1775 – Officers decided to bar slaves and free blacks from Continental Army. This decision will be formalized by the Continental Congress in November.
1793 – John Hancock, US merchant and signer of the Declaration of Independence, died at 56. He was born at Braintree, Massachusetts, always lived in that state, and died at Quincy. Hancock was graduated at Harvard in 1754. He learned the business of an importing merchant in the counting house of an uncle, who left him money with which to carry on the business. Samuel Adams was without a dollar. Hancock was the wealthiest merchant in the city. It is difficult to say which was the more determined opponent of Great Britain. Both were members of the Massachusetts General Court. Both sat in the Provincial Congress. Both were honored by General Gage as the two rebels “whose offenses are of too flagitious a nature to admit of any other consideration but that of condign punishment.” Both were expressly omitted by name from an act of general amnesty with which the British government sought to conciliate the colonies in 1775. From the beginning, Hancock was in the thick of the contest. He owned the sloop Liberty, whose seizure brought on the riot of 1768. He demanded the removal of troops after the so-called Boston massacre. Hancock delivered a fiery address at the funeral of the victims of that affair. He was president of the Continental Congress, and his bold signature appeared prominently on the Declaration of Independence. He was the first governor of the state of Massachusetts. Hancock had faults enough, no doubt, vanity and jealousy, it is said, but none doubted his patriotism and strong common sense. His wealth, education, social standing, determined character, and reputation for strict integrity were of incalculable service to the American cause.
1812 – Boat party under Lt. Jesse D. Elliott captures HMS Detroit and Caledonia in Niagara River. Adams-a newly constructed 200-ton brig-was purchased during the summer of 1812 by General William Hull, the Army commander at Detroit (now in Michigan) to add to the defenses of that forward outpost. However, before the ship could be armed Hull sur rendered her along with Detroit on 16 August 1812. The British armed the prize and commissioned her as HMS Detroit. She and HMS Caledonia gave the British undisputed control of Lake Erie. All changed early in the morning when a boat expedition commanded by Lt. Jesse D. Elliott captured the two vessels right under the muzzles of the guns at Fort Erie. Caledonia made it safely to the temporary American base at Black Rock, but Detroit, owing to light wind, was swept away by the Niagara River’s strong current and was forced to anchor within range of British guns. An artillery duel ensued. Elliott brought all his guns to his engaged side and continued the cannonade until his supply of ammunition was exhausted. Thereupon, he cut the cable; and the brig drifted down the river. She grounded on Squaw Island within range of both British and: American batteries. Elliott and his men abandoned her, and almost immediately, some two score British soldiers took brief possession of the brig. American guns soon drove them out with great loss, and both sides began pounding her with gunfire. The Americans finally set fire to and destroyed the battered hulk.
1842 – Commodore Lawrence Kearny in USS Constitution addresses a letter to the Viceroy of China, urging that American merchants in China be granted the same treaty privileges as the British. His negotiations are successful.
1862 – The Union was victorious at the Battle of Perryville, the largest Civil War combat to take place in Kentucky. Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg’s autumn 1862 invasion of Kentucky had reached the outskirts of Louisville and Cincinnati, but he was forced to retreat and regroup. On October 7, the Federal army of Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, numbering nearly 55,000, converged on the small crossroads town of Perryville, Kentucky, in three columns. Union forces first skirmished with Rebel cavalry on the Springfield Pike before the fighting became more general, on Peters Hill, as the grayclad infantry arrived. The next day, at dawn, fighting began again around Peters Hill as a Union division advanced up the pike, halting just before the Confederate line. The fighting then stopped for a time. After noon, a Confederate division struck the Union left flank and forced it to fall back. When more Confederate divisions joined the fray, the Union line made a stubborn stand, counterattacked, but finally fell back with some troops routed. Buell did not know of the happenings on the field, or he would have sent forward some reserves. Even so, the Union troops on the left flank, reinforced by two brigades, stabilized their line, and the Rebel attack sputtered to a halt. Later, a Rebel brigade assaulted the Union division on the Springfield Pike but was repulsed and fell back into Perryville. The Yankees pursued, and skirmishing occurred in the streets in the evening before dark. Union reinforcements were threatening the Rebel left flank by now. Bragg, short of men and supplies, withdrew during the night, and, after pausing at Harrodsburg, continued the Confederate retrograde by way of Cumberland Gap into East Tennessee. The Confederate offensive was over, and the Union controlled Kentucky.
