American Legion Post 642 (Stevens Creek) Cupertino, California

Military History by Month


Nov. 1
1904: The new U.S. Army War College opens its doors to three majors and
six captains, among them Capt. (future General of the Armies) John J. "Black
Jack" Pershing.

1942: On Guadalcanal, a machine gun section led by Marine Cpl. Anthony
Casamento- casamento-medal-of-honor-citation/) is hit so badly during the fourth (and
final) battle at the Matanikau River that all but Casamento were grievously
wounded or killed. Despite his own wounds (he was hit 14 times during the
engagement), Casamento single-handedly held his position and repelled
numerous enemy attacks. Casamento will be awarded the Medal of Honor in
1980 after surviving eyewitnesses to his actions are found.

1943: The 3rd Marine Division, led by Gen. Allen H. Turnage, hits the
beaches on Japanese-held Bougainville.

 1944: Japan launches the first of some 9,000 hydrogen-filled balloon bombs
towards the U.S. and Canada. By war's end, only six Americans would be
killed and a small amount of damage is inflicted by the bombs.
Meanwhile, the Tokyo Rose, a B-29 "Superfortress" modified for photo
reconnaissance, makes the first U.S. flight over Tokyo since the Doolittle Raid
in 1942.

1952: The U.S. tests the world's first hydrogen bomb, codenamed "Ivy Mike",
at Eniwetok Atoll. The thermonuclear device, with a yield 1000 times greater
than previous bombs, gave the United States a temporary leg up on the Soviet
Union in the arms race. The blast digs a mile-wide, 150-ft. crater and literally
wipes the small island of Elugelab off the face of the Earth.

1983: During Operation "Urgent Fury", 300 Marines from the 22nd Marine
Amphibious Unit conduct an air and amphibious landing on the Caribbean
island of Carriacou, 15 miles northeast of Grenada, in search of Cuban
military forces.

Nov. 2

1783: Gen. George Washington delivers his "Farewell Address to the Army"
near Princeton, N.J., in which he refers to the Continental Army as "one
patriotic band of brothers."

1861: Pres. Abraham Lincoln removes Union Gen. John C. Fremont as
commander of the Western Department, following Fremont's unilateral
decision to declare martial law in the border state of Missouri and thus freeing
all slaves.

1943: One day after the 3rd Marine Division lands at Bougainville, the
cruisers and destroyers of Admiral Aaron S. "Tip" Merrill's Task Force 39
defeat Japanese naval forces attempting to attack the landing force in the
Battle of Empress Bay. Two Japanese ships are sent to the bottom, with
numerous enemy warships receiving heavy damage.
Meanwhile, in the skies over the nearby Japanese fortress of Rabaul, Maj.
Raymond H. Wilkins, Commander of the Army Air Corps' 8th Bombing

Squadron, led an attack against Japanese-held Rabaul. His bombs destroyed
an enemy transport and destroyer, and although his plane was badly damaged
and his bombs expended, Wilkins strafed a Japanese cruiser, sacrificing
himself by drawing their fire so his fellow pilots could escape the deadly air
defenses. The raid sinks 30 of the 38 Japanese vessels anchored at Rabaul, and
Wilkins will posthumously be awarded the Medal of Honor.

1944: Nearly 1,000 8th Air Force bombers conducts a massive strike against
synthetic fuel facilities in Merseburg, Germany. The Americans shoot down
183 enemy fighters - including four jets - at the cost of 40 bombers and 28
fighters. By wars' end, the 8th Air Force has severely crippled the synthetic
fuel production necessary for Luftwaffe jets.

1950: During a fanatical nighttime assault by enemy forces near Sudong, North
Korea, Staff Sgt. Archie Van Winkle leads his outnumbered Marines through
heavy fire and enables them to gain the upper hand. Despite a bullet rendering
his arm useless and further wounds from an enemy grenade, Van Winkle rushes
through hostile fire to rally his men, refusing evacuation and providing
leadership until Van Winkle loses consciousness. The combat veteran of World
War II will be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Sudong, and will
be decorated for valor 18 years later during the Battle of Khe Sanh in the
Vietnam War.

1963: Unpopular South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem is assassinated
following a U.S.-backed coup by the South Vietnamese army.

1967: Seeking to unite the country behind the war effort in Vietnam, Pres.
Lyndon B. Johnson holds a secret meeting with a group of advisors referred to
as "the Wise Men." The group, which includes General of the Army Omar
Bradley, former Secretary of State Dean Acheson, and former Ambassador to
South Vietnam Henry Cabot Lodge, determines that the military should issue
more optimistic reports to influence more favorable press.

Nov. 3

1783: The Continental Army is disbanded following the signing of the Treaty
of Paris. The role of the national defense force returns to state militias, save a -----
-egiment on the western frontier and an artillery battery at West Point, N.Y.(which will soon become the U.S. Military Academy). These few "regulararmy" soldiers will become the Legion of the United States in 1792, and the U.S. Army in 1796.

1917: German forces attack a vastly-outnumbered U.S. unit near Artois,
France, killing three and capturing 11, marking the first U.S. ground combat
casualties of World War I.

1941: The Combined Japanese Fleet receives Top-Secret Order No. 1 -
ordering the fleet to attack the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor as well as
Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, and the Philippines.

1967: Seeking to wipe out an American brigade-sized force, the North
Vietnamese Army begins the Battle of Dak To. The engagement will last for
three weeks and was among the heaviest fighting seen in the Central
Highlands. Soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division and 173rd Airborne Brigade
inflict such heavy casualties on the Communists that three of the four brigades
that participated in the battle were not able to participate in the Tet Offensive
in January.

Nov. 4

1979: Iranian students loyal to Ayatollah Khomeini storm the U.S. embassy in
Teheran, taking 90 hostages and holding them in captivity for 444 days.

Nov. 5

1862: Realizing an army led by Gen. George McClellan would never defeat
Confederate forces, Pres. Abraham Lincoln removes the cautious Army of the
Potomac commander, chosing Gen. Ambrose Burnside as his replacement.
Two years and three days later, Lincoln would defeat McClellan - a Democrat
- in the 1864 presidential election.

1915: Lt. Commander Henry Mustin catapults from the USS North Carolina n
a Curtiss AB-2 flying boat, becoming the first American to make a catapult
launch from a ship underway.

1917: U.S. Army Maj. (future Brig. Gen.) Theodore Roosevelt Jr. and his
younger brother Lt. (future Lt. Col.) Archibald Roosevelt - both sons of
former Pres. Theodore Roosevelt - lead the first American patrol into "No
Man's Land" during World War I. "Archie" was wounded severely enough to
merit a retirement with full disability, only to rejoin the Army during World
War II. When an enemy grenade destroys the same knee wounded in the
previous world war, Lt. Col. Roosevelt becomes the first person declared 100
percent disabled in two wars.
Theodore Jr. also rejoined the Army during World War II and earned the Medal
of Honor while leading his troops at Utah Beach during the Invasion of
Normandy. He died one month later of a heart attack. His brother Quentin left
basic training and joined the British Army during World War I, transferring
back to the U.S. military as a captain when the American Expeditionary Force
arrived in Europe. He rejoined the British military during World War II, serving
in Finland and Africa before being medically discharged. He would later serve
as an Army intelligence officer in Alaska. The youngest Roosevelt
— son, Quentin, was a pursuit pilot and was shot down over enemy lines,
becoming the only son of a U.S. president killed in combat. He and Theodore
Jr. are buried side-by-side at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
near Colleville-sur-Mer, France.
Meanwhile in the Atlantic, a torpedo fired by a German U-boat sinks the yacht
USS Alcedo, which had been escorting a convoy to France. 21 sailors perish
when the yacht becomes the first U.S. warship sunk during World War I.

1923: The submarine USS SS-1 (SS-105) launches a Martin MS-1 seaplane,
marking the first flight of a submarine-launched aircraft.

1966: When U.S. soldiers are pinned down by the Viet Cong (VC) near the
Cambodian border, Capt. Robert F. Foley's "A" Company rushes to the battle
to relieve their sister company. Pvt. 1st Class John F. Baker, Jr.
and another soldier take out two enemy bunkers. When hiscomrade is mortally wounded, Baker spots four enemy snipers and eliminates

all of them, then evacuates his fellow soldier. Returning to the front, he leads
several attacks on the enemy, killing several VC and silencing additional
bunkers. After charging through the jungle with his machine gun to wipe out
another bunker, Baker covers his unit's evacuation. In total, he rescued eight
Meanwhile, the fire concentrated on Capt. Robert F. Foley
's location is so intense that he loses two of his radio
operators. Grabbing a machinegun from a wounded soldier, Foley charges
forward - alone - to maintain the momentum of the attack and keeps firing
until the wounded can be extracted. Once his men rally, he leads attacks
against several machine gun positions, personally eliminating three, despite
being wounded by an enemy grenade.
For their actions, Baker and Foley are both awarded the Medal of Honor.

1950: Gen. Douglas MacArthur begins a heavy air campaign against North
Korean targets, including bridges over the Yalu River, violating orders from
the Joint Chiefs of Staff that restricted operations within five miles of North
Korea's border with China.

2009: U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan kills 13 and wounds another 29
soldiers and civilians at Fort Hood, Texas in the deadliest shooting on a U.S.
military installation.

Nov. 6

1915: Lt. Cmdr. Henry C. Mustin's Curtiss Model AB-2 launches from the
armored cruiser USS North Carolina, marking the world's first catapult
launch from a ship.

1941: While searching for blockade runners in the Caribbean, the cruiser USS
Omaha and destroyer USS Somers spot a cargo ship flying U.S. colors but
behaving oddly and whose sailors looked "uniquely un-American." When
—Omaha attempts to make contact, the ship's crew attempt to sabotage the
vessel and a boarding crew is sent over. The captured ship turns out to be the in US ... 6/24/2020
Today in US Military History - The Center for American ... Page 357 of 407
German Odenwald, transporting rubber and other supplies from Japan. The
sailors from the boarding party are each awarded $3,000 as bounty from the
seized cargo and everyone else involved receives two month's pay - the last
time U.S. sailors will be awarded prize money.

1942: The 2d Raider Battalion sets out on a month-long patrol to cut off
Japanese forces attempting to escape encirclement at Guadalcanal's Koli Point.
Over the next four weeks, Lt. Col. Evans Carlson's Raiders marched 150 miles
through dense jungles, using their trademark guerilla tactics to kill 500 enemy
troops in several engagements. Only 16 Marines died during the operation, but
virtually the entire battalion suffered from tropical diseases that were said to be
worse than combat.

1944: Capt. Charles Yeager becomes one of the first U.S. pilots to shoot down
a Messerschmidt Me-262 jet fighter, scoring his victory as the warplane
attempts to land on a German airfield.
During a three-day battle at Kommerscheidt, Germany, U.S. Army 1st Lt.
Turney W. Leonard "repeatedly braved overwhelming enemy fire in advance
of his platoon to direct the fire of his tank destroyer from exposed, dismounted
positions. He went on lone reconnaissance missions to discover what
opposition his men faced, and on 1 occasion, when fired upon by a hostile
machinegun, advanced alone and eliminated the enemy emplacement with a
hand grenade. When a strong German attack threatened to overrun friendly
positions, he moved through withering artillery, mortar, and small arms fire,
reorganized confused infantry units whose leaders had become casualties, and
exhorted them to hold firm. Although wounded early in battle, he continued to
direct fire from his advanced position until he was disabled by a highexplosive shell which shattered his arm, forcing him to withdraw. He was last
seen at a medical aid station which was subsequently captured by the enemy."
Leonard reportedly asked to be concealed in a foxhole with a weapon as he
did not want to be taken prisoner. For his actions, he was posthumously
awarded the Medal of Honor.

1945: Ensign Jake West's FR-1 Fireball, a combination piston- and jetpowered aircraft, touches down aboard the USS Wake Island (CVE-65),
making him the first pilot to land a jet on an aircraft carrier. The feat wasn't
intentional, however: the fighter's piston engine failed on final approach and
West had to start the jet engine to land - catching the third (and final) arrestor
The Navy equipped a squadron with Fireballs in 1945, but the landing gear
wasn't strong enough to handle the harsh loads experienced during carrier
landings and World War II ended before the FR-1 could participate in combat

1950: After three attempts to dislodge well-fortified heavy enemy infantry
through "a veritable hail of shattering hostile machine gun, grenade, and rifle
fire," 2nd Lt. Robert D. Reem's rallied what was left of his platoon for a fourth
assault up the hill. As he was issuing last-minute orders to his noncommissioned officers, Reem spotted an enemy grenade that landed amongst
the Marines and unhesitatingly hurled himself on it, absorbing the deadly blast
with his own body. For his heroic actions, Reem was posthumously awarded
the Medal of Honor.

1951: Near Vladivostok, two Soviet Air Force fighters engage and shoot down
a U.S. Navy P2V-3 "Neptune" patrol bomber 18 miles from the Russian coast.
All ten crew members are lost.

