For many years, I have regarded the Cuban missile crisis as the most besieged foreign policy crisis of the last half century. I continue to believe that President Kennedy`s actions in the crucial moments of the crisis have helped prevent a nuclear war. But I come to the conclusion that, however skilful the crisis may be, at the end of these extraordinary 13 days – from 16 October to 28 October 1962 – happiness has also played an important role in preventing a nuclear war within reach of hair. Until Saturday, October 27, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had not yet hinted that he would withdraw the missiles. The ExComm debated the procedure all day. At the time, the CIA said it did not believe the nuclear warheads were delivered to Cuba for the missiles. As I remember, they thought the first delivery of warheads was on board the ship Poltava, a ship that was to arrive in Cuba in a few days. Our reconnaissance photos showed that the missile sites were quickly operational. Therefore, if an attack were to be carried out, it seemed obvious that it had to be launched before the missiles were operational and before the warheads arrived. Otherwise, we would risk a Soviet counterattack against the country of origin of the United States if one or more missiles survived intact from the air attack. On the morning of October 27, a U-2F (the third CIA U-2A, modified for air refueling) piloted by USAF Major Rudolf Anderson left its first location at McCoy AFB, Florida. At about 12:00 EDT, the aircraft was hit by an SA-2-ground-to-air missile launched by Cuba.
The plane was shot down, Anderson was killed. Stress in negotiations between the Soviets and the United States has intensified; It was only later that it was believed that the decision to launch the missile was made on the ground by an indeterminate Soviet commander acting on his own. Later that day, at approximately 15:41 EDT, several US Navy crusader RF-8A aircraft were bombed on low-level photo reconnaissance missions. In September 1962, analysts from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) discovered that Cuban surface-to-air missile sites were placed in a similar model to that used by the Soviet Union to protect its ICBM bases, leading DIA to engage in the resumption of U-2 flights over the island.  Although the flights have been carried out by the CIA in the past, pressure from the Department of Defense has led to this authority being transferred to the Air Force.  After the loss of a CIA U-2 aircraft over the Soviet Union in May 1960, it was assumed that an Air Force aircraft, which would likely be used for legitimate military purposes, would be easier to explain than a CIA flight. In 1960, Khrushchev had launched plans to install medium- and medium-haul ballistic missiles in Cuba, aimed at putting the eastern United States within range of a nuclear attack. In the summer of 1962, American spy planes flying over Cuba photographed work on the construction of missile installations. President John F.
Kennedy announced a maritime blockade to prevent the arrival of new missiles and called on the Soviets to dismantle and withdraw weapons already in Cuba.