This Day in U.S. Military History…… October 24

24 October
1590 – John White, the governor of the second Roanoke Colony, returns to England after an unsuccessful search for the “lost” colonists.
1742 – Gooch’s American Regiment of Foot is disbanded and its men, most weakened by tropical diseases, are boarded on ships to return them to their respective colonies. With the outbreak of war between Britain and Spain in 1740 the British authorities decided to capture the Spanish colony of Cartagena (today the nation of Columbia) in South America. The regular army was stretched too thin to support this effort so it was determined to organize an expedition from volunteers drawn from the militia of eleven of the English North American colonies. Two colonies, Georgia and South Carolina, were too involved in their own ‘war’ against Indian raids coming from Spanish Florida to aid in the Cartagena campaign. From the remaining 11 colonies a huge regiment numbering almost 3,500 men was organized. It was known by several designations as the 61st Regiment of Foot, the American Regiment and probably most frequently as “Gooch’s Regiment” after Virginia’s Governor, William Gooch, who served as its colonel. Keeping with the regional composition of the regiment, the 1st Battalion was composed of men from New England, the 2nd from New Jersey and New York, the 3rd from Pennsylvania and Delaware and the 4th from Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. Commanding a Virginia company in the 4th Battalion was Captain Lawrence Washington, older brother of George. The expedition proved an utter failure, due to incompetence in leadership and poor planning which had the men involved in a siege operation during the height of the malaria and yellow fever season. Only about 600 men survived the expedition. Perhaps the most lasting effect of the entire venture was when Lawrence Washington returned home he named his plantation “Mount Vernon” in honor of Admiral Edward Vernon, the British naval commander of the expedition. When Lawrence died in 1752 and George inherited the property he retained the name, which it still carries today.
1755 – A British expedition against the French held Fort Niagara in Canada ended in failure. British Governor William Shirley determined that this makeshift navy had been unable to prevent French reinforcement and resupply of the fort and decided to deoly the planned attack on Niagara until 1756.
1861 – West Virginia seceded from Virginia. Residents of thirty-nine counties in western Virginia approved the formation of a new Unionist state. The accuracy of these election results have been questioned, since Union troops were stationed at many of the polls to prevent Confederate sympathizers from voting. At the Constitutional Convention, which met in Wheeling from November 1861 to February 1862, delegates selected the counties for inclusion in the new state of West Virginia. From the initial list, most of the counties in the Shenandoah Valley were excluded due to their control by Confederate troops and a large number of local Confederate sympathizers. In the end, fifty counties were selected (all of present-day West Virginia’s counties except Mineral, Grant, Lincoln, Summers, and Mingo, which were formed after statehood). Most of the eastern and southern counties did not support statehood, but were included for political, economic, and military purposes. The mountain range west of the Blue Ridge became the eastern border of West Virginia to provide a defense against Confederate invasion. One of the most controversial decisions involved the Eastern Panhandle counties, which supported the Confederacy. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which ran through the Eastern Panhandle, was extremely important for the economy and troop movements. Inclusion of these counties removed all of the railroad from the Confederacy.
1861 – Western Union completed the first transcontinental telegraph line. The first transcontinental telegraph message was sent as Justice Stephen J. Field of California transmitted a telegram to President Lincoln. Telegraph lines linked the West Coast to the rest of the country and made the Pony Express obsolete late in the year.
1911 – Robert Scott’s expedition left Cape Evans for South Pole.
1915 – The Marine Corps Recruit Depot was moved from Norfolk and established at Parris Island, South Carolina.
