1663 – British Parliament passed a second Navigation Act, requiring all goods bound for the colonies be sent in British ships from British ports.
1775 – The Army Medical Department and the Medical Corps trace their origins to July 27, 1775, when the Continental Congress established the Army hospital headed by a “Director General and Chief Physician.” Congress provided a medical organization of the Army only in time of war or emergency until 1818, which marked the inception of a permanent and continuous Medical Department. The Army Nurse Corps dates from 1901, the Dental Corps from 1911, the Veterinary Corps from 1916, the Medical Service Corps from 1917, and the Army Medical Specialist Corps from 1947. The Army Organization Act of 1950 renamed the Medical Department as the Army Medical Service. On June 4, 1968, the Army Medical Service was redesignated the Army Medical Department.
1777 – The Marquis of Lafayette arrived in New England to help the rebellious colonists fight the British.
1778 – British and French fleets fought to a standoff in the first Battle of Ushant. The British had 30 ships of the line commanded by Admiral the Honorable Augustus Keppel in HMS Victory. The French had 29 ships commanded by Admiral the Comte d’Orvilliers. The two fleets manoeuvered during shifting winds and a heavy rain squall until a battle became inevitable with the British more or less in column and the French in some confusion. However, the French managed to pass along the British line to windward with their most advanced ships. At about a quarter to twelve HMS Victory opened fire on Bretagne, 110, followed by Ville de Paris, 90. The British van escaped with little loss but Sir Hugh Palliser’s rear division suffered considerably. Keppel made the signal to wear and follow the French but Palliser did not conform and the action was not resumed. Keppel was court-martialled and cleared and Palliser criticised by an enquiry before the affair turned into a squabble of party politics.
1789 – Congress established the Department of Foreign Affairs, the forerunner of the Department of State.
1806 – Attempting to stop a band of young Blackfoot Indians from stealing his horses, Meriwether Lewis shoots an Indian in the stomach. The voyage of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the West began in May 1804 when the two captains and 27 men headed up the Missouri River. They reached the Pacific Ocean the following year, and on March 23, 1806, began the return journey. After crossing the worst section of the Rocky Mountains, the expedition split up. Clark took most of the men and explored the Yellowstone River country to the south. Lewis, with nine men, headed west to the Great Falls of the Missouri River where he split the small party still further. Six men remained behind to make the portage around the Great Falls. Lewis took the remaining three and headed north to explore the Marias River country of present-day northwestern Montana. It was a risky, perhaps even irresponsible, decision. Lewis knew the Marias River country was the home of the Blackfoot Indians, one of the fiercest tribes of the Great Plains. Lewis hoped he could meet peacefully with the Blackfoot and encourage their cooperation with the United States. Yet, if they met a hostile Blackfoot band and a fight began, the four explorers would be badly outnumbered. On July 26, Lewis encountered a party of eight young Blackfoot braves. At first, the meeting went well, and the Indians seemed pleased with Lewis’ gifts of a medal, flag, and handkerchief. Lulled into a false sense of security, Lewis invited the Indians to camp with them. In the early morning of this day in 1806, Lewis awoke to the shouts of one his men–the Indians were attempting to steal their rifles and horses. Lewis sped after two Indians who were running off with several of the horses, calling out for them to stop or he would shoot. One Indian, armed with an old British musket, turned toward Lewis. Apparently fearing that thee Indian was about to shoot, Lewis fired first and hit him in the stomach. The Indians retreated, and the men quickly gathered their horses. Lewis then learned that one of his men had also fatally stabbed another of the Blackfoot. Fearing the survivors would soon return with reinforcements, Lewis and his men immediately broke camp. They rode south quickly and managed to escape any retribution from the Blackfoot. Lewis’ diplomatic mission, however, had turned into a debacle. By killing at least one Indian, and probably two, Lewis had guaranteed that the already hostile Blackfoot would be unlikely to deal peacefully with Americans in the future.
1816 – US troops destroyed the Seminole Fort Apalachicola, to punish the Indians for harboring runaway slaves.
1861 – President Abraham Lincoln replaced General Irwin McDowell with General George B. McClellen as head of the Army of the Potomac.
1861 – Battle of Mathias Point, VA. Rebel forces repelled a Federal landing.
