1758 – In the French and Indian War, the British captured Fort Duquesne in present-day Pittsburgh. On November 24, the French commander recognized that he faced total disaster if he were to resist. Under the cover of night, the French withdrew from Fort Duquesne, set it afire and floated down the Ohio River to safety. The British claimed the smoldering remains on November 25 and were horrified to finds the heads of some of Grant’s Highlanders impaled on stakes with their kilts displayed below.
1783 – Nearly three months after the Treaty of Paris was signed ending the American Revolution, the last British soldiers withdraw from New York City, their last military position in the United States. After the last Red Coat departed New York, Patriot General George Washington entered the city in triumph to the cheers of New Yorkers. The city was captured by the British in September 1776 and remained in their hands until 1783. Four months after New York was returned to the victorious Patriots, the city was declared to be the capital of the United States. It was the site in 1789 of Washington’s inauguration as the first U.S. president and remained the nation’s capital until 1790, when Philadelphia became the second capital of the United States under the U.S. Constitution.
1841 – The rebel slaves who seized a Spanish slave ship, the Amistad, two years earlier were freed by the US Supreme Court despite Spanish demands for extradition. John Quincy Adams (74), former US president, defended “the Mendi people,” a group of Africans who rebelled and killed the crew aboard the slave ship Amistad, while en route to Cuba. They faced mutiny charges upon landing in New York but Adams won their acquittal before the Supreme Court. In thanks they bestowed to him an 1838 English Bible. In 1996 the Bible was stolen from the Adams National Historic Site in Quincy, Mass.
1841 – 35 Amistad survivors returned to Sierra Leone, Africa.
1863 – Union General Ulysses S. Grant breaks the siege of Chattanooga, Tennessee, in stunning fashion by routing the Confederates under General Braxton Bragg at Missionary Ridge. For two months since the Battle of Chattanooga, the Confederates had kept the Union army bottled up inside of a tight semicircle around Chattanooga. When Grant arrived in October, however, he immediately reversed the defensive posture of his army. After opening a supply line by driving the Confederates away from the Tennessee River in late October, Grant prepared for a major offensive in late November. It was launched on November 23 when Grant sent General George Thomas to probe the center of the Confederate line. Stunningly, this simple plan turned into a complete victory, and the Rebels retreated higher up Missionary Ridge. On November 24, the Yankees captured Lookout Mountain on the extreme right of the Union lines, and this set the stage for the Battle of Missionary Ridge.The attack took place in three parts. On the Union left, General William T. Sherman attacked troops under Patrick Cleburne at Tunnel Hill, an extension of Missionary Ridge. In difficult fighting, Cleburne managed to hold the hill. On the other end of the Union lines, General Joseph Hooker was advancing slowly from Lookout Mountain, and his force had little impact on the battle. It was at the center that the Union achieved its greatest success. The soldiers on both sides received confusing orders. Some Union troops thought they were only supposed to take the rifle pits at the base of the ridge, while others understood that they were to advance to the top. Some of the Confederates heard that they were to hold the pits, while others thought that they were to retreat to the top of Missionary Ridge. Furthermore, poor placement of Confederate trenches on the top of the ridge made it difficult to fire at the advancing Union troops without hitting their own men, who were retreating from the rifle pits. The result was that the attack on the Confederate center turned into a major Union victory. After the center collapsed, the Confederate troops retreated on November 26, and Bragg pulled his troops away from Chattanooga. He resigned shortly thereafter, having lost the confidence of his army. The Confederates suffered 6,687 men killed, wounded, and missing, and the Union lost 5,824. Grant missed an opportunity to destroy the Confederate army when he chose not to pursue the retreating Rebels, but Chattanooga was secured. Sherman resumed the attack in the spring after Grant was promoted to general in chief of all Federal forces.
