Back Channel The Kennedy Years
Inside the John F. Kennedy White House

What does 'U-2' mean?

Find out what U-2 means. U-2 is explained by William Bertram MacFarland - author of Back Channel The Kennedy Years

U-2

A single-engine, very high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency.

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"...as far south as Lima, Peru. If it could be confirmed that these missiles were in fact installed in Cuba, the United States would be facing the biggest threat to its national security that it had ever faced. Therefore, on October 9th 1962, the President authorized a U-2 flight over western Cuba. It was delayed by bad weather until October 14th when its overflight discovered numerous missile sites. The photos it took provided hard evidence that the Soviets had missiles in Cuba. That’s when things really started to happen quickly – but not quite ..."
"...It should be remembered that the supposedly “technologically backwards” Soviet Union had, to the amazement of the world and the humiliation of the United States, launched ‘Sputnik’, the world’s first orbital satellite, on October 4, 1957. In 1960, the U-2 aircraft piloted by Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union, provoking an international incident. The U-2, capable of flying at over 70,000 feet was shot down by a S75 Dvina missile. The U.S. had no idea that the Soviets had developed a surface to air ..."
"...On Monday, October 15, another U-2 reconnaissance flight revealed the presence of several R-12 Dvina missiles in Cuba. The R-12 (designated the SS-4 by the U.S.) was a significant advance from the version of the R-7 that had been used to shoot down Gary Powers. It was a surface-to-surface nuclear ballistic missile with ..."
"...On Saturday, October 27th 1962, Khrushchev sent another letter to the U.S. repeating his agreement as stated in his previous letter but adding a further condition – that the Jupiter missiles in Turkey be removed also. The overall situation was not improved by the fact that a U-2 accidentally violated Soviet airspace, another U-2 was shot down over Cuba, and with sublime indifference to possible repercussions, a B-52 dropped an 800-kiloton yield hydrogen bomb over Johnston Island in the Pacific. After a brief consultation with the President, I replied to the Generals that the U.S. would ..."

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U-2
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"Back Channel: The Kennedy Years is an eye-opening memoir about the Kennedy administration from an insider's view. This fascinating book..."

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