This Day in U.S. Military History…… July 25

25 July
1729 – North Carolina became a royal colony.
1759 – British forces defeated a French army at Fort Niagara in Canada. During their 7 Years’ War.
1775 – Maryland issued currency depicting George III trampling the Magna Carta.
1779 – Amphibious expedition against British in Penobscot Bay, ME.
1797 – Presidente Fermin Francisco de Lasuen founded Mission San Miguel Archangel, the 16th California mission. He took possession of the land on behalf of Viceroy Branciforte. The mission facilitated travel between Mission San Luis Obispo and Mission San Antonio.
1805 – Aaron Burr visited New Orleans with plans to establish a new country, with New Orleans as the capital city.
1814 – An American army under the command of Major General Jacob Brown, having won a victory at Chippewa on July 5th, was now compelled by an advancing British army, to retreat toward Fort Erie, on the Canadian side of the Niagara River. Brown decided to offer battle at Lundy’s Lane due to good places to position his brigades and artillery. After several hours of fighting, the costliest of any in the War of 1812 (excluding the Battle of New Orleans which was actually fought after the peace treaty was signed but before word of it arrived in America) the U.S. forces withdrew to Fort Erie and later back across the river into New York. While most of the American units were Regular Army regiments, this army did contain a brigade consisting of the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment and a mixed force of New York militia along with some New York volunteer dragoons (totaling about 600 men) under the command of Brigadier General Peter Porter of New York. British losses totaled 49 officers and 827 enlisted men either killed, wounded, captured or missing; while American losses were 70 officers and 789 enlisted men. Though the militia did not play an important role during the battle, being part of the reserve, its mere presence was significant never-the-less. During this war, it was very uncommon to find militia units crossing from the U.S. into enemy territory. Under existing laws they could not be compelled to do so. In fact, there were instances where the militia of one state refused to cross a state line to serve in defending their neighbors. These actions would be found to various degrees until passage of the 1903 Militia Act bring the militia (now National Guard) under federal control in time of war.
1850 – Gold was discovered in the Rogue River in Oregon, extending the quest for gold up the Pacific coast.
1861 – The Crittenden-Johnson Resolution passes, declaring that the war is being waged for the reunion of the states and not to interfere with the institutions of the South, namely slavery. The measure was important in keeping the pivotal states of Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland in the Union. This resolution should not be confused with the Crittenden Compromise—a plan circulated after the Southern states began seceding from the Union that proposed to protect slavery as an enticement to keep the Southern states from leaving—which was defeated in Congress. At the beginning of the war, many Northerners supported a war for to keep the Union together, but had no interest in advancing the cause of abolition. The Crittenden-Johnson plan was passed in 1861 to distinguish the issue of emancipation from the war’s purpose. The common denominator of the two plans was Senator John Crittenden from Kentucky. Crittenden carried the torch of compromise borne so ably by another Kentucky senator, Henry Clay, who brokered such important deals as the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the Compromise of 1850 to keep the nation together. Clay died in 1852, but Crittenden carried on the spirit befitting the representative of a state deeply divided over the issue of slavery.Although the measure was passed in Congress, it meant little when, just two weeks later, President Lincoln signed a confiscation act, allowing for the seizure of property—including slaves—from rebellious citizens. Still, for the first year and a half of the Civil War, reunification of the United States was the official goal of the North. It was not until Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of September 1862 that slavery became a goal.
1861 – John LaMountain began balloon reconnaissance ascensions at Fort Monroe, Virginia.
1863 – U.S. Squadron bombards Fort Wagner, NC.
