1641 – Massachusetts became the 1st colony to give statutory recognition to slavery. It was followed by Connecticut in 1650 and Virginia in 1661.
1814 – The shallow-draft steamboat Enterprise, completed in Pittsburgh under the direction of keelboat captain Henry Miller Shreve, left for New Orleans to deliver guns and ammunition to Gen. Jackson.
1824 – Congress turns over the presidential election to the House of Representatives, as dictated by the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In the November 1824 election, 131 electoral votes, just over half of the 261 total, were necessary to elect a candidate president. Although it had no bearing on the outcome of the election, popular votes were counted for the first time in this election. Andrew Jackson of Tennessee won 99 electoral and 153,544 popular votes; John Quincy Adams–the son of John Adams, the second president of the United States–received 84 electoral and 108,740 popular votes; Secretary of State William H. Crawford, who had suffered a stroke before the election, received 41 electoral votes; and Representative Henry Clay of Virginia won 37 electoral votes. As dictated by the Constitution, the election was then turned over to the House of Representatives. The 12th Amendment states that if no electoral majority is won, only the three candidates who receive the most popular votes will be considered in the House. Representative Henry Clay, who was disqualified from the House vote as a fourth-place candidate, agreed to use his influence to have John Quincy Adams elected. Clay and Adams were both members of a loose coalition in Congress that by 1828 became known as the National Republicans, while Jackson’s supporters were later organized into the Democratic Party. Thanks to Clay’s backing, on February 9, 1825, the House elected Adams as president of the United States. When Adams then appointed Clay to the top cabinet post of secretary of state, Jackson and his supporters derided the appointment as the fulfillment of a corrupt agreement. With little popular support, Adams’ time in the White House was largely ineffectual, and the so-called Corrupt Bargain haunted his administration. In 1828, he was defeated in his reelection bid by Andrew Jackson, who received more than twice as many electoral votes than Adams.
1842 – Midshipman Philip Spencer (18) on the brig-of-war Somers, the 1st US naval officer condemned for mutiny, was hanged. Spencer was the son of John Canfield Spencer, the Sec. of War under Pres. John Tyler. Boatswain Samuel Cromwell and Seaman Elisha Small also hanged.
1863 – Belle Boyd, a Confederate spy, was released from prison in Washington. One of the most famous of Confederate spies, Belle Boyd served the Confederate forces in the Shenandoah Valley. Born in Martinsburg-now part of West Virginia-she operated her spying operations from her fathers hotel in Front Royal, providing valuable information to Generals Turner Ashby and “Stonewall” Jackson during the spring 1862 campaign in the Valley. The latter general then made her a captain and honorary aide-de-camp on his staff. As such she was able to witness troops reviews. Betrayed by her lover, she was arrested on July 29, 1862, and held for a month in the Old Capitol Prison in Washington. Exchanged a month later, she was in exile with relatives for a time but was again arrested in June 1863 while on a visit to Martinsburg. On December 1, 1863, she was released, suffering from typhoid, and was then sent to Europe to regain her health. The blockade runner she attempted to return on was captured and she fell in love with the prize master, Samuel Hardinge, who later married her in England after being dropped from the navy’s rolls for neglect of duty in allowing her to proceed to Canada and then England. Hardinge attempted to reach Richmond, was detained in Union hands, but died soon after his release. While in England Belle Boyd Hardinge had a stage career and published Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison. She died while touring the western United States.
1864 – Franklin-Nashville Campaign began with an action at Owen’s Crossroads, TN.
1909 – President Taft severed official relations with Nicaragua’s Zelaya government, and declared support for the revolutionaries.
1914 – Following the outbreak of World War I, the nation’s markets temporarily shut down to safeguard against a debilitating bear run. But, this day, traders were back at it again, at least on the West Coast, where the San Francisco Stock & Bond Exchange became the first U.S. exchange to re-open its doors for business.
1918 – British, French, and US forces move into the German Rhineland in accordance with the armistice agreement made on November 11. By December 9th the Americans will have established their occupation headquarters at Koblenz.
1921 – In first flight of airship filled with helium, Blimp C-7 piloted by LCDR Ralph F. Wood left Norfolk, VA, for Washington, DC.
