Red Dirt Diaries: Presidential Protection
OKLAHOMA CITY - How do you start a collection of hand written letter from U.S. presidents starting in the 1950’s?
This President's Day week, News 9’s Karl Torp showcases the man who protected many of them.
Bill Skiles, 84, is a retired Secret Service Agent. His walls are covered with the seven leaders of the free world he served under, starting with President Dwight Eisenhower.
He calls Presidents John F Kennedy, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan his favorites to have served under.
Agent Skiles grew up in Michigan and says he always wanted to be in law enforcement
Most of his pictures of the dignitaries and world leaders he protected are signed with a thank you for keeping them safe.
“You don’t know how many times I’d tap them and say, ‘Excuse me sir, you’re in my spot,’” said Skiles about moving people who got too close to his assignment.
During the Kennedy Presidency, Skiles briefly left the White House detail to bust counterfeiters.
On what he called his worst day being an agent, the day President Kennedy was assassinated, Skiles was called back to Washington DC.
He still keeps a hat President Kennedy gave him after a round of golf in Florida.
“John F. Kennedy wore that hat, but the DNA has worn off by now,” joked Skiles.
The newest additions to the retiree's archives are letters sent to Oklahoma City where Skiles finished his career in the early 1980’s. Many of them are from young Secret Service Agents wanting to thank him for his service, and some are from history buffs looking for an autograph.
“I had the best career that anybody has ever had,” said Skiles.