1502 – Christopher Columbus arrived at Santo Domingo, Hispaniola, on his 4th voyage to the new world. He requested harbor and advised Gov. Nicolas de Ovando of an approaching hurricane. Ovando denied the request and dispatched a treasure fleet to Spain. 20 ships sank in the storm, 9 returned to port and one made it to Spain.
1541 – The Spanish first crossed the Arkansas River. Francisco Vazquez de Coronado continued to explore the American southwest. He left New Mexico and crossed Texas, Oklahoma and east Kansas.
1652 – Massachusetts declared itself an independent commonwealth.
1767 – The British Parliament approved the Townshend Revenue Acts, which imposed import duties on glass, lead, paint, paper and tea shipped to America. Colonists bitterly protested the Acts, which were repealed in 1770.
1776 – The Virginia constitution was adopted and Patrick Henry was made governor.
1784 – Caesar Romney (b.1728), US judge, Delaware representative as a signer of the Declaration of Independence, died. He was later depicted on the Delaware state quarter
1804 – Privates John Collins and Hugh Hall of the Lewis and Clark Expedition were found guilty by a court-martial consisting of members of the Corps of Discovery for getting drunk on duty. Collins receives 100 lashes on his back and Hall receives 50.
1820 – Revenue cutter Dallas captured the 12-gun brig-of-war General Ramirez, which was loaded with 280 slaves, off St. Augustine. The 8 July 1820 issue of the Savannah Republican noted: “On the 28th ultimo, while the Cutter DALLAS was lying in the St. Mary’s River, Captain Jackson received information that the Brig of war GENERAL RAMIREZ, supposed to be a piratical vessel was hovering off St. Augustine. The Cutter forthwith got under way in pursuit of the Brig having first obtained 12 United States soldiers from Fernandina to strengthen the Cutter’s force. At half past three the next day, she hailed the Brig and received for answer, “This is the Patriot Brig GENERAL RAMIREZ—-.” Captain Jackson finding a number of blacks on board took possession of the vessel and brought her into St. Mary’s, arriving on the 1st instant. Captain Jackson found on the Brig about 280 African slaves. The Captain and crew, 28 in number, acknowledged themselves Americans.”
1835 – Determined to win independence for the Mexican State of Texas, William Travis raises a volunteer army of 25 soldiers and prepares to liberate the city of Anahuac. Born in South Carolina and raised in Alabama, William Travis moved to Mexican-controlled Texas in 1831 at the age of 22. He established a legal practice in Anahuac, a small frontier town about 40 miles east of Houston. From the start, Travis disliked Mexicans personally and resented Mexican rule of Texas politically. In 1832, he clashed with local Mexican officials and was jailed for a month. When he was released, the growing Texan independence movement hailed him as a hero, strengthening his resolve to break away from Mexico by whatever means necessary. Early in 1835, the Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna overthrew the republican government and proclaimed himself dictator. Rightly fearing that some Texans would rebel as a result, Santa Anna quickly moved to reinforce Mexican control and dispatched troops to Anahuac, among other areas. Accustomed to enjoying a large degree of autonomy, some Texans resented the presence of Santa Anna’s troops, and they turned to Travis for leadership. On this day in 1835, Travis raised a company of 25 volunteer soldiers. The next day, the small army easily captured Captain Antonio Tenorio, the leader of Santa Anna’s forces in Anahuac, and forced the troops to surrender. More radical Texans again proclaimed Travis a hero, but others condemned him for trying to foment war and maintained that Santa Anna could still be dealt with short of revolution. By the fall of 1835, however, conflict had become inevitable, and Texans prepared to fight a war of independence. As soon as the rebels had formed an army, Travis was made a lieutenant colonel in command of the regular troops at San Antonio. On February 23, 1836, Travis joined forces with Jim Bowie’s army of volunteers to occupy an old Spanish mission known as the Alamo. The following day, Santa Anna and about 4,000 of his men laid siege to the Alamo. With less than 200 soldiers, Travis and Bowie were able to hold off the Mexicans for 13 days. On March 6, Santa Anna’s soldiers stormed the Alamo and killed nearly every Texan defender, including Travis. In the months that followed, “Remember the Alamo” became a rallying cry as the Texans successfully drove the Mexican forces from their borders. By April, Texas had won its independence. Travis, who first hastened the war of independence and then became a martyr to the cause, became an enduring symbol of Texan courage and defiance.
