Kenneth Patrick O'Donnell was an American political consultant and the special assistant and appointments secretary to President John F Kennedy from 1961 until Kennedy's assassination in November 1963.
16 Facts About Kenneth O'Donnell
Kenneth O'Donnell later served as an adviser to Robert Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign.
Kenneth O'Donnell was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, and raised in Boston.
Kenneth O'Donnell was the son of Alice M and Cleo Albert O'Donnell, who was the football coach at the College of the Holy Cross Crusaders for two decades, and later athletics director for all sports activities.
Kenneth O'Donnell's older brother, named Cleo, was a football star at Harvard during the 1940s.
Kenneth O'Donnell graduated from high school during World War II and then served in the US Army Air Forces, where he flew 30 missions as a bombardier in a B-17 squadron before being shot down over Belgium.
Kenneth O'Donnell later worked in public relations from 1952 to 1957.
Kenneth O'Donnell then went on to serve as John Kennedy's unpaid political observer in Massachusetts, until 1957, when he became assistant counsel to Senate Labor Rackets Committee, where he worked for Robert Kennedy, who had been appointed chief counsel of the Committee.
In 1958, Kenneth O'Donnell became a member of Senator John Kennedy's staff, where he was later a key organizer and adviser during Kennedy's presidential campaign in 1960.
Kenneth O'Donnell later advised the President during the lead up to the Bay of Pigs invasion and during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
Kenneth O'Donnell arranged President Kennedy's trip to Dallas in November 1963 and was in a car just behind the president's limousine when Kennedy was assassinated.
On May 18,1964, Kenneth O'Donnell provided testimony to Norman Redlich and Arlen Specter, assistant counsel for the Warren Commission.
Kenneth O'Donnell stated that it was his impression that the shots fired at Kennedy came from the right rear.
Kenneth O'Donnell soon joined, as did many others in Kennedy's campaign, Hubert Humphrey's presidential campaign, serving as campaign manager.
Kenneth O'Donnell remarried shortly after that to Asta Hanna Helga Steinfatt, a native of Germany.
Kenneth O'Donnell was able to set aside his own prejudices against individuals and his own ideological commitments and appraise the alternatives with total objectivity.