1638 – The first earthquake was recorded in the U.S. at Plymouth, Mass.
1657 – 1st Quakers arrived in New Amsterdam (NY).
1774 – The Boston Port Bill, the first bill of the Intolerable Acts (called by the Colonists) became effective. It closed Boston harbor until restitution for the destroyed tea was made (passed Mar. 25, 1774).
1779 – The court-martial of Benedict Arnold convenes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After a relatively clean record in the early days of the American Revolution, Arnold was charged with malfeasance, misusing government wagons, illegally buying and selling goods, and favoritism to the British Loyalists. Although his notorious betrayal was still many months away, Arnold’s resentment over this order and the perceived mistreatment by the American Army would fuel his traitorous decision. Abruptly interrupted at its outset by a British attack north of New York City, the court-martial did not get underway again until December 23 in Morristown, New Jersey. Although Arnold was cleared of most charges, General George Washington issued a reprimand against him, and Arnold became increasingly angered. While on a trip to the important West Point base to make sure that it could withstand a British attack, Arnold stewed over his slight by Washington and the Americans. He thought that he had never been properly rewarded or acknowledged for his military success on their behalf. He began corresponding with British spies about the possibility of changing sides. Arnold negotiated his defection to the British and the subversion of West Point over several months. The British already held control of New York City and believed that by taking West Point they could effectively cut off the American’s New England forces from the rest of the fledgling nation. In August 1780, Sir Henry Clinton offered Arnold £20,000 for delivering West Point and 3,000 troops. Arnold told General Washington that West Point was adequately prepared for an attack even though he was busy making sure that that it really wasn’t. He even tried to set up General Washington’s capture as a bonus. His plan might have been successful but his message was delivered too late and Washington escaped. The West Point surrender was also foiled when an American Colonel ignored Arnold’s order not to fire on an approaching British ship. Arnold’s defection was revealed to the Americans when British officer John André, acting as a messenger, was robbed by AWOL Americans working as pirates in the woods north of New York City. The notes revealing Arnold’s traitorous agreement were stashed in his boots. Arnold and his wife Peggy, who fooled American officers into believing she had no involvement in the betrayal, escaped to New York City. At the British surrender at Yorktown, Benedict Arnold was burned in effigy and his name has since become synonymous with traitor. The British didn’t treat him very well after the war either. After prevailing in a libel action, he was awarded only a nominal amount because his reputation was already so tarnished. He died in 1801 and was buried in England without military honor.
1779 – British commander Henry Clinton leads 6000 men up the Hudson River to capture the unfinished American forts at Stony Point and Verplank River, but fails to reach his ultimate goal of West Point, New York.
1783 – Last British troops sailed from New York.
1789 – Congress passed its first act which mandated the procedure for administering oaths of public office.
1792 – Kentucky became the 15th state of the union. Kentucky, officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a state located in the east south-central region of the United States. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth (the others being Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts). Originally a part of Virginia, Kentucky is known as the “Bluegrass State”, a nickname based on the bluegrass found in many of its pastures due to the fertile soil. One of the major regions in Kentucky is the Bluegrass Region in central Kentucky which houses two of its major cities, Louisville and Lexington. It is a land with diverse environments and abundant resources, including the world’s longest cave system, Mammoth Cave National Park, the greatest length of navigable waterways and streams in the contiguous United States, and the two largest man-made lakes east of the Mississippi River. Kentucky is also home to the highest per capita number of deer and turkey in the United States, the largest free-ranging elk herd east of the Mississippi River, and the nation’s most productive coalfield. Kentucky is also known for horse racing, bourbon distilleries, automobile manufacturing, tobacco, bluegrass music, college basketball, and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
1794 – Protected by a French fleet, a large convoy of US ships carrying provisions to famine-stricken France is encountered by a British fleet under Admiral Sir Richard Howe. Although Howe defeats the French, the US convoy is able to escape safely during the heat of the battle.
1796 – Tennessee became the 16th state of the union.
1796 – In accordance with the Jay Treaty, all British troops were withdrawn from U.S. soil.
