Fifty years ago today: the Assassination of President Kennedy

Ropelight wrote:

Say, Mr Editor, we’re only about 2 weeks or so from the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. How about a thread dedicated to that highly controversial topic? It might attract a few new commenters. Think it over.

As requested, a 50th anniversary Kennedy assassination open thread.

50 Comments

  1. Kennedy was the last Democratic president. When Oswald murdered him, when his blood and brains splattered all over that Lincoln, when the cries went up in Dallas, the real Democratic Party was murdered too. “The Loyal Opposition” or as Dana likes to call them “our friends on the left” ended this day 50 years ago.

    Killing Kennedy was the fist step in the total take over of the Democratic Party by leftists and now communists. Kennedy was a low tax/strong defense president. Name a Dem now that believes that. Lee Harvey Oswald, a true believing communist, was just a representative of the Barbarians at the Gates. They are now firmly ensconced behind the gates of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. (and an undisclosed location in Delaware).

    Controversial, yeah I guess when you consider how well the commies did in destroying the Dem party with just a few shots and ultimately Fundamentally Transforming America. Just so you understand my point: one does not need a dictator to be a dictatorship. A simple majority will do the trick . When they ignore the Constitution. When they refuse to compromise, negotiate or even TALK to the opposition. You know, two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner.

    Killing Kennedy controversial? Perhaps. But I would put out that they achieved their goal. Kill Kennedy, put LBJ the biggest socialist since FDR in office, loose in Nam, and socialize everything they can get their hands on from education to Hollywood to the media to health care. Mission accomplished. All they need is “amnesty” and we’ll have one party rule forever. May as well live in Cuba.

  2. Around 3 pm November 22, 1963 I was in Earth Science Class as a Freshman (9th grade) at Archbishop Curley HS in Baltimore when we were told President Kennedy was assassinated. Immediately in the middle of the Cold War, I was expecting Air Raid Sirens by thinking I had no idea who did this. I was then 14 years old.

    School was finished anyway for the day, so we all left for home to watch the repeated news over and over as to what was known and not known. Basically total confusion. (and it hasn’t changed 50 years later).

    Of course everyone was stunned and it was like everyone was walking around in a state of numbness figuratively bumping into each other.

    Within two days the Funeral arrangements were made and for some insane reason my brother, and a friend of his, and I decided to watch history up close and personal. So, the night before the funeral we decided to take a Baltimore Transit Bus to downtown Baltimore around 2 am to get a Greyhound Bus to Washington around 3 am. We arrived in Washington around 4 am and the bus station then was at 6th St. and NY Ave. NW in Washington.

    We were thinking of a good vantage point to see the procession from the Capitol to the White House and to the Arlington Cemetery. We thought the White House was the best. So, it was off to the White House around 4:30 am and we arrived a little after 5 am walking there. We stood at Lafayette Park across from the White House on Pennsylvania Ave, and waited.

    The procession finally started and arrived at the White House I think around 11 am. What we did not know, the procession went in the East Gate on PA Ave. and stopped under the Portico in front of the White House for a few minutes, then came out the west gate. So, this is what we saw.

    69090006a

    I did get this picture. Of course the casket was on the horse drawn carriage. To the Left was actually a group of World Leaders who came to the funeral. In there we could easily pick out Charles DeGaule of France with his round olive drab colored hat. But it was Presidents, Prime Ministers and other types of heads of states.

    It was from that point, they went to Arlington. And it was from that point the three of us went back to the Greyhound Station and back to Baltimore and home. We did get home in time to watch the actual Burial.

    A few weeks later I went back to see the burial site and this was the first improvised eternal flame and Burial Site.

    69090020

    It was 50 years ago, but it seems like weeks ago in my mind. And that is my JFK memories.

  3. I was in my fifth grade class, when someone stuck her head in the door and announced that the President had been shot. I think that this came before we knew he had been killed, but I’m not sure.

    Hoagie is right about one thing: President Kennedy was a Democrat we could admire and support, a Democrat who believed in American exceptionalism, in freedom and democracy. President Johnson pretty much believed in the same things, but wasn’t a good enough President to get foreign policy and Vietnam right. By the time we got to the next Democratic President, the Democrats had moved very far to the left due to Vietnam, and were no longer worthy of respect.

  4. Kennedy was probably closer to Reagan than any other president. He came in and slashed income taxes and the economy took off. He was the last Democrat/Republican President. Lame Brain Jackass started the build up of Viet-Nam based on a phoney attack on the Navy in the Gulf of Tonkin and at the same time started the first large scale welfare program of the Great Society which then worked to dissolve low class families with the program of pay for babies of single moms. Add to that, he looted the separate Social Security Trust Fund to pay for the war and babies. If you want a date the USA started to turn to shit, it was November 22, 1963. And speculation is this was an LBJ job. He was a crook that put Nixon to shame.

