This Day in U.S. Military History…… March 30

30 March
1769 – Following the example of the Philadelphia merchants, Baltimore merchants join the non-importation movement by banning the purchase of English goods until the repeal of the Townshend Acts.
1775 – King George III endorses the New England Restraining Act, which forbids the New England colonies from trading with any other countries except England after 1 July, and also bans them from fishing in the North Atlantic after 20 July. On 13 April the provisions of the act will also be applied to Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia when Parliament hears that these colonies have ratified the Continental Association.
1820 – A group of New England missionaries arrives on the Hawaiian Islands, to be greeted by King Kamehameha II.
1822 – Congress combined East and West Florida into the Florida Territory. The Territory of Florida was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed until March 3, 1845, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of Florida. Originally the Spanish territory of La Florida, and later the provinces of East and West Florida, it was ceded to the United States as part of the 1819 Adams-Onís Treaty. It was governed by the Florida Territorial Council.
1825 – Confederate General Samuel Maxey is born in Tompkinsville, Kentucky. Maxey served in the West and led Native Americans troops in Indian Territory. Maxey attended West Point and graduated in 1846, second to last in a class of 59. He was sent immediately to fight in the Mexican War. Although he did well there and fought at the Battle of Cerro Gordo, Maxey resigned his commission after the war to study law in Kentucky. In 1857, he moved to Texas and became active in politics. When the war began, he raised a regiment, the 9th Texas Infantry, and took his unit to fight in Mississippi. Maxey was promoted to brigadier general in March 1862 and his force participated in the Vicksburg campaign before aiding in the defense of Port Hudson, Louisiana. He was fortunate to avoid capture when those locations fell into Union hands, and Maxey was shipped to assist in the Confederate siege of Chattanooga in September 1863. While there, Maxey received a promotion to commander of Indian Territory. In 1864, he worked to recruit and train members of the Cherokee, Creek, and Choctaw tribes. On April 18, 1864, troops under Maxey’s command attacked a Union wagon train at Poison Springs, Arkansas. They routed the federal force, which was led by the 1st Kansas Colored Regiment. Maxey’s men proceeded to kill all black soldiers who were wounded or captured. After the war, Maxey continued to support his Native American friends when he served in the U.S. Senate and was an outspoken advocate of Indian rights. He died in 1895.
1855 – In territorial Kansas’ first election, some 5,000 so-called “Border Ruffians” invade the territory from western Missouri and force the election of a pro-slavery legislature. Although the number of votes cast exceeded the number of eligible voters in the territory, Kansas Governor Andrew Reeder reluctantly approved the election to prevent further bloodshed. Trouble in territorial Kansas began with the signing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act by President Franklin Pierce in 1854. The act stipulated that settlers in the newly created territories of Nebraska and Kansas would decide by popular vote whether their territory would be free or slave. A few months after pro-slavery forces defrauded Kansas’ first election, the Kansas Free State forces were formed, armed by supporters in the North and featuring the leadership of militant abolitionist John Brown. In May 1856, Border Ruffians sacked the abolitionist town of Lawrence, and in retaliation a small Free State force under John Brown massacred five pro-slavery Kansans along the Pottawatomie Creek. During the next four years, raids, skirmishes, and massacres continued in “Bleeding Kansas,” as it became popularly known. In 1861, the irrepressible differences in Kansas were swallowed up by the outbreak of full-scale civil war in America.
1858 – Hyman L. Lipman of Philadelphia patented the pencil with an eraser attached on one end.
1864 – A boat expedition under the command of Acting Master James M. Williams, U.S.S. Commodore Barney, with a detachment of sailors under the command of Acting Master Charles B. Wilder, U.S.S. Minnesota, ascended Chuckatuck Creek late at night seeking to capture a party of Confederate troops reported to be in that vicinity. After landing at Cherry Grove, Virginia, shortly before dawn, the sailors silently surrounded the Confederate headquarters and took 20 prisoners.
