1775 – The Olive Branch Petition was adopted by the Continental Congress and professed the attachment of the American people to George III. It expressed hope for the restoration of harmony and begged the king to prevent further hostile actions against the colonies. The following day, Congress passed a resolution written by Thomas Jefferson and John Dickinson, a “Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of Taking Up Arms,” which rejected independence but asserted that Americans were ready to die rather than be enslaved. King George refused to receive the Olive Branch Petition on August 23 and proclaimed the American colonies to be in open rebellion.
1776 – The Declaration of Independence was first printed by John Dunlop in Philadelphia. 200 copies were prepared July 5-6 and distributed to the states.
1801 – David G. Farragut (d.1870), American naval hero, was born in Knoxville, Tenn.
1814 – U.S. troops under Jacob Brown defeated a superior British force at Chippewa, Canada.
1814 – Sloop-of-war Peacock captures British Stranger, Venus, Adiona, and Fortitude.
1815 – Commodore Stephen Decatur’s squadron arrives at Tripoli to collect reparations for seizure of American merchant ships in violation of Treaty of 1805.
1861 – The first large-scale engagement of the Civil War is fought in southwestern Missouri, signaling an escalation in the hostilities between the North and South. Missouri was the scene of some of the most bitter partisan fighting during the war. After the clash at Fort Sumter in April, the state was deeply divided. The Missouri State Guardsmen, a force of 6,000 men commanded by Confederate Governor Claiborne Jackson and Colonel Sterling Price, were poorly equipped and outfitted mostly in civilian clothing. Their Union counterpart was a force of 1,100, mostly German-Americans from St. Louis, commanded by General Franz Sigel. Sigel’s force occupied Springfield in late June, and then collided with the Confederates at nearby Carthage on July 5. Outnumbered, Sigel eventually withdrew, but was able to hold off several small attacks. By nightfall, the Union troops had retreated through Carthage and escaped a dangerous trap. Both sides declared victory, and losses were light: 13 Union men were killed and 31 were wounded, while 40 Confederates were killed and 120 were wounded. The forces remained in the area of Springfield, gathering strength over the next month. They would fight again in August at Wilson’s Creek, Missouri.
1862 – Act to reorganize the U.S. Navy Department increased the number of Bureaus to eight: Yards and Docks, Equipment and Recruiting, Navigation, Ordnance, Construction and Repair, Steam Engineering, Provisions and Clothing, Medicine and Surgery. This act, and other far-reaching measures were guided through Congress by Senator Grimes of Iowa, who had an outstanding appreciation of sea power.
1863 – Federal troops occupied Vicksburg, Mississippi, and distributed supplies to the citizens. The battles of Jackson and Birdsong Ferry, were fought in Mississippi.
1940 – Congress passes the Export Control Act, forbidding the exporting of aircraft parts, chemicals, and minerals without a license. This prohibition was a reaction to Japan’s occupation of parts of the Indo-Chinese coast. Now that the Germans occupied a large swath of France, the possibility of Axis control of French colonies became a reality. Among those of immediate concern was French Indo-China. The prospect of the war spreading to the Far East was now a definite possibility. Increasing its likelihood was the request by Imperial Japan to use army, naval, and air bases in French Indo-Chinese territory, an important vantage point from which to further its campaign to conquer China. As Vichy France entered into negotiations on this issue, the Japanese peremptorily occupied key strategic areas along the coast of Indo-China. The United States, fearing the advance of Japanese expansion and cooperation, even if by coercion, between German-controlled France and Japan, took its own action, by banning the export of aircraft parts without a license and, three weeks later, the export of aviation fuel and scrap metal and iron without a license. The United States was not alone in its concern. Great Britain, which had it own colonies in the Far East (Burma, Hong Kong, and Malaya) also feared an aggressive Japan. The day after the Export Act was passed, the British ambassador would be asked by Japan to close the Burma Road, a key supply route of arms for China, Japan’s prey. Britain initially balked at the request but, fearing a declaration of war by a third enemy, caved in and closed the road, though only for a limited period.
1943 – US invasion fleet (96 ships) sailed to Sicily.
