August 15

15 August

1812Potawatomi Indians kill William Wells, an Indian captive turned Indian fighter. Born in Pennsylvania in 1770, Wells migrated with his family to Kentucky when he was nine years old. Five years later he was captured by Miami Indians and adopted into the family of the Wea village chief Gaviahatte. The young boy quickly adapted to Indian ways. He became a distinguished warrior and married the daughter of a prominent Miami war chief. For several years, Wells fought with the Miami against American soldiers attempting to push them off their land. In 1792, however, the army captured his wife and adopted mother. In exchange for their freedom, Wells agreed to join the American army as an interpreter. A reunion with a long lost brother helped reinforce the allegiance of Wells to the Americans, though his loyalties remained conflicted for the rest of his life. For several years, Wells was an invaluable scout and interpreter for the U.S. Army, helping the Americans defeat the hostile factions of the Miami and other tribes. In 1797, he was appointed Indian agent for the Miami, Delaware, Potawatomi, and other tribes of the Old Northwest (the modern-day Midwest). Yet, increasing pressure for the Indians to give up their lands to white settlers led to renewed conflicts, and Wells was often caught between the two groups. The outbreak of the War of 1812 with Great Britain heightened an already tense situation as some Indians saw the war as chance to join forces with the British to push out the Americans. Concerned about the safety of the Americans at Fort Dearborn (in Chicago), where his niece was married to the fort commander, Wells quickly raised a rescue party of 30 Miami Indians who were loyal to him and the United States and headed north. When he arrived on August 13, he found the fort surrounded by hostile Indians. Wells argued for staying at the fort and making a stand until a larger force of American soldiers could arrive. But the commander insisted on evacuation. On this day in 1812, Wells led a small company of men, women, and children out of the fort. They had not gone far before hundreds of Potawatomi Indians ambushed the party, killing more than 50 and taking the remainder captive. Wells, who was dressed and painted as a Miami warrior, fought heroically but was eventually shot through the lungs. When he fell from his horse, witnesses claimed the Potawatomi swarmed over his body, cut out his heart, and divided it among them.
1824 – Freed American slaves formed the country of Liberia.
1861 – Lincoln directed reinforcements to be sent to Missouri.
1861Just months after he surrendered Fort Sumter, Union General Robert Anderson is named commander of the Department of the Kentucky. Born in Kentucky in 1805, Anderson attended West Point and earned distinction in the Black Hawk War of 1832. He also fought in Florida’s Seminole War before serving in the Mexican-American War under Winfield Scott. He rose to the rank of major prior to the outbreak of the Civil War. Although he was pro-slavery and pro-South, Anderson remained loyal to the United States. When Abraham Lincoln won the presidential election in November 1860, tension rose dramatically around Federal installations in the South. Anderson was assigned to command Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor in hopes that a pro-South officer would help smooth tensions with local residents. From the time South Carolina seceded on December 20, 1861, until the Confederates fired on the fort on April 15, 1861, Anderson politely dealt with the Charlestonians in a deteriorating climate. When he surrendered the fort after a 36-hour bombardment, he was hailed a national hero. Released by Confederates nearly six weeks after the surrender of Fort Sumter, Anderson was promoted to brigadier general. He was given command of the Department of Kentucky and carefully maintained the balance of neutrality in the state. But poor health forced him to resign his command two months later, and William T. Sherman replaced him. Anderson returned to active duty briefly in 1865 to hoist the American flag over Fort Sumter after the Confederate surrender. He died in 1871 and is buried at West Point.
1863Submarine H. L. Hunley had arrived in Charleston on two covered railroad flat cars. Brigadier General Jordan advised Mr. B.A. Whitney that a reward of $100,000 dollars would he paid by John Fraser and Company for the destruction of U.S.S. New Ironsides. He added that “a similar sum for destruction of the wooden frigate Wabash, and the sum of fifty thousand dollars for every Monitor sunk” was also being offered. The next day, Jordan ordered that “every assistance be rendered in equipping the submarine with torpedoes. Jordan noted that General Beauregard regarded H. F. Hunley as the most formidable engine of war for the defense of Charleston now at his disposition & accordingly is anxious to have it ready for service. . . .”
1864Rear Admiral Farragut’s fleet sustained its pounding of Fort Morgan with shot from its heavy guns. Typical of the action that took place in Mobile Bay from the time the ships dominated its waters on 5 August until General Page, the determined defender of Fort Morgan, finally capitulated was a log entry of U.S.S. Manhattan, Commander Nicholson: “At 7 [p.m.] opened fire on Fort Morgan. At 8 Fort Morgan opened fire on this ship and fired two shot. From 8 to mid-night: Continuing to fire on Fort Morgan; Morgan fired one shot at this ship. At 10:20 ceased firing having fired 7 XV-inch shell. Fort fired on our encampment on shore from 9 till end of watch.”
