On October 14, 1962, Soviet missiles were discovered in Cuba, just 90 miles south of Key West. Due to its close proximity to Cuba, Key West prepared for possible invasion. Large numbers of US troops gathered here to invade Cuba and defensive measures included HAWK missiles to shoot down Soviet planes and barb wire and machine gun emplacements along the beach to deter invasion by Cuban and Soviets troops to Key West. The US Navy blockaded Cuba instead. On October 27, the Soviets agreed to remove their missiles from Cuba and the United States agreed to withdraw our missiles from Turkey and war was averted.
Fifty seven years ago, on November 26, 1962, President Kennedy came to Key West to inspect the HAWK missiles sites shown above and to reassure Americans it was safe to vacation in Key West once more.
John Kennedy is one of the seven US presidents who have used the Little White House in Key West, Florida.