1784 – In a letter to his daughter, Benjamin Franklin expressed unhappiness over the eagle as the symbol of America. He wanted the turkey.
1787 – Daniel Shays leads his rebel force in an unsuccessful attack against the Federal arsenal at Springfield, Massachusetts.
1837 – Michigan became the 26th state of the US. By the early 1830s, Michigan had enough residents to apply for statehood. However, approval of this measure languished for several years due to a boundary dispute (the Toledo War) with Ohio, with both sides claiming a strip of land around Toledo. Ultimately, Congress awarded the “Toledo Strip” to Ohio, but as compensation, granted the entire Upper Peninsula to Michigan.
1856 – First Battle of Seattle. Marines from the USS Decatur drive off American Indian attackers after all day battle with settlers. At the time, Seattle was a settlement in the Washington Territory that had recently named itself after Chief Seattle (Sealth), a leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish peoples of central Puget Sound. Backed by artillery fire and supported by Marines from the United States Navy sloop-of-war Decatur, anchored in Elliott Bay (Seattle’s harbor, then called Duwam-sh Bay), the settlers suffered only two deaths. The battle, part of the multi-year Puget Sound War or Yakima War, lasted a single day.
1861 – Louisiana becomes the sixth state to secede from the Union when a state convention votes 113 to 17 in favor of the measure.
1862 – Union squadron commanded by Captain Davis, comprising U.S.S. Ottawa, Seneca, and other vessels, with 2400 troops under Brigadier General Horatio G. Wright conducted a strategic reconnaissance of Wassaw Sound, Georgia. Telegraph lines between Fort Pulaski and Savannah were severed. Five Confederate gunboats under Commodore Tattnall were engaged while attempting to carry stores to Fort Pulaski. Though the exchange of fire was sharp, three of Tattnall’s steamers made good their passage to the fort, the other two being unable to get through. In his report of the reconnaissance operation, Captain Davis noted: ”As a demonstration the appearance of the naval and military forces in Wilmington and Wassaw Sound has had complete success. Savannah was thrown into a state of great alarm, and all the energies of the place have been exerted to the utmost to increase its military defenses for which purpose troops have been withdrawn from other places.” On the Confederate side, General Robert E. Lee commented: ”If the enemy succeeds in removing the obstacles [in Wall’s Cut and Wilmington Narrows] there is nothing to prevent their reaching the Savannah River, and we have nothing afloat that can contend against them.”
1863 – General Joseph Hooker assumes command of the Army of the Potomac following Ambrose Burnside’s disastrous tenure. Hooker was a West Point graduate and a veteran of the Seminole War and the Mexican War, and he had served in the American West in the 1850s. When the Civil War erupted, Hooker was named brigadier general in the Army of the Potomac. He quickly rose to division commander, and he distinguished himself during the Peninsular Campaign of 1862. He also continued to build his reputation as a hard drinker and womanizer. He earned the nickname “Fighting Joe,” and received command of the First Corps in time for the Second Battle of Bull Run in August 1862. His corps played a major role in the Battle of Antietam in September, and when Burnside failed as commander, Hooker had his chance. The general first had to deal with the sagging morale of the army. He reorganized his command and instituted a badge system, where each division had their own unique insignia. This helped to build unit pride and identity, and Hooker led a reenergized army into Virginia in April 1862. Hooker’s appointment was part of Lincoln’s frustrating process of finding a winning general in the east. After Irwin McDowell, George McClellan, John Pope, McClellan again, and then Burnside, Lincoln hoped Hooker could defeat Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It was a tall order, though, and Hooker was not up to the challenge. In May 1863, Hooker clashed with Lee at the Battle of Chancellorsville, and the Union army suffered a decisive and stunning defeat. Lincoln’s search for an effective commander continued, and he eventually replaced Hooker with George Meade.
1863 – Governor of Massachusetts John Albion Andrew receives permission from Secretary of War to raise a militia organization for men of African descent.
1870 – Virginia rejoins the Union.
1871 – US income tax repealed.
