This Day in U.S. Military History…… September 28

28 September
1542 – Portuguese explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo sails into present-day San Diego Bay during the course of his explorations of the northwest shores of Mexico on behalf of Spain. It was the first known European encounter with California. At San Diego, Cabrillo landed at Point Loma Head, now part of the Cabrillo National Monument. He then sailed on to explore much of the rest of the California coast. During one landing, he broke his leg and apparently fell sick with complications from the injury. He died in January 1543, probably on San Miguel Island off the Santa Barbara coast. Despite his reports of the appealing California coastline, the first Spanish settlement was not established in California until 1769, when Father Junípero Serra founded his mission at San Diego.
1781 – American forces in the Revolutionary War, backed by a French fleet, began their siege of Yorktown Heights, Va.
1787 – Congress voted to send the just-completed Constitution of the United States to state legislatures for their approval.
1781 – American forces in the Revolutionary War, backed by a French fleet, began their siege of Yorktown Heights, Va. 9,000 American forces and 7,000 French troops began the siege of Yorktown.
1779 – Samuel Huntington is elected President of the Continental Congress, succeeding John Jay.
1822 – Sloop-of-war Peacock captures 5 pirate vessels.
1850 – Flogging was abolished as a form of punishment in the U.S. Navy.
1863 – Union Generals Alexander M. McCook and Thomas Crittenden lose their commands and are ordered to Indianapolis, Indiana, to face a court of inquiry following the Federal defeat at Chickamauga, Tennessee. Eight days before, the Union Army of the Cumberland, commanded by General William Rosecrans, had retreated from the Chickamauga battlefield in disarray. On the battle’s second day, Rosecrans mistakenly ordered a division to move into a gap in the Federal line that did not exist, creating a real gap through which the Confederates charged, thus splitting the Union army. One wing collapsed, and a frantic retreat back to Chattanooga ensued. The other wing, led by General George Thomas, remained on the battlefield and held its position until it was nearly overrun by Confederates. The search for scapegoats began immediately, and fingers soon pointed to McCook and Crittenden. Their corps had been part of the collapsed flank, so Rosecrans removed them from command. Crittenden’s removal stirred anger in his native Kentucky, and the state legislature sent a letter to President Lincoln demanding a reexamination of the firing. In February 1864, a military court cleared McCook and Crittenden, but their careers as field commanders were over. By quickly removing McCook and Crittenden, Rosecrans had been trying to save his own job. Three weeks after firing the generals, Rosecrans was himself replaced by Thomas.
1868 – In the Opelousas Massacre at St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, 200 blacks were killed.
1874 – Colonel Ranald Mackenzie (d.1889) raided a war camp of Comanche and Kiowa at the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon, Texas, slaughtering 2,000 of their horses.
1900 – Marines withdrew from Peking after the Boxer Rebelion.
1901 – The Balangiga Massacre on Samar Island, Philippine villagers surprised Company C, 9th Infantry Regiment. Twenty-two were wounded in action and four were missing in action. Eight died later of wounds received in combat; only four escaped unscathed. The villagers captured about 100 rifles and 25,000 rounds of ammunition and suffered 28 dead and 22 wounded.
1906 – US troops reoccupied Cuba. They stayed until 1909.
1912 – Corporal Frank S. Scott of the United States Army becomes the first enlisted man to die in an airplane crash. He and pilot Lt. Lewis C. Rockwell are killed in the crash of an Army Wright Model B at College Park, Maryland.
1913 – Race riots in Harriston, Mississippi, killed 10 people.
1922 – Mussolini marched on Rome.
1924 – Two U.S. Army planes landed in Seattle, Wash., having completed the first round-the-world flight in 175 days.
1939 – The Boundary and Friendship Treaty between the USSR and Germany was supplemented by secret protocols to amend the secret protocols of Aug 23. Among other things Lithuania was reassigned to the Soviet sphere of influence. Poland’s partition line was moved eastwards from the Vistula line to the line of the Bug. Germany kept a small part of south-west Lithuania, the Uznemune region. A separate Soviet mutual defense pact was signed with Estonia that allowed 25,000 Soviet troops to be stationed there.
1940 – The first of the 50 old American destroyers given to Britain arrives in the UK.
1941 – An Allied planning conference begins. Harriman attends from the US, Beaverbrook, from Britain and Molotov heads the Soviet delegation.
1942 – Gen. Henry “Hap” Arnold gives highest priority to the development of two exceptional aircraft–the B-35 Flying Wing and the B-36 Peacemaker–intended for bombing runs from bases in the United States to targets in Europe. General Arnold was a man of distinction from the beginning of his career: Not only was he one of the first pilots in the U.S. Signal Corps, he was taught to fly by none other than one of the Wright brothers. During World War I, Arnold was director of aviation training for the Army. Between the wars, he embraced a controversial military philosophy that emphasized strategic bombing, eliminating the need for the use of ground forces altogether. At the time of the United States’ entry into the Second World War, the Army Air Forces had become an increasingly distinct military service. Arnold was made its first chief. Along with this honor came the opportunity of a seat with the Joint Chiefs of Staff; initially intended to boost his status to that of his counterpart in Britain, it also increased the stature and independence of the Army Air Forces. Arnold was able to form alliances with British RAF allies who also favored the use of strategic bombing in lieu of ground-force operations. In 1942, Arnold gave the highest priority to the development of two extra long-distance transatlantic planes that would prove most useful to his strategic bombing game plan: the B-35 and the B-36 transatlantic bombers. The B-35 had been first proposed in early 1941, intended for use in defending an invaded Britain. But the design was so radical (it was tailless), the plane was put on the back burner. It was finally revived because of advantages the plane afforded over the B-36–bombing range in relation to gross weight, for example. Fifteen B-35 planes were ordered for construction–but the first did not take flight until 1946. Designs for the B-36 were also developed early in 1941, on the assumption that the United States would inevitably be drawn into the war and it would need a bomber that could reach Europe from bases in America. It was to be a massive plane–162 feet long with a 230-foot wingspan. But its construction lagged, and it was not completed until after the war. Although Hap’s “high priority” could not cut through the military bureaucracy, 1947 would see the Nation Defense Act establish an autonomous Air Force–a dream for which he had worked. The B-35 would become the prototype for the B-2 Stealth bomber built in 1989. And the B-36 was used extensively by U.S. Strategic Air Command until 1959, but never dropped a bomb.
