This Day in U.S. Military History…… October 15

15 October
1789 – George Washington went to New England on the 1st presidential tour.
1813 – During the land defeat of the British on the Thames River in Canada, the Indian chief Tecumseh, now a brigadier general with the British Army (War of 1812), was killed.
1817 – Tadeusz AB Kosciusko (b.1746), Polish Lt-Gen. and American Revolution freedom fighter, died. Trained in military academies in Warsaw and Paris, he offered his services to the colonists in the American Revolution because of his commitment to the ideal of liberty. Arriving in America in 1777, he took part in the Saratoga campaign and advised Horatio Gates to fortify Bemis Heights. Later he fortified (1778) West Point and fought (1780) with distinction under Gen. Nathanael Greene in the Carolina campaign. After his return to Poland he became a champion of Polish independence. He fought (1792–93) in the campaign that resulted in the second partition (1793) of Poland. In 1794 he issued a call at Kraków for a national uprising and led the Polish forces against both Russians and Prussians in a gallant but unsuccessful rebellion that ended with the final partition of Poland. He was imprisoned, and after being freed (1796) went to the United States and later (1798) to France, where after the fall of Napoleon he pleaded with Alexander I of Russia for Polish independence. He died in Solothurn, Switzerland, and is buried in Kraków. His devotion to liberty and Polish independence have made him one of the great Polish heroes.
1818 – Irvin McDowell (d.1985), Major General (Union volunteers), was born. Union general in the American Civil War, b. Columbus, Ohio. He taught at West Point (1841–45) and was made captain for his service in the Mexican War. In the Civil War, McDowell, promoted to brigadier general in the regular army (May, 1861), commanded the Union troops at the first battle of Bull Run. After that defeat he commanded a corps under his successor, George B. McClellan. When the Peninsular campaign began, McDowell’s 1st Corps (then called the Army of the Rappahannock) was withdrawn from McClellan’s command to defend Washington. In the summer of 1862, McDowell’s force fought at the second battle of Bull Run. McDowell shared in the blame for that defeat and was removed from command. He later commanded various territorial departments until his retirement in 1882. He was promoted to major general in 1872.
1861 – The British steamship Fingal, purchased by James D. Bulloch for the US Southern Confederacy, ran into the Austrian brig Siccardi, which sank with her load of coal in England’s Holyhead harbor. The Fingal quickly sailed for Savannah. The Fingal was later converted to an ironclad and renamed Atlanta.
1863 – For the second time, the Confederate submarine H L Hunley sank during a practice dive in Charleston Harbor, S.C, this time drowning its inventor along with seven crew members.
1864 – Confederate troops occupied Glasgow, Missouri. While Maj. Gen. Sterling Price led his men westward across Missouri, he decided to send a detachment to Glasgow to liberate weapons and supplies in an arms storehouse, purported to be there. This combined mounted infantry, cavalry, and artillery force laid siege to the town and the fortifications on Hereford Hill. Before dawn Confederate artillery opened on the town and Rebels advanced on Glasgow by various routes, forcing the Yankees to fall back. The Union forces retreated out of town and up the hill toward the fortifications on Hereford Hill. There they formed a defensive line in this area, but the Confederates continued to advance. Convinced that he could not defend against another Confederate attack, Col. Chester Harding surrendered around 1:30 pm. Although Harding destroyed some Federal stores, Price’s men found rifle-muskets, overcoats, and horses. The Confederates remained in town for three days before rejoining the main column with new supplies and weapons and marching on towards Kansas City. The victory and capture of supplies and weapons were a boost to Price’s army’s morale.
1880 – Mexican soldiers kill Victorio, one of the greatest Apache military strategists. Victorio Beduiat; born ca. 1825 was a warrior and chief of the Warm Springs band of the Tchihendeh (or Chihenne, usually called Mimbreño) division of the central Apaches in what is now the American states of New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua.
1892 – US government convinced the Crow Indians to give up 1.8 million acres of their reservation (in the mountainous area of western Montana) for 50 cents per acre. Presidential proclamation opened this land to settlers.
1917 – USS Cassin (DD-43) torpedoed by German submarine U-61 off coast of Ireland. In trying to save the ship, Gunner’s Mate Osmond Kelly Ingram becomes first American sailor killed in World War I and later is awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism. He becomes the first enlisted man to have a ship named for him, in 1919.