1880 – Douglas MacArthur, the son of the high-ranking military figure, Arthur MacArthur, was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. Although previously a poor scholar, in 1903 MacArthur graduated first in his 93-man class, at West Point Military Academy. Commissioned in the Corps of the Engineers, MacArthur was sent by the United States Army to the Philippines and by 1904 had been promoted to the rank of first lieutenant. Later that year he joined his father who was serving in Far East before becoming aide-de-camp to President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. MacArthur was assigned to general staff duty with the War Department and was an official observer with the Vera Cruz Expedition. On the advice of General Leonard Wood, MacArthur was promoted to major. In the First World War MacArthur commanded the 42nd Division on the Western Front and was decorated 13 times and cited seven additional times for bravery. Promoted the the rank of brigadier in August, 1918, three months later he became the youngest divisional commander in France. After the war MacArthur returned to the United States where he became brigadier general and the youngest ever superintendent of West Point in its 117 year history. Over the next three years he doubled its size and modernized the curriculum. In 1922 MacArthur was sent to the Philippines where he commanded the newly established Military District of Manila. At the age of forty-three MacArthur became the army’s youngest general and in 1928 was appointed president of the American Olympic Committee. MacArthur was appointed chief of staff of the US Army in 1930. Once again he was the youngest man to hold the office and over the next few years attempted to modernize America’s army of 135,000 men. MacArthur developed right-wing political views and at one meeting argued that: “Pacifism and its bedfellow, Communism, are all about us. Day by day this cancer eats deeper into the body politic.” In June 1932, MacArthur, controversially used tanks, four troops of cavalry with drawn sabers, and infantry with fixed bayonets, on the Bonus Army in Washington. He justified his attack on former members of the United States Army by claiming that the country was on the verge of a communist revolution. Dwight D. Eisenhower and George Patton also took part in this operation. In 1935 President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent MacArthur to organize the defense of the Philippines. He retired from the army in 1937 but stayed on the island where he became the country’s military adviser. When negotiations with the Japanese government broke down in June 1941, Roosevelt recalled MacArthur to active duty as a major general and was granted $10 million to mobilize the Philippine Army. It was also decided to send MacArthur 100 B-17 Flying Fortress to help defend the Philippines. Most of MacArthur’s troops were deployed to protect the two main islands of Luzon and Mindanao and by October 1941, MacArthur informed General George Marshall that he now had 135,000 troops, 227 assorted fighters, bombers and reconnaissance aircraft and this provided a “tremendously strong offensive and defensive force” and claimed that the Philippines was now the “key or base point of the US defense line.” The Japanese Air Force attacked the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on the 7th December 1941. The following day they carried out air strikes on the Philippines and destroyed half of MacArthur’s air force. MacArthur was much criticized for this as he had been told to move his air force after the raid on Hawaii the previous day. The Japanese Army also invaded the Philippines and they soon held the three air bases in northern Luzon. On 22nd December the 14th Army landed at Lingayen Gulf and quickly gained control of Manila from the inexperienced Filipino troops. Although only 57,000 Japanese soldiers were landed on Luzon it had little difficulty capturing the island. General Douglas MacArthur now ordered a general retreat to the Bataan peninsula. A series of Japanese assaults forced the US defensive lines back and on 22nd February, 1942, MacArthur was ordered to leave Bataan and go to Australia. General Jonathan Wainright remained behind with 11,000 soldiers and managed to hold out until the beginning of May. The American forces were re-organized and MacArthur was appointed Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific Area and Admiral Chester Nimitz became Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Fleet. Along with Admiral Ernest King Commander-in-Chief of the US Navy, Macarthur and Nimitz, decided that their first objective should be to establish and protect a line of communications across the South Pacific to Australia. This resulted in the battles of Coral Sea and Midway, where the Japanese Navy lost all four of her carriers. In