President John F. Kennedy faced his first serious test only a few months after taking office. A paramilitary unit of Cuban exiles, trained and financed by the CIA, planned to invade Cuba in the spring of 1961 and topple the Pro-Soviet, communist government of Fidel Castro. The operation had been initially green-lit by then President Dwight D. Eisenhower, with hopes that the invaders would trigger a counter-revolutionary uprising across the island nation, it didn’t. In fact, everything that could’ve gone wrong did just that along the south coast of Cuba in an area called Bahia de Cochinos known as the Bay of Pigs, where 17th-century pirates had once hunted wild pig. The rebels never really had much of a chance of succeeding. Castro had proven himself as a popular leader and effective military strategist. Kennedy feared international blowback for being an imperialist aggressor. He reluctantly allowed the plan to move forward as long as no American soldiers were directly involved. After landing ashore at dawn on April 17, 1961, Brigade 2506 quickly realized they were no match for Castro’s well-organized Revolutionary Armed Forces. After all, the men and women of Cuba were battle-tested and confident, having fought for two and a half years during the Cuban Revolution. Furthermore, Castro’s arsenal now included Soviet T-34 tanks, tank destroyers, and anti-aircraft artillery. The end result proved to be a complete disaster for the insurgents when the majority of whom were taken prisoner, killed or wounded.