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Pete Copeland, former naval officer bids final farewell to U.S.S. Enterprise

When Pete Copeland was assigned to naval duty on the U.S.S. Enterprise, he did not know that as a U.S. Navy photographer’s mate Petty Officer 2nd Class, he would play an historic role during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.
 “I was just a 20-year-old-kid at the time, and our crew was told a hurricane was coming and we were given orders to depart from Norfolk, Va.,” said Copeland. But within three days, after more crew and supplies had been brought aboard the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, Copeland realized “we left our home port for something much more momentous than a hurricane.”
 The Enterprise, along with other U.S. 2nd Fleet carriers – the Independence, the Essex, and the Randolph – was part of a naval and air “quarantine” of shipment of military equipment to Cuba. This blockade, ordered by President John F. Kennedy, aimed to prevent the Soviets from continuing to arm Cuban Premier Fidel Castro’s regime with nuclear weapons. Kennedy demanded the Soviets dismantle medium-range ballistic sites in Cuba that were capable of launching nuclear missiles that could strike most American Cities.