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jonnyx
06-19-06, 05:59 PM
Hello,

First, I'd like to thank the military folks here for their service to our country, especially those who are currently on active duty - you have the support and prayers of your fellow Americans.

Now for my request:

I'm a part-time writer. I'm working on a fictional piece that's a bit outside my realm of expertise, and I want to get the details right.

The piece is a set in Cuba, mid-September of 1960. Castro has been in power for about 18 months, and US/Cuba relations have deteriorated rapidly as Cuba moves closer to Communism, signs aid treaties with the USSR, etc.

Without going into excessive detail, the piece involves a Force Recon operation on the southeast shore of Isla de Pinos ("The Isle of Pines"), which is an island ~60 miles south of mainland Cuba, across the Batabano Gulf, and roughly 100 miles from Havana.

I'm having difficulties tracking down period-specific details re: logistics, tactics, equipment, the precise Force Reconnaissance Company that would have been involved, etc. Is this the proper place to ask for some assistance with my research? I'd like to make the piece as technically accurate as possible, and I figured that Marine vets would be the best people to ask.

If there are objections to a request of this sort, please let me know where it would be more appropriate.

Thanks in advance,

--jX

marinegreen
06-19-06, 06:15 PM
Hello,

First, I'd like to thank the military folks here for their service to our country, especially those who are currently on active duty - you have the support and prayers of your fellow Americans.

Now for my request:

I'm a part-time writer. I'm working on a fictional piece that's a bit outside my realm of expertise, and I want to get the details right.

The piece is a set in Cuba, mid-September of 1960. Castro has been in power for about 18 months, and US/Cuba relations have deteriorated rapidly as Cuba moves closer to Communism, signs aid treaties with the USSR, etc.

Without going into excessive detail, the piece involves a Force Recon operation on the southeast shore of Isla de Pinos ("The Isle of Pines"), which is an island ~60 miles south of mainland Cuba, across the Batabano Gulf, and roughly 100 miles from Havana.

I'm having difficulties tracking down period-specific details re: logistics, tactics, equipment, the precise Force Reconnaissance Company that would have been involved, etc. Is this the proper place to ask for some assistance with my research? I'd like to make the piece as technically accurate as possible, and I figured that Marine vets would be the best people to ask.

If there are objections to a request of this sort, please let me know where it would be more appropriate.

Thanks in advance,

--jX


Hhhhmmmmm, what kinda clearance you carry ? Your best bet would be to dig into puter archives.

jonnyx
06-19-06, 09:17 PM
Hhhhmmmmm, what kinda clearance you carry?
At the moment, none. I've been NCIC certified in the past. I'm not really interested in information that would actually require a security clearance, as I'm writing for general publication.


Your best bet would be to dig into puter archives.
I have been, and I've found a fair amount of useful info. Interestingly enough, wargaming groups on other websites and mailing lists have been very helpful in describing the types of firearms that the USMC and the Cuban revolutionaries would have carried in 1960.

I'm looking for stuff that us civilians wouldn't know offhand and that's not easy to find online, but might be fairly common knowledge among those who served at the time. Examples:

* Which Force Reconnaissance Company would have been involved in an operation on Isla de Pinos in 1960? The 2nd, out of Camp Lejeune, NC? Or the 3rd, out of Mobile, AL? Did the 3rd even exist in 1960?

* Is it logical to assume that the Marine Force Recon company would be operating out of Guantanamo Bay?

* The Marines are going up against a couple dozen of Castro's troops. The Cubans are in a hastily erected base camp and are not expecting an attack. Still, is it realistic for them to have a couple of heavy machine guns, grenades, mortars, etc.? Or would the Cubans be pretty much limited to lighter weapons, prior to receiving Soviet aid? Were there any Soviet Spetsnaz "advisers" in Cuba in late 1960?

* How many Marines would go in? A single fireteam? A squad? What would their typical ranks be?

* At what point would a "Devil Doc" accompany the Marines? Would he go in with a single fireteam? A squad? A platoon? What would his rank be? There's some FMSS info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hospital_Corpsman but I have no idea how applicable to 1960 it would be.

