Rudolf Anderson, Jr., USAF Pilot, is Shot Down Over Banes, Cuba
While the meeting progressed, at 11:03 a.m. a new message began to arrive from Khrushchev.
The message stated, in part, "You are disturbed over Cuba. You say that this disturbs you because it is ninety miles by sea from the coast of the United States of America. But... you have placed destructive missile weapons, which you call offensive, in Turkey, literally next to us... I therefore make this proposal: We are willing to remove from Cuba the means which you regard as offensive... Your representatives will make a declaration to the effect that the United States ... will remove its analogous means from Turkey ... and after that, persons entrusted by the United Nations Security Council could inspect on the spot the fulfillment of the pledges made." The executive committee continued to meet through the day.
That morning, a U-2 piloted by USAF Major Rudolf Anderson, departed its forward operating location at McCoy AFB, Florida, and at approximately 12:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, was shot down by an S-75 Dvina (NATO designation SA-2 Guideline) SAM launched from an emplacement in Cuba. The stress in negotiations between the USSR and the U.S. intensified, and only later was it learned that the decision to fire was made locally by an undetermined Soviet commander on his own authority. Later that day, at about 3:41 p.m., several U.S. Navy RF-8A Crusader reconnaissance aircraft on low-level photo reconnaissance missions were fired upon, and one was hit by a 37 mm shell but managed to return to base. At 4 p.m. Kennedy recalled the executive committee to the White House and ordered that a message immediately be sent to U Thant asking if the Soviets would "suspend" work on the missiles while negotiations were carried out. During this meeting, Maxwell Taylor delivered the news that the U-2 had been shot down. Kennedy had earlier claimed he would order an attack on such sites if fired upon, but he decided to leave the matter unless another attack was made.
On October 27, Major Anderson took off in a U-2 from a forward operating location at McCoy Air Force Base, Orlando, Florida, and was shot down by a Soviet-supplied S-75 Dvina (NATO designation SA-2 Guideline) surface-to-air missile near Banes, Cuba. "The loss of the U-2 over Banes was probably caused by intercept by an SA-2 from the Banes site, or pilot hypoxia, with the former appearing more likely on the basis of present information," stated a CIA document dated 0200 hrs, 28 October 1962. Anderson was killed when shrapnel from the exploding proximity warhead punctured his pressure suit, causing it to decompress at high altitude. On October 31, Acting United Nations Secretary U Thant, returning from a visit with Premier Fidel Castro, announced that Major Anderson was dead.
We had to send a U-2 over to gain reconnaissance information on whether the Soviet missiles were becoming operational. We believed that if the U-2 was shot down that—the Cubans didn't have capabilities to shoot it down, the Soviets did—we believed if it was shot down, it would be shot down by a Soviet surface-to-air-missile unit, and that it would represent a decision by the Soviets to escalate the conflict. And therefore, before we sent the U-2 out, we agreed that if it was shot down we wouldn't meet, we'd simply attack. It was shot down on Friday [...]. Fortunately, we changed our mind, we thought "Well, it might have been an accident, we won't attack." Later we learned that Khrushchev had reasoned just as we did: we send over the U-2, if it was shot down, he reasoned we would believe it was an intentional escalation. And therefore, he issued orders to Pliyev, the Soviet commander in Cuba, to instruct all of his batteries not to shoot down the U-2”— Robert McNamara