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CUBA - 1962

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The U-2 Plane used to photo the first USSR missiles in Cuba The photo that first revealed USSR missiles in Cuba

In April 1961, the United States attempted to invade Cuba and overthrow premier Fidel Castro. On the 17th of April about 1,300 CIA- trained exiles armed with United States weapons landed at Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs) on the southern coast of Cuba. Fidel Castro They hoped to gain support from the local populations, cross the island to Havana, and overthrow Castro. However, they were quickly defeated by Castro's army. The invasion by the CIA-backed exiles was spurred by the events that took place after Castro took control of Cuba in January of 1959, Displeased with Castro's successful military coup, the United States stopped buying Cuban sugar. Castro responded in 1960 by taking over U.S. oil refineries and all U.S. businesses in Cuba. This led President Kennedy to authorize the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. US president John F. Kennedy, in meetings with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s son-in-law Adzhubei in January 1962, President John F. Kennedy compared the US failure at the Bay of Pigs to the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. JFK also assured Adzhubei that the US "will not meddle" with Cuba, but at the same time, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff were preparing "cover and deception plans" that included planned pretexts for a US invasion of Cuba. The President’s brother, attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was simultaneously leading discussions with the CIA and Pentagon about covert operations (codenamed Operation Mongoose) on the proposition that “a solution to the current Cuban problem carried ‘the top priority in the United States government….These proposals - part of a secret anti-Castro program known as Operation Mongoose - included staging the assassinations of Cubans living in the United States, developing a fake "Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington," including "sink[ing] a boatload of Cuban refugees (real or simulated),” faking a Cuban airforce attack on a civilian jetliner, and concocting a “Remember the Maine” incident by blowing up a U.S. ship in Cuban waters and then blaming the incident on Cuban sabotage.

According to Nikita Khrushchev's memoirs, in May 1962 he conceived the idea of placing intermediate range missiles in Cuba as a means of countering an emerging lead of the United States in developing and deploying missiles. He also presented the scheme as a means of protecting Cuba from another United States sponsored invasion, such as the failed attempt at the Bay of Pigs in 1961.With Castro's approval, the Soviet Union began building secret missile bases in Cuba.

Tony Martinez, Operations Officer for all the flights out of McCoy was Sqdn Commander of the USAF U-2 Squadron based at Del Rio,TX at Laughlin AFB. The first Cuban overflight was flown by USAF U-2 pilot Capt Steve Heyser departing out of Edwards AFB, CA in a U-2C. Subsequently, ten other pilots from Laughlin flew the Cuban mission. An October 14, 1962 U-2 mission provided conclusive proof that the Soviet Union was deploying medium-range ballistic missiles to Cuba. On October 16, 1962, CIA analysts briefed President John F. Kennedy on what is probably the most October 14, 1962: U-2 photograph of a truck convoy approaching  a deployment of Soviet MRBMs near Los Palacios at San  Cristobal. This  photograph was the first one identified by NPIC on 15  October as showing Soviet medium-range ballistic missiles  in Cuba famous overhead reconnaissance photograph of all time. The image - snapped from 70,000 feet by a U-2 reconnaissance aircraft - proved conclusively that the Soviet Union was installing medium-range ballistic missiles in Cuba, touching off the most dangerous episode of the Cold War: The Cuban Missile Crisis.

On October 22, President Kennedy responded by televising an address stating the discovery of the weapons and that any attack coming from Cuba would be treated as an attack from the Soviet Union and would be treated accordingly. In addition, he imposed a naval blockade of Cuba to stop the construction of the sites.

On October 26, Khrushchev sent a letter to Kennedy suggesting that the sites would be dismantled if the United States gave its reassurance that it would not invade Cuba. Following up on this suggestion, on October 28, Khrushchev announced that the sites would be dismantled; as well as the removal of light bombers. The United States agreed and responded to the specific conditions of assurances for the United States not to invade Cuba. Worldwide, elements were diverted to support the U-2 flights over Cuba. Pilots flying out of Upper Heyford were brought back to the CONUS to fly U-2 missions over Cuba as the U.S. carefully monitored Soviet implementation of their promise to dismantle and remove all Soviet missiles from Cuba. Many of the pilots involved in the Cuban missile crisis later became known as "Roadrunners" because of their affiliation and participation in SR aircraft development flights at Groom Lake, Nevada. The following photos demonstrate the effectiveness of the CIA and Air Force surveillance planes and these future Roadrunners in exposing the aggression of the Soviet Union and Cuba that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.