the summer of 1942 fighting in the Pacific was concentrated around Rabaul, the key Japanese military and air base in the Soloman Islands. On 7th August there was an Allied landings at Guadalcanal. Over the next eight months there were ten major land battles and seven major naval engagements in this area. MacArthur now developed what became known as his island hopping tactics. This strategy involved amphibious landings on vulnerable islands, therefore bypassing Japanese troop concentrations on fortified islands. This had the advantage of avoiding frontal assaults and thus reducing the number of American casualties. By the spring of 1944, 100,000 Japanese soldiers were cut off at Rabaul and the Japanese 18th Army were surrounded in New Guinea. In September US troops took Morotai and all of New Guinea was now in Allied hands. It was not until 1944 that MacArthur was given permission to begin the campaign to recapture the Philippines. The first objective was the capture of Leyte, an island situated between Luzon and Mindanao. After a two day naval bombardment General Walter Krueger and the 6th Army landed on 22nd October, 1944. This was followed by Leyte Gulf, the largest naval engagement in history. It was a decisive victory for the Allies with the Japanese Navy lost four carriers, three battleships and ten cruisers. It was now clear that the US Navy now had control of the Pacific and that further Allied landings in the region were likely to be successful. After bitter fighting the US forces captured the important port of Ormoc on 10th December. By the time Leyte was secured the US Army had lost 3,500 men. It is estimated that over 55,000 Japanese soldiers were killed during the campaign. On 9th January 1945 Allied troops landed on Luzon, the largest of the islands in the Philippines. The Japanese Army, under General Tomoyuki Yamashita, fought a vigorous rearguard action but within a month MacArthur and his troops had crossed the Central Plain and were approaching Manila. Yamashita and his main army now withdrew to the mountains but left enough troops in Manila to make the capture of the city as difficult as possible. An estimated 16,000 Japanese soldiers were killed before it was taken on 4th March 1945. General Robert Eichelberger and the US 8th Army landed on Mindanao on 10th March and began advancing through the southern Philippines. This included the capture of Panay, Cebu, Negros and Bohol. MacArthur’s last amphibious operation was at Okinawa. Lying just 563km (350 miles) from the Japanese mainland, it offered excellent harbor, airfield and troop-staging facilities. It was a perfect base from which to launch a major assault on Japan, consequently it was well-defended, with 120,000 troops under General Mitsuru Ushijima. The Japanese also committed some 10,000 aircraft to defending the island. After a four day bombardment the 1,300 ship invasion forced moved into position off the west coast of Okinawa on 1st April 1945. The landing force, under the leadership of Lieutenant-General Simon Buckner, initially totalled 155,000. However, by the time the battle finished, more than 300,000 soldiers were involved in the fighting. This made it comparable to the Normandy landing in mainland Europe in June, 1944. On the first day 60,000 troops were put ashore against little opposition at Haguushi. The following day two airfields were captured by the Americans. However when the soldiers reached Shuri they came under heavy fire and suffered heavy casualties. Reinforced by the 3rd Amphibious Corps and the 6th Marine Division the Americans were able to repel a ferocious counter-attack by General Mitsuru Ushijima on 4th May. At sea off Okinawa a 700 plane kamikaze raid on 6th April sunk and damaged 13 US destroyers. The giant battleship, Yamato, lacking sufficient fuel for a return journey, was also sent out on a suicide mission and was sunk on 7th May. On 11th May, Lieutenant-General Simon Buckner, ordered another offensive on the Shuri defences, and the Japanese were finally forced to withdraw. Buckner was killed on 18th June and three days later his replacement, General Roy Geiger, announced that the island had finally been taken. When it was clear that he had been defeated, Mitsuru Ushijima committed ritual suicide (hari-kiri). The capture of Okinawa cost the Americans 49,000 in casualties of whom 12,520 died. More than 110,000 Japanese were killed on the island. While the island was being prepared for the invasion of Japan, a B-29 Superfortress bomber dropped an atom bomb on Hiroshima on 6th August 1945. Japan did not surrender immediately and a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later. On 10th August the Japanese surrendered and the Second World War was over. MacArthur was named Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) and he received the formal surrender and President