Section 6. Marine Corps Early Years of Involvement in Cuba
Prior to the Spanish-American War
Marine Corps involvement with the island of Cuba dates back prior to the U.S. declaration of war against Spain in 1898. During this period Congress had appropriated fifty million dollars for land and naval forces, some one hundred thousand of which was to go to the Marine Corps for supplies and equipment to establish a naval base at Guantanamo Bay. In addition Congress increased the authorized strength of the Corps from about 2900 to 4500 officers and men. The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Colonel Heywood, was directed under Executive Order to ready two battalions to serve with the North Atlantic Squadron. On April 17, two days after war was declared, one reinforced battalion sailed to Key West, Florida under the command of LtCol Robert W. Huntington. Following a brief stay, the battalion reembarked on June 6 to join Admiral Sampson's units in Cuban waters. On June 10, the Marine landed at Guantanamo Bay, occupied Fisherman's Point and set up the first Marine Camp on Cuban soil.
Agreement to Lease Cuban Land for U.S. Use
The Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is the oldest United States overseas military Base. In 1903, the United States and Cuba signed an agreement to lease a portion of its land. The agreement set forth the boundaries and granted the United States the right to perform all necessary work to develop the area. The agreement recognized that Cuba would retain ultimate sovereignty (not fully defined) over the area. The total agreement covered over 28,000 acres or 45 square miles of land and water. By ratification on October 6, 1903 by both countries, the United States agreed to pay the Cuban Government $2,000 in gold coin annually for the use of the leased area so long as the U.S. continued to occupy the land. In 1934 the amount of payment changes to a little over $3,300.00 in U.S. currency - this was primary due to the gold coin being discontinued and the dollar being devalued.
The following decades saw a procession of Marine units enroute to or returning from the Caribbean action. Units passed through on their way to Nicaragua, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The Negro Rebellion of 1912 forced the U.S. to again intervene in Cuba to protect U.S. citizens and property in Oriente Province. The First Provisional Brigade under the command of Colonel Lincoln Karmany was organized and stationed at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.
For the next twenty years the Marines stationed at Guantanamo Bay performed normal garrison duties. The work of maintaining existing facilities and providing for the frequent arrival of training units was a never-ending process. In addition the barracks supported the units on duty in Haiti and the Dominican Republic until the were subsequently withdrawn. During this period the bay area was extensively used by both the Marine Corps and Navy for fleet training. Hicacal Beach was a frequent target of combined operations and early amphibious doctrine was tested, amended and retested. In addition, Marines came ashore to fire small arms on the rifle range, which is now the location of the bases golf course.
Marine aviation used parts of the base for training. It was not until the summer of 1940 that action was taken to build an air station at the base. The most suitable location was found at Fisherman's Point. During the air stations construction, provisions were also made to construct an additional air station within the base. A self sufficient Marine Corps base for 2,000 officers and men was constructed at Marine Site 1 (Casa Point), Marine Site 2, (Defense Point), and Marine Site 3 (Marina Point).
Of paramount importance during World War II and through the Korean Conflict, was the Marines' mission as part of the Shore Defense Force. The base was divided into sectors and subsection, each with its own code name and lines of communication to the Force Control Center. In case of enemy attack at any point on the base, word would be flashed to the Control Center designating the critical point by its sector and sub-sector name, and the Marine battalion would dispatched to that particular point. The plan was repeatedly tested and amended through a series of practice alerts. Prior to the beginning of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the Shore Defense Plan continued.
On October 19, 1962, the Shore Defense Plan was conducted again, this time for possible attack into the base by the Cuban military.
The location of Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, reveals its strategic importance and explains the need for continued U.S. military occupation. The base lies at one corner of a strategic rectangle of bases in the Caribbean from which ships and aircraft can be deployed quickly to any trouble spot to assist member nations of the Organization of American States (OAS) in resisting alien penetration. Naval units at Guantanamo Bay and at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, can maintain surveillance over the principle passage to the Caribbean: Windward Passage at the eastern tip of Cuba, Mona Passage between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, and Anegada Passage in a voyage from Norfolk to San Diego. It should also be noted that Guantanamo protects the eastern approaches to the Panama Canal, one of the most important waterways in the Western Hemisphere.
