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The FReeper Foxhole Remembers JFK's Abandoned Invasion (5/15/1961) - Aug. 17th, 2005
Modern Warfare Magazine | November 1989 | Charles W. Sasser

Posted on 08/16/2005 9:31:11 PM PDT by SAMWolf


Keep our Troops forever in Your care

Give them victory over the enemy...

Grant them a safe and swift return...

Bless those who mourn the lost.

FReepers from the Foxhole join in prayer
for all those serving their country at this time.

.................................................................. .................... ...........................................

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Invasion Abandoned

As the Cuban T-33 jet strafed the insurgents on the beach, a U.S. carrier plane closed to shoot it down. "Don't fire! Don't fire!" cried the carrier's air controller. "Rules of engagement have been changed."

At dawn on April 15, 1961, Fidel Castro was awakened by two B-26 bombers flying rooftop-low over "Point One," the national military headquarters in suburban Havana, Cuba.

Fidel Castro

"What are those planes?" he demanded of his staff.

No one could tell him. He bolted to the window and watched in helpless rage as the American-made, WWII-type bombers began diving on Campo Libertad airport nearby. He heard the Grump of exploding bombs and the stutter of antiaircraft fire. He was sure the invasion had begun.

There is an old saying in Latin countries, spoken only half in jest - if you get two Cubans together you have a party, but three and you have a revolution. Plots to invade Cuba began almost immediately after Castro swept cut of the Sierra Maestra to take over Havana. Miami, Fla., 90 miles from the Cuban coast, became a hotbed of revolutionary and counterrevolutionary activity. Cuban exile organizations vowing to topple the island nation's bearded jefe sprouted like mushrooms in Miami; at one point there were more than 100 of them. Castro retaliated, according to the FBI, by seeding Miami with some 200 agents of his own.

But the conspiracy to unseat Fidel Castro germinated not with the Cuban exiles but instead with Vice President Richard M. Nixon and the Central Intelligence Agency. Castro met with Nixon in April 1959, when he was invited to the United States as the headline speaker for The American Society of Newspaper Editors. Nixon's secret memo to President Dwight D. Eisenhower about the meeting concluded that "Castro is either incredibly naive about Communism or is under Communist discipline."' From that moment, Nixon has said, he became "the strongest and most persistent advocate for" a covert military operation to fell the Cuban dictator.

A select number of CIA agents met in Quarters Eye, a onetime WAVE barrack in downtown Washington, on January 18, 1960. One of them stood up and announced that Richard Bissell, Chief of Clandestine Services, had appointed him to head the new "Cuban Project," funded, organized, controlled and commanded by Americans, although the CIA took great pains to hide U.S. involvement and give it the appearance of being a patriotic Cuban movement.

The plot hatched by the CIA evolved out of the Eisenhower administration and passed into that of President-elect John F. Kennedy, who assumed office less than three months before the scheme flowered. It called for exile forces establishing an invasion beachhead on Cuban soil, behind which a Cuban government-in-exile would broadcast to the world as a government-in-arms. Under international law, the United States would then have an excuse to supply and reinforce the invaders.

President John F. Kennedy

Secrecy was not easy to maintain. Rumors of an impending invasion spread even as CIA procurement teams scouted the United States and Europe for airplanes, tanks, ships and other weapons to arm an exile army. News broke in American and Mexican newspapers shortly after New Year's Day 1961, that a Cuban attack force known as Brigade 2506 was training on a coffee finca and a refurbished airstrip near Retalhulehu in the mountains of southern Guatemala.

In Florida, Cuban refugees arrived daily by leaky boats, homemade rafts, even floating barrels. A CIA reception and debriefing center in the Keys directed many of them to Miami's Dinner Key, where the Frente Revolucionario Democratico (FRD), the Cuban government-in-exile established by the CIA, had opened a recruiting office. Rumors and news of a possible invasion provided a bristling business. Weekly C-54 flights from Opa-Locka airfield north of Miami discharged a steady stream of trainees at Trax, the coffee plantation training camp in Guatemala.

One of the early recruits was a Cubana Airlines captain named Eduardo Ferrer. Passengers on Flight 480 from Havana to Santiago de Cuba on the morning of July 27, 1960, included Pepe Vergara, Alberto Perez and Perez's "wife," who made herself appear pregnant with a pillow inside her dress. Cushioned behind the pillow was a .45 pistol. Captain Ferrer also managed to smuggle aboard in his flight bag a 9mm Browning pistol given to him in Havana by a CIA agent known only as "John."

Brigade airstrip built by the U.S. at Retalhuleu, Guatemala. Base Trax was high in the mountains in the background.

Fifteen minutes after takeoff, Ferrer turned the airplane controls over to his co-pilot, saying he was going for coffee. With Pepe Vergara, he walked to the rear of the plane where an armed guard rode with each flight to keep an eye on the passengers. Ferrer thrust his pistol against the guard's neck while Perez kept everyone else neutral with his "wife's" gun.

"One move and I'll kill you," Ferrer warned the guard.

Half the passengers asked for political asylum in Miami when they arrived. Perez and Vergara joined Brigade 2506 and shipped out to Guatemala. Ferrer and 45 other Cuban pilots formed the foundation for what soon became, with 16 B-26 bombers and 12 C-46 and C-54 transports, one of the largest air forces in Latin America. The transports immediately began flying re-supply missions to guerrillas in Cuba's Escambray Mountains and Sierra Maestra while U.S. pilots trained Cuban bomber jockeys to knock out Castro's air force in support of a pending invasion.

Another recruit was Pablo Organvides Parada, who had once supported Castro and was captured with him during the 1953 attack on the Moncada army post. Parada said he was coerced by the FBI and the CIA to either join the brigade or be deported. He became an intelligence specialist.