1941 – The first Civil Air Patrol in the U.S. was organized. Civil Air Patrol was conceived in the late 1930s by legendary New Jersey aviation advocate Gill Robb Wilson, who foresaw aviation’s role in war and general aviation’s potential to supplement America’s military operations. With the help of New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, the new Civil Air Patrol was established just days before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The CAP insignia, a red three-bladed propeller in the Civil Defense white-triangle-in-blue-circle, began appearing on private aircraft everywhere. CAP initially planned only on liaison and reconnaissance flying, but the civilian group’s mission expanded when German submarines began to prey on American ships off the coast of the United States and CAP planes began carrying bombs and depth charges.” A CAP crew first interrupted a sub attack on a flight out of Rehoboth Beach, saving a tanker off Cape May, N.J. Since radio calls for military bombers were often unproductive, unarmed CAP fliers dived in mock attacks to force subs to break and run. The CAP coastal patrol flew 24 million miles, found 173 submarines, attacked 57, hit 10 and sank two. By Presidential Executive Order, CAP became an auxiliary of the Army Air Forces in 1943. A German commander later confirmed that coastal U-boat operations were withdrawn from the United States “because of those damned little red and yellow airplanes.” In all, CAP flew a half-million hours during the war, and 64 CAP aviators lost their lives in the line of duty. The U.S. Air Force was created as an independent armed service in 1947, and CAP was designated as its official civilian auxiliary the following year.
1941 – Japanese emperor Hirohito signed a declaration of war. Japan’s Tojo rejected U.S. proposals for a Pacific settlement as fantastic and unrealistic.
1942 – Nationwide gasoline rationing went into effect in the United States.
1943 – The Teheran Conference ends. The decision to invade western Europe in May 1944 is confirmed. Plans for an invasion of southern France are also agreed upon. Stalin promises to join the war against Japan once Germany has been defeated. There are rumors that the American accommodations were bugged by Soviet agents.
1943 – The first operational use of the American P-51D Mustang is in a fighter sweep over occupied Belgium. The P-51 was designed as the NA-73 in 1940 at Britain’s request. The design showed promise and AAF purchases of Allison-powered Mustangs began in 1941 primarily for photo recon and ground support use due to its limited high-altitude performance. But in 1942, tests of P-51s using the British Rolls-Royce “Merlin” engine revealed much improved speed and service ceiling, and in Dec. 1943, Merlin-powered P-51Bs first entered combat over Europe. Providing high-altitude escort to B-17s and B-24s, they scored heavily over German interceptors and by war’s end, P-51s had destroyed 4,950 enemy aircraft in the air, more than any other fighter in Europe. Mustangs served in nearly every combat zone, including the Pacific where they escorted B-29s to Japan from Iwo Jima. Between 1941-5, the AAF ordered 14,855 Mustangs (including A-36A dive bomber and F-6 photo recon versions), of which 7,956 were P-51Ds. During the Korean War, P-51Ds were used primarily for close support of ground forces until withdrawn from combat in 1953.
1943 – The US 5th Army in Italy becomes more active as preparations for a resumption of its offensive proceed. Diversionary attacks in support of the British 8th Army offensive continue.
1944 – Office of Air-Sea Rescue set up in the Coast Guard. The Secretary of the Navy at the request of the Joint Chiefs of Staff early in 1944 established the Air-Sea Rescue Agency, an inter-department and inter-agency body, for study and improvement of rescue work with the Commandant of Coast Guard as head.
1944 – Elements of the US 9th Army advance northeast of Aachen. Linnich is captured by the US 102nd Division. To the right, attacks by US 3rd and 7th Armies report slow progress.
1947 – The Corps’ first helicopter squadron, HMX-1, was commissioned at Quantico. HMX-1’s greatest distinction may be its special place in history as the first U.S. Marine Corps helicopter squadron ever established. The establishment of HMX-1 started a revolution in Marine Corps aviation and tactical doctrine. On 23 May 1948, the first airborne ship-to-shore movement began at Onslow Beach, Camp Lejeune, N.C. The first wave of the assault commenced with all five HO3S-1s taking off from Palau and arriving 30 minutes later in the land-ing zone. HMX-1 pilots made continuous flights, putting 66 Marines in the right place at the right time. With the helicopter firmly entrenched in Marine warfighting doctrine, HMX-1’s mission evolved into developmental testing of new helicopter systems and products destined for the Fleet Marine Force. Today HMX-1 is the Marine unit tasked with helicopter transportation of the President.
1950 – Eighth Army and X Corps began withdrawing in the face of the massive Chinese offensive. The U.S. 2nd Infantry Division, the British 27th Brigade and the Turkish Brigade, began to fight their way south from the Kunu-ri area through the bloody Gauntlet, under continuous fire from Chinese forces occupying the terrain commanding the route to safety. The 2nd Infantry Division was virtually destroyed during the Battle of Kunu-ri where over 4,000 men were lost. The division’s overall combat capability was rated equivalent to a single regimental combat team by the end of the action. The ROK Capitol Division withdrew under heavy pressure to Pukchong.
1950 – Task Force MacLean/Faith, composed of elements of the U.S. 7th Infantry Division’s 31st and 32nd Infantry Regiments, was annihilated east of the Chosin/Changjin Reservoir. Only 385 soldiers of its 3,200-man force were able-bodied following their withdrawal.
