February 8

8 February

1690French and Indian forces attack Schnectady, New York during King William’s War. The fate of Schenectady was sealed in the middle of January, 1690, when 114 Frenchmen and 96 Sault and Algonquin Indians, started from Montreal to attack English outpost to the south. It was part of the master plan to fulfill the wishes of French King Louis XIV to “build a new empire in America”. They came down the frozen ice on Lake Champlain and in about six days, down to a point that is known today as Fort Edward, it was here where they met with the Indian leaders and decided to attack Schenectady instead of Fort Orange. They continued on down and crossed the icy Mohawk. It was then that spies were sent to scout the Stockade and see if it was secured. Seeing the doors open, and no one guarding them, they reported back to their leaders, and the decision was made to attack. During the raid on Schenectady many men, women and children were killed, or taken captive by the French and Indians and marched up into Canada.
1698English Major Robert Ingoldesby arrives in New York leading a military force. Jacob Leisler contests on legal grounds the right of Ingoldesby to demand the surrender of the fort occupied by Leisler and his followers. Best known as a leader of a 1689 New York rebellion that came to bear his name, Jacob Leisler was one of late seventeenth-century New York’s most prominent merchants, land developers, and foremost exponent of Reformed religious fundamentalism and Orangist political ideology. He was intimately bound to the social, economic, and political development of New Netherland and New York from 1659, when he was employed as a nineteen-year-old in the Dutch West India Company’s Amsterdam office, until his execution for treason in New York City in May 1691. In 1689, in the wake of England’s Glorious Revolution, he assumed the role of King William III’s governor of New York. He thereupon implemented a program based on direct popular representation that had, as contemporaries noted, wide impact from the Chesapeake to New England. The following year he called for and hosted English America’s first intercolonial congress and organized the first intercolonial military action independent of British authority. Leisler’s administration of New York split the province into two distinct camps that were closely aligned with the Regent and Orangist factions in the United Provinces and the Whig and Tory factions in England, the legacy of which, according to some historians, is America’s unique two-party system. Other historians see in Leisler’s assumption of the New York government a forerunner of the American Revolution.
1712 – L. Joseph de Montcalm de Saint-Veran, French general in America, was born.
1770Alexander McDougall, the son of a Scotchman from the Hebrides, a sailor, an ardent Son of Liberty, and afterward a major-general in the Continental Army, is arrested for his authorship of a broadside criticizing the New York assembly. Titled “To the Betrayed Inhabitants of the City and Colony of New York,” the broadside was issued in December 1769. When the obnoxious hand-bill was read before the Assembly by the Speaker, it was moved that the sense of the House should be taken “whether the said paper was not an infamous and scandalous libel.” When the vote was taken, twenty of the pliant Assembly voted that it was so, and only one member voted No. That member was Philip Schuyler. He boldly faced the rising storm, and by his solitary vote rebuked, in a most emphatic manner, the cowardice of those of his compeers who had stood shoulder to shoulder with him in former trials. The assembly then set about ferreting out the author of the broadside. They authorized the lieutenant governor to offer a reward of $500 for the discovery of the offender. Another individual was cited before the House, but was soon discharged. The printer of the broadside, when discovered, was brought to the bar, when the frightened man gave the name of McDougall as the author. He was taken before the House, where he would make no acknowledgment and refused to give bail. He was indicted for libel and cast into prison, where he remained fourteen weeks until arraigned for trial, when he pleaded not guilty, and gave bail. Several months afterward he was again brought before the House, when he was defended by George Clinton, an active member of that body, who became the first governor of the State of New York. To the question whether he was the author of the hand-bill signed “A Son of Liberty,” McDougall replied, “That as the Grand Jury and the Assembly had declared the paper a libel, he could not answer; that as he was under prosecution in the Supreme Court, he conceived it would be an infraction of justice to punish twice for one offence; but that he would not deny the authority of the House to punish for a breach of privilege when no cognizance was taken of it, in another court.” His answer was declared to be a contempt, and he was again imprisoned.not guilty to the charges and is released on bail. This case never reaches the courts, as the colony’s witness dies in the meantime.
1817 – Richard Stoddert Ewell (d.1872(), Lt Gen (Confederate Army), was born.
1820Future Civil War General, William Tecumseh Sherman is born in Lancaster, Ohio. His father died when he was young. Widowed and unable to care for the entire family, his mother sent brother Thomas to be raised by an aunt and William became a foster child to Thomas Ewing, his father’s friend. Cump, as he was known, later married Mr. Ewing’s daughter, Ellen. Educated at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he graduated in 1840. During the Mexican War, Sherman was posted in San Francisco. He resigned his commission in 1853 to become a partner in a bank there. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities between the North and the South, William Tecumseh Sherman was Superintendent of the Louisiana State Seminary and Military Academy at Alexandria, Louisiana. After the war, the school moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana and became Louisiana State University (LSU). Talk of the secession from the Union was rampant, yet the motto of the seminary was “By the liberality of the General Government of the United States, the Union – esto perpetua.” On January 18, 1861, Sherman resigned his position stating that he preferred to maintain his allegiance to the Constitution as long as a fragment of it survived. On the 25th of February, Sherman left Louisiana and returned to Ohio. He remained in Lancaster for a month and then moved his family to St. Louis, Missouri where he was elected President of the Fifth Street Railroad. On May 8, 1861, Sherman wrote to the Secretary of War, offering his services not for three months, but for three years. He did not want to become a political general and on June 20, 1861 accepted the grade of Colonel in the Thirteenth Regular Infantry. He assumed command of a brigade in the First Division of McDowell’s army under the command of Brigadier-General Daniel Tyler. His brigade, stationed at a stone bridge during the battle of First Manassas(Bull Run), was routed by devastating Confederate cannon fire. In August, 1861, Sherman and George H. Thomas were promoted to Brigadier General and were assigned to the Department of the Cumberland under the command of Brigadier-General Robert Anderson. Anderson was in command of Ft Sumter when P.T. Beauregard opened fire upon it, beginning the war. Sherman had previously served under Anderson, and it was Anderson that requested that Sherman be transferred to his command. In October, 1861, Sherman relieved Anderson. Filling quotas for Kentucky volunteers was extremely difficult. The State was split on their beliefs and where their allegiance should be placed. Later that month, Sherman told Secretary of War Cameron that if he had 60,000 men, he would drive the enemy out of Kentucky, and if he had 200,000 men, he would finish the war in that section. When Cameron returned to Washington, he reported that Sherman required 200,000 men. The report was given to newspapers and a cry of indignation arose from the public. A writer of one of these newspapers even went as far as saying that Sherman must be “crazy” in demanding such a large force. The public accepted this insinuated statement as a valid one, thus writers have always declared that he was crazy. Due to the pressure of the press and politicians that believed the insinuation, on November 12, 1861, Brigadier-General Don Carlos Buell relieved Sherman of his command, and Sherman was assigned to the Department of the West, in St. Louis, Missouri under Major-General Halleck. After moving to Missouri, newspapers and gossip continued to harass him with reports that he was insane and that he was not fit to command, demanding his recall. He was in a state of depression from all the harassment, but not mentally incompetent. Halleck, in a letter to Sherman’s foster father stated, “I have seen newspaper squibs charging him with being “crazy”, etc. This is the grossest injustice. I do not however, consider such attacks worthy of notice.” On February 13, 1862, Sherman assumed the command of the post at Paducah Kentucky relieving U.S. Grant of that position. On March 11, 1862, Halleck was assigned to command the Department of the Mississippi and Major-General U.S. Grant to command the army in the field. The organization and the name given to this army was the Army of the Tennessee. Sherman was placed in command of the Fifth Division of this army. In July 1862, Sherman was assigned to command the District of Memphis. Later that year Sherman failed to seize the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg, but was with Grant in the campaign that finally ended in the capture of that city in July 1863. Sherman was given command of the Army of the Tennessee in the fall of 1863. In the spring of 1864, Sherman was made supreme commander of the armies in the West and was ordered by Grant to “create havoc and destruction of all resources that would be beneficial to the enemy.” With a grand aggregate of 98,797 troops and 254 cannons, on May 4, 1864, Sherman began the Atlanta Campaign for which he is most (in)famous. Sherman wanted to split the Confederacy, and began planning his March to the Sea. He kept his most seasoned veterans, 60,000 in all and sent the rest of the troops back to Nashville to be under the command of Major-General George Thomas. With four Corps of troops in two columns, in November 1864, Sherman began his infamous March to the Sea. Prior to leaving from Atlanta, he set fire to munitions factories, railroad yards, clothing mills, and other targets that could be resourceful to the Confederacy. Sherman never intended to burn the whole city, but the fire got out of hand and spread throughout the city. With the four Corps in two columns, Sherman cut a swath 60 miles wide marching towards Savannah, destroying anything that could aid or be resourceful to the enemy. On December 23, 1864, Sherman sent a telegram to Lincoln stating that he was presenting him the city of Savannah as a Christmas gift. General Joe Johnston surrendered to Sherman on April 17, 1865 at Raleigh, North Carolina. After the war, Sherman was commissioned Lieutenant General in the regular army, and after Grant was elected was promoted to the grade of full general and given command of the entire U. S Army. He retired in 1883.
1837The Senate selected Richard Mentor Johnson as the vice president of the United States. Johnson was nominated for vice president on the Democratic ticket with Martin Van Buren in 1836. When Johnson failed to receive a majority of the popular vote, the election was thrown into the Senate for the first and only time. Johnson won the election in the Senate by a vote of 33 to 16.
1861 – Delegates from seceded states adopted a provisional Confederate Constitution in Montgomery, Ala.
1862Union General Ambrose Burnside scores a major victory when he captures Roanoke Island in North Carolina. The victory was one of the first major Union victories of the war and it gave the Yankees control of the mouth of Albemarle Sound, a key Confederate bay that allowed the Union to threaten the Rebel capital of Richmond from the south. During the war’s first winter, Union strategists focused their efforts on capturing coastal defenses to deny the Confederates sea outlets. In August 1861, the Yankees took two key forts on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, paving the way for the campaign against Roanoke Island. On January 11, 1862, Burnside took a force of 15,000 and a flotilla of 80 ships down to the Outer Banks. The expeditionary force arrived at Hatteras Inlet on January 13, but poor weather delayed an attack for three weeks. On February 7, Burnside landed 10,000 on the island. They were met by about 2,500 Confederates. Burnside attacked, and his force overwhelmed the outer defenses of the island. Confederate commander Colonel Henry Shaw retreated to the north end of the island but had no chance to escape. Shaw surrendered the entire force. The Yankees suffered 37 men killed and 214 wounded, while the Confederates lost 23 men killed and 62 wounded before the surrender. The Union now controlled a vital section of the coast. The victory came two days after Union General Ulysses S. Grant captured Fort Henry in northern Tennessee, and, for the first time in the war, the North had reason for optimism.
1863 – Confederate raider William Quantrill and men attacked a group of Federal wagons at New Market, Kentucky.
1865 – Martin Robinson Delany became the 1st black major in US army.
1865Officer Barton received orders from Secretary Mallory to return to the Confederacy. These orders symbolized the abandonment of the long cherished hopes of obtaining ironclad ships from Europe with which to break the ever-tightening blockade. Originally selected to be the flag officer in command of the turreted ironclads “294” and “295”, Barton had arrived in England during October 1863. The Laird rams, however, had been seized by the British government on 9 October 1863 and Barton thereafter served the Confederacy in Paris.
1865The first troops of General Schofield’s Twenty-Third Army Corps were landed at Fort Fisher. By mid-month the entire Corps had moved by ocean-transport from Alexandria and Annapolis to North Carolina. The protection of the Federal Navy and the mobility of water movement had allowed the redeployment of thousands of troops from Tennessee to the eastern theater for the final great struggles of the war.
1865 – In the United States, Delaware voters reject the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and vote to continue the practice of slavery. (Delaware finally ratifies the amendment on February 12, 1901.)