1918 – Lieutenant Colonel William “Wild Bill” Donovan earned the Medal of Honor while leading his regiment, the 165th Infantry (formerly the 69th New York, the “Fighting 69th” of Civil War fame), 42nd “Rainbow” Division, in an attack to capture a German strongpoint. By acts of personal courage such as rallying platoons of soldiers decimated and about to break from enemy fire, he again led them forward. Though seriously wounded he refused to be evacuated and continued to command his men from a bomb crater. Eventually the Americans did have to withdraw after suffering devastating losses. Donovan started his Guard service by organizing his own cavalry troop which then commanded during its tour of duty on the Mexican border in 1916. He then joined the 69th New York just prior to the mobilization for World War I. Even before earning the Medal of Honor, in July 1918, he displayed extreme courage while leading a battalion in its attack on German positions in the Oureq River (called by the Irish of the 69th as the “O’Rourke River”) sector. For this action he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (the Army’s second highest medal for valor). In World War II Donovan organized and commanded the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of today’s CIA.
1940 – Major General Commandant Thomas Holcomb issued orders to mobilize the Marine Reserve for WW II.
1941 – The 1st mass deportation of German Jews to Eastern Europe.
1943 – In the US 5th Army offensive, the attack has moved beyond the Volturno River but the Germans have skillfully maintained their defensive front while being pushed back.
1944 – Around Aachen, elements of US 5th Army (part of US 12th Army Group) continue efforts to capture the city. To the south, the US 6th Corps, part of US 7th Army (part of US 12th Army Group), begins an offensive to the west of Epinal.
1944 – In the west, elements of US 5th Army gain ground near Livergnano and Grizzana. In the east, forces of British 8th Army also make progress.
1944 – US Task Group 38.4 conducts air strikes on targets north of Manila, on Luzon.
1946 – Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering poisoned himself hours before he was to have been executed.
1948 – First women officers on active duty sworn in as commissioned officers in regular Navy under Women’s Service Integration Act of June 1948 by Secretary of the Navy John L. Sullivan: CAPT Joy B. Hancock, USN; LCDR Winifred R. Quick, USN; LCDR Anne King, USN; LCDR Frances L. Willoughby, MC, USN; LT Ellen Ford, SC, USN; LT Doris Cranmore, MSC, USN; LTJG Doris A. Defenderfer, USN; and LTJG Betty Rae Tennant, USN.
1950 – General MacArthur, in a meeting with President Truman on Wake Island, predicted that the war would be over by Christmas and China would not intervene.
1951 – Operation DECOY, a mock amphibious landing near Kojo designed as a feint, was led by the battleship USS Iowa along with six carriers, four cruisers and more than 30 destroyers. Throughout the Korean War, U.S. and allied naval forces maintained a tight blockade of North Korean waters so the enemy could not use the sea to transport troops and supplies. Control of the sea also allowed the UN command to threaten other amphibious landings in the rear of the Chinese and North Korean armies arrayed along the 38th parallel. The enemy took the threat seriously and positioned sizeable troop units along both coasts and far from the front lines where they were badly needed. To keep the enemy’s attention focused on the sea, the fleet executed a number of naval feints and demonstrations. In Operation Decoy, Navy aircraft carriers, battleships, cruisers, and destroyers attacked Communist defenses around Kojo and Task Force 90 maneuvered as if to land elements of the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division near Wonsan. The enemy rushed forces to the coast to defeat amphibious assaults that never came.
1956 – Fortran, the first modern computer language, is shared with the coding community for the first time.
1960 – USS Patrick Henry (SSBN-599) begins successful firing of four Polaris test vehicles under operational rather than test conditions. Tests are completed on 18 October.
1962 – Despite State Department denials, several sources report that US helicopter crewmen have begun to fire first on Vietcong formations encountered during missions with South Vietnamese troops.
1964 – It was announced that Soviet leader Nikita S. Khrushchev had been removed from office. He was succeeded as premier by Alexei N. Kosygin and as Communist Party secretary by Leonid I. Brezhnev.
1974 – National Guard mobilized to restore order in Boston school busing. In June 1974, the courts had found the Boston School Committee guilty of willful segregation and called for forced busing of African-American students from Roxbury and other predominantly African-American neighborhoods, to predominantly white schools, including Hyde Park, South Boston, and Charlestown High Schools. Before the ruling, students were assigned to schools based on where they lived. As a result, schools were segregated based on the population of the students in the area. While in many schools the integration process went relatively smoothly, in Hyde Park, Charlestown, and South Boston, the integration plan resulted in anti-busing rallies and marches, as well as incidences of violence. October 7, 1974, a black man, André Yvon Jean-Louis was stabbed in an incident unrelated to the busing but still evidence of the racial tension, prompting Massachusetts Governor Francis W. Sargent to call in the National Guard. School boycotts, anti-busing marches, and violence continued.