  5. Here’s my comment #56 at Patterico’s site on his JFK post: Nonsense is my response to his assertion that Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK. (Mr Editor, forgive me for not commenting here first. I had hoped this topic would have been ongoing for the last two weeks and kept looking for it to appear. I confess I mistakenly assumed you forgot about it.)

    #56, Nonsense, #1, there is plenty of manufactured evidence to indicate LHO was involved, but he could never have been convicted in a court of law either of the assassination or of the murder of Officer JD Tippit. That’s why LHO was himself murdered, to silence him and to prevent a trial which would have exposed the conspirators.

    Any open minded examination of the facts will quickly reveal that LHO was set-up, he was a patsy, exactly as he stated on TV while in the custody of Dallas PD.

    Additionally, there is no X on Elm Street anymore, it was recently paved over.

    50 years ago today Jack Kennedy was surrounded by powerful enemies, he withheld air cover for the Bay of Pigs invasion and betrayed the CIA’s Cuban soldiers on the beach, he proposed ending the Oil Depletion Allowance, he refused to go to war in Vietnam and intended to withdraw all US forces by the end of 1965 with the first 1000 troops to be home for Christmas 1963, he refused to bomb Cuba during the Missile Crisis, he obstructed Second Naval Guerilla which was a CIA, Joint Chiefs program for another Cuban invasion (which caught LHO, David Ferrie, Guy Bannister and several of the Watergate burglars at their training base north of Lake Pontchartrain), he rejected Operation Northwoods, he refused to prevent his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy from attacking organized crime or from prosecuting Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa, J Edgar Hoover knew RFK intended to force him into retirement, JFK fired CIA chief Allan Dullas (later strangely appointed by LBJ to the Warren Commission) and he fired Dullas’ CIA Deputy Director Charles Cabell, brother of Dallas Mayor Earle Cabell, and most significantly JFK intended to replace Lyndon Johnson as VP on the ’64 ticket. Congressional hearings revealing LBJ’s corruption were in session complete with direct witness testimony at the time of the assassination. (The hearings were recessed when news of the assassination reached Washington DC and were never resumed, the new President quashed them).

    Add the KKK and the Birchers who hated JFK for forcing racial integration and you’ve got a bitches brew of betrayed Cubans, Big Oil, JCS, Organized Crime, Teamster’s Union, FBI, CIA, LBJ, KKK, and the JBS all with a serious grudge against Kennedy.

    But, with a few bullets in Dallas including the convenient murder of a designated patsy, and with LBJ waiting in the wings to take over, Shazzam!, Suddenly relief was at hand, all that remained was to pull the wool over the public’s eyes.

    So, LBJ appointed the Warren Commission to whitewash the assassination. The Commission’s report was every bit as fictional as JFK’s autopsy. Next, the CIA unleashed Operation Mockingbird to make sure anyone who questioned the official narrative was ridiculed into silence, the agency’s lapdogs in the print and broadcast media crushed opposition and played along lockstep with the absurd fairy tale of magic bullets, a lone nut, a movie so gruesome the public could not be allowed to watch, all tied up with a big bow on top complete with a mobbed up Jewish pimp conveniently bumping off the patsy on national TV to put the whole matter to rest.

    Now, according to all the government’s authorities including their propagandists in the free press assure us, it’s all been explained, there’s no need to go poking around asking questions and expecting straight forward answers. The WC’s honorable men reassure us the weight of the evidence we’re too fragile to see proves the WC’s conclusions. And to prove their case beyond a shadow of doubt they locked the evidence safely away so maybe sometime around 2039 or thereabouts all can be revealed. Trust your government, they wouldn’t lie to you, not ever, not even once.

    So, go to sleep like good little children and don’t point out there would have been no Vietnam war had JFK not been assassinated. Only nutty conspiracy theorists do that, you know, the ones who notice that LHO associated with some of the same CIA contract agents who were caught in the Watergate. The conspiracy nuts who smell a big fat stinking rat and ask questions like the ones NOLA DA Jim Garrison asked, Why was JFK murdered, what changed in America as a result of his death, and who benefited when LBJ became POTUS, besides LBJ of course?

  6. Some may recall this …

    “Expunging Oswald: JFK and liberalism’s descent” George F. Will. October 9, 2013 | 9:53pm

    ““He didn’t even have the satisfaction of being killed for civil rights. It’s — it had to be some silly little Communist.”

    — Jacqueline Kennedy, Nov. 22, 1963

    She thought it robbed his death of any meaning. But a meaning would be quickly manufactured to serve a new politics. First, however, an inconvenient fact — Oswald — had to be expunged from the story. So, just 24 months after the assassination, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., the Kennedys’ kept historian, published a 1,000-page history of the 1,000-day presidency without mentioning the assassin.