* The Recon unit is to deploy a W54 SADM (Special Atomic Demolition Munition); there's something very special at the target site that the US does not want to fall into Cuban/Soviet hands, and it can't be moved. See these URLs for more info on the nuke:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_Atomic_Demolition_Munition
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W54
http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/systems/w54.htm

I mentioned that this was a fictional piece, right? Anyway, the W54 SADM is described as both a Navy SEALs project and a joint Navy/Marine project. Any ideas on whether the nuke tech would be a SEAL or Force Recon? If a SEAL, what would the chain of command be?

* How would the Marines deploy for this type of operation in 1960? The wikipedia articles state that the SADM would be "delivered into water by parachute along with a two man team, then floated to the target, set in place and armed by hand" and that the team would then "swim out into the ocean where they would be retrieved by a submarine or a high-speed surface water craft." Would a Force Recon team go in separately from a SADM team, or would they all go in together?

* What if there was a large hurricane approaching? See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Donna for what I have in mind. Would this would preclude parachuting into the sea, once the hurricane was a few hours from landfall? Would the team(s) deploy from a submarine instead? Or would a stormy parachute drop still be preferable to a rough pre-hurricane sea launch from a surfaced sub?

Obviously, I could BS on a lot of this and most folks probably wouldn't know the difference, but I prefer to get my facts straight & not make any military readers wince, even if I have to do a lot of extra research.

Thanks again,

--jX

GySgtRet
06-19-06, 10:22 PM
Let me tell you how the Marine Corps works. You need to give some information about yourself not so much as to put yourself in danger of revealing your personal finances or anything but tell us something about you. Where you are where youv'e been. If that seem nosy yep it is we have a need to now who we are talking too. I will not appologize for the request as you need information to. Its your call. We as Marines take care of our own.

Phantom Blooper
06-19-06, 10:29 PM
If we told you,we would have to kill you! :evilgrin:

jonnyx
06-19-06, 11:13 PM
Let me tell you how the Marine Corps works. You need to give some information about yourself not so much as to put yourself in danger of revealing your personal finances or anything but tell us something about you. Where you are where youv'e been. If that seem nosy yep it is we have a need to now who we are talking too. I will not appologize for the request as you need information to. Its your call. We as Marines take care of our own.
Sure, no problem.

I currently in Atlanta, GA. I've been in the IT industry since 1993, but I recently left a job with Google in order to return to college & wrap up some unfinished degrees. Prior to my IT career, I worked on Music Row in Nashville, TN.

I've done technical writing in the past, but fiction is fairly new for me. I'm used to doing a lot of research and fact-checking, and I see no reason to drop these good habits just because I'm working on a short story instead of router configuration manual.

Any other questions, just ask. If anyone in the Atlanta area wants a face to face meeting to check me out, pick a time & place (weekends are best). I'll even buy the first round. Sound good?

--jX

greensideout
06-20-06, 12:12 AM
1960, Humm, I don't think there were Navy SEALs at that time? I could be wrong but I only remember there being UDT and FORCE RECON.

greensideout
06-20-06, 12:34 AM
The training exersize on the island would most likely have been performed by a MEU from an LPH. For the most part, that's the way it was back then. A recon team on a "recon mission" would not be wanting to engage the enemy but instead gain info. The MEU on the other hand would be sent on a combat mission to engage.

jonnyx
06-20-06, 12:44 AM
1960, Humm, I don't think there were Navy SEALs at that time? I could be wrong but I only remember there being UDT and FORCE RECON.
You are correct. Looks like SEAL Teams One and Two were commissioned in January of 1962:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navy_seals

Thanks for the catch!

--jX

jonnyx
06-20-06, 01:24 AM
The training exersize on the island would most likely have been performed by a MEU from an LPH. For the most part, that's the way it was back then. A recon team on a "recon mission" would not be wanting to engage the enemy but instead gain info. The MEU on the other hand would be sent on a combat mission to engage.

Thank you again, sir. I appreciate the clarification.