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August 29, 1962: U-2 photograph showing no construction at San Cristobal August 29, 1962: U-2 photograph showing no construction at Guanajay August 29, 1962: U-2 photograph of SA-2 surface-to-air missile (SAM) site under construction at La Coloma Completed SA-2 missile site showing characteristic Star of David pattern October 5, 1962: CIA chart of “reconnaissance objectives in Cuba Inside the CIA’s National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC), Washington D.C., 1962 September 15, 1962: photograph of the Soviet large-hatch ship  <i>Poltava</i> on its way to Cuba
photograph of crates holding Komar guided-missile patrol boats on their way to Cuba, September 1962 Briefing version of the crate photograph with Komar image superimposed September 26, 1962: U-2 photograph showing surface-to-surface  cruise missile (named “Kennel” by the U.S., FKR in Soviet  plans) launch area at Banes CIA reference photograph of Soviet cruise missile in its air-launched  configuration September 28, 1962: photograph of Soviet ship <i>Kasimov </i>with  IL-28 bomber fuselages in crates October 14, 1962: U-2 photograph of a truck convoy approaching  a deployment of Soviet MRBMs near Los Palacios at San  Cristobal. This  photograph was the first one identified by NPIC on 15  October as showing Soviet medium-range ballistic missiles  in Cuba October 14, 1962: U-2 photograph of MRBM site two nautical  miles away from the Los Palacios deployment of the  second set of MRBMs found in Cuba. This site was subsequently named San Cristobal  no. 1 (the photo is labeled 15 October for the day  it was analyzed and printed).
CIA reference photograph of Soviet medium-range ballistic missile  (SS-4 in U.S. documents, R-12 in Soviet documents)  in Red Square, Moscow. CIA briefing board for JFK showing range of Soviet MRBMs (Bobby  Kennedy on 16 October jokingly asked whether the missiles  could hit Oxford, Mississippi, where federal marshals  had intervened only two weeks earlier, so Oxford was  included). PSALM  was the special codeword for intelligence data on  missiles in Cuba, a compartment created at President  Kennedy's insistence for greater control of this sensitive  information. October 15, 1962: U-2 photograph of IL-28 bomber crates at  San Julian airfield. U-2 photograph of first IRBM site found under construction. October 18, 1962: White House photograph of President Kennedy  meeting with Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko  and Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin – in which JFK does  not reveal he knows about the missiles, and Gromyko  asserts that Soviet military assistance is purely  defensive. October 23, 1962: U.S. Navy low-level photograph of San Cristobal  MRBM site no. 1 (mission led by Commander William  Ecker). October 23, 1962: U.S. Navy low-level photograph of nuclear  warhead bunker under construction at San Cristobal No. 1.
NPIC drawing of nuclear warhead bunker under construction. October 23, 1962: U.S.  Navy low-level photograph of Sagua la Grande MRBM site. October 24, 1962: Low-level photograph of the <i>Poltava</i>,  turning back towards Moscow, carrying IRBM missiles (circled  are the IRBM launch rings on trucks). October 25, 1962: Low-level photograph of San Cristobal no.  1 showing extensive tracking from surging construction  and possible missile readiness drills. Low-level photograph of San Cristobal no. 1 suggesting missile  readiness drills. October 25, 1962: U.S. Navy surveillance of first Soviet F-class  submarine to surface near the quarantine line (conning  tower number 945, Soviet fleet number B-130, commanded  by Shumkov). Confrontation at the United Nations, October 25, 1962: deputy  NPIC director David Parker points out the photographic  evidence while U.S. ambassador Adlai Stevenson (at right)  describes the photos. USSR ambassador Valerian Zorin is  presiding at far left.
