By many accounts, the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was the nearest the world has come to nuclear war. In the summer of 1962, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev secretly decided to install intermediate range ballistic missiles in Cuba to counter an emerging United States lead in strategic missiles.
In October 1962, high altitude reconnaissance photographs showed missile installations under construction in Cuba. President John Kennedy ordered a naval blockade of Cuba, and substantial Army and Air Force forces were positioned in Florida.
All four 354th Tactical Fighter Wing squadrons deployed and began a conventionally armed 24/7 alert posture at McCoy Air Force Base in Orlando, Florida.
The crisis lasted 13 days until a compromise was reached, but elements of the Wing remained in place in Florida until mid-January 1963.
Brigadier General Gilbert Meyers, commander of the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing, and Major Stanley Mamlock, commander of the 352nd Tactical Fighter squadron, discuss the Cuban deployment. The General, along with the Major, had just landed at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base on December 1 after spending six weeks at McCoy Air Force Base, Florida, where he commanded the Air Division Provisional 2.
Tired and weary, but happy to be home again, are these personnel of the 354th Combat Support
Group. They returned to Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, December 2, 1962, after a six-week deployment to a Florida base during the Cuban Missile Crisis.