1775 – Americans dragged cannon up hill to fight the British at Gun Hill Road, Bronx. When the British navy landed on Staten Island in 1775, New York City Patriots feared an imminent invasion. They did not want the precious cannon at the Battery to fall into enemy hands. Thus, in December, 1775, they took the cannon to the mainland and scattered them roughly along present-day Gun Hill Road from today’s Jerome Avenue across the Bronx River to modern White Plains Road.
1787 – Small farmers in Springfield, Massachusetts led by Daniel Shays continued their revolt against tax laws. Federal troops broke up the protesters of what becomes known as Shay’s Rebellion. Shays’ Rebellion suffered a setback when debt-ridden farmers led by Capt. Daniel Shays failed to capture an arsenal at Springfield, Mass. [see Aug 29, 1786]
1799- Having existed, essentially nameless, for 8-1/2 years, Alexander Hamilton’s “system of cutters” was referred to in legislation as “Revenue Cutters.” Some decades later, the name evolved to Revenue Cutter Service and Revenue Marine.
1806 – Secretary of State James Madison delivers a report to Congress on the continuung British interference with the commercial shipping of neutral nations, including the US, and on British policy of impressing US seamen, in the context of the Napoleonic Wars. Madison’s report will give rise to a new wave of anti-British feeling.
1814 – Congress modifies the embargo against Britain when the embargo leads to famine on Nantucket Island, off the Massachusetts coast.
1856 – Marines and seamen from the U.S. sloop DECATUR went ashore at the village of Seattle, Washington, to protect settlers from Indian raids. The Indians launched a seven-hour attack but were driven off later that day after suffering severe losses. Incredibly, only two civilian volunteers were killed and no Marines or sailors were lost.
1863 – After two months, General Ambrose Burnside is removed as commander of the Army of the Potomac. Burnside assumed command of the army after President Lincoln removed General George B. McClellan from command in November 1862. Lincoln had a difficult relationship with McClellan, who built the army admirably but was a sluggish and overly cautious field commander. Lincoln wanted an attack on the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, which was commanded by Robert E. Lee. Burnside drafted a plan to move south towards Richmond. The plan was sound, but delays in its execution alerted Lee to the danger. Lee headed Burnside off at Fredericksburg, Virginia, on December 13. Burnside attacked repeatedly against entrenched Confederates along Marye’s Heights above Fredericksburg with tragic results. More than 13,000 Yankees fell; Lee lost just 5,000. Northern morale sunk in the winter of 1862-1863. Lincoln allowed Burnside one more chance. In January, Burnside attempted another campaign against Lee. Four days of rain turned the Union offensive into the ignominious “Mud March,” during which the Yankees floundered on mud roads while the Lee’s men jeered at them from across the Rappahannock River. Lincoln had seen enough–General Joe Hooker took over command of the army.
1879 – The Arrears of Pensions Act is passed by Congress. It authorizes back-payment of military pensions beginning from the day of discharge. If the veteran is dead, payments will be made to the family.
1898 – Continuing his preparations for war, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt, sends a highly confidential order to Comodoer George Dewey, leader of the Asiatic Squadron, to go to Hong Kong. Dewey is to be prepared to attack the Spanish fleet in the Philippines should war be declared.
1906 – Major Gen. Joseph Wheeler II (70), Confederate, US General, died. He led a cavalry division in the Battle of San Juan Hill in 1898. As a Confederate brigadier and then major general, “Fightin’ Joe” Wheeler commanded the cavalry of the Confederate Army of Mississippi and, later, the Army of Tennessee. Captured in May 1865, he went on to have a prosperous postwar life, serving as a U.S. congressman for eight terms. After his Spanish-American War service, Wheeler retired from the army as a brigadier general of U.S. Regulars. He was interred in Arlington National Cemetery.
1915 – The inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, inaugurated transcontinental telephone service in the United States. Bell placed the first ceremonial cross-continental call from New York to his old colleague Thomas Watson in San Francisco.
1918 – Austria and Germany rejected U.S. peace proposals.
1919 – The League of Nations plan was adopted by the Allies.
1922 – In Managua, Nicaragua, a series of clashes between Marines and police came to a head on the night of 8 December 1921, when a private shot and killed a policeman. As a result of this incident, a systematic town patrol was begun and every effort was made to raise the morale and standards of conduct of the command. While these reforms were taking place, the guard was reinforced to head off any Liberal-inspired rioting. A group of 30 Marines arrived from the USS GALVESTON. A little later, 52 men arrived from the DENVER, while the NITRO contributed 45 Leathernecks. After a few weeks, the majority of these reinforcements were withdrawn.
