The Bordelon was as close as you could get! We need more history on the site!!

It was October of 1962 and the attack on Cuba was imminent – believe me I knew as I read the incoming messages.  We were positioned directly off Havana and our primary mission was to alert Boca Chica if an aircraft taking off from Havana airport did not make an immediate hard right turn after departing.  This happen a few times and the fighter aircraft were launched immediately.  Our planes were on the runway 24/7 ready to go.  No ship was closer to Havana than we were. 


Fortunately they never had to attack.  The Cuban or Russian aircraft got the message in time to get back on an acceptable flight path. 


Then the air search radar at GTMO failed.  We were ordered to proceed to GTMO at flank speed to serve as their backup air search radar system.  We were almost there when the crisis ended and the Russians backed down and left. 


We got to GTMO but we missed the real fun.  The base commander thought it would be a good idea to have stage some prize fights to let relieve the pressure that the marines who were ready to go into Cuba.  The “fights” turned into a full scale riot with the spectators fighting each other for fun.  It was a real show to say the least. 


 At the same time, Castro accused us of stealing water.  All of GTMO’s water came in over the hills in a single highly visible pipeline.  The base commander did not ask anyone up the chain of command what to do.  He took immediate action and sent the Seabees up the hill and had the water line cut and capped on each end.  He then told Castro that we had never stolen his water and would never pay him for any again.


We were lucky because we could produce our own water supply.  It only took a few days before the first tanker came in loaded with water and the problem was fixed at least from an emergency point of view but in the meantime the officers and enlisted clubs had great happy hours.  A double Scotch on the rocks was a nickel (ice didn’t count) but a Scotch and water was $1.00.  You could get enough booze to kill you for $.50.


Larry Maucher