    The transformation of a murder by a marginal man into a killing by a sick culture began instantly — before Kennedy was buried. The afternoon of the assassination, Chief Justice Earl Warren ascribed Kennedy’s “martyrdom” to “the hatred and bitterness that has been injected into the life of our nation by bigots.” The next day, James Reston, the New York Times luminary, wrote in a front-page story that JFK was a victim of a “streak of violence in the American character,” especially of “the violence of the extremists on the right.”

    Never mind that adjacent to Reston’s article was a Times report on Oswald’s communist convictions and associations.

    Three days after the assassination, a Times editorial, “Spiral of Hate,” identified JFK’s killer as a “spirit”: The Times deplored “the shame all America must bear for the spirit of madness and hate that struck down” Kennedy. The editorialists were, presumably, immune to this spirit. The new liberalism-as-paternalism would be about correcting other people’s defects. ….”

    This is how left liberals, now predominant as modern liberals, work. Kept court eunuchs and dramatists, like the flaccid faced power voyeur Arthur Schlesinger in the past, or Douglas Brinkley and Doris Kearns Godwin today, issue their lying panegyrics and slanted evaluations, and the collaborationist media enables and amplifies. The fantasy is repeated until the targeted client class uncritically accepts it once and for all; and “it” then becomes the supposed basis for the construction of laws intended to forcibly remold us in the image and likeness of these enfeebled dweebs and their dependency class.

  7. Ropelight,

    I can’t say I would conclude that there is solid evidence of any definable conspiracy in that list of potential grievances and motives, but I would agree that the Warren Commission report seems to have been a botched job intended or not … if you believe that its purpose was to expose the truth whatever it was and wherever it led.

    But then I would have to review volumes of literature I have not looked at in years in order to update any serious opinion.

    However, after reading Robert Caro’s biography of Lyndon Johnson, “Means of Ascent”, listening to Caro reveal in an interview – possibly to Charlie Rose – how Johnson administration housewhore Bill Moyers still refuses to talk, and hearing FBI agent Cartha D. Deloach describe how Johnson shut down the wiretaps on the Chicago mob after Kennedy’s death, I could almost believe anything of Johnson up to and including the suppression of uncomfortable or embarrassing facts exposing his opportunism, subversive scheming, and general all around amorality.

    What I have never been able to really comprehend despite the official explanations regarding the larger picture, is

    1. Why the Russians allowed Oswald to leave the USSR

    2. Why the USA ever allowed him back here.

  8. I would have to have a lot more confidence in Lyndon Johnson’s abilities to believe that he somehow orchestrated the assassination of President Kennedy. He was the most obvious beneficiary, but that doesn’t mean he caused it to happen.

    If we assume that there was a conspiracy which reached into our government to kill the President, the first question has to be: how many people were involved? There would have had to have been dozens, at the very least, yet the secret of such a conspiracy has held for fifty year, despite a whole bunch of people looking. Heck, the President of the United States can’t even get a [insert slang for receiving fellatio here] in the Oval Office, with no one present besides himself and his bethonged fellatrix, and have it remain a secret, yet a significant conspiracy involving people in several government agencies has?

  9. DNW, the answer to both your questions is concealed within the secret reason CIA contract agent LHO was in the USSR in the first place. He was a fall-back fall-guy put in-place in case he was needed. As events played out in the closing days of the U-2 incident it turned out the original cover story held up and LHO didn’t need to be sacrificed, and so he was allowed to return to the US along with his wife and daughter. (Incidentally, his wife was the niece of a KGB colonel.) The US State Department even loaned him the money to pay for the trip home.

    I’m willing to answer your questions explicitly, but you’ll learn quite a bit and enjoy doing it immensely if you poke about for yourself. Start with Oswald’s assignment to NAF Atsugi as a Russian speaking “radar operator,” his peculiar on-again-off-again associations with Gerry Patrick Hemmings and David Ferrie, and the strange events surrounding Ike Eisenhower’s canceled summit with Nikita Khrushchev resulting from the U-2 incident.

    Then ask yourself this question: How is it possible to shoot down a high flying spy plane when you haven’t got the technology to do it?

  10. Never forget that Bill Moyers was LBJ’s press spokesman and he was the one who instructed the Secret Service to remove the plexiglass bubble top from Kennedy’s limo the morning of the assassination. It had rained hard that morning (tapes recorded at the Texas Hotel in Fort Worth where JFK briefly addressed the assembled crowd immediately prior to leaving for Dallas showed many men in rain slickers and women with rain bonnets).

    It turned out that when Air Force One landed at Love Field in Dallas the weather had cleared and by the time of the motorcade the day was sunny and clear, but Moyers couldn’t have known that when he overstepped his authority as the VP’s spokesman and ordered the top removed from the President’s limo.

  11. Then ask yourself this question: How is it possible to shoot down a high flying spy plane when you haven’t got the technology to do it?

    Unfortunately, they DID have the technology. It was called the SA-2 missile, and it was used extensively in Vietnam.

