1763 – At what is now Mackinaw City, Michigan, Chippewas capture Fort Michilimackinac by diverting the garrison’s attention with a game of lacrosse, then chasing a ball into the fort. Fort Michilimackinac was an 18th-century French, and later British, fort and trading post at the Straits of Mackinac; it was built on the northern tip of the lower peninsula of the present-day state of Michigan in the United States. Built around 1715, and abandoned in 1783, it was located along the Straits, which connected Lake Huron and Lake Michigan of the Great Lakes of North America. Present-day Mackinaw City developed around the site of the fort. After entering the fort, they killed most of the British inhabitants. They held the fort for a year before the British regained control, promising to offer more and better gifts to the native inhabitants of the area.
1774 – The Quartering Act, requiring American colonists to allow British soldiers into their houses, was reenacted.
1815 – Philip Kearny, one of the most promising generals in the Union army, is born in New York City. Raised in a wealthy family, Kearny attended Columbia University and became a lawyer. Although his grandfather refused to allow him to attend the Military Academy at West Point, Kearny joined a year after his grandfather’s death in 1836. A superb horseman, Kearny served on the frontier before being sent to study at the French Cavalry School. After serving with the French in Algiers, he returned to the U.S. Army. Kearny resigned from military duty in 1846 but quickly rescinded the request when war between the United States and Mexico erupted. Although he lost an arm at the Battle of Churubusco, Kearny earned a reputation as a brilliant and gallant cavalry officer. In 1851, Kearny retired to his New Jersey estate but could not resist the temptations of military service. He joined Napoleon III’s Imperial Guard in 1859 and fought with the French in Italy. When the Civil War broke out, he returned to the United States and accepted a commission as brigadier general. Kearny served with the Army of the Potomac during the Seven Days’ Battles in 1862 and was promoted to major general in July 1862. Now in command of a division, Kearny was part of the Union defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run in August 1862. On September 1, 1862, Kearny was killed when he accidentally rode behind Confederate lines at Chantilly, Virginia. Confederate General Robert E. Lee, who had witnessed Kearny’s daring battlefield exploits in Mexico, returned his body under a flag of truce. Lee later bought Kearny’s saber, saddle, and horse from the Confederate Quartermaster Department, and returned them to Kearny’s wife.
1823 – Arikara Indians attack William Ashley and his band of fur traders, igniting the most important of the early 19th century battles between Indians and mountain men. Two years before, William Ashley and his partner Andrew Henry had started the business that would eventually become the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. In 1822, Ashley advertised for “enterprising young men” to join him in an ambitious fur trapping expedition up the Missouri River into the Yellowstone country of present-day Montana. Many who signed on would later become celebrated mountain men, including Jim Bridger, the Sublette brothers, Jed Smith, and Edward Rose. For the first few years, though, Ashley and his men were greenhorns who learned to survive in the wilderness through hard experience. In the spring of 1823, Ashley led a force of about 70 men up the Missouri to begin a summer of trapping along the Yellowstone. On May 30, they reached the territory of the Arikara Indians near the present-day border between North and South Dakota. The Arikara were no friends to the fur trappers. Generally, they resented the Anglo trappers’ attempts to undercut the Indians’ central role as fur suppliers. More specifically, the Arikara were upset that several weeks earlier a group of trappers had rescued several Sioux warriors that the Arikara had been hunting. On the morning of this day in 1823, a force of about 600 Arikara Indians attacked Ashley’s small band of trappers. Ashley later reported that the majority of the Indians were, “armed with London Fuzils [muskets] that carry a ball with great accuracy, and force, and which they use with as much expertness as any men I ever saw handle arms.” Those lacking guns attacked with bows and arrows and war axes. The fierce Arikara warriors overwhelmed Ashley’s small band of mountain men, killing 12 and wounding many more. The survivors fled downstream; luckily, the Arikara did not pursue them. After the mountain men had regrouped, Ashley dispatched a messenger to St. Louis asking for military assistance. Colonel Henry Leavenworth immediately assembled a force of about 200 men and started up the river, gathering additional fighters along the way, including about 700 Sioux Indians. By the time Leavenworth’s army reached Ashley in early August, that number had grown to at least 1,100 men. The subsequent skirmishes, later somewhat ostentatiously referred to as the Arikara Campaign, proved indecisive. Despite his overwhelming superiority in numbers and armaments, Leavenworth failed to engage the Indians. Following a few minor encounters, the Arikara quietly withdrew under the cover of night and disappeared. Everyone knew, however, that the Indians would return after the soldiers had departed. Since Leavenworth failed to seriously damage the Arikara fighting ability, the Upper Missouri River route continued to be too dangerous for the trappers for several years to come. Desperate to keep his fledgling business alive, Ashley decided he had no choice but to abandon the traditional river routes and go overland. The next year, Ashley’s trappers headed west on horses rather than in boats. Ironically, this desperate gambit revolutionized the fur trade by vastly increasing the mobility of the fur trappers and opening up whole new regions of the American West. Three years later, Ashley retired from the fur trade a wealthy man.