1928 – Marines participated in the Battle of El Chipote during the occupation of Nicaragua. A patrol was sent to storm the Sandino stronghold on the mountain El Chipote. This patrol had begun probing the area from 20 January. Moving cautiously, the patrol would reach the crest very early on January 26. Although a quantity of supplies were captured, Sandino and his main body had escaped.
1940- The ocean station program was formally established on 25 January 1940 under order from President Franklin Roosevelt. The Coast Guard, in cooperation with the U. S. Weather Service, were given responsibility for its establishment and operation. The program was first known as the Atlantic Weather Observation Service and later became known (and “beloved’) by thousands of Coast Guardsmen who served after World War II as the “Ocean Station” program. Cutters were dispatched for 30-day patrols to transmit weather observations and serve as a SAR standby for transoceanic aircraft. The program ended in the 1970s.
1942 – Thailand, a Japanese puppet state, declares war on the Allies. When war broke out in Europe in September 1939, Thailand declared its neutrality, much to the distress of France and England. Both European nations had colonies surrounding Thailand and hoped Thailand would support the Allied effort and prevent Japanese encroachment on their Pacific territory. But Thailand began moving in the opposite direction, creating a “friendship” with Japan and adding to its school textbooks a futuristic map of Thailand with a “Greater Thailand” encroaching on Chinese territory. Thailand’s first real conflict with the Allies came after the fall of France to the Germans and the creation of the puppet government at Vichy. Thailand saw this as an opportunity to redraw the borders of French Indochina. The Vichy government refused to accommodate the Thais, so Thai troops crossed into French Indochina and battled French troops. Japan interceded in the conflict on the side of the Thais, and used its political alliance with Germany to force Vichy France to cede 21,000 square miles to Thailand. On December 8, 1941, the Japanese made an amphibious landing on the coast of Thailand, part of the comprehensive sweep of South Pacific islands that followed the bombing raid at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Japanese had assistance, though: Thailand’s prime minister, Lang Pipul, collaborated with the Japanese, embracing the Axis power’s war goal of usurping territory in China and ruling over the South Pacific. Pipul wanted to partake in the spoils; toward that end, he declared war on the United States and England. In October, he took dictatorial control of Thailand and became a loyal puppet of the Japanese.
1943 –In Tunisia, American forces advance to Maknassy, threatening Sfax and Gabes.
1944 – Forces of the US 5th Army continue attacks on the German-held Gustav Line. The Free French Corps makes some gains on Colle Belvedere. At Anzio, Allied efforts to expand the beachhead make slow progress.
1945 – The US 37th Division, US 14th Corps (Griswold), occupies a large part of the Clark Field air base in the Philippines.
1945 – Iwo Jima is bombarded by the battleship Indiana and a force of cruisers and destroyers. There are also air attacks by B-24 and B-29 bombers. This is the first step in the preparation for the US landings in February.
1949 – Axis Sally, who broadcast Nazi propaganda to U.S. troops in Europe, stands trial in the United States for war crimes. Out of the 12 Americans indicted for treason following World War II, all but five were radio broadcasters. One of the most notorious to be convicted was Mildred Gillars, or “Axis Sally” as she was known to the GI’s who heard her Radio Berlin broadcasts. A graduate of Hunter College in New York, Gillars went to France to study music in 1929 after failing as an actress. By 1934 she was in Germany, where she fell for former Hunter professor Max Otto Koischewitz. Koischewitz became Radio Berlin’s Program Director, and GIllars became his star propaganda broadcaster. Typically, she did a DJ program — breaking up the music with anti-semetic raps. “Damn Roosevelt! Damn Churchill!” went one of her tirades. “Damn all Jews who made this war possible. I love America, but I do not love Roosevelt and all his kike boyfriends.” “Axis Sally” also liked to air messages from American POWs. Telling the POWs she visited that she was a Red Cross representative, she enticed them to send happy messages to suggest that living under the Nazis, even in POW camps, was a good thing. Once on the air, she would intercut POWs messages with propaganda, despite having promised the prisoners not to do so. Despite all her other antics, “Axis Sally” was convicted on the basis of just one broadcast, a radio drama called “Vision of Invasion” that – on the eve of D-Day – sought to scare GI’s out of invading occupied Europe. In the play, the mother of an Ohio soldier sees her son in a dream. He tells her that he’s already dead, his ship having been destroyed mid-invasion by Germans. GI’s can be heard sobbing and shrieking in the background, and the effect of the broadcast is said to have been chilling. Gillars tried several tactics in court, but ultimately claimed, unsuccessfully, that her love for Koischewitz had motivated her. Her lawyers argued that Koischewitz had a Svengali-like grip over her; she was his puppet.
1951 – General Ridgway and I and IX Corps launched Operation THUNDERBOLT, a counteroffensive northward to the Han River. This large-scale reconnaissance in force was the first ground offensive since the full-scale intervention of the Chinese. The purpose of the operation was to determine the enemy’s disposition of forces and reestablish contact.
