Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Cuban Missile Crisis

Kennedy Announces Cuban Missile Quarantine

In October 1962 President Kennedy announced the Cuban Missile Quarantine and USS Sablefish  joined a massive submarine-aircraft barrier to defend against a possible Soviet submarine invasion.          
I was on leave, with my wife and children, visiting my parents in Port Arthur, Texas when President Kennedy went on television (Oct. 22, 1962) and declared the Cuban Missile Quarantine. 
            We piled our two boys in our Opel station wagon and headed back to New London.  All along the way, through Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and on to Connecticut, Americans were getting ready for war.  Here only 17 years after World War II, most adults knew about war, and people were digging air raid shelters, and storing up water and food.  The Navy and the Air Force were flying all manner of military aircraft to Florida, and Navy ships were all heading to sea.  Someone said that Florida nearly sank below sea level with all the planes!
            The whole American Defense establishment went to Defense Condition THREE, which meant this was really serious business!

USS Sablefish

             My submarine, Sablefish, got ready for war patrol, welding the escape hatches shut, and quietly glided out to sea, before I could return. 
            When I arrived in New London I was assigned to a staff to be flown “somewhere” to coordinate the Quarantine operations between submarines, surface ships, and anti-submarine aircraft.  As many of our ships encircled Cuba, we fully expected the whole Soviet submarine force to come roaring out of USSR bases in the Soviet Arctic and sail around the North Cape, and down into the Atlantic.  Our submarines and antisubmarine warfare (ASW) ships and aircraft would be there to meet them.
            It was still a secret where we were going to set up a staff. 
            Within a few hours, we boarded buses and headed for Brunswick Naval Air Station in Maine, and we were off— we thought maybe Keflavik, Iceland, maybe Argentia, Newfoundland. 
            A few hours later, we landed in Argentia, Newfoundland.  It was late October, and in Newfoundland, it is cold and the wind blows nearly all the time.  If you are planning a vacation in Newfoundland, I advise against October.  
            We were located on a U.S. Air Force base, and I was assigned a room on the tenth floor of a Bachelor Officers’ Quarters on this desolate base.  If the icy wind was miserable at ground level, on the tenth floor it was much worse.  However, there was no time for idling— the room was just for a few hours of sleep between shifts, because we were tasking a huge collection of submarines, patrolling all across the Atlantic Ocean, and aircraft, flying over them, coordinating ASW operations.  There were also aircraft flying other electronic emission detection missions.  Of course this was all happening around the clock.
            I went along on some of the airborne ASW detection missions about P2V Lockheed Neptune planes.  These planes carried a crew of about eight, and stayed airborne for about 10-12 hours.  That was a lot of time to spend looking at thousands of square miles of ocean, and listening to sensor signals and radio messages from our submarines.  Our airborne antisubmarine warfare people do a tremendous job, operating in often miserable weather!
            On October 28, 1962, Soviet General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev announced that he was pulling Soviet nuclear missiles out of Cuba, and President Kennedy ended the Quarantine shortly afterward.  My submarine came back to port, and I went back aboard.  

 Now, the Personal Navigator offers these books and papers:

 Washington National Intelligencer, Tuesday, September 20, 1825 1825 Washington, DC: Gales & Seaton.  U.S. Government plans to extend military posts higher up the Missouri, to facilitate the fur trade. Long story about “The Georgia Controversy” involving claims to land between Creek, Cherokee tribes and the state.  Reward of $100 offered for apprehension and confinement of slave, "my man Ben" who ran away on Saturday, the 20th of May last. "He is a bright mulatto, with high cheek bones, thick lips, and about 45 years of age. He carried with him three of his daughters, the property of my neighbor..." signed Rowzee Peyton, Stafford County, Va. Report of Vatican appointment of Roman Catholic Bishop to Boston, Rev. Benedict Fenwick of Maryland.  Notice of "runaway negro man" now held in Washington County, DC jail, will be sold for his jail fees if owners do not claim him.  4 pp. 38 x 56 cm.  Newspaper, worn, a few tiny tears in folds, very good.  (6316) $36.00. Newspapers/Slavery/History