1864 – As Union naval forces in Albemarle Sound kept a close watch on the powerful ram C.S.S. Albemarle, Acting Master’s Mate John Woodman with three companions made the first of his three daring reconnaissance expeditions up the Roanoke River to Plymouth, North Carolina. Reported Woodman: “The town appeared very quiet; very few persons were moving about; I could hear the blacksmiths and carpenters at work in the town near the river.” The ram, he added, was “lying at the wharf near the steam sawmill.” The danger posed by the Confederate ship was to be a prime object of Northern concern for several more months, and prevented the Union forces from aggressive operations in the Plymouth area
1864 – Boats from U.S.S. Hartford, Monongahela, and Sebago, commanded by Rear Admiral Farragut’s flag lieutenant, J. C. Watson, reconnoitered the Mobile Bay area in an attempt to discover the type and number of water mines laid by Confederates off Fort Morgan. Watson and his men located and cut loose many of the torpedoes; they were aided by the fact that a number were inoperative. This hazardous work was indispensable to the success of the Navy’s coming operations against Mobile. Several similar night operations were conducted.
1866 – Rank of Admiral created. David G. Farragut is appointed the first Admiral in the U.S. Navy.
1866 – Ulysses S. Grant was named General of the Army, the first officer to hold the rank.
1868 – Congress passed an act creating the Wyoming Territory.
1898 – During the Spanish-American War, U.S. forces launch their invasion of Puerto Rico, the 108-mile-long, 40-mile-wide island that was one of Spain’s two principal possessions in the Caribbean. With little resistance and only seven deaths, U.S. troops under General Nelson A. Miles were able to secure the island by mid-August. After the signing of an armistice with Spain, American troops raised the U.S. flag over the island, formalizing U.S. authority over its one million inhabitants. In December, the Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Spanish-American War and officially approving the cession of Puerto Rico to the United States. In the first three decades of its rule, the U.S. government made efforts to Americanize its new possession, including granting full U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans in 1917 and considering a measure that would make English the island’s official language. However, during the 1930s, a nationalist movement led by the Popular Democratic Party won wide support across the island, and further U.S. assimilation was successfully opposed. Beginning in 1948, Puerto Ricans could elect their own governor, and in 1952 the U.S. Congress approved a new Puerto Rican constitution that made the island an autonomous U.S. commonwealth, with its citizens retaining American citizenship. The constitution was formally adopted by Puerto Rico on July 25, 1952, the 54th anniversary of the U.S. invasion. Movements for Puerto Rican statehood, along with lesser movements for Puerto Rican independence, have won supporters on the island, but popular referendums in 1967 and 1993 demonstrated that the majority of Puerto Ricans still supported their special status as a U.S. commonwealth.
1912 – First specifications for naval aircraft published.
1914 – The Serbians, while mobilizing their armed forces, agree to meet all but one of the ten demands outlined in the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum. The Austro-Hungarians find this unacceptable and Emperor Franz Joseph orders the mobilization of his forces to begin on the following day. Russia’s Czar Nicholas II and his minister of war, Grand Duke Nicholas, agree to partly mobilize their forces to protect Serbia from any Austro-Hungarian invasion. Germany, along with Italy, one of Austria-Hungary’s allies in the Triple Alliance, threatens to begin mobilizing its forces if Britain and France, Russia’s allies, do not succeed in curbing Russia’s war preparations.
1932 – Paul J. Weitz, astronaut (Skylab 2, STS 6), was born in Erie, Pennsylvania.
1934 – First President to visit Hawaii, Franklin D. Roosevelt, reaches Hilo on board USS Houston.
1940 – The United States prohibits the export of oil and metal products in certain categories, unless under license, to countries outside the Americas generally and to Britain. This move is seen as an anti-Japanese measure, particularly because of Japan’s needs for foreign oil. From this time Japanese fuel stocks begin to decline. There are similar problems with other raw materials. Japanese attention is, therefore, drawn south from China to the resources of the Netherlands East Indies and Malaysia.
1941 – Bureau of Ordnance issues first Navy “E”certificates (for excellence) for industry.
1941 – The U.S. government froze Japanese and Chinese assets.
1943 – Mussolini is summoned to meet with the King of Italy in the afternoon and relieved of his offices. He is arrest upon leaving the meeting. Marshal Badoglio is selected to form a new government.