1862 – Confederate General Robert E. Lee attacks Union General George McClellan as he is pulling his army away from Richmond, Virginia, in retreat during the Seven Days’ Battles. Although the Yankees lost 1,000 men—twice as many as the Rebels—they were able to successfully protect the retreat. George McClellan spent the spring of 1862 preparing the Army of the Potomac for a campaign up the James Peninsula toward Richmond. For nearly three months, McClellan landed his troops at Fort Monroe, at the end of the peninsula, and worked northwest to Richmond. The Seven Days’ Battles were the climax of this attempt to take the Confederate capital. Although he had an advantage in numbers, McClellan squandered it and surrendered the initiative to Lee, who attacked the Yankees and began driving them away from Richmond. As McClelland retreated, Lee hounded his army. When the Union army moved past Savage’s Station—a stop on the Richmond and York River Railroad and the site of a Union hospital—Lee ordered an assault on the troops screening the retreat. This was a chance to break McClellan’s flank and deal a shattering defeat to the Yankees. But although Lee’s strategy was sound, it was complicated, requiring precise timing on the part of several generals. The Confederates inflicted serious damage on the Northerners but were not able to break the rear guard. Fighting continued until nightfall, when a torrential rainstorm ended the battle.
1863 – Battle at Westminster, Maryland: Federal assault.
1863 – George A. Custer (23) was appointed Union Brevet Brig-general.
1863 – Lee ordered his forces to concentrate near Gettysburg, PN.
1864 – Converted ferryboat U.S.S. Hunchback, Lieutenant Joseph P. Fyffe, supported by single turretted monitor U.S.S. Saugus, Commander Colhoun, bombarded Confederate batteries at Deep Bottom on the James River and caused their eventual removal. Rear Admiral Lee reported: “The importance of holding our position at Deep Bottom is obvious. Without doing so our communications are cut there, and our wooden vessels can not remain above that point, and the monitors would be alone and exposed to the enemy’s light torpedo craft from above and out of Four Mile Creek. The enemy could then plant torpedoes there to prevent the monitors passing by for supplies.”
1918 – Marines landed at Vladivostok, Russia, to protect the American Consulate.
1942 – Chiang Kai-shek presents his Three Demands to General Stilwell: three US divisions before September, 500 combat planes, and a guaranteed monthly aerial supply of 5,000 tons. Chiang berates Stilwell, and hints that he might pull out of the war. Stilwell, as Chiang’s chief of staff, is not responsible for procurement of supplies. The tension between the two grows.
1943 – A squadron of American cruisers and destroyers shells the Japanese base at Shortland while other vessels lay mines in the area. A US convoy heading for New Georgia is sighted by the Japanese but it is mistakenly believed to be carrying supplies to Guadalcanal.
1943 – Germany began withdrawing U-boats from North Atlantic in anticipation of the Allied invasion of Europe.
1944 – CDR Frank A. Erickson landed a helicopter on the flight deck of CGC Cobb. This was the first rotary-wing shipboard landing by Coast Guard personnel.
1944 – On Biak, American forces mop up lingering Japanese resistance.
1945 – President Truman approves the plan, devised by the joint chiefs of staff, to invade Japan. The plan calls for 5 million troops, mostly Americans. Kyushu is to be invaded on November 1st with some 13 divisions (Operation Olympic) and Honshu is to be invaded on March 1, 1946 with some 23 divisions (Operation Coronet), including forces of the US 1st Army from Europe. The British will deploy a very long range bomber force in support of the invasion.
1949 – US troops withdrew from Korea after WW II.
1950 – The Coast Guard adopted a Navy directive relative to security measures, including precautions against possible sabotage at installations and aboard ships.
