William Ecker

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William Ecker
William Ecker 1965.jpg
CAPT William B. Ecker, 1965
Born (1924-04-06)April 6, 1924
Omaha, Nebraska
Died November 5, 2009(2009-11-05) (aged 85)
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1942-1974
Rank Captain
Commands held Light Photographic Squadron (VFP) 62
Battles/wars World War II
Cuban Missile Crisis
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross
Air Medal

William Ecker (April 6, 1924 – November 5, 2009) was a United States Navy officer.

He was born in Omaha, Nebraska. A career officer and Naval Aviator, he served in the United States Navy from 1942 until 1974. He is most famous for his role in the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Cuban Missile Crisis[edit]

On October 23, 1962, as Commanding Officer of Photo Reconnaissance Squadron 62 (VFP-62), then-Commander Ecker led the first low-level reconnaissance flight over Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis and (together with his wing man, Lieutenant Bruce Wilhelmy, and four other VFP-62 pilots) took the first close-up photos of the Soviet missile bases in Cuba.[1] During this mission, they both flew RF-8 Crusader aircraft.

After the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Ecker received the Distinguished Flying Cross (United States) for his service.[2] The unit he commanded, VFP-62, received the Navy Unit Commendation.[3] This Navy Unit Commendation was the first one awarded for a peacetime operation and it was personally presented by President John F. Kennedy in a ceremony on November 26, 1962.[4]

Later life[edit]

Captain William B. Ecker, USN (Retired) lived in Punta Gorda, Florida, until his death on November 5, 2009.[5] Before his death, Captain Ecker began writing a book with Kenneth V. Jack entitled "Blue Moon Over Cuba: Aerial Reconnaissance during the Cuban Missile Crisis." This book was released on August 21, 2012.

Depictions in popular culture[edit]

In 2000, his actions were depicted in the movie Thirteen Days, which was produced by Kevin Costner. In this movie, he was played by Christopher Lawford, the nephew of JFK.[6]


External links[edit]