This study for the US Air Force examines the U.S. Air Force role in five crises in the late 1950s through mid-1960s: Lebanon, Taiwan Straits, Congo, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Dominican Republic.
Date: June 30, 1968
Author: Bernard C. Nalty
Title: The Air Force Role in Five Crises, 1958-1965: Lebanon, Taiwan, Congo, Cuba, Dominican Republic
Archival Source: , National Security Archive
NB: While the text below should be accurate, I recommend checking against the original scanned document above before citing or quoting.
THE AIR FORCE ROLE IN FIVE CRISES, 1958-1965
Lebanon, Taiwan, Congo, Cuba, Dominican Republic
By Bernard C. Nalty
USAF HISTORICAL DIVISION LIAISON OFFICE
In recent years the Air Force has played an important role in five crises, which are discussed in this brief volume by Mr. Bernard C. Nalty of the USAF Historical Division Liaison Office. The year 1958 saw aircraft dispatched to the eastern Mediterranean in support of the landing of U.S. troops in Lebanon and then across the Pacific during the Taiwan crisis. Two years later, USAF transports deployed to assist a United Nations (U.N.) force which undertook to restore order in the Congo. The discovery in 1962 that Soviet missiles were emplaced in Cuba triggered a major crisis during which the Air Force initiated an extensive force deployment within the United States and ordered its worldwide tactical and strategic units on war alert. Finally, in 1965, the Air Force supported deployment of an airborne force that had the mission of preventing the Dominican Republic from becoming another Cuba.
In each crisis, the Air Force role differed somewhat. The 1958 Lebanon episode drew upon the service’s fighter and transport strength, as did the Taiwan crisis later that year, which challenged certain USAF assumptions regarding the use of nuclear weapons to halt aggression. During the Congo operation, when the United States sought to keep the crisis from becoming a clash between East and West, the Air Force role was limited to providing air transportation. In contrast, the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba led to a direct confrontation between the United States and Russia, which called into play USAF tactical and strategic forces, with the latter perhaps the decisive factor in helping to resolve the crisis. Strategic power, however; had little direct influence during the Dominican turmoil, where once again, the Air Force made its contribution by transporting men and supplies.
Despite these differences, there are some generalizations that can be drawn from the five separate crises. These are discussed in the final chapter.
USAF Historical Division
The Decision to Intervene
The Lebanon Landing
The Composite Air Strike Force
Resolving the Lebanese Political Crisis
II. The Taiwan Crisis
The American Commitment
The Crisis Breaks
Reinforcements to the Far East
The Siege Lifted
Limitations on the Use of Nuclear Weapons
III. Support of United Nations Operations in the Congo
The Evacuation of Foreigners
Flying Food to the Congo
Air Support for the Emergency Forces
The Impact of the Operation on the Air Force
IV. The Cuban Missile Crisis
Logistic and Technical Support
Assessing the Air Force Role
V. Intervention in the Dominican Republic
The Airborne Deployment
Air Support for the Dominican Expedition
Other Air Force Activities
VI. Trends and General Conclusions
[This chapter is drawn largely from a 1962 AFCHO study by Robert D. Little and Wilhelmine Burch, Air Operations in the Lebanon Crisis of 1958 (S). Except where a separate footnote is provided to other sources used in this study, information was obtained from the Little-Burch narrative.]
A small country--roughly the size of Delaware--located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean and bordering Syria and Israel, Lebanon became the scene of a United States intervention in the summer and fall of 1958. Independent since 1943, though occupied during World War II by French troops, Lebanon survived, in the post-war era because of a tacit political bargain between Christians and Moslems whereby the former gave up the protection of France and the latter rejected merger with Syria. Key to this understanding was the distribution of major political offices according to religion. The Christians, 'who were the more numerous at the time of the 1943 agreement received the presidency and the two largest Moslem sects the offices of prime minister and speaker of the chamber of deputies.
After a decade if comparative harmony, the agreement began to collapse. The total membership of all the Moslem sects came to outnumber the Christians, who were struggling to preserve their political power even as the Moslems sought to diminish it. During the presidency of Camille Chamoun, the quarrel intensified until fighting erupted. Mr. Chamoun’s refusal in 1956 to sever diplomatic ties with France and Britain after those countries joined Israel in attacking Egypt angered the Moslem population. Despite the uproar, he persisted in edging closer to the West and farther from the Arab nationalism that was spreading through the Near East.
In 1957, he pledged adherence to the so-called Eisenhower Doctrine [At the request of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Congress on 9 March 1957 approved a joint resolution authorizing the chief executive to assist the nations of the Middle East to maintain their independence.] according to which the United States, if invited, would intervene to protect any Middle Eastern state whose independence or territory were threatened by international communism. Cynics among the Moslems interpreted President Chamoun’s move as an attempt to use the prestige of the United States for his own political advantage. This view gained credence when over the objections of some of his Christian colleagues, he sought to have the Lebanese constitution amended so that he could serve a second six-year term beyond 1958.
Mr. Chamoun’s ambition split the country along religious lines, but effective opposition was slow in forming. Despite a reputation for political corruption, the President was Lebanon’s most effective leader, and it was not until he had purged or alienated some of his abler lieutenants that a United National Front – organized by the Moslems – became a serious threat. In May 1958, the front felt strong enough to call a general strike and demand his resignation. The strike touched off rioting in the cities, which in some places resulted in protracted and unsuccessful siege operations, and guerrilla warfare in the countryside.
Before the fighting broke out, Gen. Fuad Chehab, commander of the national army, decided his 7,000-man force should avoid being drawn into the impending conflict. He maintained that the army, its numbers divided equally between Christianity and Islam, would disintegrate if ordered to support either religious faction. After the May rioting, however, he did use the force, but to prevent bloodshed rather than to insure the triumph of one side or the other. In Tripoli, for example, General Chehab’s troops helped contain the rebels, while in the capital, Beirut, the army prevented President Chamoun’s police from attacking rebel-held sections of the city.
Unable to command the army Mr. Chamoun relied on police and paramilitary organizations. These forces, however, were unable to suppress the rebels, who had received a few weapons and some volunteers from neighboring Arab states. The outlawed Communist party proved ineffectual during the fighting.
The Decision to Intervene
[redacted] President Chamoun next appealed to the United Nations for help in maintaining his regime against what he claimed was subversion directed by the United Arab Republic. His accusations against Egypt brought denials from that nation’s leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser, and many neutral states accepted President Nasser’s word. The Soviet Union ascribed the Lebanese crisis to Western imperialism. The United States, which saw the rebellion as a Communist attempt to undermine the nation’s sovereignty, as early as 14 May began to prepare for a possible emergency in the Middle East.
The U.N. Security Council reacted to President Chamoun’s entreaties by sending a team of observers to investigate his charges of Egyptian aggression. In mid-July, the team reported that it had been unable to find any proof that the Lebanese rebellions was other than a domestic affair. The fighting, meanwhile, had abated, although tensions remained high. President Chamoun insisted that he would serve out the remainder of his term, which ended in September, but denied he would succeed himself.
On 14 July, shortly after the U.N. investigators completed their work in Lebanon, nearby Iraq—considered to be a strong pro-Western influenced in the region – experienced a bloody coup d’etat that in American eyes proved that the United Arab Republic, with Soviet assistance, was trying to extend its influence throughout the Arab world. A group of Iraqi army officers, led by General Abdul Karim el-Kassem, killed King Feisal and other members of the royal family and the country's premier, Nuri-as-Said. Since General Karim and his colleagues were admirers of Mr. Nasser of Egypt, President Eisenhower linked both the Iraqi coup and the Lebanese civil war to Egypt and ultimately to the Soviet Union which was supplying the Cairo regime with arms.
[redacted] That afternoon in Beirut, a highly agitated President Chamoun called in the U. S. ambassador and officially requested the prompt dispatch of 'American troops. His request reached Washington at 0835 EDT 14 July; After about 10 hours of deliberation, President Eisenhower decided to intervene in support of the Lebanese government At 1848, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), executive agent for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), directed the', Commander-in-Chief, Specified Command [according to the usage of 1958, a specified command though made up of forces from a single service—in this case, the naval establishment—received guidance from the JCS for the carrying out of a particular mission.
The Lebanon Landing
[redacted] Several months later, as President Chamoun’s authority grew weaker, the JCS directed Adm. James L. Holloway, Jr., CINCSPECOMME, to prepare plans for a combined Anglo-American intervention in Lebanon and Jordan. But as events unfolded, the admiral’s handiwork had to be abandoned in favor of an earlier plan for an exclusively American effort in Lebanon. Because the Iraqi revolt menaced Jordan, a state with which the United Kingdom had close ties, the British chose to send its forces there and leave Lebanon to the United States.
[redacted] The presidential order authorizing the landing of U.S. troops in support of the Lebanese government meant that the Marines afloat off Beirut would go ashore immediately, while the first of two airborne battle groups (units larger than battalions but smaller than brigades) began deploying from Europe to the Middle East. A composite air strike force (CASF) from the Tactical Air Command (TAC) and several Military Air Transport Service (MATS) C-124 transports were to be deployed from the United States.
[redacted] The Marines began landing on the morning of 15 July and encountered no opposition. General Chehab, whom President Chamoun had presumably not consulted, strongly objected to bringing Americans ashore. He argued unsuccessfully that their arrival would intensify the anti-Western feelings of many Moslems and cause a break up of the armed forces. Once the landing began, however, the general helped to prevent incidents between his troops and the Marines.
The Composite Air Strike Force
[redacted] Roughly five hours after the Marines began landing at Beirut, the first element of the TAC composite air strike force took off from Langley AFB, Va., for Incirlik AB near Adana, Turkey. This force, a balance grouping of reconnaissance, tactical fighter, and tactical bomber units, supported by tankers and transports, was designed for prompt deployment anywhere in the world. Once deployed, the strike force would draw upon stocks of fuel munitions, and other supplies already located at oversea bases. The stockpiles would be replenished as needed by air or sea transport.
[redacted] The deployment of the composite air strike force directly to Turkey was a departure from the existing TAC contingency plan which had called for the command to send its planes to Europe while the U.S. Air Force, Europe (USAFE), deployed the necessary aircraft to the Middle East. Gen. Otto P. Weyland, TAC Commander-in-Chief was advised that the change was made to avoid unnecessarily disrupting USAFE at a time when there was uncertainty that the crisis could be restricted to the eastern Mediterranean. Apparently General Weyland's staff encountered no difficulties in rerouting the strike force.
[redacted] Early in the afternoon' of 15 July, TAC informed Air Force headquarters that construction activity at Cannon AFB, N. M., would prevent fully loaded F-100's from taking off, Consequently, rather than stage the Cannon-based planes, as specified in the operation plan, through some other base where they could refuel, TAC headquarters decided to hold them on the U. S. east coast and select some other contingent for the nonstop flight to Turkey. The 354th Tactical Fighter Wing at Myrtle Beach AFB, S. C., was chosen for the mission.
[redacted] The first flight deployed from the United States consisted of 12 B-57 light bombers, which began taking off from Langley at 1420 EDT on 15 July. The bombers were scheduled to fly to Incirlik AB by way of Lajes in the Azores and Deols auxiliary field at Chateauroux, France. 'Eight of the B-57’s, however, landed at Ernest Harmon AFB, Newfoundland, because of mechanical or communications failures. By the evening of the 16th, the first two bombers were nearing Incirlik, where they landed not quite 35 hours after departing Langley. All 12 reached the Turkish base by noon, Washington time, on 18 July. Average time en route for the B-57’s was 47 hours and 55 minutes.