"I was told, first of all, I did not have to take part in the landing at all, and, secondly, the undertaking in Cuba couldn't fail in any case," Parada later stated. "I asked [an assistant to CIA Director Allen Dulles] 'How do you know the undertaking can't fail?' Upon that, he answered me with the following: 'If the landing operation in Cuba should happen to fail, we will at all events intervene directly, and immediately, too, no matter what the OAS [Organization of American States] says about it.'"

Cuban recruits all received the same assurance-that the project could not fail because the U.S. government was behind it and would not let it fail.

By March 1961, the brigade in Guatemala was equipped and training with four-deuce mortars, 75mm recoilless rifles, bazookas, surplus M1 Garands from World War 11, machine guns, pistols and five M-4 Sherman tanks. The CIA wanted to charter a Navy fleet to sail this vast weapons stockpile and accompanying assault troops to Cuban soil.

Two CIA agents summoned Eduardo Garcia to a New York City apartment. The Garcia Line Corporation with offices in Havana and New York was the only Cuban freighter line still running rice and sugar off Castro's island. It had also been exfiltrating anti-Castro leaders. The line owned six small (2,400 ton) freighters, all old, slow and run-down; no one would suspect them of being a military armada. Garcia wanted to know how his ships would be protected if he chartered them to the CIA.

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"I want machine guns on the bridges, bows and sterns of all the ships," he insisted.

The CIA men laughed. "Who would dare attack a fleet protected by American sea and air power?" they asked. "They'll be given air cover by American combat craft and by US. Navy destroyers. An American Navy ship will bring landing boats to the freighters to pick up the troops."

Aboard the invasion flagship Blagar, off the Cuban coast, April 16, 1961. Pepe San Roman (left), and Artime salute the Cuban flag.

Garcia leased his entire six-ship fleet to the CIA for $600 per day per ship, plus the expense of fuel, crews and food. To this run-down freighter fleet the CIA added nine landing craft that its agents managed to obtain through the Pentagon.

Although John Kennedy had campaigned for president as a hard-liner against Communism and against permitting Communism a toehold in the Western Hemisphere, he expressed misgivings about letting the invasion preparations continue. As president-elect, he was fully briefed on the Cuban Project in November 1960.

Lt. Rafael del Pino flew this T-33 jet, now at the San Antonio Air Base museum.

Vital to the success of the operation was the destruction of Castro's air force, estimated to consist of 15 B-26 bombers, 10 Hawker Sea Furies and four T33 jet fighter trainers. After the brigade's bombers knocked out the enemy air force, a paratrooper battalion would drop in Santa Clara, Cuba's geographic center, to secure the airfield. Then the airborne soldiers would fan out to sever roads and communications lines.

While paratroopers were cutting the island in half, maritime feints elsewhere would distract Castro. The main seaborne thrust would be at Trinidad on the southern coast. Since the bulk of Castro's troops was concentrated around Havana and Santiago, the brigade would be free to march east and west off the beachhead, picking up strength as it went. American fighter planes would fly cover for the invasion while a U.S. naval task force assembled offshore, ready to respond to cries for help from the government-in-exile.

Brigade 2506 landing craft at Playa Larga

Kennedy gave the project a qualified go-ahead, insisting that no Americans be involved in the actual attack since he wanted to create the impression that the invasion was entirely a Cuban one. He also reserved the right to defer a final decision on U.S. air cover until 24 hours before the invasion was launched.

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro worked feverishly to prepare his 200,000-man army to repel an expected invasion. Soviet and Czech technicians were in Cuba training Castro's militia to use newly arrived Russian artillery pieces. Fifty Cuban Air Force pilots traveled to Czechoslovakia to train to fly MiG fighters. The CIA insisted on mounting the operation before Castro's pilots and MiGs returned to Havana.

Brigade 2506 landing craft at Playa Larga

Relations between the United States and Cuba deteriorated. The United States suspended Cuba's sugar quota to the mainland. Castro began nationalizing American-owned property. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev declared the Monroe Doctrine dead and sent one of his highest-ranking diplomats to Cuba as ambassador, to demonstrate Russia's commitment to Castro. On January 3, 1961, Castro banished all but 11 of the U.S. Embassy's 300 employees from the country, the final step before Washington and Havana completely dissolved diplomatic ties.

Tension in the ranks of Brigade 2506 and its political front in the United States kept pace with that in the international community. The CIA kept the FRD all but totally removed from the project, forbidding its members even to visit the training camps in Guatemala, refusing to give them as much as a tentative date for the invasion.

Brigade 2506 landing craft at Playa Larga

[The CIA] did not want `politicking' involved in military training," wrote E. Howard Hunt, later of Watergate notoriety and one of the planners for the Cuban Project.

Although Brigade Commander Pepe San Roman, a graduate of Cuba's military academy, was among only 10 percent of those in the brigade with a military background, many of the Cubans resented the fact that he was handpicked by the Americans. The FRD felt that control of the invasion should not be in "the hands of foreigners, however friendly." The Frente, not the Americans, should appoint brigade commanders.

The debate over San Roman ended with 200 Cuban fighters being held under arrest and behind wire in the jungle. They were not released until after the invasion. The CIA and its 38 American "sheep-dipped" advisers (soldiers and several pilots recruited from the Alabama Air National Guard posing as civilians) remained in control of the training camps.

The sinking of the Houston

"You'll have only a few men;' pointed out Antonio de Varona, a member of the FRD. "How can you win [with 1500 men]? Castro has 300,000."

"Colonel Frank," the American commander in Guatemala, confided: "We'll protect the invasion with an umbrella," he said. "The air will belong to us. No car can travel without being bombed. We don't need more men."

But if the CIA promised the Cubans that Americans would assure the invasion's success, JFK was saying something else. On April 12, 1961, three days before the B-26 strikes on Castro's air force, Kennedy announced to the Alliance for Progress for Latin America that "There will not be, under any conditions, an intervention in Cuba by the U.S. armed forces or American civilians."