1808 – The first US land-grant university was founded-Ohio Univ, Athens, Ohio.
1812 – By the summer of 1812 President James Madison had grown tired of watching America’s merchant ships and sailors take a beating at the hands of the British. The nation’s maritime interests had been caught in the crossfire of the Napoleonic Wars since the early 1800s. Though France had long since begged off from interfering with U.S. economic activities, England persisted in its practice of halting U.S. ships and seizing men who were suspected of having deserted the Royal Navy. Reluctant to build up America’s military forces, Madison attempted to rebuff the British through fiscally minded measures. However, neither the Embargo Act (1807) nor successive versions of non-intercourse legislation (1809, 1810) did much to dissuade the British from their habit of harassing American ports and ships. And so on this day in 1812, Madison gave the call to Congress to declare war on Great Britain. Just three days later the hawkish House voted 79 to 49 to engage England in armed conflict; by the end of the month the United States was embroiled in the War of 1812.
1813 – The U.S. Navy gained its motto as the mortally wounded commander of the U.S. frigate “Chesapeake”, Captain James Lawrence (b.1871) was heard to say, “Don’t give up the ship!”, during a losing battle with a British frigate “Shannon”; his ship was captured by the British frigate. Oliver Hazard Perry honored his dead friend Lawrence when he had the motto sewn onto the private battle flag flown during the Battle of Lake Erie, 10 September 1813.
1814 – Philip Kearney, Union Civil War general, was born. He was killed at the Battle of Chantilly, Virginia. Kearney was a Union General whose lifelong romantic obsession with war culminated in his death in action. Born into a wealthy and socially prominent New York family, Kearney’s ambition was to go to West Point but his family would not allow this, so he read law. When his grandfather died in 1836 and left him independently wealthy, Kearney secured a commission in a US Army cavalry unit and spent two years with it on the western frontier. He then went to France to study their army’s cavalry tactics, and even served with them in Algiers in 1840. Returning to the United States, he served as an aide to superior officers, and when the war with Mexico began he recruited a cavalry unit that he outfitted with dapple-gray horses and trained to gallop in unison. He then took the unit to Mexico where, leading a charge, he had his left arm so shattered that it had to be amputated. This did not stop Kearney from leading an expedition against Indians in California, but in 1851 he retired from the army and devoted himself to his estate in New Jersey. Once again restless for action, he went to France in 1859 and rode into combat with the French cavalry in their battles against the Italians (for which he was awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honor). When the Civil War broke out in America, Kearney rushed back to Washington and got himself appointed brigadier general in command of a New Jersey brigade. He had all the men of his unit wear a piece of scarlet cloth that became known as the ‘Kearney patch’ and instilled in them the sense of being an elite unit: ‘You must ever be in the front’, he told them. In the early months in Virginia he led his men in at least 12 major engagements. Then in September 1862, while reconnoitering a new position near Chantilly, Kearney unknowingly crossed into Confederate territory and was killed. Lee had known Kearney and sent his sword, horse and saddle to his widow; eventually Kearney’s body was buried at the National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia where New Jersey erected an equestrian statue. A man of indeniable confidence and courage, Kearney inspired respect in his fellow officers and enthusiasm in his troops, but his view of war as high adventure was also undeniably that of a man of class.
1821 – Governor Andrew Jackson officially receives the Florida territory from the Spanish. As no provisions have yet been made for a territorial government, Jackson will act as a quasi-military commander.