1867 – The United States government put the finishing touches on the deal to purchase that “large stump of ice,” better known as Alaska. The acquisition, brokered in absolute secrecy by Secretary of State William Seward, saw the U.S. pay Alaska’s owner, Russia $7.2 million, or roughly two cents per acre of land. Though Alaska was the first bit of property ever relinquished by Russia, some American officials sneered at the seemingly barren new state. In certain circles, the deal was derisively known as “Seward’s Folly.” However, Alaska promised a few bright benefits for the U.S. Along with freeing another piece of the continent from the grip of monarchy, America’s newest state was flush with furs and fish. Rather than establishing a formal government in the territory, President Andrew Johnson reasoned that Alaska’s economic activities placed it under the charge of the Treasury Department, which regulated the fur and fish trades. In effect, Johnsonýs decision created a government monopoly and planted the seeds for conflict in Alaska’s not too distant future.
1870 – The 15th Amendment to the US Constitution, guaranteeing the right to vote regardless of race, passed.
1870 – Texas was the last Confederate state readmitted to the Union.
1891 – Arthur Herrington, American engineer and manufacturer; developed the World War II jeep, was born in Coddenham, East Suffolk, England. Immigrating to the United States with his family at the age of five, Herrington grew up in Madison, N.J., and was educated at the Stevens Preparatory School and Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, N.J. He was first employed by the Harley-Davidson Motor Company of Milwaukee. After World War I he was given a reserve commission in the Army and was retained as a consultant while returning to his civilian occupation. In France, Herrington had been impressed by the problems of conventional-drive vehicles in off-the-road maneuvering. He experimented with and designed a series of trucks with four- and six-wheel drives, which he built in association with the Marmon Motor Car Company of Indianapolis, Ind. These vehicles aided Allied troops during World War II; but none equaled the success and popularity of the smallest of the line, the quarter-ton jeep (apparently from the letters GP, for “general purpose”) reconnaissance car, noted for its outstanding stamina, versatility, power, and maneuverability.
1915 – Wilson protests the British blockade of German ports. His concern is for US shipping and neutral vessels destined for neutral ports. However, since most of these vessels are carrying cargoes which will ultimately find their way to Germany, Britain refuses to budge.
1940 – Japan establishes its own government in conquered Nanking, the former capital of Nationalist China. In 1937, Japan drummed up a rationale for war against Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist China (claiming Chinese troops attacked Japanese troops on maneuvers in a so-called “autonomous” region of China) and invaded northeastern China, bombing Shanghai and carving out a new state, Manchukuo. Money and supplies poured into Free China from the United States, Britain, and France, until the Burma Road, which permitted free passage of goods into China from the West, was closed after a Japanese invasion of Indochina. Making matters more difficult, Chiang was forced to fight on two fronts: one against the Japanese (with U.S. help in the person of Gen. Joseph Stillwell, Chiang’s chief of staff), and another against his ongoing political nemesis, the Chinese Communists, led by Mao Tse-tung. (Although the United States advised concentrating on the Japanese first as the pre-eminent threat, Chiang was slow to listen.) The Japanese proceeded to prosecute a war of terror in Manchukuo. With the capture of Nanking (formerly the Nationalist Chinese capital, which was now relocated to Chungking) by the Central China Front Army in December 1937, atrocities virtually unparalleled commenced. The army, under orders of its commander, Gen. Matsui Iwane, carried out the mass execution of more than 50,000 civilians, as well as tens of thousands of rapes. Nanking and surrounding areas were burned and looted, with one-third of its buildings utterly destroyed. The “Rape of Nanking” galvanized Western animus against the Japanese. On March 30, 1940, Nanking was declared by the Japanese to be the center of a new Chinese government, a regime controlled by Wang Ching-wei, a defector from the Nationalist cause and now a Japanese puppet.
1941 – The U.S. seized Italian, German and Danish ships in 16 ports.
1942 – Coast Guard was designated as a service of the Navy to be administered by the Commandant of Coast Guard under the direction of the Secretary of the Navy, similar to the administration of the Marine Corps.
1942 – The Joint Chiefs divide the Pacific into two command spheres. Admiral Nimitz is appointed Commander in Chief of the Pacific Ocean zone and General MacArthur, the Commander in Chief of the Southwest Pacific. This demarcation will lead to friction when planning the reconquest of the east.
1944 – The U.S. fleet attacked Palau, near the Philippines. First use of torpedo squadrons from carriers to drop aerial mines (Palau Harbor).
1944 – US forces occupy Pityilu Island to the north of Manus Island. There is little Japanese resistance.
