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Dark Days In October 1962

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USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) underway with Carrier Air Group 6 (CVG-6) in October of 1962 (Photo US Navy).

On 24 October 1962, President John F. Kennedy imposed a military quarantine on the island nation of Cuba.  Enforcing the blockade were the U. S. Navy attack carriers USS Enterprise CVAN-65 and Independence CVA-62, along with anti-submarine carriers USS Essex CVS-9 and Randolph CVS-15. Service tours of officers and enlisted were extended definitely as it looked as if war would come with Cuba and the  Soviet Union.

Here is the original broadcast (edited for length) of the President speaking to the nation on the evening of 23 October…

 The day before on 23 October, VFP-62 flying the RF-8 Crusader had taken photos at low level showing definitive proof of Soviet technicians assembling nuclear missiles in Cuba.

Evidence of a Soviet missile base taken by a VFP-62 Crusader on 23 October. (Photo US Navy)

If you had the original photos and photo analysis gear, you would recognize that the individuals walking around are not wearing uniforms. This was an additional safeguard by Soviet troops to disguise their activity in Cuba. Of course we know the rest of the story, but it was a close call to nuclear conflict.

Here is a recreation by Hollywood of one of the VFP-62 flights, they do a good job but there is a little Hollywood in it.

President Kennedy would award VFP-62 a Navy Unit Commendation Award for their efforts, below is a copy of the President’s letter to the squadron commanding officer and a picture of the President at Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Florida, personally thanking the squadron’s pilots and personnel for the important job they carried out so well!

President Kennedy awards VFP-62 a Navy Unit Commendation in March 1963. (Photo US Navy)

 

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