July 29

29 July

1603 – Bartholomew Gilbert was killed in the colony of Virginia by Indians, during a search for the missing Roanoke colonists.
1676 – Nathaniel Bacon was declared a rebel for assembling frontiersmen to protect settlers from Indians.
1775The legal origin of the Army Chaplains Corps is found in a resolution of the Continental Congress, adopted July 29, 1775, which made provision for the pay of chaplains. The Office of the Chief of Chaplains was created by the National Defense Act of 1920.
1775The Office of Judge Advocate of the Army may be deemed to have been created on July 29, 1775, and has generally paralleled the origin and development of the American system of military justice. The Judge Advocate General’s Department, by that name, was established in 1884. Its present designation as a corps was enacted in 1948.
1776 – Silvestre de Escalante and Francisco Dominguez, two Spanish Franciscan priests, leave Santa Fe for an epic journey through the Southwest. Escalante and Dominguez hoped to blaze a trail from New Mexico to Monterey, California, but their main goal was to visit with the native inhabitants and convert as many as possible to the Catholic faith. On this day in 1776, the two priests and seven men left the Spanish frontier town of Santa Fe and headed northwest into what is today the state of Colorado. They continued north, exploring the rugged Great Basin and canyon land country of Utah. Initially, the priests made good time, and by mid-September, they had reached Utah Lake, just to the south of the Great Salt Lake in northern Utah. There, they found Indians who Dominguez described as “the most docile and affable nation of all that have been known in these regions.” They quickly set about preaching the Gospel, reportedly with “such happy results that they are awaiting Spaniards so that they might become Christians.” By early October, winter was approaching. Traveling through high mountain passes, Escalante and Dominguez began to encounter fierce snowstorms. Accustomed to desert living, the priests were unequipped to deal with snow and bitter cold, and they soon ran short of provisions. They abandoned the goal of reaching California and headed back for Santa Fe. During the long journey home, they very nearly starved to death. The men ate their horses first. When the horseflesh was gone, they ate only prickly pear cactus. On January 2, 1777, the exhausted men staggered into Santa Fe. They had traveled nearly 1,700 miles in just 159 days through some of the roughest country in the southwest, yet all nine members of the party made it home safely. Escalante and Dominguez had failed in their goal of finding a route to Monterey, and to their keen disappointment, the New Mexican missionaries showed little interest in following up their initial proselytizing with the Utah Indians. Nonetheless, the two intrepid priests were the first to explore extensively the Great Basin country of the Southwest. Escalante’s written account of the expedition became an essential guide to future explorers.
1846 – Sailors and Marines from U.S. sloop Cyane capture San Diego, CA.
1858 – Japan signed a treaty of commerce and friendship with the United States.
1862 – At Moore’s Mill in Missouri, the Confederates were routed by Union guerrillas.
1862Confederate spy Marie Isabella “Belle” Boyd is arrested by Union troops and detained at the Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C. It was the first of three arrests for this skilled spy who provided crucial information to the Confederates during the war. The Virginian-born Boyd was just 17 when the war began. She was from a prominent slaveholding family in Martinsburg, Virginia (now West Virginia), in the Shenandoah Valley. In 1861, she shot and killed a Union solider for insulting her mother and threatening to search their house. Union officers investigated and decided the shooting was justified. Soon after the shooting incident, Boyd began spying for the Confederacy. She used her charms to engage Union soldiers and officers in conversations and acquire information about Federal military affairs. Suspecting her of spying, Union officers banished Boyd further south in the Shenandoah, to Front Royal Virginia, in March 1862. Just two months later, Boyd personally delivered crucial information to General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson during his campaign in the Valley that allowed the Confederates to defeat General Nathaniel Banks’s forces at the Battle of Winchester. In another incident, Boyd turned two chivalrous Union cavalrymen who had escorted her back home across Union lines over to Confederate pickets as prisoners of war. Boyd was detained on several occasions, and on July 29 she was placed in the Old Capitol Prison in Washington. But her incarceration was evidently of limited hardship. She was given many special considerations, and she became engaged to a fellow prisoner. Upon her release one month later, she was given a trousseau by the prison’s superintendent and shipped under a flag of truce to Richmond. Boyd was arrested again in 1863 and held for three months. After this second imprisonment, she became a courier of secret messages to Great Britain. In 1864, her ship was captured off the coast of North Carolina, and the ship and crew were taken to New York. Captain Samuel Hardinge commanded the Union ship that captured Boyd’s vessel, and the two were seen shopping together in New York. He followed her to London, and they were married soon after. Boyd was widowed soon after the end of the war, but the union produced one child. Still just 21, Boyd parlayed her spying experiences into a book and an acting career. She died in Wisconsin in 1900.
