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April 18, 1961
The Bay of Pigs Invasion happened the day before my birth. Mere hours after. I know I blog about the state of the world when I was born, in general terms, that bomb shelters were the norm. Emergency drills community wide were never a surprise. My father, in the Canadian air force, on stand by (think of being on on call and lock down combined).
The invasion began on April 17, 1961 when the Cuban-exile invasion force, known as Brigade 2506 along the Bay of Pigs. Unfortunately Castro’s regime was prepared and they were immediately under attack. wo of the ships transporting the soldiers were sunk and half of the air support for the Brigade was shot down. On top of that the weather was worse than expected and the men were unprepared for the attack. They eventually ran out of dry equipment and ammunition. Castro’s retaliation was much quicker than the rebellion forces were prepared for as he sent out 20,000 troops out to the beach and he poured airplanes in the sky within 24 hours of the attack. There seemed to be no sign of relief so in a last stich effort President Kennedy sent six unmarked fighter planes to help defend the brigade. However the emergency planes arrived too late and 1200 exiles surrendered and 100 were killed in the attack. The 1200 who surrendered were thrown in various prisons around Cuba. In the end the US surrendered tractors and other goods to Cuba in exchange for the release of the prisoners.
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