1950 – President Truman authorized air operations against targets located in North Korea. Subsequently, the 3rd Bombardment Group flew the first air mission north of the 38th parallel against Heijo Airfield near Pyongyang. Staff Sergeant Nyle S. Mickley, a B-26 gunner, became the first gunner to shoot down an enemy aircraft, a Yak-3 fighter serving as the sole defender of the airfield.
1950 – While defending Suwon Airfield, Air Force Lieutenant Orrin R. Fox, 80th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, scored two Yak-9 kills and Lieutenants Richard J. Burns, 35th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, and Harry T. Sandlin, 80th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, each shot down a Yak fighter. These were the first aerial victories made by F-51 Mustang pilots in the Korean War. Interestingly, General MacArthur witnessed the air battle while conferring with Syngman Rhee.
1950 – President Truman ordered a naval blockade of the Korean coast. Meanwhile, the USS Juneau, fired on enemy shore targets in the first U.S. Naval engagement of the Korean War.
1950 – The North Korean People’s Army seized Seoul as General of the Army Douglas MacArthur flew to Korea to confer with ROK President Syngman Rhee. Meanwhile, U.S. B-29 Superfortresses of the 20th Air Force bombed Kimpo Airfield, now in communist hands.
1951 – The United States invited the Soviet Union to the Korean peace talks on a ship in Wonson Harbor.
1951 – U.N. Forces Commander General Matthew Ridgway offered to meet with the communist commanders to discuss a cease-fire and armistice.
1954 – The Atomic Energy Commission voted against reinstating Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer’s access to classified information.
1954 – At the conclusion of a five day conference, Churchill, Eden, Eisenhower and Dulles endorse partition and agree on seven points that offer a surprisingly accurate outline of the formal agreement at the conference.
1956 – The US Federal Highway Act authorized a 42,500 mile network linking major urban centers. 90% of the cost was to be borne by the federal government.
1966 – During the Vietnam War, U.S. aircraft bomb the major North Vietnamese population centers of Hanoi and Haiphong for the first time, destroying oil depots located near the two cities. The U.S. military hoped that by bombing Hanoi, the capital of North Vietnam, and Haiphong, North Vietnam’s largest port, communist forces would be deprived of essential military supplies and thus the ability to wage war. In 1961, U.S. President John F. Kennedy sent the first large force of U.S. military personnel to Vietnam to bolster the ineffectual autocratic regime of South Vietnam against communist forces. Three years later, with the South Vietnamese government crumbling, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered limited bombing raids on North Vietnam, and Congress authorized the use of U.S. ground troops. By 1965, Vietcong and North Vietnamese offensives left President Johnson with two choices: escalate U.S. involvement or withdraw. Johnson ordered the former, and troop levels soon jumped to more than 300,000 as U.S. air forces commenced the largest bombing campaign in history. However, as the Vietcong were able to fight with an average daily flow of only 20 tons of supplies from North Vietnam, and U.S. forces in Vietnam required 1,000 times as much, the bombing of communist industry and supply routes had little impact on the course of the war. Nevertheless, North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh placed the destruction of U.S. bombers in the forefront of his war effort, and by 1969 more than 5,000 American planes had been lost. In addition, the extended length of the war, the high number of U.S. casualties, and the exposure of U.S. involvement in war crimes such as the massacre at My Lai turned many in the United States against the Vietnam War. In 1973, representatives of the United States and North and South Vietnam signed a peace agreement in Paris, ending the U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War. On April 30, 1975, the last few Americans still in South Vietnam were airlifted out of the country as Saigon fell to communist forces. The Vietnam War was the longest and most unpopular foreign war in U.S. history and cost 58,000 American lives. As many as two million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians were killed.
1968 – South Vietnamese Premier, Tran Van Huong expresses concern that, because of its impatience to end the war, the United States is making too many concessions at the peace talks, behavior which the North Vietnamese interpret as a sign of weakness.