1831 – John B. Hood, Confederate general is born. Appointed to West Point by his congressman uncle. Hood reported on July 1,1849. He graduated forty-fifth in a class of fifty-five and was sent to the Fourth Infantry Regiment, stationed in California. Assigned to the Second Cavalry Regiment in Texas in 1855 with Lee and George Thomas. On April 16, 1861 Hood resigns from the Union Army and four days later was commissioned First Lieutenant in Confederate cavalry. He reported to Lee in Virginia who promoted him to Major. In October of the same year he was promoted to Colonel and given command of the Fourth Texas Regiment, Army of Northern Virginia. He was known for being aggressive in battle and again promoted to Brigadier General in March 1862 in command of the Texas Brigade. In October 1862 he received a promotion to Major General and given division command under Longstreet. On July 2, 1863 he was wounded in the arm at Gettysburg. He was on convalescence leave until his return to his division command en route to Chattanooga on September 5, 1863. John Hood was a hero at the Battle of Chickamauga. He was reported dead on the battle field on September 20 but surgeons were able to save him. His right leg was amputated. He recuperated in Atlanta for two months. Promoted to Lieutenant General by Davis February 2, 1864 with date of rank from September 20, 1863, the date he fell at Chickamauga. He reported later in the month to the to take command of Second Corps, Army of Tennessee and served under Johnson. His policy was taking the offensive at any cost, General John B. Hood brought his reduced army before the defenses of Nashville, where it was repulsed by General George H. Thomas on December 15-16 1864, in the most complete victory of the war. After the war Hood takes up residence in New Orleans where he fails in attempts to earn a living in the cotton and insurance industries. He visits Washington where he tries to sell his war stories, this is also unsuccessful. He married Anna Marie Hennen in April 1868. They have 13 children (three sets of twins) in eleven years of marriage. General John B. Hood dies of Yellow Fever August 30, 1879.
1855 – William Walker (1824-1860), US adventurer, stormed into Granada, Nicaragua, and declared himself president. He reestablished slavery and planned an 18-mile canal from Lake Nicaragua to the Pacific.
1861 – The US and the Confederacy simultaneously stopped mail interchange.
1861 – The first skirmish in the Civil War was at Fairfax Court House, Arlington Mills, Va, when a Union scouting party clashed with the local militia. It saw the first death in action of a Confederate officer, and the first wounding of a Confederate officer of field grade. The Union had sent a regular cavalry unit under Lieutenant Charles Henry Tompkins to estimate enemy numbers in the locality. At Fairfax Court House, they surprised a small Confederate rifle company under Captain Jophn Quincy Marr, and took some prisoners. Marr rallied his unit, but was killed, and command was taken over by a civilian ex-governor of Virginia, William “Extra Billy” Smith, who forced the Union to retreat.
The engagement is judged to have been inconclusive. The Union did not gain the intelligence it was seeking, and had to delay its drive on Richmond, thus enabling the Confederates to build-up their strength at Manassas in advance of the much-bigger battle there, the following month. Tompkins was criticised for exceeding his orders, though these orders were somewhat imprecise.
1861 – British territorial waters & ports were put off-limits during Civil War.
1862 – Slavery was abolished in all U.S. possessions.
1862 – General Robert E. Lee assumed command of the Confederate Army outside Richmond after General Joe Johnston was injured at Seven Pines. Robert E. Lee received a field command: the Army of Northern Virginia.
1863 – In seeking to stop the activities of Confederate blockade runners, vigorous naval officers were not always confined to the water. On hearing that four men engaged in blockade running were ashore near Lawson’s Bay on the Rappahannock River, Acting Master Street of U.S.S. Primrose took a landing party 4 miles inland and surrounded the house the men had been reported to be in. “On searching the house,” Street wrote, ” we found four men secreted under the bedding. We also obtained $10,635 in notes and bonds belonging to the prisoners.
1863 – The anti-Lincoln Copperhead “Chicago Times” is suppressed by order of General Ambrose Burnside, but the order is revoked on 4 June by Lincoln.
1863 – The Confederate Navy Department assumed complete control of the Selma, Alabama, Iron Works. Under the command of Commander Catesby ap R. Jones, the iron works became a naval ordnance works where naval guns were cast. Between June 1863 and April 1864, nearly 200 guns were cast there, most of them 6.4-inch and 7-inch Brooke rifles.