Harry S. Truman appointed him as head of the Allied occupation of Japan. He was given responsibility of organizing the war crimes tribunal in Japan and was criticized for his treatment of Tomoyuki Yamashita, who was executed 23rd February, 1946. However he was praised for successfully encouraging the creation of democratic institutions, religious freedom, civil liberties, land reform, emancipation of women and the formation of trade unions. On the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, MacArthur was appointed commander of the United Nations forces. The surprise character of the attack enabled the North Koreans to occupy all the South, except for the area around the port of Pusan. On 15th September, 1950, MacArthur landed American and South Korean marines at Inchon, 200 miles behind the North Korean lines. The following day he launched a counterattack on the North Koreans. When they retreated, MacArthur’s forces carried the war northwards, reaching the Yalu River, the frontier between Korea and China on 24th October, 1950. Harry S Truman and Dean Acheson, the Secretary of State, told MacArthur to limit the war to Korea. MacArthur disagreed, favoring an attack on Chinese forces. Unwilling to accept the views of Truman and Acheson, MacArthur began to make inflammatory statements indicating his disagreements with the United States government. MacArthur gained support from right-wing members of the Senate such as Joe McCarthy who led the attack on Truman’s administration: “With half a million Communists in Korea killing American men, Acheson says, ‘Now let’s be calm, let’s do nothing’. It is like advising a man whose family is being killed not to take hasty action for fear he might alienate the affection of the murders.” In April 1951, Harry S Truman removed MacArthur from his command of the United Nations forces in Korea. McCarthy now called for Truman to be impeached and suggested that the president was drunk when he made the decision to fire MacArthur: “Truman is surrounded by the Jessups, the Achesons, the old Hiss crowd. Most of the tragic things are done at 1:30 and 2 o’clock in the morning when they’ve had time to get the President cheerful.” On his arrival back in the United States MacArthur led a campaign against Harry S Truman and his Democratic Party administration. Soon after Dwight Eisenhower was elected president in 1952 he consulted with MacArthur about the Korean War. MacArthur’s advice was the “atomic bombing of enemy military concentrations and installations in North Korea” and an attack on China. He rejected the advice and MacArthur played no role in Eisenhower’s new Republican administration. After leaving the United States Army, MacArthur accepted a job as chairman of the board of the Remington Rand Corporation. Douglas MacArthur died in the Water Reed Hospital, Washington, on 5th April, 1964.
1893 – Captain Abner Doubleday was born at Ballston Spa, New York, in 1819, and attended schools at Auburn and Cooperstown. He attended West Point, and graduated in 1842 with a commission in the artillery. Doubleday served in the Mexican War and, during the 1850s, in a campaign against the Seminole Indians in Florida. He was promoted to captain in 1853, and was stationed in Charleston Harbor when the crisis at Fort Sumter occurred. As a staunch unionist who strongly opposed slavery and supported Lincoln, Doubleday regarded the Carolinians as traitors. His opinions won him no friends in Charleston. His wife shared his views, and while she was staying i n Washington in mid-March 1861, she was consulted by Lincoln after his cabinet first gave its views about relieving the fort. Lincoln wished to see her husband’s letters so that he could get a fuller picture of the situation at Sumter. After the surrender of Sumter, Doubleday served in numerous campaigns throughout the Civil War, and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1863. After the war, he attained the rank of colonel before retiring from active service in December 1873. He then made his home in Mendham, New Jersey, where he died in January 1893. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Doubleday has often been credited with inventing the game of baseball in 1839 at Cooperstown, New York, now the location of the baseball’s Hall of Fame. This claim appears to date from the late nineteenth century, when baseball owners tried to disassociate the game from any connection to the English game of rounders. The assertion that Doubleday invented baseball is almost certainly untrue. Doubleday was not at Cooperstown in 1839; he never referred to the game, much less claimed that he invented it, and his obituary in the New York Times did not mention baseball, either.
1904 – The emperor of Addis Ababa, Abyssinia, decorated Marine Captain G. C. Thorpe for escorting diplomats 500 miles through the desert.