[redacted] Besides equipment failure, the greatest difficulty encountered by the bomber crews was the absence of mid-ocean checkpoints for course correction. The navigators had expected that two airborne checkpoints would be operating, but found the aircraft were not on station. As a result, they had to rely entirely on the accuracy of their own computations.
[redacted] At 0910 EDT on 15 July, the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing at Myrtle Beach received orders to deploy two F-l00 squadrons to Incirlik. These units--a total of 29 F-100D1s and F’s organized in three sections--took off beginning ·.at 1650 that afternoon. Ahead lay a nonstop flight one quarter of ·the way around the globe, which was considered a severe test for a wing recently converted from day fighters and manned by pilots lacking experience in both aerial refueling and overwater flight.
[redacted] All three sections ran· into difficulties of one kind or another. Because only five of the planned eight tankers were on .station, three of the 12 fighters in the first section were unable to take on fuel during the first aerial refueling. Two landed safely in Nova Scotia, but the pilot of the third was forced to parachute to safety when fuel ran out. Bad weather prevented five of the nine survivors from replenishing their tanks at the second rendezvous, and these planes had to land at Lajes. Only four of the 12 F-100's in this first flight refueled successfully as planned; they completed the non-stop flight in about twelve and one-half hours.
[redacted] Nine of the 12 planes assigned to the second flight took off on 16 July. All of them refueled off Nova Scotia and near the Azores, but no tankers were available to meet them over France and they had to rand at Chateauroux. Eight of them took off the following morning, stopped for fuel at Wheelus AB, Libya, and reached Incirlik on that same day.
[redacted] The third section, eight F-100’s (including one held over from an earlier flight), fared worse than the second. Four of the planes failed to take on fuel near the Azores and landed at Lajes. Canopy failures and oxygen failure forced the others to unplanned landings at various bases in Europe. Not until 20 July did the number of F-l00's at Incirlik reach 26, the maximum strength during the crisis.
[redacted] As finally organized for deployment, the. 363d Composite Reconnaissance Squadron consisted of eight RF-l0l's, seven RB-66's, and three WB-66D 's. Beginning at 1800 EDT 15 July, the RF-l0l's took off from Shaw AFB, S. C. Three were forced to turn back, but the other five .reached Chaumont within 18 hours after the initial departure from the South Carolina base. Two other F-101's, sent as replacements for the trio that had turned back; landed at Chaumont on the morning of the 17th. Of the seven planes at the French airfield, six flew into Incirlik on the 18th and one the following day. Eight of nine RB-66's and WB-66's that took off from Shaw on the morning of 16 July reached Chateauroux on the next day. Because of congestion at Incirlik, they were held in France until the 18th. They arrived in Turkey on the afternoon of the 19th and were joined on the 20th by two other RB-66's.
[redacted] TAC also provided a total of 43 C-130's to transport command and maintenance elements and otherwise support the deployment of the strike force. These aircraft, based at Ardmore AFB, Okla., and Sewart AFB, Tenn., staged through three bases--Myrtle Beach, Shaw, and Langley. They refueled in Bermuda, the Azores, and France, and began arriving in Turkey on the 17th. Because of overcrowding at the Turkish base, some incoming C-130's had to wait as long as 70 minutes to land. This disrupted the orderly flow of traffic and some of the transports were held temporarily in France. Because TAC's C-130's were unable to carryall 'that the composite force needed, a, requirement was placed upon MATS to provide C-124 support of the3 operation.
[redacted] The composite force dispatched from the United States did not include interceptors. These were provided by USAFE, which on 15 July sent the 512th Fighter Interceptor Squadron from Sembach, Germany, to Incirlik. The planes departed at noon, Washington time, on the 16th, landed for fuel in Austria, Italy, and Greece, and arrived in Turkey the next morning. Nine F-86D's and two T-33's were thus made available for the air defense of Incirlik.
[redacted] The 322d Air Division (Combat Cargo) based at Evreux- Fauville AB, France, was well prepared to carry out its task of flying two army battle groups from Germany to Lebanon. It had been on 24- hour--later relaxed to 48-hour--alert since 16 May and had been reinforced by C-124's sent to Europe by MATS to help USAFE meet the expected demands of a Middle East deployment.
[redacted] On the morning of 15 July, the air division received orders to execute the Lebanon contingency plan; by late afternoon, the division's combat airlift support unit, 32 C-130's, eight C-124's, and 19 C-1l9's were at Furstenfeldbruck and Erding airfields near Munich, Germany, to load 1, 749 troopers of the 187th Airborne Infantry. These men, with 490 tons of equipment, formed Task Force Alpha, the first of five task forces scheduled to deploy to the Middle East, three- of them by air and two by sea.
[redacted] Task Force Alpha set out for Incirlik the morning of 16 July. The move required 72 sorties and lasted 22 hours and 20 .minutes: At first, the C-130's assigned to this mission flew directly across Austria and Greece to Turkey. The Austrian government, however, protested this infringement of its sovereignty, whereupon the C-130's had to fly to Incirlik by way of Marseilles, France; Naples, Italy; and Athens, Greece. After the flights of the 16th, the Greek government decided to withhold staging rights for the transports. Elimination of the Athens stop forced the shorter range C-1l9's to take on extra fuel at Naples and detour around the Greek capital. The additional gasoline reduced the amount of cargo or number of men that these planes could carry.
[redacted] On 17 July, Admiral Holloway requested that the Commander-in-Chief, European Command (CINCEUR), General Lauris Norstad, hold Task Force Bravo in Germany rather than send it to Turkey. He made this request because facilities at Incirlik and nearby Adana were becoming overcrowded. As it turned out, Task Force Bravo was not needed.
[redacted] On the evening of 17 July, Admiral Holloway directed Task Force Alpha, already at Adana, to begin deploying to Beirut on the morning of the 19th. He then set about to persuade Lebanese authorities to permit the transports to land so that it would not be necessary to parachute in the men and equipment. Permission was granted, the first plane landed at 0549 Beirut time, and the operation lasted until midnight. A total of 56 -transports took part--30 C-130's, seven C-124's, and 19 C-119's. Once the move was completed, all the C-130's and C-1l9's returned to Germany to take part, after maintenance and crew rest, in the airlift of Task Force Charlie.
[redacted] Task Force Charlie, originally designated as the third unit to move by air, now was substituted for Task Force Bravo, which remained in Germany. Task Force Charlie was scheduled to begin departing on the 17th, the first transports took off as planned, but before the day had ended overcrowding at the Turkish base forced a 12-hour delay in the departure of other flights. After 20 July, aircraft carrying elements of the task force avoided Incirlik and flew directly to Beirut. The deployment of Task Force, Charlie, the Air Force's last major airlift of combat troops during the crisis, ended on 25 July after some 177 C-124 and C-130 sorties.
[redacted] By 12 August, transports under USAFE control had carried a total of 7,934 men and 8,227.8 tons of cargo and equipment in support of the Lebanon expedition. Routine support continued while the forces remained in the country. During their withdrawal, which took place between 18 and 25 October 1958, the 322d Air Division carried 1,136.5 tons of freight and 2,579 passengers.
[redacted] MATS also contributed to the success of the Lebanon operation by flying men and cargo into the Middle East and by placing C-124 transports at the disposal of USAFE. As of 8 September, the last day that MATS flew missions in support of the operation, the command had flown 5,486 tons of cargo and 5,316 persons to the theater. To augment USAFE, MATS at the outset deployed 26 C-1241s to join 10 already on temporary duty in Europe. Other C-124’s followed and as of 19 July a total of 48 were at USAFE’s disposal.
[redacted] Some of these C-124’s joined C-130's to airlift petroleum products to the British forces that had landed in Jordan. On 16 July, two days after President Chamoun's appeal for military aid, King Hussein of Jordan had called upon the United States and Britain for help in preventing an uprising within his kingdom like the one that had wiped out Iraq's royal family. Although Great Britain assumed responsibility for providing the necessary troops, obtained permission to fly them over Israel and landed them at the Jordanian capital of Amman, the United States became involved when a petroleum shortage developed. Since ample supplies were available at Bahrain on the Persian Gulf, first thoughts were given to loading whatever amount was needed on American C-124's and delivering the oil by way of the USAF base at Dharan, Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, the Saudi Arabian government denied permission for overflights and, with Dharan eliminated, the source at Bahrain could not be tapped. As a result, the Air Force was forced to fly petroleum products from d).Imps at Beirut to Amman. Between 17 and 26 July, seven C-124's and 13 C-130's carried a total of 608 tons over this route. Because Israel insisted that American planes maintain a minimum altitude of 14,500 feet while over its territory, the C-1l9's could not be used.
[redacted] Arrangements for command of the Lebanon operation reflected the fact that the Air Force was supporting a joint undertaking-- combined if the airlift to Jordan were included--to which the United States Navy and Army were making the greatest contribution. Admiral Holloway as commander-in-chief of the American forces issued instructions to naval, ground, and air commanders. One of these subordinate's, Commander American Air Forces, retained command over the composite air strike force and assumed control of all USAFE units sent east of 28 degrees east longitude. He was also responsible for coordinating with the air forces of Turkey and the United Kingdom, but he did not exercise command over squadrons from these nations or from the United States Navy. Later during the intervention, the air and naval commanders took to rotating responsibility for tactical aviation. The Commander American Air Forces--at the time Maj. Gen. Henry Viccellio--finally took over tactical and transport operations.
Resolving the Lebanese Political Crisis
Although Mr. Chamoun suggested employing American troops to reduce the rebel stronghold in Beirut, Ambassador Robert Murphy, President Eisenhower's personal emissary, made it clear to both the Lebanese chief executive and the rebel leaders that the United States was interested only in preserving the nation's autonomy and not in supporting an unpopular president. General Chehab’s soldiers continued to be a stabilizing influence, and the presence of an American force about twice the size of the Lebanese army caused radicals in both camps to ponder the consequences of violence. While the military of both nations enforced order, Lebanese moderates settled upon General Chehab as a compromise presidential candidate. He was easily elected by the Chamber of Deputies and took the oath of office on 23 September as President Chamoun's successor.
The U. S. intervention attained its major objective of maintaining Lebanese autonomy by helping to create conditions under which a stable government could be chosen. The new government reverted, however, to the traditional policy of striking a balance between Christians and Moslems, between the West and the Arab world. Lebanon's increasing alignment with the West, which had contributed to ex-president Chamoun's troubles, came to an end. The nation subsequently repudiated the Eisenhower Doctrine and adopted a foreign policy that more clearly reflected the nationalism of the Arab states.
[redacted] Review of the Lebanon operation disclosed various deficiencies to the Air Staff and the USAF commands. A serious one was the last minute substitution of tactical fighter units in the composite air strike force. Two squadrons of the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing at Myrtle Beach AFB, selected because runway construction at Cannon AFB prevented the units there from taking off with full loads, received only seven hours warning to prepare for a nonstop flight to Turkey. Some of the C-130's that supported the strike force, themselves replacements for MATS C-124's, had to be rerouted in flight because of the shift of tactical fighter bases from Cannon in New Mexico to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.
[redacted] Flying to Turkey was a grueling task for the men of the strike force. The fighter pilots were inexperienced in aerial refueling and overwater flight; moreover, they lacked certain maps, charts, and articles of survival gear. The C-130 crews were handicapped' by inadequate loading plans. The maintenance men who accompanied the force to Incirlik were exhausted when they arrived at the Turkish base. The noise of the four turboprop C-130 engines and the absence of any accommodations for passengers prevented the men from getting rest during the flight and this reduced their efficiency after they reached their destination.
