And insisted that the raid had been carried out by

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and insisted that the raid had been carried out by defectors from Castro's own air force. When Stevenson discovered the truth of the matter, too late, he could only insist that no further air attacks be conducted. In this he was firmly supported by many high-ranking government officials. The Ambassador's painfully embarrassing position was evident to President Kennedy who subsequently cancelled the airstrike scheduled for Monday, 17 April. 17 Shortly before midnight on Sunday, 16 April 1961, eight frogmen landed on the beaches at Playa Giron and Playa Larga. Their mission was to light 19 This content downloaded from 206.224.223.249 on Tue, 29 Jan 2019 02:18:19 UTC All use subject to
a channel for the boats which would be carrying the landing forces. Although President Kennedy had repeatedly directed that no U.S. forces were to participate in the execution of Operation Pluto, the first men ashore at both beaches were Americans. 18 At both beaches, the frogmen were forced to en- gage in firefights in order to complete their missions. Thus, the alarm was given before the first assault waves left the ships. The frogmen quickly over- came the light opposition, and the troops commenced with the landings. The intent of the plan was for the landings to take place under the cover of darkness in a quiet and orderly fashion. By morning the amphibious landings were to have been completed with a minimum of attention attracted. The landings at both beaches encountered immense difficulties with those at Larga experiencing perhaps the worst. The ships* machinery used for lowering boats and loading supplies was old, rusted, and most unreliable. When the equipment did function, the noise it created was deafening. Once the loading process was fully underway with all of the available ships* gear in operation, the roar could be heard for miles. "The invasion of the Bay of Pigs began with about as much stealth as the start of a stock car race. " 19 The landings went from problem to perplexity. Troubles were encountered in getting the boats into the water. Once in the water, complications arose loading them. Once loaded, it became a struggle to get the engines to run. After all of these hardships had been overcome, and the boats proceeded to the shore, the reefs and razor-sharp coral presented the final obstacle. The bottoms of many of the boats were ripped open and they were rendered use- less. 20 in spite of these difficulties, the majority of the men of the Brigade had been landed by early morning. Although most of the troops were ashore, the supplies and equipment necessary to support them were still aboard ship. The failure to get all the men and supplies ashore by morning as planned is the fault of whoever provided the Brigade with such unacceptable ships and boats.

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