1864 – Confederates attack Union troops at the strategic crossroads of Cold Harbor, less than a dozen miles from Richmond. Since the beginning of May 1864, Ulysses S. Grant had doggedly pursued Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia along an arc around Richmond. The massive offensive was costly to the Army of the Potomac, which racked up 60,000 casualties before reaching the crossroads. After battling along the North Anna River and at Bethesda Church in late May, the armies engaged in a familiar race to the next strategic point. The Union troops arrived at Cold Harbor to find that the Confederates were already there. On May 30, Union troops under Philip Sheridan encountered Confederates led by Fitzhugh Lee around the tavern for which the crossroads was named. The Yankees attacked and took control of the intersection but could not advance toward Richmond any further. Additional troops from each army continued to arrive through the evening of May 31. Determined to retake the crossroads, Lee ordered a Confederate attack shortly after dawn, before more Northern troops arrived. The spirited assault was led by an inexperienced colonel named Lawrence Keitt from South Carolina, who was mortally wounded in the first Yankee volley. Soon after, the 20th South Carolina, a green regiment at the head of the attack, broke into a frantic retreat. The panic spread to other units, and the Confederate attack wilted. Sheridan’s troops held the crossroads. Grant attacked the Confederates in the late afternoon, after more Union troops had arrived. But the Yankees could not break through the Rebels’ newly constructed fortifications, and so they decided to wait until the bulk of the Army of the Potomac had arrived before launching another attack. This delay proved costly. The Rebels used the time to dig trenches and construct breastworks. When the attack came on June 3, it turned into one of the biggest Union disasters of the war.
1864 – Shenandoah Valley campaign began.
1864 – U.S.S. Exchange, a 210-ton wooden paddle-wheeler under Acting Master James C. Gipson, engaged two Confederate batteries on the Mississippi River near Columbia, Arkansas, sustaining serious damage. Gipson, who was wounded during the heated encounter, described the action: “They waited until I had passed by the lower battery, when they opened a destructive crossfire. As I had just rounded a point of a sand bar, I could not back down, consequently there was no other alternative but run by the upper battery if possible. . . . I opened my port broadside guns, re-plying to theirs; but unfortunately the port engine was struck and disabled, causing her to work very slow, keeping us under fire about forty-five minutes. I had barely got out of range of their guns when the engine stopped entirely. . . . I immediately let go the anchor . . . expecting every moment they would move their battery above us and open again; but we succeeded in getting out, although pretty badly damaged.”
1868 – The Texas constitutional convention met in Austin.
1868 – Fifteenth President of the United States James Buchanan dies. While serving as a member of the Pennsylvania legislature in 1814 when the British army burned Washington D.C. and started their advance on Baltimore, Buchanan quickly enlisted in a militia cavalry troop from Lancaster. His unit was soon moved to assist in the defense of Baltimore. Upon the troop’s arrival he volunteered to help gather spare mounts from behind enemy lines and bring them into the American camp. Though facing possible capture or death Buchanan performed his mission with great credit. After the British defeat and withdraw from the Chesapeake Bay, he was released from active duty. Following service in several governmental posts he was elected president in 1856.
1868 – The Treaty of Bosque Redondo is signed, allowing the Navajos to return to their lands in Arizona and New Mexico. The treaty was concluded at Fort Sumner on June 1, 1868. Some of the provisions included establishing a reservation, restrictions on raiding, a resident Indian Agent and agency, compulsory education for children, the supply of seeds, agricultural implements and other provisions, rights of the Navajos to be protected, establishment of railroads and forts, compensation to tribal members, and arrangements for the return of Navajos to the reservation established by the treaty. The Navajo agreed for ten years to send their children to school and the U.S. government agreed to establish schools with teachers for every thirty Navajo children. The U.S. government also promised for ten years to make annual deliveries of things the Navajos could not make for themselves. The signers of the document were: W. T. Sherman (Lt. General), S. F. Tappan (Indian Peace Commissioner), Navajos Barboncito (Chief), Armijo, Delgado, Manuelito, Largo, Herrero, Chiquito, Muerte de Hombre, Hombro, Narbono, Narbono Segundo and Ganado Mucho. Those who attested the document included Theo H. Dodd (Indian Agent) and B. S. Roberts (General 3rd Cav).