U-2 photograph of Soviet troop encampment at Holguin. Low-level photograph of Soviet unit insignia displayed in front  of their camp. October 26, 1962: The U.S. destroyer <i>Joseph P. Kennedy</i>  stops, boards and inspects the <i>Marucla</i>, a dry-cargo  ship of Lebanese registry under Soviet charter to Cuba. Grozny</i> crosses the quarantine line, but stops after U.S. Navy  ships fire star shells across her bow. October 27, 1962: Cuban anti-aircraft gunners open fire on  low-level reconnaissance planes over San Cristobal site  no. 1 (a Soviet SA-2 missile shoots down Maj. Rudolf Anderson’s  U-2 on this day) October 28, 1962: The U.S. Navy shadows the second Soviet F-class submarine to surface, after repeated rounds of signaling  depth charges on 27 October (the sub features no conning  tower number, but is Soviet fleet number B-59, commanded  by Stavitsky). October 29, 1962:  photography reveals Soviet removal of missiles and tents  at San Cristobal.
November 5, 1962: Low-level photography documents loading of  Soviet missiles at the main Mariel port facility for return  to the USSR. On  the dock are vehicles later identified by NPIC as nuclear  warhead vans. Early November 1962: Low-level photography captures convoy  of Soviet trucks driving onto dock at north Mariel port  to begin loading process. Early November 1962: Low-level  photography reveals 17 missile erectors at north Mariel  port awaiting return to the USSR. November 6, 1962: Soviet personnel and six missile transporters  loading onto ship transport at Casilda port. (Note shadow at lower right of Capt. Ray Schrecengost piloting the RF-101 Voodoo reconnaissance jet taking the photograph.) History Quarterly of the U.S. invasion plan, 1962.. October 23, 1962: Low-level photograph of Komar guided-missile  patrol boats at Mariel port. Post-crisis review by NPIC revealed the Soviet  nuclear warhead processing base at the end of the runway  to the left. Close-up of the Soviet nuclear warhead processing base at the  Mariel runway, onto which the 101st Airborne was scheduled to parachute if a U.S. invasion took place.
45 History Quarterly</i> of the U.S. invasion plan, 1962. November 9, 1962: Low-level photograph of 6 Frog (Luna) missile  transporters under a tree at a military camp near Remedios. U.S. photo analysts first spotted these  tactical nuclear-capable missiles on October 25, but only  in 1992 did U.S. policymakers learn that nuclear warheads  for the Lunas were already in Cuba in October 1962. 48 F-1-- Super Sabre Pilot Capt Richard Roussell, Homestead AFB, Fl. during Cuban Missile Crisis President Kennedy visiting F-100 Voodoo Fighter Pilots at Homestead AFB, FL during Cuban Missile Crisis Photograph of Soviet submarine B-59 taken by U.S. Navy photographers, circa 28-29 October, 1962
Photograph of Soviet submarine B-59 taken by U.S. Navy photographers, circa 28-29 October, 1962 Photograph of Soviet submarine B-59 taken by U.S. Navy photographers, circa 28-29 October, 1962 Photograph of Soviet submarine B-36 (conning tower number 911), taken by U.S. Navy photographers, circa 31 October-2 November 1962 Photograph of Soviet submarine B-130 (conning tower number 945), taken by U.S. Navy photographers, circa 30 October-8 November 1962 Photograph of Soviet submarine B-130 (conning tower number 945), taken by U.S. Navy photographers, circa 30 October-8 November 1962 Photograph of Soviet submarine B-130 (conning tower number 945), taken by U.S. Navy photographers, circa 30 October-8 November 1962 CIA U-2 Photo of USSR Missiles in Cuba - 1962
CIA U-2 Photo of USSR Missiles in Cuba - 1962 CIA U-2 Photo of USSR Missiles in Cuba - 1962 CIA U-2 Photo of USSR Missiles in Cuba - 1962 CIA U-2 Photo of USSR Missiles in Cuba - 1962 CIA U-2 Photo of USSR Missiles in Cuba - 1962 CIA U-2 Photo of USSR Missiles in Cuba - 1962 CIA U-2 Photo of USSR Missiles in Cuba - 1962
CIA U-2 Photo of USSR Missiles in Cuba - 1962 CIA U-2 Photo of USSR Missiles in Cuba - 1962 CIA U-2 Photo of USSR Missiles in Cuba - 1962 CIA U-2 Photo of USSR Missiles in Cuba - 1962 CIA U-2 Photo of USSR Missiles in Cuba - 1962 CIA U-2 Photo of USSR Missiles in Cuba - 1962 CIA U-2 Photo of USSR Missiles in Cuba - 1962
CIA U-2 Photo of USSR Missiles in Cuba - 1962 CIA U-2 Photo of USSR Missiles in Cuba - 1962 CIA U-2 Photo of USSR Missiles in Cuba - 1962

The Heyser & Anderson U-2 Flights over Cuba

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