“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Del Rio in Val Verde County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

Operation Brass Knob

Operation Brass Knob Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tiffany Prentice, October 9, 2010
1. Operation Brass Knob Marker
Inscription. Laughlin Air Force Base pilots flew secret surveillance missions during the height of the Cold War. The Strategic Air Command formed the 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing in 1956, utilizing high altitude Martin RB-57D and Lockheed U-2 aircraft for covert surveillance of the Soviet Union. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) used U-2s, most staged from Laughlin AFB, to monitor activities in the Caribbean following the Cuban Revolution. Based on intelligence reports, President John Kennedy ordered military flights over Cuba to investigate a suspected buildup of Soviet-supplied missiles with nuclear warheads close to American soil.

The first flight over Cuban airspace, on October 14, 1962, used reconnaissance photography to find evidence of medium range ballistic missiles in Cuba. The U.S. Navy processed and the CIA confirmed the presence of launch sites through photo interpretation. On October 16, the CIA briefed Kennedy, and a maximum aerial photographic reconnaissance effort commenced, codenamed “Operation Brass Knob.” Subsequent U-2 flights produced photographs of 95 percent of Cuba’s territory.

Kennedy announced a naval quarantine of Cuba on October 22. Military action, including naval maneuvers, increased, and the Cuban Missile Crisis peaked on the 27th, when a surface to air missile shot down the U-2 of Rudolf Anderson, Jr., the only combat casualty of the conflict. Surviving U-2 pilots later revealed all eleven U-2 pilots received enemy fire. When Kennedy presented the 4080th with an outstanding unit award, he noted, “The work of these units has contributed as much to the security of the United States as any unit in our history, and any group of men in our history.”
Erected 2007 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 14013.)
Location. 29° 22.118′ N, 100° 54.214′ W. Marker is in Del Rio, Texas, in Val Verde County. Marker can be reached from North Main Street. Click for map. Marker is located at Star Park which is bordered by East 4th Street, Avenue C, East 5th Street and North Main Street. Marker is at or near this postal address: 689 North Main Street, Del Rio TX 78840, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Carter Family In Del Rio (within shouting distance of this marker); Val Verde County Courthouse Square (approx. 0.7 miles away); Camp Hudson, C.S.A. (approx. 0.8 miles away); Site of Camp Del Rio (approx. 1.1 miles away); The Cassinelli Gin House (approx. 1.1 miles away); U.S. Army Camel Corps (approx. 1.2 miles away); Old Perry Building (approx. 1.2 miles away); Seminole-Negro Scouts (approx. 1.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Del Rio.
Also see . . .
1. 4080th SRW Reunion. In May 2008 a reunion of the 4080th was held in Del Rio, Texas. Photos of events, including the marker dedication, are displayed. (Submitted on October 14, 2010.) 

2. Operation "Brass Knob". The Laughlin Heritage Foundation Museum offers details of the mission. (Submitted on October 19, 2010.) 
Categories. War, Cold
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Tiffany Prentice of Houston, Texas. This page has been viewed 665 times since then and 72 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on , by Tiffany Prentice of Houston, Texas. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Wide area view of the marker and its surroundings. • Can you help?
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