This Day in U.S. Military History…… July 7

7 July
1742 – A Spanish force invading Georgia ran headlong into the colony’s British defenders. A handful of British and Spanish colonial troops faced each other on a Georgia coastal island and decided the fate of a colony.
1777 – American troops gave up Fort Ticonderoga, on Lake Champlain, to the British.
1778 – Allied French fleet under Comte d’Estaing arrives in America.
1797 – For the first time in U.S. history, the House of Representatives exercises its constitutional power of impeachment and votes to charge Senator William Blount of Tennessee with “a high misdemeanor, entirely inconsistent with his public duty and trust as a Senator.” In 1790, President George Washington appointed Blount, who had fought in the American Revolution, as governor of the “Territory South of the River Ohio,” now known as Tennessee. Although he was a successful territorial governor, personal financial problems led him to enter into a conspiracy with British officers to enlist frontiersmen and Cherokee Indians to assist the British in conquering parts of Spanish Florida and Louisiana. Before the conspiracy was uncovered, Blount presided over the Tennessee Constitutional Convention and in 1796 became the state’s first U.S. senator. The plot was revealed in 1797, and on July 7 the House of Representatives voted to impeach Senator Blount. The next day, the Senate voted by a two-thirds majority to expel him from its ranks. On December 17, 1798, the Senate exercised its “sole power to try all impeachments,” as granted by the Constitution, and initiated a Senate trial against Blount. As vice president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson was president of the Senate and thus presided over the impeachment trial proceedings. After two months, Jefferson and the Senate decided to dismiss the charges against Blount, determining that the Senate had no jurisdiction over its own members beyond its constitutional right to expel members by a two-thirds majority vote. By the time of the dismissal, Blount had already been elected as a senator to the Tennessee state legislature, where he was appointed speaker. The constitutional conundrum of conducting a trial of an impeached senator has not yet been resolved.
1798 – Hostilities began in the Quasi-War with France with Frigate Delaware capturing French privateer, Croyable. The Revenue Cutters Pickering, Virginia, Scammel, South Carolina, Governor, Jay, Eagle, General Greene, and Diligence were the first to be placed under Naval orders, comprising about one-third the U .S. Fleet.
1846 – U.S. annexation of California was proclaimed at Monterey after Commodore Sloat reached Monterey and claimed California for the US.
1861 – Two floating torpedoes (mines) in the Potomac River were picked up by U. S. S. Resolute, Acting Master W. Budd- the earliest known use of torpedoes by the Confederates. During the course of the war a variety of ingenious torpedoes destroyed or damaged some 40 Union ships, forecasting the vast growth to come in this aspect of underwater naval warfare.
1863 – Confederate General Robert E. Lee, in Hagerstown, Maryland, reported his defeat at Gettysburg to President Jefferson Davis.
1863 – The 1st military draft was called by the US. It allowed exemptions for $300.
1863 – Orders barring Jews from serving under US Grant were revoked.
1863 – Lt. Colonel Christopher “Kit” Carson leaves Santa Fe with his troops, beginning his campaign against the Indians of New Mexico and Arizona. A famed mountain man before the Civil War, Carson was responsible for waging a destructive war against the Navajo that resulted in their removal from the Four Corners area to southeastern New Mexico. Carson was perhaps the most famous trapper and guide in the West. He traveled with the expeditions of John C. Fremont in the 1840s, leading Fremont through the Great Basin. Fremont’s flattering portrayal of Carson made the mountain man a hero when the reports were published and widely read in the east. Later, Carson guided Stephen Watts Kearney to New Mexico during the Mexican-American War. In the 1850s he became the Indian agent for New Mexico, a position he left in 1861 to accept a commission as lieutenant colonel in the 1st New Mexico Volunteers. Although Carson’s unit saw action in the New Mexico battles of 1862, he was most famous for his campaign against the Indians. Despite his reputation for being sympathetic and accommodating to tribes such as the Mescaleros, Kiowas, and Navajo, Carson waged a brutal campaign against the Navajo in 1863. When bands of Navajo refused to accept confinement on reservations, Carson terrorized the Navajo lands–burning crops, destroying villages, and slaughtering livestock. Carson rounded up some 8,000 Navajo and marched them across New Mexico for imprisonment on the Bosque Redondo, over 300 miles from their homes, where they remained for the duration of the war.
1865 – The trap doors of the scaffold in the yard of Washington’s Old Penitentiary were sprung, and Mary Surratt, Lewis Paine, David Herold and George Atzerodt dropped to their deaths. The four had been convicted of “treasonable conspiracy” in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and had learned that they were to be hanged only a day before their execution. Shortly after 1 p.m. the prisoners were led onto the scaffold and prepared for execution. The props supporting the platform were knocked away at about 2 p.m. Assassin John Wilkes Booth had been killed on April 26, 12 days after Lincoln’s assassination. Other convicted conspirators–Edman Spangler, Dr. Samuel Mudd, Samuel Arnold and Michael O’Laughlin–were imprisoned. Surratt was the first woman to be executed in the United States.