1943 – On New Georgia, American force of regimental strength lands in the north at Rice Anchorage. Fighting on the Zanana-Munda track continues. During the night (July 5-6) Japanese destroyers bring nearly 3000 more troops to Vila. Admiral Ainsworth, with 3 cruisers and 4 destroyers, engages elements of the Japanese force and sinks one destroyer while losing the cruiser Helena.
1944 – The Japanese garrison on Numfoor, New Guinea, tried to counterattack but was soon beaten back by U.S. forces.
1944 – Elements of US 1st Army capture La Haye du Puits.
1945 – It is announced that General Spaatz will lead the US Strategic Air Force in the campaign against Japan.
1945 – Britain and the United States recognize a new Polish government of National Unity. Mikolajczyk, former leader of the London based Polish government in exile, is one of the deputy premiers.
1945 – US General Douglas MacArthur announced that the liberation of the Philippines from its Japanese occupiers was complete.
1946 – French designer Louis Reard unveils a daring two-piece swimsuit at the Piscine Molitor, a popular swimming pool in Paris. Parisian showgirl Micheline Bernardini modeled the new fashion, which Reard dubbed “bikini,” inspired by a news-making U.S. atomic test that took place off the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean earlier that week. European women first began wearing two-piece bathing suits that consisted of a halter top and shorts in the 1930s, but only a sliver of the midriff was revealed and the navel was vigilantly covered. In the United States, the modest two-piece made its appearance during World War II, when wartime rationing of fabric saw the removal of the skirt panel and other superfluous material. Meanwhile, in Europe, fortified coastlines and Allied invasions curtailed beach life during the war, and swimsuit development, like everything else non-military, came to a standstill. In 1946, Western Europeans joyously greeted the first war-free summer in years, and French designers came up with fashions to match the liberated mood of the people. Two French designers, Jacques Heim and Louis Reard, developed competing prototypes of the bikini. Heim called his the “atom” and advertised it as “the world’s smallest bathing suit.” Reard’s swimsuit, which was basically a bra top and two inverted triangles of cloth connected by string, was in fact significantly smaller. Made out of a scant 30 inches of fabric, Reard promoted his creation as “smaller than the world’s smallest bathing suit.” Reard called his creation the bikini, named after the Bikini Atoll. In planning the debut of his new swimsuit, Reard had trouble finding a professional model who would deign to wear the scandalously skimpy two-piece. So he turned to Micheline Bernardini, an exotic dancer at the Casino de Paris, who had no qualms about appearing nearly nude in public. As an allusion to the headlines that he knew his swimsuit would generate, he printed newspaper type across the suit that Bernardini modeled on July 5 at the Piscine Molitor. The bikini was a hit, especially among men, and Bernardini received some 50,000 fan letters. Before long, bold young women in bikinis were causing a sensation along the Mediterranean coast. Spain and Italy passed measures prohibiting bikinis on public beaches but later capitulated to the changing times when the swimsuit grew into a mainstay of European beaches in the 1950s. Reard’s business soared, and in advertisements he kept the bikini mystique alive by declaring that a two-piece suit wasn’t a genuine bikini “unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring.” In prudish America, the bikini was successfully resisted until the early 1960s, when a new emphasis on youthful liberation brought the swimsuit en masse to U.S. beaches. It was immortalized by the pop singer Brian Hyland, who sang “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini” in 1960, by the teenage “beach blanket” movies of Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, and by the California surfing culture celebrated by rock groups like the Beach Boys. Since then, the popularity of the bikini has hardly diminished; though on beaches in Brazil and the Mediterranean today, many women favor the “monokini,” a swimsuit style that consists solely of a bikini bottom.
1947 – Rancher Mac Brazel found unusual debris 75 miles northwest of Roswell, NM, scattered over an area 300 years wide and ¾ of a mile long. This led to rumors of an alien crash. The military said it was a crashed weather balloon.
1950 – Task Force Smith, B and C Companies of the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, and A Battery, 52nd Field Artillery Battalion, all of the 24th Infantry Division, met a large tank and infantry element of the North Korean 4th Division just north of Osan. After seven hours of brisk action, battered by the T-34 tanks’ fire and flanked by overwhelming numbers of infantry, the Task Force Smith withdrew under fire. Of the 520 infantry and artillery men of the Task Force, only 185 made it to friendly lines. A North Korean soldier who came on the scene just after the battle recorded in his diary, “We met vehicles and American PWs. We also saw some American dead. We found four of our destroyed tanks. Near Osan there was a great battle.”
