Thursday, November 30, 2006

Ortsac / Phibriglex-62

I've seen references (including an extremely unhelpful one on Wiki) about ORTSAC, which supposedly was a war game involving the overthrow of a Caribbean dictator ('Castro' spelled backwards). Turns out, however, that the operation was actually Phibriglex-62. With that for a clue, I turned up an article in American Heritage magazine by Don Moser here which contains this paragraph:

'The U.S. also had allowed some publicity about a forthcoming military exercise planned for the Caribbean in the fall of 1962. This operation, code-named “Philbriglex-62,” was to involve an assault by seventy-five hundred Marines, heavily supported by aircraft carriers and other vessels, on an island off the coast of Puerto Rico. According to the scenario, the Marines were to “liberate” a small country called Vieques from a dictator named Ortsac-which, of course, is Castro spelled backward. Russia was aware of this operation, and might reasonably have suspected it was a practice run for the real thing.'

And here is an article in the NY Times that puts a date on it. Speaking of the events of Thursday 18 Oct (D+2), the writer says:

'Actually, a considerable military deployment was under way--ostensibly under previous orders not connected with the Cuban crisis.

'The Navy had long scheduled a Navy-Marine amphibious exercise called Philbriglex-62. By the middle of the week there were 5,000 marines at sea and 40 ships converging on the Caribbean.'

In the event, the ships were diverted to blockade (excuse me! 'quarantine') duty. Still looking! However, it doesn't seem that five thousand marines are going to solve the problem. (Note that it is variously spelled, Phibriglex and Philbriglex.)


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