June 14, 1959: Cuba provided the first serious threat to the long reign of Generalissimo Rafael Trujillo. In a mission personally approved by Fidel Castro, Cuban-trained guerillas under the leadership of Captain Enrique Jimenez Moya attempted to infiltrate onto the north coast of the Dominican Republic in the vicinity of Samana Bay. Having departed from Nipe Bay in Oriente Province, three Cuban Navy frigates escorted Moya’s two fast motor launches to a point off the coast. However, Dominican military forces detected the mission and air and naval forces sank both launches. Moya and all of his followers who made it to shore were killed.
Concurrently, 56 guerrillas boarded a Cuban Air Force plane in Oriente Province, Cuba. Falsely painted with Dominican markings, the plane departed an airfield near Manzanillo. Comandante Delio Gomez Ochoa, who commanded the Rebel Army’s Fourth Front (Oriente Province) during the war against Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, led the expedition. The guerrillas boldly landed at Costanza airport and quickly overpowered the stunned Dominican guards. However, the guerrilla force was overloaded with ammunition and lacked ground transportation. As a result, it failed in its goal of reaching the mountains. Additionally, the guerrillas were easily recognized as they wore olive-green uniforms adorned with blue and white patches identifying them as members of the Patriotic Dominican Union. Like their sea-borne counterparts, all the members of Gomez Ochoa’s column were quickly killed or captured. In total, roughly 200 Dominican exiles and 10 Cubans were killed or captured.