1967: Cmdr. Joseph P. Smolinski and copilot Cmdr. George A. Surovik fly
their SP-5B "Marlin" flying boat over Naval Air Station North Island and
splash down in San Diego Bay on the last-ever operation of a U.S. Navy

Nov. 7

1811: At the confluence of the Wabash and Tippecanoe Rivers, William Henry
Harrison's 1,000-man force of militia and regular infantry soldiers clash 'with
American Indian warriors led by Tenskwatawa (known as "The Prophet").
Although outnumbered by the Americans, the Indians charge
multiple times into Harrison's lines, inflicting serious casualties on the
defenders, but withdraw once the sun rises and Tecumseh's confederacy
abandons the area. Harrison - destined to become a brigadier general during the
War of 1812 and ultimately president of the United States — will forever be
known as "the hero of Tippecanoe."

1861: A Naval force under Flag Officer Samuel F. DuPont boldly steams into
Port Royal Sound (S.C.), and Union gunners pour heavy fire into Confederateheld Forts Walker and Beauregard. Marines and sailors land and occupy the forts, giving the Union a crucial supply base for their Naval blockade.

1863: Union forces under the command of Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick
decisively defeat Confederate forces under Maj. Gen. Jubal Early in the Battle
of Rappahannock Station (Va.). Though a "a complete and glorious victory" for
the Union Army, Confederate Col. Walter Taylor will refer to the battle as "the
saddest chapter in the history of this army ... miserable, miserable
In six months, Sedgwick will be shot and killed by a Confederate sharpshooter
during the bloody Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.

1917: Eugene J. Bullard, an American flying for the French Air Service,
becomes the first black pilot to shoot down an enemy aircraft. The "Black
Swallow of Death" would fly 20 combat missions for the French - claiming
two aerial kills - before war's end.
The Columbus, Ga. native's father came to America from the Caribbean island
of Martinique and his mother was a Creek indian. Bullard fled to Europe to
escape racism in the United States and joined the French Foreign Legion as a
machine gunner, seeing action in the Somme, Champagne, and Verdun
campaigns before being wounded. After recovering, he joined the air service
and earned his pilot's license. He volunteered for the infantry when Germany
invaded France again in 1940 and was wounded.

2007: When a friendly unit operating in Afghanistan calls for air support, an
Air Force MQ-9A Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) responds to the
firefight. The Reaper's operators, remotely piloting the vehicle from Creech
Air Force Base in Nevada, drop 500-pound bombs on the enemy combatants,
marking the first time bombs are dropped by a UAV in combat.
The Reaper can carry four AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and two precisionguided, 500-pound bombs and is larger, faster, and can carry 15 times the
ordnance of the earlier MQ-1 Predator drones.

Nov. 8

1950: After completing a strafing run against enemy antiaircraft positions in
his Lockheed P-80C "Shooting Star", Air Force 1st Lt. Russel J. Brown spots
a formation of Soviet MiG-15 fighters. Brown claims one of the enemy
warplanes, marking the world's first jet-on-jet victory.

Nov. 9

1822: During an anti-piracy cruise in the Caribbean, the brig USS Alligator -
the third of four so-named U.S. warships - intercepts a flotilla of American
ships captured by pirates near Cuba. Lt. William H. Allen, Alligator's
commanding officer, is mortally wounded when he and his sailors board the
heavily-armed schooner Revenge, but his crew retakes all but one of the eight

1906: Theodore Roosevelt boards the battleship USS Louisiana (BB-19) and
heads south to inspect construction on the Panama Canal - marking the first
foreign trip by a sitting U.S. president.

1942: U.S. troops advance on Oran, capturing 2,000 French soldiers after
some hard fighting. Off the coast, Allied warships sink three French
destroyers. Meanwhile to the east, German paratroopers land in Tunisia. And
to the west, Maj. Gen. George Patton's soldiers fight to secure the beachhead Casablanca.

1944: Boeing's new long distance transport prototype makes its first flight.

The new cargo plane is essentially a B-29 Superfortress heavy bomber, but
with a significantly larger fuselage. The Stratofreighter enters service in 1947,
participating in the Berlin Airlift, Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Most of
the nearly 900 airframes are , but
Strategic Air Command puts a few platforms into service as aerial command
posts, while other C-97s serve with Aerospace Rescue and Recovery squadrons.

1950: As Task Force 77 aircraft make their attack on the Yalu River bridges
connecting Korea and China, Lt. Cmdr. William T. Amen engages a Soviet jet
formation attempting to intercept the Americans and shoots down a MiG-15
with his F9F-2B "Panther". Amen, the commanding officer of Fighter
Squadron 111 (VF-l11), becomes the first pilot to score a jet-on-jet kill
(confirmed by both combatants) in aviation history.
That same day over Sinuiju, North Korea, RB-50 Superfortress tail gunner Cpl.
Harry J. LaVene becomes the first aerial gunner to shoot down a MiG-15.

2001: During the Battle of Mazar-e-Sharif U.S. Army and Air Force special
operations forces ride into combat on horseback - the first cavalry charge by
the United States military since 1943. Hundreds of Taliban and al Qaeda
fighters are killed during the battle and another 1,500 are captured or defect.
Although war planners figured it would take months to capture the strategic
city and its airfield, the Taliban withdraw the following day.

Nov. 10

1775: On this day 242 years ago, the Marine Corps is born. The Continental
Congress decrees that two battalions of Marines be raised in Philadelphia,
consisting of "good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be
able to serve by sea when required; that they be enlisted and commissioned to
serve for and during the present war with Great Britain and the Colonies."
Capt. Samuel Nicholas - commissioned just days before as the first Marine
officer - sets up his recruiting headquarters at Tun Tavern.

1944: While anchored at Papua New Guinea, 3,800 tons of ammunition aboard
the cargo ship USS Mount Hood explodes, obliterating the 350-man crew and
destroying or damaging dozens of ships nearby. The destruction was so
complete that apart from a 16-foot chunk of the hull found in a trench, no
recognizable pieces of the 459-foot ship remained.

1949: The Sikorsky H-19 "Chickasaw" helicopter makes its first flight. The
Army and Air Force will order dozens of the helicopters and use them for
medical evacuation and rescue operations during the Korean War.

1959: USS Triton (SSRN-586), the largest, most powerful, and most
expensive submarine of its age (thanks to two nuclear power plants) is
commissioned. On her shakedown cruise "The Big T" becomes the first
submarine to circumnavigate the globe without surfacing. Shortly after
entering service as a radar picket vessel, the advent of early warning aircraft
makes Triton's role obsolete and in 1969 Triton will be the first nuclear
submarine to be decommissioned.

2001: U.S.-led coalition forces defeat Taliban forces in Mazar-e-Sharif,
scoring the first major victory of the war in Afghanistan.

Nov. 11

1918: The armistice is signed, ending World War I.

Nov. 14

1965: 450 soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry under the command of
Lt. Col. Harold Moore are choppered in to assault the communist stronghold
in the Ia Drang Valley. Upon landing, the unit is nearly overrun by three
-Thattalions (1,600 soldiers) of North Vietnamese regulars, resulting in hand-tohand combat, but the soldiers hold out for two days before being relieved -inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. The Battle of the Ia Drang Valley is
the first major battle between U.S. and NVA forces and one of the only setpiece battles of the Vietnam War.

Nov. 15

1942: Off Guadalcanal, the U.S. and Japanese fleets engage in one of only
two battleship-on-battleship engagements of the Pacific War. While
Kirishima hammers USS South Dakota in the early morning hours, USS
Washington slips away undetected and maneuvers to near point-blank range,
raking the Japanese battleship with devestating salvos. Japanese naval guns
and torpedoes send three U.S. destroyers (Walke, Preston, and Benham) to
the bottom of Ironbottom Sound, while U.S. warplanes destroy four troop
transport ships carrying soldiers and badly needed supplies. The Allies have
inflicted such heavy losses on the Japanese that they abandon the mission to
retake Guadalcanal.
Injured in the attack on South Dakota is 12-year-old Seaman 1st Class Calvin
L. Graham, who lied about his age that summer to join the Navy. Graham earns
the Bronze Star with Combat "V" and the Purple Heart during the battle. When
the government learns his actual age, Graham is thrown in the brig for three
months, dishonorably discharged, and his medals are stripped. He enlists in the
Marine Corps when he turns 17.

1950: "As a squad leader of the 3d Platoon [U.S. Army Pfc. Mack A. Jordan]
was participating in a night attack on key terrain against a fanatical hostile
force when the advance was halted by intense small-arms and automaticweapons fire and a vicious barrage of handgrenades. Upon orders for the
platoon to withdraw and reorganize, Pfc. Jordan voluntarily remained behind
to provide covering fire. Crawling toward an enemy machine gun
emplacement, he threw 3 grenades and neutralized the gun. He then rushed
the position delivering a devastating hail of fire, killing several of the enemy
and forcing the remainder to fall back to new positions. He courageously
attempted to move forward to silence another machine gun but, before he
could leave his position, the ruthless foe hurled explosives down the hill and

in the ensuing blast both legs were severed. Despite mortal wounds, he continued to deliver deadly fire and held off the assailants until the platoon returned."Pfc. Jordan was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

1960: The U.S. Navy's first ballistic missile submarine, USS George
Washington (SSBN-598) departs Charleston harbor (S.C.) harbor for its first
deterrent patrol. Aboard are 16 Polaris A-1 missiles, which carry a one
megaton nuclear warhead (nearly 70 times more powerful than the bomb
dropped on Hiroshima 15 years before) that can strike targets over 1,000 miles

1966: After descending from a 266,000-foot climb, a North American X-15
rocket carrying U.S. Air Force Maj. Michael J. Adams enters a violent spin at
Mach 5, killing the pilot. Adams had flown 49 combat missions during the
Korean War before joining the X-15 program. Having crossed the 50-mile
threshold, qualifying his last flight as a space flight, Adams is posthumously
awarded astronaut wings.

2006: 82d Airborne soldiers begin what will be an intense 40-hour battle with
heavily armed and well-disciplined insurgents in in Iraq's Diyala province. By
the time the shooting stops, U.S. troops have destroyed an extensive network
of trenches and capture a stockpile of ammunition and heavy weapons. 5th
Squadron of the 73rd Cavalry Regiment earns the Presidential Unit Citation
for their role in the Battle of Turki.

Nov. 16

1927: The United States Navy commissions its second-ever aircraft carrier,
USS Saratoga (CV-3). Following her service during World War II, the flattop
(which was originally designed to be a battlecruiser) is sunk during atomic
weapons testing.

1944: Over 4,000 Allied warplanes hammer Nazi Germany with one of the
heaviest bombardments of World War II prior to an advance by the 1st and
9th U.S. Armies.

2004: Nine days after launching Operation Phantom Fury — the Second Battle
of Fallujah (Iraq) — U.S. Marines and soldiers (as well as a few British and
Iraqi troops) begin the mopping-up phase of what has since been described as
the most intense urban combat since the bloody battle for the Vietnamese city
of Hue in 1968.
It is during the battle for Fallujah, that a radio transmission is intercepted by
U.S. forces in which a panicking al-Qaeda insurgent is heard exclaiming to his
chief: "We are fighting, but the Marines keep coming! We are shooting, but the
Marines won't stop!"

Nov. 17

1917: The destroyers USS Fanning and USS Nicholson attack the German
U-boat U-58, becoming the first ships to sink a submarine in US history.

Nov. 19

1863: Four months after the Battle of Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln
addresses an audience with a brief speech honoring the fallen: "...we can not
dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The
brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above
our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember
what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. ... we here highly
resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under
God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people,
by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Lincoln's Gettysburg Address becomes one of the most famous speeches in
American history.

1950: Maj. Gen. Oliver P. Smith's 1st Marine Division fights arctic
temperatures dropping to —35 °F, moving slowly towards North Korea's
Chosin Reservoir. Meanwhile, the Chinese 9th Corps Army closes in on the
Americans from the north.