1855 – The Portland Rum Riot occurs in Portland, Maine. The Portland Rum Riot, also called the Maine Law Riot, was a brief but violent period of civil unrest that occurred in Portland, Maine in response to the Maine law which prohibited the sale and manufacture of alcohol in the state the year before. Portland’s large Irish immigrant population were particularly vocal critics of the Maine Law, seeing it as thinly veiled racist attack on their culture. They already disliked and distrusted Dow, and this incident made him appear to be a hypocrite. The Maine law that Dow had sponsored had a mechanism whereby any three voters could apply for a search warrant if they suspected someone was selling liquor illegally. Three men did appear before a judge, who was compelled to issue a search warrant. That afternoon, a crowd began to gather outside the building where the spirits were being held. The crowd numbered about 200 by 5:00 p.m. and grew larger and more agitated as the day progressed as it became evident that the police had no immediate plans to seize or destroy the liquor. Separate contemporary accounts place the crowd’s size between 1,000 and 3,000 by evening (out of a city population of about 21,000). As the crowd became larger, rock throwing and shoving began. Police were unable to deal with the growing mob, and Dow called out the militia. The exact details of the climax of the riot have been hotly debated. What is known is that after ordering the protesters to disperse, the militia detachment fired into the crowd on Dow’s orders. One man, John Robbins, an immigrant and mate of a Maine sailing vessel from Deer Isle, was killed, and seven others were wounded. The crowd was dispersed, but Dow was widely criticized for his heavy-handed tactics during the incident. In a twist of irony, Dow was later prosecuted for violation of the Maine Law for improperly acquiring the alcohol. The prosecutor was former U.S. Attorney General Nathan Clifford, and the defense attorney was later U.S. Senator and Secretary of the Treasury William P. Fessenden. Dow was acquitted, but the event was a major contributing factor to the repeal of the Maine law in 1856.
1864 – This was day 2 in the Battle of Cold Harbor, Va.
1864 – Landing party from U.S.S. Cowslip, Acting Ensign Canfield, captured five sloops and one steam boiler, destroyed six large boats, four salt works, and three flat boats during a raid up Biloxi Bay, Mississippi.
1865 – In an event that is generally regarded as marking the end of the Civil War, Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of Confederate forces west of the Mississippi, signs the surrender terms offered by Union negotiators. With Smith’s surrender, the last Confederate army ceased to exist, bringing a formal end to the bloodiest four years in U.S. history. The American Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate shore batteries under General Pierre G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Bay. During 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort, and on April 13 U.S. Major Robert Anderson, commander of the Union garrison, surrendered. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to help quell the Southern “insurrection.” Four long years later, the Confederacy was defeated at the total cost of 620,000 Union and Confederate dead.
1866 – The Battle of Ridgeway (sometimes the Battle of Lime Ridge or Limestone Ridge) was fought in the vicinity of the town of Fort Erie across the Niagara River from Buffalo, New York, near the village of Ridgeway, Canada West, currently Ontario, Canada, between Canadian troops and an irregular army of Irish-American invaders, the Fenians. It was the largest engagement of the Fenian Raids, the first modern industrial-era battle to be fought by Canadians and the first to be fought only by Canadian troops and led exclusively by Canadian officers. The battlefield was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1921 and is the last battle fought in the Province of Ontario against a foreign invasion. The action at Ridgeway has the distinction of being the only armed victory for the cause of Irish independence between 1798 and 1919.