[redacted] Once the deployment began, the volume of traffic was extremely heavy, and congestion developed at most of the bases supporting the operation. At Kindley AB, Bermuda, for example, 100 aircraft arrived on 15 July with very little warning and by the 18th more than 300 planes had landed there. Wheelus AB was inundated by Turkey-bound aircraft after Greece and Austria denied overflight rights to USAFE transports. At Incirlik the overcrowding became so bad that not even tents were available to house the crews of reconnaissance planes and tankers. Maintenance shelters were at a premium and there was a critical water shortage. In brief, the Turkish basle and the nearby city of Adana were unable to support the large influx of planes and personnel.
[redacted] Although prior JCS guidance had been to ignore the question of overflight rights, presumably on the assumption, that the seriousness of the situation would justify any violations of sovereignty that might occur, the administration did not consider the threat to Lebanese independence grave enough to risk offending friendly state's. Consequently, the actions and demands of Austria, Greece, and Israel in varying degrees hampered the operation. USAFE headquarters suggested that the Department of State might seek advance authorizations for overflight rights as part of U. S. contingency planning but Air Force headquarters doubted that much could be done since national sovereignty was .such a sensitive issue. There would be times, an Air Staff paper concluded, when the United States would have no choice but to ignore the wishes of other nations.
[redacted] Communications also came under scrutiny and study revealed an overwhelming volume of messages despite instructions to minimize traffic to the area of operations. The directive to this effect unfortunately did not apply to logistic traffic within the United States, and the Air Materiel Command later complained that Headquarters USAF had deluged it with requests for reports on actions taken in support of the Lebanon expedition. Routine logistical requests were submitted and acted upon throughout the crisis, but Lebanon received first priority. For this reason, agencies making normal requests used unnecessarily high precedence ratings in order to be next in line after Lebanon requirements were filled.
[redacted] The deployment to Lebanon imposed no great strain on Air Force resources. The number of planes dispatched was not large, and there was no real danger that the Air Force as a whole would be over extended. MATS, however, had some uneasy moments and approached the commercial air lines about obtaining any help it might need. However, the civil carriers refused to participate unless a national emergency was declared. Since none was, no commercial planes were forthcoming, but MATS nonetheless met its obligations.
II. THE TAIWAN CRISIS
[Except where indicated by a footnote reference. this chapter is based on the following classified studies: Jacob Van Staaveren, Air Operations in the Taiwan Crisis of 1958 (S) (AFCHO, 1962) ,and M.H. Halperin. The 1958 Taiwan Straits Crisis:A Documented History (TS-RD-NOFORN), (Rand Corp. 1966]
[redacted] The status of these islands—the main ones were Big and Little Quemoy, off the mainland port of Amoy, and, the Matsus, which lay seaward from Foochow--remained somewhat vague despite the ratification in 1954 of a mutual defense pact between the United States and Nationalist China. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles explained afterward that the specific military value of each island would determine how' the United States would react to a Communist threat. Early in 1955, for example, Communist forces began exerting pressure on the Tachen Islands, about 250 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan. President Eisenhower reacted to Peking's threats by obtaining' a Congressional resolution· authorizing him to use American forces in defense of Taiwan or the Pescadores, 'the offshore group nearest the Nationalist bastion. The Tachens, not covered in the resolution, seemed indefensible, and the United States assisted in evacuating the Nationalist garrison.
[redacted] The United States emerged from the Tachens crisis committed to protect "Formosa and the Pescadores”--called Taiwan and the Penghus by the Nationalists against armed attack. Whether the United States would come to the defense of the Quemoys and Matsus, where the Nationalists maintained large garrisons, was left up to the President who, it was assumed, would base his decision on whether or not the islands being menaced were essential to the defense of Taiwan. In return for this commitment, Nationalist President Chiang Kai-shek accepted certain restrictions on his nation's right of self-defense. He agreed not to use force, except in dire emergency, without consulting the United States.
[redacted] For more than three years, the Communist Chinese government under the leadership of Mao Tse-tung made no real effort to probe the offshore islands or test the willingness of the United States to protect them. In the summer of 1958, however, military actions against the islands, if not against Taiwan itself, seemed imminent. Early in August, Chairman Mao conferred with Nikita Krushchev, Chairman of the Soviet Union's Council of Ministers. Following their conversations—which produced a communique denouncing U. S. intervention in Lebanon- -Soviet-built fighter aircraft appeared at mainland airfields opposite the Nationalist citadel, aerial clashes became more frequent and Chinese Communist artillery units that had been harassing the offshore islands were reinforced.
[redacted] Because the Taiwan crisis was building rather slowly, Nationalist and American authorities had ample time to prepare. President Chiang requested the United States to provide him F-86's armed with Sidewinders--a heat-seeking air-to-air missile--and F-100 tactical fighters for his airmen. Both requests were promptly approved. The Nationalist leader also asked that USAF units be sent to Taiwan. Air Force headquarters had been drafting plans for just such a deployment and prepared to send a composite air strike force similar to the one recently dispatched to the Middle East.
[redacted] In discussing the gathering storm, members of President Eisenhower's cabinet--excluding Secretary Dulles, who was on vacation--and military leaders accepted the idea that the United States would have to resort to nuclear weapons to prevent the Communists from using ships and aircraft to isolate the Nationalist-held islands. Gen. Nathan F. Twining, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explained that at the outset American planes would drop 10-to l5-kiloton bombs on selected fields in the vicinity of Amoy. This blow, he hoped, would cause the Communists to lift their blockade. If not, the United States would have to attack airfields as far distant as Shanghai. These more extensive strikes, General Twining admitted, might bring down nuclear vengeance on Okinawa as well as Taiwan, but he considered this a risk that would have to be taken if the offshore islands were to be defended.
[redacted] The operation plan drawn up by Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), commanded by Gen. Laurence S. Kuter, was based on the assumption that the United States would carry out the nuclear strikes necessary to defeat the attacking Communists. In mid-August, five Strategic Air Command (SAC) B-47's on Guam went on alert to conduct nuclear raids against the mainland airfields. Besides providing these planes, the Strategic Air Command alerted its units to prepare to destroy Chinese cities and industries, in the event the initial strikes touched off a major conflict.
The Crisis Breaks
[redacted] On 23 August, mainland artillery fired 40,000 rounds against Big and Little Quemoy, thus beginning a furious bombardment of these two islands. On the first day of the shelling, Communist airmen strafed and sank a Nationalist LST, an event which pointed up the difficulty of supplying the islands in the face of hostile fire. During the next few days, the number of shells bursting upon the Quemoys averaged about 10, 000, enough to prevent amphibious craft from running supplies to the exposed beaches.
[redacted] Almost as soon as the crisis erupted, Adm. Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Operations, informed Adm. Henry D. Felt, Commander-in-Chief, Pacific, that if the United States became involved in a conflict with Communist China, the first American strikes against Chinese airfields would probably have to be made with non-nuclear weapons. Some government officials, he explained, were loath to strike at once with nuclear bombs. This reluctance, he believed, was due to their desire to preserve a recently announced moratorium on nuclear weapon tests--to which the Soviet Union had subscribed—and to limit, insofar as possible, the consequences of warfare in the Taiwan Strait. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Burke continued, would persist in arguing for permission to use nuclear weapons at the ·outset of hostilities, but he expressed doubt that President Eisenhower would agree.
[redacted] By 25 August, when the President met with his principal advisers at the White House, no evidence had yet appeared that the Communists were massing to invade the Quemoys. As a result, Mr. Eisenhow.er· was able to proceed in a deliberate manner, retaining personal control over the American response. He approved JCS recommendations to reinforce Taiwan's air defenses, strengthen the Seventh Fleet, begin preparations to escort supply ships bound for the Quemoys, and make ready to assume responsibility for the aerial defense of Taiwan. As Admiral Burke had predicted on the previous day, the President rejected the idea of using atomic weapons immediately upon the outbreak of hostilities. Instead he insisted that the first strikes be made with high explosives, although nuclear weapons would be available if needed for subsequent attacks.
[redacted] General Kuter, who apparently was unaware of Admiral Burke’s message to Admiral Felt, had on the previous day received assurances from Headquarters USAF that, assuming presidential approval any Communist assault upon the offshore islands would trigger immediate nuclear retaliation. He now was informed that Admiral Felt was at work on plans to employ conventional weapons first. The general characterized this idea of limited response as disastrous and, in a message to Gen. John K. Gerhart, USAF Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs in Washington, warned that the United States should either be ready to use its most effective weapons--in his opinion nuclear bombs--or stay out of the conflict.
[redacted] The continuing inability or unwillingness of the Nationalists to supply the besieged Quemoys was one of the topics discussed at another White House meeting on 29 August. General Twining and Admiral Burke shared President Eisenhower1s opinion that the Quemoy garrisons were hostages that President Chiang Kai-shek hoped would be ransomed by American power. The conferees, however, were not willing to risk the loss of the islands which they judged important to Nationalist morale and essential to the defense of Taiwan itself. Mr. Eisenhower therefore approved the use of American warships to escort supply vessels no closer than three miles from the Quemoy beaches. The President imposed this three-mile limitation for political and practical reasons. Politically, he avoided implying a greater degree of commitment than was appropriate at this time, and he also showed America's disregard of the l2-mile limit claimed by the Communists as the extent of their territorial waters. From a practical standpoint, few ships of the Seventh Fleet could navigate in safety the shoal waters that extended roughly three miles from the Quemoys.
[redacted] At this same meeting, the President told the Joint Chiefs of Staff that nuclear weapons would not be used immediately, not even if the Quemoys were stormed, an eventuality that seemed remote at this time. Under no circumstances would these weapons be used without his approval. Besides clarifying the restrictions on nuclear bombs, Mr. Eisenhower approved the dispatch of a composite air strike force to the Far East and the assumption by Taiwan Defense Command of responsibility for the island’s air defense.
Reinforcements to the Far East
[redacted] After the 25 August White House meeting, an Okinawa-based Air Force F-86D squadron was deployed—within eight hours after receipt of orders--to Taiwan to reinforce the island's air defenses. Between two and six days of actual travel time were required for the composite air strike force to fly from the. United States to the Philippines and Okinawa by way of Hawaii, Midway, and Guam. The entire strike force, less several aircraft that developed mechanical difficulties en route, was in place by 12 September, some two weeks after the President approved the move on 29 August. On 19 September the last of 12 F-104's, which had .been airlifted to Taiwan in C-124's beginning on 6 September, were assembled and ready for combat. A total of 123 aircraft of all types arrived at bases in Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Okinawa. MATS, whose C-124’s carried the F-l04’s to Taiwan, flew 1,472 passengers and 860.1 tons of cargo to the western 'Pacific in support of the deployment. As had occurred during the Lebanon operation, the C -130’S assigned to .support the strike force proved inadequate to the task and had to have help from the C-124’s, one of which crashed into the Pacific, .killing the six-man crew and 12 passengers.
[redacted] Both the Navy and Marine Corps also dispatched planes to the Orient. The aircraft carriers Midway and Essex joined the Seventh Fleet in mid-September and 56 Marine aircraft deployed from Japan to Taiwan between 31 August and 7 September. The army dispatched a battalion of antiaircraft missiles, but site construction did not begin until 15 September and the unit was not ready for operations until the following month.