1950 – Near Sojong, South Korea, Private Kenneth Shadrick, a 19-year-old infantryman from Skin Fork, West Virginia, becomes the first American reported killed in the Korean War. Shadrick, a member of a bazooka squad, had just fired the weapon at a Soviet-made tank when he looked up to check his aim and was cut down by enemy machine-gun fire. Near the end of World War II, the “Big Three” Allied powers–the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain–agreed to divide Korea into two separate occupation zones and temporarily govern the nation. The country was split along the 38th parallel, with Soviet forces occupying the northern zone and Americans stationed in the south. By 1949, separate Korean governments had been established, and both the United States and the USSR withdrew the majority of their troops from the Korean Peninsula. The 38th parallel was heavily fortified on both sides, but the South Koreans were unprepared for the hordes of North Korean troops and Soviet-made tanks that suddenly rolled across the border on June 25, 1950. Two days later, President Harry Truman announced that the United States would intervene in the Korean conflict to stem the spread of communism, and on June 28 the United Nations approved the use of force against communist North Korea. In the opening months of the war, the U.S.-led U.N. forces rapidly advanced against the North Koreans, but in October, Chinese communist troops entered the fray, throwing the Allies into a hasty retreat. By May 1951, the communists were pushed back to the 38th parallel, where the battle line remained for the rest of the war. In 1953, an armistice was signed, ending the war and reestablishing the 1945 division of Korea that still exists today. Approximately 150,000 troops from South Korea, the United States, and participating U.N. nations were killed in the Korean War, and as many as one million South Korean civilians perished. An estimated 800,000 communist soldiers were killed, and more than 200,000 North Korean civilians died. The original figure of American troops lost–54,246 killed–became controversial when the Pentagon acknowledged in 2000 that all U.S. troops killed around the world during the period of the Korean War were incorporated into that number. For example, any American soldier killed in a car accident anywhere in the world from June 1950 to July 1953 was considered a casualty of the Korean War. If these deaths are subtracted from the 54,246 total, leaving just the Americans who died (from whatever cause) in the Korean theater of operations, the total U.S. dead in the Korean War numbers 36,516.
1951 – Dr. William Shockley invented junction transistor at Murray Hill, NJ.
1952 – Kentucky’s 623rd Field Artillery Battalion, armed with eighteen 155mm towed howitzers, moves into this area in support of X Corps in holding operations against Communist Chinese assaults. During this period it will earn a Republic of Korea Unit Citation for its fire support of South Korea troops in repelling an enemy assault. In October the battalion, the last Guard artillery unit deployed to Korea, will see hard fighting and earns a Navy Unit Commendation embroidered PANMUNJOM for firing missions in support of the 1st Marine Division. The unit served again overseas in Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
1954 – The B-52A bomber made its maiden flight.
1966 – National Guard was mobilized in Omaha, NE after a 3rd night of rioting. For three straight nights there were confrontations between black teenagers and the police. Trouble developed after youth gathered late at night in food store parking lots; as one observer said, they were the places to go, in lieu of recreational facilities. Rioters threw rocks and bottles, smashed windows, and looted several stores… The police made sixty arrests, concentrating on containing the mobs and holding down violence. On the third night the police had trouble with a milling and rock-throwing crowd of around 150 people and authorities called in a small contingent of steel-helmeted Nebraska National Guardsmen to restore order. They cleared the streets without violence as those involved quickly dispersed.
1966 – 1st full day of operation “MACON”, Vietnam (4 July – 28 October).
1986 – Statue of Liberty was reopened after being refurbished.
1989 – Former National Security Council aide Oliver North received a $150,000 fine and a suspended prison term for his part in Iran-Contra. The convictions were later overturned.
1990 – NATO leaders opened a two-day meeting in London to revise the alliance’s strategy in light of easing East-West tensions in Europe and the unraveling of the Warsaw Pact.
1992 – Iraq refuses to allow a U.N. inspection team to enter a building in Baghdad believed to contain documents related to Iraq’s nuclear program. Inspectors withdraw without gaining access.
1993 – A United Nations team left Iraq after trying for more than a month to persuade the Baghdad government to allow surveillance cameras at two former missile test sites.