The sinking of the Houston

Bissell, Engler, Hunt and the other CIA operatives assumed JFK's statement to be one of misdirection to lull Castro into a false sense of security. They continued with the plan to attack Cuba.

"These men are ready," Howard Hunt was assured in Guatemala. "They're trained and overtrained, and from now on they can only go downhill. How soon do they get to fight?"

"I haven't been told," Hunt replied.

President Kennedy still vacillated. He couldn't seem to make up his mind. To give himself more time, he postponed the invasion date from its original April 11 to April 17. He still had time to call the operation off, even though the first troop ships left the staging area at Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, on April 11, six days before D-day. The last ships would start across the Caribbean on Thursday, April 13.

Two events were scheduled for April 15 -- the B-26 air strike against Castro's air force, and Nino Diaz would lead a diversionary force ashore in Oriente Province.
1 posted on 08/16/2005 9:31:13 PM PDT by SAMWolf
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To: snippy_about_it; radu; Victoria Delsoul; w_over_w; LaDivaLoca; TEXOKIE; cherry_bomb88; Bethbg79; ...
JFK telephoned Richard Bissell and asked how many aircraft would fly against Castro's airfields. Bissell told him 16.

"I don't want it on that scale," the president said. "I want it minimal."

A Brigade B-26, shot down by a Castro jet.

On the morning of Saturday, April 15, a bomber force sharply reduced to six airplanes took off from Happy Valley in Nicaragua. President Luis Somoza bade the pilots farewell, with an admonishment to bring back Castro's beard. Two planes would strike each of three Cuban airfield's -- Campo Libertad on the outskirts of Havana; Antonio Maceo airport at Santiago de Cuba 450 miles southeast of Havana; and San Antonio de los Banos. The planes would strike simultaneously at dawn with bombs, rockets and machine guns.

Gustavo Ponzoa and his wingman, Gonzalo Herrera, were the first to take off in the first organized and sizable operation to overthrow Castro. The two B-26s skimmed the Caribbean at an altitude of 50 feet to avoid radar detection, then climbed over the cliffs and roared down the runway at Santiago de Cuba at 1,200 feet. Ponzoa released both his 500-pound demolition bombs. Heavy red-and-black smoke billowed up from underneath his right wing as he throttled and pulled out of his bombing glide. Antiaircraft fire and tracers from machine guns arched skyward.

Each team was supposed to make two runs on its target. Ponzoa and Herrera made five, thundering in at 50 feet above the runway to slam rockets and machine gun bullets into hangars and aircraft. Ponzoa took a hit in the nose on his fifth run. Herrera was also hit.

Brigade 2506 plane shot down near Central Australia.

"Gus... I can see holes in both wings!" Herrera yelled over the radio.

Ponzoa radioed back: "Let's get out of here and go home."'

All six bombers returned safely to Nicaragua, although Herrera burst all three tires when he landed. Jubilation that Castro's air force had been wiped out soon turned to gloom, however, when U-2 reconnaissance photos showed that only five enemy aircraft had been destroyed on the ground. Anticipating attack, Fidel had dispersed his planes and used several broken-down ones as decoys. He still possessed a formidable force to use against the invasion.

On Sunday at Quarters Eye in Washington, the Air Operations Officer was ordering ordnance for a cleanup strike against the airfields when General Charles Cabell arrived. Cabell was acting director of the CIA in Allen Dulles' absence. Dulles was in Puerto Rico.

Bombs being loaded on a Seafury.

"What are you doing?" Cabell asked.

"Readying the follow-up strike, sir. We have to finish them off."

"Seems to me," replied Cabell, "that we were only authorized one strike at the airfields."

"Oh, no, sir. There are no restrictions on the number of strikes. The authorization was to knock out the Cuban air force."

Cabell's jaw jutted. "I just don't know about that. So to be on the safe side, I'm going to ask [Secretary of State] Dean Rusk about it. Cancel that strike order... until I can get someone to approve it."

JFK still had time to cancel the invasion. Instead, he gave the go-ahead on the invasion, but scrubbed the cleanup air strikes. Rebel pilots in Happy Valley were revving up B-26 engines for a follow-up attack when they received orders to cancel. Major General George "Poppa" Doster, the American commander of brigade pilot training, slammed his hat on the ground and yelled, "There goes the whole [expletive] war."

"Surely Cabell realizes this means the operation is doomed to failure," commented General David Gray, a liaison between the Joint Chiefs and other agencies involved in the planning.

Douglas B-26 Invader

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff referred to the cancellation as "pulling out the rug... absolutely reprehensible, almost criminal."

Disaster predicted became disaster realized. Although the invasion was on, JFK was keeping his word to the Alliance for Progress that the United States would not be openly involved in it. He reneged on the CIA promise that an "umbrella" of U.S. fighters would protect the landing; the Navy would perform only picket duty off the Cuban coast; and there would be no follow-up strikes against Castro's airfields.

On top of this, Nino Diaz and his 168-man diversionary force refused to disembark their ship in Oriente Province because they did not like the way the operation was going. Fidel had successfully quarantined shore-based rebels in the Escambray Mountains, making them unavailable to aid the invasion. Further, radio messages calling for action by infiltration teams and student saboteurs inside Cuba were blocked, and the U.S Marine Corps' logistical expert overseeing the fleet-loading of invasion supplies predicted that the 1,200 tons of materiel would never reach the beachhead if the force received resistance. In many instances, gasoline drums weighing 400 pounds each were located next to explosives on the ships' decks.

"Even if a Piper Cub comes along with a .22," said Eduardo Garcia, worried about his freighters, "the whole thing can go boom!"

