This Day in U.S. Military History…… October 3

3 October
1650 – The English parliament declared its rule over the fledgling American colonies.
1656 – Myles Standish, Plymouth Colony leader, died (birth date unknown). Myles Standish was one of the 102 English settlers who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620. He had served in Queen Elizabeth’s Army and was chosen to command the first group of men to go ashore when the ship reached New England. Occasionally he was called upon to defend the colony when it found itself at odds with the native peoples. His first wife, Rose, died during the winter of 1620/1. He had seven children with his second wife, Barbara.
1789 – George Washington proclaimed the 1st national Thanksgiving Day to be Nov 26. Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness: Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and their transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
1790 – John Ross, Chief of the United Cherokee Nation from 1839 to 1866, was born near Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. Although his father was Scottish and his mother only part Cherokee, Ross was named Tsan-Usdi (Little John) and raised in the Cherokee tradition. A settled people with successful farms, strong schools, and a representative government, the Cherokee resided on 43,000 square miles of land they had held for centuries. John Ross was the first and only elected Chief of the Cherokee Nation from the time it was formed until his death in 1866. Highly regarded for his role in leading the fight against removal and leading his people to their exile in Oklahoma, controversy was his constant companion once the Georgia Cherokee arrived. Ross had a private tutor as a youth. Although only one-eighth Cherokee, Ross played Native American games and kept his Indian ties. Early in his life he was postmaster in Rossville, Ga. and a clerk in a trading firm. The town he founded as Rossville Landing grew much larger than it’s namesake as Chattanooga, Tennessee. Growing up with the constant raids of whites and Indians, Ross witnessed much of the brutality on the early American frontier. The future Walker County was a hunting ground for both white and Cherokee raiding parties, strategically located midpoint between head of Coosa and Col. John Sevier’s band of marauders from Tennessee. “Little John” served as a Lieutenant in the Creek War, fighting with many famous Americans including Sam Houston. When future president and Cherokee oppressor Andrew Jackson called the Battle of Horseshoe Bend “one of the great victories of the American frontier,” losing 50 men while killing 500 Creek men, women, and children. Ross was invaluable to Moravians who established a mission on the Federal Highway near present-day Brainerd, Tennessee. Serving as translator for the missionaries, just as he had for Return J. Miegs, Indian agent for the Cherokee, Ross acted as liaison between the missionaries, Miegs, and the tribal council. He proposed selling land to the Moravians for the school, a radical idea in a society that did not understand the concept. Ross was viewed as astute and likable, and frequently visited Washington. After the death of James Vann, Ross joined Charles Hicks, with whom he worked, and Major Ridge as a member of the Cherokee Triumvirate. During the trip to negotiate the Treaty of 1819 in Washington, D. C. he became recognized for his efforts. Ross, one of the richest men in North Georgia before 1838 had a number of ventures including a 200 acre farm and owned a number of slaves. He would not speak Cherokee in council because he felt his command of the language was weak. After the death of Charles Hicks, and others in the early 1820’s, settlers believed that the Cherokee time was short. Ross and others decided to make legal moves to prevent the forced removal including organizing the Cherokee tribe as a nation, with its own Constitution, patterned after the Constitution of the United States of America. As president of the Constitutional Convention that convened in the summer of 1827 he was the obvious choice for Principal Chief in the first elections in 1828. He held this post until his death in 1866. Ridge, his close friend and ally, would serve the last years in Georgia as “counselor,” for lack of a better word to describe the roll. Over the first 10 years of his rule he fought the white man not weapons but with words. As the encroachment of the settlers grew, he turned to the press to make his case. When the Land Lottery of 1832 divided Cherokee land among the whites he filed suit in the white man’s courts and won, only to see the ruling go unenforced. His old friend Major Ridge and the Treaty Party signed away the Cherokee land in 1835. Ross got 16,000 signatures of Cherokees to show the party did not speak for a majority of the tribe, but Andrew Jackson forced the treaty through Congress. He lost his first wife, Quatie, on the “Trail Where They Cried,” or as it is more commonly known, the Trail of Tears. After his forced departure from the State of Georgia, Ross was embroiled in a number of controversies. Internal and external conflict kept him busy for the rest of his life.
1794 – On this date President George Washington called on the governors of four states; Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia to furnish troops from their militia to march to western Pennsylvania to restore the peace and end the “Whiskey Rebellion.” Congress had enacted a tax on whiskey in 1791 and the result sparked mob actions from farmers in western Pennsylvania. They attacked excise agents, tax collectors and finally a federal marshal trying to enforce the law. This act and other provocations were enough for the president. This marked the first time under the Constitution that militia (Guard) units would be called up for federal active duty. A total of 13,000 militia were raised and instructed to converge on two locations before linking up into one army. Elements from Maryland and Virginia, under the command of Virginia Governor Henry “Light Horse” Lee (a Revolutionary War hero and father of Robert E. Lee) met at Fort Cumberland, MD. One of the men serving in Captain Thomas Walker’s Volunteer Corps from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia was Private Meriwether Lewis, who would with fellow Virginian William Clark, command the “Corps of Discovery” exploring the American west in 1803-1805. Other units from Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania gathered at the town of Harrisburg, PA (this city would not become the capital of PA until 1812). President Washington, acting in his role as “Commander-in-Chief”, donned a military uniform and inspected the troops first at Harrisburg on this date and later in October at Ft. Cumberland. This marks the only time an American president has actually taken command of troops in the field. Washington was planning on leading the Army himself but changed his mind and turned command over to Lee. As the Army moved into western Pennsylvania the revolt collapsed with little bloodshed. The ringleaders were later tried and convicted, but they were all pardoned by Washington.
1862 – At the Battle of Corinth, in Mississippi, a Union army defeated the Confederates. After the Battle of Iuka, Maj. Gen. Sterling Price’s Confederate Army of the West marched from Baldwyn to Ripley where it joined Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn’s Army of West Tennessee. Van Dorn was senior officer and took command of the combined force numbering about 22,000 men. The Rebels marched to Pocahontas on October 1, and then moved southeast toward Corinth. They hoped to seize Corinth and then sweep into Middle Tennessee. Since the Siege of Corinth, in the spring, Union forces had erected various fortifications, an inner and intermediate line, to protect Corinth, an important transportation center. With the Confederate approach, the Federals, numbering about 23,000, occupied the outer line of fortifications and placed men in front of them. Van Dorn arrived within three miles of Corinth at 10:00 am on October 3, and moved into some fieldworks that the Confederates had erected for the siege of Corinth. The fighting began, and the Confederates steadily pushed the Yankees rearward. A gap occurred between two Union brigades which the Confederates exploited around 1:00 pm. The Union troops moved back in a futile effort to close the gap. Price then attacked and drove the Federals back further to their inner line. By evening, Van Dorn was sure that he could finish the Federals off during the next day. This confidence–combined with the heat, fatigue, and water shortages–persuaded him to cancel any further operations that day. Rosecrans regrouped his men in the fortifications to be ready for the attack to come the next morning. Van Dorn had planned to attack at daybreak, but Brig. Gen. Louis Hébert’s sickness postponed it till 9:00 am. As the Confederates moved forward, Union artillery swept the field causing heavy casualties, but the Rebels continued on. They stormed Battery Powell and closed on Battery Robinett, where desperate hand-to-hand fighting ensued. A few Rebels fought their way into Corinth, but the Federals quickly drove them out. The Federals continued on, recapturing Battery Powell, and forcing Van Dorn into a general retreat. Rosecrans postponed any pursuit until the next day. As a result, Van Dorn was defeated, but not destroyed or captured, at Hatchie Bridge, Tennessee, on October 5.
1863 – President Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November, Thanksgiving Day. Credit for establishing Thanksgiving as a national holiday is usually given to Sarah J. Hale, editor and founder of the Ladies’ Magazine in Boston. Her editorials in the magazine and letters to President Lincoln urging the formal establishment of a national holiday of Thanksgiving resulted in Lincoln’s proclamation, which designated the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day. Later presidents followed this example, with the exception of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who in 1939 proclaimed Thanksgiving Day a week earlier–on the fourth, not the last, Thursday of November–in effort to encourage more holiday shopping. In 1941 Congress adopted a joint resolution, permanently setting the date of Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November.
1873 – Captain Jack and three other Modoc Indians were hanged in Oregon for the murder of General Edward Canby. Captain Jack’s advisors had suggested that the Army would leave if their leader, General Edward Canby, were killed, and Captain Jack called for peace negotiations. On April 11, on a pre-arranged signal during a peace conference, Captain Jack and some of his men pulled out pistols and killed the negotiating team, Captain Jack personally killing General Canby, who thus became the only General to be killed during the Indian Wars. The murder did not have the desired effect; the Army, now under the command of General Jefferson C. Davis, was reinforced with over 1000 men. On April 14, the Army attacked the stronghold again, and forced the Modoc to flee. Over the next several months, various groups of Modoc continued to fight the army, while many began to surrender. On June 1, Captain Jack laid down his rifle and surrendered. Captain Jack was taken to Fort Klamath, Oregon and was hanged with three of his warriors for the murder of General Canby and the negotiators.
1912 – Marines participated in the Battles of Coyotepe and Barranca Hills during the Nicaraguan Campaign. Located on the end of the Masaya Lagoon are two large hills, one called Coyotepe and the other called La Barranca. Before the Marines showed up, Liberal forces fortified both hills. Coyotepe was the more strategic of the two as the main railroad leading from Granada to Managua passes directly under its heights; a few small pieces of artillery on Coyotepe can effectively disrupt traffic since it also overlooks the main road between Masaya and Granada. It was obvious that the Marines would have to take the hill in order to control access to Granada and defeat the rebel coalition of Zeledón and Mena. Telegrams were exchanged between the U.S. forces and Zeledón: the Marines asked him to leave Coyotepe: he politely refused and told them they would have to fight him. Before dawn on October 4, 1912, Company “C” of the First Battalion, First Provisional Regiment, U.S. Marines, Nicaraguan Expedition, under the command of Colonel Joseph H. Pendleton, assembled at the foot of Coyotepe Hill and made ready their assault. At first light they started up the hill. They shot their way to the top, and took control of Coyotepe Hill. Zeledón’s forces had retreated off the hill as the Marines approached the summit. Irregulars from Conservative forces began combing the area for Zeledón and his men. The next morning near Diriomo, Zeledón ran into a Conservative force and shot it out with them. He was struck in the spine by a bullet. He was taken by mule or by wagon, according to different versions, to Catarina. The wound had been fatal and he was dead on arrival. Another version has Zeledón being captured in Catarina and taken to Masaya where he was executed on orders from the Marines. The corpse was then paraded through the streets. A young Augusto César Sandino may have witnessed this procession, or perhaps his burial in the cemetery at Catarina. Zeledón lay there, unremarked upon, until Sandinista Comandante Tomás Borge dedicated a large monument in the form of a Winchester rifle to him in 1980. Regarding the assault, the only accurate account of the battle and the condition of the hill at the time of the battle is found in an address that Colonel Pendleton gave in 1913 at the dedication of a plaque to honor the dead who took part in that battle. That plaque is mounted on a wall in the Marine barracks in Boston, where the great majority of the men who took part in the assault had come from. Pendleton finally told what happened on the hill outside of Masaya. Commanded in the field by Captain Fortson, Company “C” had made it part way up the hill before they were detected by a sentry stationed on the summit of Coyotepe, who started waving a sword. The strategy of the Marines was to have one group of soldiers pin down the defenders with accurate rifle fire as the others climbed the hill. This worked until the Marines reached an open space right under the summit. A machine gun had been placed to cover it, and it was also blocked with barbed wire. As soon as the Marines made it there, three were shot dead and several others were wounded seriously. A fourth Marine named Durham continued forward and was shot down, but not before he had managed to cut the barbed wire. The Marines then took the summit. The assault on Coyotepe was over. American losses were four killed and several wounded; Nicaraguan losses unknown.
1918 – The first phase of the Meuse-Argonne offensive ends with two of three German defensive lines in US hands. The Germans have been rushing reinforcements to the sector, and the pace of the advance begins to slow.
1921 – USS Olympia sails for France to bring home the Unknown Soldier from World War I. The bodies of many soldiers killed in World War I could not be identified. To honor them, the remains of one were brought to the U.S. Capitol to lie in state, and on Armistice Day 1921 they were ceremoniously buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The tomb bears the inscription “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.” Congress later directed that an “Unknown American” from subsequent wars — World War II, Korea and Vietnam — be similarly honored. Because of the development of DNA technology, the unknown soldier from the Vietnam War was recently exhumed and identified. There may never be another unknown soldier.
1940 – After a month of training and experimentation the U.S. Army adopted airborne, or parachute, soldiers. In 1935 the Russians had a head start on Airborne warfare and made the world’s first spectacular use of parachutists. Despite this early entrance upon the Airborne stage the USSR made little use of Airborne troops in World War II. Their activities were principally concerned with the dropping of supplies and individuals for guerrilla activities. However, their prewar example inspired enthusiasm among the Germans, French, and British. The British organized parachute forces in 1936 and used them continually in their maneuvers. The French organized a parachute battalion in 1938 but inactivated it in 1939. It was left to the Germans to develop and use paratroopers and glider-borne soldiers in mass operations. Their first use was in the sweep across Holland and Belgium, where paratroopers were used to seize key bridges and the powerful Belgian fortress Eben Emael. Their successful tactical use enabled the panzer divisions to sweep across the low countries, and made the conquest of France relatively easy. The invasion of Norway saw an even larger use of paratroopers. The invasion was a combined air and sea attack. The British warships wreaked havoc on the German amphibious forces, but the German Airborne troops were successful in establishing several airheads. As soon as these were established, thousands of German soldiers and their supplies were transported by air. As a direct consequence, Norway fell. The American General Staff had been closely watching the daring use of Airborne soldiers by the Germans. In September 1940 the United States activated its first parachute battalion. Within a short time Airborne enthusiasts decided that the Airborne soldier provided the tactical commander with a new method of attaining surprise that could very easily revolutionize modern warfare. By the summer of 1944 we had formed five Airborne Divisions and six Airborne Regiments. By the end of World War II we had used our Airborne troops in fourteen major offensives.
1942 – Germany conducted the 1st successful test flight of an A-4/V-2 missile from the Peenemunde test site. It flew perfectly over a 118-mile course to an altitude of 53 miles (85 km). The 13-ton, 46-foot long V2 rocket was the world’s 1st long-range ballistic missile.
1942 – U S Marines occupy Funafuti in the Ellice Islands.
1943 – Aircraft from USS Ranger sink 5 German ships and damage 3 in Operation Leader, the only U.S. Navy carrier operation in northern European waters during World War II. Defying enemy shore batteries and warships lurking in Norwegian waters, a combined United States and British naval force that included a strongly escorted American aircraft carrier, struck a surprise blow at German merchant shipping in the Norwegian “leads” or inner waterways in the Bodoe area. German naval units in Norway, where the powerful battleship Tirpitz was lying in a fjord somewhere northeast of Trondheim, refusing to accept the obvious challenge to come out and fight. The only opposition was by enemy anti-aircraft fire and by two German planes, both of which were destroyed by fighters that took off from the American carrier, USS Ranger. Three planes from the carrier were shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire.

The USS Ranger
The three United States planes that were lost were part of a formation that took off from the carrier and bombed a number of large enemy merchant ships, including an 8,000-ton tanker. .

Tanker Schleswig, identified as a Rigmor-class tanker in this combat photo, under attack during OPERATION LEADER.
The two enemy planes that were destroyed arrived after the bombing attack was completed and tried to shadow the combined United States and British naval forces. As a result of a Sweedish decision refusing the Nazis further use of Swedish railroads for the transportation of materials and men to Norway, the Germans were compelled to send them by ship through the Skagerrak and up along the Norwegian coast. Operation Leader was a strike at the vulnerable German lifelines to their Norwegian base as well as laying the groundwork for convoys to be carry supplies to Russia.
1944 – During World War II, U.S. troops cracked the Siegfried Line north of Aachen, Germany.
1951 – Operation COMMANDO, one of the largest operations conducted after the commencement of truce negotiations, began. COMMANDO was a full-scale offensive designed to establish a defensive line that would screen the Yonchon-Chorwon Valley from enemy observation and long-range artillery.
1952 – USAF Major Frederick C. “Boots” Blesse, 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing, flying an F-86 Sabre jet, scored his 10th and final aerial victory and became the fifth double ace of the Korean War.
1955 – USS Saipan (CVL-48) begins disaster relief at Tampico, Mexico rescuing people and delivering supplies. Operations end 10 October.