1869 – Franklin Pierce (64), the 14th president (1853 -1857) of the United States, died in Concord, N.H. Pierce was born at Hillsboro, N.H., on Nov. 23, 1804. A Bowdoin graduate, lawyer, and Jacksonian Democrat, he won rapid political advancement in the party, in part because of the prestige of his father, Gov. Benjamin Pierce. By 1831 he was Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives; from 1833 to 1837, he served in the federal House and from 1837 to 1842 in the Senate. His wife, Jane Means Appleton, whom he married in 1834, disliked Washington and the somewhat dissipated life led by Pierce; in 1842 Pierce resigned from the Senate and began a successful law practice in Concord, N.H. During the Mexican War, he was a brigadier general. Thereafter Pierce continued to oppose antislavery tendencies within the Democratic Party. As a result, he was the Southern choice to break the deadlock at the Democratic convention of 1852 and was nominated on the 49th ballot. In the election, Pierce overwhelmed Gen. Winfield Scott, the Whig candidate. As president, Pierce followed a course of appeasing the South at home and of playing with schemes of territorial expansion abroad. The failure of his foreign and domestic policies prevented his renomination. He died in Concord in relative obscurity.
1890 – Edward Vernon Rickenbacker (d.1973) was born in Columbus, Ohio. He became America’s “Ace of Aces” in World War I with more than 20 kills. Rickenbacker was already a famous race car driver when he entered World War I at age 28. Although he was considered too old to become an aviator, “Rick,” ultimately won the Medal of Honor for his wartime exploits. “If a thing is old, it is a sign that it was fit to live. … The guarantee of continuity is quality.”
1899 – A force of 375 Marines under command of future Commandant George F. Elliott, attacked and captured the insurgent town of Novaleta, Luzon, Philippine Islands, and linked up with U.S. Army troops. There were 11 Marine casualties.
1918 – Sgt. Alvin C. York almost single-handedly killed 25 German soldiers and captured 132 in the Argonne Forest in France. Corporal Alvin C. York’s platoon was advancing toward the Decauville railway when they were hit with machinegun fire from all sides. The doughboys captured one gun, but the noise drew the fire of the remaining German emplacements, killing six and seriously wounding three Americans. As the most senior of the remaining doughboys, York went out alone to engage the enemy with just his rifle and service revolver, picking off the machinegunners one by one. When the fighting was over, York had single-handedly eliminated 35 machine guns, killed more than 20 Germans and taken 132 members of a Prussian Guards regiment as prisoners. A modest man, York shrugged off his heroic actions, saying, “It’s over; let’s forget it.”
1942 – Fight at Matanikau River, Guadalcanal. This Third Battle of the Matanikau was a U.S. success: the Marines mauled a Japanese infantry regiment and disrupted their offensive by capturing assembly and artillery positions on the east bank of the Matanikau.
1944 – The Battle of Crucifix Hill occurs just outside Aachen. Capt. Bobbie Brown receives a Medal of Honor for his heroics in this battle. The Battle of Crucifix Hill took place on Crucifix Hill (Haarberg) (Hill 239), next to the village of Haaren in Germany and was a part of the U.S. 1st Division’s campaign to seize Aachen, Germany. The Battle of Aachen was part of the Drive to the Siegfried Line. The hill was named after a large crucifix mounted on the top of the hill. The objective of the battle was to gain control of the hill, which was laced with a maze of pillboxes and bunkers, so that the main objective of encircling Aachen could be completed. The hill was held by units of the German 246. Volksgrenadierdivision.
1945 – President Truman announced that the secret of the atomic bomb would be shared only with Britain and Canada.
1950 – Chinese Premier Mao Tse-tung secretly ordered Chinese “volunteers” to “resist the attacks of U.S. imperialism.”
1952 – The Chinese began an offensive in Korea.
1952 – Operation RED COW, a joint Navy -Air Force mission against enemy positions near Kaesong, was conducted with Navy F2H Banshee fighter jets from Task Force 77 providing fighter escort for Air Force B -29 Super Fortress bombers. This was one of only two instances in the war in which Navy fighters escorted Air Force bombers.
