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Secret Service Code Names in the Kennedy White House

These days, Secret Service communications are securely encrypted using state-of-the-art technology. But back before transparent encryption of day-to-day electronic communications was a practical reality, a layer of obfuscation was added by assigning code names to the first family, staffers, and locations. Assigned by the White House Communications Agency, these code names also provided a quick and efficient verbal short-hand.

JFK’s Secret Service code name was LANCER.

In general, subsets begin with a particular letter. L was for the Kennedy family, C for places and logistics, W for White House staff, D for Secret Service Agents, A for Air Force, V for the Vice President, and so on.

Secret Service code names don’t usually turn up on the Kennedy tapes, but you can hear them being used in the very earliest Johnson tapes that captured communications from Air Force One as the newly sworn-in President Johnson flew back from Dallas to Washington DC on November 22, 1963.


The President and His Family

LANCER President John F. Kennedy
LACE Jackie Kennedy (First Lady)
LYRIC Caroline Kennedy
LARK John F. Kennedy Jr.
 

The Vice President and His Family

VOLUNTEER Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson
VICTORIA Lady Bird Johnson
VELVET Lynda Bird Johnson
VENUS Lucy Baines Johnson
 

Advisers, Aides, and Administration Officials

FREEDOM Dean Rusk, the Secretary of State
WAND Kenny O’Donnell
WILLOW Evelyn Lincoln, the President’s Personal Secretary
WAYSIDE Pierre Salinger, the White House Press Secretary
MARKET Dr. George Burkley, the President’s Personal Physician
WATCHMAN General Chester Clifton, the President’s Military Aide
SILVER Mr. Hays (Military Aides Office)
WARRIOR Malcolm Kilduff
WING General Godfrey McHugh, the President’s Air Force Aide
WITNESS Captain Tazewell Shepard, the President’s Naval Aide
TIGER Colonel James Swindal, the President’s Pilot
TULIP MBGT Magan (Corky), the Presidential Pilot OFC
VIGILANT Walter Jenkins
TOURIST Major Brown (Military Aides Office)
 

Places

CASTLE The White House (Mansion plus East and West Wing)
CROWN White House (Executive Mansion)
CENTRAL The Old Executive Office Building
CHARCOAL / BASE President’s Temporary Residence
CABIN Kennedy Compound at Hyannis Port (Massachusetts)
CACTUS Camp David
HAMLET Auchincloss Home on O Street (Washington DC)
CHATEAU President’s Home at Glen Ora (Virginia)
CROSSROADS Middleburg (Virginia)
VOLCANO LBJ Ranch (Texas)
CALICO The Pentagon (Arlington, Virginia) / Defense Communications Agency
CORK FBI Headquarters (Washington DC)
 

Transportation

ANGEL Air Force One / Aircraft 26000
SS 100 X Presidential Limousine
HALFBACK Presidential Follow-Up Car
VARSITY Vice Presidential Follow-Up Car
CARPET White House Garage
ACROBAT Andrews Air Force Base (for Air Force One)
ALPHA / CATER / PAT Army Helicopter Operations, Davison Field
CHEER Helicopter Operations, Anacostia
CADET Exec FLT Det, Davison Field
NOMAD USN Honey Fitz, the Presidential Yacht
NEPTUNE USN President Yacht #2
NIGHT HAWK Marine Copters, Anacostia
NOVICE Crash Boat PT109
ROCKFISH Vice Presidential Speed Boat
 

Communications

CASTLE Signal Corps Shops 26th Street
SATCHEL Presidential Courier / Bagman
SPECTATOR Gen. Sampson (Defense Communications Agency)
SPUD Mr. Nash (Messenger Service White House)
SUBWAY DO COMM CEN EAST END WH
STAR Colonel George McNally, White House Communications Agency
STURDY Art Bales, White House Communications Agency
SHADOW Ira Gearhart, White House Communications Agency
 

Secret Service Agents

DOMINO James Rowley, Chief of the Secret Service
DUPLEX Gerald Behn
DEACON Floyd Boring
DAZZLE Clint Hill, First Lady Detail
DANDY Lem Johns
DIGEST Roy Kellerman
DAYLIGHT Jerry Kivett
DEBUT Paul Landis
DUSTY Emory Roberts
DAGGER Rufus Youngblood
DASHER Tom Wells
DRESSER Bob Foster
DRUMMER Lynn Meredith
DRAGON Agent Campion
DAPPER Mr. O’Leary (Muggsy)
HERMIT Secret Service Field Office New York City
 

Other and Unidentified

SMOKEY SMAJ Duffy
SUPER MBGT Giordano
WINNER Mr. Hatcher

Data Source: This list is compiled from ST448-1-62, Still Pictures, John F. Kennedy Library; and William Manchester, The Death of a President: November 20 – November 25, 1963 (New York: Harper & Row, 1967) pp.xv-xvi.