This Day in U.S. Military History…… June 5

5 June
1637 – The English and their Mohegan allies slaughtered as many as 600 Pequot Indians [in the area of Connecticut]. The survivors were parceled out to other tribes. Those given to the Mohegans eventually became the Mashantucket Pequots. American settlers in New England massacred a Pequot Indian village.
1794 – Congress passed the Neutrality Act, which prohibited Americans from enlisting in the service of a foreign power.
1794 – The Third Congress authorized an additional 10 revenue cutters and gave the Treasury Department the responsibility for lighthouses, beacons, buoys, and piers.
1794 – First officers of the U.S. Navy under the Constitution are appointed. The first 6 captains appointed to superintend the construction of new ships were John Barry, Samuel Nicholson, Silas Talbot, Joshua Barney, Richard Dale, and Thomas Truxtun.
1837 – Houston is incorporated by the Republic of Texas.
1848 – Army officer John C. Fremont submitted his “Geographical Memoir” to the US Senate where the SF Bay entrance was called Chrysopylae (Golden Gate). He had in mind the Chrysoceras (Golden Horn) of Constantinople, and suggested that the SF Bay would be advantageous for commerce.
1851 – Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery serial, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life Among the Lowly, starts a ten-month run in the National Era abolitionist newspaper.
1856 – U.S. Army troops in the Four creeks region of California, headed back to quarters, officially ending the Tule River War. Fighting, however, continued for a few more years.
1861 – Federal marshals seized arms and gunpowder at Du Pont works in Delaware.
1861 – Revenue Cutter Harriett Lane, Captain Faunce, USRM, engaged Confederate battery at Pig Point, Hampton Roads.
1862 – Union forces arrive at Fort Pillow, a key stronghold on the Mississippi River, to find that the Confederates had already evacuated the day before.
1863 – Battle of Franklin’s Crossing, VA (Deep Run).
1864 – Union forces under General David Hunter rout a Confederate force led by General William “Grumble” Jones, giving the North their first real success in the 1864 Shenandoah campaign. As part of his attempt to knock out the Confederates in Virginia, Union General Ulysses S. Grant sent Franz Sigel to neutralize Rebel forces in the Shenandoah Valley in western Virginia. But Sigel did little to assist Grant, instead presiding over a Union defeat at New Market on May 15. Hunter, who replaced Sigel, quickly moved toward the rail center at Staunton with some 11,000 soldiers and another 5,000 cavalry troopers. Resisting him were about 5,600 troops under the command of Jones and John D. Imboden, cobbled together from various Confederate units scattered about western Virginia. As the Union force marched south to Staunton, Imboden moved his part of the army to block the Yankees. They met north of Piedmont, where Hunter attacked on the morning of June 5 and forced Imboden to retreat. After being reinforced by Jones at Piedmont, the Confederates spread out to stop the Federals but left a small gap in their lines that later proved fatal. The Union troops pressed through the gap, and Jones was killed while leading an attempt to drive the Yankees back. The Confederate line was broken, and the Southerners retreated. Six hundred soldiers were killed or wounded, and another 1,000 were captured; the Yankees lost 800. Rebel opposition evaporated, and Hunter entered Staunton the next day. The victory cleared the way for Union occupation of the upper Shenandoah Valley.
1884 – Civil War hero General William T. Sherman refused the Republican presidential nomination, saying, “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.”
1912 – US marines invaded Cuba (3rd time).
1912 – Senator Charles E. Townsent of Michigan introduced a bill to consolidate Life-Saving Service and Revenue Cutter Service to form Coast Guard. The bill became law on 28 January 1915.
1917 – About 10 million American men began registering for the draft in World War I.
1917 – First military unit sent to France, First Naval Aeronautical Detachment, reaches France on board USS Jupiter.
1933 – The U.S. Congress abrogates the United States’ use of the gold standard by enacting a joint resolution (48 Stat. 112) nullifying the right of creditors to demand payment in gold.
1940 – The Battle of France began during World War II. The German army began its offensive on Southern France.
1941 – The US Army Bill for 1942 is introduced into Congress. It calls for appropriations amounting to $10,400,000,000.
