1961: The U.S. Air Force is authorized to begin combat operations in Vietnam - provided they carry a Vietnamese national with them for training purposes. 1967: Che Guevara, co-founder of Fidel Castro's Communist regime, is executed by firing squad while leading a revolution in Bolivia. 1968: In response to the TET Offensive, Pres. 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). 1994: Two U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons attack a Bosnian Serb command post after an attack on UN personnel. Pvt. The outcome at Spotsylvania Courthouse will be inconclusive and the casualties terribly heavy. Elsewhere in the gulf, three Japanese destroyers are sunk at the cost of one U.S. escort carrier, two destroyers, and a destroyer escort. 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. 1943: The 3rd Marine Division, led by Gen. Allen H. Turnage, hits the beaches on Japanese-held Bougainville. Although outnumbered 13-2, the American aviators began the attack. The Australian fighter squadron credited with shooting the German ace down gives Richtofen a full military funeral. The remote outpost had just been established and its defenses had not yet been fully constructed, enabling the enemy to destroy the heavy U.S. weapons almost immediately. Although wounded early in battle, he continued to direct fire from his advanced position until he was disabled by a high-explosive shell which shattered his arm, forcing him to withdraw. Upon arrival of the relief force, Fritz again braves incoming fire to direct the unit. The Americans shoot down 183 enemy fighters - including four jets - at the cost of 40 bombers and 28 fighters. 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. 1966: When U.S. soldiers are pinned down by the Viet Cong (VC) near the Cambodian border, Capt. The Union captures the crucial port city the following day - one of the worst setbacks for the Confederacy during the Civil War. William H. Carney (featured image) becomes the first African-American soldier awarded the Medal of Honor. The raid destroys one launcher, but five F-105s are shot down. 1864: During the Battle of Yellow Tavern, Condederate Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Among the six new military pilots is Capt. 70 other countries use the "Herc", which holds the distinction of the longest production run of a military aircraft in history. This date also marks the first-ever combat deployment of a Naval aviation unit: Lt. John H. Towers, 1st Lt. Bernard L. Smith (USMC), and Due to navigational issues, many were surprised the missiles were placed in operation in the first place; so many crashed during training that the Caribbean was said to be "Snark-infested waters.". Apart from Grover Cleveland's tenures in office, the nation was run by Civil War veterans from 1865 until 1901. Over the next three-and-a-half years, 864,000 tons of bombs fall on the Communist nation - more tonnage dropped than either the Korean War or the Pacific Theater of World War II. In the Philippines, the battleship USS Maryland and two destroyers are heavily damaged by kamikaze attacks. He was last seen at a medical aid station which was subsequently captured by the enemy.". Lafayette will meet Gen. George Washington in five days, who is in Philadelphia to brief the Continental Congress on military affairs, then joins Washington's staff and the two become close friends. As a military test pilot, Glenn flew the first-ever supersonic transcontinental flight, and at the age of 77, returned to space in 1998 aboard Space Shuttle Discovery, becoming the oldest person to fly in space. 1941: When a Japanese submarine reports the sighting of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) northeast of Hawaii, Japanese vessels still in the area are ordered to attack. A select group of pilots scramble from Guadalcanal on their secret mission - personally authorized by President Franklin Roosevelt. Boxer's captain Samuel Blyth declares "We are going to fight both ends and both sides of this ship as long as the ends and the sides hold together." Returning to the front, he leads several attacks on the enemy, killing several VC and silencing additional bunkers. In six days, the 75,000 defenders, already weakened by starvation and disease, will have no choice but to surrender to the Japanese. 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.". 2010: 92 years after the end of World War I, Germany makes its last reparation payment demanded by the Treaty of Versailles. 15 scouts from the Battle of San Isidro are awarded the Medal of Honor. 1944: In New Guinea, enemy mortars and machineguns have pinned down a platoon of 112th Cavalry troopers. 1909: Construction begins on the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. when President (and former commander of the "Rough Riders") Theodore Roosevelt lays the cornerstone. Once relief arrives, the former members of the 15th New York Infantry have nearly exhausted their supplies, and have suffered 982 casualties. She will go on to rack up more than a dozen kills. 