1983 – US Marine sharpshooters killed 5 snipers at Beirut International Airport.
1993 – President Clinton sent six warships to the waters off Haiti to enforce trade sanctions in the face of defiant Haitian military rulers.
1994 – Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide returned to his country, three years after being overthrown by army rulers. The U.N. Security Council welcomed Aristide’s return by voting to lift stifling trade sanctions imposed against Haiti. The US had led an invasion, Operation Restore Democracy, to restore Pres. Aristide. Emmanuel “Toto” Constant left Haiti for the US when Jean-Bertrand Aristide was reinstated as president.
1997 – NASA’s plutonium-powered Cassini spacecraft rocketed flawlessly toward Saturn. It was destined to arrive at Saturn on July 1, 2004.
1997 – Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam guerrillas detonated a massive truck bomb in the parking lot of a major hotel next to the new World Trade Center in Colombo, killing 18 persons and injuring at least 110 others. Among the injured were seven US citizens and 33 other foreign nationals. The explosion caused extensive damage to several international hotels and the World Trade Center. 15-20 youths were said to have taken part in the attack. The Liberation Tigers were reported to be led by Velupillai Prabhakaran, the son of a fisherman.
1998 – Pres. Clinton opened the Mideast summit talks in Maryland between Arafat and Netanyahu in Washington that resulted in the Wye River land-for-peace agreement.
1998 – Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said that Sudan will allow the UN to investigate any site alleged to be making chemical weapons.
1999 – In Kosovo Some 100 people were injured as they tried to force their way against NATO forces across a bridge in Mitrovica to the Serb half of town.
2001 – US warplanes carried out their heaviest bombings in 9 days over Afghanistan. The Pentagon called in the slow moving AC-130 Spectre gunships to targets around Kandahar.
2001 – Anthrax in a letter to a Reno Microsoft office was reported to be from Malaysia. 2 anthrax-tainted letters were reported to have been mailed from Trenton, New Jersey and 2 postal employees there showed symptoms. Anthrax spores were in a letter deliver to a Senate office. Officials announced that a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle had tested positive for anthrax, and that the infant son of an ABC News producer in New York had developed skin anthrax.
2001 – Following the anthrax attacks in Florida and New York the EPA requested Coast Guard assistance. Members of the Atlantic Strike Team deployed to Washington, D.C., while Gulf Strike Team members were deployed to Florida. Strike team members conducted entries into the affected areas, collected samples, and assisted in the cleanup of those areas. The AST members in Washington coordinated entries into the U.S. Capitol, Hart Senate Building, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Government Printing Office, among others. The GST members took samples and provided decontamination stations at the American Media Inc. headquarters building and post offices in Boca Raton, Florida, the site of the first reported anthrax attack.
2001 – It was reported that Sheik Hamoud bin Uqlaa al-Shuaibi (80), a militant Wahhabi in Buraydah, Saudi Arabia, called on Muslims to wage jihad on supporters of the US military action in Afghanistan.
2002 – Allied planes bombed a military command facility in the southern no-fly zone over Iraq after taking fire from Iraqi forces.
2002 – In Iraq Saddam Hussein won the presidential referendum for another 7-year term. He claimed a 100% victory the next day.
2002 – A judge opened a criminal case against embattled Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, a day after U.S. and British experts began investigating allegations that he approved the sale of a radar system to Iraq.
2003 – In China Shenzhou 5 launched into orbit with air force Lt. Col. Yang Liwei (38) aboard, making China the third nation to put a human in space on its own, after the former Soviet Union and the United States.
2003 – In the Gaza Strip a remote-controlled bomb exploded under a US diplomatic convoy, ripping apart an armored van and killing three Americans.
2003 – Japan pledged $1.5 billion in reconstruction aid next year for Iraq and more down the line despite economic woes at home.
2003 – In Iraq the new dinar was launched. Exchange of the old currency was set to end Jan 15.
2003 – NATO launched its elite rapid-reaction force, a prototype unit that will eventually become a 20,000-member force able to deploy in short notice anywhere in the world.
2004 – US Marines launched air and ground attacks on the insurgent bastion Fallujah after city representatives suspended peace talks with the government over PM Ayad Allawi’s demand to hand over terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
2004 – US officials said 10 people, including a family of four, were killed when a car bomb exploded near a Baghdad police station.
2005 – Iraqis vote. The Iraqi public narrowly passes the draft constitution.
2005 – In a referendum, the new Iraqi constitution was ratified.
2014 – A second health worker tests positive for the Ebola virus in Dallas, Texas.

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