1943 – The L.A. Zoot Suit Riot continues with attacks on all “pachuco”-looking males. A group of musicians leaving the Aztec Recording Company on Third and Main Streets are attacked. Attorney Manuel Ruíz and other Mexican American professionals meet with city officials. Carey McWilliams calls California Attorney General Robert Kenny to encourage Governor Earl Warren to appoint an investigatory commission.
1944 – Allied airborne troops embark for Normandy just before midnight. The convoys carrying the Allied Expeditionary Force are nearing France.
1944 – The BBC broadcasts a second message, intended for the French Resistance, warning of the imminent invasion. Again, the significance of the message is noted by German authorities but the 7th Army in Normandy is not alerted.
1944 – Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote a note to be issued in case the D-Day invasion turned out to be a failure: “Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold, and I have withdrawn the troops.” The note was [apparently misdated] dated July 5.
1944 – More than 1,000 British bombers drop 5,000 tons of bombs on German gun batteries placed at the Normandy assault area, while 3,000 Allied ships cross the English Channel in preparation for the invasion of Normandy-D-Day. The day of the invasion of occupied France had been postponed repeatedly since May, mostly because of bad weather and the enormous tactical obstacles involved. Finally, despite less than ideal weather conditions-or perhaps because of them-General Eisenhower decided on June 5 to set the next day as D-Day, the launch of the largest amphibious operation in history. Ike knew that the Germans would be expecting postponements beyond the sixth, precisely because weather conditions were still poor. Among those Germans confident that an Allied invasion could not be pulled off on the sixth was Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, who was still debating tactics with Field Marshal Karl Rundstedt. Runstedt was convinced that the Allies would come in at the narrowest point of the Channel, between Calais and Dieppe; Rommel, following Hitler’s intuition, believed it would be Normandy. Rommel’s greatest fear was that German air inferiority would prevent an adequate defense on the ground; it was his plan to meet the Allies on the coast-before the Allies had a chance to come ashore. Rommel began constructing underwater obstacles and minefields, and set off for Germany to demand from Hitler personally more panzer divisions in the area. Bad weather and an order to conserve fuel grounded much of the German air force on June 5; consequently, its reconnaissance flights were spotty. That night, more than 1,000 British bombers unleashed a massive assault on German gun batteries on the coast. At the same time, an Allied armada headed for the Normandy beaches in Operation Neptune, an attempt to capture the port at Cherbourg. But that was not all. In order to deceive the Germans, phony operations were run; dummy parachutists and radar-jamming devices were dropped into strategically key areas so as to make German radar screens believe there was an Allied convoy already on the move. One dummy parachute drop succeeded in drawing an entire German infantry regiment away from its position just six miles from the actual Normandy landing beaches. All this effort was to scatter the German defenses and make way for Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy.
1944 – The US 5th Army enters Rome in force and continues to advance in pursuit of the retreating German forces. Traffic congestion on the limited road network hinders the advance, as does the German rearguards.
1944 – On Biak, elements of the US 41st Division continue to advance, reducing pockets of Japanese resistance. On the mainland, near Aitape, American forces evacuate one of their beachheads because of continuing Japanese attacks. The Japanese forces are sustaining heavy losses.
1944 – The first B-29 bombing raid struck the Japanese rail line in Bangkok, Thailand.
1945 – On Okinawa, Japanese forces on the Oroku peninsula strongly resist the US 6th Marine Division which nonetheless captures most of the airfield. In the south the forces of the US 24th Corps near the last Japanese defensive line, running from Yuza in the west to Guschichan on the east coast and based on the three hills, Yaeju, Yuza and Mezado. At sea, a sudden typhoon damages 4 battleships, 8 aircraft carriers, 7 cruisers, 14 destroyers, 2 tankers, and and ammunition transport ship, of the US 3rd Fleet. A Japanese Kamikaze attack cripples the battleship USS Mississippi and the heavy cruiser USS Louisville.