1952 – During the third largest aerial victory of the Korean War, F-86s shot down 10 MiG-15s and damaged three others without suffering any losses.
1953 – Operation SMACK was launched in the western I Corps sector by the U.S. 7th Infantry Division. This air-ground coordinated test strike lasted three hours and involved close air support in concert with a combined arms task force of tanks, infantry and artillery. The operation achieved disappointing results.
1955 – Columbia University scientists developed an atomic clock that was accurate to within one second in 300 years.
1956 – In a long interview with visiting American attorney Marshall MacDuffie, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev adopts a friendly attitude toward the United States and indicates that he believes President Dwight Eisenhower is sincere in his desire for peace. The interview was the precursor to Khrushchev’s announcement later that same year that he wanted “peaceful coexistence” between the United States and the Soviet Union. MacDuffie, a long-time acquaintance of the Soviet leader and a proponent of closer relations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, spent three hours conducting the interview. During the discussion, Khrushchev indicated that it was his desire that “We should have disarmament and we should think how to avoid a new war.” He was critical of some U.S. officials that he accused of making belligerent statements towards the Soviet Union, but he was also quick to point out that he did not hold Eisenhower responsible for those statements. In fact, the Soviet leader praised the president’s leadership, and apparently hoped that Eisenhower might negotiate seriously on a number of issues. Later that year, Khrushchev announced that the goal of the Soviet Union was “peaceful coexistence” with the United States. Eisenhower and his secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, were cautiously optimistic about this new Soviet approach-an American response that was markedly different from the pessimistic vigilance assumed during the harsh confrontational Stalin era. Later in the year, however, much of the new optimism was shattered when Soviet troops brutally suppressed revolts in Hungary, as any talk of striving for peace was overshadowed by that use of armed force.
1961 – In Washington, D.C. John F. Kennedy delivers the first live presidential television news conference.
1963 – 1st Seabee Technical Assistance Team arrives in Vietnam
1968 – Operation Windsong I in Mekong Delta, Vietnam.
1968 – President Johnson sends the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise to the Sea of Japan in a show of force, hoping this will be sufficient to prevent direct military action with North Korea over the Pueblo incident.
1969 – The first fully attended meeting of the formal Paris peace talks is held. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, the chief negotiator for the United States, urged an immediate restoration of a genuine DMZ as the first “practical move toward peace.” Lodge also suggested a mutual withdrawal of “external” military forces and an early release of prisoners of war. Tran Buu Kiem and Xuan Thuy, heads of the National Liberation Front and North Vietnamese delegations respectively, refused Lodge’s proposals and condemned American “aggression.”
1972 – President Richard Nixon, in response to criticism that his administration has not made its best efforts to end the war, reveals that his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger has held 12 secret peace negotiating sessions between August 4, 1969, and August 16, 1971. The negotiations took place in Paris with Le Duc Tho, a member of Hanoi’s Politburo, and/or with Xuan Thuy, Hanoi’s chief delegate to the formal Paris peace talks. Nixon also disclosed the text of an eight-point peace proposal presented privately to the North Vietnamese on October 11, 1971. The main features of the eight-point plan were: withdrawal of all U.S. and Allied troops and all communist troops from South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos within six months of an agreement; simultaneous release of all military and civilian prisoners of both sides; supervision of the cease-fire by an international commission; and presidential elections in South Vietnam organized and supervised by a coalition of factions including the Viet Cong, with President Nguyen Van Thieu and Vice President Tran Van Huong resigning one month after the voting. The North Vietnamese rejected the U.S. peace proposal and presented a proposal of their own. While Washington wanted the withdrawal of all foreign forces from South Vietnam with the condition of an agreement in principle on a final solution, Hanoi insisted on the withdrawal of U.S. and Allied troops from all of Indochina without condition. Hanoi also wanted the immediate resignation of the Thieu regime. With the secret talks now public and at an impasse, the North Vietnamese leadership decided to order a massive invasion of South Vietnam, which was launched in March 1972.
1980 – Highest speed attained by a warship, 167 kph, USN hovercraft.
1981 – The 52 Americans held hostage by Iran for 444 days arrived in the United States.
1983 – The IRAS space probe was launched. It studied infrared radiation from across the cosmos and exposed stars as they were born from clouds of gas and dust.
1984 – President Reagan endorsed the development of the first U.S. permanently manned space station.
1990 – Former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega was transferred to a Miami federal prison.
1991 – During the Gulf War Iraq sabotaged Kuwait’s main supertanker loading pier, dumping an estimated 460 million gallons of crude oil into the Persian Gulf. Missiles fired from western Iraq struck in the Tel Aviv and Haifa areas, killing one Israeli and injuring more than 40 others.
