USS Essex in the Bay of Pigs

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USS Essex in the Bay of Pigs

Postby JDThomas » Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:53 pm

Here is a sailors first hand account of operations aboard the USS Essex, including during the Bay of Pigs:

https://donmooreswartales.com/2016/04/20/jerry-enos/

So the Captain of the Essex, in a form of words, tells the crew that they are on a war footing.
All US markings are painted-out from the operational jets.
These unmarked jets performed at least 8 sorties.

Given that the Kennedy Administration had declared no operations by US military by either land, sky or sea during the CIA-backed invasion, who was calling the shots?
- Not the President, not the Secretary of Defence, but then who? We certainly cannot expect the Captain to be fielding his own private operation!
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Re: USS Essex in the Bay of Pigs

Postby JDThomas » Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:02 pm

Update: I found this in the National Security Archive:

APR 19, 1961: At a meeting at the White House that begins just after midnight, the. President, Vice President Johnson, McNamara and Rusk, all in white tie, with General Lemnitzer and Admiral Burke in dress uniform, hear a report on the decline of the invasion force. Burke asks the President to "Let me take two jets and shoot down the. enemy aircraft." The President says, no, reminding Bissell and Burke that he has warned them over and over again that he would not commit U.S. forces to combat. Around 1.00 a.m., the President authorizes one hour of air cover from 0630 to 0730 for the invading brigades B?26s by six unmarked jets from the carrier Essex. The jets are not to seek air combat nor attack ground targets. By the morning of April 19 nine of the invading forces sixteen B?26s have been shot down and several of the remaining planes are in poor flying condition. The U.S. Navy Combat Air Patrol and the B?26s fail to rendezvous because the CIA and the Pentagon fail to realize a time zone difference between Nicaragua and Cuba. Two B?26s are shot down and four Americans are lost.


So the Essex was actually under orders, but not to seek combat.
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