  12. Mr Editor, LBJ didn’t orchestrate JFK’s assassination, the Ugly American, General Edward Landsdale did. It was his speciality, although he held an Air Force commission, Landsdale was always working for the CIA under the direct supervision of his mentor, Allan Dullas, Director CIA. Landsdale had previously orchestrated successful coup d’etat in the Philippines and in Vietnam. The JFK assassination was planned, organized and executed by Landsdale along with operational leaders Frank Sturgis (Watergate burglar) and Gerry Patrick Hemmings, Interpen.

    Undeniably, LBJ gave the go signal, no one with any semblance of an instinct for self-preservation would have pulled a trigger without advance confirmation the new boss was in cahoots with the assassins and would not only protect them but reward them.

    Like all successful secret operations the assassination was highly compartmentalized with various components carrying out their assigned duties without direct knowledge of who they interfacing with at any particular point. Most individuals involved were professional black operators trained by Military Intelligence and CIA who had performed similar tasks previously, only in foreign countries like Guatemala, not within the US.

  13. Eric, early versions of the SA-2 had an operational ceiling of 60,000 feet well below the cruising altitude of the U-2 which was classified as above 80,000 feet. Which is why the USSR complained bitterly about U-2 overflights but couldn’t do anything about it till May Day 1960 on the eve of the scheduled Eisenhower/Khrushchev summit. Here’s one for you, figure out how the U-2 was able to operate at such extreme altitudes where Soviet aircraft couldn’t come close to reaching them.

    Also, 1960 the altimeters on the SA-2 were notoriously inaccurate, which was a feature the US regularly exploited until they were later improved in time for use in Vietnam.

  14. “General Edward Landsdale did”

    Why?

    If I were to go in search of a formal and more or less organized conspiracy, I’d select the obvious one: Castro’s revenge, assisted by the Russians, and covered up by a crooked Johnson in order to hide the fact that it was a kind of blow-back from Kennedy’s botched interventions in Cuba.

    Placing Johnson in office certainly did a great deal of harm to the country. The fellow you mention, is described as a right-winger. Presumably he would have been aware of Johnson’s longstanding and publicly expressed contempt for the very constitutionalism which he earlier derided in his senatorial contest with Coke Stevenson.

    Grant a Johnson driven by personal demons of resentment and social striving (much like Harry Reid); grant that he was personally amoral, emotionally and politically sensitive to social “exclusion”, and that he intensely disliked Robert Kennedy … but murdering John Kennedy seems a couple, at the very least, steps too far.

    I can imagine a couple of current leftist Democrat Senators being capable of political murder, if they thought they could be sure of getting away with it. But not Johnson. I think that Caro has persuasively shown that his leftism was linked to his emotions and his desire to be included in and thought humanly important, not to a collectivist ideology per se. Almost anything short of murder, I would say.

  15. Eric, early versions of the SA-2 had an operational ceiling of 60,000 feet well below the cruising altitude of the U-2 which was classified as above 80,000 feet.

    Supposedly at least one U-2 was shot down during the Cuban Missile Crisis, so, apparently by the early 1960′s, the SA-2 could hit a U-2.

    Keep in mind, at its normal cruising altitude (usually reported as being around 70,000′), the subsonic U-2, operating in extreme thin air, could barely maneuver at all. It was in what was known as the “Coffin Corner”, where if it slowed down just a bit it would stall, and if it sped up just a bit, it would exceed its Mach limits and lose control. And, if it tried to do a rapid turn to evade a missile, it would likely do both. So it was essentially a sitting duck.

    So it’s no surprise that when Lockheed designed its replacement, the SR-71, it was four times as fast and could fly 15,000′ higher. It could both outrun and outturn enemy missiles, and consequently none were ever shot down.

  16. Here’s one for you, figure out how the U-2 was able to operate at such extreme altitudes where Soviet aircraft couldn’t come close to reaching them.

    There was nothing particularly complex about it. The U-2 was basically a large, jet powered glider. If you’ve ever seen a regular glider, with its long, thin wings, it is a very efficient design, aerodynamically speaking, in that it gives the most amount of lift for the least amount if drag. Add a powerful engine, and you have the ideal design for reaching extremely high altitudes and for achieving excellent fuel efficiency (meaning long range) once there.

  17. but murdering John Kennedy seems a couple, at the very least, steps too far.

    Not to me. Commies and their supporters were just as ruthless back then as they are now. They murdered millions, what’s one more regardless who he is? We had commie spies crawling all over the country and they had plenty of leftist support. Now we don’t have Soviet spies running around since we now have who knows how many American born and bread commies running the show from schools to government.

    But I submit they needed to off Kennedy to take control of the Democrat Party. They did. Look at the Democrats now and tell me they didn’t succeed. a “community organizer” is president (whatever the hell that is) who was raised by Marxists and seals his records.