Teamed with units from Key West, Guantanamo-based ships and aircraft can effectively patrol the Acetin Straits connecting the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Its key location in the Caribbean and its proximity to the United States mainland makes the base at Guantanamo Bay the most important base in the vital Caribbean area.
The Beginning of the Cuban Missiles Crisis -
Events leading to the Quarantine
On achieving power in 1959, Fidel Castro openly collaborated with Russia, which allowed him to operate as a political power. During the early part of Castro's regime relations with Russians were at times strained.
Russia waited and watched before responding to Castro's growing need for support. It was not until February 1960 that the Russians committed themself to fully support the new regime. Sugar purchase agreements were made, followed by a variety of trade and credit agreements. This was then followed by a flow of Communist Bloc technicians and arms into Cuba. This assistance was indispensable to the survival of the Castro regime and had the effect of Cuba's alignment within the communist bloc nations.
On April 16, 1961 the Bay of Pigs invasion into Cuba took place. From a military standpoint it proved to be a complete disaster to rid Cuba of Castro. 1200 men were stranded after substantial aircraft from the invading force were lost and three ships carrying troops were sunk at sea.
In the early part of 1962, the hard line Communists in Russia attempted to gain ascendancy over Castro. In April 1962, Castro won endorsement into the communist fold where leading communists view Castro's new Cuban Revolutionary Party as a good step toward a true Marxist-Leninist Party. Further truth of Castro's acceptance into the communist circles was evident on 14 May 1962 where a Soviet-Cuban supplementary trade protocol was signed.
Unknown to the United States at the time was that the Soviet Union had planned to sent 60 medium-range missiles, along with 40,000 Soviet military forces to Cuba.
In June 1962, a 6 mile area around the base was declared a "militarized zone". This was due to an increase in physical harassment of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base by Cuban Soliders. Families on the Cuban side of the base were removed, farms vacated and travel restricted on roads leading to and from the base were imposed. Daily radio broadcasts claimed that the United States was using the bases for espionage and over 180 alleged U.S. aircraft and ships at sea violations of Cuban territorial limits were noted.
On July 2, 1962 Raul Castro arrived in Moscow for two weeks of talks with Khrushchev and other high ranking Soviet officials to discuss additional military equipment for the Cuban nation. This meeting resulted in an immediate and complex military buildup that was not to end until the U.S sighting of offensive missiles in Cuba in October.
A large-scale increase of Soviet ship movement to Cuba became apparent in the latter part of July 1962. Thirty Soviet merchants arrived in Cuban ports during that month, a 50 percent increase over the previous month. The increase became more evident in August, when 55 Soviet ship arrived in Cuba. September was a peak month which saw 66 Soviet arrive in Cuban ports.
The buildup of Soviet technicians and equipment continued in October, when 40 Soviet ships arrived in Cuba, despite the fact that, on the institution of the naval Quarantine imposed by the U.S. 16 Ships believed to be headed for Cuba turned back to Soviet ports. Approximately four flights per day were flown between Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and Key West for shipping surveillance by the U.S. military. Strategic material inbound for Cuba was photographed on a daily basis. The associated with the buildup of offensive weapons did not fully surface until just prior to October when U.S. intelligence confirmed that offensive weapons were being sent from Russia to Cuba.
Communist Military Forces Arrive in Cuba
Prior to August 1962, there was evidence that Communist Bloc forces were in Cuba, total amounts was undetermined. A large influx of communist military forces occurred during August and September 1962, when a total of 9 Bloc passenger ships arrived in Cuba. It was estimated at the time that these 9 Bloc ships had a capacity to carry 20,000 passengers, yet with no basis for a firm estimate, national intelligence estimated that only 5,000 came on these ships.
In early September 1962, the existence of surface-to-air missiles in Cuba were confirmed. The majority of the missiles were the GUIDELINE or the so-called SA-2s.
By 13 November 1962, it was evident that Soviet military personnel were present in Cuba in a much greater strength than previously estimated. At this time it appeared that the total could be as much as 16,000 troops. Military intelligence showed that there were about 21,000 Soviet military personnel in Cuba. It was also estimated that following the removal of the missile and light bombers about 4,000 missile personnel and airman departed. It was not until three decades later that it became evident that approximately 40 tactical ballistic missiles were available for use against U.S. forces in the event that the U.S. launched an attack on Cuba.