1967: During the Battle of Dak To, Chaplain (Maj.) Charles J. Watters, "with
complete disregard for his safety, rushed forward to the line of contact.
Unarmed and completely exposed, he moved among, as well as in front of the
advancing troops, giving aid to the wounded, assisting in their evacuation,
giving words of encouragement, and administering the last rites to the dying.
When a wounded paratrooper was standing in shock in front of the assaulting
forces, Chaplain Watters ran forward, picked the man up on his shoulders and
carried him to safety. As the troopers battled to the first enemy entrenchment,
Chaplain Watters ran through the intense enemy fire to the front of the
entrenchment to aid a fallen comrade. A short time later, the paratroopers
pulled back in preparation for a second assault. Chaplain Watters exposed
himself to both friendly and enemy fire between the 2 forces in order to
recover 2 wounded soldiers. Later, when the battalion was forced to pull back
into a perimeter, Chaplain Watters noticed that several wounded soldiers were
Lying outside the newly formed perimeter. Without hesitation and ignoring
attempts to restrain him, Chaplain Watters left the perimeter three times in the
face of small arms, automatic weapons, and mortar fire to carry and to assist
the injured troopers to safety. Satisfied that all of the wounded were inside the
perimeter, he began aiding the medics—applying field bandages to open
wounds, obtaining and serving food and water, giving spiritual and mental
strength and comfort. During his ministering, he moved out to the perimeter
from position to position redistributing food and water, and tending to the
needs of his men. Chaplain Watters was giving aid to the wounded when he
himself was mortally wounded."
Chaplain Watters was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

1969: Apollo 12 astronauts Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr. (Cmdr., USN) and Alan
L. Bean (Cmdr, USN) become the third and fourth humans to walk on the
noon. Orbiting above in the command module is Richard F. Gordon Jr.
(Cmdr., USN) The entire crew of Apollo 12 are former Naval aviators.

Nov. 20

1776: Having defeated the American garrison at Fort Washington, 5,000
British soldiers land at The Palisades and begin their New Jersey invasion.
Gen. George Washington orders Fort Lee (directly across the Hudson River
from Fort Washington) abandoned and the Continental Army retreats across
the Hackensack River.

1918: The 369th Infantry Regiment receives the honor of becoming the first
American unit to enter German territory for occupation duty. The famed "Hell
Fighters from Harlem" fought with distinction under French command during
World War I, spending more time in combat and suffering more casualties than
any other American regiment during the war.

1943: A flotilla of over 100 warships, including 17 aircraft carriers and 12
battleships, hammers the Tarawa Atoll as the first of 35,000 Marines and
soldiers land in the face of stiff Japanese resistance. Rear Adm. Keiji
Shibasaki, in command of the defenders, stated that "a million men could not
take Tarawa in a hundred years." In fact, it will only take 76 hours to secure
the islands.
The fanatical defenders will fight almost to the last man in the first heavily
opposed U.S. landing in the Pacific. Many of the American casualties were due
to low tide conditions that forced Marines to wade hundreds of yards across
jagged coral reefs - under withering fire - to reach the shore. The resulting
losses inspired the creation of the Navy's Underwater Demolition Teams to
provide critical hydrographic reconnaissance and destroy obstacles for
amphibious landings - the birth of what will become today's SEAL Teams.

1944: The USS Mississinewa becomes the first victim of the Japanese Kaiten
suicide submarine when the tanker is sunk in the Caroline Islands.

1945: The Nuremberg Trials begin when 24 high-ranking Nazi officials face
charges in Nuremberg, Germany for atrocities committed during World War

1962: With assurances that the Soviet Union would remove their ballistic
missiles from the island, President Kennedy lifts the naval blockade against
Cuba, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Nov. 21

1817: The First Seminole War begins when Gen. (and future president)
Andrew Jackson leads forces into Spanish-held Florida to reclaim escaped
slaves from Seminole tribal areas.

1943: USS Nautilus (SS-168) surfaces and disembarks Capt. James L. Jones
and his Marine Amphibious Reconnaissance Company off the beaches of
Abemama Atoll in the Gilbert Islands. The raiders board rubber rafts and
paddle ashore under cover of darkness, spending the next several days wiping
out the defenders and capturing the islands along with fire support from the
sub. The Marine Corps' modern-day Force Reconnaissance companies trace
their roots to Jones' team.

1947: Grumman's first jet fighter, the F9F "Panther" makes its first flight. The
F9F will serve as the Navy and Marine Corps' primary jet fighter during the
Korean War and will be flown by Hall of Fame baseball player Ted Williams
(USMC) and Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong (USN).

1967: Gen. William Westmoreland, the commander of U.S. Military
Assistance Command Vietnam, tells the American press that "I am absolutely
certain that whereas in 1965 the enemy was winning, today he is certainly

1970: Col. Arthur D. "Bull" Simons leads a 56-man rescue operation on the

Son Tay POW camp, just 23 miles from Hanoi, North Vietnam. Although the
prisoners had been relocated to another camp prior to the operation, the raid -
involving over 100 aircraft from multiple services - was a tactical success.
Dozens of enemy guards are killed during the brief engagement and the
assault would serve in part as a model for the formation of Special Operations

Nov. 22

1718: The Royal Navy locates Edward Teach, the notorious pirate known as
"Blackbeard", off the coast of North Carolina. After two devastating
broadsides from Blackbeard's ship Adventure, a boarding party led by Lt.
Robert Maynard of HMS Ranger boards the pirate sloop and kills Blackbeard.

1942: After crushing the Romanians, the Soviet 4th Mechanized Corps and
4th Tank Corps meet at Kalach-na-Donu, surrounding the 250,000 men of
Gen. Friedrich Paulus' 6th Army. The trapped Germans eventually surrender
in what becomes perhaps the bloodiest battle in the history of warfare, with
some two million casualties over the five-month engagement.

1963: President John F. Kennedy is assassinated by former Marine radar
operator Lee Harvey Oswald while the presidential motorcade travels through
Dallas, Texas. Oswald also seriously wounds Texas Governor John Connally
in the attack. Both Kennedy and Connally served in the Navy during World
— War II - Kennedy as a PT boat skipper and Connally as a fighter plane
director aboard aircraft carriers.

1972: Although North Vietnam claimed that they had already shot down 19 B52 bombers, this date marks the first time a "Stratofortress" falls victim to
enemy surface-to-air missiles. Following their raid on Vinh, the crew bails out
of the stricken bird over Thailand. 30 more B-52s will be destroyed by hostile
fire during the remainder of the war.

1988: Northrop's B-2 "Spirit" stealth bomber is unveiled to an audience of
government officials and press at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif.. The
B-2 will not make its first flight until the following year and doesn't enter
combat until Kosovo in 1999.

Nov. 23

1863: The battles of the Chattanooga campaign begin between newly
appointed commander of the Western armies, Union Maj. Gen. Ulysses S.
Grant, and Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg.
Within days, Union Army forces will attack and capture Orchard Knob,
Lookout Mountain, and the Confederate works on Missionary Ridge. The
"Gateway to the Lower South" will open, and within a year, Union Gen.
William Tecumseh Sherman will pass through the "gateway" enroute to

1943: Japanese-held Tarawa falls to American forces despite the boast of its
defending commander, Rear Adm. Keiji Shibasaki, that "a million men could
not take Tarawa in a hundred years." It takes several thousand Marines and
about 76 hours to seize Tarawa.
Makin Atoll, 100 miles north of Tarawa, is also declared secure.

1944: The Seventh Army, commanded by Gen. Alexander Patch, captures
Strasbourg, France.

1972: Peace talks between the US and North Vietnam secretly resume in
Paris, but quickly reach an impasse.

Nov. 24

1863: Union forces scale the slopes of Lookout Mountain under cover of fog,
capturing high ground and breaking the Confederate siege of Chattanooga,
Tenn. Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Military Division of the
Mississippi defeats Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee in the Battle of
—Lookout Mountain. Three Union soldiers were awarded the Medal for actions
in the engagement: Pvt. Peter Kappesser and 1st Sgt. Norman F. Potter (for
capturing Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's flag) and Sgt. John Kiggins (for
waving colors to save the lives of troops being fired at by friendly artillery
batteries — drawing concentrated enemy fire).

1943: The Japanese submarine 1-75 torpedoes the escort carrier USS Liscome
Bay during the Battle of Makin Island, detonating the aircraft bomb magazine
and engulfing the ship in flames. 23 minutes later, the carrier sinks, taking
over 700 sailors and officers with her to the bottom. Among the dead are Rear
Adm. Henry M. Mullinnix and Petty Officer Doris "Dorie" Miller, one of the
"first U.S. heroes of Pearl Harbor, as the first black sailor ever awarded the
Navy Cross.

1944: 111 U.S. B-29 bombers of the 73rd Bombardment Wing, flying out of
Saipan, attack the Nakajima Aircraft engine plant near Tokyo in the first
attack on the Japanese mainland since Doolittle's 1942 raid.

1950: Gen. Douglas MacArthur launches the "Home by Christmas" offensive
against Chinese and North Korean forces. The attack meets heavy resistance
and a Chinese counterattack would drive UN forces from North Korea by

1951: Near Kowang-San, Korea, Pvt. 1st Class Noah 0. Knight
spots enemy soldiers entering a friendly position. Having
previously exhausted his ammunition while stemming an enemy advance and
causing heavy enemy casualties, Knight rushed the soldiers, neutralizing two
with his rifle butt, but was mortally wounded when the third enemy soldier
detonated his explosives. For his actions, he is posthumously awarded the
Medal of Honor.

1963: Two days after assassinating Pres. John F. Kennedy, former Marine Lee
Harvey Oswald is himself shot and killed by Jack Ruby - formerly a mechanic
in the Army Air Forces, who served during World War II.

Nov. 25

1783: Three months after the end of the Revolutionary War, the last British
soldiers withdraw from New York City. British forces had held the city since
1776, and after its liberation, New York would become the first national
capital under the Constitution.

1863: One day after capturing Lookout Mountain, Union forces under Gen.
Ulysses S. Grant rout Gen. Braxton Bragg's Confederate Army of Tennessee
on Missionary Ridge, breaking the Confederate siege of Chattanooga.

Medal of Honor: 1st Lt. Arthur MacArthur Jr., father of Gen. Douglas
MacArthur, seizes "the colors of his regiment at a critical moment and planted
them on the captured works on the crest of Missionary Ridge." The
MacArthurs are the first father and son to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
The only other pair is Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

1864: The Confederate plot to burn New York City fails. Agents did manage
to burn several hotels, but most of the fires either were contained quickly or
failed to ignite. Robert Kennedy, a Confederate officer who escaped from a
Union prisoner of war camp in Ohio, was the only operative to be caught.

1876: In Wyoming Territory, Army cavalry soldiers defeat Cheyenne warriors
under chiefs Dull Knife and Little Wolf, effectively ending the Cheyenne's
ability to wage war.

1941: Adm. Harold R. Stark, the Chief of Naval Operations, warns Adm.
Husband E. Kimmel, commander of the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, that
both President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull think a Japanese
surprise attack is a distinct possibility. The next day, the Japanese task force
sets sail for Pearl Harbor.

1943: Five US destroyers under the command of Capt. Arleigh Burke sink
three Japanese destroyers while receiving no damage themselves in the Battle
of Cape St. George in the Solomon Islands, marking the end of Japan's
"Tokyo Express" resupply route in the South Pacific.

1943: Bombers from the US 14th Air Force, based in China, strike the
Japanese-held island of Formosa (Taiwan) for the first time.

1944: Four US carriers are damaged in a mass kamikaze assault by Japanese
aircraft as US warplanes sink two Japanese cruisers off Luzon.

1961: The world's first nuclear-powered carrier, the USS Enterprise is commissioned.

2001: US Marines of the 15th and 26 Marine Expeditionary Unit land near
Kandahar, becoming the first major combat force in Afghanistan.

2001: CIA operative and former Marine Johnny Michael Spann becomes the
first US combat death in Afghanistan when hundreds of Taliban prisoners in
the makeshift prison near Mazar-I-Sharif revolt.

Nov. 26

1789: Pres. George Washington issues a proclamation declaring 26 November
"to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and
glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or
that will be." This marks the first designated Thanskgiving Day by the United
States government.

1862: Maj. William H. Powell leads twenty troopers on a cavalry charge
against a 500-man encampment at Sinking Creek Valley (Va.). The Union
men capture 114 Confederates and 200 guns without losing a single man.
Powell is awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.

1941: After receiving an ultimatum from the US ordering Japan to vacate
China or face further sanctions, the Japanese First Air Fleet, commanded by
Adm. Chuichi Nagumo, departs for their attack on Pearl Harbor.

1943: Off the Algerian coast, a Luftwaffe Heinkel He 177A heavy bomber
releases its Hs 293 radio-controlled glide bomb, which heads for the British —
transport ship HMT Rohna. The bomb impacts the side of the ship, knocking
out electricity and setting Rohna ablaze. When the transport slips under the
waves, she takes with her over 1000 American troops. The sinking of the
Rohna remains the greatest loss of life at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy.

1950: Chinese forces launch a massive counterattack against US and South
Korean forces, driving them south and putting an end to any hopes of a quick
conclusion to the Korean War.

1970: When a six-man reconnaissance patrol of Green Berets under heavy
enemy fire radios for extraction, U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. James P. Fleming lands
his Uff,-1 helicopter - which was low on fuel - in the middle of the firefight
so that the Special Forces soldiers can be rescued. On their way to the chopper,
the team shoots three Viet Cong just ten feet from Fleming's helicopter, which
was running low on fuel. Fleming is awarded the Medal of Honor for his
dramatic rescue.