1864 – A Confederate plot to burn NYC failed. The leader of the “fire brigade” was a Confederate by the name of Robert Kennedy. Kennedy and the rest of his group met at the St. Dennis Hotel like planned. At that time final coordinates were made. Over the next few days his men were to each register for a weeks stay in several assigned hotels each — using assumed names and towns of course. This was to gain them access to rooms in the hotels. Arrangements had been previously made with a chemist residing in New York, but a Southern Sympathizer, to pick up a load of “Greek fire.” This was a special chemical combination that looked like water but, when exposed to air, after a delay, would ignite in flames. When Kennedy picked up the valise, he found it contained dozens of small bottles of the liquid and each bottle was sealed with plaster of Paris. Instructions were to use the bed in each room, pile it with clothing, rugs, drapes, newspapers, and anything else that would burn, Next, they were to empty two bottles of the “Greek fire” on top of the pile. In about five minutes, flames would ignite the pile. This delay gave them plenty of time to escape unnoticed before the fire started. After starting one fire, the man would then proceed to the next location and do the same. Each man would thus be capable of setting off several fires blocks from each other. Still making final arrangements on November 2 to finish the deed, a disturbing telegram was sent by Secretary of State William Seward to the Mayor of New York. It read: This Department has received information from British Provinces to the effect that there is a conspiracy on foot to set fire to the principle cities in the Northern States on the day of – the Presidential election. It is my duty to communicate this information to you.” Later that afternoon the telegram was made public. (The same telegram was also sent to the mayors of other major Northern cities like Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland.) At this time most of the Order members decided to abandon the plan and get out of the city in an attempt to save their own lives — all that is except for Kennedy and five of the seven members of his band. After several meetings, it was decided by Kennedy and the rest of his gang to go ahead with the plan and set New York City on fire. They wouldn’t be in a position to capture New York after all but at least they could retaliate for Sherman’s March to the Sea. On the evening of November 25, 1864 the fires began. Before the night was over almost every hotel in New York City had been set ablaze. These hotels included the St. Nicholas, St. James, Fifth Avenue, La Farge, Metropolitan, Tammany, Hudson River Park, Astor House, Howard, United States, Lovejoy’s, New England, and the Belmont. There were also fires on the Hudson River docks and a lumber yard. As a last minute thought, Kennedy decided to go into Barnum’s museum and up to the fifth floor where he could obtain a good view of Broadway and several of the fires. After watching for several minutes, Kennedy started going down the stairs. The remaining bottle of “Greek fire” dropped from his coat pocket and broke in the stairwell. Wasting no time, Kennedy ran from the museum, out the front door and on down Broadway. Meeting his band of men the next morning at the Exchange Hotel, one of the few that they hadn’t set fire to, Kennedy and his men read the morning papers. While there were some reports of the fires, the news didn’t fill the front page like they hoped it would. Both the Times and the Herald however headed the news of the fires as a “Rebel Plot.” Kennedy and his men managed to get out of New York City on November 28. Soon a $25,000 reward was offered. This, combined with Kennedy’s boasting of his role in setting the fires, led to his capture three months later. After a short trial, Kennedy was found guilty on all counts. At this time, Kennedy signed a confession but refused to name anyone else involved in the plot. On March 25, 1865, — just three weeks prior the Lincoln’s assassination — Kennedy was hung.
1864 – Confederate Cavalry under “Fighting Joe” Wheeler retreated at Sandersville, Georgia.
1867 – Alfred Nobel patented dynamite. In 1863, Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel invented the Nobel patent detonator (later used with dynamite) which detonated nitroglycerin (invented by Italian chemist Ascanio Sobrero in 1846) using a strong shock rather than heat combustion. In 1865, the Nobel Company built the first factory for producing nitroglycerin and later dynamite. Nitroglycerin in its natural liquid state is very volatile. Albert Nobel recognized this, and in 1866 he discovered that mixing nitroglycerine with silica would turn the liquid into a malleable paste (dynamite), which could be cylinder shaped for insertion into the drilling holes used for mining. In 1867, Albert Nobel patented this material under the name of dynamite – U.S. patent 78,317. To be able to detonate the dynamite rods he also invented a detonator or blasting cap that was ignited by lighting a fuse.