1871 – RADM Rodgers lands in Korea with a party of Sailors and Marines and captures 5 forts to secure protection for U.S. citizens after Americans were fired upon and murdered.
1877 – U.S. troops were authorized to pursue bandits into Mexico.
1890 – The US census stood at 62,622,250. The US government used the Jean Baptiste Pacard card punch to tabulate the results of the census. Herman Hollerith designed a system that used a machine with a sorter. Hollerith formed a firm that eventually became IBM.
1914 – General Order 99 prohibits alcohol on board naval vessels, or at navy yards or stations.
1915 – The German government makes an official apology to the United States for the sinking of the tanker Gulflight by one its submarines off the Scilly Isles on 1 May.
1915 – First contract for lighter-than-air craft for Navy.
1916 – The National Defense Act increased the strength of the U.S. National Guard by 450,000 men.
1918 – 2nd Division troops dig in along a defensive line just north of the village of Lucy-le-Bocage. Marine Captain Lloyd Williams when advised to withdraw, replies, “Retreat, Hell! We just got here!” Capt. Williams would not survive the ensuing battle. The line was centered on Lucy-le-Bocage. Although the initial disposition of troops was haphazard at first due the emergency, the front settled eventually with the 5th Marines to the west and the 6th Marines to the east. Most of the units deployed without machineguns in support. At Les Mares Farm, members of 2nd Bn, 5th Marines began to show the Germans the effects of long distance marksmanship.
1921 – A race riot errupts in Tulsa, Oklahoma, officially killing 85 people though the actual death toll may never be known. On the morning of May 30, 1921, a young black man named Dick Rowland was riding in the elevator in the Drexel Building at Third and Main. The white elevator operator, Sarah Page, claimed that Rowland grabbed her arm, causing her to flee in panic. Accounts of the incident circulated among the city’s white community during the day and became more exaggerated with each telling. Tulsa police arrested Rowland the following day on attempted rape charges and began an investigation. An inflammatory report in the May 31 edition of the Tulsa Tribune spurred a confrontation between black and white armed mobs around the courthouse where the sheriff and his men had barricaded the top floor to protect Rowland. Shots were fired and the outnumbered blacks began retreating to the Greenwood Avenue business district. In the early morning hours of June 1, 1921, Black Tulsa was looted and burned by white rioters. Governor Robertson declared martial law, and National Guard troops arrived in Tulsa. Guardsmen assisted firemen in putting out fires, took imprisoned blacks out of the hands of vigilantes and imprisoned all black Tulsans not already interned. Over 6,000 people were held at the Convention Hall and the Fairgrounds, some for as long as eight days. Twenty-four hours after the violence erupted, it ceased. In the wake of the violence, 35 city blocks lay in charred ruins, over 800 people were treated for injuries and estimated reports of deaths began at 36. Recently, the Tulsa Race Riot Commission released a report indicating that historians now believe close to 300 people died in the riot.
1924 – Congress establishes the Border Patrol, under the jurisdiction of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Previously, border duty was done sporadically by the Army or the militia of the border states.
1939 – Director of the Naval Research Laboratory, Captain Hollis M. Cooley, proposes research in atomic energy for future use in nuclear powered submarine.
1940 – Despite increased Luftwaffe attacks a total of 64,429 men are evacuated from Dunkirk. However, German planes sink four destroyers and damage five more as well as several of the Channel ferries and other ships, which form the backbone of the evacuation fleet. The RAF sends eight large patrols to give cover but most of the damage is done in the intervals between them. On the ground the Germans increase their efforts, breaking the defensive perimeter along the canals at Bergues and forcing retreats in other sectors as well. During the night the British authorities decide that the air attacks have made the evacuation too dangerous to continue by day.
1941 – The Navy organized the “South Greenland Patrol” that consisted of 3 cutters and a Navy vessel.
1942 – America began sending Lend-Lease materials to the Soviet Union.