Nov. 27

1817: Maj. Gen. Edmund P. Gaines dispatches soldiers to attack the Seminole
camp at Fowltown, Fla., formally beginning the First Seminole War.

1868: Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer's Seventh Cavalry attacks a peaceful
Cheyenne encampment near present-day Cheyenne, Okla. The Battle of
Washita River — more of a massacre — would be the first substantial
"victory" in the Indian Wars.

1909: Following the execution of two American mercenaries in Nicaragua,
U.S. forces land in Bluefields to prepare for an invasion.

1942: Adm. Jean de Laborde orders the destruction of the French fleet
anchored at Toulon, to avoid falling into German hands. Three battleships, six
cruisers, 1 aircraft transport, 30 destroyers, and 16 submarines are sunk. Three
submarines sail for Allied-controlled Algiers, and only one falls into Gelman

1950: Near psok, Korea, Army Capt. Reginald B. Desiderio
 charges into the enemy, inflicting heavy casualties
before being killed himself by enemy fire. Prior to his one-man assault, which
ultimately repelled the fanatical enemy attack, Desiderio had been wounded
twice and refused evacuation. Desiderio's replacement as company
commander, Capt. Lewis L. Millett
will also be awarded the Medal of Honor - for a historic
bayonet charge in February.

1951: A "Nike" anti-aircraft missile shoots down a QB-17 "Flying
Fortress" target drone over White Sands Missile Range, becoming the first
successful surface-to-air missile test. The Army will begin putting Nike
systems in the field in 1953.

1965: The Pentagon tells Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson that in order to have
success in his military objectives, the troop commitment in Vietnam would
have to be increased nearly four times - from 120,000 troops to 400,000.

Nov. 28

1864: Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's forces assault Union-held Fort Sanders.
The defenders are well prepared: telegraph wire is strung up around the
position - one of the first times in military history that wire is used as a
defensive tool. Many Confederates break their ankles on the wires during the
assault, and are picked off as they attempt to disentangle themselves. Those
that don't become casualties from the wire are unable to climb over the frozen
and near-vertical wall surrounding the fort. As a result of the disaster at Fort
Sanders, Longstreet is forced to abandon his campaign to capture Knoxville.

1941: The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) departs Pearl Harbor to
ferry F4F Wildcat fighters from Marine Fighter Squadron 211 (VMF-211) to
Wake Island, thus saving the carrier from the coming Japanese attack.

1941: Adolf Hitler meets with Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti
of Jerusalem, and the two determine that Jews in the Middle East must be

1942: The first Ford production B-24 Liberator rolls off the new production
line in Ypsilanti, Mich. By war's end, the plant would turn out some 8,500
Liberators — and by June of 1944, at the incredible rate of one per hour.

1943: In Teheran, Iran, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph
Stalin meet for the first time to plan a strategy to defeat Nazi Germany.

1950: Gen. Walton Walker, Commander of the Eighth Army, declares that his

offensive is over. Gen. Douglas MacArthur informs the Joint Chiefs that "We
face an entirely new war." Nearly half a million Chinese soldiers drive US
forces before them.
Meanwhile, the Chinese launch a massive offensive intending to wipe out the
First Marine Division. Three Marines from the 2d Battalion, Seventh Marines,
First Marine Division - one in E Company (SSgt. Robert S. Kennemore)
and two in F Company (Capt. William E. Barber)
and Pvt. Hector A. Cafferata Jr.
will earn the Medal of Honor on this date.

Nov. 29
1760: Rogers' Rangers under the command of Massachusetts-born Maj. (future
Lt. Col.) Robert Rogers capture Fort Detroit from the French. U.S. Army
Rangers in the 20th and 21st centuries will trace their lineage to Rogers and his
British Colonial irregulars. 1804: Marine Corps 1st Lt. Presley O'Bannon,
William Eaton, Navy Midshipman George Mann, and seven Marines land at
Alexandria, Egypt with the intention of overthrowing the ruler
of Tripoli. Five months - and 600 miles - later, the men would arrive in the
port city of Derne and defeat the Bashaw's forces.

1890: At West Point, the visiting U.S. Naval Academy beats the U.S. Military
Academy, 24-0, in the first-ever Army — Navy football game.

1929: U.S. Navy Commander Richard E. Byrd Jr. makes the first-ever flight
over the South Pole. Byrd — a future rear admiral and recipient of the Medal of
Honor for his 1926 flight over the North Pole — serves as navigator for the
South Pole flight. His companions include pilot Bernt Balchen, radio operator
Harold June, and photographer Ashley McKinley. The team crosses the Pole in
a modified Ford tri-motor airplane.

1941: The Japanese decide that the terms issued by the United States are
unacceptable and that Japan must go to war. Meanwhile, the passenger ship
Lurline sends a radio signal that they have spotted Japanese fleet in the North
Pacific, heading East.

1944: The submarine USS Archerfish sinks the Japanese carrier Shinano,
the largest warship sunk by a submarine during World War II, off Honshu. In
the Philippines, the battleship USS Maryland and two destroyers are heavily
damaged by kamikaze attacks.
Meanwhile in France, for nearly two weeks SSgt. Andrew Miller
engages in a "series of heroic events," to include single-handedly
silencing multiple machinegun positions; killing or wounding dozens of
German soldiers, and capturing scores more. Then on Nov. 29 1944, SSgt.
Miller's platoon was pinned down by German fire. He led a charge that
smothered the Germans, but the attack cost Miller his life.

1952: Newly elected president - and former Gen. - Dwight Eisenhower fulfills
his campaign promise of visiting Korea in hopes of ending the conflict. Upon
taking office, President Eisenhower informs the Chinese that he would
unleash Nationalist Chinese forces in Taiwan against Communist China
unless peace negotiations progressed. An armistice was signed in July of 1953

1968: Viet Cong High Command issues a directive to its forces to wage a new
assault to "utterly destroy" US and South Vietnamese forces, specifically
targeting the highly effective Phoenix counterinsurgency program.




























Oct. 1
1947: Former World War II ace George Welch climbs into the cockpit of his
North American Aviation XF-86 for the maiden flight of the Sabre. When the
Korean War breaks out, F-86 pilots will dominate the skies, with its pilots
boasting a 10:1 kill ratio over the once-feared MiG-15s. Of the war's 40
American aces, all but one are Sabre pilots.

1951: The Air Force activates the 1st Pilotless Bomber Squadron at the
Missile Test Center, which is now part of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
(Fla.). The squadron was armed with primitive cruise missiles (surface-tosurface) such as the Republic-Ford JB-2 - a copy of Nazi Germany's Vbuzzbomb - and the B-61 Matador missile, an improved design which could

be armed with a 40-kiloton nuclear warhead.
In less than three years, the unit is deployed to West Germany's Bitburg Air
Base where it becomes the 1st Tactical Missile squadron - America's first
operational missile unit.

1955: America's first "supercarrier," the USS Forrestal (CVA-59), is
commissioned. Forrestal, with its angled flight deck and steam catapults, is
the first flattop designed to operate jet aircraft.

Oct. 2
1942: Col. Laurence C. Craigie becomes the U.S. military's first official jet
pilot when he takes off from Muroc Dry Lake (present-day Edwards Air Force
Base) in the Bell XP-59. The day before, a Bell test pilot accidentally lifted off
during a high-speed taxi test. Craigie will go on to command a fighter wing in
North Africa, then becomes Vice Commander of the Far East Air Forces during
the Korean War.

Oct. 3
1794: President George Washington calls on the governors of Maryland, New
Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia to mobilize troops to put down the Whiskey
Rebellion. Washington himself will lead the army - the only time a sitting
president commands troops in the field. Henry "Light Horse" Lee, veteran of
the American Revolution and father of Confederate general Robert E. Lee will
also lead troops, and also participating in the campaign is Pvt. Meriwether
Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

1912: Four Marine battalions - including one led by Maj. Smedley Butler -
converge and assault the fortress atop the 500-ft. Coyotepe Hill. Nicaraguan
rebel commander Gen. Benjamin ZeledOn is killed during the battle, and the
rebellion effectively ends once the Marines capture the city of LeOn in two
days. Butler, a veteran of the Boxer Rebellion, Banana Wars, Mexican Revolution,
and World War I, is the only Marine in history to be awarded two Medal of
Honors and the Marine Corps Brevet Medal.
1950: Major League Baseball rules that Philadelphia Phillies' 17-game winner
Curt Simmons, whose National Guard unit had just been activated during the
Korean War, would not be eligible to pitch in the World Series, despite the fact
that he was on furlough. The Phillies were swept by a New York Yankee team
managed by World War I veteran Casey Stengel (USN), and featuring Joe
DiMaggio (USA), Whitey Ford (soon-to-be USA), Hank Bauer (USMC), Jerry
Coleman (USMC), and Yogi Berra (USN).

1962: Cmdr. Walter M. "Wally" Schirra, Jr. (USN) becomes the fifth
American in space when he orbits the earth six times in his Sigma 7 capsule.
After a nine-hour flight, he splashes down just half a mile from the recovery
ship USS Kearsarge (CVS-33), joking that his target was the carrier's
"number three elevator."

1993: Special operations forces board several Army Black Hawk helicopters and
set out to capture the Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The snatch-andgrab operation was supposed to take only one hour, but when a rocketpropelled-grenade takes out one of the helicopters, Operation GOTHIC
SERPENT begins to spin out of control. As the vehicle convoy, originally
intended to haul the captured leaders of the Habr Gidr clan, races through
barricaded streets to establish a security perimeter around the first Black
Hawk, another Black Hawk is shot down.
With resources stretched to the maximum and the vehicle convoy unable to
,reach the crash sites, Delta Force snipers Master Sgt. Gary I. Gordon and Sgt.
1st Class Randall D. Shughart volunteer to land and provide cover fire for the
second downed helicopter. Both are overrun and killed while protecting the
four wounded crew members in the face of overwhelming numbers, and will
be awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.
Maj. Gen. William F. Garrison assembles a quick reaction force of 100 UN and
10th Mountain Division vehicles as the task force battles through the night. 19
American service members will be killed and 73 wounded during the intense
urban combat of the Battle of Mogadishu. Chief Warrant Officer Michael J.
Durant, one of the downed Black Hawk pilots, is captured and held as a
prisoner for 11 days.

2010: 92 years after the end of World War I, Germany makes its last
reparation payment demanded by the Treaty of Versailles.

Oct. 4
1777: A week after losing Philadelphia to the British, Gen. George
Washington decides to surprise Gen. Sir William Howe's force encamped at
Germantown (Pa.). 11,000 Continental troops and militia have marched 16
miles through the night, and begin their assault at 5:30 a.m.. Although
initially successful, heavy fog, insufficiently trained troops, and stiff British
resistance unravel Washington's coordinated assault and the attack falls apart.
Washington's army suffers over 1,000 casualties and will have to spend the
winter at Valley Forge.

1821: Lt. Robert F. Stockton, veteran of the War of 1812 who also fought the
Barbary pirates, sets sail from Boston to interdict the African slave trade.
Stockton will help establish the country of Liberia, where thousands of former
American slaves and free blacks are resettled. He will capture several slave
ships on this cruise, of which he writes, "I have great satisfaction in the
reflection that I have procrastinated the slavery of some 800 Africans, and
have broken off this horrible traffic to the northward of Cape Palmas for at
least this season.

1822: Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th President of the United States, is born in
Delaware, Oh.. Despite having no military background, Hayes will be
appointed Major in the 23rd Regiment of Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The talented
officer will be wounded five times during the Civil War, ultimately reaching
the rank of Brevet Major General. Also serving in the 23rd Regiment is Pvt. -
and future Pres. - William McKinley.

1906: A Marine expeditionary force, under command of Lt. Col. Franklin J.
Moses, sets sail for Cuba to restore law and order. The Marines are
supplemented by a squadron of cavalry troopers of the llth Cavalry Regiment
(today's llth Armored Cavalry "Blackhorse" Regiment).

1918: An explosion at the T. A. Gillespie Co. Shell Loading Plant in
Sayreville, N.J. ignites a fire, leading to several more explosions that will last
for three days. 300 buildings are destroyed, 100 people are killed, and
hundreds are wounded. The plant is said to have on hand enough ammunition
to supply the Western Front for six months. 12 Coast Guardsmen will be
awarded the Navy Cross for their actions during the incident, and two will
That same day, in Montrebeau Woods, France, a tank driven by Cpl. Harold
W. Roberts of the Tank Corps' 344th Battalion slides into a shell hole while
positioning his tank to provide cover for a disabled tank. The 10-foot shell
hole is filled with water and only one of the tank's two occupants will be able
to exit before the vehicle is flooded. Roberts tells his companion, "Well, only
one of us can get out, and out you go." For saving his fellow soldier's life at
the cost of his own, Cpl. Roberts is posthumously awarded the Medal of

1943: USS Ranger conducts the only American carrier operation in the
northern Atlantic, when its Dauntless and Avenger crews attack a German
convoy near Bod, Norway, sinking or damaging ten enemy vessels.

