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1960: Castro Hits The Floor
January 2, 1960 sparked the deaths of Fidel Castro and his brother Raul at the hands of carpet bombers, and the births of a new administration led by Che Guevara and a plan to invade the Southern United States. This alternate history I also enjoy using the title 'Two Birds With One Stone'. This is the story.
Operation Fire From Above
As you may know, the late 1950s - early 1960s really marked Cuba on the map as a 'Communist paradise'. Fidel Castro rose to worldwide infamy, as did the Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis; however, imagine that the latter two did not happen, at least, right away.
On December 14, 1959, at 12:30 pm, President Eisenhower officially authorized the assassination of Fidel Castro. Approximately 30 minutes after this announcement, Secretary of Defense Thomas S. Gates, Jr. contacted the Colombian Air Force in hopes of conducting a joint operation with the USAF. Days later, the operation was designated 'Operation Fire From Above'.
On January 2, 1960, at 8:36 am, a group of B-52s entered airspace over Isla de Pinos. The Colombian Army had evacuated almost the entire population of the island to Nueva Gerona in the north.
At that time, Fidel and Raul Castro were meeting at their secret bunker to discuss 'business opportunities' with North Korea.
At 8:53 am, the Castro bunker came into view from the B-52's. At exactly 8:53:29 am (according to the pilot's watch) the bombs, all seven (count 'em) fell out of the cargo doors. At that moment, both Fidel and Raul Castro were vaporized within 0.04 of detonation.
For most, it was a national day of celebration the next morning, after President Eisenhower made his speech from the Truman Balcony. In Washington D.C., jubilant throngs filled Lafayette Square.
On January 9, Che Guevara succeeded Fidel Castro as First Secretary, and swiftly began launching a revenge attack on the United States.
On January 17, the CIA released a statement citing 'unawareness of Raul Castro's presence in the building'.
Cuban invasion of U.S.
On March 3, 1960, several Sang-O class submarines were spotted off the coast of Louisiana by the radar of the USS South Dakota, which was refueling in Gulfport, Mississippi.
On March 4, 1960, the Cuban military launched aerial attacks on NAS Meridian (Meridian, MS), NMCB 133 (Gulfport, MS), NSA New Orleans (New Orleans, LA), NASJRB New Orleans (Belle Chasse, LA), NSA Corpus Christi (Corpus Christi, TX), NAS Kingsville (Kingsville, TX), CIDCS (Myrtle Grove, FL), NAS Jacksonville (Jacksonville, FL), NAS Key West (Key West, FL), NAS Mayport (also Jacksonville), NSA Panama City (Panama City, FL) NAS Pensacola (Warrington, FL), and NAS Whiting Field (Milton, FL).
At NMCB 133 in Gulfport, Lt. Cdr. Bernhard Arbeit and Lt. Harley Franklyn heard the air raid siren and quickly fled to a nearby rooftop, both brandishing M40 recoiless rifles. Arbeit and Franklyn managed to shoot down nine MiG's altogether.
Also, at NAS Mayport, Capt. Curtis Rey, pilot of an AC-47 Spooky gunship began shooting down enemy fighters; he downed eighteen in a matter of thirty minutes before being shot himself. He managed to land the plane at NAS Jacksonville, and helped the efforts of stockpiling supplies inside of a bunker housing more than forty officers.
Cdr. B.A. Murgatroyd jumped inside an M48 Patton tank and drove frantically up and down the runway at NAS Key West, shooting down enemy planes as they came. However, the tank was hit by a missile from a MiG-27, yet Murgatroyd managed to climb out of the tank to safety. He later had twelve artificial intervertebral discs inserted into his spine shortly after to cope with a back injury he suffered during the explosion (of the tank).