    When the commies killed Kennedy, they killed the Democrat Party and now they’re killing America. Period! (as the Marxist in charge would say).

  18. By the way, I don’t want you guys to think I’m a conspiracy nut. This was not a conspiracy on the part of the commies or the American left. It was a Plan. Commies always have long term plans and this is one of them. When Khrushchev said they’d bury us he wasn’t talking out his ass, he meant it. Every time we set them back an inch, they return and take a foot. We shot down Hillarycare, congratulations we now have Obamacare. We can slow down amnesty but within two years we’ll have 30 million more “undocumented Democrats”. Mark my words.

    They had to shed Kennedy’s blood to take our Freedom. Do you think we’ll get it back without shedding theirs?

  19. … but murdering John Kennedy seems a couple, at the very least, steps too far.

    I tend to agree. It just does not seem consistent with his character. While I consider Johnson to be pond scum, I don’t think he had it in him to commit murder, at least not on that level. It would have, to put it bluntly, required real balls, something he distinctly seemed to lack. Or as Gene Hackman out it in the movie Unforgiven “He didn’t have any character, not even any bad character”.

  20. Gentlemen, Johnson didn’t have to murder anyone. All he needed were enough balls to turn his head while someone else did. Frankly, that takes no balls at all. The only person who needs balls is the guy squeezing the trigger. Trust me. Does Obama have the balls to go into battle in Afghanistan? He doesn’t need the balls to, someone else is doing it. He just needs “plausible deniability” when the shit hits the fan.

  21. Eric, first, the USSR had the wreckage of Francis Gary Powers’ U-2 in May 1960, they shot our U-2 down over Cuba in October of 1962, which means thay had well over 2 years to study the U-2′s design and to calculate it’s performance prior to the Missile Crisis and they had the same 2+ years to improve their SA-2 system. Additionally, since the US didn’t know the USSR had deployed SA-2s in Cuba our U-2 was flying at a much lower altitude that it would have over Soviet airspace in order to obtain very high resolution photos. They caught us napping.

    After our U-2 was shot down subsequent reconnaissance flights of which there were several were accomplished without further loss of life or aircraft. The RF-101C Voodoo made very fast tree-top level flights over sensitive missile assembly sites, and RF-8 Crusaders from Photo Recon Squadron VFP-62 made repeated high speed passes over ballistic missile sites defended by SA-2 batteries. VFP’s pictures were featured at the UN by Ambassador Adali Stevenson.

    Additionally, if the U-2 was just a fancy jet powered glider with big wings why couldn’t the USSR make one equipped with air to air rockets and shoot our U-2s down? Think it over. Here’s a hint: jets are air breathers.

  22. Additionally, if the U-2 was just a fancy jet powered glider with big wings why couldn’t the USSR make one equipped with air to air rockets and shoot our U-2s down? Think it over. Here’s a hint: jets are air breathers.

    You’re talking to an Aerospace Engineer, who after graduation went straight into Naval Aviation. Trust me, I know this stuff.

    I’m sure the Russians could have copied the U-2 design, like I said, it wasn’t that complicated. But they had no need. Unlike their country, which was closed, all they needed to do was send people passing as tourists, and with a camera they could take all the pictures of our bases and defense facilities they needed. And, besides, the U-2 was essentially obsolete at the time it was shot down, since both sides were developing spy satellites that could fly over any time they liked and which, technically at least violated no airspace restrictions.

    Also, a U-2 type plane would have made a lousy interceptor, for reasons already listed. Also, their Mig-21 Mach 2 fighter was just coming on line, and it probably would have had the altitude (and certainly the speed) to intercept a U-2.

  23. Eric, you’re ducking the question. Why could our U-2 fly so high that Soviet aircraft couldn’t get close enough to shoot it down? If you’re an aerospace engineer, think outside the box and don’t overlook the hint at 01:08.

  24. Eric wrote:

    Keep in mind, at its normal cruising altitude (usually reported as being around 70,000′), the subsonic U-2, operating in extreme thin air, could barely maneuver at all. It was in what was known as the “Coffin Corner”, where if it slowed down just a bit it would stall, and if it sped up just a bit, it would exceed its Mach limits and lose control. And, if it tried to do a rapid turn to evade a missile, it would likely do both. So it was essentially a sitting duck.

    So, a U-2 could have been “shot down” with a miss, if the pilot attempted to evade, and sent the plane into an unrecoverable spin?

  25. So, a U-2 could have been “shot down” with a miss, if the pilot attempted to evade, and sent the plane into an unrecoverable spin?

    Possibly, but it’s unlikely a U-2 pilot would have done such a thing. Like I said, the plane was barely stable at those altitudes. Flying it was sort of like balancing one bowling ball on top of another. Plus, I’m pretty sure the early models didn’t even have an autopilot, and some of the missions were up to 10 hours long, making flying the thing pretty exhausting. It’s not a job I would have wanted (though I would have leapt at the chance to fly an SR-71).