1955 – The aircraft carrier USS Saratoga was launched at Brooklyn. The fifth Saratoga (CV 3) was laid down on 25 September 1920 as Battle Cruiser #3 by the New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, N.J.; ordered converted to an aircraft carrier and reclassified CV-3 on 1 July 1922 in accordance with the Washington Treaty limiting naval armaments. The ship was launched on 7 April 1925, sponsored by Mrs. Curtis D. Wilbur, wife of the Secretary of the Navy; and commissioned on 16 November 1927, Capt. Harry E. Yarnell in command. Saratoga, the first fast carrier in the United States Navy, quickly proved the value of her type. She sailed from Philadelphia on 6 January 1928 for shakedown, and, on 11 January, her air officer, the future World War II hero, Marc A. Mitscher, landed the first aircraft on board. In an experiment on 27 January, the rigid airship Los Angeles (ZR-3) moored to Saratoga’s stern and took on fuel and stores. The same day Saratoga sailed for the Pacific via the Panama Canal. She was diverted briefly between 14 and 16 February to carry Marines to Corinto, Nicaragua, and finally joined the Battle Fleet at San Pedro, Calif., on 21 February. The rest of the year was spent in training and final machinery shakedown. On 15 January 1929, Saratoga sailed from San Diego with the Battle Fleet to participate in her first fleet exercise, Fleet Problem IX. In a daring move Saratoga was detached from the fleet with only a single cruiser as escort to make a wide sweep to the south and “attack” the Panama Canal, which was defended by the Scouting Fleet and Saratoga’s sister ship, USS Lexington (CV 2). She successfully launched her strike  on 26 January, and despite being “sunk” three times later in the day, proved the versatility of a fast task force centered around a carrier. The idea was incorporated into fleet doctrine and reused the following year in Fleet Problem X in the Caribbean. This time, however, Saratoga and carrier, USS Langley (CV 1), were “disabled” by a surprise attack from Lexington, showing how quickly air power could swing the balance in a naval action. Following the fleet concentration in the Caribbean Saratoga took part in the Presidential Review at Norfolk in May and returned to San Pedro on 21 June 1930. During the remaining decade before World War II Saratoga exercised in the San Diego-San Pedro area, except for the annual fleet problems and regular overhauls at the Bremerton Navy Yard. In the fleet problems, Saratoga continued to assist in the development of fast carrier tactics, and her importance was recognized by the fact that she was always a high priority target for the opposing forces. The fleet problem for 1932 was planned for Hawaii, and, by coincidence occurred during the peak of the furor following the “Manchurian incident” in which Japan started on the road to World War II. Saratoga exercised in the Hawaii area from 31 January to 19 March and returned to Hawaii for fleet exercises the following year between 23 January and 28 February 1933. On the return trip to the west coast, she launched a successful air “attack” on the Long Beach area. Exercises in 1934 took Saratoga to the Caribbean and the Atlantic for an extended period, from 9 April to 9 November, and were followed by equally extensive operations with the United States Fleet in the Pacific the following year. Between 27 April and 6 June 1936, she participated in a fleet problem in the Canal Zone, and she then returned with the fleet to Hawaii for exercises from 16 April to 28 May 1937. On 15 March 1938, Saratoga sailed from San Diego for Fleet Problem XIX, again conducted off Hawaii. During the second phase of the problem, Saratoga launched a surprise air attack on Pearl Harbor from a point 100 miles off Oahu, setting a pattern that the Japanese copied in December 1941. During the return to the west coast, Saratoga and Lexington followed this feat with “strikes” on Mare Island and Alameda. Saratoga was under overhaul during the 1939 fleet concentration, but, between 2 April and 21 June 1940, she participated in Fleet Problem XXI, the last to be held due to the deepening world crisis. Between 14 and 29 October 1940, Saratoga transported a draft of military personnel from San Pedro to Hawaii, and, on 6 January 1941, she entered the Bremerton Navy Yard for a long deferred modernization, including widening her flight deck forward and fitting a blister on her starboard side and additional small antiaircraft guns. Departing Bremerton on 28 April 1941, the carrier participated in a landing force exercise in May and made two trips to Hawaii between June and October as the diplomatic crisis with Japan came to a head. When the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Saratoga was just entering San Diego after an interim drydocking at Bremerton. She hurriedly got underway the following day as the nucleus of a third carrier force [Lexington and USS Enterprise (CV 6) were already at sea], carrying Marine aircraft intended to reinforce the vulnerable garrison on Wake Island. Presence of these aircraft on board made Saratoga the logical choice for the actual relief effort. She reached Pearl Harbor on 15 December and stopped only long enough to fuel. She then rendezvoused with USS Tangier (AV-8), which had relief troops and supplies on board, while Lexington and Enterprise provided distant cover for the operation. However, the Saratoga force was delayed by the low speed of its oiler and by a decision to refuel destroyers on 21 December. After receiving reports of Japanese carrier aircraft over the island and Japanese landings on it, the relief force was recalled on 22 December. Wake fell the next day. Saratoga continued operations in the Hawaiian Island region, but on 11 January 1942, when heading towards a rendezvous with Enterprise, 500 miles southwest of Oahu, she was hit without warning by a