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  » Appendix VI
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  » Appendix IX
  » Appendix X
  » Appendix XI
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  » Appendix XIV
  » Appendix XV
  » Appendix XVI
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  » Appendix XVIII
Warren Commission Report: Page 91« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER III - The Shots From the Texas School Book Depository)

one below the Adam's apple, the other at the back of the head. He said he did not know if two bullets were involved. It is possible, he said, that the neck wound was the entrance and the other the exit of the missile.186

According to this report, Dr. Perry stated merely that it was "possible" that the neck wound was a wound of entrance. This conforms with his testimony before the Commission, where he stated that by themselves the characteristics of the neck wound were consistent with being either a point of entry or exit.

Wound ballistics tests.--Experiments performed by the Army Wound Ballistics experts at Edgewood Arsenal, Md. (discussed in app. X, p. 582) showed that under simulated conditions entry and exit wounds are very similar in appearance. After reviewing the path of the bullet through the President's neck, as disclosed in the autopsy report, the experts simulated the neck by using comparable material with a thickness of approximately 5½ inches (13½ to 14½ centimeters), which was the distance traversed by the bullet. Animal skin was placed on each side, and Western Cartridge Co. 6.5 bullets were fired from the C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle from a distance of 180 feet.. The animal skin on the entry side showed holes which were regular and round. On the exit side two holes were only slightly elongated, indicating that the bullet had become only a little unstable at the point of exit.187 A third exit hole was round, although not quite as regular as the entry holes.188 The exit holes, especially the one most nearly round, appeared similar to the descriptions given by Drs. Perry and Carrico of the hole in the front of the President's neck.189

The autopsy disclosed that the bullet which entered the back of the President's neck hit no bony structure and proceeded in a slightly downward angle. The markings on the President's clothing indicate that the bullet moved in a slight right to left lateral direction as it passed through the President's body.190 After the examining doctors expressed the thought that a bullet would have lost very little velocity in passing through the soft tissue of the neck, wound ballistics experts conducted tests to measure the exit velocity of the bullet.191 The tests were the same as those used to create entry and exit holes, supplemented by the use of break-type screens which measured the velocity of bullets. The entrance velocity of the bullet fired from the rifle averaged 1,904 feet per second after it traveled 180 feet. The exit velocity averaged 1,772 to 1,798 feet per second, depending upon the substance through which the bullet passed. A photograph of the path of the bullet traveling through the simulated neck showed that it proceeded in a straight line and was stable.192

Examination of clothing.--The clothing worn by President Kennedy on November 22 had holes and tears which showed that a missile entered the back of his clothing in the vicinity of his lower neck and exited through the front of his shirt immediately behind his tie, nicking the knot of his tie in its forward flight.193 Although the caliber of the bullet could not be determined and some of the clothing items

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