It is now clear that the Soviet Union undertook to establish a Soviet offensive capability in Cuba during the spring of 1962. The introduction of a mixed-force of offensive aircraft and medium range missiles closely followed the defensive buildup.
Cuban Missile Crisis in Review
Sequence of Events:
On September 13, 1962 President Kennedy issued a statement to Congress concerning the possible missile threat to the U.S. and the increase of a Soviet buildup in Cuba. On 15 September, the first group of Soviet missiles arrived in Cuba. A couple of days later, a U-2 overflight of the island discovered 6 canvas objects measuring some 60 feet long - resembling Soviet missiles - the next day President Kennedy was told of the discovery.
On September 16, 1962, President Kennedy was told that medium range ballistic missiles were in Cuba. He was also informed that 40,000 Soviet troops in full battle dress were already on the island to repel any attempt by the United States to invade the island and rid it of the Soviet missiles. If the invasion by US forces had taken place, Soviet ground commanders had permission to launch tactical nuclear missiles at the invading US forces. As a result the US would has suffered 90-95 percent causalities, and most likely would have begun World War III. Three decades later, it was noted that 12 short range tactical nuclear missiles had been positioned along the shoreline in those places that could have supported a amphibious landing by US forces. Also, it was noted that 36 Medium Range Ballistic Missiles, each having a one megaton warhead had been placed on the island and could have been readied to be fired at the United States - reaching a path of destruction of 1000 Nautical Miles.
At the beginning of October 1962, the Atlantic Command was in its normal peacetime configuration.
On October 20, 1962, President Kennedy ordered a quarantine around Cuba and told US forces to prepare for a possible invasion into Cuba - again not knowing of the ground tactical nuclear missiles.
On the evening of October 22, 1962, President John F. Kennedy, speaking to the Nation on radio and television, described a concerned buildup of Russian missiles in Cuba. The President announced the establishment of a naval quarantine to be effective as of 0900 EST, on the 24th of October. The choosing of the word quarantine verse a blockage implied military action against the Cubans and since the Russians were Cuba's main sponsor, the United States did not want to start hostilities with both countries. The quarantine was to prevent additional shipments of additional arms into Cuba. If necessary, the United States was prepared to take additional action.
While the immediate background of the crisis was one of steadily deteriorating Cuban - U.S. relations, the President made it very clear that this was most then a Cuban - U.S. crisis. It was in fact a direct confrontation between the security of the United States and the challenge posed by the Soviet Union. The President dramatized this fact by asserting that any missiles fired from Cuba against a country within the Western Hemisphere would be considered a direct attack by the Soviet Union and the appropriate response would be countered.
For the public, the President's address was the first alarm bell of danger. But for many days the Commander-in-Chief Atlantic (CINCLANT) had been preparing to counter this newest aspect of the Russian buildup in Cuba.
On October 22, 1962, a Marine battalion arrived in Cuba to establish a defensive zone for a possible Cuban assault into the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, all U.S. dependents evacuated. Within the next couple of days additional Marine forces landed on both the windward and leeward sides of the base.
Marine Corps CI Called into Action - 1st CI Team
The "Missile Crisis" came on the heels of the disastrous operation(s) at the Bay of Pigs, some 18 months prior to the crisis. According to WO Robert A. Connly, CI Team Commander, "the Battalion Landing Team (BLT) was "locked and cocked" and chomping at the bit to give Fidel a bloody nose"! That attitude prevailed until the President spoke to the Nation on 22 October 1962. That speech outlined a policy of quarantine and blockage vis-a-vis invasion, etc. That policy essentially took the "wind out of the ground forces sails." - little to know that tactical nuclear missiles were set-in-place by the Cubans for a possible U.S. Military invasion. WO Connly further noted: "the remainder of the deployment to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base - better refered to as Gitmo - would be devoted in establishing a defensive posture."