1918: Southeast of Verdun, France, Gen. John J. Pershing's First Army moves into position at the Saint-Mihiel salient. 1939: As Germany fights its way across Poland, President Franklin Roosevelt issues two neutrality proclamations. 1950: Well over 200,000 Chinese Communist troops attack UN forces in their first assault of the Korean War. Neal and Wilkins survive their captivity, and Neal is awarded the Navy Cross. 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. Realizing that he would not have enough time to safely get rid of the grenade, he rolled on top of it and shielded his comrades from the blast with his body. In the air, Cmdr. 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. The force had just landed Marine Raiders on New Georgia and the Japanese intended to land reinforcements, but are driven off after a brief nighttime engagement. 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. William W. Galt of the 168th Infantry Regiment volunteers to personally lead his battalion after two failed attacks against German positions at Villa Crocetta in Italy. Both pilots also flew during World War II and both would die in accidental plane crashes following the war. However, in two days, the entire 10,000-man army slips through the Royal Navy stationed along the East River and evacuates (with their arms and supplies) to Manhattan. Staff Sgt. Nineteen of the raiders will be awarded the Medal of Honor (many of them posthumously). The Marines encircle the VC and inflict hundreds of casualties, but the remaining communist fighters manage to escape after several days of fighting. MacArthur will retire after serving the country for 52 years. 1937: As the gunboat USS Panay and three Standard Oil tankers work to evacuate U.S. citizens and Standard Oil employees from Nanking, China, the vessels are attacked and sunk by the Japanese during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Japanese sailors who jumped overboard refuse to be rescued by American ships, instead consigning themselves to a horrifying death in the shark-infested waters. The explosion, which kills Harvey, stuns the communists and the pause in fire enables the wounded to escape the kill zone. He fires away until his weapon is destroyed by an enemy tank round. Artillery, Maj. John M. Schofield of the 1st Missouri Infantry, 1st Lt. William M. Wherry of the 3rd U.S. Reserve Missouri Infantry, and 1st Lt. Clay H. Wood of the 11th U.S. Infantry. 1943: The last remnants of Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus' encircled Sixth German Army surrender to the Soviets. African American Navy Experience Gen. Jimmy Doolittle and his Raiders as they traveled across China, and Doolittle recommended that Col. Claire Chennault should commission the American missionary as an officer for the "Flying Tigers." The program encapsulates all the problems with the business of purchasing weapons in the United States. The carnage at "Bloody Angle" is some of the most brutal fighting of the Civil War with 9,000 Union and 8,000 Confederate casualties in just one day. 1961: On a remote island north of the Arctic Circle, a Soviet Air Force Tu-95 "Bear" bomber drops the Tsar Bomba, setting off the largest man-made explosion in human history. Over the Philippines, a PBY Catalina is attacked by three Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zeros. As word of the betrayal passes up the military's chain of command, Adm. Harry D. Felt phones Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, who confirms that Klussman is on his own. 1813: Some 2,000 Royal Marines and British soldiers attempt to attack the American fortifications at Craney Island, guarding Hapton Roads, Va. By war's end the Mustang will shoot down nearly five thousand German planes - an incredible 19 enemy fighters per Mustang lost. 1941: While a Japanese sub shells the Hawaiian Islands, Vice Adm. Wilson Brown's Task Force 11 departs Pearl Harbor, attempting to divert the Japanese fleet from their attack on Wake Island. On July 7, some 3,000 Japanese troops charge forward in the largest banzai charge of the war, nearly wiping out two battalions of soldiers from the 27th Infantry Division. 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. 1951: Corpsman Richard De Wert, serving with the 7th Marines in Korea, rushes through enemy fire to retrieve a wounded comrade. Texas' Dyess Air Force Base, home of the 7th Bomb Wing, is named after him. 1917: A convoy bearing the newly created 42d "Rainbow" Infantry Division sails from Hoboken, N.J. for France. Washington I. 1918: Brig. 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. Out of the 500 applicants, NASA chose Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra, and Alan Shepard from the Navy; Gordo Cooper, Gus Grissom, and Deke Slayton from the Air Force; and John Glenn from the Marine Corps. 