Guest post by Douglas Niles, author of Final Failure: Eyeball to Eyeball, an alternate history of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Doug and I co-authored three alternate history military thrillers: Fox on the Rhine, Fox at the Front, and MacArthur’s War. He is also known for his fantasy novels and is an award-winning game designer.
Follow the inside story of the Cuban Missile Crisis as it evolves day by day from now through October 28!
The Crisis Begins
The Cuban Missile Crisis began as a routine day. At about 2:30 AM (PST), Major Richard Heyser took off in a U-2 spyplane from Edwards AFB, in California. By 7:30 AM (EST) he was 70,000′ in the air, just south of the western end of Cuba. It took him 12 minutes to cross the island from south to north, passing over the San Cristobal area (where exiles had reported long, mysterious trailers.) Shortly thereafter he landed at McCoy AFB Florida, near Orlando (which was a sleepy little backwater town in ’62.) From there, some of the film was flown to SAC headquarters in Omaha. The most detailed images, 18″ x 18″ negatives from the main camera, were flown to the Naval Photo laboratory in D.C., which had high speed processing capabilities. By midnight, much of the film had been developed and printed, readied for the delivery to the National Photographic Interpretation Center.