1943 – American forces in north encounter heavy resistance to further advances. British and Canadian forces launch converging attacks on Agira, in the central region. Allied reinforcemtns, including the US 9th Division and Britsh 78th Divisions arrive from North Africa.
1943 – A new American offensive begins. The US 43rd and 37th Divisions are supplemented with the 25th Division. Some progress is made near Bartley Ridge.
1943 – Launching of USS Harmon (DE-72), first ship named for African-American.
1944 – The US 1st Army begins “Operation Cobra”. The main attack is made west of St. Lo by the US 7th Corps with 8th Corps on the right flank and 13th Corps on the left flank. A massive bombardment precedes the assault. More than 3000 planes are involved, including 1500 heavy bombers of the US 8th Air Force. Some American casualties result from the bombers releasing their loads short of their target. Regardless, the American forces make good progress.
1944 – On Guam the American marine forces are still unable to link up the two beachheads. On the southern landing, there is also fighting on the Orote Peninsula. On Tinian, the forces of US 5th Amphibious Corps advance cautiously southward after repulsing Japanese counterattacks.
1944 – Two carrier groups from Task Force 58 (Admiral Mitscher) attack Palau while a third attacks Yap, Ulithi, Ngulu, Tais and Sorol.
1945 – The Potsdam conference recesses for the British delegation to leave for the announcement of the election results. Churchill, Eden and Atlee fly home. Meanwhile, Truman orders the atomic bomb to be dropped on Japan as soon as possible after August 3rd.
1945 – American cruisers Pasadena, Springfield, Wilkes-Barre and Astoria bombard Japanese air bases in southern Honshu. Meanwhile, aircraft from the US 3rd Fleet attack Kure naval base and the airfields at Nagoya, Osaka and Miho for a second day. The battleships Hyuga, Ise, and Haruna, the escort carrier Kaiyo and the heavy cruisers Aoba and Iwate are all sunk. There is not noticeable Japanese resistance to the strikes.
1945 – On Mindanao, all organized Japanese resistance comes to an end in the Sarangani Bay area. American mopping up operations begin.
1946 – The United States detonated a 2nd atomic bomb at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific in the first underwater test of the device.
1947 – The Women’s Reserve of the Coast Guard Reserve (SPARS) was disestablished.
1950 – The independent U.S. 29th Infantry Regimental Combat Team was committed to action near Chinju. The North Koreans ambushed its 3rd Battalion at Hadong, killing 313 and capturing 100.
1950 – Thailand, the first Pacific nation to do so, offered to send 4,000 ground troops to Korea.
1952 – Puerto Rico became a self-governing commonwealth of the United States.
1953 – Naval Task Force 77 aircraft flew 538 offensive and 62 defensive sorties, a record number for a single day.
1963 – The United States, the Soviet Union and Britain initialed a treaty in Moscow prohibiting the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, in space or underwater.
1964 – Following a meeting of the National Security Council to discuss the deteriorating situation in Saigon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff draw up a memo proposing air strikes against North Vietnam. These missions were to be conducted in unmarked planes flown by South Vietnamese and Thai crews. There was no action taken on this recommendation. However, the situation changed in August 1964 when North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked U.S. destroyers off the coast of North Vietnam. What became known as the Tonkin Gulf incident led to the passage of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which passed 416 to 0 in the House and 88 to 2 in the Senate. The resolution gave the president approval to “take all necessary measures to repel an armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.” Using the resolution, Johnson ordered the bombing of North Vietnam by U.S. aircraft in retaliation for the Tonkin Gulf incident. In 1965, as the situation continued to deteriorate in South Vietnam, Johnson initiated a major commitment of U.S. troops to South Vietnam, which ultimately totaled more than 540,000 by 1968.
1967 – US Navy Lt. Commander Donald Davis crashed his jet on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Searchers later recovered fragments of his remains for return to the US.