During the final days, the CIA had decided to change the landing site from the sandy beaches of Trinidad to the Bay of Pigs, more than 100 miles east along the southern coast. CIA intelligence showed the area to be a sparsely populated stretch of territory isolated from the rest of the island by the treacherous Zapata Swamps crossed by two narrow-gauge railroads and tricky paths known only to villagers. The small, 108-man militia detachment at the village of Giron was not considered a real threat to the invasion. Bissell decided that since there were no rapid communications between the Bay of Pigs and Havana, the invaders could land, capture the airfield at Giron, and begin landing and flying in war supplies before Castro realized what was happening.

What the American did not realize was that Fidel knew the region well from having fished for trout in nearby Laguna del Tesoro. Three hard-topped roads now crossed the swamp. A resort facility and another 180 concrete houses were under construction. Changing the invasion site was simply another planning snafu in a long line of mistakes and poor judgments leading up to April 16, when a U.S. naval task force consisting of the aircraft carrier Essex and seven destroyers secretly rendezvoused off the Cuban coast with seven ragged vessels of the invasion fleet.

The task force had orders to merely escort the insurgent craft to the coast, nothing more. It was to remain strictly uncommitted when the invasion began.

Ambassador Adlai Stevenson, unknowingly claims before the U.N. that the Brigade planes that bombed Havana before the invasion were Castro's own.

Shortly before midnight on Sunday, April 16, six frogmen led by Andy Pruna and CIA agent Grayston Lynch slipped toward shore at Playa Giron to mark the beach for the landing. Their rubber boat was still 50 yards from land, grounded by a reef that planners thought was a stretch of subsurface seaweed, when a jeep swung toward the sea and bathed the landing party in its headlights.

An American fired the first shots at the Bay of Pigs. Grayston Lynch opened up with one 20-round magazine from his BAR. The other frogmen joined in, riddling the jeep and two militiamen with gunfire. The headlights went out.

Knowing the element of surprise had been blown, the frogmen scurried up and down the beach, placing the landing lights. As about 25 Castro militiamen pulled up in a truck, Lynch radioed an urgent request that the landing craft from his ship, the Blager, be quickly loaded with troops and rushed ashore.

Gunfire rattled as the two LCVPs roared toward the invasion's first troop landing. One of the landing craft struck the reef and soon sank. Wet but unharmed, the first fighters at the Bay of Pigs waded onto sand. They took off for Giron, firing wildly into the pastel-colored bungalows of Castro's new recreation colony. The militia retreated to the woods and swamps beyond.

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2 posted on 08/16/2005 9:32:08 PM PDT by SAMWolf (I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.)
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Grayston Lynch returned to the Blager after Pepe San Roman and the other brigade commanders waded onto Cuban soil. An urgent message from Washington awaited him: "Castro still has operational aircraft. Expect you to be hit at dawn. Unload all troops and supplies and take ships to sea as soon as possible."

Grayston Lynch

In spite of the reef, the brigade's 1,453 soldiers began pouring onto "Blue Beach" at Playa Giron in the pre-dawn hours of April 17. The other half of the landing under the command of Hugo Sueiro disembarked at "Red Beach" at Playa Largo deep in the mouth of the bay, 20 miles away. It took light machinegun fire, but landed without casualties to find a microwave radio station still warm from use. So much for the CIA's intelligence that the Bay of Pigs was without communications!

In New York, E. Howard Hunt dictated a press release in the name of the FRD: "Before dawn, Cuban patriots in the cities and in the hills began the battle to liberate our homeland from the despotic rule of Fidel Castro. . . ."

And in Havana, Fidel Castro was awakened at 1:15 a.m. and was told that the invasion had begun. He took immediate personal command.

By 6 a.m., even while the invasion fleet was still offloading infantry and equipment, Castros troops and his nine surviving aircraft were in full counterattack against Brigade 2506. Garcia's freighters in the bay were being pounded by Cuban Sea Furies and B-26s. Grayston Lynch on the Blager fired his .50-caliber machine gun so steadily at the attacking planes that the barrel turned white hot.

The Houston started to sink, still laden with ammunition. The Rio Escondido exploded in a massive eruption of fire, struck by rockets from a Sea Fury. The ship had contained the bulk of the invasion's ammunition, fuel and medical supplies. The planes also knocked out the Marsopa, from which the invasion was being coordinated, and several smaller vessels used to ferry troops ashore.

Lynch, in command on-site, was assaulted by messages from headquarters: "Go to sea!" The ships could return after dark to offload supplies. The agent radioed to San Roman ashore, "Pepe, we're going to have to go."

Defending the revolution: Castro sits in a tank during the Bay of Pigs invasion

"Okay. But don't desert us," Pepe responded.

"We're not going to desert you." Lynch promised.

JFK's ill-advised decision not to provide U.S. air cover, coupled with his unwillingness to permit the knockout blow against Castro s air force, also took a toll in the air operations that day.

Shortly before sunup, Captain Eddie Ferrer, pilot of the first of six lumbering C-46s en route to drop 177 paratroopers northeast of Blue Beach to cut off and defend the invasion site, passed over the aircraft carrier Essex and two destroyers steaming toward the beaches. He was certain they were joining the battle.

"Hell, we can't lose!" he exclaimed to his co-pilot.

The C-46s were slow and unarmed and without a fighter escort. The rebels were still under the impression that the United States was providing an "umbrella." Ferrer was thus all the more surprised, after he had dropped his paratroopers on the San Blas road, to find Castro's B-26s attacking the brigade flight. Machine-gun bursts puffed smoke from the attackers' wings. Ferrer saw one of the C-46s plummet to earth streaking smoke. He managed to escape to sea by skimming the waves and slow flying with full flaps.

As the battle progressed, T33 jets picked five of the brigade's 12 remaining aircraft out of the air, including the B-26 flown by Americans Pete Ray and Leo Francis Baker, who were killed on the ground when they tried to escape their crashed bomber amidst the fighting. Their bodies were kept frozen in a Havana morgue for the next 18 years.