1876 – U.S. troops under the leadership of General Ranald Mackenzie destroy the village of Cheyenne living with Chief Dull Knife on the headwaters of the Powder River. The attack was in retaliation against some of the Indians who had participated in the massacre of Custer and his men at Little Bighorn. Although the Sioux and Cheyenne won one of their greatest victories at Little Bighorn, the battle actually marked the beginning of the end of their ability to resist the U.S. government. News of the massacre of Custer and his men reached the East Coast in the midst of nationwide centennial celebrations on July 4, 1876. Outraged at the killing of one of their most popular Civil War heroes, many Americans demanded an intensified military campaign against the offending Indians. The government responded by sending one of its most successful Indian fighters to the region, General Ranald Mackenzie, who had previously been the scourge of Commanche and Kiowa Indians in Texas. Mackenzie led an expeditionary force up the Powder River in central Wyoming, where he located a village of Cheyenne living with Chief Dull Knife. Although Dull Knife himself does not appear to have been involved in the battle at Little Bighorn, there is no question that many of his people were, including one of his sons. At dawn, Mackenzie and over 1,000 soldiers and 400 Indian scouts opened fire on the sleeping village, killing many Indians within the first few minutes. Some of the Cheyenne, though, managed to run into the surrounding hills. They watched as the soldiers burned more than 200 lodges-containing all their winter food and clothing-and then cut the throats of their ponies. When the soldiers found souvenirs taken by the Cheyenne from soldiers they had killed at Little Bighorn, the assailants felt justified in their attack. The surviving Cheyenne, many of them half-naked, began an 11-day walk north to the Tongue River where Crazy Horse’s camp of Oglalas took them in. However, many of the small children and old people did not survive the frigid journey. Devastated by his losses, the next spring Dull Knife convinced the remaining Cheyenne to surrender. The army sent them South to Indian Territory, where other defeated survivors of the final years of the Plains Indian wars soon joined them.
1940 – First flight of the Martin B-26 Marauder. The Martin B-26 Marauder was a World War II twin-engined medium bomber built by the Glenn L. Martin Company. First used in the Pacific Theater in early 1942, it was also used in the Mediterranean Theater and in Western Europe. After entering service with the U.S. Army, the aircraft received the reputation of a “Widowmaker” due to the early models’ high rate of accidents during takeoff and landings. The Marauder had to be flown at exact airspeeds, particularly on final runway approach and when one engine was out. The 150 mph (241 km/h) speed on short final runway approach was intimidating to pilots who were used to much slower speeds, and whenever they slowed down below what the manual stated, the aircraft would stall and crash. The B-26 became a safer aircraft once crews were re-trained, and after aerodynamics modifications (an increase of wingspan and wing angle-of-incidence to give better takeoff performance, and a larger vertical stabilizer and rudder). After aerodynamic and design changes, the aircraft distinguished itself as “the chief bombardment weapon on the Western Front” according to a United States Army Air Forces dispatch from 1946. The Marauder ended World War II with the lowest loss rate of any USAAF bomber. A total of 5,288 were produced between February 1941 and March 1945; 522 of these were flown by the Royal Air Force and the South African Air Force. By the time the United States Air Force was created as an independent service separate from the Army in 1947, all Martin B-26s had been retired from US service. The Douglas A-26 Invader then assumed the B-26 designation — before officially returning to the earlier “A for Attack” designation in May 1966.
1941 – Adm. Harold R. Stark, U.S. chief of naval operations, tells Adm. Husband E. Kimmel, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, that both President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull think a Japanese surprise attack is a distinct possibility. “We are likely to be attacked next Monday, for the Japs are notorious for attacking without warning,” Roosevelt had informed his Cabinet. “We must all prepare for trouble, possibly soon,” he telegraphed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Kimmel’s command was specifically at the mid-Pacific base at Oahu, which comprised, in part, Pearl Harbor. At the time he received the “warning” from Stark, he was negotiating with Army Lt. Gen. Walter C. Short, commander of all U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor, about sending U.S. warships out from Pearl Harbor in order to reinforce Wake and Midway Islands, which, along with the Philippines, were possible Japanese targets. But the Army had no antiaircraft artillery to spare. War worries had struck because of an intercepted Japanese diplomatic message, which gave November 25 as a deadline of sorts. If Japanese diplomacy had failed to convince the Americans to revoke the economic sanctions against Japan, “things will automatically begin to happen,” the message related. Those “things” were becoming obvious, in the form of Japanese troop movements off Formosa (Taiwan) apparently toward Malaya. In fact, they were headed for Pearl Harbor, as was the Japanese First Air Fleet. Despite the fact that so many in positions of command anticipated a Japanese attack, especially given the failure of diplomacy (Japan refused U.S. demands to withdraw from both the Axis pact and occupied territories in China and Indochina), no one expected Hawaii as the target.
1941 – The US Navy begins to establish compulsory convoying for merchant ships in the Pacific.
1943 – In Battle of Cape St. George, 5 destroyers of Destroyer Squadron 23 (Captain Arleigh Burke) intercept 5 Japanese destroyers and sink 3 and damage one without suffering any damage.
1943 – Bombers of the US 14th Air Force, based in China, raid the Japanes held island of Formosa for the first time. An estimated 42 Japanese aircraft are destroyed on the ground at Shinchiku airfield.
1943 – The Cairo Conference ends. Roosevelt, Churchill and Chaing Kai-shek meet. No major decisions are reached. No attempt is made to prepare a joint Anglo-American approach for the coming Teheran meeting with Stalin.
1944 – On Leyte, the advance of American forces is contained by Japanese defenses. Some US paratroopers advance across difficult terrain west of Burauen. At sea, Task Group 38.2 and TG38.3 conduct further raids on Luzon and surrounding waters. The air strikes, involving planes from 7 carriers, sink the cruisers Kumano and Yasoshima. Kamikaze attacks damage 4 of the carriers.
1944 – Forces of US 1st Army, to the southeast of Aachen, advance beyond Hurtgen.
1944 – Bombers of the US 8th Air Force raid the oil plant at Leuna and the Bingen railroad marshalling yards.1946 – Supreme Court granted Oregon Indians land payment rights from the U.S. government.
1947 – Meeting in what a newspaper report called “an atmosphere of utter gloom,” representatives from the United States, France, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union come together to discuss the fate of postwar Europe. The focus of the meeting was on the future of Germany. The atmosphere never appreciably brightened, and the meeting dissolved in acrimony and recriminations in December. The issue of what would become of Germany, which had been divided into sections occupied by forces from the four nations since the end of the war in 1945, was the key to understanding the failure of the meeting. The American delegation, headed by Secretary of State George C. Marshall, insisted on Western Germany’s participation in the European Recovery Program (ERP). This was the so-called Marshall Plan through which the United States pumped billions into the war-torn nations of western Europe in an effort to revive their sagging economies and establish a bulwark against the advance of communism in Europe. The Soviets, led by Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, responded by proposing an early reunification of Germany with no participation by that nation in the ERP. They also demanded heavy reparations from Germany. Marshall, French foreign minister Georges Bidault, and British foreign secretary Ernest Bevin opposed any plan that sought to economically cripple Western Germany or draw it away from western Europe, since Germany’s economic recovery was seen as essential to the recovery of all of western Europe. Since neither side was willing to compromise these positions in any essential form, the talks were doomed to collapse, which is just what happened. A newspaper account of the last minutes of the meeting was telling. Foreign Secretary Bevin asked the group, “Any suggestion as to the time or place of the next meeting?” This query was met with “dead silence.” In fact, despite the gloomy predictions for the meeting, it went as well as U.S. policy makers could have hoped. They staved off Russian attempts to push forward with German reunification and steadfastly supported Western Germany’s participation in the ERP. They had also decided prior to the meeting that should the talks fail, it should be made to appear that the Soviets were at fault. This they accomplished.
1950 – The Chinese released 57 U.S. prisoners in a propaganda move.
1950 – The Chinese Communist Forces launched their second-phase offensive.
1951 – A truce line between U.N. troops and North Korea was mapped out at the peace talks in Panmunjom, Korea.
1952 – After 42 days of fighting, the Battle of Triangle Hill ends as American and South Korean units abandon their attempt to capture the “Iron Triangle”. The Battle of Triangle Hill, also known as Operation Showdown or the Shangganling Campaign was a protracted military engagement during the Korean War. The main combatants were two United Nations infantry divisions, with additional support from the United States Air Force, against elements of the 15th and 12th Corps of the People’s Republic of China. The battle was part of American attempts to gain control of “The Iron Triangle”, and took place from October 14 – November 25, 1952. The immediate American objective was Triangle Hill, a forested ridge of high ground 2 kilometers (1.2 mi) north of Gimhwa-eup near the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The hill was occupied by the veterans of the People’s Volunteer Army’s 15th Corps. Over the course of nearly a month, substantial American and South Korean forces made repeated attempts to capture Triangle Hill and the adjacent Sniper Ridge. Despite clear superiority in artillery and aircraft, escalating American and South Korean casualties resulted in the attack being halted after 42 days of fighting, with Chinese forces regaining their original positions.
1956 – Fidel Castro and his 81 rebel exiles departed Mexico to liberate Cuba from the corrupt dictatorship of Fulgencia Batista. Che Guevara had recently joined Fidel and his band of Cuban rebel exiles as their doctor.
1957 – President Eisenhower suffered a slight stroke.
1961 – Commissioning of USS Enterprise (CVA(N)-65), the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, at Newport News, VA.
1963 – Three days after his assassination in Dallas, Texas, John F. Kennedy is laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was shot to death while riding in an open-car motorcade with his wife and Texas Governor John Connally through the streets of downtown Dallas. Ex-Marine and communist sympathizer Lee Harvey Oswald was the alleged assassin. Kennedy was rushed to Dallas’ Parkland Hospital, where he was pronounced dead 30 minutes later. He was 46. Vice President Lyndon Johnson, who was three cars behind President Kennedy in the motorcade, was sworn in as the 36th president of the United States less than two hours later. He took the presidential oath of office aboard Air Force One as it sat on the runway at Dallas Love Field airport. The swearing in was witnessed by some 30 people, including Jacqueline Kennedy, who was still wearing clothes stained with her husband’s blood. Seven minutes later, the presidential jet took off for Washington. The next day, November 23, President Johnson issued his first proclamation, declaring November 25 to be a day of national mourning for the slain president. On that day, hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of Washington to watch a horse-drawn caisson bear Kennedy’s body from the Capitol Rotunda to St. Matthew’s Catholic Cathedral for a requiem Mass. The solemn procession then continued on to Arlington National Cemetery, where leaders of 99 nations gathered for the state funeral. Kennedy was buried with full military honors on a slope below Arlington House, where an eternal flame was lit by his widow to forever mark the grave.
1968 – The conclusion of Operation Lancaster II ended 10 months of action against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army troops in the west-central sector of the demilitarized zone region. Over 1,800 enemy were killed, 42 captured, and 913 weapons seized during the operation.
1969 – Communist forces step up attacks against U.S. troops shielding Allied installations near the Cambodian border. Ten Americans were killed and 70 wounded. U.S. troops reported killing 115 enemy soldiers. North Vietnamese troops destroyed more than a dozen tanks and tons of ammunition near the Cambodian border.
1970 – World-renowned Japanese writer Yukio Mishima commits suicide after failing to win public support for his often extreme political beliefs. Born in 1925, Mishima was obsessed with what he saw as the spiritual barrenness of modern life. He preferred prewar Japan, with its austere patriotism and traditional values, to the materialistic, westernized nation that arose after 1945. In this spirit, he founded the “Shield Society,” a controversial private army made up of about 100 students that was to defend the emperor in the event of a leftist uprising. On November 25, Mishima delivered to his publisher the last installment of The Sea of Fertility, his four-volume epic on Japanese life in the 20th century that is regarded as his greatest work. He then went with several followers to a military building in Tokyo and seized control of a general’s office. There, from a balcony, he gave a brief speech to about 1,000 assembled servicemen, in which he urged them to overthrow Japan’s constitution, which forbids Japanese rearmament. The soldiers were unsympathetic, and Mishima committed seppuku, or ritual suicide, by disemboweling himself with his sword. Though his extreme beliefs did not gain him much of a following, many mourned the loss of such a gifted author.
1973 – In response to the 1973 oil crisis, President Richard M. Nixon called for a Sunday ban on the sale of gasoline to consumers. The proposal was part of a larger plan announced by Nixon earlier in the month to achieve energy self-sufficiency in the United States by 1980. The 1973 oil crisis began in mid-October, when 11 Arab oil producers increased oil prices and cut back production in response to the support of the United States and other nations for Israel in the Yom Kippur War. Almost overnight, gasoline prices quadrupled, and the U.S. economy, especially its automakers, suffered greatly as a result. The Sunday gasoline ban lasted until the crisis was resolved in March of the next year, but other government legislation, such as the imposing of a national speed limit of 55mph, was extended indefinitely. Experts maintained that the reduction of speed on America’s highways would prevent an estimated 9,000 traffic fatalities per year. Although many motorists resented the new legislation, one long-lasting benefit for impatient travelers was the ability to make right turns at a red light, a change that the authorities estimated would conserve a significant amount of gasoline. In 1995, the national 55mph speed limit was repealed, and legislation relating to highway speeds now rests in state hands.
1986 – Three weeks after a Lebanese magazine reported that the United States had been secretly selling arms to Iran, Attorney General Edwin Meese reveals that proceeds from the arms sales were illegally diverted to the anti-communist Contras in Nicaragua. On November 3, the Lebanese magazine Ash Shiraa reported that the United States had been secretly selling arms to Iran in an effort to secure the release of seven American hostages held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon. The revelation, confirmed by U.S. intelligence sources on November 6, came as a shock to officials outside President Ronald Reagan’s inner circle and went against the stated policy of the administration. In addition to violating the U.S. arms embargo against Iran, the arms sales contradicted President Reagan’s vow never to negotiate with terrorists. On November 25, controversy over the administration’s secret dealings with Iran deepened dramatically when Attorney General Meese announced that the arms sales proceeds were diverted to fund Nicaraguan rebels–the Contras–who were fighting a guerrilla war against the elected leftist government of Nicaragua. The Contra connection caused outrage in Congress, which in 1982 had passed the Boland Amendment prohibiting the use of federal money “for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Nicaragua.” The same day that the Iran-Contra connection was disclosed, President Reagan accepted the resignation of his national security adviser, Vice Admiral John Poindexter, and fired Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, a Poindexter aide. Both men had played key roles in the Iran-Contra operation. Reagan accepted responsibility for the arms-for-hostages deal but denied any knowledge of the diversion of funds to the Contras. In December 1986, Lawrence Walsh was named special prosecutor to investigate the matter, and in the summer of 1987 Congress held televised hearings on the Iran-Contra scandal. Both investigations found that North and other administration officials had attempted to cover-up illegally their illicit dealings with the Contras and Iran. In the course of Walsh’s investigation, eleven White House, State Department, and intelligence officials were found guilty on charges ranging from perjury, to withholding information form Congress, to conspiracy to defraud the United States. In his final report, Walsh concluded that neither Reagan nor Vice President George Bush violated any laws in connection with the affair, but that Reagan had set the stage for the illegal activities of others by ordering continued support of the Contras after Congress prohibited it. The report also found that Reagan and Bush engaged in conduct that contributed to a “concerted effort to deceive Congress and the public” about the Iran-Contra affair. On Christmas Eve in 1992, shortly after being defeated in his reelection bid by Bill Clinton, President George Bush pardoned six major figures in the Iran-Contra affair. Two of the men, former defense secretary Caspar Weinberger and former chief of CIA operations Duane Clarridge, had trials for perjury pending.