Any idea which LPH(s) would have been in the Caribbean in 1960?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LPH

--jX

booksbenji
06-20-06, 02:20 AM
http://timeline.of.liberal.parties.in.cuba.en.wikimiki.or g/en/Bay+of+Pigs+invasion


http://timeline.of.liberal.parties.in.cuba.en.wikimiki.or g/

CIA files:
http://www.foia.cia.gov/bay_of_pigs.asp


http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/cuba.htm

http://www.brigada2506.com/

http://members.aol.com/yo1460/byopr/report1.html

http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/ciabay.htm

http://www.historyofcuba.com/history/baypigs/pigs.htm

Search results: http://vroosh.com/cgi-bin/cgsearch/cgsearch.cgi?where=web&target=web&vid=l6565139218I1150786833&adv=&tag=6791440832I1150786833&refer=&sel=n&con=y&category=&query=bay%20of%20pigs&lout=dyn&sum=n:n&pg=1


Good luck and happy writing, books

RLeon
06-20-06, 03:26 AM
Why does everyone write books and movies about SEALS and Recon...what about Motor T?? :D

jonnyx
06-20-06, 12:25 PM
-links snipped-



Good luck and happy writing, books

Thank you, sir.

I had roughly half of those already bookmarked, but the rest were new to me. Most appreciated.

--jX

Osotogary
06-20-06, 01:25 PM
jonnyx-
How about venturing down here to South Florida? I am sure that there is a whole host of information that can be obtained with or without cost to you about Cuba. I don't know, personally, where these resources might be, but as you probably already know, there is a huge Cuban community down here and it figures that some of your questions might be answered down here.
I have read that that Navy Seals did land on Cuban land and took pictures of Soviet Missiles on or near the docks but memory fails me for the title of that book. (I hope to heck that the book was a not a book of fiction because I would not want to lead you astray).
Good luck to you.
Long shot- Have you checked out Coast Guard or Naval archives? I'm figuring that if there can be written about the Bay of Pigs, then certainly, there should be information about the Cuban Crisis's inner workings

Gary

Osotogary
06-20-06, 01:33 PM
I'm figuring that if there can be written about the Bay of Pigs, then certainly, there should be information about the Cuban Crisis's inner workings

Correction-I'm figuring that if there can be books written about the Bay of Pigs, then certainly, there should be information about the Cuban Crisis's inner workings.

jonnyx
06-21-06, 03:11 PM
jonnyx-
How about venturing down here to South Florida? I am sure that there is a whole host of information that can be obtained with or without cost to you about Cuba.
-snip-

Heh, I'll be moving to Tampa later this year; see the bit about "leaving the IT industry & returning to college to wrap up some undergrad degrees" I mentioned above.


Good luck to you.
Thank you very much, sir.


Long shot- Have you checked out Coast Guard or Naval archives? I'm figuring that if there can be written about the Bay of Pigs, then certainly, there should be information about the Cuban Crisis's inner workings
I've got an officer buddy in the Navy who's helping me out with details re: ships & subs likely to have been deployed around Cuba in late 1960, UDT procedures at the time, etc. He's tracking down some oldtimers who served back then (both Navy and USMC), so I'm probably going to wind up with more facts and details than I actually need, but I'd rather have too much info than not enough.

I hadn't thought about checking with the Coast Guard, but that's a really good idea. I'm sure I'll get some good ideas there as well.

Note that even though the piece is set in September of 1960, which is seven months before the Bay of Pigs invasion and a two years prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis, I'm definitely trying to foreshadow those events in various ways.

If anyone is interested in reading the final drafts, I'd love to get opinions, comments and feedback in case I miss something obvious. Note that the piece is primarily meant to be a historically accurate Cold War thriller with the USMC and Navy personnel as the good guys (of course), but that there's a definite sci-fi/horror twist at the end.

--jX

greensideout
06-21-06, 10:33 PM
I would be very interested in reading the draft. I'm a bit of a nit-picker so you will get an opinion.;)

booksbenji
06-21-06, 10:52 PM
jonnyx, that's why I'm called books. In the younger days I go to library and get the right book to help anyone find references. It is a little harder now, I can do research GOOD. :thumbup:

10thzodiac
06-21-06, 11:02 PM
I was deployed to Guantanamo during the Cuban Missile Crisis and know a little about the goings on there, but I don't think you are interested in that are you?

greensideout
06-21-06, 11:48 PM
Thank you again, sir. I appreciate the clarification.

