Jump to content

Cuban Crisis 60 years ago as seen by a US Marine stationed aboard the USS Enterprise CVAN-65


Recommended Posts

 This Oct. will mark 60 years since as a young Lance Corporal, MOS 6511 (aviation ordnance) attached to the "Vagabonds" VMA 225, MAG 14, 2ND MAW based at Cherry Point NC when we received orders for our squadron to deploy to the USS Enterprise CVAN-65 which was steaming South off the Atlantic coast toward Cuba to take part in the blockade of Cuba due to the Cuban missile crises. We would be the first Marine squadron to serve aboard a nuclear powered carrier. We were deployed from Oct.20 to Dec.9 1962.

Our pilots flew our A4D-2N Skyhawks onboard & we arrived via COD (carrier onboard delivery) aircraft. I will never forget as a KANSAS FARM BOY looking out the window of the COD & seeing the Enterprise looking the size of a postage stamp on the water & a lump coming up in my throat thinking there was no way they could land on a ship that small as I had never seen a ship or flown over or onto a carrier.

 We (the ordnance crew) spent the first three days loading our aircraft with 250 lb. general purpose bombs on multiple bomb racks, sidewinder, Bull Pup, Zuni & shrike missiles plus 20 mm cannon rounds depending on the mission assignment for each aircraft. We were going on pure adrenaline those  3 days as we only got a total of about 3 hours sleep.

 after the crisis ended we flew training missions & I was able to take these photos on the Enterprise.

1962 2.jpg

1962 3.jpg

1962 4.jpg

1962 5.jpg

1962 6.jpg

1962 7.jpg

1962 8.jpg

1962 9.jpg

  • Like 12
  • Thanks 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow - great story and pics.

You might consider posting this in the Randy Sohn Memorial Airplane Thread also.  It's a long running thread in memory of our friend Randy Sohn, who's been gone a couple of years now.  It's an ongoing thread and comes around often enough that lots more people will be able to see your pics, which are fantastic.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the cool and historical pics. 
We got a guided tour of USS ENTERPRISE CVAN 65 when it was home, based in Alameda, CA, in 1975. We got to see quite a bit of the ship, we were on board for close to 3 hours. One thing they wouldn’t show us at the time though was atomic reactor areas or anything associated with the propulsion system. 

And now, The Big E is decommissioned and getting scrapped. It was the nation’s first ever nuclear powered carrier, and, the only one of its class- the Enterprise class carrier.  After just building the Big E, they went to what’s  now known as the Nimitz class carriers. 

One thing I find strange in these pics is the big white number “65” is missing from the top of the flight deck at the bow of the ship. I wonder if they purposely deleted the big 65 from the top of the deck for this operation, so the Cubans or Russians wouldn’t know it was the Enterprise? It also would have normally had the number 65 on both sides of the deck island. 


 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, Rick G. said:

One thing I find strange in these pics is the big white number “65” is missing from the top of the flight deck at the bow of the ship. I wonder if they purposely deleted the big 65 from the top of the deck for this operation, so the Cubans or Russians wouldn’t know it was the Enterprise?

As if the ship could NOT be recognized from its uniquely shaped island, and perhaps the absence of smoke as it was underway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My dad was in the Army. I was 7. I remember him bringing home memo graft plans that the Army issued all married personnel for bomb shelters. I also remember my dad trashing them saying that with where we lived at the time we would never survive. Either a Nuke would get us or we would starve to death in a shelter.

 

Rick 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Rick G. said:


We got a guided tour of USS ENTERPRISE CVAN 65 when it was home, based in Alameda, CA, in 1975. We got to see quite a bit of the ship, we were on board for close to 3 hours. One thing they wouldn’t show us at the time though was atomic reactor areas or anything associated with the propulsion system.

I got to take an unofficial tour of the Nimitz with a relative and a crew member, and the reactor area was definitely off limits.  We did get to see the jet engine shop, one compartment (windlass room?) where we could see the links of the anchor chain, the galleys, the head (never saw so much stainless steel in one place), and we got to go on the bridge, where I got to sit in the captain's chair.  I also remember the spare catapult pistons (enormous) hanging on the walls of the hangar deck.

For an interesting movie featuring the Nimitz, I recommend Final Countdown.  I don't believe time travel is possible, but I could suspend my disbelief long enough to enjoy a movie where the Nimitz faced off against the Japanese fleet as they approached Pearl Harbor.  Includes an incredible dogfight between two F14s and two Zeros.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

32 minutes ago, jeeper61 said:

Thx for the share

I see there were some A-1s Skyraiders  aboard those were great planes  

I saw those too.  What a bunch - Phantoms, A4s, A6s, and A1s.  All workhorses.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great color pics!
 

I was 10 and we were getting the hide under the desk drills at school. There was some talk among us as to how the desk was going to protect us. Later I flew with P2V pilots who were training to mine Cuban harbors from a low level approach. Good thing it didn’t come to that or I never would have met them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was aboard the USS Proteus AS19 with the Polaris Subs along side when the crisis occured . We cut the anchor chains off and went out to sea right quick. This was in the Holy Loch Scotland. There were always protestors parading around on land and sea. It was a scarry time indeed !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Saw a video the other day of Newport News laying down the newest Enterprise and starting to assemble her.   
 

if memory serves the Enterprise was the most heavily decorated ship of WW2, mostly because she survived the entire war I am sure.

They won’t let her name fade into history

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing your story, specially the part about coming in to land on the Enterprise, about how small it look from the aircraft you were on.. I really enjoy your photos from the carrier and all the different Navy aircraft. One of them I noticed a F-4 Plantom fighter jet, I thought they were a cool looking aircraft. I really interested in the Cuban Missile Crisis as to how close we came to a nuclear war as I was about 4 months from being four years old back then. Thanks for your service also.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for your service and those great pictures.  I'm always amazed at how much is going on on the flight deck of those carriers.  It amazes me how much goes on on a relatively small area.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Awesome pictures.  My dad was on the carrier at this time and probably in some of your pictures.  He flew A4's VMA 225 Airplane 13 CE.  If you happen to have any pictures of him, please let me know, that would be amazing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/28/2022 at 2:06 PM, Brad K said:

Awesome pictures.  My dad was on the carrier at this time and probably in some of your pictures.  He flew A4's VMA 225 Airplane 13 CE.  If you happen to have any pictures of him, please let me know, that would be amazing.

 I found one picture of your dads Skyhawk CE 13 parked on the flight line at NAS Roosevelt Roads Porto Rico with the rest of the squadron aircraft when we were on maneuvers there in Dec. 1961, if you would like I would send it, also if I knew his name, I have all the articles from the MCAS Cherry Point paper "The Windsock" pertaining to VMA 225 & our accomplishments & deployments and I would read them to see if by chance he is mentioned in any of them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...