Monday, November 18, 1963
November 18, 1963
After his weekend stay at his family’s compound in Palm Beach, JFK flew to Tampa, where the weather was clear, mild, and sunny. He was accompanied on the flight by the publisher of the Tampa Tribune James H. Couey, Jr.
His airplane touched down at MacDill Air Force base at 11:24 a.m. local time. After a minute or so, Kennedy, wearing a medium gray suit, emerged from the tail exit (at that time the “Presidential exit” with the press exiting with the door closest to the cockpit), carrying the hated dress hat in his right hand.
At the bottom of the ramp, he was met by MacDill AFB Strike Command head Gen. Paul D. Adams. As he shook hands with the local dignitaries following behind him were Representatives Claude Pepper and Sam Gibbons and Senatory George Smathers.
The assembled dignitaries and onlookers then came to attention when the band then struck up “Hail to the Chief.”
After reviewing the colors, JFK moved toward some school children from the Academy of the Holy Names to shake hands.
He then walked a short distance to a waiting white Lincoln convertible to take him to the MacDill officers’ club for lunch and for a security briefing from base commanders.
Just before the car drove off, press photographer Tony Zappone ran up to the car to shake Kennedy’s hand. JFK seemed momentarily startled that the 16 year old had managed to come directly next to the car, umimpeded by his security details. But, he quickly regained his composure and took Zappone’s outstretched hand before the limousine drove away.
JFK started the day in Tampa, where he gave a speech at Al Lopez field to celebrate the 50th anniversary of scheduled air service by Tony Jannus.
Kennedy spoke for about 9 minutes. His speech was somewhat disjointed and had a slightlystrident tone to it. JFK started his address noting that the scheduled air service went bankrupt after 4 months and then went on to mention that Tampa figured into the creation of the Alliance for Progress.
He then went to predict that American aviation would have commerical planes traveling at mach 5 by the end of the century, called the US the keystone of freedom, talked about jobs, and railed against Communism
Continuing his Florida trip, in the evening JFK gave a speech in Miami to the Inter-American Press Association where he expressed displeasure of Argentina’s recent cancellation of oil contracts with American companies.