    Anyway, I cannot answer your question directly, since I don’t know what the pilots themselves would have done in such a situation. Perhaps they themselves did not know. If it appeared a missile was likely to miss, then hold course and altitude. If it looked about to score a direct hit, then maybe risk a sharp turn, knowing you would lose control, the plane would break up, and hope to make a safe landing by parachute. But really, I’m just speculating. You’d have to talk to the pilots themselves to know what they would have done.

  26. Eric, you’re ducking the question. Why could our U-2 fly so high that Soviet aircraft couldn’t get close enough to shoot it down?

    The U-2 began operations in 1956. Supersonic jets were just starting to be introduced into service on both sides. The old subsonic jets like our F-86 and their MiG-15 topped out at around 50,000′ (Some claim the MiG could get as high as 55,000′, giving them a slight edge in Korea). Point being, they couldn’t come close to intercepting a U-2. The early supersonic jets were better, but could only exceed Mach 1 by a small amount. Reports were on the day Powers was shot down, they were using both jets and missiles, but their jets (MiG-19′s) couldn’t reach the U-2, either, even when ordered to ram it if possible. Supposedly, at least one MiG was hit by a Soviet missile by mistake, so the whole operation was somewhat of a cluster-fuck.

    And there’s nothing particularly mysterious about any of this, either. in the 1950′s, the Brits had a light bomber called the Canberra. It, too, could fly at very high altitudes, though not quite as high as the U-2. Anyway, the Brits used to love flying their Canberras over our fleets, knowing the Navy’s then-subsonic jets couldn’t come close to catching them. Then, one day, the F8U Crusader was introduced to the fleet. It was supersonic and a real hot rod. And (according to the TV show “Wings”), the Crusader pilots started making vertical passes at the Canberras. Needless to say, after that, the Brits stopped trying to taunt the US Navy.

  27. While not directly related to the subject at hand, this bit from Wiki indicates that, by the early 1960′s, the U-2 was already vulnerable to the newest generation of fighter jets:

    A Lightning flying at optimum climb profile would reach 36,000 ft in under three minutes.[18] The official ceiling was kept as a secret, although low security RAF documents usually stated 60,000+ ft (18 000+ m). In September 1962 Fighter Command organised several supersonic interception trials on Lockheed U-2As at heights of around 60,000-65,000 ft, which were temporarily based at RAF Upper Heyford to monitor Soviet nuclear tests.[28][29][30] For the trials operations were carried out by the AFDS temporarily moved to RAF Middleton St George. Energy climb techniques and flight profiles were developed to put the Lightning into a suitable attack position. To avoid risking the U-2, the Lightning could not be permitted to close any closer than 5,000 ft and definitely could not be allowed to fly in front of the U-2. For the actual intercepts, four Lightning F1As were used on eighteen solo sorties. The sorties proved that, under GCI, successful intercepts could be made at up to 65,000 ft. Carried out against the backdrop of the Cuban missile crisis, the flight targets were deliberately not listed in the pilot log books.[31] RAF Lightning pilot and Chief Examiner Brian Carroll reported taking a Lightning F.53 up to 87,300 feet (26 600 m) over Saudi Arabia at which level “Earth curvature was visible and the sky was quite dark”, noting that control-wise “[it was] on a knife edge”.[32]

  28. Eric, you don’t have to play but here’s the issue in sharp relief: two jets, same engine, same fuel, same wings, same level of pilot ability. One flys quiet nicely well above 80,000 feet and the other one can’t come close. What accounts for the vast difference in performance?

  29. Eric, you don’t have to play but here’s the issue in sharp relief: two jets, same engine, same fuel, same wings, same level of pilot ability. One flys quiet nicely well above 80,000 feet and the other one can’t come close. What accounts for the vast difference in performance?

    I’m not quite sure what you’re talking about. Which “Two jets” are you referring to?

    PS From all sources I’ve seen, including an article in Flying magazine where one of their editors got a ride in a two-seat version, the normal cruising altitude for the U-2 was about 70,000′.

  30. ropelight wrote:

    Eric, you don’t have to play but here’s the issue in sharp relief: two jets, same engine, same fuel, same wings, same level of pilot ability. One flys quiet nicely well above 80,000 feet and the other one can’t come close. What accounts for the vast difference in performance?

    Technology. This article is about the SR-71, not the U-2, but I chose it for the technical information included concerning the requirements for high altitude flight. We were, and still are, far ahead of the Russians when it comes to aircraft technology.

    The U-2 article notes a lot of the difficulties with that aircraft, but doesn’t provide as much technical information.

  31. The U-2 could operate at significantly higher altitudes than has ever been acknowledged. From its inception as a quick stop-gap replacement for the increasingly vulnerable RB-47, Kelly Johnson’s reconceptualized F-104 depended on altitude, secret technology, and a uniquely skilled network of highly specialized advanced communications support for protection.