Any idea which LPH(s) would have been in the Caribbean in 1960?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LPH

--jX


It was the USS Boxer. I tossed you a test on the "MEU" part and you did not respond to it being wrong? Humm? There were BLT's on the LPH's back then.
In 1960 we still trained for a Korean type engagement. The training changed very rapidly after the Vietnam war began. You may want to look at the actions of the troops in your novel in a way that reflects that type of training. I hope that this is helpful.

jonnyx
06-22-06, 12:47 AM
It was the USS Boxer. I tossed you a test on the "MEU" part and you did not respond to it being wrong? Humm?
You definitely had me scratching my head over that, and planning on some more research over the weekend. I just assumed that I had made a mistake somewhere, or misunderstood what I had read. Have mercy on us poor civilians who are struggling to learn the military acronyms, command structures, troop units, etc.

Thank you for the USS Boxer pointer, though. The wikipedia article seems to be just what I was looking for:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Boxer_%28LPH-4%29


There were BLT's on the LPH's back then.
That's "Battalion Landing Team" and not "Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato", correct? I don't want to fail another test...


In 1960 we still trained for a Korean type engagement. The training changed very rapidly after the Vietnam war began. You may want to look at the actions of the troops in your novel in a way that reflects that type of training. I hope that this is helpful.
It is indeed. Again, thank you very much. I doubt I'll be expanding the story into a full-length novel, but who knows?

--jX

jonnyx
06-22-06, 01:00 AM
I would be very interested in reading the draft. I'm a bit of a nit-picker so you will get an opinion.;)

Heh, that's most appreciated. I'm my own harshest critic, so don't feel you have to pull any punches if I mess something up. I should have something ready for critics to rip apart by the end of the summer.

--jX

jonnyx
06-22-06, 01:09 AM
I was deployed to Guantanamo during the Cuban Missile Crisis and know a little about the goings on there, but I don't think you are interested in that are you?

The Cuban Missile Crisis is a couple of years after the timeframe I'm working with, but I imagine the tension and uncertainty of October, 1962, would be applicable to September of 1960. As I said in an earlier message, I'd rather have more material than I can use instead of not enough. Mind if I bug you with an occasional question and send you a draft to read in a couple of months?

--jX

jonnyx
06-22-06, 01:13 AM
jonnyx, that's why I'm called books. In the younger days I go to library and get the right book to help anyone find references. It is a little harder now, I can do research GOOD. :thumbup:

Sounds good! Shall I add you to the "occasionally question" and "send draft for comments" lists?

--jX

booksbenji
06-22-06, 01:19 AM
:thumbup:

10thzodiac
06-23-06, 10:19 PM
The Cuban Missile Crisis is a couple of years after the timeframe I'm working with, but I imagine the tension and uncertainty of October, 1962, would be applicable to September of 1960. As I said in an earlier message, I'd rather have more material than I can use instead of not enough. Mind if I bug you with an occasional question and send you a draft to read in a couple of months?

--jX

Sure, ask away anytime!

MillRatUSMC
06-24-06, 12:46 AM
That time period would have been during the invasion by The Cuban invasion at the Bay of Pigs by Brigade 2506 of the Cuban exiles.
Seeing that I was to become a member of Recon in 1961, I believe it would have been 2nd Force Recon Company out of 2nd Recon Battalion, doing the survey of the setting for your story.
1962 found my Recon company hours away from landing, as we were part of the armed forces deployed there.
It's no secret, I was part of the 1st Marine Division.
If you know any thing about our Divisions, you will have abn idea of which Recon, I was a member of...
But this would have been after your story...
I don't believe that would have been that much uncertainity or fear...some yes, but the training would have taken over.
Now as somebody said, now we gota kill you...just kidding.

