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Every scandal begins with a lie. But the truth will come out. And then comes the fallout and the outrage.
Scandals have shaped America since its founding. From business and politics to sports and society, we look on aghast as corruption, deceit and ambition bring down heroes and celebrities, politicians and moguls. And when the dust finally settles, we’re left to wonder: how did this happen? Where did they trip up, and who is to blame? From the creators of American History Tellers, Business Wars and Tides of History comes American Scandal, where we take you deep into the heart of America’s dark side to look at what drives someone to break the rules and what happens when they’re caught. Hosted by Lindsay Graham.
Tue, 18 Oct 2022 07:01
An American pilot comes under attack. With nuclear war on the horizon, Kennedy and Khrushchev race to pull off a secret deal.
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It's October 27, 1962. In the skies above Cuba, an American spy plane glides through the clouds at 72,000 feet. It bangs east, heading into the morning sun. As it flies toward the Caribbean Sea, a landmass appears on the horizon. Inside the cockpit, US Air Force pilot Rudy Anderson looks out the window. At this altitude, he can't make out much detail at the land below. It's mostly a blur of sparkling turquoise water and long stretches of green. And while it's a beautiful view up here in the clouds, Anderson is well aware that this is no time to enjoy the scenery. Down at ground level, the Soviet Union has installed an array of anti-aircraft missiles all across Cuba, capable of shooting down American spy planes like the one Anderson is flying. Anderson is keenly aware of the dangers of entering Cuban airspace. Still for the American military, these flights are critical. The US now has evidence the Soviets are building up a nuclear arsenal on Cuban soil. The installations pose a direct threat to the US mainland, putting millions of lives at risk. And while President John F. Kennedy has instituted a naval blockade around Cuba, it's unclear whether the effort is working to prevent additional Soviet weapons from reaching the island. So Anderson is on a mission to gather intelligence using his planes sophisticated cameras to snap photos of suspicious activity. Anderson will be flying in radio silence to avoid detection. But Soviet radar installations are active below. So as soon as he's finished his run, he'll bank north and west to get back into safe airspace, and far away from any Soviet anti-aircraft missiles. As Anderson flies closer to Cuba, he steals a glance at his plane's airspeed indicator. He has to remain vigilant about flying at exactly the right speed, because at 72,000 feet, about double the altitude of a commercial airliner, aviation is different. U2 pilots like Anderson refer to this altitude as coffin corner. The air is incredibly thin, and barely able to support the weight of a U2 plane. The difference between too fast and too slow is a Paltry 7 miles per hour. Go over the maximum, and his plane could break apart. Go too slow, and he could find himself stalling into a nose dive. But so far, Anderson has the speed exactly where it should be. And as he approaches his target, he gets ready to snap some photos. Anderson reaches over and hits a switch. Turning on the camera tucked into the belly of the plane. There's a ratcheting rumble as the photographic equipment drops down. And then Anderson listens to the thumping of the cameras, he begins swinging around taking photos. So far, everything is going as planned. Anderson has no illusion about the danger he's up against. The Soviets have proven it possible to shoot down an American U2. But Anderson is happy to be running this mission for the Air Force. Flying has been a lifelong passion. Even as a kid, he built model planes and dreamed, soaring through the sky. And once he joined the Air Force, Anderson volunteered for as many flights as he could get. And this is his sixth flying over Cuba. Anderson is beginning to get comfortable. For several minutes, the plane's cameras continue swinging around, shooting photos of Cuban soil. But suddenly, a yellow warning light flashes in the cockpit. The Soviet radar systems have discovered Anderson's plane. At any moment, they could launch a missile, but Anderson stays focused keeping his plane flying level and steady, as his giant camera keeps clicking away. Then, after a few moments, the yellow light disappears. A close call for sure, but other pilots have reported being spotted by Soviet radar, and they all return home to fly again. Anderson reaches the end of one bag of his surveillance run. Banks is air-playing into a gentle U-turn, and begins to line up for the next portion of his flight, heading back over Cuba toward Guantanamo Bay. But only minutes later, the yellow light returns. Anderson tenses up, staying sharp and alert, continuing his run. But then the warning light turns from yellow to red. This is much more serious. A missile has been fired, and is locked onto Anderson's aircraft. Immediately, he launches into an evasive maneuver, staring into an S-pattern, and trying to dodge the missile now hurtling in his direction. Anderson knows he should be able to pull this off. He's practiced these maneuvers a thousand times. Anderson steers a plane into a curved motion, desperately trying to confuse the targeting system of the missile. What it doesn't seem to be working. Missile just gets closer and closer. Right as it's about to strike, Anderson pulls a final evasive maneuver, and the missile carines pass the U-2, streaking past the plane, missing its target, and exploding harmlessly off on the horizon. But the red light does not extinguish. Alarms continue to blare. Anderson looks frantically around his plane, and spots the unmistakable white plume of a second missile. Then there's a sudden, bright flash, and a brief roar of shrapnel tearing through metal. Anderson's cockpit violently depressurizes, and in this space between two panic tart beats, everything goes black. If you're into Drew Crime, the Generation Y podcast is essential listening. We started this podcast over 10 years ago to dissect some of the craziest and most notable murders, crimes, and conspiracy theories together, and we'd love for you to join us. Follow the Generation Y podcast on Amazon Music, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Let's say you love sports, but are also, you know, a busy person. 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