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CIA Advisors Piloted A-26 Invaders at The Bay of Pigs

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posted on Oct, 2 2005 @ 10:36 PM
I have always been fascinated by the history of The Bay of Pigs invasion. Something my dad said late in his life when he was in the hospital sparked my interest. I was visiting him in his room when a doctor he knew came in the room. They started talking like old friends and the talk turned to the A-26. My dad commented on how the recoil from firing the guns on that bird made it seem to stand still in the sky. The doctor asked if that would be the bubble nose or the all metal nose with eight machine guns version. My dad smiled with a far away look in his eyes and said it was the all metal version, and boy you could really do a lot of damage with those guns. The doctor seemed about to go on, but my dad gave him a look that shut him up. I know he had flown the A--26 before, because he told me he had used an old one to test an early autopilot system he had worked on at Edwards. It got me to thinking. My dad had been a Marine Corps Aviator, and had been involved with Special Ops.

Then I read up on the Bay of Pigs.

"The real strikes against the Cuban bases took place at
dawn on April 15, 1961. The eight B-26's to be used were
loaded with two 500 pound demolition bombs, ten 200 pound
fragmentation bombs, and eight rockets. They also carried
eight machine guns in the nose with 2800 rounds of
ammunition. These B-26's were the A-26 Invader derivative
of the World War II Martin Marauder, but they differed from
those flown by Castro forces; the exile aircraft had an all
metal nose versus the plexiglass nose of the Cuban model.

There were Brigade missions flown
that day, but many were flown by American CIA pilots. The
Brigade pilots had made the early launch, which had been
aborted, and many were too exhausted to fly the six hour
round trip again.

The American advisors filled in for them. They were
authorized to do so by CIA officials without the knowledge
of President Kennedy. Kennedy was not to find out for two
years that four American pilots had been shot down and
killed in the Bay of Pigs operation.

The Bay of Pigs

Four American pilots shot down and killed during The Bay of Pigs invasion. Who were these daring advisors willing to give their lives in this failed invasion? What of the other American pilots who flew during those few hectic days in April, 1961. Who were they? Was one of them my dad?

Mod Edit: Trimmed down quoted material and placed inside quote box

[edit on 10/3/05 by FredT]

posted on Oct, 3 2005 @ 12:42 AM
The bit about the A-4's being used as air cover makes me leery of this story.
The A-4 was an attack aircraft, not a fighter. I'd think the Navy would have used their Crusaders or Phantoms for the job.

The anonimity provided by painting over their markings is also in doubt.
As far as I am aware, no other nation operated A-4's at the time.

The Invader, OTOH, would have been the perfect aircraft for the job.
In fact it was used as a counter-insurgency aircraft with great effectiveness in both Korea and then in Vietnam (both in it's original form and as the B-26K).

posted on Oct, 3 2005 @ 05:28 AM

One B-26 was shot down over land in the area of Central

kind of a leap from Cuba to central Australia isn't it? Is that a mistake or am I missing something?

posted on Oct, 3 2005 @ 08:26 AM
I believe the Central Australia reference was to an action area so designated, like Red or Blue beach.

The A-4 was an attack aircraft, not a fighter. I'd think the Navy would have used their Crusaders or Phantoms for the job.

Didn't you see Top Gun? The A-4 was used as an aggressor aircraft in dogfights because though sub-sonic, it was highly maneuverable, and quite adept in a limited role as a fighter. IMO, it could easily have handled the T-33s and Sea Furies the Cubans were flying.

Top Gun fans will recognize this as an A-4 Skyhawk. It was designed in the early 50’s to be a cheap, small bomber and ground-support aircraft for the US Navy. It turned out extremely agile and with lots of room for expansion, so it has through the last decades been fitted with all kinds of equipment and weapons, and was flown by many countries with different roles (recon, damage assessment, bomber, trainer, aggressor, ground support, aerobatic demonstrations, and fighter). It was used by the Blue Angels until they got F/A-18s. Along with planes like the C-130, the A-4 is one of those remarkably timeless designs whose simplicity and robustness and versatility allowed it a service life of over 50 years (and counting). I’m a big fan of this little guy. This particular one, a two-seater (unlike most Skyhawks), looks like it WAS flown as an aggressor (simulating an "enemy aircraft" in war games, like in Top Gun) by the looks of its Sukhoi-like blue cammo and red star on the tail.

If I am correct the F-4 didn't enter service until 1962, too late for the Bay of Pigs.


Designation: F-4 Phantom II
Type: Multi-Role Fighter
Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas
Country: United States
Service Date: 1962
Crew: 2

The Crusader was an option, entering service in 1955, but the U.S. wasn't supposed to be involved in this invasion, remember? Sending in supersonic fighters and blasting the Cubans would have been a dead give-away, not that any of the disinfo tactics employed by the CIA were very effective.

I'm more interested in who the CIA advisors flying the B-26s out of Guatemala were, obviously (I do use that word alot, don't I?). Anybody have an idea where I can look into that?

posted on Oct, 3 2005 @ 09:35 AM

The bit about the A-4's being used as air cover makes me leery of this story.

Are you really leery of this source?


The Bay of Pigs:
A Struggle for Freedom
Major Joe R. English
2 April 1984
Marine Corps Command and Staff College
Marine Corps Development and Education Command
Quantico, Virginia 22134

It looks to me like the MCCSC was using this as a training tool on how to avoid such failures in the future.

I'm only curious if my dad was involved, due to his comments and stuff I've learned since he passed in 2000, not trying to state it as fact. That part is more a RFI on who the CIA advisor pilots were than anything else.

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