1929 – Black Thursday—the first day of the stock market crash which began the Great Depression. Dow Jones was down 12.8%. Stock values collapsed and 13 million shares changed hands as small investors frantically tried to sell off their holdings, a new record; 4 million was the average of the day. Thousands of confused investors and brokers were ruined and banks, which had also invested heavily in the market, failed when they could not produce enough cash on demand for angry depositors. Most of the panic took place in the morning hours. The ticker tape machine fell behind by an hour and a half leaving investors madly scrambling to sell their investments without even knowing the current prices. Panic set in. People gathered outside the exchanges and brokerages, police were dispatched to insure peace. Rumors were flying. By 12:30 pm, the Chicago and Buffalo Exchanges closed down, eleven well-known speculators had already killed themselves and the NYSE closed the visitor’s gallery on the wild scenes below. Reporters learned that an important meeting was taking place at the office of J.P. Morgan and Company, involving many of the most important men in banking. After the meeting broke, Thomas Lamont, senior partner at Morgan – a company founded by a man who had help stop a panic in 1907, made the following statement to newspaper reporters: “There has been a little distress selling on the Stock Exchange… due to a technical condition of the market” and that things were “susceptible to betterment.” The market moved up a bit after Lamont’s statement, but the real recovery came at 1:30 pm, when self-confident Richard Whitney, vice-president of the NYSE and floor broker of J.P. Morgan and Company, walked into the exchange floor. The crowd went silent. Everyone expected an announcement that the NYSE would be closed. Instead, Richard Whitney surprised everybody… Whitney asked for the latest bid on U.S. Steel. “195” someone shouted. Then he promptly announced that he was buying 10,000 shares of U.S. Steel at 205. He immediately received 200 shares and then left the rest of the order with the specialist. He continued to make similar orders for over a dozen more stocks. Fear evaporated as investors became worried that they would miss the new boom. The market would have closed much higher if stop loss orders from earlier that day hadn’t been triggered during the upward surge. Needless to say, the recovery on Black Thursday was impressive, but so was the massive sell off earlier in the morning that gave it its name. Friday and Saturday morning sessions held steady as everyone became optimistic with the market’s ability to recover. These feelings were squashed on Black Monday.
1942 – On Guadalcanal, heavy fighting continues as the Japanese offensive gains some success with the secondary operations infiltrating the left wing of the America positions. The main operation against the south of the American perimeter begins at dusk and continues throughout the night. It is repelled.
1943 – Allied aircraft raid Rabaul, New Britain Island, for a second time in two days. One Japanese destroyer and five merchant ships have been sunk in the raids.
1943 – Elements of the US 5th Army capture Sant’Angelo, Italy. 34th Division moved up through the mist on the morning and entered the walled and narrow streets of Sant’ Angelo d’Alife without resistance.
1944 – On land, elements of US 1st Cavalry land on Samar. The fighting on Leyte continues. At sea, Japanese aircraft, based on Luzon, attack US Task Group 38.3 (Sherman), critically damaging the carrier Princeton. The Japanese Center Force (Kurita) is discovered by scout planes from US Task Group 38.2 and attacked throughout the day by all the carrier groups. The Japanese battleship Musashi is sunk and a cruiser is damaged and turns back. Center Force withdraws during the day. The Japanese Southern Force (Nishimura) is also sighted but American air strikes fail to cause significant damage. Admiral Oldendorf assembles a force in the Surigao Strait to block Southern Force. Meanwhile, Northern Force (Ozawa) locates TG38.2 and launches an air strike. The Japanese planes do not find the objective and land on Luzon. Late in the day, Admiral Halsey (commanding US 3rd Fleet) assembles his carriers and battleships to attack Northern Force, leaving Admiral Oldendorf to defend against Southern Force. During the night, Center Force reverses course.