1970 – U.S. ground combat troops end two months of operations in Cambodia and return to South Vietnam. Military officials reported 354 Americans had been killed and 1,689 were wounded in the operation. The South Vietnamese reported 866 killed and 3,724 wounded. About 34,000 South Vietnamese troops remained in Cambodia. U.S. and South Vietnamese forces had launched a limited “incursion” into Cambodia to clear North Vietnamese sanctuaries 20 miles inside the Cambodian border. Some 50,000 South Vietnamese soldiers and 30,000 U.S. troops were involved, making it the largest operation of the war since Operation Junction City in 1967. The incursion into Cambodia had given the antiwar movement in the United States a new rallying point. News of the crossing into Cambodia set off a wave of antiwar demonstrations, including one at Kent State University that resulted in the killing of four students by Army National Guard troops, and another at Jackson State in Mississippi resulting in the shooting of two students when police opened fire on a women’s dormitory. The incursion also angered many in Congress, who felt that Nixon was illegally widening the scope of the war; this resulted in a series of congressional resolutions and legislative initiatives that would severely limit the executive power of the president.
1972 – President Nixon agrees to the resumption of peace talks in Paris ‘on the assumption that the North Vietnamese are prepared to negotiate in a constructive and serious way.’ Talks will begin again on 13 July.
1973 – Congress agrees that bombing in Cambodia can continue until 15 August, after which spending for any military activity in Indochina must be approved by Congress.
1978 – Vietnam becomes a member of Comecon (The Council of Mutual Economic Assistance), the Soviet-Bloc East European economic community.
1982 – The Soviet Union launched COSPAS I, the first search and rescue satellite ever launched. In combination with later SARSAT satellites, a new multi-agency, international, search and rescue service was made operational.
1991 – President Bush, speaking to reporters in Kennebunkport, Maine, refused to rule out the possibility of renewed military action against Iraq, calling its interference with U-N inspectors “very disturbing.”
1994 – US reopened Guantanamo Naval Base to process refugees.
1995 – The shuttle Atlantis and the Russian space station Mir docked, forming the largest man-made satellite ever to orbit the Earth.
1996 – U.S. allies backed President Clinton’s demand that Bosnian Serb leaders indicted for war crimes be forced “out of power and out of influence.”
1999 – In Chechnya Russian security forces freed Herbert Gregg (51), an American missionary kidnapped over 7 months ago. Part of his index finger had bee cut off in an attempt to extort ransom.
2000 – Iraq said US and British warplanes bombed North Rumeila and killed a woman shepherd and injured her husband.
2001 – In Okinawa a woman claimed that she was raped by an American. US Air Force sergeant Timothy B. Woodland was later charged. Sgt. Woodland was handed over to Japanese authorities on July 6. Woodland was convicted Mar 27 and was sentenced to 32 months in prison.
2002 – Pakistan issued a “most wanted” list of 10 suspected Islamic militants and offered big rewards for their capture in connection with the killing of U.S. reporter Daniel Pearl and the bombing of Western targets.
2003 – In Iraq US forces launched a massive operation to crush insurgents and capture senior figures from the ousted regime.
2007 – Four men were indicted on charges with conspiring to “cause death, serious bodily injury and extensive destruction” at New Yourk City’s JFK Airport. On August 6 a judge ordered three of the alleged plotters extradited to the United States. This was an alleged Islamist terrorist plot to blow up a system of jet fuel supply tanks and pipelines that feed fuel to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in Queens, New York. These pipelines travel throughout the undergrounds of New York City in densely populated areas. The alleged plot was foiled when an undercover law enforcement official was recruited to the homegrown terrorist cell. The suspects are Russell Defreitas, a United States citizen and native of Guyana who was the alleged ringleader and worked for a time at the airport; Abdul Kadir, a citizen of Guyana and former member of the Guyanaese National Assembly; Kareem Ibrahim, a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago; and Abdel Nur, a citizen of Guyana and uncle of former world welterweight boxing champion Andrew “Six Heads” Lewis. Defreitas was a former employee of JFK and was arrested in Brooklyn, New York. Kadir and Ibrahim were arrested in Trinidad on June 3, 2007. Nur surrendered to police two days later in Trinidad.
2009 – U.S. forces withdrew from Baghdad.