1866 – The Battle of Fort Erie was a bloody skirmish in the afternoon immediately following the Battle of Ridgeway in Canada West. The Fenian force, withdrawing from Ridgeway towards the United States, met and defeated a small force of Canadian militia at Fort Erie, then known as the village of Waterloo. In response to the Fenian occupation of the township of Fort Erie, Ontario on the night of June 1, 1866, militia units throughout the Niagara Peninsula had been mobilized or put on alert. At Port Colborne, a detachment of 51 gunners and N.C.O.s, British Royal Artillery bombardier Sergeant James McCracken and 3 officers (Captain Richard S. King M.D., Lieutenants A.K. Schofield and Charles Nimmo [Nemmo]) taken under command by Lieutenant-Colonel John Dennis, boarded a tugboat, the W.T. Robb carrying the Dunnville Naval Brigade, consisting of 19 men and 3 officers (Captain Lachlan McCallum, Lieutenant Walter T. Robb, Second Lieutenant Angus Macdonald) (a total of 71 men and 8 officers) and steamed east to the Niagara River, then scouted downriver as far as Black Creek. The Welland Field Battery did not have its four Armstrong guns with it, and were only half armed with Enfield muzzle-loading rifles while the other half with obsolete smooth-bore “Victoria” carbines that had a limited range of approximately 300 yards at best. The Fenians apparently gone, Dennis turned back upriver to secure the village of Fort Erie and deny them an easy escape route. Dennis and a company of the Welland Field Battery,landed without difficulty, rounding up a number of stragglers. But when John O’Neill returned with the bulk of his force from his victory at Ridgeway, the volunteers – expecting to encounter only scattered bands of defeated Fenians under close pursuit – were unable to resist them. A fierce firefight followed, in which the militia soldiers and sailors were swept off the shores by the better-armed Fenians and most of the Canadians who had landed were captured. While his men were making their stand, Dennis ran away on foot and hid in a house, shedding his uniform and shaving off his luxurious sideburn whiskers. He would later be court-martialled for deserting his men but he was acquitted by two of the three officers serving on the tribunal. (George T. Denison, commanding officer of the Governor General’s Horse Guard voted to convict on some of the counts.) Except for the verdict, the conduct of the Dennis Inquiry (unlike the one into the conduct of Colonel Booker at Ridgeway) was kept secret. The contents were not released even a year later to members of Canadian Parliament who were demanding to see the transcripts of the testimony. While the original transcripts are available to researchers today in the Canada Archives in Ottawa, their contents have never been published in print anywhere. The remaining Canadians on the gunboat steamed back to Port Colborne, leaving O’Neill and the Fenians in possession of Fort Erie once more. However, with an estimated 5,000 British regulars and Canadian militia converging on his position, and a U.S. naval detachment blocking any attempts at reinforcement, that night O’Neill hastily planned his retreat back to New York State. Some Fenians chose to desert, crossing the river on a variety of stolen or improvised craft. The remainder, 850 in number, crossed in a body and surrendered to a U.S. naval party from the USS Michigan near Buffalo, putting an end to Fenian incursions along the Niagara Peninsula. Canadian judge Kenneth Mackenzie was retained by the US Government to defend the Fenians. He secured acquittals for about half of them.
1875 – Alexander Graham Bell made his 1st complex sound transmission.
1918 – At dawn on this date, the crack German 28th Division attacked along the axis of the Paris-Metz road hitting the American 2d Division, including the 4th Marine Brigade. The Marines opened with deadly rifle fire and helped hand the German troops a setback which set the stage for the Marine victory at Belleau Wood which would soon follow, although at great cost.
