Cuban Missile Crisis: the Jamaican Response, part 2

Gallery Article by Dave Bailey, aka The Rat on Jan 3 2019

Silly Week 2019



In addition to the EE Canberras that were despatched to Jamaica after the developments in Cuba, there was also a need for fighters and interceptors. The US Navy and Marine Corps had recently begun to wind down their use of the Douglas F4D Skyray, but its performance as a quick response aircraft was still impressive, and surplus airframes were soon deployed to the island. They retained, for the most part, their original paint schemes, with some local and personal touches. The first squadron to become operational was the legendary No.1 Squadron JAF 'Red Flight', with their vertical stabilisers and dorsal spine sporting blazing crimson. Training sessions were regular, with rapid take-offs and 'climb to height' sprints showcasing the impressive climb rate of the 'Ford', and low level returns provided beach-goers with impromptu airshows.

Click on images below to see larger images

Rapid interdiction of any incoming Cuban aircraft dictated placement on the north coast, and they were based at Boscobel, east of Ocho Rios. The improvements required to the Boscobel Aerodrome for jet operations were instrumental in the later growth of Ocho Rios as a major city and tourism centre, with the base eventually renamed Ian Fleming International Airport. 

Enjoy the photos.

"The Rat"

Photos and text by Dave Bailey