Jump to content
The Education Forum

military response to jfk assassination


Martin Blank
 Share

Recommended Posts

does anyone know if troops were being marshaled for an invasion of cuba following the shooting? were there planes in the air headed toward cuba and russia? i guess i am asking did the situation approximate that of the cuban missile crisis when troop movements to florida, etc. were in plain sight, planes were ready. the millitary was on alert and preparing for war.

basically what did johnson do in terms of getting our forces ready for a showdown.

thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Martin, I am not aware of any documentation in support of this.

John Judge claimed that troops were on standby at the time of the assassination for an invasion of Cuba and that the nuclear code books had been removed from B-52 aircraft to prevent an unpredicted nuclear exchange on 11/22/1963. The military liaison carrying the 'football' was not in close proximity to KENNEDY during the motorcade, which I am told is also significant.

The military appears to have designed the assassination to implicate the Cubans therefore warranting an invasion but desired to limit the potential for a nuclear exchange.

Edited by Robert Mady
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've written and presented on this extensively, you might find threads here with a search. The presentations are available on CD at JFK Lancer. Bottom line is that there was a worldwide alert but Defcon levels were only raised one step, about two hours after the assassination. Some commands, having the authority to do so, did take additional measures but that was in the Pacific and Germany. The information about the code books is incorrect. The Secretary of Defense and Joint Chiefs were at the Pentagon and in the National Military Command Center, for some time at least. The Sec Def had full national command authority including access to all the required codes to issue any nuclear options as necessary. The full story of the military response is contained in a new book I have going into publication this August, the working title is Surprise Attack.

Edited by Larry Hancock
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Larry, Judge, claimed to get the information directly from B-52 crew members, this sort of information would have been suppressed, what sort of information did you acquire that would negate claims made by Judge? (I am assuming the claims to be factual in that I have tremendous faith in John Judge and what he uncovered.)

Also it appears that you are discussing LBJ response to the assassination, whereas I have put forward information pertaining to the stance of the military in preparation for the assassination and anticipated reactions including the invasion of Cuba.

Edited by Robert Mady
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Robert, first off anyone really has to do some serious homework to understand the nuclear release command and control process and the reporting that would go with it. Plus those rules applied not just to the SAC chrome dome airborne

aircraft and strip alert aircraft but the tactical aircraft in Europe and the Pacific. As well as the Navy's Polaris subs and the Air Forces missile sites. Any individual unit not having the capability to receive and respond to the nuclear

release orders had standing orders to report same to its command and its command to the NMCC at the Pentagon. So its not just Air Force but the Navy's CIC's had the same authority. Actually CINCPAC did order preparation

of shipboard nuclear weapons and tactical aircraft in Europe were moved to strip alert with nukes on board. Beyond that, there are news stories of the ICBM crews actually moving up to launch alert, as SAC was authorized to

do on its own. I could give you a list of books and documents that cover this...and I do so in my upcoming book, but I'm not going to replicate that here. I don't know what individual crew member John talked to, I have talked to

both Navy and Air Force missile crews as well as read accounts by SAC pilots myself.

And no, I was not referring to Johnson at all, that is a separate story that I've covered before in great detail and do in the upcoming book. Regardless of Johnson, both the President and McNamara had national command authority for nuclear weapons release, with the orders having to be issued through the Joint Chiefs. Even with Johnson out of touch, McNamara was responsible for that. Beyond that, and something not widely known outside the nuclear command and control professional literature, there were a set of senior commanders who held the authority to release and engage with nuclear weapons in the event of an attack on their forces or the nation. Pre-delegation was put in place under Eisenhower and JFK (and successive president's) continued it.

-- I've given Martin's answer the best I can in a forum context, I'll just leave it at that. Larry

Edited by Larry Hancock
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Larry, you speak of McNamara's responsibilities. What do you make of his own account in his book In Retrospect, according to which he was not even informed by the military in the building that JFK had been shot. He learned it through a phone call from RFK. Not only that, but he continued with a budget meeting he was having instead of even speaking to the Joint Chiefs, and did nothing until a second phone call from RFK (again, nothing from the Joint Chiefs) telling him that JFK was dead. Only then did he meet with the brass.