[redacted] The USAF units involved in this deployment encountered delays and difficulties, some caused by nature, others the result of human oversight. A tropical storm which roared through the Marianas Islands on 2 September delayed some of the F-100's and C-130's of the strike force 24 hours. An inadequate weather network--only one reporting station between Hawaii and the California coast—failed to provide warning of headwinds that caused a number of C-130’s and B-57’s to run dangerously low on fuel. The fighters and reconnaissance aircraft, since they refueled two or three times before reaching Hawaii, had no such problem. Other difficulties arose in maintaining and servicing the planes en route to the Orient; some of the equipment placed at Pacific bases to support trans-Pacific flights proved obsolete or in need of repair. KB-50 tankers, used to refuel the shorter range planes in the strike force, were too slow to keep up with the jets. As a result, the faster planes had to lay over while the tankers flew ahead, took on fuel at a USAF base, and then doubled back to meet the formation over the ocean. Throughout the movement, which was under the control of Twelfth Air Force headquarters at James Connally AFB, Tex, the strike force was handicapped by inadequate communications and code equipment at the Pacific way stations.
The Siege Lifted.
[redacted] During September the Nationalist navy, with American escort, demonstrated it could supply the Quemoys, while Chiang's air force, using new Sidewinder missiles supplied by the United States, proved itself superior to the Communist air arm. By the end of the month, the navy had delivered 2, 560 tons of supplies in landing craft and another 210 tons in junks. Under American supervision--on occasion with American labor as well--the Chinese learned how to unload the supply vessels quickly and hurry the cargo to protected dumps ashore. The Nationalist air force parachuted 630 tons of supplies to the islands and during the crisis shot down 32 Communist MIG fighters.
[redacted] On 24 September, the same day that the United States took over responsibility for the air defense of Taiwan, General Kuter advised Headquarters USAF that, in his opinion, the supply problem was solved and the crisis over. Within two weeks, the Communists themselves reached this conclusion and relaxed the siege.
[redacted] On 6 October, the Peking regime announced a one-week ceasefire, ostensibly undertaken for the “humanitarian” purpose of alleviating the suffering of fellow Chinese, during which convoys not escorted by American ships could land supplies. The cease fire was subsequently extended for a second week. During the lull, four Communist planes strafed Yin-shan island in the Matsus, and amphibious forces from the mainland took over two unoccupied islands, Ta-po and Hsiao-po, near the Quemoys. One. air battle took place, during which eight Nationalist F-86’s downed five of eight MIG’s at the cost of one Nationalist plane destroyed in mid-air collision.
[redacted] Despite these incidents, the cease fire lasted the full two weeks. On 20 October, however, the Communists directed 13, 000 rounds at three beaches where Nationalist LST's 'were unloading. The mainland government insisted that. the resumption of the artillery barrage was the result of an American warships violation of Chinese territorial waters—one vessel has steamed to the three-mile limit – but the likely reason for renewing the artillery blockade was a conference then being held on Taiwan between Secretary Dulles and President Chiang.
[redacted] During his conversations with the Nationalist leader, Mr. Dulles mentioned the difficulties of employing nuclear weapons. He pointed out that although nuclear bombs were the only munitions certain to destroy the guns that had been hammering the Quemoys, an atomic strike had inherent disadvantages. Bombs big enough to obliterate the dug-in guns would, according to the Secretary of State, cause fallout that would inflict casualties on the Quemoys, as well as on the mainland, and invite nuclear retaliation by the Communists. Secretary Dulles did not rule out the possibility of nuclear attack against mainland targets, but he did stress the attendant dangers.
[redacted] The renewed barrage lasted only until 25 October. On that day, the Communists announced they would refrain on even-numbered days, from firing on the Quemoys. This unusual arrangement was to remain in effect, they said, as long as Nationalist convoys were not accompanied by American ships. During the remainder of 1958, the volume of firing gradually diminished and the crisis evaporated.
[redacted] It appears that the Communists allowed their blockade to crumble because they did not consider the Queinoys worth a major war. As nearly as can be determined, forces on the mainland made no preparations to storm the powerfully garrisoned islands. The early success of the blockade may have been due to Nationalist reluctance to challenge it without American support. By mid-September, however, the Communists were awre that the islands could not be starved out unless naval and air forces joined the artillery in maintaining the blockade. Since the United States had become involved in the supply effort, if only to a limited degree, the application of additional force by the Chinese would only have the effect of forcing the United States to reply in kind. Risks would spiral until they were all out of proportion to the value of the Quemoys.
Limitations on the Use of Nuclear Weapons
[redacted] The Taiwan deployment demonstrated a need for swifter tankers, improved weather reporting, more frequent inspection of stockpiled material, and better communications in the Pacific area. The principal question raised by the crisis was, however, in the field of planning. Would the American military in future crises encounter cautious presidential control over nuclear weapons? Those closest to the scene of the Taiwan confrontation thought so, and they expressed concern that civil authorities misunderstood the importance of atomic munitions. For example, the Taiwan Defense Command’s after action report urged that both civilian and military leaders be advised of the dependence of American forces upon these weapons. Similarly, General Kuter, during a review of the crisis for an audience of Air Force commanders, complained that the military had failed to convince civilian authorities that American forces had to be free to use nuclear bombs at the outset of any conflict. He warned that the Communists could not be defeated with high explosives and, repeating a theme frequently heard in service councils, he recommended that civilians be educated in the proposition that nuclear weapons--because of the wide range of destructive power available--had become conventional.
[redacted] At Headquarters USAF, the problem seemed less acute. Those who commented upon General Kuter's insistence that Communist aggression be met with nuclear bombs accepted the possibility that political considerations might require that initial strikes be made with conventional ordnance. Despite its references to massive retaliation, the administration obviously felt that response should be tailored to fit the challenge and. the civil authority should avoid the irresponsible use of nuclear weapons.. The President simply did not accept the contention that nuclear. weapons were as conventional as high explosives.
[redacted] What the Eisenhower administration seemingly had in mind during the Taiwan crisis was an, initial response with conventional weapons and not, as General Kuter may have believed, a sustained conventional war. High explosives dropped by American planes would, it was hoped, demonstrate the determination of the United States and persuade the Communists to call off their attack. If the Communist invasion should continue, nuclear strikes apparently would follow.
III. SUPPORT OF UNITED NATIONS OPERATIONS IN THE CONGO
[Except where indicated by a footnote reference, this chapter is based on a study published by the USAFE Historical Division in 1961 titled The Congo Airlift (C).]
On 30 June 1960 the Belgian Congo covering an area roughly equal to the United States east of the Mississippi formally received its independence. During their rule the Belgians had operated in a paternalistic fashion that denied the Congolese any experience in governing themselves. Within a week after the transfer of power the new Republic of the Congo began disintegrating under the strains of tribal enmities and personal rivalries among politicians.
Premier Patrice Lumumba. who had used the independence ceremony to deliver a tirade against Belgian imperialism dismissed the foreign officers who had led the Congolese army. This was a disastrous move since military discipline was fast crumbling. While he struggled to assert his control over the country two sections seceded from the republic. In mineral-rich Katanga, a province dominated by a Belgian mining cartel, Moise Tshombe announced that he had taken over as premier of an independent state. Adjacent Kasai province, where there also were extensive Belgian mining operations similarly disassociated itself from the new Congolese government. These defections along with tribal quarrels in the more backward regions, seemed likely to produce a tangle of contending stages all professing to be independent of the Lumumba regime at Leopoldville.
Anarchy and violence swept over most of the republic. Belgian troops, permitted by the treaty of independence to remain in the country, clashed with mutinous Congolese soldiers. Belgian civilians—the administrators and technicians who had run the colony--continued their exodus, some 20,000 departing in July alone. In the midst of this chaos, foreign consulates appealed to Belgium for protection, and Mr. Tshombe invited Belgian for.ces to protect his government in Katanga.
When Belgium responded to the appeals for its help by sending troops, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev cited this as proof of renewed imperialism. President Eisenhower, aware that many of the nations recently emerged from colonial rule would be likely to believe Moscow's interpretation of Belgian motives, sought to keep the United States from being damned as 'Belgium's ally. He therefore announced that the United States would not dispatch; troops to the Congo and proposed that order be restored, there not by Belgian forces but by a United Nations command recruited from countries not identified with either the Communist or western camps. The influx of Belgian troops had already prompted Premier Lumumba to ask the United Nations for neutral troops to safeguard his republic from its former colonial masters.
Dag Hammarskjold, the U. N. Secretary General, obtained the organization's approval of a plan to restore peace in the Congo without running the risk of a conflict between East and West. To this end, he limited Washington's and Moscow's participation to providing transportation for troops volunteered by African and other "neutral" states. The first contingent accepted for service in the Congo consisted of some 2,400 men, all of them from nations in Africa. Named as commander of the United Nations force was Maj. Gen. Carlsson Van Horn of Sweden who was assisted by Maj. Gen. Henry T. Alexander, a Briton serving as Ghana's chief of staff.
The Evacuation of Foreigners
[redacted] On 8 July, USAFE alerted the 332d Air Division--based at Evreaux-Fauville, France, but with operational control of 12 MATS C-124' s at Rhein Main, Germany- -to prepare for the evacuation of U.S. nationals from the Congo. Within a few hours, the unified European Command received orders from the JCS to prepare to send 2,000 troops to 'the Congo to protect American lives and property, but the move was never implemented since President Eisenhower decided against a military intervention. The JCS on 12 July advised General Norstad that American involvement would be restricted to evacuation of refugees, delivery of food, and deployment and supply of elements of a United Nations emergency force.
Although Clare H. Timberlake, U. S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Congo, waited until 14 July before advising American nationals to leave the country, by the time this announcement came some had already been evacuated by USAF aircraft diverted from their normal routes to assist in the emergency. By 11 July, C-124's had delivered helicopters to the Congo for use in locating isolated groups of foreigners. The transports, once they had unloaded, joined the rerouted aircraft in flying refugees, nationals of several different countries, from Kamina in the Congo to Southern Rhodesia, 1
Ghana, and Libya.
The majority of Americans in the Congo departed by 20 July, either aboard planes rerouted especially for the purpose ,or in C-130's and C-124's which had brought in foodstuffs or landed United Nations troops. A total of 18 C-130's, ten C-124’s, and one C-118 airlifted about 1,800 persons from various Congo airfields to points in Ghana, Senegal, Southern Rhodesia, Libya, Morocco, western Europe, and the United States. Army light planes and helicopters gathered up the Americans residing in rural hamlets and brought them to Leopoldville, Stanleyviile, or other towns with airports large enough to accommodate Air Force transports.
[redacted] USAF planes evacuated about one-seventh the number of civilians carried by Sabena, the Belgian airline, and other commercial carriers. The number of persons fleeing the Congo declined sharp1y as July drew to an end, .and USAFE no longer had to divert transports for specia1 evacuation missions, since ample space became available on returning transports and civil carriers. The Army's light aircraft were able to return to Europe late in July.
Flying Food to the Congo
[redacted] The delivery of food· to Congolese town menaced by famine began on 14 July when traffic controllers left' Chateauroux to set up their equipment at Leopoldville's Ndjili airport and at fueling stops en route. One hundred tons of flour from Army depots in Europe had already been collected at Chateauroux, and· the first C-:l30 was able to take off the following morning to begin the 16-hour flight to the Congolese capital. By 18 July, 16 C-130's and five C-124’s had delivered 301 tons of flour to Leopoldville, and seven C-130’s carried an additional 100 tons from Lome, Togo, to various Congo towns. Other missions were flown within the republic; on the 18th, for example, a C-130 hauled 15 tons of flour from Leopoldville to Stanleyville, and deliveries to Coquilhatville and Lu1uabourg took place on the 26th.