The First Counterinteligence Team
Preparing for Deployment - 1st CIT Activity Reports:
During 19 October 1962 thru 17 December 1962, the 1st Counterintelligence Team (CIT) provided support to the First Marine Division. One CI sub-team was provided to each of the three regiments of the division with a fourth divided and placed in the artillery regiment and a separate battalion. On 19 October Warrant Officer Robert Connly was given a warning order during the mid-morning by then Captain Roger Saffer, First CI Team commander. By mid-afternoon, WO Connly, along with his sub-team, Staff Sergeant Ted Jacobson and Sergeant Aubry Stone, reported to Lieutenant Colonel B. E. Blue, Commanding Officer, Second Battalion, First Marines. The initial CI support to the 2nd Battalion 1st Marines (2/1), related to the sub-team conducting security inspections of battalion headquarters, and assisted the battalion commander in processing top secret accesses for those key members of the battalion. Although a host of CI problems poped-up following the initial alert, the two most significant problems according the WO Connly was "movement security and unauthorized telephone calls, along with the merchants surrounding Camp Pendleton and battalion dependents, expressing interests in; what unit(s) were leaving; where were they going; and how long would they be gone just to name a few." From the initial alert to the actual movement to the Marine Corps Air Station at El Toro, California proved to be a daunting task for the CI Team in addressing basic security measures related to the battalions who were in schedule air alert.
On 20 October 1962, aboard busses, the entire battalion along with the CI sub-team were transported up the Pacific coast to board awaiting aircraft at El Toro. The next day WO Connly departed with the command element of 2/1 on a flight for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Once on the ground at Guantanamo Bay, WO Connly immediately established liaison with the base's intelligence personnel, Marine Barracks, Office of Naval Investigations and the Ground Forces Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2. WO Connly worked out of the G-2 Section, Ground Forces. WO Connly noted that "Ground Forces G-2 consisted of Lieutenant Colonel Erni Freeman - the intelligence officer, who was assisted by Major E. Bateman and 2nd Lieutenant J. J. Guenther - both from Headquarters, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic (FMFLANT)."
On 22 October, the remainder of WO Connly's sub-team arrived at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and after the initial landing on the Leeward side of the base took residence at the Marine Barracks S-2 office. At this time it should be pointed out that due to the actual bay running through the base, the base was divided into a Windward and Leeward side. Also, the sub-team was assigned CI duties and received briefings on the current situation. Later that afternoon and into the night, the sub-team met with key informants from the Marine Barracks informant net.
According the WO Connly, "many Cuban workers aboard the base were unwilling to return to Cuban soil in fear of reprisal by the Castro regime and had established a cuban community on the base near main side." "Many of the cuban base dwellers acted as informants and assisted the Marine Barracks Intelligence Section." This was especially true when word was passed to the sentries at the North East Gate (Main Gate) to lookout for individuals entering the bases in a collection effort pertaining to the current situation of the base.
Also, at this time, COMPHIBRON 8 had been directed by CINCLANTFLT to off load the Marine BLT 2/2. The BLT then joined the battalion which had been flown in from Camp Pendleton the day before. COMPHIBRON 10 was beginning to out load BLT 3/8 on the USS Boxer (LPH). One fully loaded COMPHIBRON 10 joined the remainder of its group off the coast of Onslow Beach on 25 October 1962. CINCLANTFLT then directed the group to take up a holding position off the coast Florida.
During the early morning hours, the 3rd Marine Battalion arrived and established a defensive zone for a possible Cuban assault into the Naval Base. All U.S. dependents were ordered to leave; within the next several days additional Marine forces arrived and were positioned around the entire perimeter of the Naval Base. Coordination with the 3rd Battalion's Command and Staff element pertaining to the situation was conducted by the CI Team.
On 23 October, the sub-team travel by jeep to the North East Gate to observe the arrival of the cuban work force who worked on the base. The main reason for the trip noted by WO Connly "was that a large majority of the cuban work force lived in Guantanamo City, a town outside the bases perimeter that encompassed the upper portion of the bay inside of Cuba". At the North East Gate, entry into the bases was accomplished by the cuban workers going through a turn-style arraignment, observed by the assigned Marine Barracks guard personnel at the gate. To gain entry into the base, each person had to display a photographic identification card. At different intervals, depending on the guidance from base intelligence, some workers were stopped and patted down to see if they were carrying any counterband. One individual from Marine Barracks assigned to the North East Gate was then Lance Corporal C. A. Menges, the author of this oral history.