1863 – General Beauregard asked Captain Tucker, commanding Confederate naval forces at Charleston, to ”place your two ships, the ironclads, in a position immediately contiguous to Cumming’s Point. . . .” Beauregard noted that the addition of the ironclads would “materially strengthen our means of defense” and the Confederate hold on Morris Island. Tucker subsequently replied: “Flag Officer Ingraham, commanding station, Charleston, has informed me officially that he has but 80 tons of coal to meet all demands, including the ironclads, and has admonished me of the necessity of economy in consumption.” However, a fresh supply of coal arrived in August in time to enable the ironclads to help evacuate Fort Wagner. Critical shortages of coal hampered Southern efforts afloat and even that which was obtained was “soft” rather than “hard” coal. It burned with a heavy smoke and was much less efficient than anthracite coal.
1863 – U.S.S. Clifton, Lieutenant Crocker, with U.S.S. Estrella, Hollyhock, and Sachem in company on a reconnaissance of the Atchafalaya River to the mouth of Bayou Teche, Louisiana, engaged Confederate batteries.
1864 – Battle of Darbytown, VA (Deep Bottom, Newmarket Road) (Strawberry Plains).
1864 – Pickets from U.S.S. Shokokon, Acting Master Sheldon, were attacked ashore by Confederate sharpshooters at Turkey Bend, in the James River. Shokokon, a 710–ton double-ender mounting 5 guns, supported the embattled landing party with gunfire, and succeeded in preventing its capture. Next day, Shokokon engaged a Confederate battery at the same point on the River.
1866 – Cyrus W. Field succeeded after two failures in laying the first underwater telegraph cable between North America and Europe, 1,686 miles long.
1898 – Marines from the USS Dixie were the first to raise the American flag over Puerto Rico.
1909 – Orville Wright tested the U.S. Army’s first airplane, flying himself and a passenger for 1 hour, 12 minutes and 40 seconds over Fort Myer, Virginia.
1920 – A radio compass was used for 1st time for aircraft navigation.
1923 – John Herbert Dillinger joins the Navy in order to avoid charges of auto theft in Indiana, marking the beginning of America’s most notorious criminal’s downfall. Years later, Dillinger’s reputation was forged in a single 12-month period, during which he robbed more banks than Jesse James did in 15 years and became the most wanted fugitive in the nation. Dillinger didn’t last in the Navy very long. Within months he had gone AWOL several times-the last time in December 1923. Making his way back to Indiana, he was arrested for armed robbery the following summer. Dillinger pled guilty, thinking that he would receive a light sentence, but instead got 10 to 20 years. His first words to the warden at the prison were, “I won’t cause you any trouble except to escape.” A man of his word, Dillinger had attempted to escape three times by the end of the year. Between escape attempts, Dillinger became friendly with some of the more professional thieves in the prison. After he was finally paroled in May 1933, Dillinger hooked up with his new friends and began robbing banks throughout the Midwest. He also began planning to break his friends out of prison. In September, he smuggled guns in to Harry Pierpont, who led a 10-man break from the Michigan City prison. Dillinger’s assistance turned out to be fortuitous because as his friends were breaking out, Dillinger himself was captured and arrested for bank robbery in Lima, Ohio. Pierpont and the others returned the favor and broke Dillinger out in October, killing a sheriff in the process. The gang was now in full force. A week later, they raided a police arsenal in Peru, Indiana. The arrogant bandits pretended to be tourists who wanted to see what weapons the police were going to use to capture the Dillinger gang. Given the remarkable string of armed robberies and acts of violence in such a short period of time, police departments throughout the Midwest set up special units to capture Dillinger. Ironically, his eventual arrest was the result of pure luck. While hiding out in Tucson, Arizona, Dillinger was caught in a fire that broke out in his hotel. Firefighters became suspicious when two gang members offered them a large sum of money to save two heavy suitcases. When they found a small arsenal of guns inside, everyone was taken into custody. Dillinger was extradited to Indiana and held in what was believed to be an escape-proof jail, with extra guards posted to protect against outside attacks. But on March 3, 1934, Dillinger used a fake pistol that he had carved out of wood and painted black to escape. For the next several months, Dillinger and his gang went on a bank-robbing spree with the FBI one step behind at all times. J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI, reportedly put out an order that agents should shoot Dillinger on sight. An illegal immigrant named Anna Sage offered to set the outlaw up if deportation proceedings against her were dropped. On July 22, 1934, detective Martin Zarkovich shot a man identified by the FBI as Dillinger as was leaving the Biograph Theater in Chicago, Illinois. Some historians believe that the man killed that day was not Dillinger, but Jimmy Lawrence. They think that Dillinger engineered the setup to drop out of sight. If so, he was successful-no further record of Dillinger exists.