1962 – Launch of Sigma 7 (Mercury 8) piloted by CDR Walter M. Schirra, Jr., USN. Although NASA was concerned that the path of Tropical Storm Daisy as projected on October 1, 1962 might pose a threat, launch preparations were carried out as scheduled with no postponements. Astronaut Schirra journeyed a total of 160,000 miles aboard the Sigma 7 spacecraft, which in contrast to the previous Mercury flight, splashed down within the intended recovery point. The capsule splashed down about 275 miles northeast of Midway Island just 9,000 yards from the recovery vessel. Schirra, aboard the Sigma 7 capsule, reached the recovery vessel just 37 minutes after the first splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. The Sigma 7 capsule had been modified to prevent problems encountered in the previous orbital flights. The reaction control system was modified to disarm the high-thrust jets during periods of manual spacecraft operation. This saved precious fuel. The capsule was also scheduled for more drift time to save fuel during the flight. Drift error was found to be negligible, which aided in planned fuel savings during future orbital flights. In addition, two high-frequency antennas were mounted onto the retro package to help maintain improved communications between the capsule and the ground during the flight. Schirra operated an experimental hand-held camera during the flight. Nine ablative-type material samples were included in an experiment package mounted onto the cylindrical neck of the capsule. In addition, two radiation monitoring devices were mounted inside the capsule, with one mounted on each side of the astronaut couch. Schirra participated in the first live television broadcast beamed back to Earth during a manned U.S. space flight. The television signal was broadcast to North America and Western Europe via Telstar-1, the first commercial communications satellite. The mission demonstrated that longer duration space flights were feasible, and Schirra commented that both he and the spacecraft could have flown much longer than six orbits. On October 5, 1962 the Air Force announced that Schirra would likely have been killed by radiation if the Sigma 7 spacecraft had exceeded 400 miles in altitude. Radiation monitoring devices on classified military satellites had confirmed this lethal radiation, which resulted from a high-altitude nuclear test conducted in July, 1962. In fact, at the altitude actually flown by Schirra, the radiation monitoring devices inside the spacecraft confirmed that the astronaut had been exposed to much less radiation than predicted even under normal circumstances. Schirra was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal by NASA Administrator James Webb on October 15, 1962 during a ceremony held at the astronaut’s hometown of Oradell, New Jersey.
1985 – The Space Shuttle Atlantis makes its maiden flight. (Mission STS-51-J). STS-51-J was the 21st NASA Space Shuttle mission and the first flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis. It launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, carrying a payload for the U.S. Department of Defense, and landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on 7 October.
1988 – Discovery completed a four-day mission, the first American shuttle flight since the Challenger disaster.
1990 – Iraqi President Saddam Hussein made his first known visit to Kuwait since his country seized control of the oil-rich emirate.
1990 – The German Democratic Republic ceases to exist and its territory becomes part of the Federal Republic of Germany. East German citizens became part of the European Community, which later became the European Union. Now celebrated as German Unity Day.
1993 – Battle at Bakhara Market. On 22 August, Task Force Ranger, consisting of one company of Rangers from 3/75, a special forces unit, and a deployment package of the 160th SOAR (A), was ordered to deploy to Mogadishu, Somalia. They departed on 26 August. The mission of the 160th SOAR (A) as defined by the task force commander was: “When directed, [to] deploy to Mogadishu, Somalia; [to] conduct operations to capture General Aideed and/or designated others. The aviation task force must be prepared to conduct two primary courses of action: moving convoy and strong point assault. . . . Success is defined as the live capture of General Aideed and designated individuals and recovery to the designated transload point; safely and without fratricide.” In Mogadishu the task force occupied an old hangar and old construction trailers under primitive conditions. During the month of September, the force conducted several successful missions to arrest Aideed sympathizers and to confiscate arms caches. The aircraft also made frequent flights over the city to desensitize the public to the presence of military aircraft and to familiarize themselves with the narrow streets and alleys of the city. On the afternoon of 3 October 1993, informed that two leaders of Aideed’s clan were at a residence in central Mogadishu, the task force sent 19 aircraft, 12 vehicles, and 160 men to arrest them. During the mission, one of the Rangers fast-roping from an MH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, missed the rope and fell 70 feet to the street below, badly injuring himself. The two leaders were quickly arrested, and the