1924 – With Congress’ passage of the Indian Citizenship Act, the government of the United States confers citizenship on all Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the country. Before the Civil War, citizenship was often limited to Native Americans of one-half or less Indian blood. In the Reconstruction period, progressive Republicans in Congress sought to accelerate the granting of citizenship to friendly tribes, though state support for these measures was often limited. In 1888, most Native American women married to U.S. citizens were conferred with citizenship, and in 1919 Native American veterans of World War I were offered citizenship. In 1924, the Indian Citizenship Act, an all-inclusive act, was passed by Congress. The privileges of citizenship, however, were largely governed by state law, and the right to vote was often denied to Native Americans in the early 20th century.
1919 – Anarchists simultaneously set off bombs in eight separate U.S. cities. The 1919 United States anarchist bombings were a series of bombings and attempted bombings carried out by anarchist followers of Luigi Galleani from April through June 1919. These bombings led to the Red Scare of 1919–20. The Galleanists managed to detonate eight large bombs nearly simultaneously in eight different U.S. cities. These bombs were much larger than those sent in April, using up to 25 pounds (11 kg) of dynamite, and all were wrapped or packaged with heavy metal slugs designed to act as shrapnel. Addressees included government officials who had endorsed anti-sedition laws and deportation of immigrants suspected of crimes or associated with illegal movements, as well as judges who had sentenced anarchists to prison. The homes of Mayor Harry L. Davis of Cleveland; Pittsburgh’s Federal Judge W.H.S. Thompson; Immigration Chief W.W. Sibray; Massachusetts State Representative Leland Powers; Judge Charles C. Nott of New York; and Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, already the recipient of a mail bomb in April, were attacked in the new wave of violence. None of the targeted men were killed, but one bomb took the life of New York City night watchman William Boehner and the bomb intended for Attorney General Palmer’s home prematurely exploded and killed Carlo Valdinoci, who was a former editor of the Galleanist publication Cronaca Sovversiva and close associate of Galleani. Though not seriously injured, Palmer and his family were shaken by the blast, and the house itself was largely demolished. Two near-casualties of the same bomb were Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor, then living across the street from Palmer. They had walked past the house just minutes before the explosion, and their residence was close enough that one of the bomber’s body parts landed on their doorstep. Each of the bombs was delivered with several copies of a pink flyer, titled “Plain Words,” that read:
War, Class war, and you were the first to wage it under the cover of the powerful institutions you call order, in the darkness of your laws. There will have to be bloodshed; we will not dodge; there will have to be murder: we will kill, because it is necessary; there will have to be destruction; we will destroy to rid the world of your tyrannical institutions.
The flyer was later traced to a printing shop operated by two anarchists – Andrea Salsedo, a typesetter and Roberto Elia, a compositor – who were both Galleanists according to the later memoirs of other members. Salsedo committed suicide, and Elia refused an offer to cancel deportation proceedings if he would testify about his role in the Galleanist organization. Unable to secure enough evidence for criminal trials, authorities continued to use the Anarchist Exclusion Act and related statutes to deport known Galleanists.
1924 – The U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signs the Indian Citizenship Act into law, granting citizenship to all Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the United States.
1930 – Charles Conrad (d.1999), astronaut, was born in Philadelphia. He walked on the moon during the Apollo XII mission in 1969.
1941 – First aircraft escort vessel, USS Long Island (ACG-1), commissioned, then reclassified as an auxiliary aircraft carrier (AVC-1) on 20 August and finally reclassified as an escort carrier (CVE-1) in July 1943.
1942 – The US carriers from Pearl Harbor join northeast of Midway. In total, the American force has approximately 250 planes, equal to the number in the approaching Japanese force.
1942 – US Secretary of State Hull and Chinese Foreign Minister Soong sign a Lend-Lease agreement.
1942 – Japanese Admiral Katuta’s light carrier force attacks Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians as a diversion. The Americans, aware of the Japanese plans for the invasion of Midway do not react as predicted.
1943 – 99th Pursuit Squadron flew its 1st combat mission over Italy.
1944 – As the forces of German Army Group C (Kesselring) fall back, the Allied armies advance along the entire front. The forces of the US 5th Army reach Route 6 at Valmontone, which is captured, as well as making progress in the Alban Hills.
