This Day in U.S. Military History……February 17

7 February

1621 – Miles Standish was appointed 1st commander of Plymouth colony.
1778 – In response to Franco-American treaties, Lord North presents a plan of conciliation with the colonies to the British Parliament.

1862 – Ironclad C.S.S. Virginia (ex-U.S.S. Merrimack) commissioned, Captain Franklin Buchanan commanding.

1865 – Union forces regained Fort Sumter.

1867 – The 1st ship passed through the Suez Canal.
1870 – Mississippi became the 9th state readmitted to US after Civil War.

933 – The League of Nations censured Japan in a worldwide broadcast. The rise of militaristic nationalism led Japan down the road to Pearl Harbor and World War II.
1940 – President Roosevelt sends Sumner Welles, Under-Secretary of State, on a “fact-finding” tour of Europe and appoints Myron C. Taylor as his “personal representative” to the Vatican.
1940 – United States Lines sells the liner President Harding and seven cargo ships to a Belgian concern in an attempt to circumvent the ban on US sea borne trade with Europe, imposed by the Neutrality Act.
1942The 296 men of the first naval construction unit to deploy from the United States was designated the First Construction Detachment arrived at Bora Bora in the Societies Islands with the mission of constructing a fueling station and other facilities. The unit left Quonset Point (Newport), Rhode Island, on 17 January 1942. It stopped at Norfolk, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina, and on 27 January left for their destination. This unit took on the name of Bobcat Detachment as Bobcat was the code name for Bora Bora. On 5 March, Construction Battalion personnel were officially named Seabees by the Navy Department and the fighting, building bee insignia and shoulder patch was approved.
1943Attacks by the forces under von Arnim and Rommel make good progress. In the north, Axis forces are approaching Sheitla, having destroyed two thirds of the US 1st Armored Division. To the south, Rommel’s forces enter Feriana. Von Arnim, with limited aims in mind, diverts 10th Panzer Division toward Foundouk, which has been abandoned by its American defenders, rather than pushing toward Sbeitla. Rommel, has proposed a more ambitious plan to the Italian and German High Commands but no decision is made.

1944 – During the night (February 17-18), US destroyers bombard Japanese bases at Rabaul and Kavieng.
1944American forces attack the Japanese base at Truk and nearby shipping. Three groups of Task Force 58 (Admiral Mitscher) and one group of Task Forces 50 (Admiral Spruance) engage. The operation is under the command of Spruance. In total 9 carriers and 6 battleships as well as cruisers, destroyers and submarines are involved.
1944German forces continue attacks on the Anzio beachhead. The US 45th Division barely contains the German attack. Heavy losses are sustained by both sides. Offshore, the British cruiser Penelope is damaged by a torpedo attack. To the south, near Cassino, German forces recover Point 593 after losing possession briefly to the British 4th Indian Division (part of the US 5th Army).
1945There are new attacks by US 12th and 20th Corps, of US 3rd Army, from Luxembourg and around Saarlouis. US 7th Army units are attacking near Saarbrucken while 1945 – US Task Force 58 conducts a second day of air raids. On this day the aircraft strike Tokyo and Yokohama. In two days of operations, the American planes have conducted over 2700 sorties, losing 88 aircraft. It is reported that twice as many Japanese planes are shot down. After completing the attacks, TF58 moves toward Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands.
1945 – US Task Force 54 and TF52 continue the preliminary bombardment of Iwo Jima. The battleship Tennessee and a cruiser as well as several smaller ships are damaged by Japanese return fire. Meanwhile, a USAAF raid by B-24 bombers is also conducted.

1951 – B-26s flew the first night bombing mission using SHORAN, a short-range navigation system employing an airborne radar device and two ground beacon stations for precision bombing.
1953 – The 1,000th helicopter landing was recorded aboard the hospital ship USS Repose. The destroyers USS Mansfield, De Haven, Collet, and Swensen joined TF 90 for the third time.
1956 – The USCGC Casco saved 21 persons from a US Navy seaplane that was forced to ditch 100 miles south of Bermuda and delivered both the survivors and the disabled aircraft to the Naval Air Station at St. Georgia Harbor, Bermuda.
1957 – Suez Canal reopened.
1959 – The U.S. launched its first weather station in space, Vanguard II weighing 9.8 kg.

1967 – The first full day of Operation DECKHOUSE VI, which lasted until 3 March, was conducted near Quang Ngai city. The Special Landing Force (BLT Y4 and HMM-363) accounted for 280 enemy killed.
1968American officials in Saigon report an all-time high weekly rate of U.S. casualties–543 killed in action and 2,547 wounded in the previous seven days. These losses were a result of the heavy fighting during the communist Tet Offensive.1972 – President Nixon departed on his historic 10-day trip to China.

1997The Middle East Economic Survey reports that Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization is increasing crude oil sales to reach its targeted $1.0 billion in sales for the first 90 day period under the United Nations’ oil for food plan. The total value of contracts for the first 90 days is reported to be $800-$850 million, lower than expected due to lower oil prices (14% less than when the sale was announced in mid-December1996) and the failure of Russian companies to lift contracted volumes.
1998 – President Clinton, preparing Americans for possible air strikes against Iraq, said military force is never the first answer “but sometimes it’s the only answer.”
1998 – A barge carrying about 200,000 gallons of diesel fuel sinks in rough seas off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The barge is suspected of transporting smuggled fuel from Iraq.
1998 – UN Sec. Gen’l. Kofi Annan announced that he would travel to Baghdad to try to resolve the ongoing crises over Saddam Hussein’s refusal to allow unconditional weapons inspections.
2000 – A House panel said in a report that the program to inoculate all 2.4 million American military personnel against anthrax was based on “a paucity of science” and should be suspended; the Pentagon defended the program and vowed to continue the inoculations.
2003 – European Union leaders declared their solidarity with the United States, warning Saddam Hussein that Iraq faced one “last chance” to disarm peacefully but calling war a last resort.
2005President Bush named John Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, as the government’s first national intelligence director (DNI). Central American politicians and human rights activists issued stinging criticism of Negroponte, citing the career diplomat’s active backing for the Contra rebels and support for a government involved in human rights abuses.
2005 – Iraq’s electoral commission certified the results of the Jan. 30 elections and allocated 140 of 275 National Assembly seats to the United Iraqi Alliance, giving the Shiite-dominated party a majority in the new parliament.

About topshot

Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran, Hunter, Fisherman, Home Chef, Retired Construction Superintendent and Carpenter. A firm believer in America First and the Constitution and a Fiscal Conservative. Strong supporter of Americas Military and Political Responsibility and proud member of the NRA.
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