On this day in Alabama history: Bay of Pigs invasion began

On this day in Alabama history: Bay of Pigs invasion began
CIA report on the Bay of Pigs Invasion, 1998. (U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Wikipedia)

April 17, 1961

At dawn, some 1,200 Cuban exiles, using U.S.-supplied weapons and landing craft, stormed ashore at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba in a doomed attempt to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro. Secretly supporting the ill-fated operation were members of the Alabama Air National Guard, contracted to the CIA. They had trained the exiles and later volunteered to fly bombing missions on the final, futile day of the attack. Four of the Guardsmen would not survive. President John F. Kennedy later admitted U.S. involvement, but denied that U.S. military personnel had entered Cuban territory. Years later, the CIA declassified documents that confirmed the fatal mission. The four Guardsmen who lost their lives, Leo Baker, Wade Gray, Thomas “Pete” Ray and Riley Shamberger, were posthumously awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Cross, the CIA’s highest award for bravery.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

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