1864 – During the Civil War, Union forces tried to take Petersburg, Va., by exploding a mine under Confederate defense lines. The attack failed. [see Jul 30]
1864 – 3rd and last day of battle at Deep Bottom Run, Virginia.
1864 – Battle of Macon, GA (Stoneman’s Raid).
1883 – Benito Mussolini, dictator of Fascist Italy (1922-1943), was born.
1914 – Transcontinental telephone service began with the first phone conversation between New York and San Francisco.
1914 – Germany is ordered to mobilize. This includes the main force, the High Seas Fleet, which begins to assemble along the Jade River.
1919 – A detachment of Marines from the USS New Orleans prepared to land at Tyutuke Bay (near Vladivostok), Russia, to protect American interests during a period of political disturbances.
1921 – Adolf Hitler became the president of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazis).
1932The Great Depression sent poverty-stricken Americans scrambling for any available source of income. Veterans of World War I certainly felt pinched, and cast about for ways to haul in cash, but, unlike Americans who hadn’t fought in the war, the veterans seemingly had a solution: in the wake of the war, the government had promised to hand out handsome cash bonuses to all servicemen. The catch was the bonuses were to be paid out in 1945. In dire need of money, veterans called on legislators during the spring and summer of 1932 to speed up payment of the bonuses. In May, a group of veterans from Portland, Oregon, staged the “Bonus March” and headed to Washington, D.C., to plead their case. The March fast became a mini-movement, and by June a “Bonus Army” of 20,000 vets had set up shop in Washington. At first all seemed to go well for the veterans, as the House of Representatives passed the Patman Bonus Bill, which called for the early payment of bonuses. The Senate, however, put the kibosh on the movement and killed the Patman legislation. Though chunks of the Bonus Army fled Washington after the bill’s defeat, a hefty handful of veterans stayed on through late July. President Herbert Hoover ordered the ousting of the vets who had decamped in government quarters. When the eviction proceedings turned ugly, and two veterans were killed, Hoover called on the army to disperse the remaining Bonus protesters. General Douglas MacArthur, and his young assistant Dwight Eisenhower, marshaled troops, tanks and tear gas in their war to send the stragglers home. Duly persuaded by this gross show of force, the remaining members of the Bonus Army headed home on July 29, 1932.
1942 – A combined British and American Production and Resources Board is established in London to control allocations of material and industrial priorities. Mr. Harriman, the American Lend-Lease representative in Britain, and Mr. Lyttleton, the British Minister of Production, are to be the senior members.
1944 – The advance of US 1st Army continues. On the left flank, the US 19th Corps approaches Torigny and Tessy. The 7th Corps reaches Percy. On the right flank, the 8th Corps crosses the Sienne River and moves toward Granville.
1944 – On Tinian, the American forces now occupy more than half the island. Japanese resistance is increasing.
1944 – On Biak the last pocket of organized Japanese resistance, around Ibdi, is eliminated. On the mainland, near Aitape, American forces fall back at Afua under pressure from Japanese forces.
1945 – An Allied naval bombardment 5 battleships and several cruisers and destroyers targets the aircraft factories at Hamamutsu in southern Honshu.
1946 – Elements of 11th Marines clash with Chinese communists at Anping, China.
1950 – As the U.N. forces formed the 100-mile by 50-mile Pusan Perimeter, Lieutenant General Walton Walker issued his controversial “stand or die” order to Eighth Army, declaring, “there will be no Dunkirk, there will be no Bataan.”
1957 – The International Atomic Energy Agency was established.