1944 – Fighting continues on Biak Island. American forces aim to capture the airfields in the center of the island. These airfields have been used as the base for Japanese attacks on Wadke.
1944 – American bombers of the Fifteenth Air Force launch Operation Frantic, a series of bombing raids over Central Europe, alighting from airbases in southern Italy, but landing at airbases in Poltava, in the Soviet Union, in what is called “shuttle bombing.” The Fifteenth U.S. Air Force was created solely to cripple Germany’s war economy. Operating out of Italy, and commanded by General Carl Spaatz, a World War I fighter pilot, the Fifteenth was recruited by a desperate Joseph Stalin to help the Red Army in its campaign in Romania. In exchange for the Fifteenth’s assistance, Stalin allowed the American bombers to land at airbases within the Soviet Union as they carried out Operation Frantic, a plan to devastate German industrial regions in occupied Silesia, Hungary, and Romania. Given that such bombing patterns would have made return flights to Foggia and other parts of southern Italy, the Fifteenth’s launching points, impossible because of refueling problems, the “shuttle” to Poltava was the solution that made Frantic a reality. Before it was shortened to Frantic, the operation was dubbed Operation Frantic Joe-a commentary on Joe Stalin’s original urgent appeal for help. It was changed to avoid offending the Soviet premier. Also on this day in 1944, the date for D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy, was fixed for June 5. Originally June 4, it was acknowledged by Allied strategists that bad weather would make keeping to any one day problematic. German General Karl von Rundstedt, intercepting an Allied radio signal relating the June 4 date, was convinced that four consecutive days of good weather was necessary for the successful prosecution of the invasion. There was no such pattern of good weather in sight. The general became convinced that D-Day would not come off within the first week of June at all.
1945 – On Luzon, the US 43rd Division (US 11th Corps) completes mopping up operations in the Ipoh area.
1945 – On Okinawa, mopping up continues as the US 6th Marine Division prepares to land two regiments on the Oroku peninsula.
1945 – US Task Force 38 raids airfields used by Japanese Kamikaze forces. Such raids compel the Japanese to continue operations from bases farther north.
1945 – The Soviet delegation demands a right of veto in the proposed United Nations Security Council.
1954 – Senator Joseph McCarthy charges that communists have infiltrated the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the atomic weapons industry. Although McCarthy’s accusations created a momentary controversy, they were quickly dismissed as mere sensationalism from a man whose career was rapidly slipping away. Senator McCarthy first made a name for himself in 1950 when he charged that over 200 “known communists” were in the Department of State. During the next few years, he alleged that communists were in nearly every branch of the U.S. government. His reckless accusations helped to create what came to be known as the Red Scare, a time when Americans feared that communists were infiltrating all aspects of American government and life. Despite the fact that McCarthy never managed to unearth a single communist, his ability to whip up public hysteria and smear opponents as communist sympathizers made him front-page news for several years. By 1954, however, his power was slipping. His earlier charges had been leveled at the Democratic administration of President Harry S. Truman, and Republicans had embraced McCarthy as a useful weapon. When Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower stepped into the presidency in 1953, however, McCarthy’s wild accusations became a nuisance and source of embarrassment to the Republican Party. Sensing that his base of power was eroding, in 1954 McCarthy embarked on a spectacularly unsuccessful effort to recapture public support by opening investigations into alleged communist infiltration of the U.S. Army. By early June 1954, the McCarthy-Army hearings had been going on for nearly a month. This was the first opportunity for the American public to get a firsthand view of McCarthy, as the hearings were televised. His bullying style and hysterical behavior quickly turned off the audience. In a desperate attempt to regain momentum, McCarthy charged that communists had also infiltrated the CIA and atomic weapons industry. No one took the charges seriously, and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, his brother, CIA Director Allen Dulles, and President Eisenhower brusquely dismissed McCarthy’s accusations as reckless and without basis. Just a few weeks later, McCarthy was thoroughly disgraced when the lawyer for the U.S. Army, Joseph Welch, gave him a devastatingly effective tongue-lashing, which ended with Welch asking the senator whether he had any sense of “decency” at all. The McCarthy-Army hearings collapsed soon thereafter, and the U.S. Senate voted to censure McCarthy. He died, still holding office, in 1957.
