On 22 October 1962, President Kennedy addressed the nation on television and announced the discovery of offensive Soviet missiles on the island of Cuba (Cuban Missile Crisis). In his address he said the following: "It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union."

While President Kennedy addressed the nation on tv we prepared our B-52 for airborne alert. We loaded extra food, water and supplies for a 25 hour mission. The bombay was loaded with four Mark-28 hydrogen bombs. Each bomb had a yield of 1.1 Megatons. Our target was Moscow.

Shortly after President Kennedy's speach we launched our B-52 along with one other from the 99th Bomb Wing at Westover AFB in Chicopee, MA. After departing the east coast we topped off our tanks with the first of three air refuelings. Our destination was a holding area east of Italy on what we called the southern route. We remained in orbit for several hours until it was time to return. Twenty five hours after departing Westover we landed back home safe and sound. Fortunately, we never received the "Go Code" to release our weapons.

Bombs Away

Kingdon R. Hawes (Webmaster)

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