American A-4D pilots from the carrier Essex watched helplessly as Castro's bombers and fighters made sorties against the beaches, the freighters in the bay and the hapless C-46 transports. A Cuban T33 made a run at pilot Tim Lanahan, who was cruising his jet at 25,000 feet. Within seconds, both jets were diving, with the A-4D closely on the Cuban's tail.

"Don't fire! Don't fire!" came the air controller's frantic voice from the Essex. "Rules of engagement have been changed."

Pilot Jim Forgy came upon a Cuban Sea Fury riding the tail of a brigade B-26. The bomber's starboard engine was in flames. The Sea Fury closed in for the kill.

"I have a Sea Fury shooting this B-26 down;' Forgy radioed. "Request permission to take positive action."

"Negative;' came back the reply.

On the ground, Erneido Oliva's Second Battalion ordered two brigade B-26s to attack an enemy column of 900 approaching the battle zone in 60 vehicles, including buses. The bombers routed the battalion, but a Castro T-33 and a Sea Fury shot down the brigade bombers.

Brigade 2506 prisoners

By midnight, Fidel and 20,000 soldiers had arrived to trap the invaders against the beaches, squeezing them into tighter and tighter perimeters. Castro's tanks and infantry battered the brigade with artillery fire for 48 straight hours. At the traffic circle on the northern outskirts of Playa Larga, Oliva and his men endured more than 2,000 shells falling on them in less than four hours. Stalin tanks rumbled against Oliva's dug-in defenders until midnight. The rebels reported examples of extraordinary courage.

A little former barber called "Barberito" ran around and around one of the advancing tanks, peppering it with fire from his recoilless rifle until the frightened crew surrendered. Barberito was killed later by a machine-gun burst.

A brigade tank driver named Jorge Alvarez knocked out an enemy tank with his last shell, then deliberately crashed another. The two monsters rammed each other in a remarkable nose-to-nose battle until the Stalin's gun barrel split.

Of Oliva's 370 men, 20 had been killed and another 50 wounded by the time they beat back the enemy's first attack. Weakened and bleeding, knowing another attack at dawn was inevitable, the "Red Beach" invaders retreated to Giron. They arrived at 8:45 a.m on Tuesday, April 18.

Brigade 2506 prisoners

Castro closed in on Blue Beach.

It was also Oliva who organized the last battle of the Bay of Pigs, which came to be known as "the last stand of Giron."

Armed with seven bazookas and three tanks, Oliva's battalion destroyed three Castro tanks and an armored truck during the first fighting. The brigade's 81mm mortars fired so fast the tubes started to melt. When Castro s troops pulled back to regroup, Oliva found he could no longer raise Pepe San Roman on the radio.

San Roman had pulled back to within 20 feet of the water. Crouching on the sand with artillery fire bursting around him, the brigade commander issued his last radio message, shouting across the air to Grayston Lynch aboard the Blager: "Am destroying all equipment and communications. I have nothing left to fight with. Am taking to the woods. 1 can't wait for you."

Prisoner Jose A. Miró Torra being interrogated

Abandoned by the United States, surrounded by a force 10 times larger, pounded by artillery and fighter bombers, pushed back to the beaches and swamps, unable to escape, out of ammunition, Pepe San Roman ordered his command to break into groups and escape however they could. Grayston Lynch later remarked that it was the first time he had ever felt ashamed of his country.

Aftermath: Brigade 2506 lost 80 men killed in the combat on land and another 40 during disembarkation. Castro listed his losses officially at 87 KIA although unofficial estimates by surviving rebels and CIA personnel involved in the operation put his losses at more than 1,600 dead and another 2,000 wounded. San Roman and about 50 of his followers struggled in the Zapata Swamp for two weeks before hunger and thirst forced them to surrender. Castro eventually captured 1,180 invaders.

The Bay of Pigs defeat changed the course of history, for out of it grew the Communist perception that the United States no longer possessed the moral courage to honor its commitments and resist violations of the Monroe Doctrine. The Cuban missile crisis four months later, the raising of the Berlin Wall, the Dominican Republic intervention, guerrilla warfare in Latin America and the fall of Nicaragua to Communism, all quite arguably grew out of the Bay of Pigs.

3 posted on 08/16/2005 9:32:43 PM PDT by SAMWolf (I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.)
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4 posted on 08/16/2005 9:33:02 PM PDT by SAMWolf (I see you've set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.)
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"FALL IN" to the FReeper Foxhole!

Good Wednesday Morning Everyone.

If you want to be added to our ping list, let us know.

5 posted on 08/16/2005 9:36:03 PM PDT by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: SAMWolf
I'm on vacation, starting today... well, tomorrow.

6 posted on 08/16/2005 9:38:36 PM PDT by Victoria Delsoul
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To: snippy_about_it

JFK, a guy I can never ever even have the faintest glimmer of respect for.

7 posted on 08/16/2005 9:47:07 PM PDT by Darksheare (This tagline has gone berserk! Run for your lives! _______\o/_______ Aiiiiie it's got me!)
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To: SAMWolf

I am goinng to leave this one for a little later. Am seeing Red.

8 posted on 08/16/2005 9:47:08 PM PDT by Iris7 ("A pig's gotta fly." - Porco Rosso)
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To: snippy_about_it
Good morning Snippy.

9 posted on 08/17/2005 1:35:11 AM PDT by Aeronaut (2 Chronicles 7:14.)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; All

Good Morning Bump


alfa6 ;>}

10 posted on 08/17/2005 2:37:28 AM PDT by alfa6 (Any child of twelve can do it, with fifteen years practice)
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To: snippy_about_it
Good morning, Snippy and everyone at the Foxhole.