On 24 October, the team began compiling a statistical history of Communist ascendancy in Cuba, to include a personality list of those individuals residing in the Oriente Province surrounding the Naval Base and to compile a counterintelligence target list of Guantanamo City and Oriente Province. Later that evening some team members were dispatched to investigate reports of line crossers in the vicinity of Kettery Beach.
On 25 October, the team prepared a message to all units aboard the base, instructing them on procedures in the handling of any line crossers. WO Connly toured the perimeter of the base to evaluated the collection of intelligence by Marines positioned on perimeter duty. For the next couple of days, the team continued work on the personality lists, completed work on compiling the CI target list in Guantanamo City and Oriente Province and completed cards on the Black/White and Gray (B/WG) personality list.
28 October, WO Connly was informed that "at 2100 hours, it was discovered that a EE-8 phone line had been tapped inside the defensive lines around the base". A further investigation of the incident revealed that the tap line ran through the fence of the base's perimeter into Cuban territory and that during the night, two unidentified personnel had attempted to penetrate the defensive lines. Due to the incident, the Office of Naval Intelligence and Marine Barracks aboard the base initiated a program for the firing of subversive Cubans from the base. One Cuban was dismissed and the CI Team was asked to participate in this program beginning the next day.
29 October, saw the team commence to assemble a B/WG Personality List for Fleet Marine Force Atlantic.
On 31 October, the CI Team completed the B/G/W list for FMFLant. The team also compiled a list of problems and recommendations to improve security within the Ground Forces for the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 and provided a list of sections of the Defense Committee of the Revolution (CDR) in Guantanamo City. According to WO Connly, "many man-hours were spent in compiling this information for the G-2". Up and to the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Marine CI continued to gather information that was useful towards the total collection of intelligence on the Cubans. Daily coordination and directions were provided and the following accounts of the Teams activities were:
1-2 November 1962 - Debriefed a Cuban refugee; distributed to all Company level commanders reproduction photos of Russian equipment determined to be in Oriente Province, also provided town plan of Guantanamo City; Tab "A" to Appendix I, Operations Order 4-62 prepared and completed the CI Appendix to the Ops Order.
On 3 November, the Team received a wire tapping report from 2/1. According to WO Connly investigation, the lines were followed and lead to a pole where a radio relay personnel from the Communications Battalion tried to reverse the tap without success.
6 November, the team interviewed walk-in informants and Captain Regan, Team Commander, 2nd CIT reported aboard on a liaison visit and was provided with a up-date brief on current CI activities.
On 8 November, reports that Tab "A" to Appendix 1 to Annex "B" of the Operations Plan were compromised by copies being left on the mimeograph machine. Due to this fact, preparation of a new Tab "A" was issued.
From 9 to 13 November, the following CIT activity took place: Investigated security violations and type reports to be submitted to the G-2; Received permission from the G-2 to establish a informant net and to initiate a search for a possible safe house; advised the G-2 concerning the security clearance program; and finalized information received from a informant to be submitted to the G-2.
15 November, received information from the Base Police of possible use of narcotics (marijuana) by military personnel and conducted four Background Investigations (BI's) concerning Marine personnel aboard the base.
sub-team space and provided a briefing concerning the alleged narcotics case. Captain Gentry from Marine Barracks assigned the alleged narcotics case to the Sub-team for follow-up investigation.
From 17-20 November the Sub-team continued work on informant card files and met with informants to obtain intelligence information.
On 21 November, WO Connly attended a informant meeting and was informed that all sub-informants had refused to work in the CI informant net. This was due to them hearing the President's speech the night before. According to WO Connly, "This forced the majority of all CI activities related to the net for collection of information on the Cubans to become dissolved".
From 22-27 November, the sub-team continued their normal CI activities. A sub-team would meet Marine helicopters to pick-up line crossers apprehended by 2/2 for interrogation, and prepare a CI report for submission up the chain-of-command.