1944 – “Ace of Aces” David McCampbell (1910-1996) and one other fighter faced 60 planes approaching US forces. He shot down 9 “Zekes” and with his comrade managed to scatter the remaining 51 planes at the battle of Leyte Gulf. “All available fighter pilots! Man your planes!” boomed the squawk box in Essex’ ready room. The ship’s radar had detected three large groups of Japanese planes coming in. David McCampbell, the CAG and the Navy’s most famous living aviator, considered this announcement. Earlier that morning, Admiral Sherman himself had forbidden McCampbell from joining a dawn sortie. Given his responsibilities as Commander of Essex’ Air Group and his public prominence as a top ace, McCampbell was too valuable. He decided that he was indeed “available” and headed for his airplane, Minsi III. His plane crew hurried to fuel Minsi III, which had not been scheduled to fly that day. With the Hellcat only partially fueled, the Flight Officer ordered it off the flight deck – either into the air or below to the hangar deck. McCampbell went up, leading Essex’s last seven fighters toward the Jap strike force. He and Ens. Roy Rushing got out in front of the other Hellcats, putting on all speed to intercept the Japs, then only 22 miles away. He directed the other F6F’s to get the bombers, while he and Rushing tackled the fighters. Surprisingly, the enemy fighters turned, allowing McCampbell and Rushing to gain altitude and a position behind them. Seeing over 40 Japanese fighters, McCampbell radioed back to the carrier for help. “Sorry, none available.” The enemy planes spread out in a typical formation of three V’s. McCampbell picked out a Zero on the extreme right and flamed it. Rushing also got one on this first pass. Incredibly, there was no reaction from the Japs as they climbed back up to regain altitude. The two Hellcat pilots dived back down on their quarry for another pass; McCampbell blew up a second Zero. Now the gaggle of Zeros, Tonys, Hamps, and Oscars reacted – by going into a Lufbery! McCampbell made a couple of head-on passes against the formation, but without results. A strange interlude ensued as McCampbell and Rushing climbed back up and circled, while the Japanese fighters continued to circle below. McCampbell radioed again for help; one of the Hellcats that had been going after the bombers headed his way. The Lufbery broke up and the planes headed toward Luzon in a wide Vee. The two American fliers closed in again on the formation. McCampbell opened up at 900 feet, and exploded his third plane of the morning. Rushing shot down his second one. Apparently low on fuel, the Japanese planes doggedly flew on, maintaining formation. On his next firing pass, gunfire coming from behind forced McCampbell to break off his attack and pull up. It was another Hellcat shooting too close to him. A few choice words straightened things out. Still the enemy planes didn’t turn and mix it up. McCampbell realized he could relax and take his time. This was practically gunnery exercise. He could focus on identifying his targets carefully. The next one was an Oscar. Again his six fifties roared anad blasted the Oscar’s wing root. It flamed for number four. Rushing had scored his third by this time. This continued for several more passes until McCampbell had downed 7 and Rushing 6. Rushing radioed that he was out of ammo, but he would stay on McCampbell’s wing while the CAG used up his remaining bullets. Two more passes and two more kills. As the Jap planes approached the security of their bases on Luzon, the two Americans’ low fuel finally ended the slaughter. The Hellcats broke off and headed for Essex. In one morning sortie, McCampbell had shot down nine enemy planes and Rushing six, an unparalleled achievement in American fighter aviation.
1944 – The China-Burma-India Theater (formerly under General Stilwell) command is divided into the India-Burma Theater (General Sultan) and the China Theater (General Wedemeyer) commands
1944 – Hitler informs his generals of his intention to launch a surprise counteroffensive against the weakly held Ardennes area of the Allied line.
1945 – The United Nations was born with the ratification of its charter by the first 29 nations at a San Francisco Conference chaired by the State Department’s Alger Hiss.
1946 – A camera on board the V-2 No. 13 rocket takes the first photograph of earth from outer space. Launched from the White Sands Missile Range in White Sands, New Mexico, the rocket reached a maximum altitude of 107.5 miles (173 km), well above the commonly accepted boundary of space at 100 kilometres.

1950 – General MacArthur removed all restrictions on the advance of non-Korean U.N. forces to the Yalu River.
1951 – Dr. Albert W. Bellamy, chief of Radiological Services for the California State Civil Defense, held a press conference to assure state residents that there would be no ill effects from the atomic test explosions near Las Vegas.
1951 – The largest air battle of the Korean War occurs at 150 MiGs attack a formation of B-29s escorted by 55 F-84 Thunderjets. Four of the bombers were destroyed and three others seriously damaged and one F-84 was lost. Eight MiGs were destroyed (an additional two probably destroyed) and 10 others heavily damaged.
1952 – Republican presidential candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower declared, “I shall go to Korea” as he promised to end the conflict if elected.
1954 – President Eisenhower sends a landmark letter to Diem. Although Eisenhower makes it clear to Diem that US aid to his government in Vietnam’s present ‘hour of trail’ is contingent up on his assurances of the ‘standards of performance [he] would be able to maintain in the event such aid were supplied,’ President Johnson later cites this letter as the starting point of the US commitment to South Vietnam. Diem agrees to the ‘needed reforms’ stipulated as a precondition for receiving aid.
1957 – The USAF starts the X-20 Dyna-Soar program to develop a spaceplane that could be used for a variety of military missions, including reconnaissance, bombing, space rescue, satellite maintenance, and sabotage of enemy satellites. The program ran to 10 December 1963, cost US$660 million ($5.08 billion today), and was cancelled just after spacecraft construction had begun.
1958 – USS Kleinsmith (APD-134) evacuates U.S. nationals from Nicaro, Cuba. While operating out of Guantanamo Bay 24 October, she rescued 56 U.S. citizens and 3 foreign nationals at Nicaro, Cuba, where they were endangered by military operations between the Cuban Army and the Castro rebels.
1962 – The U.S. blockade of Cuba during the missile crisis officially began under a proclamation signed by President Kennedy. Atlantic Fleet begins quarantine operations to force Soviet Union to agree to remove ballistic missiles and long range bombers from Cuba. On the day the quarantine was to take effect, the alignment of Soviet and free world nations continued to develop rapidly. The evening before, the U.S. position was presented to a special session of the United Nations Security Council. Soviet Ambassador Zorin’s speech in reply emphasized that the present crisis existed between the United States and Cuba and reflected a Soviet desire to avoid the appearance of a direct Soviet-U.S. confrontation. This approach appeared to be calculated to create a climate for a U.S. reversal of the quarantine stand, to diminish the military threat to the U.S. and to reduce tensions among Soviet Bloc masses. Other Bloc reactions were becoming known. The Polish regime was playing the Cuban crisis in low key to avoid panic and a strain on low food-stocks. Although that nation’s armed forces were alerted, there was no evidence of increased military activity. The Chinese communists issued a statement fully supporting the “just stand of the Soviet Government.” Various developments throughout the day suggested that the Soviet Bloc intended to proceed with extreme caution. This indication was supported by Zorin’s comparatively mild statements at the UN, the lack of any Soviet move to evacuate dependents in East Germany and elsewhere, and other political developments. Turkish officials, worried about the possibility of Soviet pressure to eliminate missile sites in their country in exchange for withdrawal of Russian missiles in Cuba, urged an increase in U. S. military aid to Turkey. Brazil backed off somewhat from her support of the arms quarantine with the statement that the Government did not support the “use of force which may violate an independent country’s territorial integrity and place world peace in jeopardy.” The Commander in Chief, Atlantic, established the surface quarantine line on an arc 500 miles from Cape Maysi between 27-30N, 75W and 20N, 65W. The line thus established was out of range of Soviet IL-28 “Beagle” bombers based in Cuba. The line was to be manned by 12 destroyers from Task Force 136.
1968 – At the National Air and Space Administration test pilot Bill Dana was at the controls of the North American X-15 rocket-propelled research aircraft when it made the 199th–and what turned out to be the final–flight of the X-15 program. He was flying the X-15-1, which had been the first of three aircraft to participate in a series of tests that spanned a decade and resulted in major advances for America’s space flight program. In the course of that research, the X-15s spent 18 hours flying above Mach 1, 12 hours above Mach 2, nearly 9 hours above Mach 3, almost 6 hours above Mach 4, one hour above Mach 5 and a few short minutes above Mach 6. The X-15 was hailed by the scientific community as the most successful research aircraft of all time.
1972 – Henry Kissinger in secret unauthorized talks in Paris proposed to end the war in Vietnam by this date, but was urged by Pres. Nixon to stretch the timing a few months so as to insure re-election in Nov. The peace agreement allowed North Vietnam to keep its army in the South.
1988 – The crew of the USS Vincennes received an emotional homecoming in San Diego, nearly four months after the cruiser downed an Iranian jetliner in the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 people aboard.
1995 – President Clinton and Chinese President Jiang Zemin met in New York, trying to stabilize relations shaken by disputes over human rights, trade and Taiwan.
1997 – Setting the stage for an upcoming summit, President Clinton rejected calls for a confrontational approach to China, arguing that isolating the Chinese would be “potentially dangerous.”
1997 – A UN director said that the Taliban of Afghanistan has agreed to enforce a ban on poppy production.
1998 – Officials from the US, China and North and South Korea seeking a permanent peace for the divided Korean peninsula announced in Geneva they had removed the last obstacles to full-blown talks.
1998 – Launch of Deep Space 1 comet/asteroid mission. Deep Space 1 (DS1) is a spacecraft of the NASA New Millennium Program dedicated to testing a payload of advanced, high risk technologies. The Deep Space mission carried out a flyby of asteroid 9969 Braille, which was selected as the mission’s science target. Its mission was extended twice to include an encounter with Comet Borrelly and further engineering testing. Problems during its initial stages and with its star tracker led to repeated changes in mission configuration. While the flyby of the asteroid was a partial success, the encounter with the comet retrieved valuable information. Three of twelve technologies on board had to work within a few minutes of separation from the carrier rocket for the mission to continue.
2000 – The space shuttle Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base following the 100th shuttle flight and work on the Int’l. Space Station.
2000 – In North Korea Kim Jong Il promised not to launch any ballistic missiles during talks with US Sec. of State Madeleine Albright in return for a package that included the launch of a North Korean satellite.
2001 – US jets attacked frontline Taliban positions for a 4th day.
2001 – The Pentagon accused the Taliban regime of planning to poison relief food supplies and to blame the US for resulting deaths.
2001 – The US government arranged to buy 100 million Cipro tablets from Bayer for 95 cents each. The tablets were for anthrax.
2001 – It was reported that Abdul Haq, a Pashtun opposition leader, had entered southern Afghanistan with some 100 men to open an ethnic-Pashtun front against the Taliban.
2001 – A NATO spokesman said peacekeepers in Bosnia had disrupted a Bosnian terrorist network.
2002 – John Allen Muhammad (41), an Army veteran who recently converted to Islam, and John Lee Malvo (17) were arrested near Frederick, Maryland, in connection with the sniper shootings that left 10 dead and 3 wounded. In 2003 a judge ruled that Malvo could be tried as an adult. Muhammad began to argue his own defense on Oct 20.
2002 – In Iraq officials told many foreign journalists to leave due to coverage of recent protests.
2003 – Iraq’s postwar reconstruction received a boost as nations from Japan to Saudi Arabia pledged $13 billion in new aid on top of more than $20 billion from the US. But the figure fell well short of the estimated $56 billion needed to rebuild the country.
2004 – A US Marine warplane bombed suspected militants trying to rebuild a command post in the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah.
2004 – A Soyuz capsule, carrying 2 Russians and an American, landed in Kazakhstan. The crew had spent 6 months at the int’l. space station.
2010 – South Korea and the United States cancel a joint naval drill against North Korea in the Yellow Sea, citing its previous anti-submarine training, held from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, and a desire “not to irritate neighboring countries” ahead of the upcoming 2010 G-20 Seoul summit.
2013 – Germany summons the United States Ambassador over claims that the US monitored Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.

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