Watchman and Reflector, Boston, Thursday, October 18, 1870 Boston, MA: Watchman and Reflector. Boston Protestant newspaper. Mr. Beecher on spitting.  Very descriptive article describes habit of "gents" to spit everywhere, as they chew tobacco and as they smoke.  Siege of Paris, discussion of present state of events in France, with 800,000 or more German soldiers on French soil.  Commentary on "drunkardness" in England.  G.B.S. writes from Liverpool about "men and women reeling  under the effects of excessive drinking, their faces inhuman in expression. Some were too drunk for words. Some were fairly frothing at the is a rare thing (in America) to see women in this condition.... but here in England you are constantly meeting women who carry in their faces the marks of this fearful degradation, and you frequently see women who are disgustingly drunk."  Situation in Alabama where there is so much lawlessness that President Grant has felt it to be his duty to convert her into a special military district. 8 pp. 42 x 64 cm. Newspaper, uncut, slight tears in folds, good. (7776)$26.00. Newspapers

American Naval Planning Section, London; Navy Dept. Office of Naval Intelligence Pub. No. 7 1923 Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Monograph provides formal records of American Planning Section in London during World War I. Includes packet of nine fold-out maps of European theatre. 536 pp. 14 x 23 cm. Leather on board, front cover detached from board, back leather cover missing. Text block very good, maps very good. From Navy Dept. Library. (2697) $65.00. History/Naval/Maps

"I Was There"

"I Was There" With the Yanks on the Western Front 1917-1919 by C. Leroy Baldridge, Pvt. A.E.F. with verses by Hilmar R. Baukhage, Pvt. A.E.F., First Edition. 1919 New York, NY: G.P. Putnam's Sons. Sketches were made during a year's service with the French army and a year's service with the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) on special duty with "Stars & Stripes," the official AEF newspaper. Drawings show doughboys in trenches, in lines, in the mud, meeting French people, shaving, getting ready for inspection, marching. Some are accompanied by poems by H.R. Baukhage. Colorful, poignant, sometimes humorous view of World War I. ~150 pp. 20.5 x 29 cm. Decorated paper on board with cloth tape spine. Corners bumped, gift inscription on front endpapers. Very good. (5844) $55.00. World War I/History

Leslie's Photographic Review of the Great War, 1920 Edition, Forbes, Edgar Allen, Editor 1920 New York, NY: Leslie-Judge Company Collection of photographs of World War I, with seven full-color illustrations, suitable for framing: Pershing, British and French soldiers; American Doughboy, etc. 26 x 35 cm. Cloth on board, with color photo paste-on cover. Inside front hinge broken, rear hinge cracked, cover edges frayed, front picture soiled. Good. (2841) $60.00. History/World War I

L'Invasion Dans Le Nord de Seine-&-Marne 1914; Trilport Montceaux Germigny; Publié sous loes auspices des Conseils municipaux de Trilport,Montceaux et Germigny. [Invasion of France North of the Seine-Marne, 1914, in French.] 1918 Meaux, France: Imprimerie-Librairie G. Lepillet, Place de la Cathédrale. This is the story of the German invasion of France in the early days of World War I, when Belgians fleeing the Germans poured into the three small towns in this history.  This history covers the events in Germigny-L’Evèque, Trilport and Montceaux-les-Meaux, with French and British forces fighting the invading Germans.  Includes photo of Railroad Bridge over the Marne at Trilport, blown up by the British, ruins of the Château de Montceaux, Bridge over the Marne at Germigny-l'Evèque, blown up by the Germans, and more. 52 pp. 17 x 25 cm. Paper booklet, very good. (7965) $26.00. World War I/History

 Lustige Blätter

Lustige Blätter, No. 49 XXXII Jahrg. 174. Kriegs-Nummer, 15 November, 1917 (Famed German weekly humor  magazine, with World War I propaganda) Berlin, Germany: Verlag der Lustigen Blätter, (Dr. Eysler & Co.), G.m.b.H. Cover shows rough-faced soldiers with shovels over their shoulders: "Avanti Schippanowski!" "Wenn wir erst in die jegend von Pompeji kommen, denn kann uns der Professor schön Bescheid sagen, --der hat ja schon im Frieden da jebuddelt!"Back cover shows German soldiers enjoying rides in gondolas in Venice.  16 pp. 24 x 32 cm. Paper periodical, spinefold worn, very good.  (5820) $20.00. World War I/History/Propaganda


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