Today is Norton Update Day. Be sure to update your virus difinitions.

For those affected by the Internet worm which shut down CNN's computers yesterday a patch is avaiable from Microsoft.

11 posted on 08/17/2005 3:05:17 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; All

August 17, 2005

Facing Your Enemies

Psalm 27

Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. —Psalm 27:3

Bible In One Year: Jeremiah 40-42

cover During the US Civil War, fierce fighting was taking place near Moorefield, West Virginia. Because the town was close to enemy lines, it would be controlled one day by Union troops, and the next by Confederates.

In the heart of the town lived an old woman. According to the testimony of a Presbyterian minister, one morning several enemy soldiers knocked on her door and demanded breakfast. She asked them in and said she would prepare something for them.

When the food was ready, she said, "It's my custom to read the Bible and pray before breakfast. I hope you won't mind." They consented, so she took her Bible, opened it at random, and began to read Psalm 27. "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (v.1). She read on through the last verse: "Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart" (v.14). When she finished reading, she said, "Let us pray." While she was praying, she heard sounds of the men moving around in the room. When she said "amen" and looked up, the soldiers were gone.

Meditate on Psalm 27. If you are facing enemies, God will use His Word to help you. —Haddon Robinson

When you know the Lord is near,
Face the enemy without fear;
Though an army may surround you,
You are safe—God's arms around you. —Hess

Let your fears drive you to your heavenly Father.

When Fear Seems Overwhelming

12 posted on 08/17/2005 4:42:50 AM PDT by The Mayor ( Pray as if everything depends on God; work as if everything depends on you.)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; Professional Engineer; PhilDragoo; alfa6; msdrby; Samwise; ...

Good morning everyone.

13 posted on 08/17/2005 5:37:53 AM PDT by Soaring Feather
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To: SAMWolf

On This Day In History

Birthdates which occurred on August 17:
1601 Pierre de Fermat mathematician who needed wider margins
1786 Davy Crockett US, frontiersman/adventurer/politician
1840 Wilfrid Scawen Blunt England, writer (Irish Land League)
1844 Menelik II King of Ethiopia (1896-1913)
1870 Frederick Russell developed 1st successful typhoid fever vaccine
1876 Eric Drummond 1st Secretary-General of League of Nations (1919-33)
1887 Marcus Garvey began back-to-Africa movement among US blacks
1888 Monty Wooley NYC, actor (Pied Piper, Man Who Came to Dinner)
1892 Mae West Bkln, actress (Go up & see her sometime)
1905 John Hay Whitney publisher (NY Herald Trib 1961-67)
1914 Franklin D Roosevelt Jr son of FDR/(Rep-D-NY, 1949-55)
1918 Mort Marshall NYC, actor (Cully-Dumplings)
1920 Georgia Gibbs Worcester Mass, singer (Ballin the Jack, Kiss of Fire)
1921 Maureen O'Hara Dublin Ireland, actress (Miracle on 34th St, The Quiet Man)
1923 Larry Rivers modern/abstract painter (Wash crossing Delaware-1953)
1926 Haakon Barfod Norway, yachting (Olympic-gold-1948, 52)
1927 Robert Moore Detroit Mich, actor (Marshall-Diana)
1929 Francis Gary Powers US spy (USSR captures him in 1959 U-2 incident)
1932 Chet Allen Chickasha Okla, actor (Jerry-Bonino, Slats-Troubleshooter)
1932 V.S. Naipaul Trinidad, novelist (Middle Passage)
1939 Luther Allison Arkansas, guitarist (Bad News is Coming)
1940 Thomas Williams US, ice hockey player (Olympic-gold-1960)
1941 Boog Powell baseball player (AL MVP 1970)
1943 Robert De Niro NYC, actor (Bang the Drum Slowly, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas)
1943 Yukio Kasaya Japan, 70m ski jumper (Olympic-gold-1972)
1951 Alain Mimoun France, marathon runner (Olympic-gold-1956)
1951 Alan Minter England, light-middleweight boxer (Olympic-bronze-1972)
1952 Kathryn C Thornton Montgomery Alabama, PhD/astronaut (STS 33, sk: 49)
1953 Kevin Rowlands rocker (Dexy's Midnight Runners-Come on Eileen)
1958 Belinda Carlisle Hollywood Ca, (GoGos lead singer, Heaven on Earth)
1960 Sean Penn actor/journalist/world statesman (Fast Times at Ridgemont High)
1969 Donald E Wahlberg Jr, Boston, rocker (New Kids-Hangin' Tough)

Deaths which occurred on August 17:
1850 Jos‚ Francisco de San Martin South American revolutionary hero, dies
1880 Ole Bull, composer, dies at 70
1915 Leo Frank lynched for raping 12 year old in Georgia
1920 Ray Chapman hit in the head by Yanks' Carl Mays pitch, dies
1971 Horace McMahon actor (Martin Kane Private Eye), dies at 64
1973 Conrad Aiken Pulitzer winning poet, dies at 74
1975 Sig Arno Hamburg Germany, actor (My Friend Irma), dies at 80
1976 William Redfield actor (Jimmy Hughes Rookie Cop), dies at 48
1979 Vivian Vance actress (Ethel Mertz-I Love Lucy), dies at 72
1982 Barney Phillips actor (Dragnet, Felony Squad), dies at 68
1983 Ira Gershwin lyricist, dies in Beverly Hills, Cal, at 86
1987 Rudolph Hess Nazi, dies at 93, after 46 years in Spandau Prison
1988 Franklin D Roosevelt Jr (Rep-D-NY, 1949-55), dies on 74th birthday
1988 Mohammad Zia Ul-Haq pres of Pakistan (1978-88), dies at 63 in plane crash
1990 Pearl Bailey broadway actress/singer, dies at 72 from a heart attack
2001 Henrietta Milstein, founder of the Burlington Coat Factory chain stores, dies at age 72.