Air Support for the Emergency Forces
[redacted] Besides evacuating refugees and flying in food USAF transports carried most of the troops assigned to the U. N. force that was attempting to restore order to the country. To meet the demands imposed on USAFE by the trooplift, the Air Force sent four C-124 squadrons, totaling 59 planes, to join the 12-plane MATS squadron and the 46 C-130's already based in Europe. The four newly arrived squadrons, plus two maintenance units, formed a provisional air transport wing, whose headquarters had “command control" over all MATS aircraft engaged in the Congo operation.
[redacted] Despite the presence of MATS control teams at 10 African airfields, United Nations officials frequently .diverted USAF transports for missions within the Congo. Interference of this sort defeated the purpose of an arrangement whereby the 332d Air Division's commanding officer consulted a MATS liaison officer before directing C-124’s to Congolese fields, many of which were dangerous for planes of this size. Late in July, General Norstad issued instructions that no U.S. aircraft was to undertake any missions not approved by his headquarters.
During the Congo airlift, transports flew over poorly charted regions almost devoid of reliable navigation aids. Errors in flight plans, which were based on imprecise charts, were as great as 96 miles, and navigators sometimes had to take celestial fixes to correct flight plans while en route.
An annoying aspect of the airlift was the filth that accumulated in the aircraft used to carry troops. Few of the soldiers from the new African states had ever flown, and their understandable apprehension often gave way to nausea. As a result, the transports had to be thoroughly cleaned and deodorized between missions. Unfortunately, some of the deodorants used merely generated a pleasant scent that overpowered the lingering stench. Although this did bring relief to the crew, it also prevented them from detecting odors--of gasoline, for example--that were signs of impending trouble. Cleaning away the residue of human passengers was not enough, however, for the airplanes were potential carriers of insects or larvae. To prevent the introduction of African pests into Europe, crews had to use six aerosol cans of insecticide to fumigate thoroughly each plane scheduled to return from the operations.
Despite these and other difficulties, the Air Force between 15 July and 13 September 1960 flew to the Congo 16,081 troops from 16 nations. Soviet aircraft brought in another 500 men, most of them from Ghana; British planes brought about 85'0, and Ethiopian aircraft about 600. The remainder of the 20,000-man United Nations force arrived in ships of the United States Navy. During this same period, the Air Force delivered 4,036.6 tons of cargo, more than half of it field equipment for the U.N. contingents.
The USAF troop lift consisted of the following 16 missions:
Table: The USAF troop life 16 missions
In flying troops to the more remote Congolese towns, aircrews seldom had information on the kind of reception that awaited them. Only when they arrived over the airstrip did they discover whether or not a crowd had gathered, and not until the plane landed whether it was friendly or hostile.
[redacted] Besides bringing United Nations forces into the Congo—and returning to their homelands some units that were not needed—the Air Force helped Sabena airways evacuate the roughly 10,000 Belgian troops that had been sent to the Congo at the outset of the crisis. Since the United Nations force was responsible for maintaining order, there was no need of the Belgian units which Premier Lumumba viewed as a threat to his republic’s independence. Between 30 August and 13 September USAF planes carried 1, 696 men and 46.6 tons of cargo from Katanga to Belgium.
[redacted] Once the United Nations troops were in place, and the Belgians on their way home, the Congo grew quiet enough to permit the Air Force to begin disbanding the team assembled so quickly during June and July. Two of the four MATS C-124 squadrons sent to Europe for service in the Congo departed for the United States on 1 September, and by year’s end the number of additional C-124’s available to USAFE had declined from 59 in July to six, which were being retained to fly United Nations replacements to the Congo.
The Impact of the Operation on the Air Force
The operation disclosed many lessons believed applicable to future deployments to primitive areas. These dealt with topics ranging from the need for more carefully defined guidance in dealing with representatives of the United Nations to the importance of keeping immunization records up to date. Of all the improvements suggested by the Congo deployment, none were more important than those dealing with communications. As a result of the operation, the Air Force in 1960 began developing the "talking bird," an aircraft with enough communications gear on board to permit an airlift commander to control the movement of his transports to the objective, supervise the landing or airdrop, and then establish reliable communications with higher headquarters.
Although USAFE's 322d Air Division was able to initiate the Congo operation, it lacked the resources to finish the job unaided. MATS had to deploy additional C-124's to Europe, thus reducing its strength elsewhere. The Air Force at this time did not have enough modern transports to support the United Nations Congo force and at the same time stand ready to honor other commitments outlined in existing contingency plans.
IV. THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
[Except where indicated by a footnote reference, this chapter is based on Chronology of Air Force Actions During the Cuban Crisis, 14 Oct-3D Nov 62 (TS-NOFORN-RD) (AFCHO. 19(3); Dir/Ops;-Narrative of the Cuban crisis (TS); and The Cuban Crisis (TS-NOFORN) (Concepts Div, Aerospace Studies Institute, Air University [redacted]
Freed from Spanish rule as a result of America's victory over Spain, Cuba attained partial independence in 1898. The United States, however, imposed restrictions on the new nation's sovereignty by reserving the right to intervene with troops to preserve Cuban independence or restore order on the island. Besides making Cuba a protectorate, the United States also retained an option to establish various naval stations. The island nation, less than 100 miles from the Florida keys, remained a ward of the nation, less than 100 miles from the Florida keys, remained a ward of the non-intervention policy shaped by his predecessor, Herbert Hoover-- successfully arranged a treaty whereby Cuba attained full independence, although the United States retained the major naval base it had established at Guantanamo Bay.
For the next quarter of a century, Cuba maintained close ties with the United States, its principal market for sugar, the island's major crop. Some Cubans, however, resented the dependence upon a single crop whose price fluctuated wildly and blamed the United States for, in effect, subsidizing unbalanced agriculture. Far more prevalent than this mild disenchantment was the growing opposition to the succession of insensitive, ineffective, and corrupt Cuban governments. The last of these collapsed in December 1958, when President Fulgencio Batista, who had previously led two successful coups against his predecessors, fled before Fidel Castro's rebels.
Premier Castro, the United States soon discovered, intended to create a Communist state in Cuba. His personality and drive enabled him to capture the enthusiasm and idealism of a majority of Cubans, so that within a year he brought his nation into close alignment with the Soviet Union. Possibly influenced by a successful anti-Communist rebellion staged in Guatemala almost a decade earlier, President John F. Kennedy decided to launch an invasion force, recruited from among the anti-Castro Cuban exiles, .against the island. The invasion in April 1961, was a fiasco and failed to unseat Premier Castro. Instead it brought him an increase in Soviet military aid. As ties between Russia and Cuba grew stronger, the Soviet government decided to use the island as an advanced base.
Early on the morning of 14 October 1962, a SAC reconnaissance aircraft, flying south to north over the western portion of Cuba; photographed the area around San Cristobal. The following day, after the film had been processed, interpreters detected eight large missile transporters, four erector-launchers, and three launcher sites in the vicinity of San Cristobal. This discovery marked the beginning of the Cuban missile crisis.
[redacted] The photographic mission that discovered these missile sites was part of a surveillance program in which the Air Force had been participating for about four months. Since 15 June, SAC planes had been patrolling off Cuba to intercept electronic signals emanating from the island, but not until 14 October did SAC take over the photographic effort. The United States had begun this surveillance of Cuba to guard against the possibility that Moscow might attempt to upset the military balance of power between the Soviet Union and America by secretly deploying long-range weapons to the island.
[redacted] In the fall of 1962, the basic U.S. plan for armed action against Cuba called for deployment of airborne and amphibious forces to seize the island. The Tactical Air Command had formulated a supporting plan, later accepted, for destroying Cuba's growing air force within one day using conventional weapons only. It required strikes on 212 Cuban airfields and defensive installations with napalm, bombs, and rockets. To insure complete surprise, the attacking force would take off from home stations rather than stage through fields in Florida.
On the night of 15 October, word of the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba reached Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and other administration officials. The following morning, the President viewed the photographs. Discussions took place throughout the day, but President Kennedy, while ordering closer photographic scrutiny of the island, refrained from approving military action.
[redacted] In the meantime, high-altitude reconnaissance flights began collecting detailed information on the extent of Russian activity in Cuba. U-2 missions flown on the 15th disclosed a fourth medium-range missile site under construction at San Cristobal, two intermediate-range missile sites near Guanajay, west of Havana, and crated IL-28 light bombers at San .Julian airfield, also in western Cuba. The photographs obtained by these and' subsequent flights provided the President hard evidence that the Soviet Union was constructing nine missile complexes--six of them able to accommodate a total of 24 medium-range missiles and three others, each with four launchers, for intermediate-range weapons. The total of crated IL-28's delivered to Cuba was placed at 42.
[redacted] While the President considered how to meet this surprising Soviet threat, the Air Force prepared to carry out whatever plan he might approve. SAC put its forces on alert for the possibility of a nuclear war with Russia. Tactical air 'units prepared for actions ranging from air strikes against a comparatively few selected targets to support of an invasion of Cuba. MATS faced the task of ferrying men and equipment to bases in the southeastern United States and at the same time preparing for airborne operations. While all this was taking place, steps were taken to strengthen the warning network and air defenses of the area against a possible attack from Cuba.
President Kennedy and his advisers decided that their first actions should be directed at halting the further delivery of offensive weapons to Cuba. On 21 October, the Departments of State and Defense agreed upon the details of establishing and enforcing the quarantine of the island. The President announced this policy in a radio and television address on the evening of 22 October, and the quarantine went into effect on the 24th.
[redacted] Meanwhile, on 19 October TAC forces began a major deployment into the Florida area. Some 623 aircraft--fighter-bombers, reconnaissance planes, and aerial tankers--earmarked for possible use in conducting or supporting the air strikes converged on the southeastern corner of the country. They included 511 fighter-bombers, 72 reconnaissance aircraft, and 40 tankers. Of these, all but 163 planes' were standing by in Florida when the movements were completed on 21 October. TAC’s commander, Gen. Walter C. Sweeney, Jr., who also was Commander-in-Chief, Air Forces Atlantic (CINCAFLANT), [The JCS assigned overall planning and operational responsibility for the Cuban invasion to the Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Command (CINCLANT). who was to coordinate Army, Navy, and Air Force activities. General Sweeney served as his Air Force' component commander.] after being briefed in Washington by Secretary McNamara and the JCS, returned to his headquarters at Langley AFB, Va., to prepare to launch his units against Cuba.
[redacted] Supplying conventional munitions and standard items of equipment .for the strike force proved difficult. Requisitions for articles ranging from 20mm ammunition to auxiliary fuel tanks were dispatched to depots and commands 'throughout the world. MATS was made responsible for flying much of the material to Florida. On 17 October, for example, the Commander-in-Chief, USAFE, Gen. Truman Landon, was ordered to ship via MATS more than one million pounds of munitions and equipment. By the evening of 19 October the squadrons in the southeastern United States had received some 7,000 tons of cargo, some of it from' as far away as the Philippines and Turkey.
[redacted] During the crisis TAC also took steps to support the planned airborne troop drop. This operation required the use of 143 TAC transport aircraft, 257 troop carrier planes from MATS, and 234 from the Air Force Reserve.