1955 – In Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city’s racial segregation laws, an incident which leads to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
1959 – Bureau of Ordnance (BUORD) merges with Bureau of Aeronautics (BUAER) to form the Bureau of Naval Weapons (BUWEPS).
1959 – Twelve nations, including the United States and the Soviet Union, sign the Antarctica Treaty, which bans military activity and weapons testing on that continent. It was the first arms control agreement signed in the Cold War period. Since the 1800s a number of nations, including Great Britain, Australia, Chile, and Norway, laid claim to parts of Antarctica. These competing claims led to diplomatic disputes and even armed clashes. In 1948, Argentine military forces fired on British troops in an area claimed by both nations. Incidents of that sort, together with evidence that the Soviet Union was becoming more interested in Antarctica, spurred the United States to propose that the continent be made a trustee of the United Nations. This idea was rejected when none of the other nations with interests on the continent would agree to cede their claims of sovereignty to an international organization. By the 1950s, some officials in the United States began to press for a more active U.S. role in Antarctica, believing that the continent might have military potential as an area for nuclear tests. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, however, took a different approach. U.S. diplomats, working with their Soviet counterparts, hammered out a treaty that set aside Antarctica as a military-free zone and postponed settling territorial claims for future debate. There could be no military presence on the continent, and no testing of weapons of any sort, including nuclear weapons. Scientific ventures were allowed, and scientists would not be prohibited from traveling through any of the areas claimed by various nations. A dozen nations signed the document. Since the treaty did not directly tamper with issues of territorial sovereignty in Antarctica, the signers included all nations with territorial claims on the continent. As such, the treaty marked a small but significant first step toward U.S.-Soviet arms control and political cooperation. The treaty went into effect in June 1961, and set the standard for the basic policies that continue to govern Antarctica.
1964 – In two crucial meetings (on this day and two days later) at the White House, President Lyndon B. Johnson and his top-ranking advisers agree, after some debate, to a two-phase bombing plan for North Vietnam. Phase I would involve air strikes by Air Force and Navy jets against infiltration routes and facilities in the Laotian panhandle. Phase II would extend the air strikes to a larger selection of targets in North Vietnam. The more “hawkish” advisers–particularly the Joint Chiefs of Staff–preferred a more immediate and intensive series of raids against many targets in North Vietnam, while “dovish” advisers questioned whether bombing was going to have any effect on Hanoi’s support of the war. Johnson agreed with the Joint Chiefs on the necessity of bombing, but wanted to take a more gradual and measured approach. When he agreed to the bombing plan, President Johnson made it clear that South Vietnamese leaders would be expected to cooperate and pull their government and people together if they hoped to receive additional aid from the United States. Johnson was concerned that the continuing political instability in Saigon would have a detrimental effect on the South Vietnamese government’s ability to pursue the fight against the communist Viet Cong.
1965 – An airlift of refugees from Cuba to the United States began in which thousands of Cubans were allowed to leave their homeland.
1969 – The U.S. government held its first draft lottery since World War II in 1942. The Selective Service System of the United States conducted two lotteries to determine the order of call to military service in the Vietnam War for men born from 1944 to 1950. These lotteries occurred during “the draft”—a period of conscription, controlled by the President, from just before World War II to 1973. The lottery numbers assigned in December 1969 were used during calendar year 1970 both to call for induction and to call for physical examination, a preliminary call covering more men.
1971 – In Cambodia, communist fighters renew their assaults on government positions, forcing the retreat of Cambodian government forces from Kompong Thmar and nearby Ba Ray, six miles northeast of Phnom Penh. Premier Lon Nol and his troops had been locked in a desperate battle with the communist Khmer Rouge and their North Vietnamese allies for control of Cambodia since 1970, when Nol had taken over the government from Prince Norodom Sihanouk. The communist forces had just launched a major offensive and the government troops were reeling under the new attacks. By December 2, the North Vietnamese overran Cambodian forces trying to protect Route 6, one of the key road links between Phnom Penh and the interior. The communists gained control of a 30-mile stretch of Route 6, cutting off thousands of refugees and nearly 10,000 government troops in the northern Kompong Thmar area. On December 6, Hanoi radio reported that the Cambodian government had lost 12,000 fighting men in the past week’s action. The next day, communist gunners renewed their shelling of Phnom Penh, firing three rockets into the capital and eight rockets into the international airport. As the rockets fell, the Communists troops attacked government positions all around the city and by December 11, Lon Nol’s forces were in imminent danger of being encircled by the Khmer Rouge, as the communists tried to isolate Phnom Penh from the rest of the country and outside support. With most of the government forces tied down and fighting for their lives, the North Vietnamese were free to use their sanctuaries and resupply routes in Cambodia to begin building up for a major offensive they were planning in South Vietnam for the spring of 1972.
