They not only fought for Cuba’s freedom, many of these Cuban soldiers went on to fight in foreign lands for the United States.
Bay of Pigs Soldiers Should be Given Veteran Status
There is a small number of brave warriors who fought for the United States, and their Cuban homeland, that have been relegated to the sidelines and not given the recognition they deserve as official U.S. Veterans.
Sixty years ago this week, Cuban exiles trained and supplied by the United States landed at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Communist dictatorship of Fidel Castro.
The exiles that formed Brigade 2506 were driven from Cuba after Castro came to power in early 1959. The exiles hoped to liberate their homeland and, with President Eisenhower’s approval, were trained in Guatemala and in the United States by the CIA and the American military. Plans were presented to land the exiles, from staging areas in Guatemala and Nicaragua, in Cuba to start a counterrevolution against the Communist regime. After the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in January 1961 the new President approved the landing action. Legendary CIA personnel such as David Atlee Phillips were involved in the operation as were some American Service Members.
While the plan formulated under President Eisenhower called for air support for the landing, JFK refused to provide air cover for the exiled Brigade. Kennedy believed that the U.S. providing air cover would expose U.S. involvement and direction of the operation despite rumors of the upcoming invasion being broadcast on Radio Moscow and a preliminary air strike being launched two days before the invasion by American planes that had been painted over.
With the cover of Brigade 2506 essentially blown, the invasion nevertheless went ahead at U.S. behest on April 17, 1961. And despite the fact that the Brigade needed help in order to survive, let alone have a successful operation, once upon shore their requests for repeated help were almost completely denied.
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