[redacted] Besides remaining on ·alert for the operation against Cuba, tactical units outside the United States prepared for possible Soviet moves elsewhere in response to the Cuban quarantine. For example, 37 planes on quick reaction alert in Europe and Turkey were loaded with nuclear weapons on 25 October, the second day the quarantine was in effect.
[redacted] When the Soviet missile sites were discovered on 14 October, triggering the hurried buildup of forces in the southeastern United States, few interceptors were on hand to defend this region. Six RC-12l’s, radar carrying versions of the Constellation transport, whose mission was to provide early warning of approaching aircraft, were based at McCoy AFB, Fla. Four USAF interceptors operated from Homestead AFB, Fla., two from Tyndall AFB in the same state, and eight Navy planes from Key West Naval Air Station. On 19 October, the Air Defense Command (ADC) increased the total number of its interceptors standing alert throughout the nation and joined with the Navy to reinforce the aerial defenses of the south-eastern United States. By the 22d, the Air Force had 12 RC-12l's and some 82 interceptors, for which nuclear weapons were available, on guard in Florida.
[redacted] That evening, when President Kennedy informed the nation and the world that Russia had set up an offensive base in Cuba and that the United States would meet this challenge by enforcing a quarantine of the island, 22 interceptors were aloft over Florida as a precautionary measure in the event Premier Castro attempted to launch a surprise attack.
[redacted] While the deployment of additional RC-121’s to Florida increased the likelihood that attacking enemy aircraft would be detected, ADC had no radars that could provide early warning of a ballistic missile attack launched from Cuba. To fill this gap, a satellite tracking radar at Laredo, Tex., a search radar at Thomasville, Ala., and the Moorestown, N.J., tracker--the last an Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) installation operated by Radio Corporation of America and used for research and development projects--were pressed into service. This improvised ballistic missile early warning system became operational on the 27th. Three days later, it underwent its most hectic moments: first, the Thomasville radar picked up three objects which the North American Air Defense Command discovered were not missiles; Moorestown later detected another target, but it proved to be the result of someone else’s training exercise; and near midnight Laredo reported an object which Moorestown identified as a satellite.
[redacted] Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units contributed to the defensive effort. In Puerto Rico and Hawaii, where the guard was responsible for air defense, interceptor squadrons increased their readiness, even though they were not called to federal service. Within the continental United States, reservists in recovery units serviced ADC interceptors that had been dispersed from their home bases as a precautionary measure.
Deterrence, in the form of SAC bombers and missiles, was essential to President Kennedy's efforts to solve the crisis. As he explained in his speech of 22 October, he would "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.” SAC's airborne alert must have been particularly effective in demonstrating Mr. Kennedy's determination.
[redacted] The Strategic Air Command, whose U-2 had brought back the 14 October photographs, evacuated its bombers from the vulnerable Florida bases and directed that as many as possible of its aircraft and missiles, including those being used for training purposes or undergoing modification, be readied for combat. SAC also ordered one-eighth of its B-52 force on airborne alert and dispersed 183 combat-ready B-47's to more than 30 airfields some of them civil airports. At these dispersal sites, volunteers from the Air Force Reserve guarded and helped maintain the bombers. Both the airborne alert, which involved two B-52's from each of 33 squadrons, and the dispersal of B-47's got underway on 22 October. The airborne alert remained in effect until 21 November when the command stood down from DEFCON 2 to DEFCON 3 [SAC went into Defense Condition 3 on 22 October and DEFCON 2 on.24 October. DEFCON 2 was readiness for imminent war.], and the B-47’s were recalled to their normal bases on the 24th.
[redacted] Statistically SAC's performance was most impressive. The command attained its greatest striking, power on 4 November. Ready on that day for employment in retaliatory attacks were 1,749 bombers, 182 ballistic missiles [redacted] and 1,003 tankers. In contrast the numbers available on 19 October had been 653 bomber, 112 ballistic missiles [redacted] and 358 tankers. Between 23 October and 26 November, SAC bombers made 2,511 flights.
[redacted] SAC aerial surveillance created a demand for an unusually large amount of film. Excluding the flights of 14 and 15 October. U-2’s exposed 289,560 feet of film during 82 sorties flown through 24 November.
[redacted] Although all commands were under orders to avoid possible provocations, SAC and the other agencies continued to fly routine aerial reconnaissance elsewhere. On 27 October, word reached the Pentagon that a U-2 was lost over Alaska. Planes from Elmendorf AFB subsequently located the stray and shepherd it to safety, but not before the reconnaissance aircraft had wandered over the Chukchi Peninsula, Siberia. The next day, Chairman Khrushchev complained to President Kennedy, who assured him that precautions were being taken to prevent recurrence of a regrettable incident.
[redacted] Beginning on 23 October, low flying Navy RF-8’s joined the U-2’s in ferreting out the weapon sites. On the 26th, TAC RF-101’s also began flying these low-altitude photographic missions. To insure adequate coverage, TAC increased to 72 the number of reconnaissance aircraft based in Florida. After Premier Khrushchev announced on 28 October that he would dismantle and remove the missiles, these same reconnaissance aircraft collected photographic proof that he actually was doing so. The low-level flights were cancelled during a two-day 930-31 October) diplomatic mission to Havana by U.N. Secretary General U Thant.
[redacted] To assist TAC and MATS squadrons, the President summoned to active duty 24 Air Force Reserve troop carrier squadrons and six aerial port companies. As a result of this order, TAC gained the services of 392 C-U9’s and 27 C-123’s. These formed a reservoir from which General Sweeney obtained planes and trained crews to join regular TAC and MATS units in executing the invasion plan.
[redacted] Other reserve crews assisted MATS by flying men and equipment to the southeastern United States and providing rescue aircraft in support of flights out of Florida. During the first two days of the crisis, reservists who had not been called to active duty flew 350 tons of material to various Florida bases. Although they remained in reserve status, as the buildup progressed these men transported 1,200 tons of cargo and 1,200 passengers into Florida. After the crisis eased they returned 1,500 men and 750 tons of cargo that had been deployed to the southeastern United States.
[redacted] MATS carried out numerous tasks during the Cuban contingency. In the last half of October, it trained 228 crews to drop equipment at night while flying in-formation--a skill required for execution of the invasion plan. Between 18 and 31 October, MATS also flew 5,568 tons of equipment and 4,148 men to Florida installations or to Guantanamo, the U.S. base in southeastern Cuba. MATS passengers included some 3,600 Marines whose gear totaled about 3,200 tons.
[redacted] Besides this activity, MATS conducted several operations in the United States and overseas. Among them were the support--almost completed prior to the crisis--of 7,000 troops who had been deployed to Oxford, Miss., to restore order on the campus of the state university, the delivery of about 1,000 tons of munitions to assist India to defend itself against Chinese incursions, and the airlifting of relief supplies to Guam following a typhoon. In all, MATS flew 99,000 hours on 3,800 missions between 1 October and 20 November.
Logistic and Technical Support
[redacted] The Air Force Systems Command, which was completing work on a number of SAC missile sites when the crisis broke, rushed 20 launchers and weapons to a state of emergency readiness, thus providing the retaliatory forces with an additional 71 megatons of destructive power. AFSC also helped improve the early warning net mentioned earlier, which stood watch against a possible missile attack from Cuba. Other AFSC activities included installing electronic countermeasures equipment on B – 52’S and providing technical assistance to the different USAF commands.
[redacted] The Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC) was refitting aircraft that were a part of the retaliatory force when the Soviet missiles were discovered. After SAC went to DEFCON 2, AFLC rushed some 130 strategic bombers and tankers back into service. Within three weeks, the command hurriedly modified 100 MATS C-124's to drop either troops or cargo. An indication of the magnitude of the logistical effort generated by the crisis was the fact that the Air Force required 612,000 barrels of jet fuel, 521, 000 of aviation gasoline, and 276,000 gallons of oil in order to be ready for war.
[redacted] The emergency buildup of forces in the southeastern United States disclosed deficits of munitions and equipment that, because of the need for haste, had to be provided by shifting existing resources rather than by increasing production. To meet requirements in the Cuban contingency plans, the Air Force directed MATS to fly 41 tons of 20mm ammunition from Europe to bases in the United States. Some additional amounts were rushed from domestic production lines directly to Florida. The Air Force decided to accept a temporary oversea shortage--one that could be made good by increased procurement--in order to provide adequate stocks for Cuban operations.
[redacted] Numerous items were re-allocated in this fashion. Headquarters USAF, for example, directed SAC to provide film for TAC’s low-level reconnaissance missions. Navy stores at McAllister, Okla., furnished parachute flares for Air Force planes operating from Florida. Also in short supply were 450-gallon wing tanks for the F-105; however, because the deficit was in spares rather than initial equipment, the Air Force decided against tapping USAFE resources unless the crisis grew worse.
[redacted] To keep watch over this extensive logistical buildup and supervise actions pertaining to the prepositioning of critical materiel at operating bases, Headquarters USAF established an Air Force Logistical Readiness Center in the Pentagon. The center, operating around the clock, enabled USAF planners to determine how the recall of munitions or equipment from distant depots would affect the ability of oversea commands to conduct contingency operations.
[redacted] Profiting from its Congo experience, the Air Force dispatched one of the recently fitted out Talking Bird communications planes to Florida so it would be available during the airborne assault on Cuba. It would link the attack force with headquarters in the United States. A second Talking Bird was on four-hour alert to join the first aircraft.
[redacted] The Air Force Communications Service controlled air traffic in and around Florida throughout the emergency. The organization installed rudimentary navigational aids--including traffic control and weather communications equipment--at four airfields, set up ground controlled approach equipment at one, and dispatched a tactical air navigation (TACAN) distance measuring transmitter to another. Supplementary radios were sent to the larger bases to help control traffic on taxiways and runways.
Assessing the Air Force Role
[redacted] During the Cuban crisis Headquarters USAF served largely as a resources management agency since its units operated under the direction of the JCS in unified or specified commands. In evaluating the contributions of air power under this command arrangement, the Directorate of Plans, at Headquarters USAF, emphasized SAC's importance in providing the strength to carry out, if necessary, President Kennedy's warning that any nuclear attack from Cuba would trigger retaliation in kind against the Soviet Union. According to this view, the overwhelming size and might of the American strategic force, made up mostly of bombers at this time, may well have convinced Russia's leaders that a surprise attack on SAC bases would be folly, stabilized the world situation, and influenced Premier Khrushchev to remove the missiles and bombers that had touched off the crisis.
[redacted] As far as supply was concerned, the Directorate of Operations argued that there were no actual shortages of materiel but that Air Force units suffered from delays in their redistribution. The fact remained, however, that adequate stocks of certain items were not where they were needed. As a result, these articles had to be recalled from oversea depots, thus creating shortages that would have to be filled from the production line. The delays encountered in transferring ordinance and equipment demonstrated, according to the Directorate of Operations, the need for a large fleet of fast jet transports.
[redacted] To meet the Cuban threat, the Air Force deployed almost a third of its tactical fighters to a few vulnerable bases in Florida. Besides exposing all too many planes to a possible sudden attack, their concentration resulted in overcrowding, straining of facilities, and excessive hardship on maintenance men. The Directorate of Operations suggested that some of the money saved by making maximum use of a minimum number of fields should have been sacrificed and more bases used to reduce vulnerability and ease the burdens on both men and facilities.
[redacted] In brief, the Air Force had strained to the limit to provide the necessary planes and crews. Committed to the invasion plan were all active duty and half the reserve troop carrier squadrons; only 14 operational tactical fighters based in the United States were not assigned to the Cuban strike force. MATS experienced a shortage of planes capable of carrying the bulky items required by Army Divisions. Had another emergency arisen elsewhere in the world at this time, the Directorate of Operations concluded, there would not have been men or planes enough to deal with it.