deep-running torpedo fired by the Japanese submarine, I-16. Although six men were killed and three firerooms were flooded, the carrier reached Oahu under her own power. There, her 8-inch guns, useless against aircraft, were removed for installation in shore defenses, and the carrier proceeded to the Bremerton Navy Yard for permanent repairs and installation of a modern anti-aircraft battery. Saratoga departed Puget Sound on 22 May for San Diego. She arrived there on 25 May and was training her air group when intelligence was received of an impending Japanese assault on Midway. Due to the need to load planes and stores and to collect escorts, the carrier was unable to sail until 1 June and arrived at Pearl Harbor on the 6th after the Battle of Midway had ended. She departed Pearl Harbor on 7 June after fueling; and, on 11 June, transferred 34 aircraft to USS Hornet (CV 8) and Enterprise to replenish their depleted air groups. The three carriers then turned north to counter Japanese activity reported in the Aleutians, but the operation was canceled and Saratoga returned to Pearl Harbor on 13 June. Between 22 and 29 June 1942, Saratoga ferried Marine and Army aircraft to the garrison on Midway. On 7 July, she sailed for the southwest Pacific; and, from 28 to 30 July, she provided air cover for landing rehearsals in the Fiji Islands in preparation for landings on Guadalcanal. As flagship of Real Admiral F. J. Fletcher, Saratoga opened the Guadalcanal assault early on 7 August when she turned into the wind to launch aircraft. She provided air cover for the landings for the next two days. On the first day, a Japanese air attack was repelled before it reached the carriers, but since further attacks were expected, the carrier force withdrew on the afternoon of 8 August towards a fueling rendezvous. As a result, it was too far away to retaliate after four Allied cruisers were sunk that night in the Battle of Savo Island. The carrier force continued to operate east of the Solomons, protecting the sea lanes to the beachhead and awaiting a Japanese naval counterattack. The counterattack began to materialize when a Japanese transport force was detected on 23 August 1942, and Saratoga launched a strike against it. The aircraft were unable to find the enemy, however, and spent the night on Guadalcanal. As they were returning on board the next day, the first contact report on enemy carriers was received. Two hours later, Saratoga launched a strike which sent Japanese carrier Ryujo to the bottom. Later in the afternoon, as an enemy strike from other carriers was detected, Saratoga hastily launched the aircraft on her deck, and these found and damaged the Japanese seaplane tender Chitose. Meanwhile, due to cloud cover, Saratoga escaped detection by the Japanese aircraft, which concentrated their attack on, and damaged, Enterprise. The American force fought back fiercely and weakened enemy air strength so severely that the Japanese recalled their transports before they reached Guadalcanal. After landing her returning aircraft at night on 24 August, Saratoga refueled on the 25th and resumed her patrols east of the Solomons. A week later, a destroyer reported torpedo wakes heading toward the carrier, but the 888-foot flattop could not turn quickly enough. A minute later, a torpedo from I-26 slammed into the blister on her starboard side. The torpedo killed no one and only flooded one fireroom, but the impact caused short circuits which damaged Saratoga’s turbo-electric propulsion system and left her dead in the water. The cruiser USS Minneapolis (CA 36) took the carrier under tow while she flew her aircraft off to shore bases. By early afternoon, Saratoga’s engineers had improvised a circuit out of the burned wreckage of her main control board and had given her a speed of 10 knots. After repairs at Tongatabu from 6 to 12 September, Saratoga arrived at Pearl Harbor on 21 September for permanent repairs. Saratoga sailed from Pearl Harbor on 10 November 1942 and proceeded, via Fiji, to Noumea which she reached on 5 December. She operated in the vicinity of Noumea for the next twelve months, providing air cover for minor operations and protecting American forces in the eastern Solomons. Between 17 May and 31 July 1943, she was reinforced by the British carrier, HMS Victorious, and, on 20 October, she was joined by USS Princeton (CVL 23). As troops stormed ashore on Bougainville on 1 November, Saratoga’s aircraft neutralized nearby Japanese airfields on Buka. Then, on 5 November, in response to reports of Japanese cruisers concentrating at Rabaul to counterattack the Allied landing forces, Saratoga conducted perhaps her most brilliant strike of the war. Her aircraft penetrated the heavily defended port and disabled most of the Japanese cruisers, ending the surface threat to Bougainville. Saratoga, herself, escaped unscathed and returned to raid Rabaul again on 11 November. Saratoga and Princeton were then designated the Relief Carrier Group for the offensive in the Gilberts, and, after striking Nauru on 19 November, they rendezvoused on 23 November 1943 with the transports carrying garrison troops to Makin and Tarawa. The carriers provided air cover until the transports reached their destinations, and then maintained air patrols over Tarawa. By this time, Saratoga had steamed over a year without repairs, and she was detached on 30 November to return to the United States. She underwent overhaul at San Francisco from 9 December 1943 to 3 January 1944, and had her antiaircraft battery augmented for the last time, receiving 60 40-millimeter guns in place of 36 20-millimeter guns. The carrier arrived at Pearl Harbor on 7 January 1944, and, after a brief period of training, sailed from Pearl Harbor on 19 January with light carriers, USS Langley (CV 27) and USS Princeton (CVL 23), to support the drive in the Marshalls. Her aircraft