During the year of 1962, war was looming on the horizon. That’s when the command went into full alert, due to the Cuban Missile Crisis threat. A squadron captain came around barking orders and warned everyone about their responsibilities. With lips bigger than Edward G. Robinson’s, he warned that “Anyone caught sleeping at their post will be given an Article 15, and a dishonorable discharge. Furthermore, if this breaks out into a full-fledged nuclear conflict with Russia, you could be facing time in the brig. We’re playing for keeps airmen. What would the citizens of the Megalopolis think if they knew they were supposedly being protected by a bunch of drunks?” The following statement was taken from the Oracle Think Quest Team 11046, Education Foundation:
The Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the world ever came to nuclear war. The United States armed forces were at their highest state of readiness ever and Soviet field commanders in Cuba were prepared to use battlefield nuclear weapons to defend the island if it was invaded. . . . Meanwhile, Fidel Castro was looking for a way to defend his island nation from an attack by the U.S. Ever since the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961; Castro felt a second attack was inevitable.
Meanwhile, a few decades later I would be suspected of being an anti-Castro sympathizer, that resulted in being placed under surveillance for several days. This story will be told in future chapters.
At the time, General Curtis Lemay was the chief honcho of the Air Force. Even though I was under his command, I was unaware of his proposal to President Kennedy to bomb and invade Cuba. If I had known, I would have vehemently disagreed; yet, there wouldn’t have been anything I could have done about it. I was an insignificant figure in the force, and I had to follow orders. This was the first time my patriotism had gone by the wayside. Following is a documented statement from the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission, of LeMay’s stance as he opposed the naval blockade:
LeMay lobbied to send the navy and SAC to surround the island and if need be, “fry it.” If the Russians attempted to fight back, he was confident SAC could protect the country. When the crisis ended peacefully, LeMay called it “the greatest defeat in our history.”
This guy had some nerve for wanting to wipe out an entire island full of innocent people, because of Castro’s shenanigans. If he had fried the island it would have been a big, big mistake. Not especially for his military career, but because he would no longer be able to cop his Cuban cigars. Regardless, he was another old school general like Eisenhower, MacArthur and Patton, who really weren’t afraid to mix it up.
The following is a NAVY documentary video clip titled: The Cuban Missile Crisis, loaded by usnavyhistory on Mar 30, 2011, (5:14) minutes: