This Day in U.S. Military History…… October 25

25 October
1760 – King George III of Britain was crowned. He succeeded his late grandfather, George II and ruled until 1820. With the rule of George III the civil list (government officers, judges, ambassadors and royal staff) was paid by the Parliament in return for the king’s surrender of the hereditary revenues of the crown.
1812 – The U.S. frigate United States captured the British vessel Macedonian during the War of 1812. Soon after daylight, in latitude 29° north, longitude 29°30′ west, this American 44 fell in with, on her weather beam, the British 38-gun frigate Macedonian, Captain John Carden. The latter, then steering north-west-by-west, with the wind to the southward, immediately bore-up towards the United-States; whose force and national character (her colours being hoisted) were soon made out. At nine o’clock, finding that the British frigate was bearing down to the attack in a heedless and confident manner, the United-States opened a fire from her long 24’s; almost every shot of which struck either the hull or masts of the Macedonian. As the latter closed and hauled-up to fire her broadside, the American frigate bore-way a little, to retain the advantage of her superior skill in gunnery. Thus was the action maintained until nearly ten o’clock: by which time all the carronades on the Macedonian’s engaged side had been disabled, and much other damage and a very serious loss incurred; while the United-States was comparatively uninjured. Satisfied now, that her opponent was more than half beaten, and that there was little danger in closing with her, the United-States backed her main topsail, and, coming to the wind, opened a rapid and most destructive fire from the whole of her broadside; receiving in return the main-deck fire alone of the Macedonian, and that too ill-directed to be of much effect. By the time the action, from its commencement, had lasted full two hours, the Macedonian had had her mizzen-mast shot away by the board and her fore and main topmasts by the caps, her main yard cut to pieces, lower masts badly wounded, rigging of every sort destroyed, a small portion only of the fore-sail left to the yard, two guns on the main deck, and all on the quarter-deck and forecastle but two, disabled: she had also received upwards of a hundred shots in the hull, several of them between wind and water; had all her boats, except the jolly-boat towing astern, destroyed, and a great portion of her crew killed and wounded. While the British frigate lay in this defenseless condition, the American, in a comparatively perfect state, having shot ahead, was about to place herself in a raking position on the former’s bow. No alternative therefore remained; and at a few minutes past eleven the Macedonian hauled down her colors. Out of her 270 men at quarters and twenty-two boys, the Macedonian had her boatswain, one master’s mate, her schoolmaster, twenty-three seamen, two boys, and eight marines killed, her first lieutenant, (severely,) third lieutenant, (slightly,) one master’s mate, one midshipman, one first-class volunteer, fifty seamen, (two mortally,) four boys, (two with each leg amputated,) and nine marines wounded; total, thirty- six killed and sixty-eight wounded. The United-States is represented to have had her masts and rigging not materially injured, and to have received only nine shots in her hull: her loss, from the same authority, amounted to no more than five seamen killed, Lieutenant John Funk and one seaman mortally, and five others badly wounded.
1825 – Erie Canal opened, linking Great Lakes and Atlantic Ocean.
1864 – Skirmishes took place at Mine Creek, KS. About six miles south of Trading Post, where the Marais de Cygnes engagement had occurred, the brigades of Col. Frederick W. Benteen and Col. John F. Phillips, of Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton’s Provisional Cavalry Division, overtook the Confederates as they were crossing Mine Creek. These Rebels, stalled by their wagons crossing the ford, had formed a line on the north side of Mine Creek. The Federals, although outnumbered, commenced the attack as additional troops from Pleasonton’s command arrived during the fight. They soon surrounded the Rebels, resulting in the capture of about 600 men and two generals, Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke and Brig. Gen. William L. Cabell. Having lost this many men, Price’s army was doomed. Retreat to friendly territory was the only recourse.
1888 – Richard E. Byrd, U.S. aviator and explorer who made the first flight over the North Pole, was born. Born to one of the oldest and most distinguished families in the history of Virginia, Richard Byrd seemed destined for fame. First, Byrd sought a career in the U.S. Navy and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy. However, a series of injuries made it difficult for Byrd to serve as a naval officer at sea, where long watches were required. In 1916, Byrd retired from the Navy, but the advent of World War I returned him into active service. Byrd was particularly interested in the new technology of airplanes and earned his wings as a pilot at Pensacola. When World War I ended, Byrd maintained his interest in aviation and helped to navigate and plan the Navy team who achieved a transatlantic crossing by means of sea planes in 1919. After commanding the U.S. Navy pilots assisting Donald MacMillan’s expedition to Greenland in 1925, Byrd raised funds for his own expedition to fly across the North Pole in 1926, an accomplishment he announced on May 9, 1926. In recognition, the U.S. Congress awarded him the Medal of Honor and promoted him to commander. New York City threw a ticker tape parade. Byrd himself referred to his new status with both pride –and sometimes exasperation– as “the hero business.” Soon after, in 1927, Byrd added to his fame by leading a team that flew an airplane across the Atlantic Ocean, the third since Charles Lindbergh in that year. Antarctica, however, would become the major theater of Byrd’s career. Byrd led or participated in five expeditions to Antarctica, commencing in 1928. After the first expedition returned in 1930, Byrd received another ticker-tape parade in New York City, the others following the North Pole and the transatlantic flights. By the time of his death in 1957, Byrd was so closely affiliated with exploration and scientific investigation of Antarctica that some referred to him as the “Mayor of Antarctica.”
1923 – The Teapot Dome scandal came to public attention as Senator Thomas J. Walsh of Montana, subcommittee chairman, revealed the findings of the past 18 months of investigation. His case would result in the conviction of Harry F. Sinclair of Mammoth Oil, and later Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall, the first cabinet member in American history to go to jail. The scandal, named for the Teapot Dome oil reserves in Wyoming, involved Fall secretly leasing naval oil reserve lands to private companies.
1924 – Airship, USS Shenandoah (ZR-1), completes round trip transcontinental cruise that began on 7 October. The U.S.S. Shenandoah (ZR-1), the first American-built rigid airship, made her first flight on September 4, 1923. She was lost in a storm over southeastern Ohio on September 3, 1925, taking the lives of fourteen of her crew, including the ship’s captain, Lieutenant Commander Zachary Lansdowne. One of the ship’s officers, Charles Rosendahl, free-ballooned in the detached bow section along with a number of other survivors until the bow came to rest on the ground.
1929 – Former Interior Secretary Albert B. Fall was convicted of accepting a $100,000 bribe in connection with the Elk Hills Naval Oil Reserve in California. Fall served under Pres. Warren Harding.
1941 – South Greenland Patrol expanded to include 3 cutters of the Northeast Greenland Patrol and form the Greenland Patrol.
1942 – On Guadalcanal, the Japanese army again attempt attacks on the southern perimeter of the American positions. They are thrown back with heavy losses. Meanwhile, the Japanese navy mounts a major operation to support the offensive on Guadalcanal. Four battleships and the carriers Shokaku, Zuikaku, Zuiho and Junyo as well as numerous cruisers and destroyers. The carriers contain aircraft for use at Henderson Field airstrip when the Japanese capture it. A report to that effect has brought the carriers this close to the islands. The Americans have two carriers in the area, Hornet and Enterprise, with an attending battleship USS South Dakota close enough to provide anti-aircraft cover. The Japanese force is split into four for the operation. Numerically the number of planes are close, the Japanese have 212, the Americans have 171. The Americans discover the Japanese force first launching an attack which doesn’t find the Japanese ships.
1944 – On land, the US 1st Cavalry Division continues advancing on the northeast coast of Leyte. Other elements of US 10th and US 24th Corps, to the south, are inactive because of a lack of supplies. At sea, the Japanese Southern Force (Nishimura) and the 2nd Striking Force (Shima) engage American forces, commanded by Admiral Oldendorf, blocking the Surigao Strait. After suffering losses the Japanese withdraw. The Center Force (Kurita) passes through the San Bernardino Strait and engages US Task Force 77.4.3 (Sprague) which is then reinforced by aircraft from TF77.4.2 as it attempts to retreat. Center Force suffers some losses and Admiral Kurita chooses to withdraw because he believes the aircraft are from US Task Force 38. While Center Force turns back, TF77.4.3 is struck by Kamikaze strikes which sink 4 escort carriers. These are the first significant Kamikaze attacks recorded. At the same time, TF77.4.1 is also attacked by Kamikazes. Meanwhile, the Northern Force (Ozawa) is attacked TF38. Only the carrier-battleships (Ise and Hyuga) survive the day. During the engagement, two groups of TF38 turn back to attack Center Force but fail to arrive in time.
1944 – The USS Tang under Richard O’Kane (the top American submarine captain of World War II) is sunk by the ship’s own malfunctioning torpedo.
1945 – Japanese surrendered Taiwan to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.
1950 – U.N. forces approached to within 34 miles of the Yalu River, the Chinese Manchurian border, as the Chinese Communist Forces launched their First Phase Offensive around this date. UNC intelligence agencies remained ignorant of Chinese intentions and the extent of their commitment to intervening in the war.
1950 – Transport aircraft of the 315th Air Division hauled 1,962 tons of cargo for the largest 24-hour total for the war.
1951 – Peace talks aimed at ending the Korean Conflict resumed in Panmunjom after 63 days.
1952 – The 7th Infantry Division battled the Chinese near Kumwha and suffered 2,000 casualties during the Battle of Sniper Ridge.
1952 – The USS Missouri hurled 500 tons of high-explosive shells against entrenched enemy in the vicinity of Tanchon.
1958 – The last U.S. troops left Beirut.
1960 – Cuba nationalized all remaining US businesses.
1962 – U.S. ambassador Adlai E. Stevenson presented photographic evidence of Soviet missile bases in Cuba to the U.N. Security Council. Ambassador Adlai E. Stevenson demanded USSR and Zorin answer regarding Cuban missile bases saying ” Do you, Ambassador Zorin, deny that the USSR has placed and is placing medium- and intermediate-range missiles and sites in Cuba? Yes or no? Don’t wait for the translation. Yes or no? I am prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes over.”
1963 – Anti-Kennedy “WANTED FOR TREASON” pamphlets scattered in Dallas.
1966 – Operation Sea Dragon logistics interdiction began. North Vietnamese regulars and Viet Cong guerrillas were not exempt from this time-honored adage. They were dependent on the vast quantities of food and munitions smuggled across South Vietnam’s shores and waterways. It was because of this waterborne logistic highway that the destroyers Mansfield and Hanson sailed north toward the 17th parallel before dawn on October 25, 1966. At 0500 hours, the ships entered North Vietnamese waters and opened a new phase of the war, attacking WBLC (pronounced “wib-lic” and meaning waterborne logistic craft) and coastal lines of communication targets still in Communist waters. As part of Operation Sea Dragon, Seventh Fleet destroyers, cruisers and eventually one battleship participated in this new mission between October 1966 and November 1968.
1971 – The UN General Assembly voted to admit the People’s Republic of China and expel Nationalist China (Taiwan).
1972 – The first female FBI agents were hired.
1974 – The US Air Force fired its 1st ICBM.
1983 – 1,800 U.S. Marines and Rangers, assisted by 300 soldiers from six Caribbean nations, invaded Grenada at the order of President Reagan, who said the action was needed to protect U.S. citizens there. Helicopters touched down at Pearls Airport at 5 a.m. on 25 Oct., the PRA–People’s Revolutionary Army–greeted the Marines with bursts from small arms and machine guns. In pairs, the Marines scrambled out of the helos and immediately dug in, waiting for the choppers to leave. Three Soviet-made 12.7mm guns on a nearby hill fired at helicopters bringing in the second assault–Marines of Fox Company–to the town of Grenville, just south of Pearls, at 6 a.m. Sea- Cobra attack helicopters were called in to silence the guns and Fox Company landed amid light mortar fire. Echo and Fox companies moved slowly and cautiously after their landings; after a couple of hours, most of the resistance at Pearls and Grenville was beaten down. Army Rangers, arriving at the airfield at Point Salines at dawn the same day in C-130 [Hercules] aircraft, met much stiffer resistance than the Marines were encountering at Pearls. To avoid the anti-aircraft fire, the Rangers jumped from a very low altitude–500 feet. Machine-gun fire blasted at aircraft and Rangers on the ground. But US Air Force AC-130 [Spectre] gunships silenced the hostile fire with devastatingly accurate blasts. The airfield at Point Salines was blocked, a clear sign an assault was expected. There had been reports in the press on Saturday (Oct. 22) that the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States had met. It was probable that someone passed the word to Grenada that the United States and a Caribbean peacekeeping force would invade. Word had been put out on Grenada radio that the invasion would occur on Sunday. On Sunday, however, the United States was still discussing the risks of the operation and trying to ascertain how much resistance the Caribbean peace keeping force would meet. There were three or four dozen Cuban Army regulars in Grenada not organized into a regular military unit, but were primarily advisers and instructors to the Grenadian military as well as a handful of paramilitary Cubans–such as police and secret service types. There were also about 600 Cuban construction workers, all militarily trained, armed and trained. Even before securing Point Salines airfield on the first day, Rangers had moved to evacuate American students at the True Blue campus of St. George’s Medical Center. The campus, located at one end of the 10,000-foot runway the Cubans had been building, was reached easily and the students were rescued. A second campus at Grand Anse was farther away, and retreating Cubans and PRA units blocked the Rangers from the students. By afternoon the Point Salines air field was secured from all but sporadic mortar and small arms fire, and Rangers were moving against PRA positions near St. George’s, the capital. Other Rangers removed obstacles on the Point Salines runway, and elements of the 82nd Airborne Division flew in to add more people and heavier weapons to the assault. Meanwhile, Fox and Echo companies merged north of St. George’s and secured a flat, stadium-like area called the Queen’s Racecourse, which the Marines dubbed “LZ Racetrack.” The battalion landing team commander set up headquarters there. During the evening, Marines of Golf Company, from the tank landing ships Manitowoc and Barnstable County, landed at Grand Mal beach, just north of St. George’s, with 13 amphibious vehicles and five tanks. Throughout the first night, a constant stream of logistics aircraft landed and took off from the partially completed runway at Point Salines. Gunfire roared from ships and aircraft.