1945 – The US 1st Army advances north out of its salient around Marburg and reaches and crosses the Eder River. US 3rd Army is attempting to strike east and north toward Gotha and Kassel.
1945 – In American air raids on the northern ports, the German cruiser Koln and 14 U-boats are sunk.
1945 – US naval forces, including TF58 and TF52, continue air strikes on Okinawa while TF54 continues bombarding the island. A Japanese Kamikaze plane badly damages the cruiser USS Indianapolis. Unsuccessful submarine attacks continue.
1945 – A Soviet cable was intercepted that referred to an agent named Ales, later suspected of being Alger Hiss. The intercepted cables were classified as part of the “Venona Project” released in 1996. The US began releasing the coded Venona cables in 1995. They implicated 349 US citizens and residents as Soviet helpers.
1946 – The Allies seized 1,000 Nazis who were attempting to revive the Nazi party in Frankfurt.
1950 – President Truman denounced Senator Joe McCarthy as a saboteur of U.S. foreign policy.
1951 – The heaviest air attack of the war was staged by 38 B-29’s on twin bridges over the Yalu River at Sinuiju, dropping some 280 tons of bombs. Escorting F-80s and F-86s engaged enemy MiG-15 jets, destroying three and damaging six.
1952 – A fire completely destroyed the headquarters of the 7th Cavalry Regiment at Camp Crawford, Japan. Many of the regiment’s souvenirs, some dating back to the time of Custer, were lost in the blaze.
1952 – Chou En-Lai, Foreign Minister, Peoples’ Republic of China, suggested that POWs not desiring repatriation might be placed in the temporary custody of a neutral nation until negotiations determined their final status. Prior to this proposal the communists had insisted on the repatriation of all POWs. Their new flexibility on this issue provided an opportunity to resume truce negotiations.
1965 – A bomb explodes in a car parked in front of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, virtually destroying the building and killing 19 Vietnamese, 2 Americans, and 1 Filipino; 183 others were injured. Congress quickly appropriated $1 million to reconstruct the embassy. Although some U.S. military leaders advocated special retaliatory raids on North Vietnam, President Lyndon B. Johnson refused.
1966 – The 7th Marine Regiment terminated Operation Indiana in Vietnam.
1972 – A major coordinated communist offensive opens with the heaviest military action since the sieges of Allied bases at Con Thien and Khe Sanh in 1968. Committing almost their entire army to the offensive, the North Vietnamese launched a massive three-pronged attack into South Vietnam. Four North Vietnamese divisions attacked directly across the Demilitarized Zone in Quang Tri province. Thirty-five South Vietnamese soldiers died in the initial attack and hundreds of civilians and soldiers were wounded. Following the initial assault in Quang Tri province, the North Vietnamese launched two more major attacks: at An Loc in Binh Long Province, 60 miles north of Saigon; and at Kontum in the Central Highlands. With the three attacks, the North Vietnamese committed 500 tanks and 150,000 men, as well as thousands of Viet Cong, supported by heavy rocket and artillery fire. After initial successes, especially against the newly formed South Vietnamese 3rd Division in Quang Tri, the North Vietnamese attack was stopped cold by the combination of defending South Vietnamese divisions (along with their U.S. advisers) and massive American airpower. Estimates placed the North Vietnamese losses at more than 100,000 and at least one-half of their tanks and large caliber artillery.
1975 – As the North Vietnamese forces moved toward Saigon, desperate South Vietnamese soldiers mobbed rescue jets.