1945 – The Allied Control Commission meets for the first time in Berlin. The country is to be divided into four occupation zones and Berlin is to be divided into four occupation sectors. Eisenhower, Montgomery, Zhukov and de Lattre de Tassigny meet in a riverside club which is the Soviet delegation headquarters. They sign a document, containing 15 articles, in which the four powers reaffirm the complete defeat of Germany and assume authority over all aspects of life in the country. The frontiers of Germany are identified as those which existed on December 31, 1937.
1945 – On Luzon, the US 37th Division (US 1st Corps) occupy Aritao and advance northward from the town.
1945 – A total of 473 US B-29 Superfortress bombers strike Kobe with 3000 tons of incendiary bombs.
1947 – In one of the most significant speeches of the Cold War, Secretary of State George C. Marshall calls on the United States to assist in the economic recovery of postwar Europe. His speech provided the impetus for the so-called Marshall Plan, under which the United States sent billions of dollars to Western Europe to rebuild the war-torn countries. In 1946 and into 1947, economic disaster loomed for Western Europe. World War II had done immense damage, and the crippled economies of Great Britain and France could not reinvigorate the region’s economic activity. Germany, once the industrial dynamo of Western Europe, lay in ruins. Unemployment, homelessness, and even starvation were commonplace. For the United States, the situation was of special concern on two counts. First, the economic chaos of Western Europe was providing a prime breeding ground for the growth of communism. Second, the U.S. economy, which was quickly returning to a civilian state after several years of war, needed the markets of Western Europe in order to sustain itself. On June 5, 1947, Secretary of State George C. Marshall, speaking at Harvard University, outlined the dire situation in Western Europe and pleaded for U.S. assistance to the nations of that region. “The truth of the matter,” the secretary claimed, “is that Europe’s requirements for the next three or four years of foreign food and other essential products–principally from America–are so much greater than her present ability to pay that she must have substantial additional help or face economic, social, and political deterioration of a very grave character.” Marshall declared, “Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos.” In a thinly veiled reference to the communist threat, he promised “governments, political parties, or groups which seek to perpetuate human misery in order to profit therefrom politically or otherwise will encounter the opposition of the United States.” In March 1948, the United States Congress passed the Economic Cooperation Act (more popularly known as the Marshall Plan), which set aside $4 billion in aid for Western Europe. By the time the program ended nearly four years later, the United States had provided over $12 billion for European economic recovery. British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin likened the Marshall Plan to a “lifeline to sinking men.”
1953 – U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Vermont Garrison, 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, became the 32nd ace of the Korean War and, at age 37, the oldest.
1963 – Movement of 15 Khordad: Protests against the arrest of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini by the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. In several cities, masses of angry demonstrators are confronted by tanks and paratroopers.
1964 – DSV Alvin is commissioned. Alvin (DSV-2) is a manned deep-ocean research submersible owned by the United States Navy and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The vehicle was built by General Mills’ Electronics Group in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Named to honor the prime mover and creative inspiration for the vehicle, Allyn Vine. The submersible is launched from the deep submergence support vessel RV Atlantis (AGOR-25), which is also owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by WHOI. The submersible has made over 4,400 dives, carrying two scientists and a pilot, to observe the lifeforms that must cope with super-pressures and move about in total darkness, as well as exploring the wreck of Titanic. Research conducted by Alvin has been featured in nearly 2,000 scientific papers.
1965 – The State Department confirms that US troops, assigned to guard US installations in Vietnam, are in fact, engaging in some combat against Communist forces.
1968 – Senator Robert Kennedy is shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after winning the California presidential primary. Immediately after he announced to his cheering supporters that the country was ready to end its fractious divisions, Kennedy was shot several times by the 22-year-old Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan. He died a day later. The summer of 1968 was a tempestuous time in American history. Both the Vietnam War and the anti-war movement were peaking. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated in the spring, igniting riots across the country. In the face of this unrest, President Lyndon B. Johnson decided not to seek a second term in the upcoming presidential election. Robert Kennedy, John’s younger brother and former U.S. Attorney General, stepped into this breach and experienced a groundswell of support. Kennedy was perceived by many to be the only person in American politics capable of uniting the people. He was beloved by the minority community for his integrity and devotion to the civil rights cause. After winning California’s primary, Kennedy was in the position to receive the Democratic nomination and face off against Richard Nixon in the general election. As star athletes Rafer Johnson and Roosevelt Grier accompanied Kennedy out a rear exit of the Ambassador Hotel, Sirhan Sirhan stepped forward with a rolled up campaign poster, hiding his .22 revolver. He was only a foot away when he fired several shots at Kennedy. Grier and Johnson wrestled Sirhan to the ground, but not before five bystanders were wounded. Grier was distraught afterward and blamed himself for allowing Kennedy to be shot. Sirhan confessed to the crime at his trial and received a death sentence on April 24, 1969. However, since the Supreme Court invalidated all death penalty sentences in 1972, Sirhan has spent the rest of his life in prison. He has never provided a clear explanation for why he targeted Bobby Kennedy. Hubert Humphrey ended up running for the Democrats in 1968, but lost by a small margin to Nixon.
