Monday, October 22, 1962
JFK SPEAKS TO NATION ON CUBAN MISSILES, ANNOUNCES BLOCKADE
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) At 7 p.m. (EDT) tonight, President Kennedy spoke to a national television audience of more than 100 million & announced that a naval quarantine or blockade will be set up to block further shipments of Soviet nuclear missiles & related materials to Cuba.
“A strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated–all ships…bound for Cuba…will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons be turned back.
It shall be (our) policy to regard any missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.”
The President also called for involvement by the United Nations Security Council or the Organization of American States.
JFK concluded his address by saying the goal of the United States is not…
“the victory of might, but vindication of right–not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace & freedom, here in this hemisphere, and, we hope, around the world. God willing, that goal will be achieved.”*
*During the address, the Strategic Air Command went to DEFCON-3 or Defense Condition 3…just 2 steps from nuclear war. Later, the status would go to DEFCON 2 for the 1st time in history.
GENERAL GERHART ORDERS NUCLEAR WARHEADS INSTALLED ON F106s
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) At 4:37 p.m (EDT) today, General John Gerhart*, commander-in-chief of the North American Defense Command, gave the order to install nuclear weapons on F106 fighter jets which were then deployed to airfields in remote areas.
The action, directed from the White House, is part of the response by the Kennedy administration to the buildup of Soviet nuclear missile sites in Cuba.
The nuclear weapons installed have been identified as MB-1 “Genie” air-to-air missiles, each with a 1.5 kilaton warhead.
*General John K. Gerhart (1907-1981), born in Saginaw, Michigan, graduated from the University of Chicago & Harvard Business School. He commanded B-17s in WWII & became 1st Deputy Chief of Staff at Air Force HQ before his appointment to NADC commander by JFK.