1940 – Bugs Bunny made his official debut in the Warner Bros. animated cartoon “A Wild Hare.” Three years later, Bugs would be made an honorary Corporal of the US Marine Corps after ther release of the short Super Rabbit in which he is portrayed as a parody of Superman. Bugs abandons his colorful costume, faces the camera, and proclaims that “This looks like a job for a real Superman!” Then he reappears from the phone booth wearing a uniform of the United States Marine Corps. His former antagonists snap to attention and salute Bugs as he marches into the horizon singing the Marine Corps Hymn.
1944 – US 1st Army continues its offensive. The US 8th Corps breaks through between Lessy and Periers, capturing both towns. As large numbers of German soldiers are killed or surrender and their armored equipment is destroyed by constant air attack Operation COBRA, the planned Allied breakout from Normandy, continues. This operation, which was supposed to start with a massive aerial bombardment of the German defensive lines along the Vire River on July 24th led instead to one of the worst incidents of “friendly fire” during World War II. Due to poor visibility the bomber strike was called off; however, some of the squadrons did not get the word and dropped their loads on top of North Carolina’s 120th Infantry, an element of the 30th Infantry Division composed of Guard units North and South Carolina and Tennessee. Because word of the cancelled attack had also not reached the frontline soldiers the Guardsmen of the 120th instead of being ‘dug in’ were exposed waiting for the word to advance. More than 150 men were killed or wounded in this mistake. Cobra started the next day, again with some Americans being stuck by our own bombs, but with more hitting the enemy. The 30th Division and other American units punched through the Nazis lines and by early August the Allied armies would break out of Normandy completely, liberating Paris on August 25th.
1944 – On Guam, the US 77th Division prepares to attack Mount Tenjo. On Tinian, Americans being work on a new airfield at Ushi Point.
1945 – British and American carriers conduct extensive air strikes. During the night (July 27-28), US B-29 bombers drop some 600,000 leaflets over 11 Japanese cities which warn inhabitants that the cities are on the target list for bombing raids.
1945 – US Communist Party formed.
1950 – The 3rd Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, attached to the 19th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 24th Infantry Division, was ambushed at Hadong. One half of the battalion was reported killed or missing in action.
1950 – Australia, New Zealand and Turkey all offered ground troops for Korea.
1953 – Air Force Captain Ralph S. Parr, 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, achieved the last air victory of the Korean War when he destroyed an Il-12 transport plane. In addition, the victory qualified him as the 11th and last double ace of the war, with a total of 10 kills.
1953 – After three years of a bloody and frustrating war, the United States, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, and South Korea agree to an armistice, bringing the Korean War to an end. The armistice ended America’s first experiment with the Cold War concept of “limited war.” The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when communist North Korea invaded South Korea. Almost immediately, the United States secured a resolution from the United Nations calling for the military defense of South Korea against the North Korean aggression. In a matter of days, U.S. land, air, and sea forces had joined the battle. The U.S. intervention turned the tide of the war, and soon the U.S. and South Korean forces were pushing into North Korea and toward that nation’s border with China. In November and December 1951, hundreds of thousands of troops from the People’s Republic of China began heavy assaults against the American and South Korea forces. The war eventually bogged down into a battle of attrition. In the U.S. presidential election of 1952, Republican candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower strongly criticized President Harry S. Truman’s handling of the war. After his victory, Eisenhower adhered to his promise to “go to Korea.” His trip convinced him that something new was needed to break the diplomatic logjam at the peace talks that had begun in July 1951. Eisenhower began to publicly hint that the United States might make use of its nuclear arsenal to break the military stalemate in Korea. He allowed the Nationalist Chinese government on Taiwan to begin harassing air raids on mainland China. The president also put pressure on his South Korean ally to drop some of its demands in order to speed the peace process. Whether or not Eisenhower’s threats of nuclear attacks helped, by July 1953 all sides involved in the conflict were ready to sign an agreement ending the bloodshed. The armistice, signed on July 27, established a committee of representatives from neutral countries to decide the fate of the thousands of prisoners of war on both sides. It was eventually decided that the POWs could choose their own fate–stay where they were or return to their homelands. A new border between North and South Korea was drawn, which gave South Korea some additional territory and demilitarized the zone between the two nations. The war cost the lives of millions of Koreans and Chinese, as well as over 50,000 Americans. It had been a frustrating war for Americans, who were used to forcing the unconditional surrender of their enemies. Many also could not understand why the United States had not expanded the war into China or used its nuclear arsenal. As government officials were well aware, however, such actions would likely have prompted World War III. Korea remains in an armistice status without a formal peace treaty to this day. Sergeant Harold R. Cross, K Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Regimental Combat Team, was killed by a mortar blast at 2040, the last American soldier killed in action in the Korean War.