1958The United States Congress passes legislation formally inaugurating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The establishment of NASA was a sign that the United States was committed to winning the “space race” against the Soviets. In October 1957, the Soviet Union shocked the world, and particularly the American public, by launching the first satellite into orbit around the earth. Called Sputnik, the small spacecraft was an embarrassment to the United States, which prided itself on its leadership in the field of technology. Sputnik also provided the Soviets with an important propaganda advantage in terms of reaching out to underdeveloped Third World nations that were looking for scientific and technological assistance. The initial U.S. response to this challenge was not altogether successful. The Eisenhower administration passed the National Defense Education Act that provided federal funds for improving the teaching of science and mathematics in America’s public schools. In December 1957, the United States attempted to launch its own satellite. Named Vanguard, the “spaceship” got a few feet off the ground and then blew up. America had better luck with Explorer I a month later–the satellite completed its orbit of the earth. It was obvious to many U.S. officials, though, that a more organized and focused effort was needed. In July 1958, Congress passed legislation establishing NASA as the coordinating body of the U.S. space program. During the next decade, NASA became synonymous with the space race. In May 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced that the United States should set a goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Eight years and billions of dollars later, Neil Armstrong stepped out of the lunar module Eagle and onto the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969. The great space race was over.
1965The first 4,000 paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division arrive in Vietnam, landing at Cam Ranh Bay. They made a demonstration jump immediately after arriving, observed by Gen. William Westmoreland and outgoing Ambassador (formerly General) Maxwell Taylor. Taylor and Westmoreland were both former commanders of the division, which was known as the “Screaming Eagles.” The 101st Airborne Division has a long and storied history, including combat jumps during the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, and the subsequent Market-Garden airborne operation in the Netherlands. Later, the division distinguished itself by its defense of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. The 1st Brigade fought as a separate brigade until 1967, when the remainder of the division arrived in Vietnam. The combat elements of the division consisted of 10 battalions of airmobile infantry, six battalions of artillery, an aerial rocket artillery unit armed with rocket-firing helicopters, and an air reconnaissance unit. Another unique feature of the division was its aviation group, which consisted of three aviation battalions of assault helicopters and gunships. The majority of the 101st Airborne Division’s tactical operations were in the Central Highlands and in the A Shau Valley farther north. Among its major operations was the brutal fight for Ap Bia Mountain, known as the “Hamburger Hill” battle. The last Army division to leave Vietnam, the remaining elements of the 101st Airborne Division returned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where today it is the Army’s only airmobile division. During the war, troopers from the 101st won 17 Medals of Honor for bravery in combat. The division suffered almost 20,000 soldiers killed or wounded in action in Vietnam, over twice as many as the 9,328 casualties it suffered in World War II.
1967Fire sweeps the U.S. aircraft carrier Forrestal off the coast of North Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin. It was the worst U.S. naval disaster in a combat zone since World War II. The accident took the lives of 134 crewmen and injured 62 more. Of the carrier’s 80 planes, 21 were destroyed and 42 were damaged.
1970 – 6 days of race rioting began in Hartford, Ct.
1970 – The CGC Vigorous became the first 210-foot cutter to cross the Arctic Circle. This took place while she was part of the 1970 Cadet Cruise Squadron. At the time CDR George Wagner, USCG, was the commanding officer.
1970Volunteers of Pennsylvania’s 193rd Tactical Electronic Warfare Group settle into their quarters having just arrived to begin their secret mission of propaganda broadcasts over enemy held territory. The 193rd was a fairly new organization, having been reorganized from Pennsylvania’s 168th Air Transport Group in 1967. During the 1965 operation of the U.S. military in quelling the unrest in the Dominican Republic, the Defense Department decided it need some way to communicate by AM radio with the populace our intentions and instructions to help reduce needless deaths. With the Vietnam War costing billions of dollars already, the Air Force said it could not organize such a specialized unit on a full-time basis. Major General Winston Wilson, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, offered to have an Air Guard unit reorganized to perform this mission. As the 168th was reorganized into the 193rd its mission was redefined more to broadcast the American position