1898 – The United States annexed Hawaii.
1905 – The International Workers of the World founded their labor organization in Chicago. The IWW was formed by William Haywood of the Western Federation of Miners, Daniel De Leon of the Socialist Labor Party and Eugene V. Debs of the Socialist Party. Members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) were also known as Wobblies. The Wobblies were formed partly in response to the American Federation of Labor’s opposition to the unionization of unskilled labor. As an organization that advocated sabotage, they were suppressed and prosecuted by the federal government from 1917-18 and were driven underground by the “Red Scare” that started in the United States in 1919. Ideological disputes with the newly formed U.S. Communist Party dissipated their remaining energies so that they ceased to be a force of any significance past the mid-1920s. In 1969 Melvyn Dublfsky authored its definitive history “We Shall Overcome.”
1908 – Great White Fleet left SF Bay.
1916 – Thomas A. Edison becomes head of Naval Consulting Board which screens inventions for use by the Navy.
1920 – A device known as the radio compass was used for the first time on a U.S. Navy airplane.
1939 – On this date, “the Lighthouse Bureau went out of existence and its personnel moved themselves and their equipment to Coast Guard Headquarters from the Commerce Department building. Thus did lighthouses return to the Treasury Department from the Department of Commerce.
1941 – The neutral United States moves closer to war with Germany when U.S. forces land on Iceland to take over its garrisoning from the British. From thereon, the U.S. Navy had the responsibility of protecting convoys in the nearby sea routes from attack by German submarines. With Iceland and its nearby sea routes under U.S. protection, the British Royal Navy was more free to defend its embattled Mediterranean positions. The occupation of Iceland came less than a month after President Franklin D. Roosevelt froze all German and Italian assets in the United States and expelled the countries’ diplomats in response to the German torpedoing of the American destroyer Robin Moor. Much of the North Atlantic was now in the American sphere, and U.S. warships patrolled the area for German submarines, notifying London of all enemy activity. The United States officially entered World War II after Japan attacked the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii in December 1941.
1941 – The 1st Marine Aircraft Wing was commissioned at Quantico.
1942 – General Spaatz is appointed to command US air forces in Europe.
1942 – Heinrich Himmler, in league with three others, including a physician, decides to begin experimenting on women in the Auschwitz concentration camps and to investigate extending this experimentation on males. Himmler, architect of Hitler’s program to exterminate Europe’s Jewish population, convened a conference in Berlin to discuss the prospects for using concentration camp prisoners as objects of medical experiments. The other attendees were the head of the Concentration Camp Inspectorate, SS General Richard Glueks (hospital chief), SS Major-General Gebhardt and Professor Karl Clauberg (one of Germany’s leading gynecologists). The result of the conference was that a major program of medical experimentation on Jewish women at Auschwitz was agreed upon. These experiments were to be carried out in such a way as to ensure that the prisoners were not aware of what was being done to them. (The experimentation would take the form of sterilization via massive doses of radiation or uterine injections.) It was also decided to consult with an X-ray specialist about the prospects of using X rays to castrate men and demonstrating this on male Jewish prisoners. Adolf Hitler endorsed this plan on the condition that it remained top secret. That Heinrich Himmler would propose such a conference or endorse such a program should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with his resume. As head of the Schutzstaffel (“Armed Black Shirts or Protection Squad”), the SS, the military arm of the Nazi Party, and assistant chief of the Gestapo (the secret police), Himmler was able over time to consolidate his control over all police forces of the Reich. This power grab would prove highly effective in carrying out the Fuhrer’s Final Solution. It was Himmler who organized the creation of death camps throughout Eastern Europe and the creation of a pool of slave laborers.
1943 – Adolf Hitler made the V-2 missile program a top priority in armament planning.
1944 – US 5th Army forces advance along the coast. The US 34th Division captures Pignano.
1944 – The US 1st Army continues its offensive toward Coutances and St. Lo. The US 8th, 7th and 19th Corps attack along a line from La Haye du Puits to Vire. German forces resist effectively.
1944 – On Saipan, most of the remaining Japanese garrison, about 3000 men, assault American lines south of the village of Makunsha. The Japanese are forced to retreat with heavy losses.
1945 – US Navy Privateer patrol bombers (modified B-24 bombers) damage or sink numerous small Japanese vessels in the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea.
1948 – First six enlisted women sworn into Regular Navy. The Navy WAVES in Naval Reserve, who were the first to transfer to the Regular Navy, were Kay Louise Langdon, Aviation Storekeeper First Class; Wilma Juanita Marchal, Chief Yeoman; Frances Teresa Dovaney, Storekeeper, Second Class; Edna Earle Young, Yeoman, Second Class; Doris Roberta Robertson, Teleman, Second Class; and Ruth Flora, Hospital Corpsman, First Class.
1950 – The U.N. Security Council recommended that all military assistance provided to the U.N. should be made available to a unified command under U.S. authority. General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was named commander in chief of the United Nations Command.