1944: After a heavy mortar barrage on Mt. Battaglia, Italy, Staff Sgt. Manuel
Mendoza spots 200 enemy soldiers charging up the slope towards his
position. He grabs his Thompson submachine gun and empties his five
magazines into the charging force. He then switches to a carbine, exhausting
that weapon's ammunition as well. He draws his pistol and shoots a soldier
armed with a flame-thrower, just before the German can reach Mendoza's
position. He then switches to a machinegun, pouring withering fire into the
enemy and scattering them. When his gun jams, he switches to grenades and
causes the enemy to begin fleeing. He charges after them, grabbing discarded
weapons and capturing an enemy soldier. For single-handedly defeating a
German counterattack, Staff Sgt. Mendoza is awarded the Distinguished
Service Cross, which is upgraded to the Medal of Honor in 2014.

1985: The terrorist group Hezbollah announces that they have executed
former CIA Beirut station chief William F. Buckley. Buckley, a former
Special Forces Lt. Col. and veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam Wars,
had been held captive for over 14 months.

Oct. 5
1813: British troops and Native American warriors led by Maj. Gen. Henry
Proctor and Shawnee Chief Tecumseh are defeated by American Maj. Gen.
Henry Harrison's men in the Battle of the Thames (Ontario, Canada). The
outnumbered British troops are routed and Tecumseh's tribal confederation
collapses when he and his war chief Roundhead are killed. Soon, control of
contested tribal-held lands, in what was then-called Northwest Territory
(Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and the eastern part of
Minnesota), would be ceded to the U.S. government.

1918: Sgt. Michael B. Ellis of the 28th Infantry Regiment single-handedly
attacks a German machine gun nest near Exermount, France, killing two enemy
soldiers and capturing 17. He then moves on to capture 27 more enemy troops
and six machine guns. Two captured officers cough up the locations of four
additional machine gun positions, and the "Sgt. York of St. Louis" takes them
as well. In addition to numerous valor medals from foreign countries, Ellis is
awarded the Medal of Honor.

1950: Just a few short weeks after the U.S. military had its back to the sea in
the Pusan Perimeter, the tables have completely turned. Lt. Gen. Walton H.
Walker's Eighth U.S. Army issues orders to cross the 38th Parallel into North
Korea. The communist capital of Pyongyang will soon be in allied hands, but
China has threatened to join the war if the United States invades North Korea.

1969: Lt. Eduardo Jimenez of the Cuban Air Force manages to fly his Mig-17
fighter undetected through the U.S. military's air defense network, landing at
Homestead Air Force Base (near Miami, Fla.). Fortunately, Lt. Jimenez was
defecting - especially since he was able to park his jet right next to Air Force

2013: Special operations forces conduct two simultaneous counterterrorism
missions in Africa. In Baraawe, Somalia, SEAL Team Six/DEVGRU
commandos swim ashore, hoping to snatch the Al Shabaab terrorist suspected
in the deadly attack on a Nairobi, Kenya shopping mall the previous month,
but are forced to abort the mission after an intense 20-minute firefight.
Meanwhile in Libya, Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta soldiers
grab a high-value Al Qaeda target involved in the 1998 U.S. Embassy

Oct. 6
1777: Near what will soon become the United States Military Academy (West
Point, N.Y.), British troops simultaneously attack - and defeat - Continental
forces at Forts Clinton and Montgomery, and also destroy the chain that had
been placed across the Hudson River to prevent British ships from sailing
upriver. The engagement is sometimes called the Battle of the Clintons since
the British troops are led by Gen. Sir Henry Clinton, and the garrisons are led
by Gens. (and brothers) James Clinton and George Clinton - who is also the
governor or New York.

1918: 500 men of the 77th "Metropolitan" Division under the command of Maj.
Charles W. Whittlesey have been surrounded by German forces after the --
vrench and American units advancing on their flanks have been held up. With
no communication other than carrier pigeons and no other means to send
supplies, 1st Lt. Harold E. "Dad" Goettler and 2nd Lt. Erwin R. Bleckley
volunteer to fly through withering enemy fire to drop much-needed supplies to
the "Lost Battalion" in a DH-4 "Liberty Plane." On their second trip, both
airmen are killed, and will be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor -
America's highest award for combat valor.
Also killed while attempting to locate the force is Capt. Eddie Grant, the
former leadoff hitter and third baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies. Grant
was one of the first baseball players to join the Armed Forces during World
War I. All but 194 members of the Lost Battalion are killed, wounded, or
captured, and five 77th Division soldiers - including Whittlesey - will earn the
Medal of Honor during the six-day engagement.

1942: Five battalions of Marines, supported a group of scout snipers, cross
Guadalcanal's heavily defended Matanikau River and engage the Japanese.
Col. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller's battalion traps a Japanese battalion in a
ravine, creating what he called a "machine for extermination," when heavy
artillery, mortar fire, and small arms annihilates the enemy. The operation
plays a major role in the American victory on Guadalcanal, when Japanese
planners opt for an exhausting overland march for their major offensive
against Lunga Point later in the month, instead of crossing the Matanikau.

1993: Three days after leading an assault at the Bakaara Market in the bloody
Battle of Mogadishu, Delta Force's Sgt. 1st Class Matt Rierson is killed by
enemy mortar fire at the Mogadishu airport. 12 other soldiers are wounded in
the attack. Another two soldiers are wounded during a mission to reach one of
the downed Black Hawks.

Oct. 7
1777: Continental forces under the command of Gen. Horatio Gates
decisively defeat British forces under Gen. John "Gentleman Johnny"
Burgoyne in the Second Battle of Saratoga (also known as the Battle of
Bemis Heights).
According to the National Parks Service, "This crucial American victory
renewed patriots' hopes for independence, secured essential foreign
recognition and support, and forever changed the face of the world."
But the war is far from over.

1780: Three years to the day after Second Saratoga, patriot militia forces
armed with rifles, knives, and tomahawks decisively defeat musket-armed
Loyalist militia under the command of British Army Maj. Patrick Ferguson
(who will be killed in the fighting) in the bloody Battle of King's Mountain on
the N.C.-S.C. border.
Among the patriots is John Crockett, father of Davy Crockett.

1918: Nearly two weeks into the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of World War I,
the U.S. Army's 82nd Division (destined to become the famed 82nd Airborne
Division) battles its way toward -- and successfully relieves -- the now famous
"Lost Battalion" (combined elements of three battalions of the 77th Infantry
Division, which had been surrounded during a German counterattack).
For days without blankets and overcoats, always running short of ammunition
and medical supplies (the wounded often patched up with bloody bandages
removed from the dead), and with little food and nearly no water; the "Lost
Battalion" -- under the command of Maj. (future lieutenant colonel) Charles S.
Whittlesey -- had refused to surrender. Responding to a German surrenderdemand, Whittlesey allegedly replied, "Go to hell!" Some reports suggest he
said, "Come and get us."
Whittlesey and two of his officers -- Captains George McMurtry and Nelson
Holderman -- will receive the Medal of Honor.

1941: Although the United States has not yet entered the war, a German
U-boat torpedoes USS Kearny (DD-432), killing 11 sailors - the first Naval
casualties of World War II.

2001: Post 9/11 America goes on the offensive against terrorists when U.S.
and allied forces launch a massive retaliatory air and naval strike against the
Taliban and Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network in Afghanistan.

Oct. 8
1918: The day following the relief of the "Lost Battalion," Private First Class
(future U.S. Army sergeant and future colonel in the Tennessee State Guard)
Alvin C. York captures "the whole damned German Army."
In the action for which he will receive both the Medal of Honor and the
French Croix de Guerre, York leads a seven-man team of doughboys against a
strong enemy position. The team kills at least 25 Germans and captures four
officers, 128 soldiers, and over 30 machineguns.
French Marshall Ferdinand Foch will tell York, "What you did was the
greatest thing accomplished by any private soldier of all the armies of

Oct. 9
1861: 1,000 Confederate soldiers land on Florida's Santa Rosa Island and
assault Union-held Fort Pickens. The attackers withdraw after the federal guns
inflict 90 casualties. Fort Pickens sits across the bay from Naval Air Station
Pensacola - the birthplace of Naval aviation - and coastal defense guns were
installed at the old fort during World War II.

1940: After USS Nautilus (SS-168) conducts a successful test, Secretary
of the Navy William F. Knox approves a plan for 24 submarines to each
carry 20,000 gallons of aviation gasoline for refueling seaplanes at sea.

1950: As the U.S. military crosses into North Korea, Pfc. Robert H. Young
and his fellow troopers of the 1st Cavalry Division are spearheading an
assault. Young is wounded once by an enemy barrage, but he refuses medical
treatment and remains on the line. He is wounded a second time, and is
awaiting treatment when the enemy threatens to surround the Americans.
Young rejoins the action and, from an exposed position, kills five enemy
soldiers. He is hit a third time, but remains on the field - directing friendly
tanks to destroy enemy gun positions. Young is hit by an enemy mortar blast
while he is treating his fellow wounded soldiers, but despite his multiple
grievous wounds, he instructs the medics to help the others first.
Pfc. Young will perish from his wounds on November 9, 1950, and is
posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

1951: When a dug-in enemy position hammers his fellow soldiers during the
battle for Heartbreak Ridge, Sgt. 1st Class Tony K. Burris charges and
destroys the position with grenades - killing 15. The next day (Oct. 9), Burris
is wounded by enemy machinegun fire while assaulting enemy positions on
the next ridge. He continues his assault and is wounded a second time. He
reaches the top of the ridge, then remains in an exposed position to draws
enemy fire and pinpoint their location for a recoilless rifle team. When that
position is destroyed, Burris continues on to the next ridge, killing the heavy
machinegun crew's six members. He charges one more position, and is fatally
cut down as he hurls his last grenade into the position, which destroys the
enemy emplacement.
Burris is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

1967: Che Guevara, co-founder of Fidel Castro's Communist regime, is
executed by firing squad while leading a revolution in Bolivia. While the
cold-blooded murderer and terrorist remains an icon to many Americans,
many of his fans wouldn't exist had the Soviets left their ballistic missiles on
Cuba: "If the nuclear missiles had remained," Che said, "we would have used
them against the very heart of America, including New York City [...] We will
march the path of victory even if it costs millions of atomic victims [...] We
must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm."

Oct. 10
1845: Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft founds the Naval School in
Annapolis, Md. - later renamed the U.S. Naval Academy. The nation's secondoldest service academy (the U.S. Military Academy was established by Thomas
Jefferson in 1802) is built on the grounds of Fort Severn, which traces its roots
to the American Revolution.

1944: Although assigned as a gunnery instructor and advised not to actively
seek out combat, Maj. Richard I. Bong, America's all-time leading ace,
volunteers for several missions between Oct. 10 and Nov. 11, shooting down
eight Japanese warplanes from his P-38 Lightning fighter. For his actions
during this period, Bong is awarded the Medal of Honor. After scoring his
40th victory, Bong is sent back to the states where he becomes a test pilot. He
will perish just before the Japanese surrender, when his Lockheed P-80
Shooting Star jet fighter malfunctions and crashes in California.

1950: As the 1st Cavalry Division crosses the 38th Parallel near Kaesong,
helicopter crews with the 3rd Air Rescue Squadron apply plasma to a rescued
pilot for the first time as they return to base. During the Korean War, members
of the Air Force's 3rd Air Rescue Group will rescue thousands of downed

1985: After Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) terrorists - part of KGB-trained
terrorist Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Liberation Organization - take over the
Italian-flagged cruise liner MS Achille Lauro, U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcats
intercept their Boeing 737 getaway jet carrying the terrorists to Tunisia,
forcing the jet to land at a NATO airbase on Sigonella, Sicily. Once on the
ground, the terrorists are brought to custody following a five-hour
jurisdictional standoff between an 80-man group of Delta Force and SEAL
Team SIX commandos and hundreds of Italian military police.
The terrorists killed one of their hostages and threw his body overboard:
wheelchair-bound American citizen Leon Klinghoffer, who flew as a
navigator aboard B-24 Liberator bombers in the European Theater of World
War II. After leaving Sigonella, PLF founder and the attack's ringleader Abu
Abbas flies to Italy and ultimately makes it to Iraq, where Saddam Hussein
protects him from extradition to Italy. He is captured in 2003 by American
forces and dies of natural causes in U.S. custody.

1994: In response to two Iraqi divisions massing on the Kuwaiti border, the
Air Force deploys warplanes and begins ferrying thousands of soldiers and
Marines to the Persian Gulf. Operation VIGILANT WARRIOR winds down
by the end of the month when Saddam Hussein withdraws his forces.

Oct. 11
1910: Wright Brothers pilot Archibald Hoxsey crosses paths with President
Theodore Roosevelt while at St. Louis during a cross-country flying exhibition
and invites him for a ride. Roosevelt initially refuses, but his adventuresome
spirit gets the best of him and he changes his mind. Roosevelt straps in and
becomes the first president to fly.

