This Day in U.S. Military History…… February 6

6 February
1778 – During the American War for Independence, representatives from the United States and France sign the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance in Paris. The Treaty of Amity and Commerce recognized the United States as an independent nation and encouraged trade between France and the America, while the Treaty of Alliance provided for a military alliance against Great Britain, stipulating that the absolute independence of the United States be recognized as a condition for peace and that France will be permitted to conquer the British West Indies. With the treaties, the first entered into by the U.S. government, the Bourbon monarchy of France formalized its commitment to assist the American colonies in their struggle against France’s old rival, Great Britain. The eagerness of the French to help the United States was motivated both by an appreciation of the American revolutionaries’ democratic ideals and by bitterness at having lost most of their American empire to the British at the conclusion of the French and Indian Wars in 1763. In 1776, the Continental Congress appointed Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, and Arthur Lee to a diplomatic commission to secure a formal alliance with France. Covert French aid began filtering into the colonies soon after the outbreak of hostilities in 1775, but it was not until the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga in October 1777 that the French became convinced that the Americans were worth backing in a formal treaty. On February 6, 1778, the treaties of Amity and Commerce and Alliance were signed, and in May 1778 the Continental Congress ratified them. One month later, war between Britain and France formally began when a British squadron fired on two French ships. During the American Revolution, French naval fleets proved critical in the defeat of the British, which culminated in the Battle of Yorktown in October 1781. It was the first alliance treaty for the fledgling U.S. government and the last until the 1949 NATO pact.
1778 – England declared war on France.
1778 – Continental Marines helped defend Charleston from the British.
1788 – Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
1802 – Congress empowers President Jefferson to arm United States ships in order that they may protect themselves against Tripolitan pirates.
1815 – The state of New Jersey issued the first American railroad charter to John Stevens, who proposed a rail link between Trenton and New Brunswick. The line, however, was never built.
1832 – Battle of Quallah Batto, Sumatra. On Feb. 7 1831, the merchant ship Friendship was attacked in Sumatra by pirates who killed 3 of the ship’s crew and plundered her cargo. The USS Potomiac, disguised as a merchant man, was dispatched on a punitive raid. On Feb. 4 1832 she arrived at Quallah Batto. A landing party of Marines and sailors attacked one fort, carried it and proceeded inland to reduce the remaining two forts. The first was stiffly defended until Marine Lt. Edson finally seized the drawbridge and gained entrance for the assaulting troops. All the defenders were either killed or retreated into the surrounding jungle. The Marines then assisted in the assault on the remaining position. Shortly thereafter, the remaining pirates escaped into the jungle with the Marines in pursuit. After inflicting casualties upon the sea rovers, the Marines and sailors withdrew to the ships which began shelling the remaining strong point until it’s surrender.
1838 – Samuel Morse first publicly demonstrated his telegraph, in Morristown, N.J.
1861 – The 1st meeting of Provisional Congress of Confederate States of America.
1862 – General Ulysses S. Grant provides the first major Union victory of the war when he captures Fort Henry on the Tennessee River. Ten days later, he captured Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River, which gave the Yankees control of northern Tennessee and paved the way for the occupation of Nashville.
1863 – Union General S.F. Heintzelman is put in charge of the Federal Department of Washington.
1865 – Confederate General John Pegram is killed at the Battle of Dabney’s Mill, Virginia. Pegram graduated from West Point in 1854, 10th in a class of 46. He served in various posts in the west before resigning his commission at the start of the Civil War. Pegram then received an appointment as a lieutenant colonel in the Confederate army. Sent to fight in western Virginia during the summer of 1861, he was captured by General George McClellan’s men at the Battle of Rich Mountain. Pegram was exchanged in April 1862 and sent to serve with General Pierre G. T. Beauregard in Mississippi. He fought in Tennessee and Kentucky and earned a promotion to brigadier general. After the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863, Pegram was transferred to General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. He was wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864, but recovered to fight with General Jubal Early during the Shenandoah Valley campaign in the summer of 1864. That fall, he was sent to defend his native city of Petersburg. On January 19, Pegram married Hetty Cary, a prominent Richmond socialite who many called the “handsomest women in the Southland.” Even in the gloom of the ongoing siege, the ceremony was a grand affair attended by nearly all of the high-ranking Confederates, including President Jefferson Davis and his wife, Varina. The bride, commented onlookers, was a vision of beauty and one said that the “happy gleam of her beautiful brown eyes seemed to defy all sorrow.” Just three weeks later, Pegram’s body was returned to the same church, St. Paul’s Episcopal, and his young widow knelt beside his coffin as the minister who married them presided over the dashing general’s funeral.