1950 – The 1st Provisional Marine Brigade was activated at Camp Pendleton, Calif.. The brigade, formed around the 5th Marine Regiment, began embarkation for Korea within a week.
1956 – Seven Army trucks loaded with dynamite exploded in middle of Cali, Columbia, killing 1,100-1,200. 2000 buildings were destroyed.
1958 – President Eisenhower signed the Alaska statehood bill.
1966 – The U.S. Marine Corps launched Operation Hasting to drive the North Vietnamese Army back across the Demilitarized Zone in Vietnam.
1966 – Female nurses of the 150th Aeromedical Flight, New Jersey Air National Guard, receive men injured or ill from their duty in Vietnam to treat them on their return flights to stateside hospitals for convalesce. Nurses from several Air Guard units volunteered to staff these missions in a temporary duty status, usually lasting about a month for each individual. They were not allowed to enter the combat zone of Vietnam so they would link up with evacuation flights in Japan or Hawaii (staffed by Regular Air Force or Navy nurses) and rendered medical support in bringing the men back to the states, thus ‘freeing up’ the Regular nurses to return to the theater. At this point in the war no Guard units, Air or Army had yet been mobilized but the Air Guard in particular was voluntarily playing an increasing role in supporting the war effort. Besides these nurse evacuation flights other Air Guard units, mostly those equipped with long-range C-97 or C-121 transport aircraft, were flying large amounts of cargo into Vietnam. As with the Air Guard women, these men were all volunteers and could not stay in Vietnam. They landed, off-loaded their cargo and took off again (hopefully before anybody got hurt), flying back to the Philippines to rest before returning home. In January 1968 and again in May 1968 a total of thirteen Air Guard units were mobilized to support the war in Vietnam and the potential of renewed conflict in Korea. Among these units was a small number of women in Air Guard tactical dispensaries or hospitals. While four of the Air Guard fighter squadrons served in Vietnam and two more were based in Korea, as far as can be documented none of their supporting units deployed with any mobilized female nurses.
1969 – A battalion of the U.S. 9th Infantry Division leaves Saigon in the initial withdrawal of U.S. troops. The 814 soldiers were the first of 25,000 troops that were withdrawn in the first stage of the U.S. disengagement from the war. There would be 14 more increments in the withdrawal, but the last U.S. troops did not leave until after the Paris Peace Accords were signed in January 1973.
1976 – For the first time in history, women are enrolled into the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. On May 28, 1980, 62 of these female cadets graduated and were commissioned as second lieutenants. The United States Military Academy–the first military school in America–was founded by Congress in 1802 for the purpose of educating and training young men in the theory and practice of military science. Established at West Point, New York, the U.S. Military Academy is often simply known as West Point. Located on the high west bank of New York’s Hudson River, West Point was the site of a Revolutionary-era fort built to protect the Hudson River Valley from British attack. In 1780, Patriot General Benedict Arnold, the commander of the fort, agreed to surrender West Point to the British in exchange for ý6,000. However, the plot was uncovered before it fell into British hands, and Arnold fled to the British for protection. Ten years after the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy in 1802, the growing threat of another war with Great Britain resulted in Congressional action to expand the academy’s facilities and increase the West Point corps. Beginning in 1817, the U.S. Military Academy was reorganized by superintendent Sylvanus Thayer–later known as the “father of West Point”–and the school became one of the nation’s finest sources of civil engineers. During the Mexican-American War, West Point graduates filled the leading ranks of the victorious U.S. forces, and with the outbreak of the Civil War former West Point classmates regretfully lined up against one another in the defense of their native states. In 1870, the first African American cadet was admitted into the U.S. Military Academy, and in 1976, the first female cadets. The academy is now under the general direction and supervision of the department of the U.S. Army and has an enrollment of more than 4,000 students.
1987 – Lt. Col. Oliver North began his long-awaited public testimony at the Iran-Contra hearing, telling Congress that he had “never carried out a single act, not one,” without authorization.
1988 – The PHOBOS 1 Orbiter and lander was launched.
1995 – The space shuttle “Atlantis” landed at Cape Canaveral, Florida, bringing back American astronaut Norman Thagard, who’d spent three and a-half months aboard the Russian space station “Mir.”
1997 – Three days after landing on Mars, the Pathfinder spacecraft yielded what scientists said was unmistakable photographic evidence that colossal floods scoured the Red Planet’s now-barren landscape more than a billion years ago.
1999 – President Clinton became the first president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to visit an Indian reservation as he toured the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
2000 – A$100 million US test missile failed to hit a dummy warhead from another missile. It was the 2nd failure of 3 tests.
2003 – A chunk of foam insulation fired at shuttle wing parts blew open a gaping 16-inch hole, yielding what one member of the Columbia investigation team said was the “smoking gun” proving what brought down the spaceship on Feb 1.
2003 – NASA’s 2nd Mars Lander, named Opportunity, was launched.

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