1942 – The aircraft carrier USS Saratoga sails after repairs from torpedo damage. It will be too late to take part in the coming battle at Midway.
1942 – Twenty-five American submarines from various forces assume stations around Midway. 1942 – A Warsaw underground newspaper, the Liberty Brigade, makes public the news of the gassing of tens of thousands of Jews at Chelmno, a death camp in Poland-almost seven months after extermination of prisoners began. A year earlier, the means of effecting what would become the “Final Solution,” the mass extermination of European Jewry, was devised: 700 Jews were murdered by channeling gas fumes back into a van used to transport them to the village of Chelmno, in Poland. This “gas van” would become the death chamber for a total of 360,000 Jews from more than 200 communities in Poland. The advantage of this form of extermination was that it was silent and invisible. One month before the infamous Wannsee Conference of January 1942, during which Nazi officials decided to address formally the “Jewish question,” the gas vans in Chelmno were used to kill up to 1,000 Jews a day. The vans provided the “Final Solution” for Adolf Eichmann and other Wannsee attendees. The mass gassings were the most orderly and systematic means of eliminating European Jewry. Eventually, more such vans were employed in other parts of Poland. There was no thought of selecting out the “fit” from the “unfit” for slave labor, as in Auschwitz. There was only one goal: utter extermination. On June 1, 1942, the story of a young Jew, Emanuel Ringelblum, (who escaped from the Chelmno death camp after being forced to bury bodies as they were thrown out of the gas vans), was published in the underground Polish Socialist newspaper Liberty Brigade. The West now knew the “bloodcurdling news … about the slaughter of Jews,” and it had a name-Chelmno.
1943 – More than 500,000 coal miners go on strike after protracted wage negotiations break down. Most return to work by June 7th when talks resume.
1944 – The British Broadcasting Corp. broadcasted a line of poetry by the 19th century French poet Paul Verlaine. It was a coded message intended to warn the French resistance that the D-Day invasion was imminent, “The long sobs of the violins of autumn.”
1944 – Gen’ls. Montgomery, Patton, Bradley, Dempsey and Crerar met in Portsmouth.
1944 – ZP-14 Airships complete first crossing of Atlantic by non-rigid lighter-than-air aircraft.
1944 – Forces of the US 5th Army advance toward Rome. The US 2nd and 6th Corps, exploiting the capture of Velletri, attack through the Alban Hills toward Albano and Valmonte. With the breach of the Caesar Line, German Army Group C (Kesselring) orders a withdrawal north of Rome. Rearguards delay the American advance.
1944 – In the evening, the BBC broadcasts the first code message intended as a warning to the French resistance that a invasion is imminent. The Germans appreciate the significance of the message and alert some units in occupied France.
1944 – On Biak Island, American forces resume their offensive and the infantry gain some ground with armored support. On the mainland, Japanese forces continue their attacks around the Aitape beachhead and the American defenders continue to fall back.
1945 – On Okinawa, after the fall of Shuri, General Mushijima orders the Japanese troops to withdraw southward, towards the Oroku peninsula and the hills of Yaeju, Yuza and Mezado in the extreme south of the island. There are reports of discontent among the Japanese troops, something previously unheard of in the Imperial Army. Elements of the US 1st Marine Division cross the Koruba river, south of Naha. The forces of the US 24th Corps pursue the retreating Japanese while elements mop up around Shuri.
1945 – On Luzon, the US 37th Division (US 1st Corps) advances rapidly in the Cagayan valley. Japanese resistance is reduced to rearguard actions. On Mindanao, American forces are engaged north of Davao.
1945 – During a thunderstorm, 27 P-51 fighters collide en route to Osaka. American aircraft drop over 3000 tons of incendiary bombs on Osaka.
1946 – The Coast Guard returned to operation under the Treasury Department after the end of World War II.
1947 – The OPA, which issued WW II rationing coupons, disbanded.
1948 – The US Coast Guard Training Center at Cape May, New Jersey, was established as a receiving center for the initial classification, outfitting, and indoctrination of recruits. The primary reason for this move from the training station at Mayport, Florida, which was then be decommissioned, was to locate more centrally the Service’s facilities for handling recruits.