1965 – As US Marines and ARVN troops mount a joint operation against Vietcong forces in the vicinity of Chulai Air Base, they are supported by shells fired from the USS Canberra offshore.
1965 – The first contingent of Australian combat troops arrives by plane in Saigon. They will join the US 173rd Airborne Brigade at the Bienhoa air base. 400 more Australian combat troops will arrive by ship on 8 June.
1966 – The 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division and ARVN units begin the three-week long Operation Hawthorne/Dan Tang 61 in the Kontum province.
1966 – The US 1st Infantry Division and ARVN 5th Infantry Division begin a two-week operation, El Paso II, in Binh Long Province.
1966 – The U.S. space probe Surveyor 1 landed on the moon in Oceanus Procellarum and began transmitting detailed photographs of the lunar surface.
1967 – In Operation Union II, the 5th Marines in Quong Tin Province undertake fierce battle with two North Vietnamese regiments that ends in bunker-to-bunker fighting.
1967 – The USSR charges that US planes bombed the Soviet merchant ship Turkestan in the port of Campha, 50 miles north of Haiphong, and files a protest claiming two crewmen were wounded. The Soviets warn that ‘appropriate measures’ will be taken to ensure the safety of other ships.
1969 – Australian aircraft carrier Melbourne sliced the destroyer USS Frank E. Evans in half off the shore of South Vietnam. 74 people were killed.
1975 – Vice President Nelson Rockefeller said his commission had found no widespread pattern of illegal activities at the Central Intelligence Agency.
1971 – The Army announces that General John Donaldson, a former brigade commander in South Vietnam, has been charged with killing six Vietnamese and assaulting two others. The 42-year old West Point graduate, a top planner for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the highest ranking officer to be accused of killing civilians during the war, and the first general to be charged with a war crime since the Philippine Insurrection 70 years before. he is charged in connection with an incident in Quang Ngai Province in march 1969. Lieutenant Colonel William McCloskey, his operations officer in Vietnam, is accused of murdering two Vietnamese in a separate incident.
1972 – More than thirty USAF lanes and helicopters fly through heavy fire to rescue Captain R.C. Locher, who has been trapped northwest of Hanoi since his Phantom jet went down on 10 May.
1979 – NASA launched its S-198 space vehicle.
1986 – For the first time, the public could watch the proceedings of the U.S. Senate on television as a six-week experiment of televised sessions began.
1989 – 10,000 Chinese soldiers were blocked by 100,000 citizens protecting students demonstrating for democracy in Tiananmen Square, Beijing
1995 – A US Air Force F-16C was shot down by a Bosnian Serb surface-to-air missile while on a NATO air patrol in northern Bosnia; the pilot, Captain Scott F. O’Grady, was rescued six days later.
