John Stringer was the primary photographer at
the autopsy.


Page 1

            BEFORE THE
In Re:
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

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

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


John T. Stringer	3


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

[All exhibits retained by Mr. Gunn.]

Page 3

 [2] Whereupon,
 [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:
 [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

Page 5

 [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

Page 6

 [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?

Page 7

 [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.

Page 8

 [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.

Page 9

 [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?

Page 10

 [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?

Page 11

 [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

Page 12

 [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 -

Page 13

 [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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