1869 – Harper’s Weekly published the 1st picture of Uncle Sam with chin whiskers.
1899 – The Spanish-American War ends. After a protracted struggle between imperialists and anti-imperialists, the Senate ratifies the Treaty of Paris , 57 to 27. The argument for ratification is lead by Henry Cabot Lodge who contends that it will enhance national prestige, prevent foreign annexation of the formerly Spanis possiession of the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam, and constitute economic, strategic and “civilizing” advantages. The case against ratification is that it is contrary to US tradition to acquire territory outside the continental area; that people of alien races will not be easily assimilated into the American way of life; that the treaty is against the spirit of the Monroe Doctrine and will weaken the American belief in self-government. Anti-imperialists also contend that “the Constitution follows the flag,” but imperialists argue that the people of these new acquisitions, even while being nationals, are not automatically endowed with the privileges of US citizenship. This sets the stage for a series of Supreme Court cases known collectively as the Insular Cases that have never fully settled the issues.
1900 – President McKinley appointed W.H. Taft commissioner to report on the Philippines.
1908 – Bids for the Army’s first airplane considered by the Board of Ordnance and Fortification. Of 24 presented two were approved on Feb 8th by the Secretary of War. Army aviation will be born as a part of the Signal Corps.
1911 – Ronald Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois. Reagan went on to become a film actor, governor of California (1967-1975) and the 40th president of the United States (1981-1989) and was credited with ending the Cold War.
1916 – Germany admitted full liability for Lusitania incident and recognized the United State’s right to claim indemnity.
1919 – The 1st day of 5-day Seattle general strike, the first general strike in America, took effect. During this period Washington was a center for the Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the “Wobblies.” Their agitation led to the Centralia massacre and the Everett massacre.
1922 – The Nine-Power Treaty is signed at the Washington Conference, endorsing the Open Door Policy with China, and forbidding fortification of the Aleutian Islands for 14 years. The US, UK, France, Italy & Japan signed the Washington naval arms limitation.
1929 – Germany accepted Kellogg-Briand pact.
1933 – The 20th Amendment to the Constitution was declared in effect. The Lame-Duck Amendment changed the inauguration date of congressmen from March 4 to January 3. Moving back the inauguration date for newly-elected congressmen reduced the time that defeated members, or “lame ducks,” remain in office.
1942 – Japanese reinforcements land on Luzon. In the Bataan peninsula there is a lessening of the fighting.
1942 – The first meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, as defined by the Arcadia Conference, takes place. (Note: In military usage, the term “joint” refers to operations by multiple services of one nation and “combined” refers to operations by multiple nations.)
1943 – The American command in Europe and North Africa is restructured. General Andrews is appointed to the new European Theater Command and General Eisenhower remains in command in North Africa.
1944 – Forces of US 5th Army continue fighting in the hills north of Cassino.
1944 – Kwajalein Island in the Central Pacific fell to U.S. Army troops.
1945 – Units of US 4th Corps from US 5th Army take Gallicano in a brief offensive designed to improve the Allied positions on either side of the Serchio Valley.
1945 – American USAAF B-24 and B-29 bombers raid Iwo Jima in preparation for the landings later in the month. They drop a daily average of 450 tons of bombs over the course of 15 days (6800 tons).
1952 – The carrier USS Philippine Sea returned to Korean waters for its second tour of duty.
1959 – The United States successfully test-fired for the first time a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile from Cape Canaveral.
1959 – Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments files the first patent for an integrated circuit.
1963 – The United States reported that all Soviet offensive arms are out of Cuba.
1964 – Cuba blocked the water supply to Guantanamo Naval Base in rebuke of the United State’s seizure of four Cuban fishing boats and fines on Cuban fishermen near Florida. The US imposed water rationing and built desalination plants in response.
1966 – Accompanied by his leading political and military advisers, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with South Vietnamese Premier Nguyen Cao Ky in Honolulu. The talks concluded with issuance of a joint declaration in which the United States promised to help South Vietnam “prevent aggression,” develop its economy, and establish “the principles of self-determination of peoples and government by the consent of the governed.” Johnson declared: “We are determined to win not only military victory but victory over hunger, disease, and despair.” He announced renewed emphasis on “The Other War”–the effort to provide the South Vietnamese rural population with local security, and economic and social programs to win over their active support. In his final statement on the discussions, Johnson warned the South Vietnamese that he would be monitoring their efforts to build democracy, improve education and health care, resettle refugees, and reconstruct South Vietnam’s economy.