struck Wotje and Taroa for three days, from 29 to 31 January, and then pounded Engebi, the main island at Eniwetok, the 3d to the 6th and from the 10th to the 12th of February. Her planes delivered final blows to Japanese defenses on the 16th, the day before the landings, and provided close air support and CAP over the island until 28 February. Saratoga then took leave of the main theaters of the Pacific war for almost a year, to carry out important but less spectacular assignments elsewhere. Her first task was to help the British initiate their carrier offensive in the Far East. On 4 March 1944, Saratoga departed Majuro with an escort of three destroyers, and sailed via Espiritu Santo; Hobart, Tasmania; and Fremantle, Australia, to join the British Eastern Fleet in the Indian Ocean. She rendezvoused at sea on 27 March with the British force, composed of carrier, HMS Illustrious, and four battleships with escorts, and arrived with them at Trincomalee, Ceylon, on 31 March. On 12 April, the French battleship, Richelieu, arrived, adding to the international flavor of the force. During the next two days, the carriers conducted intensive training at sea during which Saratoga’s fliers tried to impart some of their experience to the British pilots. On 16 April, the Eastern Fleet, with Saratoga, sailed from Trincomalee, and, on the 19th, the aircraft from the two carriers struck the port of Sabang, off the northwest tip of Sumatra. The Japanese were caught by surprise by the new offensive, and much damage was done to port facilities and oil reserves. The raid was so successful that Saratoga delayed her departure in order to carry out a second. Sailing again from Ceylon on 6 May, the force struck at Soerabaja, Java, on 17 May with equally successful results. Saratoga was detached the following day, and passed down the columns of the Eastern Fleet as the Allied ships rendered honors to and cheered each other. Saratoga arrived at Bremerton, Wash., on 10 June 1944 and was under repair there through the summer. On 24 September, she arrived at Pearl Harbor and commenced her second special assignment, training night fighter squadrons. Saratoga had experimented with night flying as early as 1931, and many carriers had been forced to land returning aircraft at night during the war; but, only in August 1944, did a carrier, USS Independence (CVL 22), receive an air group specially equipped to operate at night. At the same time, Carrier Division 11, composed of Saratoga and USS Ranger (CV-4), was commissioned at Pearl Harbor to train night pilots and develop night flying doctrine. Saratoga continued this important training duty for almost four months, but as early as October, her division commander was warned that “while employed primarily for training, Saratoga is of great value for combat and is to be kept potentially available for combat duty.” The call came in January 1945. Light carriers like Independence had proved too small for safe night operations, and Saratoga was rushed out of Pearl Harbor on 29 January 1945 to form a night fighter task group with Enterprise for the Iwo Jima operation. Saratoga arrived at Ulithi on 7 February and sailed three days later, with Enterprise and four other carrier task groups. After landing rehearsals with Marines at Tinian on 12 February, the carrier force carried out diversionary strikes on the Japanese home islands on the night of 16 and 17 February before the landings on Iwo Jima. Saratoga was assigned to provide fighter cover while the remaining carriers launched the strikes on Japan, but, in the process, her fighters raided two Japanese airfields. The force fueled on 18 and 19 February; and, on 21 February 1945, Saratoga was detached with an escort of three destroyers to join the amphibious forces and carry out night patrols over Iwo Jima and night heckler missions over nearby Chi-chi Jima. However, as she approached her operating area at 1700 on the 21st, an air attack developed, and taking advantage of low cloud cover and Saratoga’s insufficient escort, six Japanese planes scored five hits on the carrier in three minutes. Saratoga’s flight deck forward was wrecked, her starboard side was holed twice and large fires were started in her hangar deck, while she lost 123 of her crew dead or missing. Another attack at 1900 scored an additional bomb hit. By 2015, the fires were under control and the carrier was able to recover aircraft, but she was ordered to Eniwetok and then to the west coast for repairs, and arrived at Bremerton on 16 March. On 22 May, Saratoga departed Puget Sound fully repaired, and she resumed training pilots at Pearl Harbor on 3 June. She ceased training duty on 6 September, after the Japanese surrender, and sailed from Hawaii on 9 September transporting 3,712 returning naval veterans home to the United States under Operation Magic Carpet. By the end of her Magic Carpet service, Saratoga had brought home 29,204 Pacific war veterans, more than any other individual ship. At the time, she also held the record for the greatest number of aircraft landed on a carrier, with a lifetime total of 98,549 landings in 17 years. With the arrival of large numbers of Essex-class carriers, Saratoga was surplus to postwar requirements, and she was assigned to Operation Crossroads at Bikini Atoll to test the effect of the atomic bomb on naval vessels. She survived the first blast, an air burst on 1 July, with only minor damage, but was mortally wounded by the second on 25 July, an underwater blast which was detonated under a landing craft 500 yards from the carrier. Salvage efforts were prevented by radioactivity, and seven and one-half hours after the blast, with her funnel collapsed across her deck, Saratoga slipped beneath the surface of the lagoon. She was struck from the Navy list on 15 August 1946. Saratoga received seven battle stars for her World War II service.