prisoners and the injured Ranger were loaded on a convoy of ground vehicles. Armed Somalis were converging on the target area from all over the city. In the meantime, another MH-60, call sign Super 61 and piloted by CW4 Clifton P. Wolcott and CW3 Donovan Briley, was flying low over the street a few blocks from the target area, and was struck from behind by an rocket propelled grenade (RPG). The MH-60 crashed to the street below. The convoy and the Somali crowds immediately headed for the crash site. An MH-6 Little Bird, call sign Star 41, piloted by CW4 Keith Jones and CW3 Karl Maier, landed in the street next to the downed MH-60 and attempted to evacuate the casualties. Both Wolcott and Briley had been killed in the crash. Jones went to assist survivors, successfully pulling two soldiers into the Little Bird, while Maier laid down suppressive fire from the cockpit with his individual weapon. Under intense ground fire, the MH-6 departed with its crew and survivors. In the meantime, Blackhawk Super 64, with pilot CW3 Michael Durant, copilot CW4 Raymond Frank, and crewmembers SSG William Cleveland and SSG Thomas Field, moved in to take Super 61’s place in the formation. As Super 64 circled over the target area, an RPG suddenly struck it. The Blackhawk’s tail rotor was severely damaged, and the air mission commander ordered it back to the airfield. En route to the airfield, the tail rotor and much of the rear assembly fell off, and the helicopter pitched forward and crashed. Meanwhile the ground convoy had lost its way, and rescue forces were already overtaxed at the site of the first Blackhawk crash. As armed Somalis rushed toward the Super 64 crash site, the crew’s only hope came from SFC Randall Shughart and MSG Gary Gordon aboard the covering Blackhawk, Super 62, who volunteered to jump in and protect the crew of the downed helicopter. They would ultimately sacrifice their lives for their downed comrades. Durant and Frank had both suffered broken legs in the crash, and both of the crew chiefs were severely wounded. A large crowd of Somalis, organized by the local militia, surrounded the crew and their rescuers and engaged in a fierce firefight, killing all but Durant. Then, they rushed the downed pilot, severely beating him and taking him prisoner. Meanwhile another Blackhawk carrying a rescue team arrived over the crash site of Super 61 and the 15-man team fast-roped to the ground. They found both Wolcott and Briley already dead, but crew chiefs Staff Sgt. Ray Dowdy and Staff Sgt. Charlie Warren were still alive in the wreckage. It took hours to pry Wolcott’s body from the wreckage. In the meantime, the soldiers set up a perimeter to protect against attack from Somali militia and armed civilians and awaited the arrival of a convoy from the 10th Mountain Division to rescue them. The militia had taken Mike Durant captive, planning to trade him for Somali prisoners. But before they could get him back to their village, they were intercepted by local bandits, who took Durant, intending to use him for ransom. He was taken back to a house where he was held, interrogated, and videotaped. Later, after Aideed paid his ransom, Durant was moved to the apartment of Aideed’s propaganda minister. After five days, he was visited by a representative of the International Red Cross and interviewed by British and French journalists. Finally, after ten days, with the intervention of former U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Robert Oakley, he was released and flew home to a hero’s welcome. The mission was over. The 160th SOAR (A) had been involved in the fiercest battle since the Vietnam War. It had lost two MH-60 aircraft with two more severely damaged, suffered eight wounded and five killed in action, and had had one of its pilots taken captive. Despite the public perception that this was a failed mission, Task Force Ranger did take into custody and delivered the two leaders from Aideed’s clan, resulting in mission accomplishment. President Clinton expressed sorrow at the deaths of American soldiers in Somalia, but reaffirmed those U.S. forces would stay in the African nation.
1994 – U.S. soldiers in Haiti raided the headquarters of a pro-army militia.
1995 – Pres. Gligorov, leader of Macedonia, was critically hurt in a car bomb attack in Skopje, Macedonia.
1995 – The Sri Lankan army claimed to have killed 200 Tamil Tiger rebels on the northern Jaffa peninsula.
1997 – US Defense Sec. William Cohen ordered the Nimitz Carrier Battle Group to the Persian Gulf as a warning to Iran and Iraq to stop incursions into the US-enforced “no-fly” zone in southern Iraq.
1997 – In Algeria armed men killed 38 people at the village of Mahelma. Throats of the victims were slit, heads were cut off and houses were set on fire. In Blida 10 people were killed and 20 wounded by assailants with homemade rockets and bombs. Another group of attackers killed 75 others including 34 children. In the village of Ouled Benaissa armed men killed 37 people including 22 children.
1997 – In Columbia a paramilitary group hired to protect a cocaine shipment killed 11 judicial officials near the town of San Carlos de Guaroa.
1997 – UN officials reported that Congo had ordered international refugee agencies to leave part of eastern Congo and was expelling Rwandans who had fled there to escape fighting in Rwanda.