1969 – President Richard Nixon announces that henceforth the United States will expect its Asian allies to tend to their own military defense. The Nixon Doctrine, as the president’s statement came to be known, clearly indicated his determination to “Vietnamize” the Vietnam War. When Richard Nixon took office in early 1969, the United States had been at war in Vietnam for nearly four years. The bloody conflict had already claimed the lives of more than 25,000 American troops and countless Vietnamese. Despite its best efforts, the United States was no closer to victory than before. At home, antiwar protesters were a constant presence in American cities and on college campuses. Nixon campaigned in 1968 with the promise of “peace with honor” in Vietnam. In July 1969, an important part of his plan for Vietnam became evident. During a stopover in Guam during a multination tour, the president issued a statement. It was time, he declared, for the United States to be “quite emphatic on two points” in dealing with its Asian allies. First, he assured America’s friends in Asia that “We will keep our treaty commitments.” However, “as far as the problems of military defense, except for the threat of a major power involving nuclear weapons,” the United States would be adopting a different stance. In relation to military defense, America would now “encourage and has a right to expect that this problem will be increasingly handled by, and the responsibility for it taken by, the Asian nations themselves.” He concluded that his recent talks with several Asian leaders indicated, “They are going to be willing to undertake this responsibility.” The Nixon Doctrine marked the formal announcement of the president’s “Vietnamization” plan, whereby American troops would be slowly withdrawn from the conflict in Southeast Asia and be replaced by South Vietnamese troops. Over the course of his first term in office, Nixon held true to this doctrine by withdrawing a substantial portion of America’s fighting forces from Vietnam. In 1973, the United States and North Vietnam signed a peace treaty formally bringing the Vietnam War to a conclusion. Two years later, North Vietnamese forces crushed the South Vietnamese army and succeeded in reuniting the divided country under a communist regime.
1978 – The Viking 2 Orbiter to Mars was powered down after 706 orbits.
1981 – Voyager 2 encountered Saturn.
1990 – The US ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, met with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to discuss Iraq’s economic dispute with Kuwait.
1991 – A deadline for Iraq to provide full details of its weapons of mass destruction passed, with US officials indicating military action was not imminent.
1992 – Iraq agrees to allow U.N. monitors into the building to which access was previously refused.
1995 – A LEDET under the command of LTJG Robert Landolfi out of Mobile first boarded the Panamanian registered fishing vessel Nataly I. The LEDET later seized the Nataly I when the team discovered 24,325 pounds of cocaine hidden on board, making this the largest U.S. maritime seizure of cocaine to date.
1998 – The new nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Harry S. Truman, was commissioned by Pres. Clinton. The 97,000 ton ship cost $4.5 billion.
1998 – It was reported that the US dropped secret plans to seize Radovan Karadzic and Gen’l. Ratko Mladic in Bosnia.
1998 – The governor of Puerto Rico called for a December referendum on statehood.
1999 – The US and Vietnam agreed to normalize relations after 3 years of negotiations. Commercial ties were expected to follow.
2001 – The space shuttle Atlantis landed in Florida.
2002 – Zacarias Moussaoui declared he was guilty of conspiracy in the Sept. 11 attacks, then dramatically withdrew his plea at his arraignment in Alexandria, Va.
2002 – The Spanish government welcomed a British proposal to turn its military base in Gibraltar into a NATO facility, a move that would open it to all alliance members including Spain.
2003 – Pres. Bush ordered a naval amphibious force from the Mediterranean to position itself off the coast of Liberia.
2004 – American and Iraqi forces clashed with insurgents in a battle that escalated from gunfire to artillery barrages north of Baghdad, killing 13 Iraqi militants.
2004 – Pakistan arrested Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian al-Qaida suspect, wanted by the United States in the 1998 bombings at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
2010 – The release of 91,731 classified documents from the Wikileaks organization was made public. The documents cover U.S. military incident and intelligence reports from January 2004 to December 2009. The leaked documents also contain reports of Pakistan collusion with the Taliban. According to Der Spiegel, “the documents clearly show that the Pakistani intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (usually known as the ISI) is the most important accomplice the Taliban has outside of Afghanistan.”

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