V. INTERVENTION IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
[Except where noted, this chapter is based largely on two studies: Bernard C. Nalty, The Air Force and the Dominican Crisis (TS-NOFORN) (AFCHO, 1967) and Concepts Div, Aerospace Studies Institute, AU, The Dominican Republic Crisis of 1965: The Air Force Role (s) (Dec 66).]
A rebellion erupted in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic, on 24 April 1965. The rebels declared that their goal was restoration of' a lawfully elected President, Juan Bosch, who had been deposed in September 1963 by a military junta for which Col. Elias Wessin y Wessin was spokesman. For a time it seemed as though the rebels might succeed. Donald Reid Cabral, who had been serving as President pending a national election, went into exile, but Wessin, now a general, rallied the military and sought to quell the uprising.
As bloody fighting continued and completely disrupted life within the capital, the United States landed Marines to evacuate foreign nationals and safeguard the American embassy. Within a short time, however, President Lyndon B. Johnson became convinced that the popular democratic revolution committed to democracy and social justice, “which had broken out on the 24th, had fallen into the hands of a band of Communist conspirators.” On 28 April, he therefore ordered the landing of additional Marines--some 500 had begun going ashore the previous day to protect the evacuation--and the deployment of airborne forces.
The Airborne Deployment
[redacted] Army and USAF units listed in the contingency plan for operations in the Dominican Republic began receiving warning orders on the evening of 26 April before the evacuation began. Two airborne battalion combat teams at Fort Bragg, N.C., were placed on DEFCON 3 alert and began rigging equipment to be loaded into C-130’s and parachuted onto a Dominican drop zone. At the time the alert was sounded, only 70 C-130’s were available on the ramps at Pope AFB, N.C., where Bragg-based airborne units loaded. The remainder--46 from MATS and 39 from TAC bases—did not depart for Pope until the units were directed to assume a DEFCON 2 posture. This order, issued the night of the 28th, also was the signal for MATS to provide six C-124's to carry bulky items not suited to the C-130.
[redacted] Loading began about five hours after the DEFCON 2 alert order reached Pope AFB. The delay was caused by the need to unload planes already on the ramps and haul away their cargoes. [These cargoes were to have been used in a parachute demonstration of airdrop methods.] Other factors slowed loading, including congestion on the ramps--the planes were parked so closely together that loading crews had little room to work--poor lighting, and inexperience among the loadmasters. The work required 18 1/2 hours, and the brigade did not attain DEFCON 2 until the night of 29 April.
[redacted] By the time the combat teams were in DEFCON 2, the JCS had issued instructions to two other airborne contingents to get ready for possible deployment. In the meantime, preparations continued to commit the first group, called Power Pack 1. On the morning of 2-9 April, after the troops and their equipment were loaded, an EC-135 airborne command post with a command group aboard flew to Ramey AFB, P. R., staging base for Power Pack 1. This plane was joined at Ramey by a C-130 carrying communications gear and operators. At about 1500 hours on 29 April, the JCS directed Power Pack I to begin its deployment, and at 1815 EST the C-130's began taking off.
[redacted] The Power Pack I contingency plan called for the aerial expedition to land at Ramey AFB where final preparations were to be made for a descent upon a drop zone in the vicinity of San Isidro airfield near the Dominican capital. While the 144 C-130's were en route to Puerto Rico, however, the air task force commander at Ramey received instructions to send the transports directly to the Dominican Republic, land at San Isidro, which was in the hands of Wessin’s forces, and unload the American troops.
[redacted] The commander, Brig. Gen. Robert L. Delashaw, promptly took off in the airborne command post, diverted the formation to San Isidro, and remained on station near the field to direct the incoming traffic. The first plane landed shortly after 0100 EST on 30 April, and within four hours 33 troop carriers and 46 cargo planes had arrived. Although the troop carriers were able to unload quickly and depart for Ramey, the cargo craft ·were not so fortunate. The crews handling heavy equipment and similar freight had neither the manpower nor the machinery' to expeditiously unload the materiel being brought in by the C-130's. As a result, General Delashaw ordered the other 65 planes to land at Ramey where they would refuel and wait until the mass of supplies and equipment at San Isidro had been sorted and stowed in an orderly fashion. By 0630 EST; the men at San Isidro were ready to resume unloading incoming cargo craft.
[redacted] While the Power Pack I contingent was being flown to the Dominican Republic, the JCS issued instructions to prepare to move four other airborne battalions – two each in Power Pack II and Power Pack III Rifle units of these battalions were given precedence over support elements and the logistical tail of Power Pack I (some 83 loads waiting to be picked up by transports returning to Pope from San Isidro). Power Pack II deployed between noon and midnight on 1 May, and Power. Pack III began on the morning of 2 May a move that was finished the following morning. In the meantime, two additional battalions went on alert, and these, known as Power Pack IV, began departing from Pope on the morning of 3 May. Their move took about 30 hours. The support and service units left behind by the combat teams rejoined their parent units on 4 and 5 May, and the 5th saw the deployment of corps support units as well.
[redacted] During the four Power Pack deployments, completed on 5 May with the arrival at San Isidro of the logistical tail, the Air Force carried some 12,000 troops and 7,500 tons of cargo. This effort took 915 sorties-- 596 by TAC C-130's, 227 by MATS C-130's, and 92 by C-124’s. A total of 304 transports took part in the operation.
Air Support for the Dominican Expedition
[redacted] The contingency plan for operations in the Dominican Republic provided for the deployment of tactical fighters and reconnaissance planes, and these were alerted on the night of 28 April. The JCS, however, did not issue orders to begin the deployment until 1 May when they authorized dispatch of a fighter squadron to Ramey AFB, provided the move did not interfere with the buildup of airborne forces in the Dominican Republic. Throughout the deployment, the movement of troops was given priority.
[redacted] The fighter unit, consisting of 18 F-100's and four spares, took off from Myrtle Beach AFB, S.C., on 2 May, refueled from KC-135’s, and landed that same day at Ramey. The four spare F-100's returned at once to the United States, but the others remained in Puerto Rico and flew 313 sorties totaling 594 hours before returning to Myrtle Beach on 28 May.
Meanwhile, about 150 'officers and men of the 354th Combat Service group had moved to San Isidro where they performed various jobs such as vehicle maintenance and light engineering. The unit, which included air police, returned to the United States on 28 May.
[redacted] The tactical reconnaissance element of six RF-10l's and three RB-66's deployed to Ramey on 2 May. Its activities were under the close scrutiny of the American ambassador to the Dominican Republic, W Tapley Bennett, who vetoed any proposed flights that he considered unnecessarily dangerous or provocative. Frequent tropical showers interfered with scheduled missions, and the photo processing equipment deployed with the camera planes proved, unable to turn out as many copies of photographs as desired. Gen. John P. McConnell, USAF Chief of Staff, urged the JCS to approve two changes in the planned deployments. On 5 May, he recommended sending' F-I04 interceptors to Ramey, instead of additional tactical fighters, in order to protect the aerial line of supply against modern Soviet-built fighters based in Cuba. He further proposed setting up a patrol of radar-equipped EC-12l's to cover those portions of Hispaniola not already being searched by radar. The JCS agreed to send 12 F-104’s but not the EC-121's. The latter, it turned out, were not needed because a San Isidro radar which was placed into operation provided the desired coverage. The F-l04's remained in Puerto Rico until 3 June; with their departure, the Navy assumed responsibility for air support of the forces ashore.
Other Air Force Activities
[redacted] From the outset the Air Force helped set up the communications necessary to control and direct an operation of this magnitude. The airborne command post guided Power Pack I into San Isidro, and an Air Force tactical air control center was the key element in the organization established to control traffic in and out of the Dominican airfield. As far as direction of the operation was concerned, Talking Bird communications planes provided an uncoded voice radio circuit linking San Isidro to the United States, and the Air Force later set up other radio and teletype channels.
[redacted] Special air warfare units also saw service in the Dominican Republic A pair of C-47’s, equipped with loudspeakers, departed for San Isidro on 2 May. Later that month, they were joined by two C-123’s, two U-10’s; a weather team, and a “bare base” photographic laboratory. None of these planes was lost to enemy fire, although several were hit by rebel guns, and one man was wounded while throwing leaflets from a plane. During the crisis, the planes flew extensive loudspeaker and leaflet-dropping missions in a psychological warfare campaign devised and supervised by representatives of the Central Intelligence Agency and UIiited States Information Service.
[redacted] Once the Power Pack airlift was concluded, the need for transport planes rapidly diminished. MATS on 6 May began reducing its commitment until it was flying only an occasional special mission to San Isidro. TAC also reduced the number of planes supporting the intervention. After it had helped fly in Latin American troops--elements of an Inter- American Peace Force being formed in Santo Domingo--TAC was able to limit its participation to providing courier aircraft. Many missions ordinarily flown by TAC or MATS later were taken over by Air Force Reserve and National Guard aircraft.
[redacted] After completion of the Power Pack deployments, USAF involvement rapidly diminished, even though American forces remained in Santo Domingo while a caretaker government assumed office, elections took place and Joaquin Balaguer became president. Not until September 1966 did the intervention come to an end. Despite the comparative brevity of Air Force participation, the operation disclosed various problems of concern to the service.
[redacted] The Air Force felt that the command structure had been unsatisfactory. Unlike the plan for operations against Cuba, the Dominican contingency plan had not called for the prompt establishment of component commands under Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic, and had failed to give USAF officers adequate control over Air Force units. The JCS sought to remedy these problems by having the TAC commander-in-chief act as Air Force component commander for both planning and operations.
[redacted] Many of the problems encountered during the Power Pack deployments, especially those resulting from overcrowding of base facilities, could be attributed to the tight control exercised over the operation by President Johnson and his advisers. Instead of simply directing the execution of the basic contingency plan, these authorities increased the number of men deployed, gave tactical air support a lesser priority than the plan suggested, and tried to adjust the military response to conform to their understanding of the political situation. This intensive supervision caused confusion--as occurred after the decision to unload rather than parachute Power Pack I--and some annoyance. However, since the operation was undertaken for a political purpose--to create a government acceptable to the United States or, conversely, to prevent the emergence of another Communist Cuba--political considerations were bound to take precedence over military.
VI. TRENDS AND GENERAL CONCLUSIONS
[redacted] Perhaps the most obvious lesson that can be drawn from the five deployments is that the armed forces must expect civil authority, to impose tight controls on them in times of emergency. As early as the Lebanon crisis, President Eisenhower operated in this fashion, sending his personal representative to negotiate a political settlement between rival factions. During the Taiwan crisis, this same President vetoed the planned use of nuclear weapons and made it clear that the Chinese would be given a warning with conventional explosives before he would authorize dropping of the deadlier ordnance. The Cuban crisis occasioned a great deal of extemporaneous planning by President Kennedy and his advisers in an effort to find an alternative to existing contingency plans. Finally, President Johnson and his immediate aides exercised detailed supervision over the entire Dominican venture.
[redacted] In each of the five examples, politican considerations imposed limitations on the amount of force that i:he President· would approve. In each case, the Chief Executive tried to avoid reacting more severely than circumstances warranted. Mr. Eisenhower, for example, did not permit armed action in support of the pro-Western but unpopular Chamoun regime, and more recently President Johnson decided that restoring order in the Dominican Republic and establishing an anti-Communist government did not justify the slaughter of the rebels.