1876US law removed Indians from Black Hills after gold find. Sioux leaders Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull led their warriors to protect their lands from invasion by prospectors following the discovery of gold. This led to the Great Sioux Campaign staged from Fort Laramie. Gold was discovered in Deadwood in the Dakota territory by Quebec brothers Fred and Moses Manuel. The mine was incorporated in California on Nov 5, 1877, as the Homestake Mining Company.
1895Commissioning of U.S.S. Texas, the first American steel-hulled battleship. Texas served off Cuba during the Spanish-American War and took part in the naval battle of Santiago. Under the name of San Marcos, she was sunk in weapon effects tests in Chesapeake Bay in 1911. Her hulk continued in use as a gunnery target through World War II.
1908 – First Navy post offices established in Navy ships.
1914The American-built waterway across the Isthmus of Panama, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, is inaugurated with the passage of the U.S. vessel Ancon, a cargo and passenger ship. The rush of settlers to California and Oregon in the mid 19th century was the initial impetus of the U.S. desire to build an artificial waterway across Central America. In 1855, the United States completed a railroad across the Isthmus of Panama (then part of Colombia), prompting various parties to propose canal-building plans. Ultimately, Colombia awarded rights to build the canal to Ferdinand de Lesseps, the French entrepreneur who had completed the Suez Canal in 1869. Construction on a sea-level canal began in 1881, but inadequate planning, disease among the workers, and financial problems drove Lesseps’ company into bankruptcy in 1889. Three years later, Philippe-Jean Bunau-Varilla, a former chief engineer of the canal works and a French citizen, acquired the assets of the defunct French company. By the turn of the century, sole possession of the isthmian canal became imperative to the United States, which had acquired an overseas empire at the end of the Spanish-American War and sought the ability to move warships and commerce quickly between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In 1902, the U.S. Congress authorized purchase of the French canal company (pending a treaty with Colombia), and allocated funding for the canal’s construction. In 1903, the Hay-Herrýn Treaty was signed with Columbia, granting the U.S. use of the territory in exchange for financial compensation. The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty, but the Colombian Senate, fearing a loss of sovereignty, refused. In response, President Theodore Roosevelt gave tacit approval to a Panamanian independence movement, which was engineered in large part by Philippe-Jean Bunau-Varilla and his canal company. On November 3, 1903, a faction of Panamanians issued a declaration of independence from Colombia. The U.S.-administered railroad removed its trains from the northern terminus of Coln, thus stranding Colombian troops sent to crush the rebellion. Other Colombian forces were discouraged from marching on Panama by the arrival of U.S. warship Nashville. On November 6, the United States recognized the Republic of Panama, and on November 18 the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty was signed with Panama, granting the U.S. exclusive and permanent possession of the Panama Canal Zone. In exchange, Panama received $10 million and an annuity of $250,000 beginning nine years later. The treaty was negotiated by U.S. Secretary of State John Hay and Bunau-Varilla, who had been given plenipotentiary powers to negotiate on behalf of Panama. Almost immediately, the treaty was condemned by many Panamanians as an infringement on their country’s new national sovereignty. In 1906, American engineers decided on the construction of a lock canal, and the next three years were spent developing construction facilities and eradicating tropical diseases in the area. In 1909, construction proper began. In one of the largest construction projects of all time, U.S. engineers moved nearly 240 million cubic yards of earth and spent close to $400 million in constructing the 40-mile-long canal (or 51 miles long, if the deepened seabed on both ends of the canal is taken into account). On August 15, 1914, the Panama Canal was opened to traffic. Panama later pushed to revoke the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, and in 1977 U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Panamanian dictator Omar Torrijos signed a treaty to turn over the canal to Panama by the end of the century. A peaceful transfer occurred at noon on December 31, 1999.
1918 – Russia severed diplomatic ties with US.
1934 – 19 years of occupation ended as the 1st Marine Brigade departed Haiti.
1942 – The Japanese submarine I-25 departed Japan with a floatplane in its hold. It was assembled upon arriving off the West Coast of the US, and used to bomb U.S. forests.
1942 – On Guadalcanal, the Marines prepare an airstrip and fortify the perimeter around it. They receive a small amount of supplies by sea.
1943 – An invasion of Kiska Island commences. Three American battleships provide support for the landing of 34,000 US and Canadian troops. The Japanese evacuated the island by the end of July but the Americans failed to take note of it.