1968 – Two reduced Marine battalions, the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines with two companies, and 2d Battalion, 5th Marines with three, recaptured Hue’s hospital, jail, and provincial headquarters. It would take three more weeks of intense house to house fighting, and nearly a thousand Marines killed and wounded, before the imperial city was secured.
1973 – In accordance with the agreement at the Paris Peace Talks, Navy Task Force 78 begins Operation End Sweep, the mine clearance of North Vietnamese waters of mines laid in 1972.
1973 – Supervisors from the International Commission of Control and Supervision (ICCS), delegated to oversee the cease-fire, start to take up their positions. The cease-fire had gone into effect as a provision of the Paris Peace Accords. The ICCS included representatives from Canada, Poland, Hungary, and Indonesia, and was supposed to supervise the cease-fire. However, the ICCS had no enforcement powers and had extreme difficulty in settling the many quarrels that quickly arose. In the end, the ICCS proved incapable of enforcing the provisions of the Accords and was largely ineffectual. Consequently, renewed fighting between the South and North Vietnamese broke out after only a brief lull and continued for the next two years, until the North Vietnamese successfully launched their final offensive in 1975 and South Vietnam surrendered.
1974 – US House of Reps began determining grounds for the impeachment of Pres. Nixon.
1975 – President Gerald Ford asked Congress for $497 million in aid to Cambodia.
1985 – In his State of the Union address, President Ronald Reagan defines some of the key concepts of his foreign policy, establishing what comes to be known as the “Reagan Doctrine.” The doctrine served as the foundation for the Reagan administration’s support of “freedom fighters” around the globe. Reagan began his foreign policy comments with the dramatic pronouncement that, “Freedom is not the sole prerogative of a chosen few; it is the universal right of all God’s children.” America’s “mission” was to “nourish and defend freedom and democracy.” More specifically, Reagan declared that, “We must stand by our democratic allies. And we must not break faith with those who are risking their lives-on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua-to defy Soviet-supported aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth.” He concluded, “Support for freedom fighters is self-defense.” With these words, the Reagan administration laid the foundation for its program of military assistance to “freedom fighters.” In action, this policy translated into covertly supporting the Contras in their attacks on the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua; the Afghan rebels in their fight against the Soviet occupiers; and anticommunist Angolan forces embroiled in that nation’s civil war. President Reagan continued to defend his actions throughout his two terms in office. During his farewell address in 1989, he claimed success in weakening the Sandinista government, forcing the Soviets to withdraw from Afghanistan, and bringing an end to the conflict in Angola. Domestic critics, however, decried his actions, claiming that the support of so-called “freedom fighters” resulted only in prolonging and escalating bloody conflicts and in U.S. support of repressive and undemocratic elements in each of the respective nations.
1994 – A day after a mortar shell killed 68 people in a Sarajevo marketplace, President Clinton called for a United Nations probe. NATO threatened air strikes if Serbs failed to pull weapons back from around the city. They moved their weapons and brought a temporary respite.
1995 – The space shuttle Discovery flew to within 37 feet of the Russian space station Mir in the first rendezvous of its kind in two decades.
1997 – Miami strip club owner of “Porky’s,” Ludwig “Tarzan” Fainberg, was charged with trying to broker the sale of a Russian nuclear submarine to Columbian drug barons. He had already purchased 6 Russian helicopters for drug traffickers.
1998 – President Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair redoubled their pledge to use military force against Iraq if necessary; during a joint news conference in which the subject of Monica Lewinsky came up, Clinton said he would never resign.
1998 – President Clinton signed a bill changing the name of Washington National Airport to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
1998 – Two US warplanes collided in the Persian Gulf and one of the pilots was killed.
1998 – Iraq rejects key parts of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s proposal to increase the amount of oil Iraq is permitted to sell under the U.N.’s oil-for-food program from $2.14 billion to $5.2 billion. In a letter to Annan, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf objects to additional funds to pay for U.N. monitoring, proposals to repair electric power stations in northern Iraq, and plans for U.N. agencies to target aid to specific groups such as the poor and children. Al-Sahhaf writes that the Iraqi government should deliver the aid and determine which power stations are repaired, not the U.N.
1999 – The Stardust spacecraft lifted off aboard a Delta II rocket for its 7-year journey to gather particles from the Wild-2 comet.