[redacted] The Joint Staff, though it maintained in an analysis of lessons learned in the Dominican Republic that the executive department ought to implement existing contingency plans rather than improvise to meet the changing situation, apparently realized .that no President was likely to give free reign to the military in time of tension. Military commanders, the staff admitted, would have to anticipate detailed guidance from civil authorities at Washington.
Besides insisting on supervising the execution of contingency plans, Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy shared a reluctance to employ nuclear weapons when other ordnance seemed adequate. The assumption that the United States would meet Communist aggression by immediate nuclear retaliation did not survive the Taiwan crisis of 1958. President Eisenhower left no doubt that if the Chinese Communists moved against the offshore islands he would try high explosives before turning to nuclear weapons. The caution he displayed at this time, plus the nature of the earlier Lebanon crisis, essentially an internal political conflict, forced U. S. military planners to review their attitudes concerning nuclear war.
[redacted] Both the Army and, Navy suggested that nuclear weapons, though essential for general war, might not be suited to limited conflicts in which the Soviet Union was not directly involved. The Air Force at first resisted this idea and clung to the view that general war forces had an inherent ability to wage limited war. During 1960, however, the Air Force followed the lead of the other services and the Office of Secretary of Defense so that by year’s end, Gen. Thomas D. White, the Chief of Staff, was advocating the organization of forces capable of fighting limited wars of any intensity. It was not enough, he cautioned, to say that the Air Force was ready for limited war merely because it had large number s of nuclear weapons.
[redacted] This change in policy led to a modification of the oversea logistic network that had supported the Lebanon and Taiwan deployments. In both instances, the strike forces drew upon stocks located in the theater to which they deployed. The materiel located in these depots was primarily intended, however, for the support of general war forces. The increasing emphasis on limited war gave rise to suggestions that the Air Force establish separate stockpiles for general and limited war. During 1960, the Air Force changed its procedures and undertook to identify the material required to support current plans for limited war.
[redacted] Also affected by the growing interest in limited war was USAF munitions procurement. In 1956, after it had developed a new series of conventional bombs that entered production and disposed of older nonnuclear of conventional bombs that entered production and disposed of older nonnuclear explosive weapons. For such weapons, it turned to the Navy, which produced the Sidewinder and other items of ordnance adopted by the Air Force. USAF planning at this time placed primary emphasis on nuclear bombs, which the Air Force proposed to us as “conventional” ordnance.
[redacted] Following the crises of 1958, the Air Force gradually resumed work on conventional ordnance. These weapons were slow to reach tactical units, however, and almost a year after the Cuban missile crisis TAC was still complaining of shortages.
[redacted] In reaction to the series of contingencies, the United States in the decade beginning in 1958 undertook to modernize the tactical striking force. The number of fighter wings, only 16 as late as 1961, was boosted to 23 in just four years. This rapid increase in strength, however, was somewhat misleading insofar as improved effectiveness was concerned. Thus, while the number of wings already had reached 21 in 1964, some 62 percent of the fighters were seven or more years 'old. It was not until late 1964 and early 1965 .that the new F-4 fighter began entering the inventory in sufficient numbers to equip two wings and replace the aging F-84’s in two others.
Both tactka1 and strategic airlift also were modernized during this same period. Of particular importance to the tactical airlift squadrons was the delivery by mid-1965 of more than 300 C-130E's, long-range versions of TAC’s standard transport, all of which were scheduled for eventual assignment to the command. The acquisition of C-130's, early models of which had flown during the Lebanon and Taiwan crises, enabled the Air Force to transfer older transports, such as the C-1l9, to reserve units.
[redacted] The Military Air Transport Service was responsible for assisting the tactica1 force .in any sizable airborne operations. This became necessary as early as 1958 when MATS C-124's were called in to assist in deploying equipment required by the strike forces sent to Lebanon and Taiwan. For a time there was discussion of giving TAC C-124’s of its own, but the Air Force decided to leave the plane sunder MATS control. In the subsequent operations discussed in this study, MATS C-124’s either supplemented TAC’s C-130 airlift or stood ready to do so.
[redacted] The inadequacies of existing airlift became apparent during an exercise, conducted in March 1960, when MATS attempted to fly its normal supply missions throughout the world while at the same time supporting an airborne force on maneuvers in Puerto Rico. The exercise showed that' MATS required faster aircraft with greater range arid larger cargo compartments for bulky items.
To remedy the deficiencies the Air Force purchased 50 C-133's, but this aircraft proved difficult to maintain, was costly to operate, and was involved in several crashes. More reliable than the C-133, which underwent extensive modification, was the C-135 transport, 44 of which were purchased in 1962 and 1963. Another valuable acquisition was the C-130E. The newest transport, the C-141, which was hailed as the finest strategic transport to date, entered service in the spring of 1965 and gave promise of replacing the elderly C-124’s.
[redacted] Finally, the series of crises demonstrated the difficulties of working with allies. Seldom did the United States and the partner with whom it was cooperating agree wholeheartedly on both the objectives and the means of attaining them. In Lebanon, the United States did not share President Chamoun's belief that he should remain in office. The Chinese Nationalists, during the artillery bombardment of the offshore islands, grew impatient with Mr. Eisenhower's measured response. Even in the Congo, there were differences of opinion between Americans and U.N. officials over the employment of aircraft. The Cuban crisis in which America's European allies had little voice--ended in a Soviet retreat, but it may well have weakened the Western alliance by contributing to President Charles de Gaulle's determination to reduce French dependence upon the United States. Also, during the intervention in the Dominican Republic, Antonio Imbert Berrerra, the individual the United States endorsed as provisional ruler, tried to use this American support to satisfy his own political ambitions.
(The basic sources used to prepare this monograph--historical reports, special chronologies, and AFCHO histories--have been identified at the beginning of each chapter with an asterisk footnote. All other supplementary materials used are given below.)
1. Abdul Aziz Said, “Lebanon, 1958, in Center for Research in Social Systems, American University, Challenge and Response in Internal Conflict, vol 2, pp 433-435.
2. Ibid, pp 436-448
3. Royce E. Eckwright, USAFE Support of the Lebanon Operation, Jul-Oct 58 (USAFE, 1959), pp 320-322.
4. Abdul Aziz Said, "Lebanon, 1958” pp 449; Robert Murphy, Diplomat Among Warriors (New York: Pyramid Books, 1965), pp 446-447.
5. Air Force and Space Digest, Sep 60, p 109.
6. Charles H. Hildreth, USAF Logistic Preparations for Limited War, 1958-1961 (AFCHO, 1962), P 42.
7. Eckwright, USAFE Support of the Lebanon Operation, p 361.
8. Abdul Aziz Said, “Lebanbn 1958,” pp 450-451.
9. Eckwright, USAFE Support of the Lebanon Operation, p 399; Capabilities Br, Tactical Div, Dir/Ops, Hq USAF, USAF Lessons Learned in Lebanon and Taiwan, l958, p 10.
1, Air Force Deployments in Support of. National Policy, 1958-1963 (S-NOFORN) (AFCHO, 1963), pp 8-9; Hildreth, USAF Logistic Preparations for Limited War, p 42.
2. USAF Lessons Learned in Lebanon and Taiwan, p 43.
1. Gerald T. Cantwell, MATS and New Tape (Hist Div, MATS, 1960), p 5.
2. Air Force Deployments in Support of National Policy, p 17.
3. Cantwell, pp 17, 29-30.
1. John Edwin Fagg, Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic (Inglewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1965), pp 52-53, 83.
2. Ibid., pp 91-93, 103-108.
3. SECDEF Special Cuba Briefing (U), 6Feb 63, pp 5-6.
4. Chronology of the Cuban Crisis (U), atch to SECDEF Special FCuba Briefing.
6. Public Papers of the Presidents; John F. Kennedy, 1962, p 485.
1. John Bartlow Martin, “The Struggle to Bring Together Two Sides Torn by Killing,” Life, 28 May 65, p. 29; Henry Wells, “Turmoil in the Dominican Republic,” Current History, Jan 66, pp 16-19.
2. Dept of State Bulletin, 16 May 65, pp 738-739, 745-747.
1. Robert D. Little and Wilhelmine Burch, Air Operations in The Lebanon Crisis of 1958 (S), (.AFCHO, 1962), pp 62-63; Jacob Van Staaveren, Air Operations in the Taiwan Crisis of 1958 (S), (AFCHO, 1962), pp 51-52; Chronology of the Cuban Crisis; Bernard C. Nalty, The .Air Force and the Dominican Republic, (TS-NOFORN), (AFCHO, 1967):-pp 11-12.
2. Little and Burch,p 62; Nalty, pp 45-46.
3. Nalty, p 57.
4. George F. Lemmer, The Air Force and Strategic Deterrence, 1951-1960 (TS-NOFDRN),-(.AFCHO; 1967), p 66.
5. Ibid.; Hildreth, USAF Logistic Preparations for Limited War, pp 5-6, 10-11.
6. Hildreth, pp 18-19; 23-26.
7. Ibid., pp 42-43; Lemmer, p 69.
8. George F. Lemmer, Strengthening USAF General Purpose Forces, 1961-1964 (TS-NOFORN), (AFCHO, 1966), 66-68.
9. Ibid., P 71; DOD Annual Rprt, FY 1965, pp 310-313.
10. DOD Annual Rprt, FY 1965, p 325.
11. Hildreth, p 42.
12. Ibid., pp 48-49.
13. George F. Lemmer, Strengthening USAF Airlift Forces, 1961-1964 (S-NOFORN), (AFCHO, 1966), p 12.
14. Nalty, pp 43-47; USAFE Hist Div, The Congo Airlift, p 27; Abdul Aziz Said, "Lebanon (1958), " pp 450-451; Raymond Aaron, The Great Debate: Theories of Nuclear Strategy, tr. Ernst Pawel (New York, 1965), pp 95-96; M, H. Halperin, The 1958 Taiwan Straits Crisis: A Documented History (TS-RD-NOFORN), (Rand, 1966), pp 340-341, 534-536.
AB – Air Base
AFB – Air Force Base
AFCHO – U.S. Air Force Historical Division Liaison Office
Ala – Alabama
ASI – Aerospace Studies Institute
Atch – Attachment
Br – Branch
CASF – Composite Air Strike Force
CINCEUR – Commander-in-Chief, European Command
CINCLANT – Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic
CINCSPECOMME – Commander-in-chief, Specified Command, Middle East
DEFCON – Defense Condition
Dir – Director, Directorate
Div – Division
DOD – Department of Defense
EDT – Eastern Daylight Time
EST – Eastern Standard Time
Feb – February
Gp – Group
IL. – Ilyushin
Jan – January
JCS – Joint Chiefs of Staff
LST – Landing Ship Tank
MATS – Military Air Transport Service
MIG – Mikoyan Gurevich
Memo – Memorandum
NOFORN – Not Releasable to Foreign Nationals
N.J. New Jersey
Oct – October
Op – Operation
p – page
pp – pages
P.R, - Puerto Rico
RD – Restricted Data
SAC – Strategic Air Command
S.C. – South Carolina
SECDEF – Secretary of Defense
Sep – September
TAC – Tactical Air Command
Tex – Texas
Tr – translator
TS – Top Secret
U.N. – United Nations
U.S. – United States
USAFE – United States Air Forces, Europe
Va – Virginia
Vol – volume
42 -44. AFXDO
71- 72. SAC
73- 75. TAC
82-84. ASI (ASHAF-A)
85-100. AFCHO (Stock)