Cuban Missile Crisis October 22, 1962


Bill Brinkman EM 2 ( SS )

The USS Sea Poacher SS 406 was stationed at Key West , Florida . I reported onboard her on Dec 3, 1960 , my birthday , as a 3rd Class Electrician's Mate. Just before I reported onboard, the Sea Poacher had participated with other US Navy ships in exercises off Cuba. While on the surface , the Sea Poacher was approached by a high speed Cuban gunboat. The Gunboat started signaling the Sea Poacher with " flashes ". The Bridge Officer and the two lookouts couldn't decipher the " message " from the Cuban Gunboat , so he called the Quartermaster up to the bridge. Once the Quartermaster came up , he looked at the rapidly closing Gunboat's " Flashes". At the same time , shells started passing by the Sea Poacher's bridge! So , the message was " Get away from Cuba!" At the same time , a US Navy Cruiser with 8 inch guns came in sight , and the Cuban gunboat turned and left immediately .

In August 1962 , in heavy seas in the Florida Straits , we ( USS Sea Poacher ) rescued two Cuban men and one Cuban woman whose small power boat had engine trouble. The boat's engine had failed, and the boat was sinking when we rescued them. We tied their boat alongside our sub, but it sank within minutes. The Cubans told us that the Russians were constructing missile launchers in Cuba. We passed the info on to the Pentagon. Senator Kenneth Keating of New York stated these facts , but the Kennedy Administration denied them at the time.

The Kennedy Administration finally acted to remove the Missiles by announcing that they suddenly spotted them in October 1962.

So, with the Sea Poacher's years of negative feelings and dealings towards Cuba and Castro , the stage is now set for the Cuban Missile Crises.

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