1951 – Operation PILEDRIVER began as elements of the I and IX Corps advanced towards the Wyoming Line, some 30 kilometers north in the “Iron Triangle.” Eighth Army had pushed north of the 38th parallel in most sectors. It was during PILEDRIVER the last major U.N. offensive before the commencement of truce talks, that the U.N. forces reached the limit of their advance and the war of movement came to a close.
1951 – The carrier USS Bon Homme Richard and the cruiser USS Los Angeles entered Korean waters.
1951 – One flight of F-86s from the 336th FIS escorting B-29s engaged eighteen MiG-15s, destroying two. A flight of B-29s, 343th BS, defended itself against twenty-two MiG-15s in the vicinity of Sonchon. The MiGs destroyed one B-29 and damaged another, while the defenders destroyed two enemy jets. FEAF Special Air Mission C-47s dropped fifteen Koreans into enemy held territory to retrieve parts from a crashed MiG-15. Unfortunately, communist forces captured all fifteen Koreans. Maj. Gen. Frank F. Everest, USAF, assumed command of Fifth Air Force, replacing General Timberlake.
1952 – President Truman meets with General Eisenhower after the latter returns from Europe as commander of Allied Forces.
1953 – Air battles raging over “MiG Alley” produced five F-86 Sabre jet aces during this month, more than any other month of the war.
1954 – First test of steam catapult from USS Hancock.
1954 – A three-man board reviews J. Robert Oppenheimer’s request for reinstatement ass a consultant to the Atomic Energy Commission. The board denies Oppenheimer’s request on a 2-1 vote. Oppenheimer headed the Los Alamos laboratory for atomic research during World War II.
1954 – Colonel Edward G. Lansdale, USAF, arrives in Saigon as chief of the Saigon Military Mission (SMM). Called the Assistant Air Attaché at the US Embassy, Lansdale is in fact a member of the CIA assigned to run paramilitary operations against the Communist Vietnamese–specifically, covert operations to cause political-psychological disruption among the Communists (such as spreading rumors about their leaders and sabotaging North Vietnamese transportation). This ‘cold war combat team’ will be assembled by 11 August. Under the terms of the Geneva Agreements, that is the day by which each country must put a freeze on the foreign military personnel in Vietnam.
1959 – R.C., “The Battle Of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton peaked at #1 on the pop singles chart and stayed there for six weeks.
1961 – FM multiplex stereo broadcasting was 1st heard.
1962 – USAF Maj. Robert M White took the X-15 to 40,420 m.
1964 – Top U.S. officials concerned about the Vietnam War gather for two days of meetings in Honolulu. Attendees included Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Gen. William Westmoreland, Gen. Maxwell Taylor, and CIA Director John McCone, among others. Much of the discussion focused on the projected air war against North Vietnam, including a list of 94 potential targets. There was also a discussion of the plan for a joint Congressional resolution. The meeting was convened to develop options for President Lyndon B. Johnson in dealing with the rapidly deteriorating situation in Vietnam. In March 1964, Secretary of Defense McNamara had reported that 40 percent of the countryside was under Viet Cong control or influence. Johnson was afraid that he would be run out of office if South Vietnam fell to the communists, but he did not want to employ American military power on a large scale because of the impact that such actions might have on his Great Society domestic programs. Upon returning from the meeting in Honolulu, several of Johnson’s advisers, led by William Bundy, developed a scenario of graduated overt pressures against North Vietnam, according to which the president, after securing a Congressional resolution, would authorize air strikes against selected North Vietnamese targets. Johnson rejected the idea of submitting the resolution to Congress because it would “raise a whole series of disagreeable questions” which might jeopardize passage of the administration’s civil rights legislation. However, the idea of such a resolution would surface again in less than two months. In August 1964, after North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked U.S. destroyers, in what became known as the Tonkin Gulf incident, McNamara and Rusk appeared before a joint Congressional committee on foreign affairs. They presented the Johnson administration’s arguments for a resolution authorizing the president “to take all necessary measures” to defend Southeast Asia. Subsequently, Congress passed Public Law 88-408, the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, giving President Johnson the power to take whatever actions he deemed necessary, including “the use of armed force.” The resolution passed 82 to 2 in the Senate, where Wayne K. Morse (D-Oregon) and Ernest Gruening (D-Alaska) were the only dissenting votes; the bill passed unanimously in the House of Representatives. President Johnson signed it into law on August 10. It became the legal basis for every presidential action taken by the Johnson administration during its conduct of the war.
