Chauncey Holt was born in Kentucky on 23rd October, 1921. When he was 19 he joined the United States Army Airforce (USAAF). The following year he was court-martialed and sent to the U.S. penitentiary barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for attacking another soldier with a Springfield rifle.
Holt was released in June 1940 but deserted from the USAF after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He eventually returned to duty but in 1942 he travelled in a car from Fort Knox to Louisville. He was arrested and charged with taking the car without permission and was sentenced to 18 months in the Industrial Reformatory at Chillicott, Ohio. On his release he found work with the Bethelem-Fairfield Shipyard Company.
After the war Holt met Peter Licavoli, a leading figure in the Mafia in Detroit. Holt was sent to Florida where he worked for Meyer Lansky as an accountant and pilot. This included several trips to Cuba where Lansky had extensive business interests. Lansky also sent Holt to worked for the International Rescue Committee (IRC). This was a Central Intelligence Agency controlled organization that had been set up to distribute funds to organizations attempting to overthrow left-wing governments. During the time Holt was also involved in producing forged documents for the CIA and the Mafia.
Holt also became involved in what later become known as Executive Action (a plan to remove unfriendly foreign leaders from power). This including a coup d'état that overthrew the Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz in 1954 after he introduced land reforms and nationalized the United Fruit Company. However, the main target of this operation was Fidel Castro who had established a socialist government in Cuba.
In March I960, President Dwight Eisenhower of the United States approved a CIA plan to overthrow Castro. The plan involved a budget of $13 million to train "a paramilitary force outside Cuba for guerrilla action." The strategy was organized by Richard Bissell and Richard Helms. An estimated 400 CIA officers were employed full-time to carry out what became known as Operation Mongoose. Holt later claimed that he worked on this project with figures such as Sam Giancana, Johnny Roselli, Edward Lansdale and William Harvey.
After the failed Bay of Pigs invasion Holt worked for Meyer Lansky in California. Meyer took over the Los Angeles Stamp and Stationary Company where Holt continued to produce illegal documents and false police badges. He also worked closely with Phillip A. Twombly, a former Executive Vice President of Coca Cola for their Caribbean operations. Twombly now owned a bank in Fullerton, California, which was used to distribute CIA funds for covert operations.
In 1963 Holt received instructions from Twombly to provide false ID documents for Lee Harvey Oswald. These documents (in the names of Lee Harvey Oswald and Alek Hiddell) were delivered by a man called George Reynolds. In August, 1963, Twombly asked Holt to travel to New Orleans, where he met Oswald and Carlos Bringuier.
Holt later claimed he was went to Dallas in November, 1963, with Charlie Nicoletti, James Canty and Leo Moceri. In Dallas he passed on forged documents and guns (with silencers) to Charles Harrelson and Charles Rogers (Richard Montoya). Holt was told that "an incident was going to be created which could be laid at the door of pro-Castro Cubans. The word attempted assassination was never used. We assumed that from all this light loaded ammunition that maybe somebody was going to try to take a shot from somewhere, probably the Dal-Tex building, or one of the buildings around there. But at no time was it ever intimidated to us that an assassination or attempted assassination on Kennedy."
When the Kennedy motorcade reached the Dealey Plaza Holt was in the parking lot behind the Grassy Knoll. After the shooting took place Holt went to hide in a railroad car. He was joined by Charles Harrelson and Charles Rogers. However, soon afterwards, Dallas police officers entered the railroad car and arrested all three men. The three men along with Jim Brading were interviewed by Gordon Shanklin of the FBI and then released.
In October, 1991, Holt confessed to John Craig, Phillip Rogers and Gary Shaw about his role in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Holt's story was undermined in 1992 when the Dallas Police Department revealed that the three tramps were Gus Abrams, John F. Gedney and Harold Doyle. Ray and Mary LaFontaine carried out their own research into this claim. They traced Doyle and Gedley who confirmed they were two of the tramps in the photograph. Gus Abrams was dead but his sister identified him as the third tramp in the photograph.
Chauncey Holt died on 28th June, 1997.