BTW this behavior was strikingly replicated on 9/11, when both Rumsfeld and his deputy Wolfowitz continued with separate routine meetings during the attacks, doing nothing till the Pentagon itself was hit (at which time Rumsfeld went outside to walk around and play medic, making himself unavailable to the military men who were looking for him). In similar do-nothing fashion, the Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs proceeded with a scheduled meeting with a senator on Capitol Hill after the first tower was hit (thought it must have been a "small plane" or something), and claimed that no one even told him that the second tower was hit. He found out after the meeting.

Edited by Ron Ecker
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ron, I'm not sure to what extent McNamara's memory was blurred by the time he did his book, he seems to have forgotten a number of things about his career. For starters I would recommend as basic homework reading Manchester's research on this since he interviewed all the principals in regard to their movements and actions starting within months of the event. I can tell you that the NMCC learned of the shooting off the AP wire, as the Situation Room did. The NMCC staff then alerted the Chiefs who in turn sent out a worldwide alert, they did not raise DefCon at that time. And they then continued with their meeting with German officers. As far as I can tell they did not inform McNamara as they should have nor did the NMCC, he learned it separately, left his meeting, and ultimately took the Chiefs to the NMCC, where a Defcon upgrade was issued. The timing and wording of the alert and Defcon message is a matter of record. While that was happening NORAD and the unified forces commanders were polling their assets for any suspicion of Soviet movement and none was found. That is in extant messages as well. Now I'm not going to represent the actions of SecDef or the JCS as appropriate; for one thing standard doctrine of the time called for decapitation and they should have actually responded to the threat immediately and moved the SecDef to the NEACP aircraft... About the only thing they did do is that Taylor alerted Army forces in the DC area...he did not say why and nobody asked him. What none of them did was try to establish contact with AF1 or ensure the location of the bomb bag and Johnson, Taylor told Manchester he thought about it...but didn't do anything.

As to similar behavior, all I'm going to say is that in Surprise Attack I evaluate the overall national security command and control response during every attack from 1941 to Benghazi - compare and critique them. Among a great many other things. That was a whole lot of work and I'll leave that for the book. Let's just say that generally speaking, when the emergencies happened national command authority almost always never worked as planned. You don't have to go all the way to 9/11 to find that, take a look at the horror story of the Reagan shooting...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Martin, we do have a report out of Fort Bliss that a tank division was actually activated and ordered to move by train to Dallas. That order was cancelled about ten pm that evening. Other than that, there is no reported

assembly or movement of ground forces other than their simply being alerted and put in an enhanced defense condition. Strike Command in Florida was notified by the 112th....somewhat strangely....but Strike Command

was not an operational group with standing forces. It would have had to be directed to put together an operation and that order would have had to come from DC, no sign of that.

Larry Haapenaen and I actually tracked down all the units that would have been under Strike Command if for example some order against Cuba had been issued. We found no sign of any of them being mobilized.

I will say that a number of us have looked for exactly that since we started with the same suspicions, we just were never able to find any signs of it.

The only place where I have found that some Army troops may have actually been mobilized was in Germany, near the border. That was pretty much SOP for any event that might suggest a Soviet push was imminent.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Robert, first off anyone really has to do some serious homework to understand the nuclear release command and control process and the reporting that would go with it. Plus those rules applied not just to the SAC chrome dome airborne

aircraft and strip alert aircraft but the tactical aircraft in Europe and the Pacific. As well as the Navy's Polaris subs and the Air Forces missile sites. Any individual unit not having the capability to receive and respond to the nuclear

release orders had standing orders to report same to its command and its command to the NMCC at the Pentagon. So its not just Air Force but the Navy's CIC's had the same authority. Actually CINCPAC did order preparation

of shipboard nuclear weapons and tactical aircraft in Europe were moved to strip alert with nukes on board. Beyond that, there are news stories of the ICBM crews actually moving up to launch alert, as SAC was authorized to

do on its own. I could give you a list of books and documents that cover this...and I do so in my upcoming book, but I'm not going to replicate that here. I don't know what individual crew member John talked to, I have talked to

both Navy and Air Force missile crews as well as read accounts by SAC pilots myself.

