posted on Mar, 24 2016 @ 10:21 AM
In 1966 President Johnson had banned direct overflights of Cuba. Instead, U-2s were skirting the 12 mile limit and looking sideways at the island. To
help protect the flights the JARCC at Key West kept F-4Bs on Alert 5, waiting to launch if the Cuban military tried to go after the U-2s. The crews
would sit in an air conditioned trailer, suited up, minus helmet, and play games waiting for the bell to ring.
John Newlin was one of those pilots. He had arranged for the bell to ring every afternoon so the crews could practice getting airborne in under 5
minutes. They would launch, and the JARCC would release them to intercept aircraft in their own.
July 28th, 1966, the bell rang as usual and they launched. Then everything changed. JARCC directed them to turn and gave them vectors to a bogey. They
climbed to 55,000 feet and were cleared to fire, before suddenly being ordered back to base, right at the 12 mile limit.
Captain Robert D. Hickman had departed Barksdale AFB on a routine flyby of Cuba. He was required to check in with the JARCC as he passed into the Gulf
of Mexico and failed to. The JARCC ordered the F-4s to shoot him down on the assumption that he was incapacitated, and to prevent him from flying over
Cuba. The F-4s never got in range, and Capt. Hickman's aircraft flew over Cuba, and eventually crashed near Bolivia. He was almost certainly dead by
the time of the launch.
edit on 3/24/2016 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)