SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIR AND SPACE STUDIES, AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AFB United States
This thesis provides a biographical sketch of the life of Major Rudolf A. Anderson, Junior. Major Anderson was a U-2 pilot during the Cuban Missile Crisis and was shot down on 27 October 1962 while conducting a reconnaissance mission over Cuba. His was the lone combat death of the Crisis, and yet his story has not been told in more detail than a few paragraphs in the context of the larger story of the Cuban Missile Crisis. This thesis analyzes two questions Who was Major Rudy Anderson and what impact did his missions have on the Cuban Missile Crisis In the process of reviewing these two questions the thesis explores Rudolf Andersons childhood and early life. It analyzes the impact of Andersons experiences on the Air Force officer he became and how, in turn, his personality shaped the Cuban Missile Crisis. The thesis also examines the development of strategic reconnaissance in the Cold War, focusing on the first dedicated reconnaissance aircraft, the Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady. Finally, the thesis examines the impact of Major Andersons missions and death on the Cuban Missile Crisis, and ultimately in the larger context of the Cold War.