1939: A letter written by Hungarian-born physicist Leo Szilard, and signed
by Albert Einstein, reaches President Franklin D. Roosevelt, warning that the
Germans could develop an atomic weapon and that the United States should
begin their own nuclear research. Roosevelt quickly authorizes a committee
on uranium, setting in motion what will eventually become the Manhattan

1942: U.S. Naval forces under the command of Rear Admiral Norman Scott
intercept a Japanese fleet, commanded by Rear Adm. Aritomo Goto,
attempting to reinforce troops on Guadalcanal in the Battle of Cape
Esperance. Fighting begins shortly before midnight off the northwest coast of
the island when the Japanese are caught by surprise. The heavy cruiser
Furutaka and destroyer Fubuki are sunk during the gun battle, and Adm. Goto
is mortally wounded. Planes from Henderson Field strike the retreating
Japanese fleet the next morning and sink two additional Japanese destroyers the
following day. Japanese sailors who jumped overboard refuse to be rescued by
American ships, instead consigning themselves to a horrifying
death in the shark-infested waters.

1945: Marines of the III Amphibious Corps land in China to assist in
repatriating hundreds of thousands of Japanese and Koreans and to protect
American lives and property. By the time the Marines depart China the
following year, 35 have been killed and 43 wounded in clashes with Mao
Zedong's Communist forces.

1961: President John F. Kennedy authorizes deployment of the Air Force's
4400th Combat Crew Training Squadron to South Vietnam to support the
counterinsurgency effort against the Viet Cong. The airmen are equipped with
World War II-era warplanes and conduct strikes against the communist supply
lines and fly close air support missions in support of U.S. Special Forces and
the South Vietnamese military.

1968: Astronauts Walter M. Schirra (Capt., USN), Donn F. Eisele (Col.,
USAF), and Walter Cunningham (Col. USMCR ) blast off aboard Apollo 7.
The crew, commanded by Schirra, would orbit the Earth for 11 days and
transmit the first live television broadcasts from orbit.

1971: Marine legend Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, the highest decorated
Marine in history, passes away. Among his numerous decorations, Puller
earned the nation's second-highest award for valor six times (five Navy Crosses
and a Distinguished Service Cross) - second only to Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker,
America's top flying ace of World War I. The 37-year veteran served in the
Nicaraguan and Haitian campaigns, as well as World War II and the Korean

Oct. 12
1862: Confederate cavalry commander Gen. James Ewell Brown "J.E.B."
Stuart completes his "second ride" around Union Gen. George B. McClellan's
Army of the Potomac.

1870: Five years after surrendering his Army of Northern Virginia to Gen.
Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Gen. Robert E. Lee passes away after
suffering a stroke. The revered general served his country 44 years, fighting
alongside Grant in the Mexican-American War, and against him in the Civil

1944: U.S. Army Air Force 1st Lt. Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager and his 357th
Fighter Group surprise a flight of 22 Messerschmitt Bf-109 fighters near
Hanover, Germany. Yeager's P-51D "Mustang", named Glamorous Glenn II,
Yeager will score five of the group's eight victories - two without firing a shot
- becoming an "ace in a day." Yeager finishes World War II with 11.5 kills,
and will go on to fly 127 missions during the Vietnam War. The former Army
private will retire a Brigadier General in 1975, but continues flying for the Air
Force and NASA.
That same day, aircraft from seven U.S. aircraft carriers of Carrier Task Force
38 attack targets on Japanese-held Formosa (modern-day Taiwan).

1945: President (and former artillery officer during World War I) Harry S.
Truman awards the Medal of Honor to Cpl. Desmond Doss for saving the lives
of 75 wounded soldiers on Okinawa's Hacksaw Ridge. Since Doss was a
conscientious objector, the Army made him a combat medic. Prior to his
service on Okinawa, where Doss was wounded four times, he also saw action
on Guam and the Philippines, where he earned two Bronze Stars with "V" for
valor device.

1954: World War II ace, now chief test pilot for North American Aviation,
George S. Welch dies when his F-100 "Super Sabre" disintegrates during
testing. An Army Air Force pilot with 16 victories during World War II,
Welch was one of two pilots able to get airborne and engage Japanese aircraft
during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was recommended for the Medal of
Honor for his actions on December 7th, but having taken off without orders, he
only receives the Distinguished Flying Cross. While serving as an
instructor and test pilot for North American during the Korean War, he —
reportedly shot down several MiG-15 aircraft, but again did so against orders, so
he did not receive credit for the kills.

2000: While the destroyer USS Cole stops to refuel in Yemen, two suicide
bombers ram an explosive-laden fiberglass boat into the warship, blowing a
massive hole in the side of Cole, claiming the lives of 17 U.S. sailors and
injures another 39.

Oct. 13
1775: "...[M]eeting in Philadelphia, the Continental Congress voted to fit out
two sailing vessels, armed with ten carriage guns, as well as swivel guns, and
manned by crews of eighty, and to send them out on a cruise of three months
to intercept transports carrying munitions and stores to the British army in
America." (from Naval History and Heritage Command)
The U.S. Navy is born.

Oct. 14
1777: After having been decisively defeated by Continental Army Gen.
Horatio Gates at Second Saratoga, British Gen. John "Gentleman Johnny"
Burgoyne surrenders his entire army, between 5,000 and 7,000 men.

1943: In what will become known as "Black Thursday," U.S. Army Air Force
B-17 Flying Fortresses — elements of the famed 8th Air Force — attack the
ball-bearing plants (critical to Germany's aviation industry) at the heavily
defended Bavarian city of Schweinfurt. Though the raid is successful, scores
of bombers — and more than 600 airmen — are lost.

1947: 45,000 feet over California's Mojave Desert, USAF test pilot Charles
"Chuck" Yeager becomes the first human to break the sound barrier, piloting
his Bell X-1 to Mach 1.07 - two days after breaking his ribs.

Oct. 15
1917: When a German submarine launches a torpedo at USS Cassin (DD-43)
during an escort patrol, Gunner's Mate First Class Osmond Kelly Ingram
realizes the torpedo will impact the destroyer's store of depth charges. Instead
of remaining in a position of safety, he charges across the deck to the depth
charges to jettison the stockpiled explosives that could sink his ship. Ingram is
killed while trying to save Cassin, becoming the first U.S. sailor killed during
World War I and is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

1918: Near Landres-et-St. Georges, France, Lt. Col. William "Wild Bill"
Donovan earns the Medal of Honor while leading his soldiers during an
assault on strong German positions. Wounded in the leg by a burst of
machinegun fire, Donovan refuses evacuation and remains in command until
his unit is withdrawn. Donovan is named Coordinator of Information by
President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 and he will form the Office of
Strategic Services the following year — the predecessor to today's Central
Intelligence Agency.

1952: President Harry S. Truman authorizes a B-47 Stratojet reconnaissance
overflight of the Soviet Union's Chukostky Peninsula (just across the Bering
Strait from Alaska). The photos reveal Soviet staging areas for bombers that
can now target much of the Continental United States.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy conducts a massive amphibious mock landing at
Kojo, North Korea, featuring 100 ships and support from carrier aircraft. The
Navy hopes to draw the Communist fighters out into the open, allowing Task
Force 77 aviators to wipe out the exposed right flank, but but the enemy
doesn't bite.

Oct. 16
1821: The schooner USS Enterprise (the third of 12 so-named Continental
and U.S. Naval vessels) intercepts a flotilla of four ships led by the infamous
Capt. Charles Gibbs as the pirates attack American and British-flagged ships
in Cuban waters. Although outnumbered, Lt. Cmdr. John Kearney and his
crew quickly defeat the pirate force, and Gibbs escapes into the jungles of
Cuba as three of his ships are burned. Gibbs will eventually be caught and is
one of the last people executed for piracy in the United States.

1859: A small party of abolitionists, led by John Brown, occupies the military
arsenal at Harper's Ferry (modem-day West Virginia), hoping to inspire a slave
rebellion. However, Brown's hoped-for uprising does not take place and local
militia force the rebels into a firehouse. A company of Marines under the
command of Brevet Colonel Robert E. Lee is dispatched to the scene and after
an unsuccessful attempt by Lt. J.E.B. Stuart to get Brown to surrender, the
Marines assault the barricaded fire station and bring an end to the crisis.

1918: When all other members of his machine gun detachment are killed or
wounded, Pvt. Thomas C. Neibaur foils an entire German counterattack by
himself. Four enemy soldiers attempt to kill him at close quarters, but the
wounded Neibaur manages to kill them, and captures another 11 with his
pistol. For his actions, Pvt. Neibaur is awarded the Medal of Honor.

1942: As Japanese planes attack a ship unloading badly needed supplies for
Guadalcanal's "Cactus Air Force", Lt. Col. Harold W. "Indian Joe" Bauer -
dangerously low on fuel following a 600-mile ferry flight from Espirito Santo
- single-handedly engages the enemy warplanes, shooting down one bomber,
four fighters, and damaging another before running out of fuel. The
commander of Marine Fighting Squadron 212 (VMF-212) is awarded the
Medal of Honor for his actions.

1946: After nine months of trials, ten Nazi war criminals are executed by
hanging, including top Wehrmacht officers Alfred Jodl, Wilhelm Keitel, and
SS officer Ernst Kaltenbrunner. Also sentenced is former Luftwaffe boss (and
World War I fighter ace) Hermann Goring, who committed suicide the night
before his execution.

1956: The Pan American airliner Clipper Sovereign Of The Skies (a Boeing
377 "Stratocruiser", which is based off the B-29 "Superfortress" bomber) ,---
,experiences failures in two of its four engines while in the middle of the
Pacific Ocean on a around-the-world flight and has to ditch in the water. The
Coast Guard cutter USCGC Pontchartrain is only a half mile away from the
crash site and rescues all passengers and crew before the plane slips under the
waves after 20 minutes.

2002: Congress grants President George W. Bush the authority to use military
force against Iraq, however the U.S.-led coalition will not invade Iraq until
March of 2003.

Oct. 17
1918: Brig. Gen. William "Billy" Mitchell meets with American Expeditionary
Force Commander Gen. John J. Pershing and floats the idea of dropping
soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division behind enemy lines. Pershing approves the
concept, but the war ends before paratroopers become a reality.

1922: Lt. Commander Virgil C. Griffm, piloting a Vought VE-7SF bi-winged
fighter, makes the first-ever "official" takeoff from a U.S. Navy aircraft
carrier, USS Langley - a coaling ship which had been converted into
America's first aircraft carrier - in York River, Va.
Though Griffm is indeed the first man to takeoff from a "carrier", he is not the
first to takeoff from a warship. That distinction belongs to Eugene B. Ely who
took-off from a platform affixed to a cruiser in 1910.

 1941: When a "wolfpack" of German U-boats attacks an allied convoy,
overwhelming its Canadian escort ships, USS Kearny and three other
American destroyers depart their base at Iceland and begin dropping depth
charges. A German torpedo strikes Kearny, killing 11 sailors and injuring 22 -
the first American casualties of World War II. Adolf Hitler will use the
engagement as a reason for declaring war on the United States in December.

1944: The 6th Ranger Battalion lands on Dinagat, Homonhon, and Suluan and
sweep the islands guarding the entrance of Leyte Gulf in preparation for Sixth
Army's upcoming landing (Operation KING H).

1962: Light Photographic Squadron 62 (VFP-62) begins Operation BLUE
MOON - low-level reconnaissance of suspected Soviet military installations
on Cuba. Soon, pairs of RF-8A Crusader jets (featured image) will streak
through Cuban airspace, avoiding enemy anti-aircraft fire while snapping
photos of Soviet ballistic and tactical nuclear missile sites.

1986: Lt. Cmdr. Barry D. Gabler of VFP-206, the Navy's last
photoreconnaissance squadron, makes the fmal catapult takeoff and carrier
landing of an F-8 Crusader, aboard USS America (CV-66).

Oct. 18:
1775: A small British fleet commanded by Capt. Henry Mowat bombards the
town of Falmouth, Mass. (modem-day Portland, Maine), setting most of the
coastal settlement on fire with incendiary cannonballs. Mowat then sends a
landing party ashore to destroy any buildings that were still standing, and the
"Burning of Falmouth" will provide the inspiration for the Continental
Congress to establish the Continental Navy.

1917: A convoy bearing the newly created 42d "Rainbow" Infantry Division
sails from Hoboken, N.J. for France. The unit consists of federalized National
Guard soldiers from 26 states and the District of Colombia, and its chief-ofstaff is Col. (later, five-star general) Douglas MacArthur.

1942: Adolf Hitler issues his "Commando Order", stipulating that any
captured Allied commandos - even if they are wearing uniforms - will be
executed without trial. Numerous Office of Strategic Services (OSS) agents
and Army Air Force pilots and crewmembers are killed because of the order,
and German officers carrying out illegal executions under the Commando
Order will be tried for war crimes during the Nuremberg Trials.