1943 – Elements of the US 25th Division (General McLure) occupy Vella Lavella. About 4500 troops land. Admiral Wilkinson, commanding Task Force 31, provides naval support. Coast Guardsmen were part of Task Force 31.
1943 – Further American amphibious operations on the Sicilian north coast land after the Axis defenders have pulled back.
1944Allied forces launch a secondary invasion of France (Operation Dragoon, formerly Anvil) between Toulon and Cannes. Most of the initial assaults are carried out by forces of US 6th Corps (Truscott) as part of US 7th Army (Patch). Also included in the initial landings are French commandos. Three American division come ashore in the first wave at three beaches: Alpha Beach (US 3rd Division) on the left flank; Delta Beach (US 45th Division-OK, AZ, NM, COARNG); and, Camel Beach (US 36 Division-TXARNG) on the right flank. In addition to the main landing sites, there airborne landing at Le Muy by 5000 French troops inland from Delta Beach and a sea borne landing on Levante Island. Over 1500 aircraft are engaged in air support for the operation. Admiral Hewitt command the naval support, including 5 battleships, 7 escort carriers, 24 cruisers and 91 destroyers. There is almost no resistance to the lands. Allied forces suffer 183 casualties. Prime Minister Churchill is present during the initial landings, on board a destroyer offshore. The German forces in southern France consist of the 19th Army (Weise) with 7 infantry divisions and the 11th Panzer Division.
1944From south of Tinchebray to Argentan the US 7th and 5th Corps (elements of US 1st Army) are attacking northward. Most of the German 7th Army as well as elements of 15th Panzer Army and Panzer Group Eberbach are now threatened with encirclement. These forces now begin a withdrawal eastward. Field Marshal Kluge is touring the front during the day. Allied aircraft are heavily engaged in ground attacks throughout the day.
1945World War II gasoline rationing in America ended on this day. Rationing was just one of the special measures taken in the U.S. during wartime. Civilian auto production virtually ceased after the attack on Pearl Harbor, as the U.S. automotive industry turned to war production. Automotive firms made almost $29 billion worth of military materials between 1940 and 1945, including jeeps, trucks, machine guns, carbines, tanks, helmets, and aerial bombs. After the war, rationing ended and the auto industry boomed.
1945 – Celebrations mark the end of World War II — VJ Day. A two-day holiday is proclaimed for all federal employees. In New York, Mayor La Guardia pays tribute to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the deceased president, in a radio broadcast.
1945US Task Force 38 launches massive air strikes on the Tokyo area, encountering numerous Japanese fighters but the aircraft are recalled upon receipt of the surrender announcement. Meanwhile, Vice-Admiral Ugaki, commanding Kamikaze operations, leads a final mission but the 7 dive-bombers are shot down off Tokyo before they can reach Okinawa.
1945 – The recorded message of Emperor Hirohito is broadcast to the Japanese people. Many cannot at first accept what has happened. The tight control of the government has prevented civilians from knowing the full extent of the weakness of Japan’s position. This is VJ Day.
1945 – South Korea was liberated after nearly 40 years of Japanese colonial rule.
1948 – The Republic of Korea [South Korea] was proclaimed.
1950 – Two U.S. divisions were badly mauled by the North Korean Army at the Battle of the Bowling Alley in South Korea, which raged on for five more days.
1950The Korean Augmentation to the United States Army (KATUSA) program was born when General MacArthur ordered Eighth Army to increase the strength of each American company and battery with 100 Korean recruits. The KATUSAs, as they came to be called, were legally part of the ROK Army but would serve as part of American units. While largely untrained, the KATUSAs were a badly needed infusion of manpower to the depleted Eighth Army ground units.
1958 – USS Lexington (CVA-16) arrives in vicinity of Taiwan.
1961Two days after sealing off free passage between East and West Berlin with barbed wire, East German authorities begin building a wall–the Berlin Wall–to permanently close off access to the West. For the next 28 years, the heavily fortified Berlin Wall stood as the most tangible symbol of the Cold War–a literal “iron curtain” dividing Europe. The end of World War II in 1945 saw Germany divided into four Allied occupation zones. Berlin, the German capital, was likewise divided into occupation sectors, even though it was located deep within the Soviet zone. The future of Germany and Berlin was a major sticking point in postwar treaty talks, and tensions grew when the United States, Britain, and France moved in 1948 to unite their occupation zones into a single autonomous entity–the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). In response, the USSR launched a land blockade of West Berlin in an effort to force the West to abandon the city. However, a massive airlift by Britain and the United States kept West Berlin supplied with food and fuel, and in May 1949 the Soviets ended the defeated blockade.By 1961, Cold War tensions over Berlin were running high again. For East Germans dissatisfied with life under the communist system, West Berlin was a gateway to the democratic