1993 – Cobra helicopters from 10th Mountain Divisions 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment destroy 6 armed vehicles, killing 8 Somalis in Kismaayo.
1993 – Five commuters were shot outside the gates of the US CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. Two people died. Mir [Amil] Aimal Kasi, a Pakistani national, was tracked down for the shooting in 1997 in Afghanistan and returned to the US. He was convicted of murder in 1997 and was executed Nov 14, 2002.
1994 – The United States launched Clementine I, an unmanned spacecraft that was to study the moon before it was “lost and gone forever.”
1995 – Russia’s early-warning defense radar detects an unexpected missile launch near Norway, and Russian military command estimates the missile to be only minutes from impact on Moscow. Moments later, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, his defense minister, and his chief of staff were informed of the missile launch. The nuclear command systems switched to combat mode, and the nuclear suitcases carried by Yeltsin and his top commander were activated for the first time in the history of the Soviet-made weapons system. Five minutes after the launch detection, Russian command determined that the missile’s impact point would be outside Russia’s borders. Three more minutes passed, and Yeltsin was informed that the launching was likely not part of a surprise nuclear strike by Western nuclear submarines. These conclusions came minutes before Yeltsin and his commanders should have ordered a nuclear response based on standard launch on warning protocols. Later, it was revealed that the missile, launched from Spitzbergen, Norway, was actually carrying instruments for scientific measurements. Nine days before, Norway had notified 35 countries, including Russia, of the exact details of the planned launch. The Russian Defense Ministry had received Norway’s announcement but had neglected to inform the on-duty personnel at the early-warning center of the imminent launch. The event raised serious concerns about the quality of the former Soviet Union’s nuclear systems.
1998 – American astronaut Andrew Thomas moved from the space shuttle Endeavour into the Russian space station Mir as the relief for David Wolf.
1999 – The US planned to notify the World Trade Organization that it planned sanctions on the European Union and 100% tariffs on a wide range of products due to a dispute over EU banana import laws.
2000 – In Bosnia NATO peacekeepers arrested Mitar Vasiljevic (45), a member of the White Eagles Bosnian-Serb paramilitary group, on charges of extermination of Bosnian Muslim civilians between 1992 and 1994. The charges included helping to burn scores of Muslims to death in Visegrad.
2002 – In Afghanistan leaders called for an increase in peacekeeping troops as warlords competed for power outside of Kabul.
2003 – Three Iraqi weapons specialists refuse to be interviewed by UN inspectors without government authorities present.
2003 – NASA launched a spacecraft into orbit to measure all the radiation streaming toward Earth from the sun. The small satellite is called Sorce — for Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment.
2004 – NASA’s Opportunity rover zipped its first pictures of Mars to Earth, delighting and puzzling scientists just hours after the spacecraft bounced to a landing on the opposite side of the red planet from its twin rover, Spirit.
2004 – US soldiers arrested nearly 50 people and confiscated weapons in several raids in Iraq’s volatile Sunni Triangle
2004 – In northern Iraq a US helicopter crashed while searching for a river patrol boat that had capsized on the Tigris. A soldier and 2 pilots were missing.
2004 – A helicopter crew from Coast Guard AIRSTA Detroit helped rescue 14 people stranded on an ice floe about one mile west of Catawba Island, Ohio.
2005 – In a newly released video, Roy Hallums, an American hostage kidnapped in November, pleaded for his life with a rifle pointed at his head. Hallums was rescued by coalition troops on Sept. 7, 2005.
2006 – Lucia Pinochet, daughter of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, asks for political asylum in the United States following her arrest at Washington Dulles International Airport on a Chilean arrest warrant for tax evasion.
2008 – Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki claims al-Qaeda in Iraq has been pushed out of most of the nation, and Iraqi security forces are preparing a “decisive” offensive against the group in Mosul, their last stronghold, in response to attacks in the city that have killed around 40 people, including the area’s police chief.
2011 – A U.S. judge sentences Ahmed Ghailani, the first Guantanamo detainee to have a civilian trial in America, to life imprisonment for conspiracy to destroy government buildings. He was found “not guilty” of 285 other charges filed against him, including 200 counts of murder and dozens of other charges.
2012 – Two U.S. Navy Seal teams raided a compound 12 miles north of Adow, Somalia, freeing two hostages while killing nine pirates and capturing five others.
2013 – John Kiriakou, the former CIA agent, who publicly discussed the U.S. government agency’s use of waterboarding interrogation techniques, is sentenced to 30 months in prison. An argument that he was a whistleblower was dismissed and he was instead convicted of violating an intelligence law, the first person to be successfully targeted under the statute in 27 years.
2014 – ISIS announced the creation of its new Lebanese arm, pledging to fight the Shia militant group Hezbollah and its supporters in Lebanon.
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