On 28 November, the sub-team interrogated two gate sentries from Marine Barracks concerning the on-going investigation related to narcotics case. A short time thereafter, the two Marines returned to the sub-team and reported that they had made false statements. Both volunteered to make written statements which were turned over to the Staff CI, FMFLant.
On December 1, 1962, the CI Team departed the Naval Base and returned to the United States. A sigh of relief is given!!!
Significant Events Carriedout by Marine CI
During Cuban Missile Crisis
The two significant events concerning this period of Marine Corps counterintelligence history are the actions of 2nd Lieutenant J. J. Guenther and Sergeants George Alvarez and Richard Friedl. As noted earlier, 2ndLt Guenther was with Headquarters, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic. During the quarantine 2ndLt Guenther was aboard a U.S. destroyer that had the main mission of intercepting Soviet shipping leaving Cuba and conducting various inspections to determine if Soviet missiles and equipment were aboard. Prior to 2ndLt Guenther involvement during the Cuban Missile Crisis, he had recently completed the Russian Language Course at Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. The over-all quarantine operations itself were divided into three phases. Probably the most active part of the quarantine was phase two where 2ndLt Guenther had a very active part. The following is a brief account of the three phases:
PHASE ONE: From 24 October until 4 November 1962, many suspicious Soviet ships bound for Cuba who were intercepted by the U.S. Navy had either turned back on there own or were forced to turn back . Others with non-suspicious cargo slowed or stopped in the water, seemingly awaiting guidance from the Kremlin. One guidance was received, these ships either continued to their designated port in Cuba or turned back.
Also, during this period, quarantine operations were held in abeyance on the 30 and 31 October 1962 during a visit by the United Nations Secretary General U Thant to Cuba. Mr. U Thant was working directly with Castro in attempting to explore ways to resolve the crisis.
PHASE TWO: FROM 5 to 11 November 1962, it was during this phase that CINCLANTFLT promulgated the code name "SCOTCH TAPE" which was followed by a numeral to designate a suspect ship which might warrant special attention. This code name facilitated unclassified reference to a particular merchant ship. During this phase eleven SCOTCH TAPE ships were observed outbound from Cuba. Based upon information furnished in the United Nations and the Soviets to our delegation, these ships were intercepted and inspected for missiles without actually being stopped or boarded. The masters of the Soviet ships accepted close observation in varying degree, in some cases willingly, and in other reluctantly.
In connection with phase two, great difficulty was encountered in contacting the Russian ships carrying the missiles out of Cuba. The Soviet delegation to the U.N. had provided the United States with the names of 9 Soviet ships, the number of missiles each ship was carrying, and the departure date that each ships was to set sail. In turn, the United States, through the Secretary of State, provided the Soviet delegation with 3 locations at sea where US Naval ships could rendezvous to carry out agreed upon inspections. The names, call signs and hull numbers of all USN ships relayed to the Soviet delegation by State Department message. However, no information as to the ships' course, speed, or route information were provided by the Soviet delegation to facilitate the rendezvous. Furthermore, the Soviet ships carrying the missiles had seemingly made no effort to pass through the designated rendezvous points or departed from their ports as provided by the delegation to the State Department.
As a result, it was necessary to initiate an extensive special air and surface search to intercept the nine Soviet ships. Aerial photography, visual observation and surface photographs were required in order to verify the presence and number of Soviet missiles leaving Cuban soil as was agreed upon by both the United States and the Soviet Union. Due to the above facts, this air and surface search caused great expenditures of time and effort which would not have been required had the Soviets complied with the agreement for a rendezvous between both US Naval and Soviet ships. Eventually, all 9 Soviet ships were located. When they were intercepted, all were aware of their governments instructions.
The results of the inspections carried out during this phase concerning the 9 Soviet ships produced the following missile counts:
|Soviet Ships||Missle Count||CINCLANFLT|
*The Bratsk was inspected once by CTG 136.2 by means of surface observation to determine if nuclear materials were being transported from Cuba to the Soviet Union. Later CNO requested that the Bratsk be rechecked with sensing devices to determine again if was carrying nuclear materials.