1943: After 11 months of intense training, the 29th Ranger Battalion
(Provisional) is disbanded before the American commandos can participate in
combat action. The Rangers return to their original units, bringing with them
---advanced skills they can share with the regular troops, like penetrating deep
nehind enemy lines, staging raids, and intelligence gathering.

1944: Following an hour-long enemy artillery barrage, Sgt. Max Thompson
was working on evacuating casualties when he noticed that German troops
had overrun a position held by his fellow soldiers. Thompson charges toward
an unoccupied machinegun and works to stem the assault. He fires away until
his weapon is destroyed by an enemy tank round. Alone and dazed from the
blast, he grabs an automatic rifle and manages to halt and disperse some of
the assaulting force. When his gun jams, Thompson picks up a rocket
launcher and sets an enemy tank on fire. Later that evening, his squad was
given the task of dislodging the few Germans that Thompson didn't run off
with his one-man attack. He crawls to within 20 yards of a pillbox and attacks
the occupants with grenades. Once they were aware of his position, the
enemy poured heavy fire on Thompson. Although wounded by the bursts, he
held his ground and continued raining grenades into the position until the
Germans abandoned it.
For his incredible heroism, Sgt. Thompson is awarded the Medal of Honor.

1977: USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) is commissioned, becoming the
United States' third nuclear-powered submarine.

1983: Two years after the project was revived by President Ronald Reagan,
the Rockwell B-1B Lancer supersonic bomber makes its first flight. Originally
envisioned in the 1960s to combine the speed of the B-58 Hustler and the
payload of the B-52 Stratofortress, the B-1 had been cancelled in 1977 after
just four swept-wing prototypes were built. Lancers, originally intended to
carry nuclear payloads, would later be fitted for conventional weapons and
will not see combat until the 1998 bombing of Iraq (Operation DESERT
FOX). During the War on Terror, 40 percent of the munitions dropped during
the Afghanistan campaign have been delivered by B-lBs.

Oct. 19
1781: British Gen. Charles Cornwallis formally surrenders 7,087 officers and
men, 900 seamen, 144 cannons, 15 galleys, a frigate, and 30 transport ships to
-tn American and French force at Yorktown, Va., effectively ending the
American Revolution.

1944: Two Interstate TDR assault drones are launched against Japanese gun
emplacements on Ballale Island - one drone missing its target and another
delivering two of its four 100-1b. bombs on the target. The TDR was a twoengine, unmanned airplane remotely controlled by a Grumman TBF
"Avenger" via a television camera feed.

1950: Troopers with the 5th Cavalry Regiment enter Pyongyang, capturing the
North Korean capitol. The following day, the 187th Regimental Combat Team
will conduct two parachute drops north of the capitol to cut off retreating North
Korean forces. The Communists will recapture Pyongyang on Dec. 5, after
China joins the war.

1965: Two regiments of North Vietnamese soldiers begin a week-long siege on
the Special Forces camp at Plei Me in South Vietnam's central highlands. The
outnumbered defenders repel repeated attacks and eventually drive off the
NVA forces. Following the battle, Gen. William Westmoreland orders the 1st
Cavalry Division (Airmobile) to find and defeat the forces that attacked Plei
Me, which will result in the bloody Battle of Ia Drang.

1987: Following an Iranian missile attack on a merchant vessel, U.S. warships
attack and destroy two Iranian oil platforms being used by the Iranian
Revolutionary Guard Corps to attack shipping in the Persian Gulf.

2001: 200 Army Rangers parachute into - and quickly secure - an airfield
southwest of Kandahar, Afghanistan, while special operation forces conduct
other air-assault operations on several targets near Kandahar. These raids are
the first known combat operations of the war in Afghanistan. In November,
the captured airfield will become the first U.S. base in Afghanistan when
Marines establish Camp RHINO.
Meanwhile, Spec. Jonn J. Edmunds and Pvt. 1st Class Kristofor T. Stonesifer
become the first combat-related casualties in the War on Terror when the
helicopter carrying them crashes in Pakistan.

Oct. 20
1922: Lt. Harold R. Harris (Army Air Service) performs the world's first
emergency parachute jump when the wings of his Loening PW-2A come apart
during a simulated dogfight 2,500 feet over McCook Field. Harris bails out of
his cockpit and after free-falling 2,000 feet, he lands safely in a garden in
Dayton, Ohio.

1926: After a brutal murder of a post office truck driver, President Calvin
Coolidge orders the Marine Corps to protect the mail delivery. 2,500 Marines
of the 4th Marine Regiment, commanded by two-time Medal of Honor
recipient Brig. Gen. Smedley D. Butler, serve as the "Western Mail Guards"
until they return to their regular posts in 1927.

1944: Two-and-a-half years after Gen. Douglas MacArthur vows to return to
the Philippines, MacArthur and some 130,000 soldiers of the Sixth Army land
at Leyte Island. The island will be captured after 67 days of intense fighting,
signaling the beginning of the end for the Japanese. The Japanese Army's 16th
Division, which conducted the brutal Bataan Death March and held Leyte
Island, is completely wiped out during the fighting.

1950: 2,860 soldiers of the 187th Regimental Combat Team jump from Air
Force C-119 and C-47 transports on the first airborne operation of the Korean
War. The paratroopers' mission is to drop north of the North Vietnamese
capital of Pyongyang, trapping units attempting to escape the now UN-held
capital, but by the time the 187th hits the ground, Communist forces have
already slipped through.

1951: A day after having 83 pieces of shrapnel removed from his body, and
still badly injured from bullet wounds received during six days of constant
fighting, Master Sergeant Woodrow W. Keeble (USA) refuses to let medics
keep him out of the fight. When his company is pinned down by enemy fire
while assaulting Hill 765 near Sangsan-ni, Korea, the badly wounded veteran
of the Guadalcanal campaign and now platoon sergeant courageously crawls
forward alone and silences three machine gun positions with grenades and
automatic rifle fire. Originally awarded the Distinguished Service Cross -
paperwork recommending him for the Medal of Honor kept getting lost -
Keeble will be eventually awarded the Medal of Honor in 2008, 26 years after
his passing. 


Oct. 21


1917: Four months after arriving in France, U.S. soldiers get their first taste of combat on the front lines in France.

Oct. 22
1951: Operation BUSTER-JANGLE, a series of low-yield atomic weapons
tests in the Nevada desert, begins with the "Able" shot. Some 6,500 troops are
stationed just six miles away, witnessing the blast and then moving towards the
detonation site to determine the effectiveness of fortifications and also provide
data to scientists on the psychology of soldiers in the aftermath of atomic

1957: The U.S. military suffers its first casualties in Vietnam when a wave of
terrorist attacks hits Military Assistance Advisory Group and U.S. Information
Service installations in Saigon, injuring 13 advisors.

1962: After consulting with former president Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F.
Kennedy announces that the Soviet Union had placed nuclear weapons in
Cuba and the United States will establish a naval blockade around the island
to prevent further offensive weapons from entering Cuba.

1968: The Apollo 7 capsule splashes down in the North Atlantic Ocean after
the completing the first manned mission of the Apollo program. Capt. Walter
M. Schirra, USN; Maj. Donn F. Eisele, USAF; and Maj. R. Walter
Cunningham, USMC have spent 10 days in space testing the
command/service module that would carry astronauts to the moon and back
on future missions.

Oct. 23
1864: In Westport, Mo. (present-day Kansas City), Maj. Gen. Samuel R.
Curtis' 22,000-man Army of the Border defeats a heavily outnumbered
Confederate force commanded by Maj. Gen. Sterling Price in the largest battle
fought west of the Mississippi River. The Union brings an end to Price's
Missouri Expedition with his defeat in the "Gettysburg of the West," and Price
retreats into Kansas. After the Battle of Westport, the border state of Missouri
will remain under Union control for the rest of the Civil War.

1918: When a battalion commander needs to send a message to an endangered
company on the front lines, he realizes sending a runner would be too
hazardous due to heavy incoming fire. However, Pfc. Parker F. Dunn
volunteers for the job and races through the fire-swept terrain toward the unit.
He is hit once and gets up. He is hit again, and continues. Undaunted, Dunn
carries on towards his objective, but is finished off by an enemy machinegun
burst. He is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

1942: On Guadalcanal, Imperial Japanese soldiers and tanks attempt to cross
the Matanikau River, and are quickly defeated - signaling the beginning of the
Battle for Henderson Field. For the next three days, the 1st Marine Division
and the 164th Infantry Regiment, supported by the "Cactus Air Force", will
shatter wave after wave of Japanese assaults on the ground and in the air. The
battle marks the final major Japanese ground operation before they abandon
the island.

1944: Three days after 100,000 U.S. troops land in the Philippines, the Battle
of Leyte Gulf - the largest naval engagement during World War II - begins.
On the first day, the submarines USS Darter and USS Dace attack Vice Adm.
Takeo Kurita's Center Fleet, sinking two heavy cruisers (including Kurita's
flagship) and damaging another. During the three-day battle, nearly 400 ships
will square off, with Japan suffering crippling losses: four aircraft carriers,
four battleships, and 21 cruisers and destroyers are sunk, along with the loss of
12,000 sailors and 300 planes. An increasingly desperate Japanese military
ises kamikaze tactics for the first time during the battle.
Meanwhile in the Taiwan Straight, the submarine USS Tang - the most
— successful U.S. submarine ever - engages a convoy of Japanese transports,
freighters, tankers, and their escorts. Tang sinks five ships and then
escapes. The sub's skipper, Cmdr. Richard H. (Mane, will be awarded the
Medal of Honor for the engagement.

1972: As peace talks with the North resume, Pres. Richard Nixon calls a halt
to Operation LINEBACKER - the U.S bombing campaign in North Vietnam.
In start contrast to Pres. Lyndon Johnson's tightly controlled Operation
"Rolling Thunder", Nixon had granted the military much more latitude to
carry out their mission, which put a serious dent in the Communist supply

1983: A 2000-pound truck bomb explodes at the Marine Corps Barracks in

Beirut, Lebanon, killing 220 Marines, 18 sailors, and three soldiers. The
bombing would become known as "the bloodiest day in Marine Corps history
since Iwo Jima." Moments later, another truck bomb hits the French barracks,
killing 58. American troops will withdraw from Lebanon four months later.

Oct. 24
1742: After disease and poor management leads to the deaths of all but 600
of the 3,500-man 61st Regiment of Foot, the American expeditionary force is
disbanded and returns to the colonies. "Gooch's Regiment", named after
regimental commander - also the Governor of Virginia - Lt. Col. William
Gooch, had been part of the ill-fated British expedition to capture the
Spanish colony of Cartagena (present-day Colombia).

1944: On day two of the Battle of Leyte Gulf - the largest naval engagement
of World War II - U.S. aircraft attack the Japanese fleet, sinking the battleship
Musashi and damaging four others. A single Japanese dive bomber attacks the
light carrier USS Princeton (CVL-23), igniting an internal blaze that will sink
the ship with just one bomb.
In the air, Cmdr. David McCampbell and wingman Ens. Roy Rushing spot a
flight of 60 Japanese planes and engage despite the outrageous odds.
McCampbell shoots down nine warplanes, setting a single sortie record, and
his partner claims six. After becoming the only U.S. aviator to claim "ace in a
day" status twice, McCampbell lands his F6F Hellcat as it runs out of fuel and
with only two bullets left. For his daring actions, the top Naval ace of the war
is awarded the Medal of Honor.
In the Taiwan Straight, the submarine USS Tang, whose crew sank five
Japanese ships in a single engagement the day before, fires another torpedo,
which circles around and sinks Tang. The sub bottoms out in 180 feet of
water, but nine crew members - including skipper Richard O'Kane - escape in
the only known successful use of the Momsen rebreather.

1951: In the skies over Korea, 150 Russian MiG-15 fighters intercept a
formation of B-29 bombers and 55 F-84 Thunderjet escorts. The Communists
manage to shoot down four of the B-29s and one escort, but at least eight MiGs
are lost in the largest air battle of the Korean War. The sortie will be the last
daylight bombing raid for the B-29.

1953: Convair's chief test pilot Richard L. "Dick" Johnson takes off from
Edwards Air Force Base in a YF-102 prototype, marking the first flight of the
Delta Dagger. The interceptor carried the AIM-26 Nuclear Falcon missile,
which was designed for use against Soviet bomber formations. President
George W. Bush flew a "Duce" during his service as a pilot with the Texas Air
National Guard.
But back to Johnson: Prior to his days as a test pilot, he flew 190 missions
over North Africa and Italy in his P-47 Thunderbolt, then went on to become
the second Air Force pilot to break the sound barrier. Johnson deployed to
Korea where he was supposed to be supervising the installation of equipment
on F-86 Sabre fighters, but was sent home after the Air Force discovered
Johnson was flying unauthorized combat missions.

