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A U.S. Air Force Lockheed EC-121Q Warning Star (S/N 53-0541) of the 552nd Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) Wing at McCoy Air Force Base, Florida, monitored and tracked the arrival of U-2 photoreconnaissance aircraft that frequently flew photograph missions over Cuba. The 966th AEW&C Squadron had a dual mission: monitoring activity in Cuban airspace and flying "Gold Digger" missions. Gold Digger missions flew at or near fifty feet in altitude, creating large rooster tails on the Gulf off the Florida Keys from their prop wash. A typical Gold Digger mission was flown over water between Cuba and the Florida coast to continuously track the U-2 in case it encountered problems. On October 14, 1962, a United States U-2 captured photographic proof of Soviet missile bases under construction in Cuba as early as August. Photoreconnaissance found SA-2, surface-to-air missile sites at eight different locations. After the Cuban Missile Crisis, the 552nd AEW&CW had administrative control of the 966th AEW&CS EC-121Qs, based at McCoy Air Force Base, Florida. Limited Edition, Signed and Numbered prints are available directly from the Artist.
January 21st, 2012
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