1997 – Turkish jets bombed escape routes used by Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq. Over the last 13 days the army reported 415 rebels dead vs. 6 Turkish soldiers.
1998 – In Chechnya 4 men working to install a cellular phone system were kidnapped by 20 men. The severed heads Darren Hickey, Rudolf Petschi, Stanley Shaw and Peter Kennedy were found Dec 8. Their bodies were found Dec 26 in Chernorechiye.
1998 – Turkey sent some 10,000 troops into northern Iraq to attack Kurdish rebels.
1999 – In Peru 9 soldiers were killed in a weekend clash with some 60 Maoist guerrillas in the central jungle.
1999 – In Sierra Leone Foday Sankoh returned home with former junta leader Johnny Paul Koroma and met with Pres. Ahmed Tejan Kabbah. Sankoh gave a radio speech and pleaded for forgiveness.
2000 – A cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians quickly crumbled and the death toll climbed to at least 54. Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat planned to meet in Paris to seek an end to the conflict.
2001 – Near Manchester, Tennessee, Damir Igric (29), a Croatian passenger on a Greyhound bus, slit the throat of the bus driver and caused a roll over that killed 6 people including Igric. 2001 – In Chechnya rebels killed 9 federal troops in a number of clashes that included 4 dead from land mines. 4 militants were also killed.
2001 – Israeli forces in Gaza cleared a half mile buffer zone and killed 6 Palestinians when tank shells ripped their cars.
2001 – Pres. Putin said Russia is ready to reconsider its opposition to NATO expansion if the alliance assumes a broader political identity in which Moscow can be involved.
2002 – Police hunted for a “skilled shooter” who murdered five random victims over 16 hours with a high-powered rifle in Montgomery County, Maryland, just a short distance from Washington DC. A 6th victim was killed in DC. James Buchanon (39), Premkumar Walekar (54), Sarah Ramos (34), Lori Ann Lewis Rivera (25) and Pascal Charlot (72) became the 2nd to 6th victims.
2002 – India said it had killed eight Islamic militants trying to enter Indian Kashmir from Pakistani territory as the state battles a surge in rebel violence just days before the end of a disputed election.
2002 – NATO and European Union called on Croatia to cooperate with the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal, urging the government to hand over indicted war crimes suspect Gen. Janko Bobetko. 2002 – Turkey formally commuted Kurdish guerrilla leader Abdullah Ocalan’s death sentence to life in prison after parliament abolished capital punishment two months ago in a bid to join the European Union.
2003 – Afghan civilians accidentally set off an explosive inside a home near Bagram Air Base American military headquarters, killing seven people and wounding six others.
2003 – In Karachi, Pakistan, gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Shiite Muslim employees of Pakistan’s space agency, killing six and wounding at least six others.
2003 – In Sri Lanka the US Embassy said it has re-designated the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist organization, despite an ongoing peace process between the Sri Lankan government and the rebels.
2004 – Iraqi security forces and U.S. troops claimed success in wresting control of Samarra from Sunni insurgents in fierce fighting.
2010 – Germany makes its last reparations payment for World War I, settling its outstanding debt from the 1919 Versailles Treaty and quietly closing the final chapter of the conflict that shaped the 20th century. This is also the 20th anniversary of German unification, as well as the end of reparations payments 92 years after the country’s defeat. The German government will pay the last installment of interest on foreign bonds it issued in 1924 and 1930 to raise cash to fulfill the enormous reparations demands the victorious Allies made after World War I. The reparations bankrupted Germany in the 1920s and the fledgling Nazi party seized on the resulting public resentment against the terms of the Versailles Treaty. The sum was initially set at 269 billion gold marks, around 96,000 tons of gold, before being reduced to 112 billion gold marks by 1929, payable over a period of 59 years. Germany suspended annual payments in 1931 during the global financial crisis and Adolf Hitler unsurprisingly declined to resume them when he came to power in 1933. But in 1953, West Germany agreed at an international conference in London to service its international bond obligations from before World War II. In the years that followed it repaid the principal on the bonds, which had been issued to private and institutional investors in countries including the United States. Under the terms of the London accord, Germany was allowed to wait until it unified before paying some €125 million in outstanding interest that had accrued on its foreign debt in the years 1945 to 1952. After the Berlin Wall fell and West and East Germany united in 1990, the country dutifully paid that interest off in annual installments.

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