President John F. Kennedy was informed by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara during an afternoon meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council that a U-2 piloted by Major Rudolf Anderson* was shot down by Soviet SAM (surface-to-air) missiles as he was returning from a mission over Cuba.
Anderson, who was 35 years old, died at 11:19 a.m. as a result of shrapnel from the exploding Soviet missile puncturing his pressure suit causing it to decompress at high altitude.
Soviet Major Ivan Gerchenov gave the order to shoot down the U-2 after being unable to get a response from higher authorities.
Robert Kennedy later wrote...
"The President....was more disturbed by the death of Major Anderson, at that time, than he was worried about Khrushchev. He asked the Defense Department to find out if Anderson had a wife and family."
When JFK received information that Major Anderson was married with 2 sons, ages 3 and 5, he said to Dave Powers...
"He had a boy about the same age as John, Jr."
*Major Rudolf 'Rudy' Anderson (1927-1962), was born in Greenville, SC and graduated from Clemson University.
In 1962, he was in the 4080 Strategic Reconnaissance Wing. He was honored after death with the 1st Air Force Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal.
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) The White House Situation Room, located in the basement of the West Wing, was informed 51 years ago this morning, October 27, 1962, that 5 of 6 Soviet medium-range nuclear missile sites in Cuba were "fully operational."
The information, which meant most of the SE United States was within range of twenty 1 megaton nuclear warheads, was made available to the White House by the CIA.
Range of Soviet
Medium Range Ballistic Missiles
JOINT CHIEFS CALL FOR MASSIVE AIR STRIKES
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) At a meeting in the cabinet room at the White House 51 years ago this afternoon, October 27, 1962, General Maxwell Taylor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, advised President Kennedy to authorize massive air strikes on Cuba by Monday morning.
The General qualified the advice of the Joint Chiefs by adding:
"unless there in irrefutable evidence that offensive weapons are being dismantled."
US DESTROYER DROPS DEPTH CHARGE ON SOVIET SUB OFF CUBAN COAST
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) The American destroyer USS Cony dropped depth charges 51 years ago this afternoon, October 27, 1962, on a Soviet submarine near the quarantine line off the coast of Cuba.
The submarine was armed with nuclear torpedoes and commanders were considering using them.
SOVIETS DEMAND US MISSILES IN TURKEY BE REMOVED
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Radio Moscow read Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev's second letter to President Kennedy on the air 51 years ago today, October 27, 1962.
In the letter, Mr. Khrushchev demanded, in addition to a pledge that there would be no armed invasion of Cuba by US military forces, that our nuclear missiles located in Turkey be removed as conditions for Soviet removal of their missiles and sites in Cuba.
The White House issued no comment on this letter.
U2 STRAYS INTO RUSSIAN AIR SPACE, SOVIETS SCRAMBLE FIGHTERS
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) An American U2 aircraft, on a mission unrelated to Cuba flying over the North Pole, accidentally flew over 300 miles into Soviet air space 51 years ago this afternoon, October 27, 1962.
Soviet fighters were scrambled in response but the U2 flew at an altitude which was not attainable by the Soviet fighters and was able to land safely in Alaska.**
**The U2 flew at an altitude of 72,000 feet, twice the altitude of commercial airliners.
"Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye" by Kenneth O'Donnell and David Powers, 1970.
" TWE Remembers: Black Saturday--Near Calamities Abound as JFK Offers Khrushchev a Deal," by J.M. Lindsay, Oct 27, 2012, www.blogs.cfr.org