1980 – IBM delivered its 1st prototype PC to Microsoft. IBM selected Microsoft to create MS-DOS, the operating system for its first PC. Steve Ballmer arrived from Proctor & Gamble as an assistant to Gates. Paul Allen bought the QDOS operating system (Quick and Dirty Operating System) from a rival company for $50,000. It was renamed MS-DOS and licensed to IBM. The IBM 5150 PC standardized the marketplace.
1984 – NASA conducts the Controlled Impact Demonstration, wherein an airliner is deliberately crashed in order to test technologies and gather data to help improve survivability of crashes.
1986 – Lt. Col. Oliver North pleaded the fifth amendment before a Senate panel investigating the Iran Contra arms sale.
1987 – NASA announced that four companies — Boeing Aerospace, McDonnell Douglas Astronautics, General Electric’s Astro-Space Division and Rocketdyne Division of Rockwell International — had been awarded contracts to help build a space station.
1990 – Iraq accepted a US offer to talk about resolving the Persian Gulf crisis. 1991 – Kidnappers in Lebanon pledged to release American hostage Joseph Cicippio within 48 hours.
1991 – The space shuttle Atlantis safely returned from a shortened military mission. Landing originally scheduled for Kennedy Space Center on December 4, but ten day mission shortened and landing rescheduled following November 30 on-orbit failure of one of three orbiter inertial measurement units. Lengthy rollout due to minimal braking for test. Orbiter returned to KSC on December 8.
1993 – US Navy Ensign George Smith shot and killed his ex-fiancée and a friend and then himself. In Oct. he had passed a Navy screening test to gauge his psychological fitness for nuclear submarine duty.
1996 – Dr. Ayman al-Zawahri, head of the Egyptian Jihad, crossed into Russia on his way to Chechnya as a possible base of operations. He was soon arrested by Russian police in Dagestan. 2000 – The US Supreme Court heard arguments by attorneys of Al Gore and George W. Bush on the legality of a vote extension by the Florida Supreme Court. The Florida Supreme Court turned down 2 Democratic pleas for an immediate count of disputed ballots and for a new election in Palm Beach County where a “butterfly ballot” drew protests from Democratic voters.
2000 – Russia as of this date declared that it would no longer abide by a 1995 deal to halt arms exports to Iran. The US threatened sanctions.
2001 – In Afghanistan Farida Afzali (21) became the 1st woman in 5 years to enroll at Kabul Univ. Day 56: US bombing continued around Kandahar and over Tora Bora near Kabul.
2003 – North Korea said the US military conducted at least 150 spy flights against it in November and accused Washington of “watching for an opportunity to crush” the communist regime.
2004 – The Pentagon said it will boost US troops in Iraq to 150,000.
2004 – A prison riot followed other violence that left at least 11 people dead and scores wounded as Secretary of State Colin Powell visited with Haitian leaders in an effort to stop the country’s bloodshed.
2004 – The US military command said multinational troops have arrested 210 suspected militants in a weeklong crackdown against insurgents in an area south of Baghdad known as the “triangle of death.”
2004 – Unidentified gunmen in Iraq killed 5 leading members of a Kurdish group that led a 15-year rebellion in southern Turkey.
2012 – The USS Enterprise, the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, is officially inactivated in ceremonies held at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, completing a 51-year career in the United States Navy. In a pre-recorded speech, U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announces that the U.S. Navy’s third Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier, CVN-80, will be named Enterprise. USS Enterprise (CVN-65), formerly CVA(N)-65, was the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the eighth United States naval vessel to bear the name. Like her predecessor of World War II fame, she is nicknamed “Big E”. At 1,123 ft (342 m), she is the longest naval vessel in the world, a record which still stands. Her 93,284-long-ton (94,781 t) displacement ranked her as the 11th-heaviest supercarrier, after the 10 carriers of the Nimitz class. Enterprise had a crew of some 4,600 service members. The only ship of her class, Enterprise was the third oldest commissioned vessel in the United States Navy after the wooden-hulled USS Constitution and USS Pueblo. She was originally scheduled for decommissioning in 2014 or 2015, depending on the life of her reactors and completion of her replacement, USS Gerald R. Ford, but the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 slated the ship’s retirement for 2013, when she would have served for 51 consecutive years, longer than any other U.S. aircraft carrier. Enterprise’s home port was Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia as of September 2012. Her final deployment, the last before her inactivation, began on 10 March 2012 and ended 4 November 2012. Her official decommissioning will take place sometime in 2016 after the completion of an extensive terminal offload program currently underway.
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