October 26, 2021


Bay_of_pigs1-240x300In an appearance last night at Greta Van Susteren’s TV program “On the record”, former congressman and retired Coronel, Allen West made a point explaining why ground forces trained by our country were not up to the task of the quality of fighting necessary for the mission at hand. As examples of past failures, he mentioned the rebels in Libya and the “Bay of Pigs” disaster.

As a former member of Brigade 2506, and participant on the failed invasion I suggest that Mr. West comparison is akin to “apples and oranges”. My impression of his talk was that he tried to make a point of the failed performance of the group securing our consulate in Benghazi, the terrorist group that we helped in order to overthrow Kaddafi, and the fighters at the Bay of Pigs. The members of Brigade 2506 were not terrorists, and did not run away from the fight as these other groups. The examples that he stated to proof his thesis of our incompetence were also misguided. The landing site was forced upon us after the original plan was changed by higher authorities. An objection by a Brigade member that had personal knowledge of the bay area, warning the trainers of the unsuitability of landing in that beach, especially on a never tried night effort, was dismissed. The fact as stated by Mr. West of some of Castro’s planes not being destroyed was due to the scheduled attacks being cancelled by the White House and the US air force umbrella promised not executed. The other statement of missed drop zones, these errors are not an uncommon occurrence as demonstrated many times in our country’s Paratroopers efforts.

bay of pig planesIndeed, most of us were young, inexperienced in battle, and naïve, and this was not demonstrated in the war action, but in our faith that we could trust the US government to keep their word. With a new and inexperienced President, politics were the decisive factor, and ultimately the decision made was to stop what was started one way or another. In battle, my compatriots fought to the end and when faced with the certainty of defeat because of lack of ammunitions, never surrendered, instead attempting to seek refuge, or join the rebels in the mountains. According to various reports, these “poorly trained” forces inflicted Castro’s army between 2 and 4 thousand casualties, while suffering only 104 deaths.
If he has not done so, it behooves Rep. Allen West to visit the 2506 organization’s house/museum and gather some historical data in order to avoid further unfortunate comparisons.

Fernando J Milanes MD