Major Rudolph Anderson, Jr. was born September 15, 1927 in Greenville, South Carolina. He served with the United States Air Force 4080 Strategic Reconnaissance Wing of Laughlin AFB as a U-2 pilot. Anderson – the only casualty of the Cuban Missile Crisis – was shot down near Banes, Cuba on October 27, 1962. Anderson was also the first recipient of the Air Force Cross, and posthumously received the Distinguished Service Medal, Purple Heart and Cheney Award, as well.
Photos taken from Anderson’s U-2, as well as other spy planes, later proved that nuclear missiles were present in Cuba.