1997 – NASA scientists brainstormed to fix problems that left Mars Pathfinder’s robot rover stuck aboard the lander.
1998 – Iraq and Jordan sign an agreement for the construction of an oil pipeline between the two countries. The pipeline is expected to replace a fleet of more than 3,000 tankers that currently transport Iraqi crude oil to Jordan. Jordan depends entirely on Iraq for oil and currently incurs $50 million per year in transportation fees.
1999 – In Fort Campbell, Ky., Pvt. Calvin Glover (18) beat to death Pfc. Barry Winchell (21) with a baseball bat. Glover was later convicted of pre-meditated murder and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
1999 – NATO and Russia resolved their differences and cleared the way for some 3,600 Russian troops to arrive in Kosovo.
2000 – Coast Guard HH-65A CGNR 6539 rescued 51 persons from a burning oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The aircrew responded to the fire and safely airlifted 15 people to a nearby platform nine miles from the fire. They then evacuated another 36 people to awaiting boats. One of the 6539’s crew had landed on the platform to coordinate the rescue. As the helicopter returned to retrieve him, the rig exploded and sent a fireball 100 feet into the air. Unsure whether he survived, the 6539 flew into the thick, black column of smoke and safely rescued him. All four aircrew were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
2001 – Kenneth Williams, an FBI agent in Phoenix, Arizona, wrote to bureau headquarters that al Qaeda could be sending terrorists to train as student pilots. He urged the investigation of Middle Eastern men enrolled in American flight schools.
2001 – The US spy plane from China arrived at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia aboard a Russian Antonov-124 transport plane.
2001 – Iraq accepted a 5-month UN extension for the oil-for-food program.
2002 – Talks in Vienna between the United Nations and Iraq end without agreement on inspections as Baghdad seeks assurances that sanctions will be lifted.
2003 – In Ramadi, Iraq, an explosion struck a ceremony for Iraqi policemen graduating from US training, killing at least seven recruits and wounding dozens.
2004 – US military families planned to leave Bahrain in the next few days following reports terrorists were planning attacks here.
2004 – US-led coalition forces launched an air strike in the restive city of Fallujah on a suspected safe house used by followers of al-Zarqawi. The attack killed 15 insurgents.
2004 – Rwaida Al Shemre (33), an Iraqi interpreter for the US 3rd Battalion, was assassinated as she was driven to work.
2008 – The US Coast Guard launches the USCGC Bertholf, it’s first National Security Cutter. The cutter — 418 feet from stem to stern — is set to patrol the Pacific from California to Ecuador — a patch of ocean as large as the United States. The first of eight similar cutters to be rolled out over the next several years, its acquisition is part of the Coast Guard’s Deepwater program, a plan to modernize an aging fleet and keep up with its expanded Homeland Security role. The Legend Class National Security Cutter (NSC) was designed to be the flagship of the fleet – capable of meeting all maritime security mission needs, and supportive of the joint Coast Guard/Navy commitment to Joint Service Combatant Commanders. The NSC contributes to Intelligence Collection/Information Sharing through a sophisticated Command anad Control system, sensors and increased data exchange bandwidth. The NSC’s Deepwater and DoD interoperability capabilities are enhanced with DHS- and local responder interoperable radio communications. The NSC flight deck will grow to accommodate all variants of DHS and DoD HH-60 helicopters to provide enhanced interoperability with interagency and inter-service counter-terrorism teams. The NSC will now be fully integrated with the National Distress Response Modernization Program, known as RESCUE 21, which will provide port commanders with real-time tracking of the NSC and seamless Common Operational Picture data sharing. The NSC Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection suite will include underwater sonar that will allow the cutter to scan ports, approaches, facilities and high-value assets for underwater, minelike devices and detect swimmers. The cutter’s small arms mounts will be remote operated and fully integrated with the cutter’s radar and infrared sensors such that the cutter and high-value assets under its protection can be protected from a USS COLE-like incident. The Maritime Security Capabilities allow the cutter’s weapons and command and control suite to be upgraded and hardened to better survive potential terrorist incidents and process increased data flow. This will include a missile defense system with CIWS, SLQ-32, and a medium caliber deck gun (57MM) that will provide the ability to stop rogue merchant vessels far from shore. An integrated CBRNE Detection and Defense capability allows the NSC to remain on scene and operate in Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) scenarios.
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