1985 – CGC Polar Sea arrived home to Seattle after a voyage through the Northwest Passage by way of the Panama Canal, the east coast, and then Greenland, sparking an international incident with Canada. She completed the first solo circumnavigation of the North American continent by a U.S. vessel and the first trip by a Polar-Class icebreaker. She also captured the record for the fastest transit of the historic northern route. She had departed Seattle to begin the voyage on 6 June 1985.
1990 – Defense Secretary Dick Cheney said the Pentagon was laying plans to send as many as 100-thousand more troops to Saudi Arabia.
1993 – Colonel Irene Trowell-Harris, from the New York Air National Guard, is promoted to Brigadier General on this date; thus becoming the National Guard’s first African American woman to hold general officer rank. She was serving as the Assistant to the Director, Medical Readiness, Office of the Surgeon General, Headquarters, USAF. She started her Guard career as a flight nurse by joining the 102nd Aeromedical Evacuation Flight, NY Air National Guard in 1963. She steadily moved up in rank and responsibility, becoming the nurse administrator of the105th Tactical Air Command Hospital in 1985. In 1986 she was appointed to command the 105th, the first nurse in Air Guard history to command a medical facility. Promoted to Major General in September 1998, she retired in September 2001.
1996 – Federal Judge Richard Matsch granted Oklahoma City bombing defendants Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols separate trials.
1996 – The US held back $100 million in arms until Bosnia cuts its ties to Iran. M-60 tanks, M-111 armored personnel carriers and 50,000 small arms, ammunition and supplies were part of the deal.
1998 – NATO generals left Belgrade with more assurances from Pres. Milosevic that enough forces will be withdrawn by the 27th deadline to avoid air strikes.
1999 – US and British jets attacked sites in the northern no-fly zone.
2001 – A day after the House signed on, the Senate sent President Bush a package of anti-terror measures giving police improved ability for searches and wiretaps.
2001 – A State Dept. mail worker in Virginia was diagnosed with the inhalational form of anthrax.
2001 – American warplanes dropped cluster bombs for the 1st time on Taliban front lines.
2001 – Operation Green Quest was the name given to a Treasury Dept. led task force headed by the Customs Service to crack down on financial sponsors of terrorism.
2002 – In Utah 2 F-16 fighter jets collided during training and 1 pilot survived. The 2nd pilot’s body was found Oct 26.
2003 – US-led coalition troops and Afghan militia killed 18 rebel fighters in a six-hour firefight in eastern Afghanistan.
2003 – In Afghanistan CIA officers William Carlson, 43, of Southern Pines, N.C., and Christopher Glenn Mueller, 32, of San Diego were ambushed and killed near the village in Shkin in Paktika province while tracking terrorists.
2004 – Hamid Karzai was assured of a majority in Afghanistan’s election to become its first democratically chosen president. A close to final tally soon gave Karzai 55.4% of the vote.
2004 – Saboteurs blew up a pipeline feeding Iraq’s biggest refinery.
2007 – The United States imposes economic sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard for its support of terrorism.
2011 – The last of the United States’ nine-megaton B53 warheads, formerly the most powerful nuclear weapons in the country’s nuclear arsenal, is disassembled near Amarillo, Texas, having been in service since 1962.
2014 – USS North Dakota (SSN-784), a Virginia-class submarine of the United States Navy, is commissioned. She will be the second U.S. Navy ship to be named for the U.S. state of North Dakota.

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