And no, I was not referring to Johnson at all, that is a separate story that I've covered before in great detail and do in the upcoming book. Regardless of Johnson, both the President and McNamara had national command authority for nuclear weapons release, with the orders having to be issued through the Joint Chiefs. Even with Johnson out of touch, McNamara was responsible for that. Beyond that, and something not widely known outside the nuclear command and control professional literature, there were a set of senior commanders who held the authority to release and engage with nuclear weapons in the event of an attack on their forces or the nation. Pre-delegation was put in place under Eisenhower and JFK (and successive president's) continued it.

-- I've given Martin's answer the best I can in a forum context, I'll just leave it at that. Larry

Larry, has your recent research added any information as to the relative capabilities of Kennedy's plane vs. Johnson's plane on 11-22-63? My research into what happened after the shooting led me to believe that the story later pushed--that Kennedy's plane had superior communications equipment, or even that it had the football--were deliberate lies put out by the Johnson administration to hide that Johnson took Kennedy's plane because he felt entitled to the bigger plane--the one that had a bed.

Did you find anything to indicate that Kennedy's plane was, in fact, superior, from a national security viewpoint?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its interesting that you went there Pat, actually a lot of the story I pursue has to do with the actual communications available on AF1 and how each of several President handled it over time during crisis. But that just has to do with AF1 over time. As far as the two aircraft in question in Dallas, technically each plane was supposed to be a duplicate. In fact only who was riding on the plane translated into whether it was AF1 or "AF2". Both were Special Air Mission planes and in a pinch or with some major equipment problem, either could have been used by the President. The communications systems had to be the same on each aircraft, etc. However what we do not know is if Johnson's plane was as fully staffed with communications specialists and operators as was the Presidents. The difference may have been in terms of people, not equipment. But of course that is something Johnson would have had no idea of....in fact its pretty clear that Johnson was totally unaware of even the basic communications ability on the aircraft.

As far as AF2, the only thing Johnson really knew about it seems to be his fondness for its pilot Jim Cross. Its a tangent, but if someone really wants to know more about Johnson and the transition, I heartily recommend a book by Bill Gulley, Breaking Cover, it will tell you things even Manchester never got a clue about. But to answer your question, the story pushed about a security reason for his taking the aircraft - and the thought that Johnson even had a clue about such things - is simply bogus.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its interesting that you went there Pat, actually a lot of the story I pursue has to do with the actual communications available on AF1 and how each of several President handled it over time during crisis. But that just has to do with AF1 over time. As far as the two aircraft in question in Dallas, technically each plane was supposed to be a duplicate. In fact only who was riding on the plane translated into whether it was AF1 or "AF2". Both were Special Air Mission planes and in a pinch or with some major equipment problem, either could have been used by the President. The communications systems had to be the same on each aircraft, etc. However what we do not know is if Johnson's plane was as fully staffed with communications specialists and operators as was the Presidents. The difference may have been in terms of people, not equipment. But of course that is something Johnson would have had no idea of....in fact its pretty clear that Johnson was totally unaware of even the basic communications ability on the aircraft.

As far as AF2, the only thing Johnson really knew about it seems to be his fondness for its pilot Jim Cross. Its a tangent, but if someone really wants to know more about Johnson and the transition, I heartily recommend a book by Bill Gulley, Breaking Cover, it will tell you things even Manchester never got a clue about. But to answer your question, the story pushed about a security reason for his taking the aircraft - and the thought that Johnson even had a clue about such things - is simply bogus.

Thanks, Larry. That backs up my conclusion. Johnson first claimed that O'Donnell told him to take the plane, and then later pushed that the Secret Service told him to take the plane because it had superior communications ability. I eventually came across a book by Jim Cross, if I recall, in which he discussed the fact that while Kennedy's plane had a bed, Johnson's plane had the more powerful engines, and was in fact the faster plane. Oops.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...