1964 – It is announced that the United States will send an additional 5,000 U.S. troops to Vietnam, bringing the total number of U.S. forces in Vietnam to 21,000. Military spokesmen and Washington officials insisted that this did not represent any change in policy, and that new troops would only intensify existing U.S. efforts. 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 unanimously 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 in retaliation for the Tonkin Gulf incident. In 1965, Johnson was faced with a rapidly deteriorating situation in Vietnam. The Viet Cong had increased the level of combat and there were indications that Hanoi was sending troops to fight in the south. It was apparent that the South Vietnamese were in danger of being overwhelmed. Johnson had sent Marines and paratroopers to protect American installations, but he had become convinced that more had to be done to stop the communists or they would soon overwhelm South Vietnam. While some advisers, such as Undersecretary of State George Ball, recommended a negotiated settlement, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara urged the president to “expand promptly and substantially” the U.S. military presence in South Vietnam. Johnson, not wanting to “lose” Vietnam to the communists, ultimately accepted McNamara’s recommendation. This decision led to a massive escalation of the war.
1965 – Forty-six U.S. F-105 fighter-bombers attack the missile installation that had fired at U.S. planes on July 24. They also attacked another missile installation 40 miles northwest of Hanoi. One missile launcher was destroyed and another was damaged, but five U.S. planes were shot down in the effort. On July 24, U.S. bombers on a raid over munitions manufacturing facilities at Kang Chi, 55 miles northwest of Hanoi, were fired at from an unknown launching site. It was the first time the enemy had launched antiaircraft missiles at U.S. aircraft. The presence of ground-to-air antiaircraft missiles represented a rapidly improving air defense capability for the North Vietnamese. As the war progressed, North Vietnam, supplied by China and the Soviet Union, would fashion a very effective and integrated air defense system, which became a formidable challenge to American flyers conducting missions over North Vietnam.
1974 – The House Judiciary Committee voted 27-11 to recommend President Nixon’s impeachment on a charge that he had personally engaged in a “course of conduct” designed to obstruct justice in the Watergate case.
1976 – Air Force veteran Ray Brennan became the first person to die of so-called “Legionnaire’s Disease” following an American Legion convention in Philadelphia.
1980 – On day 267 of the Iranian hostage crisis, the deposed Shah of Iran (1941-1979) died at a military hospital outside Cairo, Egypt, at age 60. Mohammad Reza was enthroned as shah of Iran in 1941, after his father was forced to abdicate by British and Soviet troops. The new shah promised to act as a constitutional monarch but often meddled in the elected government’s affairs. After a communist plot against him was thwarted in 1949, he took on even more powers. However, in the early 1950s, the shah was eclipsed by Mohammad Mosaddeq, a zealous Iranian nationalist who convinced the Parliament to nationalize Britain’s extensive oil interests in Iran. Mohammad Reza, who maintained close relations with Britain and the United States, opposed the decision. Nevertheless, he was forced in 1951 to appoint Mosaddeq premier, and two years of tension followed. In August 1953, Mohammad Reza attempted to dismiss Mosaddeq, but the premier’s popular support was so great that the shah himself was forced out of Iran. A few days later, British and U.S. intelligence agents orchestrated a stunning coup d’etat against Mosaddeq, and the shah returned to take power as the sole leader of Iran. He repealed Mosaddeq’s legislation and became a close Cold War ally of the United States in the Middle East. In 1963, the shah launched his “White Revolution,” a broad government program that included land reform, infrastructure development, voting rights for women, and the reduction of illiteracy. Although these programs were applauded by many in Iran, Islamic leaders were critical of what they saw as the westernization of Iran. Ruhollah Khomeini, a Shiite cleric, was particularly vocal in his criticism and called for the overthrow of the shah and the establishment of an Islamic state. In 1964, Khomeini was exiled and settled across the border in Iraq, where he sent radio messages to incite his supporters. The shah saw himself foremost as a Persian king and in 1971 held an extravagant celebration of the 2,500th anniversary of the pre-Islamic Persian monarchy. In 1976, he formally replaced the Islamic calendar with a Persian calendar. Religious discontent grew, and the shah became more repressive, using his brutal secret police force to suppress opposition. This alienated students and intellectuals in Iran, and support for the exiled Khomeini increased. Discontent was also rampant in the poor and middle classes, who felt that the economic developments of the White Revolution had only benefited the ruling elite. In 1978, anti-shah demonstrations broke out in Iran’s major cities. On September 8, 1978, the shah’s security force fired on a large group of demonstrators, killing hundreds and wounding thousands. Two months later, thousands took to the streets of Tehran, rioting and destroying symbols of westernization, such as banks and liquor stores. Khomeini called for the shah’s immediate overthrow, and on December 11 a group of soldiers mutinied and attacked the shah’s security officers. His regime collapsed, and on January 16, 1979, he fled the country. Fourteen days later, the Ayatollah Khomeini returned after 15 years of exile and took control of Iran. The shah traveled to several countries before entering the United States in October 1979 for medical treatment of his cancer. In Tehran, Islamic militants responded on November 4 by storming the U.S. embassy and taking the staff hostage. With the approval of Khomeini, the militants demanded the return of the shah to Iran to stand trial for his crimes. The United States refused to negotiate, and 52 American hostages were held for 444 days. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi died in Egypt in July 1980.
