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By admin | October 31st, 2013

This Week in History: October 28, 1962

At MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, I had just lit the barbecue grill when my phone rang.

“Gunny, meet me at the office” ordered Maj. Bob Morrisey. Ten minutes later he and I were huddling with an op plan calling for the 4th Marines to immediately standby for immediate deployment to Key West, FL for possible involvement in the Cuban Missile Crisis. We immediately alerted SSgt. Al Steele, Sgt. Jim DiBernardo and SSgt. Phil Phillips to report by midnight ready to launch with photo teams.

Remember, we were five hours away from East Coast time. As we has spent the previous summer training with elements of the 4th at the Pohakuloa Training Center on the Big Island of Hawaii, we felt confident our Marine teams could handle the assignment.

Let’s remember that in those days, we had great working relationships with Photo. I remember calling my counterpart and reminding him who had worked with whom on Pohakuloa, and we were set. My problem was with Mo. As Information Chief, he felt my job was to be in the office and, while I thought he was sandbagging me, I complied.

As I recall (years later) we positioned our teams on the flight line at midnight then settled in to launch time. The hours ticked by, then stopped. Other Marine elements would take our place. In a debrief, I can well remember Mo, cigar in mouth, saying “well, guys, we were ready.” And we were. Our readiness paid off three years later in Vietnam. — Jack Paxton


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