One of the nice things about reunions is that you can sit around and recall things that happened in the far distant past. In Pensacola and again in Portland, members of crew 2 recalled an event that happened when we were flying out of NAS Key West, Florida during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Our mission for the day was to patrol the north coast of Cuba. Before departure, we were briefed to be on lookout for Russian ELINT (Electronic Intercept) vessels that had been reported in the area. Near the end of the flight, as we were approaching Havana Harbor from the west, someone sighted an ELINT toward the coast. Since a great deal of emphasis has been placed on getting a photo of the vessel, I decided to go inside Cuban territorial waters.
As soon as the photo had been taken, a report was made, either by the photographer or the radar operator that the aircraft was heading toward the Havana skyline. I immediately turned north, increased speed and got as low as was safe.
When the crew discussed this at the reunion, some of them recalled 2 Russian MIGs flying so close over us that they could hear the roar of the engines and the sound of their machine guns firing at us. After this, we returned to Key West without further incident. Some of the crewmembers recalled repairing the bullet holes in the aircraft. One of the amazing things about this was that they did such a magnificent job that no one else in the squadron knew about the damage.
Another amazing thing about this incident was that I, the PPC, and most of the of t he crewmembers, cannot recall things happening as described in the preceding paragraph.