1911 – Glenn Curtiss piloted the 1st successful hydroplane in San Diego to and from the battleship USS Pennsylvania.
1913 – The body of John Paul Jones is laid in its final resting place in the Chapel of Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD.
1939 – During the Spanish Civil War, Barcelona, the Republican capital of Spain, falls to the Nationalist forces of General Francisco Franco. In 1931, King Alfonso XIII approved elections to decide the government of Spain, and voters overwhelmingly chose to abolish the monarchy in favor of a liberal republic. Alfonso subsequently went into exile, and the Second Republic, initially dominated by middle-class liberals and moderate socialists, was proclaimed. During the first five years of the republic, organized labor and leftist radicals forced widespread liberal reforms as independence-minded Spanish regions such as Catalonia and the Basque provinces achieved virtual autonomy. The landed aristocracy, the church, and a large military clique increasingly employed violence in their opposition to the Second Republic, and in July 1936, General Francisco Franco led a right-wing army revolt in Morocco, which prompted the division of Spain into two key camps: the Nationalists and the Republicans. Franco’s Nationalist forces rapidly overran much of the Republican-controlled areas in central and northern Spain, and Catalonia became a key Republican stronghold. During 1937, Franco unified the Nationalist forces under the command of the Falange, Spain’s fascist party, while the Republicans fell under the sway of the communists. Germany and Italy aided Franco with an abundance of planes, tanks, and arms, while the Soviet Union aided the Republican side. In addition, small numbers of communists and other radicals from France, the USSR, America, and elsewhere formed the International Brigades to aid the Republican cause. The most significant contribution of these foreign units was the successful defense of Madrid until the end of the war. In June 1938, the Nationalists drove to the Mediterranean Sea and cut the Republicans’ territory in two. Later in the year, Franco mounted a major offensive against Catalonia. In January 1939, its capital, Barcelona, was captured, and soon after the rest of Catalonia fell. With their cause all but lost, the Republicans attempted to negotiate a peace, but Franco refused. On March 28, 1939, the victorious Nationalists entered Madrid, and the bloody Spanish Civil War came to an end. Up to a million lives were lost in the conflict, the most devastating in Spanish history.
1940 -The American-Japanese Treaty of Navigation and Commerce is allowed to lapse because the US government refuses to negotiate in protest against Japanese aggression in China.
1942 – The first American expeditionary force to go to Europe during World War II went ashore in Northern Ireland.
1942 – The Board of Inquiry established to investigate Pearl Harbor find Admiral Kimmel, (then Commander in Chief, US Fleet) and General Short (then Commander in Chief, Hawaii Department) guilty of dereliction of duty. Both have already been dismissed.
1943 – The first OSS (Office of Strategic Services) agent parachutes behind Japanese lines in Burma. OSS’s Detachment 101 came perhaps the closest to realizing General Willaim “Wild Bill” Donovan’s original vision of “strategic” support to regular combat operations. Under the initial leadership of “the most dangerous colonel,” Carl Eifler, Detachment 101 took time to develop its capabilities and relationships with native guides and agents. Within a year, however, the Detachment and its thousands of cooperating Kachin tribesmen were gleaning valuable intelligence from jungle sites behind Japanese lines. With barely 120 Americans at any one time, the unit eventually recruited almost 11,000 native Kachins to fight the Japanese occupiers. When Allied troops invaded Burma in 1944, Detachment 101 teams advanced well ahead of the combat formations, gathering intelligence, sowing rumors, sabotaging key installations, rescuing downed Allied fliers, and snuffing out isolated Japanese positions. Detachment 101 received the Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation for its service in the 1945 offensive that liberated Rangoon.
1944 – The forces of US 5th Army continue their offensive. The Free French Corps captures Colle Belvedere and advance toward Monte Abate. The US 2nd Corps establishes a bridgehead over the Rapido River.
1944 – On New Britain, there is a heavy bombing raid on the Japanese base at Rabaul, by US aircraft. Many Japanese planes are claimed to be shot down.
1945 – Units of US 3rd Army in the Ardennes have now crossed the Clerf River in several areas and are attacking all along the front of US 3rd and 12th Corps.