1957 – Jack Soble, confessed Soviet spy, was sentenced in NYC to a rediculously short term of 7 years for espionage.
1960 – USS Constellation (CV-64) was launched, a Kitty Hawk-class aircraft carrier, was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the “new constellation of stars” on the flag of the United States. The contract to build her was awarded to the New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, New York, on 1 July 1956, and her keel was laid down 14 September 1957, at the New York Navy Yard. She was sponsored by Mary Herter (wife of Secretary of State Christian Herter), delivered to the Navy 1 October 1961, and commissioned 27 October 1961, with Captain T.J. Walker in command. At that time, she had cost about US$400 million. On 19 December 1960, fire swept through the USS Constellation while it was under construction at a Brooklyn Navy Yard pier, injuring 150, killing 50, and doing $75 million worth of damage. When deployed to the Middle East as part of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Constellation carried nine squadrons: VF-2 Bounty Hunters (ten F-14D Tomcats); VFA-137 Kestrels, VFA-151 Vigilantes, and VMFA-323 Death Rattlers (each with 12 F/A-18C Hornets); VAW-116 Sun Kings (four E-2C Hawkeyes); VAQ-131 Lancers (four EA-6B Prowlers); VS-38 Red Griffins (eight S-3B Vikings); HS-2 Golden Falcons (two SH-60F Seahawks and six HH-60H Pave Hawks); VRC-30 Providers Detachment 2 (two C-2A Greyhounds). In early 2003, plans are for Constellation to go into mothballs after she completes her deployment. Connie will be replaced by Ronnie, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76).
1968 – U.S. forces in Vietnam launched Operation Sealords, an attack on North Vietnamese supply lines and base areas. Concieved by Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., it was a joint operation between U.S. and South Vietnamese forces. SEALORD was intended to disrupt North Vietnamese supply lines in and around the Mekong Delta. As a two-year operation, by 1971 all aspects of SEALORD had been turned over to the South Vietnam Navy. As U.S. forces prepared the South Vietnamese military to assume complete responsibility for the war, they also worked to keep pressure on the enemy. In fact, from 1968 to 1971, the allies exploited the Communists’ staggering battlefield losses during the Tet attacks by pushing the enemy’s large main force units out to the border areas, extending the government’s presence into Viet Cong strongholds, and consolidating control over population centers. The Navy in particular spearheaded a drive in the Mekong Delta to isolate and destroy the weakened Communist forces. The SEALORDS (Southeast Asia Lake, Ocean, River, and Delta Strategy) program was a determined effort by U.S. Navy, South Vietnamese Navy, and allied ground forces to cut enemy supply lines from Cambodia and disrupt operations at his base areas deep in the delta. It was developed by Vice Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., appointed COMNAVFORV (= Commander US Naval Forces Vietnam) in September 1968. When Admiral Zumwalt launched SEALORDS in October 1968 with the blessing of the new COMUSMACV (= Commander of US Military Assistance Command Vietnam), General Creighton Abrams, allied naval forces in South Vietnam were at peak strength. The U.S. Navy’s Coastal Surveillance Force operated 81 Swift boats, 24 Coast Guard WPBs, and 39 other vessels. The River Patrol Force deployed 258 patrol and minesweeping boats; the 3,700-man Riverine Assault Force counted 184 monitors, transports, and other armored craft; and Helicopter Attack Squadron Light (HAL) 3 flew 25 armed helicopters. This air component was soon augmented by the 15 fixed-wing OV-10 Bronco aircraft of Attack Squadron Light (VAL) 4, activated in April 1969. The lethal Bronco flown by the “Black Ponies” of VAL-4 carried 8 to 16 5- inch Zuni rockets, 19 2.75-inch rockets, 4 M-60 machine guns, and a 20-millimeter cannon. In addition, five SEAL platoons supported operations in the delta. Complementing the American naval contingent were the Vietnamese Navy’s 655 ships, assault craft, patrol boats, and other vessels. To focus the allied effort on the SEALORDS campaign, COMNAVFORV appointed his deputy the operational commander, or “First SEALORD,” of the newly activated Task Force 194. Although continuing to function, the Game Warden, Market Time, and Riverine Assault Force operations were scaled down and their personnel and material resources increasingly devoted to SEALORDS. Task Force 115 PCFs mounted lightning raids into enemy-held coastal waterways and took over patrol responsibility for the delta’s larger rivers. This freed the PBRs for operations along the