War of Wits Publishing, Ltd wishes to dedicate this webpage to the memory of the 88 members of the 2506 Assault Brigade, and the 10 members of the Liberation air force killed in action, and the four American CIA pilots, who took up their cause and also perished.
Let no one ever forget the sacrifice they made on those fateful April days, and may those who live in freedom treasure it, and understand the cost to preserve it...freedom isn't free.
How paradise was lost to a Decision for DisasterIn 1959, Fidel Castro came out of the Sierra Maestra mountains and into Havana, with lots of promises in his pockets and nothing else. Early on in his "revolution" Castro's promise of a new and better Cuba failed to materialize. Instead, it was replaced by the murder and imprisonment of innocent citizens and a turn to a communist state that would, to this day, hold its inhabitants hostage to a living nightmare.
What began with great promise ended with droves of Cubans departing the island. A lucky few went by airplane. But, most went at the expense of their lives in whatever would float over an unforgiving sea to reach the freedom they cherished, lost to the dictator of the Caribbean.
Before Castro took power, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Eisenhower administration recognized his Soviet leanings and proceeded to develop a plan to thwart his takeover of Cuba.
Unfortunately, the sword was passed in the next election to President John F. Kennedy and the Kennedy administration, who history has proven valued saving face over saving America the scourge of a Soviet satellite located 90 miles off its shores.
Though, the Kennedy administration took up the Eisenhower plan in fact, they neglected to follow it up in spirit.
And so, on April 17, 1961, the 1500 gallant members of the 2506 Assault Brigade landed at Playa Girón. They were trained to perfection and equipped with the best weaponry by the CIA and the US Army's Special Forces; aided by their Liberation air force under the direction of Major General Reid Doster and the Alabama Air National Guard, and two CIA case officers, Grayston L. Lynch and William "Rip" Robertson.
Unbeknownst to them, they were setting out on a mission to free Cuba that was doomed from the start.
The coveted "air supremacy", so vital to the mission's success, was lost to the ill-conceived notion of deniability demanded by the Kennedy administration. It left the soldiers, ships, and planes of the 2506 Assault Brigade and Liberation air force vulnerable and defenseless, and ultimately caused their defeat.
Through it all, the men of the Brigade fought bravely, on the ground, on the sea and in the air, inflicting numerous casualties and devastation on Castro's army. They fought until they had nothing left to fight with, and then were left with no way out but the sea.
To his credit, Admiral Arleigh Burke, head of US Naval Forces, who saw the injustice of the Kennedy administration's decisions, had the presence of mind and the guts to defy his superiors, and stationed his battle fleet in international waters within striking distance of the beach. Though Admiral Burke interceded on behalf of the Brigade, he was unable to sway the Kennedy administration's decision to withhold America military intervention.
In the end, the cause was lost to "perceived" world opinion.
Pic credit: Memorial picture & unit patches are courtesy of the 2506 Assault Brigade Association & its president, Felix Rodriguez.
Please Note: The above is a simplistic summary of events which took place during the Bay of Pigs invasion. To understand all that was involved in this watershed event in American history we suggest you read Decision for Disaster; Betrayal at the Bay of Pigs by Grayston L. Lynch, which can be purchased on this website.