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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. II - Page 348« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Comdr. James J. , Comdr. J. Thornton Humes)

Testimony of Comdr. James J. Humes

The Chairman.
The Commission will be in order.
Commander Humes, will you please step up. You know, Commander, what we have met for today to take your testimony concerning the autopsy and anything else you might know concerning the assassination of the President.
Would you raise your right hand, please?
Do you solemnly swear the testimony you give before this Commission will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Commander HUMES. I do.
The Chairman.
Will you be seated? You may proceed.
Mr. Specter.
Dr. Humes, will you state your full name for the record, please?
Commander HUMES. James Joseph Humes.
Mr. Specter.
And what is your profession or occupation, please?
Commander HUMES. I am a physician and employed by the Medical Department of the United States Navy.
Mr. Specter.
What is your rank in the Navy?
Commander HUMES. Commander, Medical Corps. United States Navy.
Mr. Specter.
Where did you receive your education, Commander Humes, please.
Commander HUMES. I had my undergraduate training at St. Joseph's College at Villanova University in Philadelphia. I received my medical degree in 1948 from the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia.
I received my internship and my postgraduate training in my special field of interest in Pathology in various Naval hospitals, and at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology at Walter Reed in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Specter.
What do your current duties involve?
Commander HUMES. My current title is Director of Laboratories of the Naval Medical School at Naval Medical Center at Bethesda. I am charged with the responsibility of the overall supervision of all of the laboratory operations in the Naval medical center, two broad areas, one in the field of anatomic pathology which comprises examining surgical specimens and postmortem examinations and then the rather large field of clinical pathology which takes in examination of the blood and various body fluids.
Mr. Specter.
Have you been certified by the American Board of Pathology?
Commander HUMES. Yes, sir; both in anatomic pathology and in clinical pathology in 1955.
Mr. Specter.
What specific experience have you had, if any, with respect to gunshot wounds?
Commander HUMES. My type of practice, which fortunately has been in peacetime endeavor to a great extent, has been more extensive in the field of natural disease than violence. However, on several occasions in various places where I have been employed, I have had to deal with violent death, accidents, suicides, and so forth. Also I have had training at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, I have completed a course in forensic pathology there as part of my training in the overall field of pathology.
Mr. Specter.
Did you have occasion to participate in the autopsy of the late John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963?
Commander HUMES. Yes, sir; I did.
Mr. Specter.
What was your specific function in connection with that autopsy?
Commander HUMES. As the senior pathologist assigned to the Naval Medical Center, I was called to the Center by my superiors and informed that the President's body would be brought to our laboratories for an examination, and I was charged with the responsibility of conducting and supervising this examination; told to also call upon anyone whom I wished as assistant in this matter, that I deemed necessary to be present.
Mr. Specter.
Who did assist you, if anyone, in the course of the autopsy?
Commander HUMES. My first assistant was Commander J. Thornton Boswell, whose position is Chief of Pathology at the Naval Medical School, and my other assistant was Lt. Col. Pierre Finck, who is in the wound ballistics section of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.
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