previously uncontested smaller rivers and canals. These intrusions into former Viet Cong bastions were possible only with the on-call support of naval aircraft and the heavily armed riverine assault craft. In the first phase of the SEALORDS campaign allied forces established patrol “barriers,” often using electronic sensor devices, along the waterways paralleling the Cambodian border. In early November 1968, PBRs and riverine assault craft opened two canals between the Gulf of Siam at Rach Gia and the Bassac River at Long Xuyen. South Vietnamese paramilitary ground troops helped naval patrol units secure the transportation routes in this operational area, soon named Search Turn. Later in the month, Swift boats, PBRs, riverine assault craft, and Vietnamese naval vessels penetrated the Giang Thanh-Vinh Te canal system and established patrols along the waterway from Ha Tien on the gulf to Chau Doc on the upper Bassac. As a symbol of the Vietnamese contribution to the combined effort, the allied command changed the name of this operation from Foul Deck to Tran Hung Dao I. Then in December U.S. naval forces pushed up the Vam Co Dong and Vam Co Tay Rivers west of Saigon, against heavy enemy opposition, to cut infiltration routes from the “Parrot’s Beak” area of Cambodia. The Giant Slingshot operation, so named for the configuration of the two rivers, severely hampered Communist resupply in the region near the capital and in the Plain of Reeds. Completing the first phase of the SEALORDS program, in January 1969 PBRs, assault support patrol boats (ASPB), and other river craft established patrol sectors along canals westward from the Vam Co Tay to the Mekong River in Operation Barrier Reef. Thus, by early 1969 a patrolled waterway interdiction barrier extended almost uninterrupted from Tay Ninh northwest of Saigon to the Gulf of Siam.
1969 – The opening rally of the Days of Rage, a planned series of direct action events, organized by the Weather Underground in Chicago begins. Such direct actions included vandalizing homes, businesses, and automobiles as well as assaulting police officers, in this days events the target was the Drake Hotel, home of Julius Hoffman, the judge in the Chicago 8 trial. Dozens were injured, and more than 280 members of the Weather Underground were arrested. Despite efforts to recruit youth and promote involvement, participation in the “Days of Rage” demonstrations was not as broadly based as advertised, or as participants had hoped. About 800 Weatherman members showed up prior to October 8 and faced 2000 police officers. No more than 300 were left willing to face the enormous gathering of police a second time around on the evening of Wednesday, October 8, 1969, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, and perhaps half of them were members of Weatherman collectives from around the country. The crowd milled about for several hours, cold and uncertain. Tom Hayden gave a short speech, telling the protesters not to believe press reports that the Chicago 7 disagreed with their action. Abbie Hoffman and John Froines, other members of the Chicago 8, also came but decided not to speak and quickly left. At 10:25 p.m., Jones gave the pre-arranged signal over a bullhorn, and the Weatherman action began. John Jacobs, Jeff Jones, David Gilbert and others led a charge south through the city toward the Drake Hotel and the exceptionally affluent Gold Coast neighborhood, smashing windows in automobiles and buildings as they went. The protesters attacked “ordinary cars, a barber shop…and the windows of lower-middle-class homes” as well as police cars and luxury businesses. The mass of the crowd ran about four blocks before encountering police barricades. The protesters charged the police breaking into small groups, and more than 1,000 police counter-attacked. The Washington DC contingent of Weathermen successfully reached the hotel’s front drive. Before any attempt to gain entrance to the hotel could be made, an unmarked car pulled up to the curb and began firing revolvers into the group of about fifteen unarmed protesters. Although many protesters had motorcycle or football helmets on, the police were better trained and armed. After only a half-hour or so, the riot was over: 28 policemen were injured (none seriously), six Weathermen were shot and an unknown number injured, and 68 protesters were arrested. Jacobs was arrested almost immediately.
1970 – In Paris, a Communist delegation rejects US President Richard Nixon’s October 7 Vietnam peace proposal as “a maneuver to deceive world opinion”.
1981 – An explosive device at the Univ. of Utah was defused. It was later attributed to the Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski.