1981 – President Ronald Reagan is shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C., hotel by a deranged drifter named John Hinckley Jr. The president had just finished addressing a labor meeting at the Washington Hilton Hotel and was walking with his entourage to his limousine when Hinckley, standing among a group of reporters, fired six shots at the president, hitting Reagan and three of his attendants. White House Press Secretary James Brady was shot in the head and critically wounded, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy was shot in the side, and District of Columbia policeman Thomas Delahaney was shot in the neck. After firing the shots, Hinckley was overpowered and pinned against a wall, and President Reagan, apparently unaware that he’d been shot, was shoved into his limousine by a Secret Service agent and rushed to the hospital. The president was shot in the left lung, and the .22 caliber bullet just missed his heart. In an impressive feat for a 70-year-old man with a collapsed lung, he walked into George Washington University Hospital under his own power. As he was treated and prepared for surgery, he was in good spirits and quipped to his wife, Nancy, ”Honey, I forgot to duck,” and to his surgeons, “Please tell me you’re Republicans.” Reagan’s surgery lasted two hours, and he was listed in stable and good condition afterward. The next day, the president resumed some of his executive duties and signed a piece of legislation from his hospital bed. On April 11, he returned to the White House. Reagan’s popularity soared after the assassination attempt, and at the end of April he was given a hero’s welcome by Congress. In August, this same Congress passed his controversial economic program, with several Democrats breaking ranks to back Reagan’s plan. By this time, Reagan claimed to be fully recovered from the assassination attempt. In private, however, he would continue to feel the effects of the nearly fatal gunshot wound for years. Of the victims of the assassination attempt, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and D.C. policeman Thomas Delahaney eventually recovered. James Brady, who nearly died after being shot in the eye, suffered permanent brain damage. He later became an advocate of gun control, and in 1993 Congress passed the “Brady Bill,” which established a five-day waiting period and background checks for prospective gun buyers. President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law. After being arrested on March 30, 1981, 25-year-old John Hinckley was booked on federal charges of attempting to assassinate the president. He had previously been arrested in Tennessee on weapons charges. In June 1982, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. In the trial, Hinckley’s defense attorneys argued that their client was ill with narcissistic personality disorder, citing medical evidence, and had a pathological obsession with the 1976 film Taxi Driver, in which the main character attempts to assassinate a fictional senator. His lawyers claimed that Hinckley saw the movie more than a dozen times, was obsessed with the lead actress, Jodie Foster, and had attempted to reenact the events of the film in his own life. Thus the movie, not Hinckley, they argued, was the actual planning force behind the events that occurred on March 30, 1981. The verdict of “not guilty by reason of insanity” aroused widespread public criticism, and many were shocked that a would-be presidential assassin could avoid been held accountable for his crime. However, because of his obvious threat to society, he was placed in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, a mental institution. In the late 1990s, Hinckley’s attorney began arguing that his mental illness was in remission and thus had a right to return to a normal life. Beginning in August 1999, he was allowed supervised day trips off the hospital grounds and later was allowed to visit his parents once a week unsupervised. The Secret Service voluntarily monitors him during these outings.
1982 – Space Shuttle program: STS-3 Mission is completed with the landing of Columbia at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
1994 – The Clinton administration announced it was lifting virtually all export controls on non-military products to China and the former Soviet bloc.
1996 – The space shuttle Atlantis narrowly avoided having to make an emergency landing when its cargo-bay doors wouldn’t open at first to release built-up heat.
1999 – Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic insisted that NATO attacks stop before he moved toward peace, declaring his forces ready to fight “to the very end.” The US called the offer “woefully inadequate.” NATO moved to step up the air war and Serbian forces continued unopposed in Kosovo as refugees streamed out. NATO answered with new resolve to wreck his military with a relentless air assault.
2000 – The United Nations Security Council votes to allow Iraq to import $1.2billion in spare parts and other equipment for its oil industry this year under the “oil-for-food” program. This is an increase from the previous $600 million annual value allowed.
2002 – The United States joined other U.N. Security Council members in adopting a resolution calling on Israel to withdraw its troops from Palestinian cities, including Ramallah, where Yasser Arafat headquarters was under siege.
2003 – In the 12th day of Operation Iraqi Freedom an Iraqi general, captured by British forces in southern Iraq, was pressed to provide information. A British TV correspondent covering the war in Iraq died after apparently falling from a hotel roof.
2004 – Philippine officials reported the arrest of 4 Muslim extremists in the brutal al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group. They were found with a stash of TNT targeted for terror attacks on trains and shopping malls in the Philippine capital. A suspected Muslim extremist told police interrogators he planted TNT in a television set on a ferry that caught fire last month, killing more than 100 people.
2005 – Fred Korematsu (86), who’d challenged the World War II internment policy that sent Japanese-Americans to detention camps, died in Larkspur, Ca.
2005 – Under heavy protection, First Lady Laura Bush visited the capital of Afghanistan, where she talked with Afghan women freed from Taliban repression and urged greater rights.

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