Take A Moment To Remember
GWOT Casualties

17-Aug-2003 2 | US: 1 | UK: 0 | Other: 1
DK Overcorporal 1st Class Preben Pedersen Al Madinah Hostile - friendly fire
US Specialist Craig S. Ivory Homberg Univ. Hospital Non-hostile - illness - heat related

17-Aug-2004 3 | US: 2 | UK: 1 | Other: 0
UK Lance Corporal Paul David Trevor Thomas Basra - Basrah Hostile - hostile fire
US Specialist Brandon T. Titus Baghdad Hostile - hostile fire - IED attack
US Lance Corporal Caleb J. Powers Al Anbar Province Hostile - hostile fire

Data research by Pat Kneisler
Designed and maintained by Michael White
Go here and I'll stop nagging.
(subtle hint SEND MONEY)

On this day...
0682 St Leo II begins his reign as Catholic Pope
1498 Cardinal Borgia renounces his vows & office to marry a French princess
1577 Peace of Bergerac: Political rights for Huguenots
1590 Roanoke colony (North Carolina) found deserted. No trace of the settlers was ever found.
1787 Jews are granted permission in Budapest Hungary to pray in groups

1807 Robert Fulton's steamboat Clermont begins 1st trip up Hudson River

1812 Napoleon Bonaparte's army defeats the Russians at the Battle of Smolensk during the Russian retreat to Moscow.
1835 Solymon Merrick patents wrench
1858 1st bank in Hawaii opens
1863 Federal batteries & ships bombard Fort Sumter, Charleston
1869 1st international boat race (Thames River) (Oxford beats Harvard)
1870 1st ascent of Mt Rainier, Washington
1870 Mrs Esther Morris becomes 1st woman magistrate (South Pass, Wyoming)
1876 The opera “Gotterdämmerung” is produced (Bayreuth)
1877 Asaph Hall discovers Mars' moon Phobos
1877 Billy the Kid kills his first man
1894 Phils get 36 hits, Sam Thompson hits for cycle beating Louisville 29-4
1915 Hurricane strikes Galveston, TX (275 killed)
1918 Samuel Riddle buys Man o'War for $5,000
1933 Lou Gehrig breaks record by playing in his 1,308th straight game
1938 Henry Armstrong won his 3rd concurrent boxing championship
1939 "Wizard of Oz" opens at Loew's Capitol Theater in NY
1940 FDR & Canadian PM William M King agree to joint defense commission
1942 Marine Raiders attack Makin Island (Kiribati) in the Gilbert Islands from two submarines

1942 US bombers (8th Air Force) staged 1st independent raid on Europe attack Rouen, France

1944 Yanks Johnny Lindell ties record with 4 consecutive doubles in a game
1945 Indonesia declares independence from Netherlands (National Day)
1948 Alger Hiss denies ever being a Communist agent (and of course I believe him)
1948 Phillies commit 8 errors in a game
1950 Indonesia gains independence from the Netherlands
1951 Hurricane winds drive 6 ships ashore, Kingston, Jamaica
1955 Hurricane Diane, following hurricane Connie floods Connecticut River killing 190 & doing $1.8 billion damage
1958 World's 1st Moon probe, US's Thor-Able, explodes at T +77 sec
1959 7.1 quake strikes Yellowstone National Park
1960 Francis Gary Powers U-2 spy trial opens in Moscow
1960 Gabon gains independence from France (National Day)
1961 Building of the Berlin Wall begins
1961 Kennedy administration establishes Alliance for Progress
1962 Beatles replaces Pete Best with Ringo Starr
1962 E German border guards shot & kill Peter Fechter, 18, attempting to cross Berlin Wall into western sector
1963 Jim Hickman becomes the 1st NY Met to hit for the cycle
1963 Oriole's Dick Hall retires his 28th consecutive player in relief
1966 Pioneer 7 launched into solar orbit
1969 Hurricane Camille claims more than 250
1969 NY Jets beat NY Giants 37-14 in their 1st meeting (pre season)
1970 Venera 7 launched by USSR for soft landing on Venus
1972 Phillies Steve Carlton wins his 15th straight game
1973 Lee Trevino's 1st hole-in-one
1978 1st manned balloon crossing of Atlantic Ocean (Eagle II)
1982 LA Dodgers beat Chicago Cubs, 6-5, in 21 innings (game completed 8/18)
1982 South Bend, Ind jury acquits self-avowed racist Joseph Paul Franklin
1984 Pete Rose returns to Cin Reds as player-manager (gets 2 hits)
1985 Dave Kingman hits his 400th HR
1986 Bronze pig statue unveiled at Seattle's Pike Place Market
1987 Dow Jones Industrial Avg closes above 2,700 for 1st time (2,700.57)
1988 Butch Reynolds of USA sets the 400m record (43.29) in Zurich
1988 NYC 1st case of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (9 year old Bronx boy)
1990 "The Exorcist 3" premiers
1990 Phyllis Polander sues Mike Tyson for sexual harassment

1995 James B. McDougal, McDougal, Susan H. McDougal, and Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker indicted by the Whitewater grand jury. James McDougal was convicted on 18 of 19 counts of fraud and conspiracy; Tucker was found guilty on one count of fraud and one count of conspiracy; Susan McDougal was convicted on four fraud-related charges.

1996 Reform Party, announces Ross Perot had won its nomination to be its first-ever presidential candidate.
1996 100 Algerian terrorists shoot, stab and hack to death some 63 people when they attacked 2 busses after setting a fake barricade.
2000 Word leaked out that Independent Counsel Robert Ray was assembling a new grand jury to investigate President Clinton's conduct in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. (Democrats charged Republicans were behind the release of information, but a federal judge said he was inadvertently responsible for the disclosure.)