1985 – The hijackers of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro killed American passenger Leon Klinghoffer, dumping his body and wheelchair overboard. A case was filed against the PLO and settled in 1997. The hijackers surrendered to Egyptian authorities and were turned over to Italy which let Abbas slip out of the country. Four heavily armed Palestinian terrorists in October hijack the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, carrying more than 400 passengers and crew, off Egypt. The hijackers demand that Israel free 50 Palestinian prisoners. The terrorists kill a disabled American tourist, 69-year-old Leon Klinghoffer, and throw his body overboard with his wheelchair. After a two-day drama, the hijackers surrender in exchange for a pledge of safe passage. But when an Egyptian jet tries to fly the hijackers to freedom, U.S. Navy F-14 fighters intercept it and force it to land in Sicily. The terrorists are taken into custody by Italian authorities. Counter- terrorist units from the U.S responded, including elements of Delta Force and SEAL Team Six, however the situation was resolved before an assault became necessary.
1987 – U.S. helicopter gunships in the Persian Gulf sank three Iranian patrol boats after an American observation helicopter was fired on. (Two of six Iranian crewmen taken from the water later died.)
1991 – Former assistant secretary of state Elliott Abrams pleaded guilty to withholding information from Congress in the Iran -Contra scandal.
1992 – Iraqi police seized at gunpoint American bomb disposal expert Chad Hall, who was working in a disputed and ill -defined border area between Iraq and Kuwait. He was released two days later.
1993 – Army policy directive authorizes wartime awards (only for actions since June 5th, 1993) and Combat Infantryman Badges and Medical Badges for participants in Somalia fighting. AC130 spectre gunships come back to Mogadishu and shell the city.
1994 – President Clinton, responding to the massing of Iraqi troops near the Kuwaiti border, warned Saddam Husein not to misjudge “American will or American power” as he ordered additional U.S. forces to the region.
1998 – Iran border troops claimed a victory and said it inflicted heavy casualties over Taliban militia. The Taliban denied any fighting.
1999 – Pres. Clinton asked the US Senate to postpone a vote on the global nuclear test ban treaty due to insufficient votes for passage.
1999 – It was reported that the US Congress had approved $1 billion over 20 years for 7 luxury aircraft for the Pentagon’s top commanders.
2000 – Chechen rebels crossed into Ingushetia and attacked a police patrol. 2 officers were killed and 3 wounded.
2001 – President Bush establishes the Office of Homeland Security in the Executive Office of the President and appoints Pennsylvania Governor, and Gulf War General, Tom Ridge as Director.
2001 – US forces hit Afghanistan with a 2nd wave of attacks. 40 Taliban commanders along with 1,200 men switched sides and handed over control of a provincial road north of Kabul. 4 UN civilian workers were later confirmed as casualties of the bombing; Abdul Saboor, Safiullah, Najibullah and Nasir Ahmad worked for a mine clearing agency. The Taliban ambassador to Pakistan reported 200 civilian casualties.
2001 – A 2nd case of anthrax was reported in Ernesto Blanco (73), a co-worker of the man who died Oct 5 in Florida.
2001 – In Bogota, Colombia, Luis Alfredo Colmenares, a Representative from Arauca, was assassinated by gunmen on a motorcycle.
2001 – A Palestinian rally turned violent as police forces attempted to quell some 2,000 students supportive of Osama bin Laden. 2 students were killed.
2002 – Two Kuwaitis opened fire on U.S. troops on a military exercise on a Kuwait’s Failaka Island in the Persian Gulf, fatally wounding a Marine in what the Interior Ministry called a “terrorist” attack.
2002 – In Colombia heavily armed police in tanks and on foot raided one of Medellin’s most dangerous neighborhoods in an effort to regain control from leftist rebels and their rivals, the right -wing paramilitaries.
2002 – In Indian Kashmir suspected Muslim separatist militants disguised as policemen stormed a polling station, gunning down two soldiers, as turbulent state elections ended. A 44% turnout ousted the pro -Indian national Conference.
2003 – In Colombia a car bomb exploded in a black -market shopping district in downtown Bogota, killing at least six people and wounding 12.
2003 – Vietnam and the United States tentatively agreed to allow the first commercial flights between the two countries since the end of the Vietnam War.
2004 – In Iraq kidnappers displayed a video of the beheading of British hostage Kenneth Bigley (62) following an unsuccessful escape attempt.
2004 – American warplanes struck a building where the U.S. command said leaders of al-Zarqawi’s network were meeting. Residents said the house was full of people who had gathered for a wedding. The attack killed 13 people, including the groom.
2010 – Two Russian cosmonauts, Aleksandr Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka, and American astronaut Scott Kelly leave on mission Soyuz TMA-01M for the International Space Station from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome.
2014 – The first person who was diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man, dies in Dallas, Texas.
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