Smoot, WIlliam T.

Smoot, WIlliam T. — Participant in the Bay of Pigs Operation


Most of the oral histories in the Naval Institute collection deal with the active service of career naval personnel. Mr. Smoot spent only four years on active duty, and this memoir covers only one operation from one tour of duty. But it is a powerful one, because Smoot had an unusual vantage point during the abortive attempt to invade Fidel Castro’s Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961.

Smoot was an officer in the escort destroyer Eaton (DDE-510) and watched firsthand the covert support provided to the Cuban rebels. He saw the landing craft and the invasion site, listened to voice radio transmissions, and went ashore in a motor whaleboat to rescue rebels who were stranded there. Smoot’s destroyer came under fire on one occasion while in the Bay of Pigs.

Transcripts of this oral history are available in many formats including bound volumes, and digital copies.

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About this Volume

Based on a single interview conducted by John T. Mason Jr. in April 1973, the volume contains 29 pages of interview transcript plus an index. The transcript is copyright 1996 by the U.S. Naval Institute; the interviewee placed no restrictions on its use.