1997 – Timothy McVeigh, a former U.S. Army soldier, is convicted on 15 counts of murder and conspiracy for his role in the 1995 terrorist bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. On April 19, 1995, just after 9 a.m., a massive truck bomb exploded outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The blast collapsed the north face of the nine-story building, instantly killing more than 100 people and trapping dozens more in the rubble. Emergency crews raced to Oklahoma City from across the country, and when the rescue effort finally ended two weeks later, the death toll stood at 168 people, including 19 young children who were in the building’s day-care center at the time of the blast. On April 21, the massive manhunt for suspects in the worst terrorist attack ever committed on U.S. soil resulted in the capture of Timothy McVeigh, a 27-year-old former U.S. Army soldier who matched an eyewitness description of a man seen at the scene of the crime. On the same day, Terry Nichols, an associate of McVeigh’s, surrendered at Herington, Kansas, after learning that the police were looking for him. Both men were found to be members of a radical right-wing survivalist group based in Michigan, and on August 8, John Fortier, who knew of McVeigh’s plan to bomb the federal building, agreed to testify against McVeigh and Nichols in exchange for a reduced sentence. Two days later, a grand jury indicted McVeigh and Nichols on murder and conspiracy charges. While still in his teens, Timothy McVeigh acquired a penchant for guns and began honing survivalist skills he believed would be necessary in the event of a Cold War showdown with the Soviet Union. Lacking direction after high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and proved a disciplined and meticulous soldier. It was during this time that he befriended Terry Nichols, a fellow soldier who, though 13 years his senior, shared his survivalist interests. In early 1991, McVeigh served in the Persian Gulf War and was decorated with several medals for a brief combat mission. Despite these honors, he was discharged from the army at the end of the year, one of many casualties of the U.S. military downsizing that came after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Perhaps also because of the end of the Cold War, McVeigh shifted his ideology from a hatred of foreign communist governments to a suspicion of the U.S. federal government, especially as its new elected leader, Democrat Bill Clinton, had successfully campaigned for the presidency on a platform of gun control. The August 1992 shoot-out between federal agents and survivalist Randy Weaver at his cabin in Idaho, in which Weaver’s wife and son were killed, followed by the April 19, 1993, inferno near Waco, Texas, which killed some 80 Branch Davidians, deeply radicalized McVeigh, Nichols, and their associates. In early 1995, Nichols and McVeigh planned an attack on the federal building in Oklahoma City, which housed, among other federal agencies, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF)–the agency that had launched the initial raid on the Branch Davidian compound in 1993. On April 19, 1995, the two-year anniversary of the disastrous end to the Waco standoff, McVeigh parked a Ryder rental truck loaded with a diesel-fuel-fertilizer bomb outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and fled. Minutes later, the massive bomb exploded, killing 168 people. On June 2, 1997, McVeigh was convicted on 15 counts of murder and conspiracy, and on August 14, under the unanimous recommendation of the jury, he was sentenced to die by lethal injection. Michael Fortier was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined $200,000 for failing to warn authorities about McVeigh’s bombing plans. Terry Nichols was found guilty on one count of conspiracy and eight counts of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to life in prison. In December 2000, McVeigh asked a federal judge to stop all appeals of his convictions and to set a date for his execution by lethal injection at the U.S. Penitentiary at Terre Haute, Indiana. McVeigh’s execution, in June 2001, was the first federal death penalty to be carried out since 1963.
1998 – Space Shuttle Discovery was launched and it planned to pick up astronaut Andrew Thomas from the Mir space station.
1999 – The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. atomic watchdog, reported it could no longer verify the status of North Korea’s nuclear program, prompting the United States to seek economic sanctions.
1999 – The World Court rejected Yugoslavia’s contention that NATO bombing was unlawful and that the Western alliance was committing genocide. The court also refused to call for a cessation of hostilities.
2000 – President Clinton, visiting Germany, was honored with the prestigious International Charlemagne Prize at Aachen Cathedral.
2003 – Thousands of sacked Iraqi soldiers marched on the U.S.-led administration and threatened to launch suicide attacks on American troops in Baghdad unless they were paid wages and compensation.
2003 – North Korea said it has nuclear arms.
2004 – U.S. and Afghan troops backed by American warplanes fought Taliban militants in the mountains of southern Afghanistan, killing 17 insurgents and arresting eight.
2004 – Militants loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr clashed with U.S. forces near a mosque in Kufa and in Baghdad. Officials said 6 Iraqis were killed and 40 others wounded.
2007 – The U.S. Navy dock landing ship USS Carter Hill confronts pirates off the coast of Somalia after they had hijacked a Danish merchant vessel, the MV Danica White.
2012 – SAS and US Delta force conduct joint operation which successfully rescues 5 foreign aid workers from a gang of insurgents in Shahr-e-Bozorg district near the Afghan – Tajikistan border. SAS and Delta Force arrived by helicopter and took part in “long march” to a cave where the 5 aid workers were being held in a maze of caves. The two teams then engaged insurgents in a firefight and overpowered the heavily armed kidnappers, and the hostages were rescued in the cave assaulted by the SAS. 11 insurgents were killed in the assault and there were no SAS fatalities or injuries.
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