1943 – The British 10th Corps (part of the US 5th Army) breaks into the plain of Naples at Nocera and advances. The US 6th Corps (also part of 5th Army) advances toward Avellino and has captured Teora.
1944 – Elements of the US forces deployed on Peleliu land on the small islands Negesbus and Kongauru. There is little resistance. On Peleliu, fighting is localized around Mount Umurbrogol where US forces attempt to eliminate individual Japanese strong points.
1950 – Task Force Matthews, consisting of the 25th Reconnaissance Company and A Company, 79th Tank Battalion, liberated 86 half-starved American POWs in Namwon.
1952 – At Panmunjom, the U.N. proposed three alternatives for a solution to the POW issue. The communists categorically reject voluntary repatriation.
1959 – Explorer VI, the U.S. satellite, took the first video pictures of earth.
1964 – First deployment of Polaris A-3 missile on USS Daniel Webster (SSBN 626) from Charleston, SC.
1968 – A battle begins for the Special Forces camp at Thuong Duc, situated between Da Nang and the Laotian border. The communists briefly captured the base before being driven out by air and artillery strikes. They then besieged the base, which was only lifted after a relief column, led by the U.S. 7th Marines, reached the base and drove the enemy forces out of the area.
1972 – Weekly casualty figures are released that contain no U.S. fatalities for the first time since March 1965. There were several reasons for this. President Nixon’s troop withdrawal program, first initiated in the fall of 1969, had continued unabated even through the height of the fighting during the 1972 North Vietnamese “Easter Offensive.” By this time in the war, there were less than 40,000 U.S. troops left in South Vietnam. Of this total, only a small number, mostly advisors, were involved in ground combat. In addition, it appeared that the North Vietnamese offensive, which had been blunted by the South Vietnamese with the aid of massive U.S. airpower, was finally winding down; there had been a general lull in ground fighting for the sixth straight day. South Vietnamese losses continued to be high since they had assumed the responsibility for fighting the ground battle in the absence of U.S. combat troops.
1973 – The ITT Building in New York City is bombed in protest at ITT’s alleged involvement, it is thought that the CIA used ITT resources to move money to parties in Chile, to in the September 11, 1973 coup d’état in Chile.
1975 – A US bill authorized the admission of women to military academies.
1990 – The exiled emir of Kuwait visited the White House, where he told President Bush the Iraqis were destroying and looting his country.
1991 – U.N. weapons inspectors ended a five-day standoff with Iraq over documents relating to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program.
2000 – The United Nations Compensation Commission, which handles claims for reparations arising from Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, approves by consensus a $15.9 billion claim by Kuwait for compensation for lost oil production and damage to oil reserves and equipment. The proportion of revenues from Iraqi oil sales under the “oil for food” program which are used for payment of claims is reduced from 30 per cent to 25 per cent. Iraq condemns the decision, but states that it will not call a halt to oilexports, as had earlier been feared.
2001 – President George W. Bush told reporters the United States was in “hot pursuit” of terrorists behind the Sept. 11 attacks.
2001 – A Bush administration official said that small groups of US and British special forces had entered Afghanistan.
2001 – The FBI released a 4-page document, handwritten in Arabic, that served as a set of final instructions for the Sep 11. hijackers. Copies were found in a rental car, in the suitcase of Mohamed Atta and the wreckage of the UA plane that crashed in Pa.
2001 – Dr. Kenneth M. Berry of Pittsburgh filed a patent application for a system responsive to bioterrorism attacks. In 2004 the FBI probed him in relation to investigations on letters containing anthrax.
2001 – The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a US sponsored resolution to oblige all 189 member states to crack down on the financing, training and movement of terrorists.
2001 – In Afghanistan Taliban leader Mohammed Omar told a 9-member Pakistani delegation that the Taliban would be willing to fight to the death to protect Osama bin Laden from US military forces.
2001 – In China Wu Jianmin, a Chinese-born American writer, was released from jail and expelled. The state media said he had confessed to his crimes of spying for Taiwan.
2002 – U.S. jets raided the Basra civilian airport for the second time inside a week, targeting its radar systems and the passenger terminals.
2002 – Iraq rejected a U.S.-British plan for the United Nations to force President Saddam Hussein to disarm and open his palaces for weapons searches.
2004 – The Pentagon notified Congress of plans to build five bases in Afghanistan for the Afghan National Army at a cost of up to one billion dollars.
2008 – SpaceX launches the first private spacecraft, the Falcon 1 into orbit.
2012 – The spokesperson for the United States Director of National Intelligence claims there was a pre-organised plot in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11.
2013 – U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Tim Giardina is suspended from his duties as #2 of the U.S. Strategic Command due to an investigation into gambling-related issues.
2014 – The al-Nusra Front threatens retaliation against nations participating in air strikes against Islamic State.

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