Note: Some Holidays are only applicable on a given "day of the week"

Argentina : San Martin Day (1850)
India : Janmashtami
Indonesia-1945, Gabon-1960 : Independence Day
Hawaii : Admission Day (1959) ( Friday )
Mich : Montrose-Blueberry Festival ( Friday )
Yukon : Klondike Gold Day (1896) ( Friday )
Weird Contest Week (Day 2)
Elvis International Tribute Week (Day 3)
National Thriftshop Day
Science, Medicine and Technology Books Month

Religious Observances
Christian : St Ethelred
RC : Commemoration of St Hyacinth of Silesia, confessor
RC : Elias of Calabria

Religious History
1635 English Puritan Richard Mather, 39, first arrived in Boston. A staunch defender of the congregational form of church government, Mather is remembered today for founding the "dynasty" to which was born his son Increase Mather in 1639, and his grandson Cotton Mather in 1663.
1761 Birth of William Carey, pioneer English missionary to India. He taught at the newly founded Fort William College of Calcutta from 1801 until his death, and helped found the Serampore Press, which made the Bible accessible to over 300 million people.
1775 Anglican clergyman and hymnwriter John Newton wrote in a letter: 'It is no great matter where we are, provided we see that the Lord has placed us there, and that He is with us.'
1780 Birth of George Croly, Irish churchman and author. During his life he published writings of biographical, historical and religious importance, but is primarily remembered today as author of the hymn, "Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart."
1809 In Pennsylvania, Thomas Campbell, 46, and his son Alexander, 20, formed the American Movement for Christian Unity, which later became the Disciples of Christ Church.

Source: William D. Blake. ALMANAC OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1987.

What else would you do with 15 million ice cream sticks?

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A replica Viking ship made of 15 million ice cream sticks is to be launched in Amsterdam on Tuesday by a former Hollywood stuntman who hopes eventually to sail it across the Atlantic.

The 15-meter ship, which took Robert McDonald two years to build, is to be launched in Amsterdam harbor with a crew of around 25 in a bid to set a world record for the largest sailing ship made of ice cream sticks.

The Viking longship, equipped with oars and a mast, is built with sticks of birch-wood glued together painstakingly by McDonald and two volunteers in a Dutch workshop. It is to be put through its paces for around 90 minutes Tuesday.
"It's a dream come true. It's truly worth all the hard work," McDonald said Monday.

"I never want to look at glue again. I don't think I will be in a hurry to look at ice cream sticks again," said the 45-year-old from Jacksonville, Florida.

The ice cream sticks used to make the ship were provided by Unilever's ice cream maker OLA and by children who collected discarded sticks around the world.

McDonald, whose Sea Heart Foundation ( helps provide leisure activities for children in hospitals, hopes to sail his Viking ship across the Atlantic next year.

"That's still the ultimate goal, to sail across the Atlantic in the Viking-style," McDonald said.

Christopher Columbus was acclaimed for centuries as the man who discovered America in 1492.

But in recent decades, more evidence has come to light showing that Icelander Leif Ericsson and the Vikings were the first Europeans to set foot on the American continent in the year 1,000.

Viking longboats let Norse warriors land, pillage and plunder large parts of Europe and sail off knowing that no other vessels could catch up.

Thought for the day :
"You learned the two greatest things in life, never rat on your friends, and always keep your mouth shut."
Robert De Niro (Jimmy Conway-GoodFellas)

14 posted on 08/17/2005 6:19:15 AM PDT by Valin (The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right.)
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To: bentfeather
And to You as well, bentfeather.

Sad thing it was: The Cubans who were betrayed, left to die & get "the shaft" from Fidel.

And that then-President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was such a Hypocrite, a Wuss, a Liar and a Betrayer.

No Wonder Liberals still Hero-Worship him as if he'd actually done something bold & brave.

15 posted on 08/17/2005 6:21:54 AM PDT by ExcursionGuy84 ("I will Declare the Beauty of The LORD.")
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To: ExcursionGuy84

Hello... Yes, and the Cubans suffer to this day from the despot Castro.

16 posted on 08/17/2005 6:54:09 AM PDT by Soaring Feather
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To: snippy_about_it
GM, snippy!

free dixie HUGS,sw

17 posted on 08/17/2005 7:40:06 AM PDT by stand watie (being a damnyankee is no better than being a racist. it is a LEARNED prejudice against dixie.)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; Iris7; Valin; PAR35; U S Army EOD; alfa6; Professional Engineer

18 posted on 08/17/2005 8:23:54 AM PDT by w_over_w (If the competition beats my pants off, can I file a lawsuit?)
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To: snippy_about_it; SAMWolf; Iris7; Valin; PAR35; U S Army EOD; alfa6; Professional Engineer
Excellent read. I learned a lot of new things from today's post. Of course the one conclusion that never changes is Kennedy's "absolutely reprehensible" decision. It's no wonder that Europe, et al wants Democrats elected to President . . . look at their track record.

The no air cover Kennedy Bay of Pigs
Johnson micromanaging Vietnam
Carter's give away of the Panama Canal and the Iran Hostage crises
Clinton and Somalia (and now what we've learned about how he allowed Al Queda to develop)

Criminal. /venting

19 posted on 08/17/2005 8:24:01 AM PDT by w_over_w (If the competition beats my pants off, can I file a lawsuit?)
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To: snippy_about_it; bentfeather; Samwise; Peanut Gallery; Wneighbor
Good morning ladies. Flag-o-Gram.

POPE AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Staff Sgt. James Hader Jr., conducts final checks before opening the troop door for Soldiers from Fort Bragg, N.C., during a personnel drop mission here, July 11. Sergeant Hader is from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey)

Geronimo size

20 posted on 08/17/2005 8:33:24 AM PDT by Professional Engineer (I could care less about backing into parking spaces. Does that mean I'm not cool anymore?)
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