2014 – The establishment of a new caliphate was announced, with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi named as its caliph, and the group formally changed its name to the “Islamic State.” IS’s ideology originates in the branch of modern Islam that aims to return to the early days of Islam, rejecting later “innovations” in the religion which it believes corrupt its original spirit. It condemns later caliphates and the Ottoman empire for deviating from what it calls pure Islam and hence has been attempting to establish its own caliphate. From its beginnings the establishment of a pure Islamic state has been one of the group’s main goals. According to journalist Sarah Birke, one of the “significant differences” between Al-Nusra Front and ISIS is that ISIS “tends to be more focused on establishing its own rule on conquered territory”. While both groups share the ambition to build an Islamic state, ISIS is “far more ruthless … carrying out sectarian attacks and imposing sharia law immediately”. ISIS finally achieved its goal on 29 June 2014, when it removed “Iraq and the Levant” from its name, began to refer to itself as the Islamic State, and declared the territory which it occupied in Iraq and Syria a new caliphate. In mid-2014, the group released a video entitled “The End of Sykes–Picot” featuring an English-speaking Chilean national named Abu Safiyya. The video announced the group’s intention to eliminate all modern borders between Islamic Middle Eastern countries; this was a reference to the borders set by the Sykes–Picot Agreement during World War I.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
HICKEY, DENNIS W.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company E, 2d New York Cavalry. Place and date: At Stony Creek Bridge, Va., 29 June 1864. Entered service at:——. Birth: Troy, N.Y. Date of issue: 18 April 1891. Citation: With a detachment of 3 men, tore up the bridge at Stony Creek being the last man on the bridge and covering the retreat until he was shot down.
Rank and organization: Major, 88th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Savage Station, Va., 29 June 1862. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Born: 13 September 1833, Ireland. Date of issue: 18 February 1891. Citation: Led his regiment on the enemy’s battery, silenced the guns, held the position against overwhelming numbers, and covered the retreat of the 2d Army Corps.
WHITAKER, EDWARD W.
Rank and organization: Captain, Company E, 1st Connecticut Cavalry. Place and date: At Reams Station, Va., 29 June 1864. Entered service at: Ashford, Conn. Born: 15 June 1841, Killingly, Conn. Date of issue: 2 April 1898. Citation: While acting as an aide voluntarily carried dispatches from the commanding general to Gen. Meade, forcing his way with a single troop of Cavalry, through an Infantry division of the enemy in the most distinguished manner, though he lost half his escort.
Rank and organization: Private, Company F, 8th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Santa Maria River, Ariz., 29 June 1869. Entered service at:——. Birth: Broome County, N.Y. Date of issue: 3 March 1870. Citation: Gallantry in killing an Indian warrior and capturing pony and effects.
*BENNETT, STEVEN L.
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Air Force. 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron, Pacific Air Forces. Place and date: Quang Tri, Republic of Vietnam, 29 June 1972. Entered service at: Lafayette, La. Born: 22 April 1946, Palestine, Tex. Citation: Capt. Bennett was the pilot of a light aircraft flying an artillery adjustment mission along a heavily defended segment of route structure. A large concentration of enemy troops was massing for an attack on a friendly unit. Capt. Bennett requested tactical air support but was advised that none was available. He also requested artillery support but this too was denied due to the close proximity of friendly troops to the target. Capt. Bennett was determined to aid the endangered unit and elected to strafe the hostile positions. After 4 such passes, the enemy force began to retreat. Capt. Bennett continued the attack, but, as he completed his fifth strafing pass, his aircraft was struck by a surface-to-air missile, which severely damaged the left engine and the left main landing gear. As fire spread in the left engine, Capt. Bennett realized that recovery at a friendly airfield was impossible. He instructed his observer to prepare for an ejection, but was informed by the observer that his parachute had been shredded by the force of the impacting missile. Although Capt. Bennett had a good parachute, he knew that if he ejected, the observer would have no chance of survival. With complete disregard for his own life, Capt. Bennett elected to ditch the aircraft into the Gulf of Tonkin, even though he realized that a pilot of this type aircraft had never survived a ditching. The ensuing impact upon the water caused the aircraft to cartwheel and severely damaged the front cockpit, making escape for Capt. Bennett impossible. The observer successfully made his way out of the aircraft and was rescued. Capt. Bennett’s unparalleled concern for his companion, extraordinary heroism and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Air Force.
