Here is a verbatim reprint of the ECOM (one of CECOM’s predecessor names) commanding general’s message to the base. Major General F. W. Moorman’s speech was delivered at 10:00am on Saturday, November 23rd, 1963, at Fort Monmouth, NJ. Reading this speech today, in 2013, reminds me of how very different the past can be.
The Sergeant Major and I have the tragic obligation of summoning you together this morning to take official cognizance of the fact that our President has been assassinated.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States has been killed in the line of duty.
As is our custom we will not long mourn his passing but we will close ranks, take up the place of the fallen comrade and move forward to the objectives which have been set before us.
We will evidence our devotion as was suggested by a former – and a fallen – President by increased devotion to that cause for which he gave the last full measure of devotion.
Mrs. Kennedy is a service widow and as such has no more – and no less- claim on our sympathies than the widow of the last Sergeant shot down from helicopter in Viet Nam. Nevertheless, because she is lovely, and because she has small children, I think that without doing violence to our military traditions, we can mourn her with a special poignancy, and regard her grief as the epitome of the service widow’s grief – at all times, everywhere.
Lyndon B. Johnson is the President of the United States. He is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States and as such he is entitled to our allegiance. His orders will be obeyed – under penalty of death in time of war or such lesser penalty as a Court Martial may direct.