1969 – There was a race riot in Hartford, Connecticut.
1972 – Testifying before a joint Congressional Appropriations Committee, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird says the increase in U.S. military activity in Vietnam could add up to $5 billion to the 1973 fiscal budget, doubling the annual cost of the war. This increased American activity was in response to the North Vietnamese Nguyen Hue Offensive, also called the Easter Offensive, which had been launched on March 31. This offensive was a massive invasion by North Vietnamese forces designed to strike the blow that would win them the war. The attacking force included 14 infantry divisions and 26 separate regiments, with more than 120,000 troops and approximately 1,200 tanks and other armored vehicles. The main North Vietnamese objectives were Quang Tri in the north, Kontum in the Central Highlands, and An Loc farther to the south. In response, President Richard Nixon had ordered massive support for the South Vietnamese defenders and their U.S. advisers. The number of U.S. Air Force fighter-bombers in Southeast Asia was tripled, and B-52s were quadrupled. Nixon ordered additional ships to join the 7th Fleet, sending the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk from the Philippines to join the carriers already off the coast of Vietnam in providing air support.
1986 – A federal jury in Baltimore convicted Ronald W. Pelton of selling secrets to the Soviet Union. (Pelton was sentenced to three life prison terms plus 10 years.)
1989 – Chinese soldiers slaughtered pro-democracy students at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. In one of the most remembered images of China’s crushed pro-democracy movement, a lone man stood defiantly in front of a line of tanks in Beijing until friends pulled him out of the way. In 2001 “The Tiananmen Papers,” a book based on classified documents smuggled out of China, was published. Zhang Liang was the pseudonym of the compiler.
1991 – The space shuttle “Columbia” blasted off with seven astronauts on a nine-day mission.
1993 – In Somalia, militiamen loyal to Mohamed Farrah Aidid killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
1993 – 2 US soldiers (trucker and engineer) are wounded in the bloodiest day in 3 months during running battles across Mogadishu. An 85 man company from 1/22 Infantry, 10th Mountain Division, is air assaulted in to repel further attacks.
1997 – Harold J. Nicholson, the highest-ranking CIA officer ever caught spying against his own country, was sentenced to 23 1/2 years in prison for selling defense secrets to Russia after the Cold War.
1999 – NATO commanders spelled out the withdrawal terms to Yugoslav military officers in a 5-hour meeting near the Macedonian border. More talks were scheduled.
2002 – It was reported that US intelligence believed that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed of Kuwait, a key bin Laden lieutenant, was the mastermind of the Sep 11 terrorist attacks.
2002 – The space shuttle Endeavour launched from Cape Canaveral carrying 7 new residents for the int’l. space station.
2003 – Speaking to U.S. soldiers in Qatar, President Bush argued the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was justified and pledged that “we’ll reveal the truth” on Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.
2003 – The United States agreed to pull its ground troops away from the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea.
2004 – Ronald Reagan (b.1911), US president (1981-1989), died in California after a long twilight struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.
2007 – I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Jr., former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, is sentenced to 30 months in prison after being convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the CIA leak grand jury investigation.
2008 – Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others are arraigned at Guantanamo Bay detention camp under the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and charged with crimes related to the September 11, 2001 attacks.
2014 – A AV-8B Harrier jet crashes in the U.S. city of Imperial, California, resulting in the destruction of three homes.

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