    Eric: two jets = same model jet aircraft so alike no one looking at them side-by-side could tell one from the other.

  32. Incidentally, Lee Harvey Oswald was a Russian speaking “radar operator” at the U-2′s far-east base at Naval Air Facility, Atsugi, Japan, before he defected to the USSR in mid-September ’59, which was less that 8 months from May Day 1960 when Francis Gary Powers went down in his U-2 over the USSR.

    Eisenhower’s cover story exploded in his face, Khruschev demanded the US apologize, Eisenhower refused, and the Paris Summit (9/16/60) collapsed without the two leaders signing the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty their envoys had negotiated.

  33. The U-2 could operate at significantly higher altitudes than has ever been acknowledged.

    With all due respect, I trust the guy from Flying magazine, an experienced aviator himself, over whatever mysterious source you are relying on.

  34. Eric, I’m not arguing, and if I have a point it’s that the U-2 spy plane incorporated a unique technology that allowed it to operate at altitudes significantly higher than published specifications, so high in fact Soviet interceptors couldn’t come close, and so high early versions of the SA-2 were equally ineffective. It was a technology that has deep and subtle implications for several of the relevant issues bearing on the general topic here.

    You’ve contradicted several of my assertions and finally in a misguided appeal to authority, claimed to be an Aerospace Engineer who went into Naval Aviation who knows stuff and that your opinions are thus trustworthy. Now, admittedly I haven’t quoted directly from your comments upthread, but I don’t believe my paraphrase misrepresents the case or abuses your stated positions.

    So, regardless of what you might or might not know about Aerospace Engineering, or about Naval Aviation, from my reading of your comments about the U-2, I don’t believe you’re nearly as knowledgeable as you think you are, or as you would have readers believe. That said, let me add that my intention in asking you the question was an attempt to inform you, not to embarrass you.

    If you require further clarification, say so and I’ll respond early this evening.

  35. Eric, I’m not arguing, and if I have a point it’s that the U-2 spy plane incorporated a unique technology

    What? Magic?

    Seriously, the reason I listed my background is that I know the basic laws of aerodynamics. And a given airframe with a given engine will only climb so high and no higher. No amount of wishful thinking or “Secret” knowledge will make it fly any higher. Further, I gave sound technical reasons to support my position. In contrast, all you have given are assertions backed up with nothing.

    In short, I am tired of playing games. Nor do I like either my credentials, experience, or honesty questioned. If you have some mysterious information that proves me wrong, then please present it. Or else just admit you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  36. Eric wrote, …a given airframe with a given engine will only climb so high and no higher. No amount of wishful thinking or “Secret” knowledge will make it fly any higher.

    Well, you certainly seem awfully sure about that. Yet, from the time the U-2 went operational in mid-1956 that darned old given airframe just kept right on flying over sensitive Soviet military targets. And as far as I can tell you seem so overly invested in presenting yourself as an expert you haven’t even tried to figure out why.

    The U-2 flew so much higher than contemporary Soviet interceptors that all Nikita Khruschev could do was stomp his foot and complain bitterly. The Soviets knew a given airframe was up there, their radars were good enough to track it, not consistently, but well enough to confirm the U-2′s unwelcome presence.

    Try as they might, USSR given airframes just couldn’t fly high enough to get a U-2 in range of their weapons. They did try using SA-2 SAM systems, but it wasn’t till May Day 1961 they managed to bag Francis Gary Powers. That’s an unbroken US record of almost 5 years of flying high. And, it’s got nothing to do with Magic, nothing at all. It’s got everything to do with technology.

    As for your sound technical reasons in support of your positions. You can’t argue backwards in time. Yes, the SA-2 was used in Cuba and in Vietnam somewhat effectively, but both those instances occurred after Power’s U-2 went down in the USSR. Technology moves forward in time, there’s even a specialized sub-field of Anthropology that sees technology as the universal prime mover in cultural change. But, because something works now doesn’t mean it worked yesterday, or last month, or last year.

    Now, I haven’t questioned your credentials, or your experience, although I did make reference to them in the context of your misguided appeal to authority. You’re the one who brought up your Aerospace Engineering credentials and your experience in Naval Aviation as a way to artificially bolster assertions contradicting my claims. You asked for trust based on a claim you know this stuff.

    Well, that recalls a famous scene in a popular movie about Naval Aviation where Maverick and Goose are describing the flight characteristics of a given Soviet airframe and the comely expert objects because “the Pentagon makes sure I know more about it than you do.” Maverick’s memorable response to her misguided appeal to authority was: Well, it doesn’t seem so in this case, now does it?

    As for your honesty, I never questioned your honesty. I’m confident you’re too arrogant to honestly entertain the notion I just may know a good bit more than you’re willing to acknowledge. Like I said, it was never my intention to embarrass you. I wanted to inform you about a topic I know something about. Who knows? The information could possibly come in handy someday to a man with your credentials and experience.