Escalante
07-09-06, 10:53 AM
Hi,

I was in that area at the time of the failed Bay Of Pigs "invasion". I was in the Marines on board the USS Boxer (LPH-4). I can tell you what I know about it. Might not be useful to you, as I was just a Corporal, but I remember what I saw and what I was doing.
First of all, we weren't told what we were doing with so many "embarked troops" from Camp Lejeune, which we picked up along the way from Norfolk, VA. We had more embarked troops (Marines) and equipment than I ever saw before on any of our training runs to Vieques off Puerto Rico. No one mentioned the Bay Of Pigs or anything. So, we were clueless.
My job was to pick up a "helo team" of about 8 or so Marines at a time and run them down the center line of the aircraft carrier to enter helicopters without getting hurt. Then I would run back to beside the superstructure and pick up another team. At one point, Secretary of Defense MacNamara walked right past me with his head in the air. So, he was on board at that time. He went up to the quarterdeck I suppose to be with the Captain of the ship. I never found out why he was there, but years later I figured that we were involved in the Bay Of Pigs operation. He may have been on board as liaison with President Kennedy. We were told nothing at all. In fact, I thought it was just another training mission.
Suddenly, the whole operation was over and we were steaming away from Cuba. I had no idea why, like I said, until years later after I was a civilian, that we must have been involved in that operation.
Our ship, the USS BOXER, had no guns of its own. At that time we had an armed patrol boat of some kind circling the ship. We never had a patrol boat, or any other kind of vessel, do that for us before.
If you could get in touch with Secretary MacNamara, he could probably tell you a few interesting things about the events at that time, since he was there on the ship. I would like to ask him myself what he was doing there at that time! But, I was never able to find a way to contact him, although I didn't try too hard! He's been talking a lot lately about his role in things. He seems to be regretful about a lot of things. So, he might be a source. I don't know.
I hope this helps you a little. Feel free to contact me if you like. I live near Palatka, Florida. My email address is: joebloom@earthlink.net
I find it interesting that you're doing a story about it.
Good luck!

Joe

Escalante
07-09-06, 10:58 AM
Hi,

I was in that area at the time of the failed Bay Of Pigs fiasco. I was in the Marines on board the USS Boxer (LPH-4). I can tell you what I know about it. Might not be useful to you, as I was just a Corporal, but I remember what I saw and what I was doing.
First of all, we weren't told what we were doing with so many "embarked troops" from Camp Lejeune, which we picked up along the way from Norfolk, VA. We had more embarked troops (Marines) and equipment than I ever saw before on any of our training runs to Vieques off Puerto Rico. No one mentioned the Bay Of Pigs or anything. So, we were clueless.
My job was to pick up a "helo team" of about 8 or so Marines at a time and run them down the center line of the aircraft carrier to enter helicopters without getting hurt. Then I would run back to beside the superstructure and pick up another team. At one point, Secretary of Defense MacNamara walked right past me with his head in the air. So, he was on board at that time. He went up to the quarterdeck I suppose to be with the Captain of the ship. I never found out why he was there, but years later I figured that we were involved in the Bay Of Pigs operation. He may have been on board as liaison with President Kennedy. We were told nothing at all. In fact, I thought it was just another training mission.
Suddenly, the whole operation was over and we were steaming away from Cuba. I had no idea why, like I said, until years later after I was a civilian, that we must have been involved in that operation.
Our ship, the USS BOXER, had no guns of its own. At that time we had an armed patrol boat of some kind circling the ship. We never had a patrol boat, or any other kind of vessel, do that for us before.
If you could get in touch with Secretary MacNamara, he could probably tell you a few interesting things about the events at that time, since he was there on the ship. I would like to ask him myself what he was doing there at that time! But, I was never able to find a way to contact him, although I didn't try too hard! He's been talking a lot lately about his role in things. He seems to be regretful about a lot of things. So, he might be a source. I don't know.
I hope this helps you a little. Feel free to contact me if you like. I live near Palatka, Florida. My email address is: joebloom@earthlink.net
I find it interesting that you're doing a story about it.
Good luck!

Joe

Escalante
07-09-06, 11:02 AM
Hi,

I wrote a letter in reply but I'm not sure it got posted. I was on the USS Boxer (LPH-4) at that time in that area. My email address is

joebloom@earthlink.net

Take care,

Joe

10thzodiac
07-09-06, 01:03 PM
I'm figuring that if there can be written about the Bay of Pigs, then certainly, there should be information about the Cuban Crisis's inner workings

Correction-I'm figuring that if there can be books written about the Bay of Pigs, then certainly, there should be information about the Cuban Crisis's inner workings.


OPERATION NORTHWOODS 1962
http://www.rationalrevolution.net/war/operation_northwoods.htm