PHASE THREE: From 11 to 21 November 1962, when Task Force 136 was dissolved, some ships were trailed and six additional SCOTCH TAPE ships were designated. However, upon inspection of the ships, no offensive weapons were detected.
A total of 85 SCOTCH TAPE codes were issued, where either U.S Naval surface ships or aircraft inspected or photograph Soviet shipping heading for or returning from Cuba.
Aboard the Guantanamo Naval Base -
Related CI Activities
On 15 December 1961, then a Sergeant with the 2nd CIT at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, George L. Alvarez received orders to report to the Commanding Officer, Marine Barracks, US Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for duty and as a relief for GySgt Thomas F. Dugin. Once Sgt Alvarez reported to Marine Barracks, he began to familiarize himself with the CI files created by GySgt Dugin. Once he became familiar with the files, Sgt Alvarez began to update them. He routinely conducted liaison visits throughout the base with other intelligence agencies - particularly the Officer of Naval Intelligence aboard the base. As a routine, Sgt Alvarez frequently visited the Northeast Gate - the primary land entry point into the base from Cuba - to converse with the Marine Guards and the Translator-Interrogator Team stationed at the main gate to assist in CI operations.
During the missile crisis, Sgt Alvarez, who knew many of the Cuban exiles living aboard the base, infiltrated and uncovered a small group of exiles who were planning to take matters into their own hands by conducting offensive operations against Cuban forces located around perimeter of the naval base. Names of individuals who were to participate in the offensive, along with the locations of hidden arms and ammunition caches, were also uncovered. After the information was gathered and reported to ONI aboard the base, concerning the group's intentions, he immediately began to take the necessary action to counter the groups intentions. On the eve when the intended offensive was to take place by these Cuban exiles, Sergeant Alvarez, along with ONI agents, seized several storage sites and uncovered various quantities of arms and ammunition. Sergeant Alvarez said, "That if he had not been able to infiltrate the ban of exiles aboard the base, there was no telling what these individuals might have done and the action of the Cuban military. You never know, World War III might have started"
In June 1962, Sergeant Richard "Fritz" Friedl, assigned to the Staff CI at Marine Corps Base, Camp LeJeune, NC had just completed the Defense Against Methods of Entry (DAME) course at Fort Holibird, Maryland. A short time late (October 1962), Sergeant Friedl received orders for assignment to Staff CI at Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic in support of the Cuban Missile Crisis. During his assignment, he assisted in preparing targeting information in the event that the U.S. forces would conduct offensive actions into Cuba and assisted in preparing a Black, Gray and White (B/W/G) Personality Lists to provided to the CI Team that would eventually be sent to support the ground forces at the Guantanamo Naval Base. After the missile crisis, Sergeant Friedl returned to the Staff CI section, Marine Corps Base, Camp LeJeune, NC.
Awards For the Cuban Missile Crisis
For WO Connly's CI sub-team effort in support of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a Letter of Appreciation was issued. The letter read:
HEADQUARTERS Ground Forces Navy #115 c/o FPO, New York, N.Y. 2/EPF/cpb 6 Dec 62 From: Commanding General To: Commanding General, 1st Marine Division, FMF, Camp Pendleton, California Subj: Letter of Appreciation 1. During the period 25 October - 30 November 1962 the Counterintelligence Detachment accompanying the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, operated under the direction of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, Ground Forces Guantanamo. The detachment demonstrated tremendous initiative, judgement and cooperation under trying field conditions and proved to be a definite asset to this staff. A "unity of intelligence collection effort" was achieved by the team's work with informant networks, thereby improving the processing of information into usable intelligence. The Team also updated and expanded available personality lists, prepared an excellent Counterintelligence Appendix to the Intelligence Annex, in addition to a Counterintelligence Estimate, debriefed Cuban defectors, published timely counterintelligence bulletins, and presented outstanding lectures to tactical units. 2. Please convey my sincere appreciation and thanks to:
WO-1 Robert A. CONNLY, Jr. 081500/0210 Officer in Charge SSgt Theodore R. JACOBSON 1497093/0211 CI Chief Sgt Aubrey A. STONE 1264796/0211 CI Assistant for completing a difficult assignment in an exceptionally competent manner. /s/ W. R. COLLINS