1995 – The Korean War Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington by President Clinton and South Korean President Kim Young-sam.
1996 – In Atlanta, Georgia, the XXVI Summer Olympiad is disrupted by the explosion of a nail-laden pipe bomb in Centennial Olympic Park. The bombing, which occurred during a free concert, killed a mother who had brought her daughter to hear the rock music and injured more than 100 others, including a Turkish cameraman who suffered a fatal heart attack after the blast. Police were warned of the bombing in advance, but the bomb exploded before the anonymous caller said it would, leading authorities to suspect that the law enforcement officers who descended on the park were indirectly targeted. Within a few days, Richard Jewell, a security guard at the concert, was charged with the crime. However, evidence against him was dubious at best, and in October he was fully cleared of all responsibility in the bombing. On January 16, 1997, another bomb exploded outside an abortion clinic in suburban Atlanta, blowing a hole in the building’s wall. An hour later, while police and ambulance workers were still at the scene, a second blast went off near a large trash bin, injuring seven people. As at Centennial Park, a nail-laden bomb was used and authorities were targeted. Then, only five days later, also in Atlanta, a nail-laden bomb exploded near the patio area of a crowded gay and lesbian nightclub, injuring five people. A second bomb in a backpack was found outside after the first explosion, but police safely detonated it. Federal investigators linked the bombings, but no suspect was arrested. On January 29, 1998, an abortion clinic was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama, killing an off-duty police officer and critically wounding a nurse. An automobile reported at the crime scene was later found abandoned near the Georgia state line, and investigators traced it to Eric Robert Rudolph, a 31-year-old carpenter. Although Rudolph was not found, authorities positively identified him as the culprit in the Birmingham and Atlanta bombings, and an extensive manhunt began. Despite being one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives, Rudolph eluded the authorities for five years by hiding in the mountains in western North Carolina before finally being captured on May 31, 2003.
1999 – The US eased sanctions against Iran, Libya and Sudan to allow the sale of food, medicine and medical equipment.
1999 – The Columbia space shuttle landed at Cape Canaveral after a 3 day mission to deploy the Chandra X-ray telescope. With Air Force Colonel Eileen Collins at the controls, space shuttle “Columbia” returned to Earth, ending a five-day mission.
2002 – South American leaders ended a two-day summit with an agreement to strengthen cooperation to better negotiate with the United States a free-trade zone for the hemisphere. In a document called the “Guayaquil Consensus,” the 10 presidents said it was important to fortify cooperation between the region’s two major trade blocs (Mercosur, made up of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, with Chile and Bolivia as associated members, and the Andean pact, composed of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia) to permit South America to proceed successfully with negotiations for a hemispheric-wide free-trade zone.
2003 – Bob Hope (b.1903), master of the one-liner and favorite comedian of servicemen and presidents alike, died at his home in Toluca Lake, Ca. He was born Leslie Townes Hope on May 29, 1903, in Eltham, England, the 5th of 7 sons of a British stonemason and a Welsh singer of light opera.
2004 – A Baghdad mortar barrage killed an Iraqi garbage collector and injured 14 coalition soldiers.
2004 – The chief executive of a Jordanian firm working for the U.S. military in Iraq said he was withdrawing from the country to secure the release of two employees who have been kidnapped by militants.
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