you recall the kind of color film that
[10] was used around 1963?
[11] A: Kodachrome, it was. Kodachrome.
[12] Q: Kodachrome or Ektachrome?
[13] A: I think it was Koda - I'm not sure, to
[14] tell you the truth. I think it was Kodachrome,
[15] though.
[16] Q: Did the lab have the capability of
[17] processing Kodachrome film in 1963?
[18] A: Yes.
[19] Q: What kind of equipment - and I mean this
[20] in just a very general way - was necessary for
[21] processing Kodachrome film in 1963?
[22] A: You had to have a - It was a Fisher lab

Page 52

 [1] set up. It had to be temperature controlled. The
 [2] room was air conditioned and temperature-controlled
 [3] solutions.
 [4] Q: Was Kodachrome film much more difficult to
 [5] process than Ektachrome film in 1963?
 [6] A: I don't think so.
 [7] Q: In autopsy photography, did you ever use
 [8] color negative film around 1963?
 [9] A: I don't think so.
[10] Q: Could the 120 film be both - or either
[11] color or black and white?
[12] A: Yes.
[13] Q: When you would use the 120 film, did you
[14] generally use color, or black and white, or was it
[15] just depending on the particular case?
[16] A: There wasn't much color used with it, I
[17] don't think. It was basically a camera we just had
[18] there. I don't think it was used for many
[19] professional jobs. I think it was primarily
[20] teaching. Now, we had also the back that fit on
[21] the four-by-five.
[22] Q: When you would put the 120 film back on a

Page 53

 [1] four-by-five, did you typically use color, or black
 [2] and white; or it just would depend on the case?
 [3] A: I think it was probably black and white.
 [4] And it was mostly for identification pictures, I
 [5] think. I don't think it was used that much for
 [6] medicine.
 [7] Q: Okay. What I'd like to do is to take a
 [8] short break now, and I'd like to show you a
 [9] document which I'll identify for you. And you can
[10] take some time to take a look at it.
[11] I'm going to ask you if this - if the
[12] document helps refresh your recollection about any
[13] contacts that you may have had with the House
[14] Select Committee on Assassinations?
[15] And take your time to read it.
[16] A: Okay.
[17] Q: Though you don't need to read it word for
[18] word, you're welcome to do so, if you wish.
[19] MR. GUNN: The document is marked Exhibit
[20] No. 19. And it appears on its face to be a memo to
[21] the file from Andy Purdy, dated August 17th, 1977.
[22] It is a 17-page memorandum, and I would like to

Page 54

 [1] draw Mr. Stringer's attention particularly to pages
 [2] 9 through 17 of the document.
 [3] We'll take a short break.
 [4] [Recess.]
 [5] BY MR. GUNN:
 [6] Q: Mr. Stringer, have you had an opportunity
 [7] to look through Exhibit 19?
 [8] A: Yes.
 [9] Q: Does the exhibit help refresh your
[10] recollection as to whether you ever spoke with
[11] people on the House Select Committee staff?
[12] A: I don't remember speaking to them.
[13] Q: Do you recall ever having seen the
[14] document before that's now marked Exhibit No. 19?
[15] A: No, I've never seen it.
[16] Q: After 1966, regarding what you previously
[17] testified that you had gone to the Archives to make
[16] an inventory, have you ever seen the autopsy
[19] photographs at the Archives at any point after
[20] that?
[21] A: I have not. Not that I can recall.
[22] Q: In the document marked Exhibit 19, it

Page 55

 [1] refers on page 14 to a visit that a Mr. Stringer
 [2] and Jim Kelly and Colleen Boland took to the
 [3] NationalArchives. Does that help refresh your
 [4] recollection as to whether you ever went to the
 [5] Archives?
 [6] A: It does not. I don't remember it.
 [7] Q: As you're sitting here today, does it seem
 [8] to you to be very unlikely that you went to the
 [9] Archives; or you just have no recollection, one way
[10] or the other?
[11] A: I don't think I went. I don't have any
[12] recollection of it. And after `77, I was living in
[13] Vero Beach. It does say that I was staying with my
[14] daughter. Whose name is wrong here. It's R-u-s-k.
[15] Q: Mrs. Rusk, rather than Mrs. Ross?
[16] A: Rusk. I certainly don't remember going to
[17] the Archives with these people. I don't know how I
[18] would have gotten there.
[19] Q: Do you believe that if you had gone to the
[20] Archives in 1977 to look at autopsy photographs
[21] that you would probably remember that, as you're
[22] sitting here today?

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