    I’m an old man, my day is passed, some of the specialized knowledge I’ve accumulated, my unique experiences, the things I’ve learned the hard way are no longer relevant to my day to day life, they don’t buy groceries or pay for cable TV. I thought you might be interested in knowing how two similar given airframes could be capable of such wildly different performances.

    I should have known better, I was once disturbingly much like you.

  37. I erred on the date of the U-2 incident, it was May Day 1960, not 1961 which makes the US record almost 4 years, not 5. However, the correct date does extend the time period between the U-2 incident over the USSR and the later SA-2 shoot down of our U-2 during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962.

  38. Well, that recalls a famous scene in a popular movie about Naval Aviation where Maverick and Goose are describing the flight characteristics of a given Soviet airframe and the comely expert objects because “the Pentagon makes sure I know more about it than you do.” Maverick’s memorable response to her misguided appeal to authority was: Well, it doesn’t seem so in this case, now does it?

    Except, in this case, you’re neither Maverick nor Goose. You haven’t presented a single fact, scientific or otherwise, to back up any of your claims. And your claims are rather cryptic in nature, you never actually come out and say something, you just sort of hint around the edges. For example, yout statement:

    I thought you might be interested in knowing how two similar given airframes could be capable of such wildly different performances.

    This statement is meaningless unless you identify the two airframes in question, and then give specifics as to their relative performances.

    I’m confident you’re too arrogant to honestly entertain the notion I just may know a good bit more than you’re willing to acknowledge.

    Again, what does this even mean? Another vague, cryptic statement that says nothing. When I identified my education and background, it was not an appeal to authority, but to expertise. I don’t lecture lawyers on how to practice law, nor doctors on how to practice medicine, so I would appreciate someone not lecturing ME on my field of expertise. Not unless you can provide some actual FACTS and data, not just vague assertions.

  39. Eric, I offered the analogy with Top Gun because the similarities between Charilie Blackwood’s assumptions about the MiG-28′s capabilities and yours about the U-2′s altitude performance both stem from the same misguided myopic over-reliance on published specifications. But, I won’t belabor the point, if you don’t see the similarities, then just skip it.

    Additionally, I’ve already specified the same airframes, jet engines, fuel, and pilot ability to eliminate those factors from the question of what accounts for wildly differing altitude capabilities. One pea in the pod can fly much higher than the other peas. Forgive me but I thought an Engineer might find the mystery curious. I was wrong and I withdraw my question. Anyway, the information is probably still classified.

    Lastly, you asked, …what does this even mean? Well, I’ll get to that, but first, I haven’t lectured you on your field of expertise. You’re the one who introduced your credentials to support contradicting my statements. And, that constitutes an an appeal to authority, straight up. Trust me, I know this stuff.

    Now, what my vague, cryptic statement that says nothing means is exactly what it says. If you still don’t understand, here’s a hint. You can lead a horse to water…

  40. Additionally, I’ve already specified the same airframes, jet engines, fuel, and pilot ability to eliminate those factors from the question of what accounts for wildly differing altitude capabilities. One pea in the pod can fly much higher than the other peas.

    I responded to that already with the following:

    This statement is meaningless unless you identify the two airframes in question, and then give specifics as to their relative performances.

    The problem is – you have given no FACTS at all, just vague assertions. Then you attacked me for giving my credentials and experience, yet made the following statement:

    I’m confident you’re too arrogant to honestly entertain the notion I just may know a good bit more than you’re willing to acknowledge.

    This said, without listing any facts, credentials, or expertise on your part at all. You just have some mystery knowledge that we’re supposed to accept at face value.

    If I sound annoyed, it’s because I am. Up above, I explained, in some detail, why the U-2 became increasingly vulnerable to enemy attack. I did it laying out facts and basic scientific principles. This was ignored (by you) and I was essentially told that I didn’t know what I was talking about. Then I get some blather about “Same airframes, wildly different performance”, which means nothing without specifying which airframes and what performance.

    Now, if you have some SPECIFICS to bring up, then I’m happy to continue this conversation. Like any aircraft enthusiast, I can talk about this stuff for hours. But if you’re just going to bloviate about some mysterious “Superior knowledge” and not provide any facts to back any of it up, then I’m done.

  41. And, that constitutes an an appeal to authority, straight up.

    If you had cancer, who would you trust to do the diagnosis? The town drunk or a top rated doctor in that field? And is that an appeal to authority or expertise?

  42. Eric, I offered the analogy with Top Gun because the similarities between Charilie Blackwood’s assumptions about the MiG-28′s capabilities and yours about the U-2′s altitude performance both stem from the same misguided myopic over-reliance on published specifications.

    And your assumptions come from where, exactly?

    Or, to quote the late Perry Hood: Citation, please!

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