on events to enemy soldiers than to communicate with local civilians. Soon after the U.S. incursion into Cambodia from Vietnam in May 1970, it was decided to deploy the 193rd to Thailand to fly over Cambodia broadcasting to Communists forces attempting to overthrow the pro-American government. By 1970 it was apparent that the U.S was withdrawing its forces from Vietnam. The last thing the Pentagon wanted was newspaper stories about a Guard unit again being mobilized for duty in Southeast Asia. The last of the Guardsmen mobilized in 1968 had only been released from active duty in November 1969. And with memories of the Guard’s involvement in the Kent State shootings that had just occurred in May 1970, the public’s impression of the Guard was not favorable. So it was decided to deploy the unit staffed entirely with volunteers on ‘short tours’ of 60-90 days before they returned home, replaced by new volunteers for another 60-90 days. According to Technical Sergeant James Bankes, who was in the first group to go, this rotation schedule applied to all, pilots as well as ground support personnel. With little notice by the press the unit took only two of their specially-modified EC-121 Super Constellation aircraft. Each day one plane would fly, usually for about 7 hours, while the other was serviced and prepared for the next day’s mission. Bankes said that the planes broadcast AM radio programs in a foreign language prepared by somebody who delivered them to the unit each morning in time for that day’s flight. The crew had no idea what they said. One pilot joked it was probably “Shoot down the first three-tailed aircraft you see!” After 144 days of continuous missions (without missing one day due to malfunction or weather) the unit and its planes returned home with no fanfare. The 193rd suffered no losses. This first test for the unit proved successful and it has been among the first unit deployed in every military action undertaken by the U.S. since Vietnam. In fact, the 193rd (now redesignated as Special Operations Wing) is the only such unit in the entire Air Force and was flying over Afghanistan broadcasting on the first day of the air war against the Taliban in 2001 and over Iraq in the opening hours of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
1972Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark visits North Vietnam as a member of the International Commission of Inquiry into U.S. War Crimes in Indochina. This commission was formed to investigate alleged U.S. bombing of non-military targets in North Vietnam. Clark reported over Hanoi radio that he had seen damage to hospitals, dikes, schools, and civilian areas. His visit stirred intense controversy at home. Nothing ever came of Clark’s claims, but he was lauded by antiwar activists for pointing out the damage done by the U.S. bombing attacks. Other Americans condemned Clark as a traitor to the United States.
1974 – The 2nd impeachment vote against Nixon was by the House Judiciary Committee.
1975 – President Ford became the first U.S. president to visit the site of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland as he paid tribute to the camp’s victims.
1987 – Testifying for a second day before the Iran-Contra congressional committees, Attorney General Edwin Meese strongly defended his inquiry into the affair.
1988 – NASA officials delayed a critical test-firing of the space shuttle Discovery’s main engines another three days. The test on Aug. 10 was judged a success.
1991 – President Bush arrived in Moscow for a superpower summit with Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev that included the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
1999 – US warplanes struck targets in northern and southern Iraq after anti-aircraft artillery shot at them. Iraq reported 8 people killed.
2001 – In Puerto Rico the residents of Vieques island voted on stopping the practice bombing by the US military. Opponents of the navy bombing gathered 68% of the vote.
2002 – On a mission to stamp out Islamic militancy in Southeast Asia, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell held talks with Thai leaders, who deny their country is facing a Muslim insurgency.
2002 – In Afghanistan, a man identified by authorities as a would-be suicide bomber with more than a half-ton of explosives in his car was stopped by a chance traffic accident just 300 yards from the U.S. Embassy.
2003 – President Bush refused to release a congressional report on possible links between Saudi Arabian officials and the Sept. 11 hijackers, saying disclosure “would help the enemy” by revealing intelligence sources and methods.
2003 – American soldiers in Tikrit overpowered and arrested a bodyguard who rarely left Saddam Hussein’s side.
2004 – Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi met with Secretary of State Colin Powell in Saudi Arabia and urged Muslim nations to dispatch troops to Iraq to help defeat an insurgency that he said threatens all Islamic countries.

Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day

Rank and organization: Private, Company E, 5th lowa Cavalry. Place and date: At Newnan, Ga., 29 July 1864. Entered service at: Dubuque, lowa. Birth: Dubuque, lowa. Date of issue: 13 January 1899. Citation: When nearly surrounded by the enemy, captured a Confederate soldier, and with the aid of a comrade who joined him later, captured 4 other Confederate soldiers, disarmed the 5 prisoners, and brought them all into the Union lines.

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company D, 20th Infantry, 6th Infantry Division. Place and date: Cordillera Mountains, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 29 July 1945. Entered service at: Nashport, Ohio. Birth: Salem, W. Va. G.O. No.: 49, 31 May 1946. Citation: He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while fighting in the Cordillera Mountains of Luzon, Philippine Islands. When 2 Filipino companies were pinned down under a torrent of enemy fire that converged on them from a circular ridge commanding their position, Cpl. Mayfield, in a gallant single-handed effort to aid them, rushed from shell hole to shell hole until he reached 4 enemy caves atop the barren fire-swept hill. With grenades and his carbine, he assaulted each of the caves while enemy fire pounded about him. However, before he annihilated the last hostile redoubt, a machinegun bullet destroyed his weapon and slashed his left hand. Disregarding his wound, he secured more grenades and dauntlessly charged again into the face of pointblank fire to help destroy a hostile observation post. By his gallant determination and heroic leadership, Cpl. Mayfield inspired the men to eliminate all remaining pockets of resistance in the area and to press the advance against the enemy.

Rank and organization: Captain (then Lieutenant), U.S. Army, 172d Infantry, 43d Infantry Division. Place and date. Near Munda Air Strip, New Georgia, Solomon Islands, 29 July 1943. Entered service at. Santa Fe, N. Mex. Birth: Washington, D.C. G.O. No.: 81, 14 October 1944. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty near Munda Airstrip, New Georgia, Solomon Islands, on 29 July 1943. After 27 days of bitter fighting, the enemy held a hilltop salient which commanded the approach to Munda Airstrip. Our troops were exhausted from prolonged battle and heavy casualties, but Lt. Scott advanced with the leading platoon of his company to attack the enemy position, urging his men forward in the face of enemy rifle and enemy machinegun fire. He had pushed forward alone to a point midway across the barren hilltop within 75 yards of the enemy when the enemy launched a desperate counterattack, which f successful would have gained undisputed possession of the hill. Enemy riflemen charged out on the plateau, firing and throwing grenades as they moved to engage our troops. The company withdrew, but Lt. Scott, with only a blasted tree stump for cover, stood his ground against the wild enemy assault. By firing his carbine and throwing the grenades in his possession he momentarily stopped the enemy advance using the brief respite to obtain more grenades. Disregarding small-arms fire and exploding grenades aimed at him, suffering a bullet wound in the left hand and a painful shrapnel wound in the head after his carbine had been shot from his hand, he threw grenade after grenade with devastating accuracy until the beaten enemy withdrew. Our troops, inspired to renewed effort by Lt. Scott’s intrepid stand and incomparable courage, swept across the plateau to capture the hill, and from this strategic position 4 days later captured Munda Airstrip.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, 41st Armored Infantry 2d Armored Division. Place and date: Near Grimesnil, France, 29 July 1944. Entered service at: Bastrop, La. Born: 9 July 1921, Bogalusa, La. G.O. No.: 32, 23 April 1945. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On the night of 29 July 1944, near Grimesnil, France, during an enemy armored attack, Sgt. Whittington, a squad leader, assumed command of his platoon when the platoon leader and platoon sergeant became missing in action. He reorganized the defense and, under fire, courageously crawled between gun positions to check the actions of his men. When the advancing enemy attempted to penetrate a roadblock, Sgt. Whittington, completely disregarding intense enemy action, mounted a tank and by shouting through the turret, directed it into position to fire pointblank at the leading Mark V German tank. The destruction of this vehicle blocked all movement of the remaining enemy column consisting of over 100 vehicles of a Panzer unit. The blocked vehicles were then destroyed by handgrenades, bazooka, tank, and artillery fire and large numbers of enemy personnel were wiped out by a bold and resolute bayonet charge inspired by Sgt. Whittington. When the medical aid man had become a casualty, Sgt. Whittington personally administered first aid to his wounded men. The dynamic leadership, the inspiring example, and the dauntless courage of Sgt. Whittington, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.

3 thoughts on “July 29

  1. Eric Peterson says:

    I truly appreciate your site, but from reading todays history and from the USS Indianapolis site, it was sunk on the 30th , not on the 29 as stated here. Thank you

    • R. W. White says:

      Nice catch. I have fixed it. Likely the error is due to time zones–it would have been the 29th in DC–I have yet to set a rule for such cases, so there may be other events that show up a day early or late.

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