1965 – Communist China warns again that the increasing US role in the war justifies its own growing aid to North Vietnam.
1965 – US planes initiate a two week campaign of bombing raids on military installations throughout North Vietnam. Visitors to Hanoi report that the city is now encircled by anti-aircraft sites, citizens are building air-raid shelters, some 15% of the people are now enrolled in the militia, and almost one-third of Hanoi’s population has been evacuated.
1971 – In support of the Nixon Administration’s conduct of the war, a group named the Vietnam Veterans for a just peace declares it represents the majority of US Indochina veterans and calls the protests and congressional testimony of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War ‘irresponsible.’
1978 – The U.S. reported finding wiretaps in the American embassy in Moscow.
1980 – Ted Turner’s Cable News Network (CNN), providing round-the- clock TV newscasts, made its debut as television’s first all-news service, vowing to stay on the air until the world ends. James Earl Jones identifies the station: “This is CNN.”
1990 – At a superpowers summit meeting in Washington, D.C., U.S. President George H. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sign a historic agreement to end production of chemical weapons and begin the destruction of both nations’ sizable reserves of them. According to the agreement, on-site inspectors from both countries would observe the destruction process. The treaty, which called for an 80 percent reduction of their chemical weapon arsenals, was part of an effort to create a climate of change that would discourage smaller nations from stockpiling and using the lethal weapons. First developed during World War I, most countries in the world were in possession of the technology needed to build chemical weapons by 1990, and some, such as Iraq, had engaged in chemical warfare in preceding years. The United States and Russia began destroying their chemical weapons arsenals in the early 1990s. In 1993, the U.S., Russia, and 150 other nations signed a comprehensive treaty banning chemical weapons. The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty in 1997. The U.S. effort to destroy its sizable arsenal is slated for completion in 2004.
1991 – The United States and the Soviet Union resolved differences over the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, clearing the way for a superpower summit.
1991 – NASA scrubbed the launch of the space shuttle “Columbia” after a navigational unit failed.
1992 – The Treasury Department, responding to U.N. sanctions imposed on Yugoslavia, froze an estimated $200 million in assets of the Serb-led Yugoslav government.
1998 – In South Korea Pres. Kim Dae Jung urged the US and western nations to end sanctions against North Korea.
1999 – A peace plan for Kosovo was carried to Pres. Milosevic by Finnish Pres. Martti Ahtisaari. The plan was negotiated Strobe Talbott (53), US deputy Sec. of State, Martti Ahtisaari (61), President of Finland, and Viktor Chernomyrdin, special Russian envoy.
2000 – At Los Alamos hard drives with classified nuclear secrets were discovered missing. They were found June 16 behind a photocopier.
2001 – The Bush administration removed curbs on the sale of $800 million in goods to Iraq. A UN oil-for-food exchange was extended for 1 month rather than the normal 6 months. Iraq responded by saying it wouldn’t resume oil exports.
2002 – President Bush told West Point graduates the United States would strike pre-emptively against suspected terrorists if necessary to deter attacks on Americans, saying “the war on terror will not be won on the defensive.”
2004 – In Haiti US commanders began turning over authority to a UN force under Gen. Augusto Pereira of Brazil.
2004 – Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer, a tribal chief, was named interim president of Iraq.
2007 – A United States Navy destroyer, the USS Chafee, fires on suspected terrorists staying in Puntland, in northern Somalia. The three suspects are accused in taking part in the 1998 bombings of the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
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