1945 – American Lt. Audie Murphy, is wounded in France. Born the son of Texas sharecroppers on June 20, 1924, Murphy served three years of active duty, beginning as a private, rising to the rank of staff sergeant, and finally winning a battlefield commission to 2nd lieutenant. He was wounded three times, fought in nine major campaigns across Europe, and was credited with killing 241 Germans. He won 37 medals and decorations, including the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star (with oak leaf cluster), the Legion of Merit, and the Croix de Guerre (with palm). The battle that won Murphy the Medal of Honor, and which ended his active duty, occurred during the last stages of the Allied victory over the Germans in France. Murphy acted as cover for infantrymen during a last desperate German tank attack. Climbing atop an abandoned U.S. tank destroyer, he took control of its .50-caliber machine gun and killed 50 Germans, stopping the advance but suffering a leg wound in the process. Upon returning to the States, Murphy was invited to Hollywood by Jimmy Cagney, who saw the war hero’s picture on the cover of Life magazine. By 1950, Murphy won an acting contract with Universal Pictures. In his most famous role, he played himself in the monumentally successful To Hell and Back. Perhaps as interesting as his film career was his public admission that he suffered severe depression from post traumatic stress syndrome, also called battle fatigue, and became addicted to sleeping pills as a result. This had long been a taboo subject for veterans. Murphy died in a plane crash while on a business trip in 1971. He was 46.
1949 – USS Norton Sound, first guided-missile ship, launches first guided missile, Loon.
1951 – U.S. warships bombarded Inchon for the second time during the war. The first was during the initial allied invasion, Sept. 15, 1950.
1951 – Far East Air Forces flew its first C-47 “control aircraft”, loaded with enough communications equipment to connect by radio all T-6 Mosquitoes, tactical air control parties, and the Tactical Air Control Center. This was the harbinger of today’s warning and control aircraft.
1952 – A rescue helicopter, behind enemy lines near the coastline of the Yellow Sea, received small arms fire while rescuing an F-84 pilot, Capt. A.T.Thawley.
1953 – Surface ships blasted coastal targets as the USS Missouri completed a 46-hour bombardment of Songjin.
1953 – The last F4U Corsair rolled off the Chance Vought Aircraft Company production line. Despite the dawning of the jet age, this World War II fighter remained in production due to its vital close-air support role in the Korean War. Almost 12,000 Corsairs were produced in various models.
1954 – The Senate consents to a defense treaty between the US and South Korea.
1962 – The United States launched Ranger 3 to land scientific instruments on the moon, but the probe missed its target by some 22,000 miles.
1970 – U.S. Navy Lt. Everett Alvarez Jr. spends his 2,000th day in captivity in Southeast Asia. First taken prisoner when his plane was shot down on August 5, 1964, he became the longest-held POW in U.S. history. Alvarez was downed over Hon Gai during the first bombing raids against North Vietnam in retaliation for the disputed attack on U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964. Alvarez was released in 1973 after spending over eight years in captivity, the first six months as the only American prisoner in North Vietnam. From the first day of his captivity, he was shackled, isolated, nearly starved, and brutally tortured. Although he was among the more junior-rank prisoners of war, his courageous conduct under horrendous conditions and treatment helped establish the model emulated by the many other POWs that later joined him. After retirement from the Navy, he served as deputy director of the Peace Corps and deputy administrator of the Veterans Administration during the Reagan administration.
1972 – Radio Hanoi announces North Vietnam’s rejection of the latest U.S. peace proposal. Revealing more details of the secret Paris peace talks, Henry Kissinger responds publicly, condemning the North Vietnamese announcement and criticizing Hanoi’s nine-point counter-proposal, which had been submitted during the secret talks. Kissinger took exception with the communist insistence on the end of all U.S. support for the South Vietnamese government. The communists maintained that “withdrawal” meant not only withdrawal of U.S. troops, but also the removal of all U.S. equipment, aid, and arms in the possession of the South Vietnamese army. Kissinger asserted that the abrupt removal of all U.S. aid would guarantee the collapse of the Saigon regime. With the peace talks at a virtual impasse, the North Vietnamese leadership decided to launch a massive invasion of South Vietnam in March 1972.
