Just another WordPress.com site


Black Saturday

October 27, 1962


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) The White House Situation Room, located in the basement of the West Wing, was informed this morning that 5 of 6 Soviet medium-range nuclear missile sites on the island of Cuba are “fully operational.”

This information was made available to the White House by the CIA.

Given this information, most of the Southeastern United States is now within range of 20 one megaton nuclear warheads.

                       Range of Soviet
    Medium Range Ballistic Missiles
                            CIA Map

The United States is in preparation for launching a massive air strike on Cuba to take out the missiles.

The air strike would be followed by an invasion 7 days later.

The prospective invasion of Cuba would be launched to overthrow the communist government on the island & prevent future threats to the security of the Western Hemisphere.

Reports indicate that more than 150,000 United States forces have been mobilized.

October 27, 1962


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) At a meeting in the cabinet room at the White House this afternoon, General Maxwell Taylor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, advised President John F. Kennedy to authorize massive air strikes on Cuba by Monday morning.

The General qualified the advice of the Joint Chiefs by adding: 

“unless there in irrefutable evidence that offensive weapons are being dismantled.”

              General Taylor Sworn-In As
      Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
      by Attorney General Robert Kennedy
                          October 1, 1962
                Photo by Cecil Stoughton
                      White House Photo

The White House has issued no statement indicating whether or not the President is planning such an authorization.

October 27, 1962


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) The White House reports this evening that a U-2 reconnaissance aircraft flying over Cuba & piloted by Major Rudolph “Rudy” Anderson has been shot down by a Soviet SAM (surface-to-air missile) this morning at 11:19 Eastern time.

The Major was on a mission to photograph Soviet missile sites in Cuba.

The first reports indicated Anderson’s U-2 was 30 to 45 minutes late in arriving back to base.  Later reports, however, confirmed that Anderson had been shot down & his body was recovered in the wreckage.

Major Anderson was 35 years old.*

                              U2 Wreckage 
                             Museo del Aire
                             Havana, Cuba
                         Photo by Vansara

*This was on the 12th day of the 13 day crisis.  Bob Kennedy, in his book “13 Days” later wrote: 

“The noose was tightening on all of us, on Americans, on mankind &….the bridges to escape were crumbling.”

“The President….was more disturbed by the death of Major Anderson, at that time,  than he was worried about Khrushchev.  He asked the Defense Department to find out if Anderson had a wife & family.”  

“JFK later received a call informing him that Major Anderson was married with 2 sons, ages 3 & 5.”  

“The President turned to Dave Powers with a stricken look on his face & said:  ‘He had a boy about the same age as John (Jr.)'”**

**Source:  “Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye” by Kenneth O’Donnell & David Powers (1970)

October 27, 1962


Banes, Cuba (JFK+50) Major Ivan Gerchenov gave the order, at 11:19 this morning, to fire surface-to-air missiles at a U2 airplane flying over Cuba.

The U2, piloted by US Air Force Major Rudolph Anderson, was hit, broke apart & fell to the ground.*

*The U2 was actually a CIA aircraft but bore USAF insignia.  

The body of the pilot was recovered.

Major Gerchenov, unable to get a response from higher authorities, decided to order the air strike because he believed the U2 had photographed his “Forward Launch Positions” just 15 miles from Guantanamo Naval Base.**

**Anderson had completed his mission & was returning to base by flying along the northern coast of Cuba when he was shot down.

              USAF Lockheed U2 Aircraft*

*The U2 flies at an altitude of 72,000 feet, twice the altitude of commercial airliners.

Major Rudolph (Rudy) Anderson

             USAF Major Rudolph Anderson

Major Rudolph Anderson was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina on September 15, 1927.

A graduate of Clemson University, he served in Korea.

Major Anderson & his wife, Jane, had two sons, Trip & Jim, & a daughter, Robyn, who was born after the Major’s death.

They made their home in Greenville, South Carolina.

Major Anderson, at the time of his death, had logged 3000 hours of flying time including 1000 hours on the U-2.

Anderson died as a result of shrapnel from the exploding Soviet missile puncturing his pressure suit & causing it to decompress at high altitude.

He died near Banes, Cuba on October 27, 1962.

Major Anderson is buried in Greenville’s Woodlawn Memorial Park.

President Kennedy awarded Major Anderson,  posthumously, with the 1st “Air Force Cross”.  

Anderson also received the Distinguished Service Medal, the Purple Heart & the Cheney Award.

Major Anderson was the only combat casualty of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Single Post Navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: