Archive for the 'Cuban Missile Crisis; Chronicles of Naval Aviation' Tag

“Special Missions” commands – oft times one hears the title and catches the slight eyeroll, or smile with a hint of a sneer about it . . . you know, the outfits that are “almost” a combat unit, but, well, you know, only “special” people go there – usually those in a career cul-de sac. The photo community was one such – usually tolerated (at best) by CAG, his staff and the ship, the photo det received its scraps and pressed on nonetheless performing their necessary, but oft taken for granted, services. Funny thing is, those special mission outfits often find themselves in the thick of crises when their “special” services are suddenly in demand. Such was the case in 1962 when a young President found himself looking full at the beast – and needed more information. VFP-62, fortunately, was there to answer the call. . .

RF-8a VFP-62


15 Oct 1962. Imagery from U-2 flights begun on the 14th continue to roll in for imagery analysts at NPIC (National Photographic Interpretation Center), located in Washington, DC, from high altitude flights over Cuba. Of interest is the Soviet build-up of forces on the island which apparently include nuclear-armed medium range ballistic missiles. While detailed, the imagery isn’t granular enough to accurately determine operational status and equipment details. To do so would require high-speed, low altitude runs…and the new RF-8A Crusaders of Light Photo Sixty Two were the perfect platforms to execute the mission…

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