1980 – At the request of President Jimmy Carter, the U.S. Olympic Committee votes to ask the International Olympic Committee to cancel or move the upcoming Moscow Olympics. The action was in response to the Soviet military invasion of Afghanistan the previous month. Demonstrating once again that the Cold War infiltrated every facet of world life, the action indicated that even the Olympic games, an arena for sportsmanship and friendly international competition, could be a highly politicized event. Although the Committee stopped short of announcing a U.S. boycott of the Olympics in Moscow, the U.S. stance left little room for optimism on that count. President Carter made it clear that if the Soviets did not disengage from Afghanistan by February 20, a cancellation of U.S. participation in the Olympics was all but certain. As one member of the committee stated, the vote reflected “what the president requested the committee to do.” He indicated that the vote was a message to the Soviets that “their aggression in Afghanistan will not go unanswered.” On the other side of the argument, a number of U.S. Olympic athletes were highly critical of both the vote and President Carter’s ultimatum, feeling that an international sports competition should not be a tool for political statements. The Soviets ignored the vote and the ultimatum, and the U.S. Olympic Committee decided to boycott the games. It was the first time in the modern history of the Olympics that the United States refused to participate. Almost a decade passed before the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan.
1990 – Attorneys for Manuel Noriega challenged the jurisdiction of U.S. courts to try the deposed Panamanian leader on drug-trafficking charges, and said Noriega should be declared a prisoner of war.
1991 – Upon receiving a request from the Saudi government, the Bush Administration determined that the Coast Guard would head an interagency team that will assist the Saudi government in an oil spill assessment and plan for a clean-up operation.
1993 – A Marine is KIA by sniper fire in Mogadishu.
1999 – Some 700 US troops were ordered by NATO to be pulled from Bosnia in a 10% force reduction.
1999 – US jets again fired on air-defense sites in Iraq and Pres. Clinton approved more aggressive rules of engagement.
2000 – The U.N. Security Council reaches agreement on the appointment of Hans Blix of Sweden, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA), to lead UNMOVIC.
2001 – Pres. Bush renewed his pledge to build a missile defense system and to reduce the nuclear arsenal
2002 – IAEA inspectors in Iraq verified presence of nuclear material.
2003 – Secretary of State Colin Powell, citing Iraq’s lack of cooperation with U.N. inspectors, said he’d lost faith in the inspectors’ ability to conduct a definitive search for banned weapons programs.
2004 – President Hamid Karzai signed Afghanistan’s new constitution into law, putting into force a charter meant to reunite his war-shattered nation.
2005 – A US military transport helicopter crashed in bad weather in Iraq’s western desert, killing 31 people, all believed to be Marines.
2005 – After being incarcerated without trial for almost three years, the four British detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Moazzam Begg, Feroz Abbasi, Martin Mubanga and Richard Belmar, are free to go home, having been released without charge by the UK government.
2015 – The U.S. Secret Service recovers a flying drone from the lawn at the White House.
2015 – The US FBI arrests three alleged Russian Foreign Intelligence Service spies working in the United States. The three men sought secrets about US economic plans and proposed sanctions against Moscow.
2015 – The US Eastern District Court of Virginia convicts a disgruntled former CIA officer, Jeffrey Alexander Sterling, of leaking secrets to a reporter. All nine charges he faced stem from a secret CIA mission to derail Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
MURPHY, AUDIE L.
Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company B 1 5th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Holtzwihr France, 26 January 1945. Entered service at: Dallas, Tex. Birth: Hunt County, near Kingston, Tex. G.O. No.. 65, 9 August 1945. Citation 2d Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by 6 tanks and waves of infantry. 2d Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to prepared positions in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, 1 of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. 2d Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machinegun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from 3 sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad which was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued the single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. 2d Lt. Murphy’s indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy’s objective.