1954: President Dwight Eisenhower sends a letter to Prime Minister Ngo
Dinh Diem, pledging direct support to the South Vietnamese government.
Although United States assets have been in French Indochina since World
 War II, this date is considered the beginning of the U.S. commitment to South

Oct. 25
1812: The frigate USS United States under the command of Capt. (future
commodore) Stephen Decatur — hero of Tripoli and said to be the U.S. Navy's
own Lord Nelson — captures the Royal Navy frigate HMS Macedonian under
the command of Capt. John Carden in a brisk fight several hundred miles off
the Azores.

1925: The court martial of Col. William "Billy" Mitchell, America's chief
aviation officer during World War I and considered to be the "Father of the
U.S. Air Force", begins in Washington, D.C.. The outspoken Mitchell is
charged with multiple counts of insubordination due to his criticism of Navy
leadership for investing in battleships instead of aircraft carriers and the
handling of numerous fatal aviation incidents. Maj. Gen. Douglas MacArthur,
one of Mitchell's 12 judges, refers to his assignment as "one of the most
distasteful orders I ever received."

1942: On Guadalcanal, Japanese forces launch a series of full-frontal assaults
to retake Henderson Field. The defending Marines - led by Lt. Col. B. Lewis
"Chesty" Puller - and soldiers kill upwards of 3,000 Japanese troops at the cost
of only 80 Americans. Sgt. John Basilone
( ohn-basilone-medal-ofhonor-citation/) became a Marine legend during the battle, fighting off wave
after wave of Japanese soldiers for two days despite being incredibly

1944: During the Battle of Leyte Gulf, torpedoes from the destroyer USS
Melvin (DD-680) sink the Japanese battleship Fuso, considered to be the
'largest warship to go down with all hands during World War II. Rear. Adm.
Jesse Oldendorfs 7th Fleet Support Group, consisting of several battleships in US_... 6/24/2020
Today in US Military History - The Center for American ... Page 345 of 407
sunk or damaged during Pearl Harbor, engage and sink the battleship
Yamashiro, marking the last battleship-versus-battleship engagement in
history. The escort carrier USS St. Lo (CVE-63) becomes the first major
4) warship to be sunk by Japanese kamikaze pilots. By war's end, kamikaze
attacks would sink 34 U.S. ships.
Elsewhere in the gulf, three Japanese destroyers are sunk at the cost of one
U.S. escort carrier, two destroyers, and a destroyer escort.
Aircraft from the U.S. 3rd Fleet, commanded by Adm. Bill Halsey, sink the
Japanese aircraft carrier Zuikaku, the last surviving carrier that struck Pearl
Harbor. Also headed for the bottom are two more light carriers and a
destroyer. Two more ships - including another light carrier - are crippled.
Later that day, naval gunfire and torpedoes will claim another Japanese light
carrier, two destroyers, and a light cruiser. The Battle for Leyte Gulf is
effectively over.

1950: Well over 200,000 Chinese Communist troops attack UN forces in their
first assault of the Korean War. The Chinese force withdraws to the mountains
and when they attack again one month later, they will drive the American-led
force all the way back to the southern tip of the Korean peninsula.

1983: In the largest military operation since Vietnam, nearly 2,000 U.S.
troops land on the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada to secure American
citizens and topple the Marxist regime. On the first day of fighting, members
of the 75th Ranger Regiment parachute into the Port Salines International
Airport, allowing planes to deliver soldiers of the 82d Airborne Division.
When a SEAL team determines that the beach is unsuitable for the planned
amphibious invasion to capture Pearl Airport on the opposite side of the
island, helicopters ferry Marines ashore and quickly secure their objective.

Oct. 26
1909: U.S. Army Lt. (future brig. gen.) Frederick Erastus Humphreys ----
becomes the first Army aviator to solo in a heavier-than-air craft — the Wright
Flyer — following three hours of instruction by Wilbur Wright.

1922: Off Cape Henry, Va., Lt. Commander Godfrey Chevalier becomes the
first aviator to land on a moving ship when his Aeromarine 39B biplane
touches down on the deck of USS Langley.

1942: Japanese carrier-based aircraft sink the carrier USS Hornet, leaving
only one operational American carrier in the Pacific. The Battle of Santa Cruz
is a pyrrhic victory for the Japanese, however, as their carrier pilots were
decimated in the attack and can no longer conduct attacks on U.S. forces at
On Guadalcanal, Platoon Sergeant Mitchell Paige fights off wave after wave of
Japanese soldiers single-handedly, as all the Marines in his machine gun
section are dead or wounded. Once reinforcements arrive, Paige leads a
bayonet charge that drives off the enemy. For his actions, Paige is awarded the
Medal of Honor and becomes a Marine legend.

1950: The First Marine Division lands at Wonsan, Korea and moves north
toward the Yalu River. In a month, they will be attacked by 10 Chinese
divisions and have to fight their way out of the Chosin Reservoir.
Meanwhile, Republic of Korean (South Korea) forces arrive at the Yalu River
and learn that two entire Chinese Armies have already crossed into Korea.

1966: A magnesium parachute flare ignites aboard the aircraft carrier USS
Oriskany (CV-34) off the coast of Vietnam, igniting the worst ship-board fire
since World War II. 44 sailors perish in the blaze.

1968: An estimated four battalions of North Vietnamese soldiers attempt to
overrun Fire Support Base Julie near the Cambodian border. Supported by
dozens of B-52 strikes, the defenders manage to repel the attack.

Oct. 27
1864: In a daring nighttime commando raid, Lt. William B. Cushing, aboard a
.--„torpedo-armed steam launch, slips past a Confederate schooner guarding the
ironclad CSS Albemarle. Cushing detonates the spar torpedo, blowing a
massive hole in the warship, which had been dominating the Roanoke River. -
--- Although several of his crew are drowned and captured, Cushing and another
sailor escape, leaving behind a destroyed ironclad.

1942: After several days of intense fighting, a shattered Japanese military
abandons their offensive on Guadalcanal's Henderson Field. The Japanese will
evacuate the island in February, and the Americans will turn Guadalcanal into a
major base during the Solomon Islands campaign.

1954: Following in his father's pioneering footsteps, Brig. Gen. Benjamin 0.
Davis, Jr. becomes the first black general in the U.S. Air Force. Benjamin 0.
Davis, Sr., who served in the Spanish-American War, the PhilippineAmerican War, and both World Wars, had been the first black man ever
promoted to the rank of general in the United States Armed Forces. After
becoming the first black pilot to ever solo in a U.S. Army Air Corps aircraft,
the younger Davis commanded the 99th Pursuit Squadron - the famous
"Tuskegee Airmen" - during World War II. He again saw combat when he
deployed to Korea as Commander of the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing in

1962: Maj. Rudolph Anderson (USAF) becomes the only casualty from hostile
fire during the Cuban Missile Crisis when a Soviet SA-2 surface-to-air missile
shoots down his U-2 spy plane during a reconnaissance overflight of Cuba.
Anderson will be posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross, the U.S.
military's second-highest award for valor, after the Medal of Honor.

Oct. 28
1962: Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev "blinks," ordering the withdrawal of
ballistic missiles from Cuba and putting an end to the Cuban Missile Crisis

Oct. 29
1814: The wooden floating battery Demologos, the first steam-powered
warship, is launched at New York City.

1942: Decimated by combat losses, malnutrition, and tropical diseases, the
first soldiers of the Japanese garrison begin departing Guadalcanal.

1944: Three 442d Regimental Combat Team soldiers earn the Medal of Honor
near Biffontaine, France on this day. Technician 5th Grade James K. Okubo,
Pvt. Barney F. Hajiro, and Pvt. George T. Sakato (click the links to read their
The all-Nisei (second-generation Japanese-American citizens) 442d RCT
holds the distinction of being the most decorated unit in United States Armed
Forces history.

1998: 36 years after becoming the first American to orbit the earth, John
Glenn (Col, USMC ret.) blasts off aboard Space Shuttle Discovery, becoming
the oldest man in space at 77 years old. Glenn was the third member of
Congress to fly in space. He was preceded by Senator Jake Gam, a former U.S.
Navy and Utah Air National Guard aviator, and Congressman (future senator)
Bill Nelson, who was an officer in the Army Reserve.

Oct. 30
1918: Famous World War I flying ace Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker shoots down
his 26th - and final - enemy aircraft over Remonville, France.

1940: The Royal Air Force's First Eagle Squadron, consisting of volunteer
pilots from the United States, becomes operational. Thousands of Americans
would apply, but only 244 were chosen for service during the early days of
World War II.

1944: Pvt. Wilburn K. Ross
( almost single-handedly fights off a German attack that
devastated his company. Pvt. Ross killed or wounded dozens of enemy
soldiers, forcing a retreat.
Meanwhile in the Philippines, the new tactic of kamikaze attacks become an
increasing threat, with Japanese planes striking the aircraft carriers USS
Franklin and USS Belleau Wood. Over 100 sailors are killed and the crippled
flattops must sail back to the United States for repairs.

1954: The Defense Department announces that it has completed the process of
eliminating racial segregation in the U.S. Armed Forces.

1961: On a remote island north of the Arctic Circle, a Soviet Air Force Tu95 "Bear" bomber drops the Tsar Bomba, setting off the largest man-made
explosion in human history. The 50-megaton device has ten times the
explosive force of all conventional weapons dropped during World War II
and was over 1,500 times stronger than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.
The blast is so powerful that windows are broken well over 500 miles away
and the aircrew is only given a 50 percent chance of survival. A U.S. Air
Force JKC-135A intelligence gathering plane on a secret mission to collect
data on the blast is scorched by the heat wave and is removed from service
after landing.

1963: 500 miles east of the Massachussetts coast, Lt. (future Rear Adm.)
James H. Flately III makes his first of what will be 21 touch-and-go landings
aboard USS Forrestal (CV-59) in a C-130 Hercules. The Navy is testing the
massive C-130, which is not equipped with a tailhook, for supplying the
flattop while at sea. Ultimately, Flately will make 29 full-stop landings, and
his wingtips clear Forrestal's island by just 15 feet.

Oct. 31
1941: Although the United States has not yet entered the war, U.S. Naval
vessels are serving as convoy escorts. When a German U-boat "wolfpack"
attacks an Allied convoy near Iceland, the American destroyer USS Reuben
James places itself between an incoming torpedo and an ammunition ship. The
torpedo detonates the destroyer's magazine, blowing the Reuben James in half
115 sailors perish in the first sinking of a U.S. warship in World War II.

1943: Lt. Hugh D. O'Neill, flying at night in a specially modified F4U Corsair,
shoots down a Japanese Betty bomber over Vella Lavella, scoring the first kill
for the radar-equipped night fighters.

1966: While on a patrol mission of the Mekong Delta, two patrol boats of the
"Brown Water Navy" are fired upon by Vietnamese sampans. When Petty
Officer First Class James E. Williams gives chase, he discovers a hornet's nest
of enemy activity in the isolated section of the delta. During a three-hour battle
with enemy boats and fortifications, Williams and his crew, supported by
helicopter gunships, destroy 65 vessels and kill hundreds of the enemy force.
For his role in the engagement, the Navy's most-decorated sailor (having
already received two Silver Stars and three Bronze Stars - all for valor - in
addition to the Navy Cross) is awarded the Medal of Honor.

1968: Five days before the elections, Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson ends Operation
"Rolling Thunder", the bombing campaign against North Vietnam. Over threeand-a-half years, 864,000 tons of bombs fell on the Communist nation more
tonnage dropped than either the Korean War or the Pacific Theater of World
War II. Nearly 1,000 U.S. planes are shot down during Rolling Thunder, with
over 1,000 aircrew killed, wounded or captured. But despite the damage
inflicted by the Americans, the North Vietnamese show they can take what
Washington can dish out.

1971: Saigon begins releasing the first of around 3,000 Viet Cong prisoners of
war. American POWs won't be released until Feb. 12, 1973.

1972: Two Navy SEAL advisors and their South Vietnamese naval
commando counterparts on a reconnaissance mission realize they were
accidentally inserted smack dab in the middle of thousands of North
Vietnamese soldiers. As the team maneuvers back to the sea, they are
compromised. Lt. Thomas Norris receives a massive facial wound, and a
Vietnamese frogman tells Petty Officer Michael E. Thornton that Norris is
dead. Instead of leaving his supposedly fallen officer behind (Norris was alive
— barely — but unconscious), Thornton fights his way through a murderous
field of fire to rescue Norris, then swam out to sea for four hours before being
rescued while holding two incapacitated teammates — even though Thornton
himself had been wounded multiple times. Thornton will be awarded the
Medal of Honor for his incredible lifesaving feat.
1976: The Air Force's E-3A Sentry airborne warning and control systems
(AWACS) aircraft makes its first flight.


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