West. Between 1949 and 1961, some 2.5 million East Germans fled from East to West Germany, most via West Berlin. By August 1961, an average of 2,000 East Germans were crossing into the West every day. Many of the refugees were skilled laborers, professionals, and intellectuals, and their loss was having a devastating effect on the East German economy. To halt the exodus to the West, Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev recommended to East Germany that it close off access between East and West Berlin. On the night of August 12-13, 1961, East German soldiers laid down more than 30 miles of barbed wire barrier through the heart of Berlin. East Berlin citizens were forbidden to pass into West Berlin, and the number of checkpoints in which Westerners could cross the border was drastically reduced. The West, taken by surprise, threatened a trade embargo against East Germany as a retaliatory measure. The Soviets responded that such an embargo be answered with a new land blockade of West Berlin. When it became evident that the West was not going to take any major action to protest the closing, East German authorities became emboldened, closing off more and more checkpoints between East and West Berlin. On August 15, they began replacing barbed wire with concrete. The wall, East German authorities declared, would protect their citizens from the pernicious influence of decadent capitalist culture. The first concrete pilings went up on the Bernauer Strasse and at the Potsdamer Platz. Sullen East German workers, a few in tears, constructed the first segments of the Berlin Wall as East German troops stood guarding them with machine guns. With the border closing permanently, escape attempts by East Germans intensified on August 15. Conrad Schumann, a 19-year-old East German soldier, provided the subject for a famous image when he was photographed leaping over the barbed-wire barrier to freedom. During the rest of 1961, the grim and unsightly Berlin Wall continued to grow in size and scope, eventually consisting of a series of concrete walls up to 15 feet high. These walls were topped with barbed wire and guarded with watchtowers, machine gun emplacements, and mines. By the 1980s, this system of walls and electrified fences extended 28 miles through Berlin and 75 miles around West Berlin, separating it from the rest of East Germany. The East Germans also erected an extensive barrier along most of the 850-mile border between East and West Germany. In the West, the Berlin Wall was regarded as a major symbol of communist oppression. About 5,000 East Germans managed to escape across the Berlin Wall to the West, but the frequency of successful escapes dwindled as the wall was increasingly fortified. Thousands of East Germans were captured during attempted crossings and 191 were killed. In 1989, East Germany’s communist regime was overwhelmed by the democratization sweeping across Eastern Europe. On the evening of November 9, 1989, East Germany announced an easing of travel restrictions to the West, and thousands demanded passage though the Berlin Wall. Faced with growing demonstrations, East German border guards opened the borders. Jubilant Berliners climbed on top of the Berlin Wall, painted graffiti on it, and removed fragments as souvenirs. The next day, East German troops began dismantling the wall. In 1990, East and West Germany were formally reunited.
1964 – A race riot took place in Dixmoor, a suburb of Chicago, Ill.
1964Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev declares that he is ready to begin disarmament talks with the West. Though the Russian leader declined to discuss specific plans for disarmament, his statement was interpreted as an indication that he sought to limit the possibility of nuclear conflict between the Soviet Union and the Western powers. Khrushchev’s comments, made during an interview while he was visiting London, came less than two years after the Cuban missile crisis. In October 1962, the United States discovered that the Soviets were constructing missile bases in Cuba capable of firing rockets with nuclear warheads. In the ensuing weeks, President John F. Kennedy demanded that the missile bases be removed, while Premier Khrushchev was equally insistent in claiming that the bases were purely for defensive purposes. Eventually, Kennedy ordered a blockade of Cuba to prevent any more missiles from being delivered. Khrushchev backed down after securing an American promise to respect the sovereignty of Cuba. The world had never come closer to nuclear war. The following year, the United States and Russia signed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, barring the testing of atomic weapons under water or in the atmosphere. Khrushchev’s August 1964 comments reflected the Soviet leader’s continued interest in avoiding nuclear conflict. The premier declared that, “A new initiative would be welcome,” and indicated that he would be prepared to attend a multinational disarmament conference in early 1965. He also suggested that if an agreement could be reached, the Soviet Union would be willing to allow verification inspections. “If we make a disarmament agreement and a start is actually made on disarmament, then we will allow free inspections as part of the specific program–and close inspections, too, so no one cheats.” Nothing came of Khrushchev’s offer, however. In Washington, spokesmen for President Lyndon B. Johnson indicated that with the presidential election so near, Johnson did not want to make any specific promises about future international conferences. For Khrushchev, the comments made in London may have sealed his fate. Already under attack by hard-liners in the Russian government and military because of his apparent willingness to cooperate with the Americans and cut Soviet military spending, Khrushchev was forced to resign as premier in October 1964. The much more inflexible and far less colorful Leonid Brezhnev replaced him.