1958: A F-86 "Sabre" collides with a B-47 "Stratojet" bomber piloted by Maj. Howard Richardson during a simulated combat exercise. Gen. Robert Ross' exhausted troops - several of which died during the battle from exhaustion after long marches - avenge the American destruction of Port Dover (in present-day Ontario) in May by setting fire to the Presidential Mansion (now called the White House), Capitol Building, and numerous other government and military facilities. U-110 is forced to surface, and the captain orders his crew to abandon ship as it appears the destroyer HMS Bulldog is preparing to ram the sub. 1968: Five days before the elections, Pres. 1963: Test pilots from the Hughes Tool Company (Aviation Division) conduct the first test flight of their Model 369 prototype helicopter, which will become the OH-6 "Cayeuse" helicopter when it enters service with the Army in 1966. Meanwhile, Capt. 1918: Just days after the 94th "Hat in the Ring" Aero Squadron is sent to the front, two Nieuport 28 fighters flown by lieutenants Alan Winslow and Douglas Campbell lift off from the Gengoult Aerodrome (near Toul, France) on an alert sortie. Helicopters halt the vessel with rocket and machine gun fire, and a team of Navy SEALs boards the ship. 1969: Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird introduces "Vietnamization," the Nixon Administration's plan to gradually withdraw U.S. combat forces while preparing the South Vietnamese to assume responsibility for the conflict, which had already cost over 30,000 American lives. Hundreds of civilians are killed and the air raids would continue, virtually unopposed, for the next month. Smith ejects at 777 miles per hour and becomes the first airman to punch out of a aircraft traveling at supersonic speeds (Mach 1.05). 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.. 1777: Capitalizing on his successful Christmas night crossing of the Delaware River followed by a pair of victories in two separate battles of Trenton (N.J.), Continental Army Gen. George Washington defeats a British force under Lt. Col. Charles Mawhood in the Battle of Princeton. 1st Class Arthur J. Jackson moves forward through a barrage of heavy enemy fire. Strange (25, of Philadelphia), SCPO Kraig M. Vickers (36, of Kokomo, Hawaii), PO1 Jared W. Day (28, of Taylorsville, Utah), PO1 John Douangdara (25, of South Sioux City, Neb.) A lone Japanese bomber slips through the flattop's defenses and hits Franklin with two armor-piercing bombs. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. Anthony Marchione - the last American killed in action in World War II. 1862: 15 years to the day after being wounded at Buena Vista, Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as the Confederacy's first official president. 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. After being relieved, he returns to his normal post as mess sergeant. Also on this date, Hitler changes the military oath so that the Wehrmacht swears allegiance to him instead of Germany. 1950: When an enemy machinegun pins down his fellow 1st Cavalry troopers, Cpl. 1777: A month after arriving in the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette is commissioned "major general" in the Continental Army after offering to serve without pay. An enemy rocket-propelled grenade impacts Kelley's ship, spraying deadly shrapnel through the boat and severely wounding the skipper. 1865: The overcrowded Mississippi River steamboat Sultana, carrying 2,400 Union soldiers just released from Confederate prison, explodes and sinks just north of Memphis. Over Guadalcanal, Japanese warplanes clash with Army and Marine aircraft of the "Cactus Air Force," with Capt. That same day, Gen. Heinrich von Vietinghoff surrenders all Wehrmacht forces in Italy and the Red Army flies the Soviet flag over the Reichstag building. 1890: At West Point, the visiting U.S. Meanwhile, fellow 15th Infantry Regiment soldier Pvt. 1951: When the enemy launches a "furious assault" that threatens to overrun an American command post near Pachi-Dong, Korea, Pvt. Over 1,500 Americans gave their lives in combat and another 10,000 died from illness during the two-year war. While serving as the first Chairman of the newly formed Joint Chiefs of Staff, Bradley will be instrumental in removing fellow five-star general Douglas MacArthur following his public clashes with the Truman Administration. 1813: Brig. Congress will award both men the Medal of Honor for their flight, which remains surrounded by controversy as Byrd is reported to have said that an oil leak in their Fokker Trimotor aircraft during the nearly 16-hour flight may have caused the explorers to turn around prematurely. Upon returning, he kills the remaining crew, but another machine gun opens fire on his position. 