1999 – Talks began in Rambouillet, France in an attempt to find a Kosovo peace settlement. In January 1999, NATO warned Slobodan Milosevic that it would respond if he failed to come into compliance with the October agreements, if the repression continued, and if he frustrated the peace process. Mr Milosevic failed to meet any of those requirements. On 30 January all parties were informed that they were to agree on a political settlement for Kosovo by 20 February 1999. This deadline was subsequently extended until 23 February.
2001 – A trade tribunal ordered the US to allow Mexican trucks to cross the border following a NAFTA arbitration process.
2002 – A federal judge ordered John Walker Lindh, the so-called “American Taliban,” held without bail pending trial.
2002 – The Philippine opposition made a legal move that gave Pres. Arroyo 10 days to justify the presence of US troops.
2003 – Edging closer to war, President Bush declared “the game is over” for Saddam Hussein and urged skeptical allies to join in disarming Iraq.
2003 – Belgium asked the European Union to call an emergency meeting to discuss a peaceful way out of the Iraq crisis.
2003 – Pre-emptive attacks on North Korea’s nuclear facilities would trigger a “total war,” the communist state warned after Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld labelled the North’s government a “terrorist regime.”
2003 – Turkey’s parliament voted to allow U.S. troops to renovate Turkish bases for use in a possible war with Iraq.
2003 – US Secretary of State Colin Powell presents tape recordings, satellite photos and informants’ statements to the UN, which he says constitute “irrefutable and undeniable” evidence that Saddam Hussein is concealing weapons of mass destruction.
2003 – The US military says it has activated nearly 17,000 more reserve troops, bringing the total number of reservists on active duty to more than 111,000.
2004 – Pres. Bush created a bipartisan commission to investigate the quality of intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq. Conclusions were set for March, 2005.
2007 – Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara (OEF-TS) begins. It is the military operation conducted by the United States and partner nations in the Sahara/Sahel region of Africa, consisting of counterterrorism efforts and policing of arms and drug trafficking across central Africa. The goal of the missions is to drive terrorist threats away from the continent of Europe, thus, south and east of the Sahara. Joint Task Force Aztec Silence (JTF Aztec Silence) is the combined arms organization assigned to implement the missions and meet the goals of OEF-TS. The JTF has been part of United States European Command (EUCOM). As of September 2007, with the announcement of the new United States Africa Command, the mission will fall under the responsibility of Africa Command. The Congress approved $500 million for the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative (TSCTI) over six years to support countries involved in counterterrorism against alleged threats of Al Qaeda operating in African countries, primarily Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria, and Morocco. This program builds upon the former Pan Sahel Initiative (PSI), which concluded in December 2004 and focused on weapon and drug trafficking, as well as counterterrorism.
2007 – A Distributed Denial of Service attack, aimed at the global backbone of top level domain name servers, began at 10 AM UTC and lasted twenty-four hours. At least two of the root servers (G-ROOT and L-ROOT) reportedly “suffered badly” while two others (F-ROOT and M-ROOT) “experienced heavy traffic”. The latter two servers largely contained the damage by distributing requests to other root server instances with anycast addressing. ICANN published a formal analysis shortly after the event. On February 8, 2007 it was announced by Network World that “if the United States found itself under a major cyberattack aimed at undermining the nation’s critical information infrastructure, the Department of Defense is prepared, based on the authority of the President, to launch an actual bombing of an attack source or a cyber counterattack.”
2007 – United States President George W. Bush approves a Pentagon plan for establishing a new command center in Africa. The United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM or AFRICOM) will become one of nine Unified Combatant Commands of the United States Armed Forces, headquartered at Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany. It is responsible for U.S. military operations and military relations with 53 African nations – an area of responsibility (AOR) covering all of Africa except Egypt, which is within the area of responsibility of the United States Central Command.
2009 – Russia’s government will allow the U.S. Armed Forces to ship nonlethal equipment to Afghanistan through Russian territory.
2009 – The USS Port Royal runs aground off Hawaii. USS Port Royal (CG-73) is a United States Navy Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser. At 9 pm Port Royal ran aground about a half-mile south of the Honolulu International Airport’s Reef Runway. The ship had just come out of a dry dock after undergoing maintenance and was undergoing her first sea trials. No one was injured in the incident and no fuel was spilled. On 9 February 2009, Port Royal was pulled off the rock and sand shoal at around 2 a.m. No one was injured during the recovery effort. Captain John Carroll was relieved of his duties and, along with the ship’s executive officer and three other sailors, subsequently disciplined for dereliction of duty and improperly hazarding a vessel.
2012 – As a consequence of the deteriorating conditions in Syria, the United States closes its embassy in Damascus.

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