1965 – Da Nang and Chu Lai Marines reinforced by 6,400 arrivals.
1968Heavy fighting intensifies in and around the DMZ, as South Vietnamese and U.S. troops engage a North Vietnamese battalion. In a seven and a half hour battle, 165 enemy troops were killed. At the same time, U.S. Marines attacked three strategic positions just south of the DMZ, killing 56 North Vietnamese soldiers.
1970South Vietnamese officials report that regional forces killed 308 Communist troops in four days of heavy fighting along a coastal strip south of the DMZ. This was one of the biggest victories of the war for the regional forces in the war and was extremely significant since one of the prime objectives of Nixon’s Vietnamization policy was the strengthening of the regional/popular forces so that they could help secure the countryside.
1971In South Vietnam, North Vietnamese troops increase operations along the DMZ. This activity had begun on August 12 and continued until the 15th. The North Vietnamese captured the South Vietnamese marine base at Ba Ho, two miles south of the DMZ; most of the defenders were killed or wounded, but the Communists suffered 200 dead in taking the base.
1971Richard Nixon turned his attention away from the war in Vietnam and announced a sweeping series of economic initiatives, including a ninety-day freeze on wages and rents, as well as the end of America’s twenty-five-year-old policy of converting foreign money into gold. While the President hailed these measures as the keys to a “new prosperity,” the reality wasn’t quite so rosy. The economy was suffering from a number of maladies, including the strain of providing both butter–namely the raft of Great Society programs–and the guns used to wage the Cold War. As a result, inflation and unemployment were on the rise, while the government was busy racking up a hefty national debt, as well as a trade deficit. The President’s initiatives did give a temporary goose to the sluggish stock markets. The day following Nixon’s announcement, the Dow Industrial Average (the DOW) shot up 32.93 points. But, the revival was short-lived, as the DOW beat a retreat downward when it became clear that economy wasn’t going to be easily revived. By the time Nixon tendered his resignation, it was painfully clear that his measures were not about to lead to any sort of prosperity: debt, inflation and unemployment kept mounting, as the country struggled through a slump that didn’t lift until the 1980s.
1990 – In an attempt to gain support against the US-led coalition in the Persian Gulf, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein offered to make peace with longtime enemy Iran.
1993 – An Egyptian surrendered peacefully after hijacking a Dutch jet to Germany to demand the U.S. release Muslim cleric Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman.
1994Terrorist Illich Ramirez Sanchez, long known as Carlos, is captured in Khartoum, Sudan, by French intelligence agents. Since there was no extradition treaty with Sudan, the French agents sedated and kidnapped Carlos. The Sudanese government, claiming that it had assisted in the arrest, requested that the United States remove their country from its list of nations that sponsor terrorism. Carlos, who was affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Organization for Armed Arab Struggle, and the Japanese Red Army, was widely believed to be responsible for numerous terrorist attacks between 1973 and 1992. In 1974, he took the French ambassador and 10 others hostage at the Hague, demanding that French authorities release Yutaka Furuya of the Japanese Red Army. On June 27, 1975, French police officers tried to arrest Carlos in a Paris apartment, but he killed two officers in an ensuing gun battle and escaped. In June 1992, Carlos was tried in absentia for these murders and convicted. On December 21, 1975, Carlos and a group of his men took 70 OPEC officials hostage at a Vienna conference. They made it to safety with $50 million in ransom money, but not before killing three hostages. Carlos claimed responsibility for these crimes in an interview with the Arab magazine, Al Watan al Arabi. In the subsequent trial that resulted in his imprisonment, Carlos was represented by Jacque Verges, who had reportedly helped to organize a failed rocket attack on a French nuclear power plant in 1982. Verges was also tied to an attempt to bribe prison guards so that Carlos’ girlfriend (possibly his wife), German terrorist Magdalena Kopp, could be released. He bitterly denied the charges.
1998 – In Congo the US Embassy shut its doors as rebels approached Kinshasa. Pres. Kabila and his ministers retired to Lubumbashi.
2000 – US warplanes bombed air defense sites in northern Iraq.
2001 – The Air Force gave the go-ahead to build its new F-22 fighter, but said it would build fewer planes for more money than it had once planned.