HERDA, FRANK A.
Rank and organization: Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army, Company A, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). Place and date: Near Dak To, Quang Trang Province, Republic of Vietnam, 29 June 1968. Entered service at: Cleveland, Ohio. Born: 13 September 1947, Cleveland, Ohio. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Herda (then Pfc.) distinguished himself while serving as a grenadier with Company A. Company A was part of a battalion-size night defensive perimeter when a large enemy force initiated an attack on the friendly units. While other enemy elements provided diversionary fire and indirect weapons fire to the west, a sapper force of approximately 30 men armed with hand grenades and small charges attacked Company A’s perimeter from the east. As the sappers were making a last, violent assault, 5 of them charged the position defended by Sp4c. Herda and 2 comrades, 1 of whom was wounded and lay helpless in the bottom of the foxhole. Sp4c. Herda fired at the aggressors until they were within 10 feet of his position and 1 of their grenades landed in the foxhole. He fired 1 last round from his grenade launcher, hitting 1 of the enemy soldiers in the head, and then, with no concern for his safety, Sp4c. Herda immediately covered the blast of the grenade with his body. The explosion wounded him grievously, but his selfless action prevented his 2 comrades from being seriously injured or killed and enabled the remaining defender to kill the other sappers. By his gallantry at the risk of his life in the highest traditions of the military service, Sp4c. Herda has reflected great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
MORRIS, CHARLES B.
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant (then Sgt.), U.S. Army, Company A, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade (Separate). Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 29 June 1966. Entered service at: Roanoke, Va. Born: 29 December 1931, Carroll County, Va. C.O. No.: 51, 14 December 1967. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Seeing indications of the enemy’s presence in the area, S/Sgt. Morris deployed his squad and continued forward alone to make a reconnaissance. He unknowingly crawled within 20 meters of an enemy machinegun, whereupon the gunner fired, wounding him in the chest. S/Sgt. Morris instantly returned the fire and killed the gunner. Continuing to crawl within a few feet of the gun, he hurled a grenade and killed the remainder of the enemy crew. Although in pain and bleeding profusely, S/Sgt. Morris continued his reconnaissance. Returning to the platoon area, he reported the results of his reconnaissance to the platoon leader. As he spoke, the platoon came under heavy fire. Refusing medical attention for himself, he deployed his men in better firing positions confronting the entrenched enemy to his front. Then for 8 hours the platoon engaged the numerically superior enemy force. Withdrawal was impossible without abandoning many wounded and dead. Finding the platoon medic dead, S/Sgt. Morris administered first aid to himself and was returning to treat the wounded members of his squad with the medic’s first aid kit when he was again wounded. Knocked down and stunned, he regained consciousness and continued to treat the wounded, reposition his men, and inspire and encourage their efforts. Wounded again when an enemy grenade shattered his left hand, nonetheless he personally took up the fight and armed and threw several grenades which killed a number of enemy soldiers. Seeing that an enemy machinegun had maneuvered behind his platoon and was delivering the fire upon his men, S/Sgt. Morris and another man crawled toward the gun to knock it out. His comrade was killed and S/Sgt. Morris sustained another wound, but, firing his rifle with 1 hand, he silenced the enemy machinegun. Returning to the platoon, he courageously exposed himself to the devastating enemy fire to drag the wounded to a protected area, and with utter disregard for his personal safety and the pain he suffered, he continued to lead and direct the efforts of his men until relief arrived. Upon termination of the battle, important documents were found among the enemy dead revealing a planned ambush of a Republic of Vietnam battalion. Use of this information prevented the ambush and saved many lives. S/Sgt. Morris’ gallantry was instrumental in the successful defeat of the enemy, saved many lives, and was in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.