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New Book “Blue Moon Over Cuba” Unearths Crucial Evidence That Helped Kennedy Gather Intelligence on the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962
Insider's perspective on the aerial reconnaissance missions arrives just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis
October 16-28, 2012 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. One of the forgotten yet crucial details of the crisis are the low-level reconnaissance missions-designated as Operation Blue Moon---flown by US Naval, Marine Corps and Air Force pilots that proved to Kennedy that the Russians had moved missiles onto Cuba.
Blue Moon Over Cuba (Osprey, August 2012) began as the unfinished memoirs of the commander of the naval squadron that flew the top-secret missions, Captain William B. Ecker. Ecker was the lead aviator on the first mission and went on to play a leading role in the reconnaissance flights throughout the crisis. The book was completed by historian Ken Jack.
In the book, Capt. Ecker tells the story of how on October 19, 1962, American military planners quietly ordered his squadron and their state-of-the art RF-8A Crusader jets to a remote airbase in Key West, Florida. (John Glenn had previously set a speed record in a Crusader.) Once there, the pilots and crews waited as CIA analysts made their case to President Kennedy.
Ecker and his team got their orders on October 23rd. Their mission was to enter Cuban airspace at treetop level at a fraction below the speed of sound and photograph suspected missile sites with their suite of high-speed cameras. They flew width-wise across the narrow island and then to Naval Air Station Jacksonville, where the Navy's main photographic lab was located. As soon as the photos were developed and interpreted, they were delivered to the White House.
On October 25th, Adlai Stevenson, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, exhibited prints of Capt. Ecker's photographs to his Russian counterpart and demanded an answer from him.
From October 23rd-November 15th, 168 Blue Moon sorties were flown across Cuba by naval, marine and air force reconnaissance pilots-often under intense enemy fire. Those missions occurring after October 28th were used by Kennedy to verify the dismantling of the missile sites. For their role, the pilots and crews were presented with a Navy Unit Commendation by President Kennedy in November 1962, who said in his remarks, “The reconnaissance flights which enabled us to determine with precision the offensive build-up in Cuba contributed directly to the security of the United States in the most important and significant way.”
|Series:||General Aviation Series|
|Product dimensions:||6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)|
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A must read for anyone interested in the history of the Missile Crisis! Blue Moon Over Cuba gives a vivid account of how VFP-62's high-speed, low-altitude photography provided President Kennedy and policymakers in Washington with detailed photographic evidence of Soviet construction of medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Western Cuba, allowing photo interpreters and the intelligence community to identify precisely what weapons were being prepared, how fast construction was progressing, and to provide the President of an estimate of when the missiles would become operational. This is an important book about a select group of aviators on the front lines during perhaps the most dangerous moment of the Cold War, giving a detailed account of how heavily the intelligence community, and the President of the United States, relied on aerial reconnaissance to navigate a way out of a confrontation that had the world on the brink of nuclear war in October 1962.