2002 – Some 600 families of 9/11 victims files a $3 trillion lawsuit against Saudi princes, foreign banks, charities and the government of Sudan for funding the terrorist networks that launched the 2001 attacks.
2002 – A prominent Iraqi Kurdish leader, Jalal Talabani, publicly issues an invitation to the US for the first time to mount an invasion of Iraq from his territory.
2003Saboteurs blew up a major pipeline and stopped all oil flow from Iraq to Turkey, just three days after the pipeline between the two countries was reopened. A following fire raged into the next day. The 600-mile pipeline runs from the northern city of Kirkuk to the Turkish city of Ceyhan.
2003 – Philippine army forces in a speedboat killed 4 suspected members of Abu Sayyaf, an extremist Muslim group, in a clash at sea after getting a tip from fishermen.
2003 – Saudi police arrested at least 11 suspected al-Qaeda militants and seized a large weapons cache in southern Jazan province that included rockets and explosive chemicals.
2004 – In Iraq hundreds of delegates from across Iraq gathered in Baghdad at a three-day national conference intended to bring a taste of democratic debate.
2004US armored vehicles and tanks rolled back into the streets of Najaf and troops battled Shiite militants in a resumption of fighting after the collapse of negotiations. 2 US soldiers were killed in Najaf when troops came under attack by militiamen loyal to firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.2007Operation Phantom Strike was a major offensive launched by the Multi-National Corps – Iraq in a crackdown to disrupt Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and Shia extremist operations in Iraq. It consisted of a number of simultaneous operations throughout Iraq focused on pursuing remaining AQI terrorists and Iranian-supported extremist groups. It was concluded in January 2008 and followed up with Operation Phantom Phoenix.
2007Operation Lightning Hammer began with soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, partnering with members of the 5th Iraqi Army Division, performed a late-night air assault into targeted locations to capture or kill al-Qaeda members responsible for the violence against Iraqi civilians. The operation dubbed Lightning Hammer consisted of approximately 16,000 Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces and was a large-scale offensive to defeat al-Qaeda and other terrorist cells seeking safe haven throughout the Diyala River Valley. Taking advantage of concentrated forces in Diyala province, Lightning Hammer’s goal was to target al-Qaeda elements that fled from Baqouba into the outlying regions north of Diyala’s capital city. In addition to the thousands of soldiers and their ISF counterparts participating in Lightning Hammer, attack helicopters, close-air support, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and tanks compliment the combined effort. More than 300 artillery munitions, rockets and bombs were dropped throughout the night and into morning, blocking al-Qaeda movements and suppressing suspected al-Qaeda targets. This barrage set the stage for subsequent nighttime helo-borne and ground assaults into the Diyala River Valley by 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, and 6-9 Armored Reconnaissance Squadron, respectively. These forces combined with other units already conducting operation Lightning Hammer elsewhere in Diyala and Salah ad Din provinces, totaling approximately 10,000 Coalition Forces and 6,000 Iraqi Security Forces. The 5-73 Soldiers defeated several ineffective small arms attacks, killing three al-Qaeda gunmen, detaining eight, and uncovering a weapons cache, numerous IEDs and a booby-trapped house. Operation Lightning Hammer concluded on 22 August 2007, with the death of 26 insurgents and capturing of 37 others. A follow-up operation called Lightning Hammer II was conducted in early September which killed another 16 insurgents.
2007Operation Marne Husky was launched. It targeted insurgents in the Tigris River Valley who had been forced to withdraw from safe havens in Arab Jabour and Salman Pak by previous operations. The operation involved a series of air assaults across the southern Baghdad Belts because the canals and irrigation in the area limited Coalition mobility. Seven air assaults were launched by soldiers from the 4th BCT/25th Infantry Division and pilots from the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division. 80 insurgents were captured and 43 killed as a result of this operation, which also saw the first sustainable Concerned Local Citizen movements south of Baghdad. In September 2007, Marne Husky evolved into Operation Marne Torch II. This operation involved the continued development and support of the Concerned Local Citizen groups by the Coalition forces, particularly the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT) of the 3rd Infantry Division. A force of between 700-1000 men was raised which enabled the Coalition forces to target al Qaida in Iraq with greater precision. Approximately 250 AQI operatives were killed or captured during the operation, including 6 high-valued targets. Marne Torch II was followed in mid-October by Operation Marne Anvil. Instead of previous operations which focused on Sunni extremists and AQI, Marne Anvil targeted Shia extremists linked with Muqtada al-Sadr’s Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) located east of Baghdad. It was succeeded by Operation Marne Courageous in November.

Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day

Rank and organization: Private, Company B, 4th New York Cavalry. Place and date: At Front Royal, Va., 15 August 1864. Entered service at: ——. Birth: England. Date of issue: 26 August 1864. Citation: Capture of colors of 3d Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.).

Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company B, 4th New York Cavalry. Place and date: At Front Royal, Va., 15 August 1864. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Birth: England. Date of issue: 26 August 1864. Citation: Capture of flag of 3d Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.).

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, 7th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Cape Cavalaire, southern France, 15 August 1944. Entered service at: Wilmington, Del. Birth: Wilmington, Del. G.O. No.: 18, 15 March 1945. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On 15 August 1944, Sgt. Connor, through sheer grit and determination, led his platoon in clearing an enemy vastly superior in numbers and firepower from strongly entrenched positions on Cape Cavalaire, removing a grave enemy threat to his division during the amphibious landing in southern France, and thereby insured safe and uninterrupted landings for the huge volume of men and materiel which followed. His battle patrol landed on “Red Beach” with the mission of destroying the strongly fortified enemy positions on Cape Cavalaire with utmost speed. From the peninsula the enemy had commanding observation and seriously menaced the vast landing operations taking place. Though knocked down and seriously wounded in the neck by a hanging mine which killed his platoon lieutenant, Sgt. Connor refused medical aid and with his driving spirit practically carried the platoon across several thousand yards of mine-saturated beach through intense fire from mortars, 20-mm. flak guns, machineguns, and snipers. En route to the Cape he personally shot and killed 2 snipers. The platoon sergeant was killed and Sgt. Connor became platoon leader. Receiving a second wound, which lacerated his shoulder and back, he again refused evacuation, expressing determination to carry on until physically unable to continue. He reassured and prodded the hesitating men of his decimated platoon forward through almost impregnable mortar concentrations. Again emphasizing the prevalent urgency of their mission, he impelled his men toward a group of buildings honeycombed with enemy snipers and machineguns. Here he received his third grave wound, this time in the leg, felling him in his tracks. Still resolved to carry on, he relinquished command only after his attempts proved that it was physically impossible to stand. Nevertheless, from his prone position, he gave the orders and directed his men in assaulting the enemy. Infused with Sgt. Connor’s dogged determination, the platoon, though reduced to less than one-third of its original 36 men, outflanked and rushed the enemy with such furiousness that they killed 7, captured 40, seized 3 machineguns and considerable other materiel, and took all their assigned objectives, successfully completing their mission. By his repeated examples of tenaciousness and indomitable spirit Sgt Connor transmitted his heroism to his men until they became a fighting team which could not be stopped.

4 thoughts on “August 15

  1. Ron Naida says:

    Us Naval Academy was established in Oct. who checks these “facts”? I find at least one mistake a day and am tired of having to verify before I put out my daily mil history fact to the staff.

  2. R. W. White says:

    Its a one man show here Ron. If you are willing to share corrections you find I’m happy to make fixes.

    • Naida, Ronald C (Ron) MCPO USN BUMED (US) says:

      Didn’t realize that, wish I sent the comment in last year when I started using your website. I am departing this duty station next month. If I find more as I go to your site, I will send you the update/corrections.

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