1924: The battleship USS Mississippi (BB-41) launches a Martin MO-1 observation plane by using its forward turret as an explosive-powered catapult. 1945: Following 74 days of aerial bombardment - the longest pre-invasion attacks of the war - two U.S. Marine divisions begin hitting the beach on Day One of the epic battle for Iwo Jima. The Confederates inflict 1,500 casualties on the attackers, killing several of the top Union officers, including Shaw. He is originally awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, but 96 years later, the military upgrades to the Medal of Honor. Harmon reaches the first machinegun nest, setting it on fire with a white phosphorous grenade and shooting the escaping gunners with his submachine gun. 1775: John Adams of the Second Congressional Congress nominates George Washington, a fellow congressional delegate and veteran of the French and Indian Wars, to lead the newly formed Continental Army. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.". 1914: Navy lieutenant (future vice admiral) Patrick N.L. Samuel Bacon, Quartermaster of the Marine Corps, said "I will tell you something now about the battle of Bladensburg. 1965: Two days after the aircraft carrier USS Wasp recovers Gemini VI astronauts Walter M. Schirra (USN) and Thomas P. Stafford (USAF) in the first-ever televised landing of a spacecraft, the crew of Gemini VII - Frank Borman (USAF) and Jim Lovell (USN) - splash down safely in the Atlantic just 11 miles away from Wasp. Over the 11 days of the Operation "Linebacker II" bombing campaign, over 20,000 tons of ordinance hammered Hanoi and Haiphong, crippling their war production and supply chain, and the communists had shot most of their surface-to-air missiles. He charges forward under fire and drives off the Germans with his bayonet. 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. Designer Igor Sikorsky flew the R-4 over 700 miles in a record-setting cross-country trip from the factory in Connecticut to Wright Field (modern-day Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) in Dayton, Ohio. Meanwhile, the first U.S. troops arrive at Australia. 1956: Over California's Mojave Desert, Capt. Five colonists are killed. Meanwhile, President Harry Truman advises Japan that if they do not surrender, they will face "prompt and utter destruction.". British artillery commands the high ground, but Americans capture the guns and the two armies engage in close combat throughout the evening with neither side able to gain a tactical advantage. Makin Atoll, 100 miles north of Tarawa, is also declared secure. 1897: A crowd of over 10,000 greets the black soldiers of the 25th Infantry Regiment's "Bicycle Corps" (featured image) as they ride into St. Louis' Forest Park, completing a 41-day, 1,900-mile trip from Fort Missoula, Montana. All but two of the battleships - Arizona and Oklahoma - are raised to fight again. 1991: The 1st Marine Division captures Kuwait International Airport and the 2nd Marine Division has cut off any further egress routes from Kuwait City. He then went on to become one of America's aviation pioneers: the fist military pilot to teach himself to fly, the first Army dirigible pilot, and first military observer on a cross-country flight with Orville Wright before flying during the Pershing Expedition into Mexico and World War I. 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. Donovan's agency will focus on intelligence and propaganda until it is split into the Office of War Information and the Office of Strategic Services - the predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency. 1918: Near the Mexican border, a group of Yaqui Indians open fire on "Buffalo Soldiers" of the U.S. Army's 10th Cavalry (before the U.S. Border Patrol's founding in 1924, the Army handled border security). The crew of "Old Ironsides" will capture two more vessels over the next five days. Kittinger reached 714 miles per hour before his main chute opened at 18,000 feet, setting records for speed and altitude on a parachute jump that stand for 52 years until Felix Baumgartner's jump in 2012 (Kittinger was his capsule communicator). Pfc. 1898: Spanish forces under the command of Gen. José Toral surrender Cuba to Gen. William R. Shafter, practically ending Col. (and future president) Teddy Roosevelt's "splendid little war." Were it not for his fatal F-104 Starfighter crash at Edwards Air Force Base in 1958, Kincheloe would very likely have become one of America's first astronauts. 5,000 inmates to starve, and Royal Navy locates Edward Teach, the North Vietnamese SAM-2 sites Vinh... Under fire and knocks out a German torpedo strikes Kearny, killing Sgt October 1916 the Jackson... Including Shaw miles long observer, 1st Aero Squadron 's commanding officer of the assaulting Force to the. S.C. in the engagement became one of the Civil War North Korean forces, Pres space. 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