1994 – NATO warplanes buzzed the besieged “safe haven” of Bihac in northwest Bosnia but did not carry out airstrikes against rebel Serbs.
1995 – Serbs in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo took to the streets by the thousands to protest the peace plan, vowing to fight to the death.
1996 – In Iraq the government agreed to implement the UN conditions set for a $2 billion oil-for-food sale.
1997 – It was reported that Iraq’s agency for electronic eavesdropping, known as Project 858, spied on UN weapons inspectors.
1997 – In Russia Richard Bliss (29), an employee of Qualcomm Comm., was arrested for spying while performing land surveys using satellite receivers in Rostov-on-Don. Qualcomm was under contract to install a cellular phone system. Bliss was later released for a Christmas holiday with some assurance that he would return for trial.
2000 – Hundreds of military veterans and retirees, angered by the rejection of overseas absentee ballots in Florida, held a noisy demonstration in Pensacola, one of several rallies Republicans and Democrats staged across Florida.
2001 – US marines landed near Kandahar marking the 1st major use of US ground troops in Afghanistan.
2001 – Qala-i-Jangi revolt. Taliban fighters were being herded, as captured or surrendered, into the Qala-i-Jangi fortress near Mazar-I-Sharif, a few Taliban attacked some Northern Alliance guards, taking their weapons and opening fire. This incident soon triggered a widespread revolt by 300 prisoners, who soon seized the southern half of the complex, once a medieval fortress, including an armory stocked with small arms and crew-served weapons. One American CIA operative who had been interrogating prisoners, Johnny Michael Spann, was killed, marking the first American combat death in the war. The revolt was finally put down after seven days of heavy fighting. AC-130 gunships and other aircraft took part providing strafing fire on several occasions, as well as a bombing airstrikes. 86 of the Taliban prisoners survived, and around 50 Northern Alliance soldiers were killed. The quashing of the revolt marked the end of the combat in northern Afghanistan, where local Northern Alliance warlords were now firmly in control.
2001 – Taliban fighters in the vicinity of Tora Bora surrendered to Northern Alliance forces. Shortly before the surrender, Pakistani aircraft arrived to evacuate intelligence and military personnel who had been aiding the Taliban’s fight against the Northern Alliance. The airlift is alleged to have evacuated up to five thousand people, including Taliban and al-Qaeda troops.
2002 – Pres. Bush signed into law the Department of Homeland Security and named Tom Ridge as head of the Cabinet-level office.
2002 – Space shuttle Endeavour arrived at the international space station, delivering one American and two Russians, and another girder for the orbiting outpost.
2002 – UN Weapons Inspectors are allowed back into Iraq to resume their attempts to assess Iraqi weapons inventories and development.
2003 – Saudi police killed 2 militants and seized a car bomb ready for detonation in post Ramadan celebrations.
2003 – In Yemen security forces arrested Saudi-born Mohammed Hamdi al-Ahdal (32), the alleged mastermind of the attacks on the USS Cole, at a hide-out west of the capital, San’a.
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