1887In a well-meaning but ultimately flawed attempt to assimilate Native Americans, President Grover Cleveland signs an act to end tribal control of reservations and divide their land into individual holdings. Named for its chief author, Senator Henry Laurens Dawes from Massachusetts, the Dawes Severalty Act reversed the long-standing American policy of allowing Indian tribes to maintain their traditional practice of communal use and control of their lands. Instead, the Dawes Act gave the president the power to divide Indian reservations into individual, privately owned plots. The act dictated that men with families would receive 160 acres, single adult men were given 80 acres, and boys received 40 acres. Women received no land. The most important motivation for the Dawes Act was Anglo-American hunger for Indian lands. The act provided that after the government had doled out land allotments to the Indians, the sizeable remainder of the reservation properties would be opened for sale to whites. Consequently, Indians eventually lost 86 million acres of land, or 62 percent of their total pre-1887 holdings. Still, the Dawes Act was not solely a product of greed. Many religious and humanitarian “friends of the Indian” supported the act as a necessary step toward fully assimilating the Indians into American culture. Reformers believed that Indians would never bridge the chasm between “barbarism and civilization” if they maintained their tribal cohesion and traditional ways. J.D.C. Atkins, commissioner of Indian affairs, argued that the Dawes Act was the first step toward transforming, “Idleness, improvidence, ignorance, and superstition…. into industry, thrift, intelligence, and Christianity.” In reality, the Dawes Severalty Act proved a very effective tool for taking lands from Indians and giving it to Anglos, but the promised benefits to the Indians never materialized. Racism, bureaucratic bungling, and inherent weaknesses in the law deprived the Indians of the strengths of tribal ownership, while severely limiting the economic viability of individual ownership. Many tribes also deeply resented and resisted the government’s heavy-handed attempt to destroy their traditional cultures. Despite these flaws, the Dawes Severalty Act remained in force for more than four decades. In 1934, the Wheeler-Howard Act repudiated the policy and attempted to revive the centrality of tribal control and cultural autonomy on the reservations. The Wheeler-Howard Act ended further transfer of Indian lands to Anglos and provided for a return to voluntary communal Indian ownership, but considerable damage had already been done.
1890 – USS Omaha sailors and marines assist Hodogary, Japan in subduing large fire
1910The Boy Scouts of America are chartered in Washington, D.C., by William D. Boyce, who gets the idea from the English Boy Scouts established by Sir Robert Baden-Powell. In 1909, Boyce, a Chicago publisher, lost his way in a dense London fog. A boy came to his aid and, after guiding the man, refused a tip, explaining that as a Scout he would not take a tip for doing a Good Turn. This gesture by an unknown Scout inspired a meeting with Robert Baden-Powell, the British founder of the Boy Scouts. As a result, William Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910. He also created the Lone Scouts, which merged with the Boy Scouts of America in 1924.
1911 – US helped overthrow President Miguel Devila of Honduras.
1915Director D.W. Griffith’s film Birth of a Nation premieres at Clune’s Auditorium in Los Angeles. The Civil War epic, which cost $100,000 and ran nearly three hours, used revolutionary filmmaking techniques, including multiple camera angles. The film provoked an outcry from liberals and black leaders, who objected to the film’s sympathetic portrayal of members of the Ku Klux Klan and demonization of Southern blacks. Despite attempts by several groups to ban the film, the picture became a financial success, drawing long lines to pay the unprecedented price of $2 a ticket. One of the songs in the movie’s score, “The Perfect Song,” became the first musical hit generated by a movie. Griffith’s pioneering techniques made him one of the most important figures in early film. The son of a Mexican War soldier, Griffith was born in Kentucky in 1875 and grew up in poverty. He became interested in theater, joining Louisville’s Meffert Stock Company as a teen and later touring on his own, without much financial success. Griffith turned to writing in the early 1900s, penning short stories, poems, and plays. After writing several stories for movie studio Biograph, Griffith became involved in different aspects of the studio, from production to directing. Realizing that film acting required a different set of skills than stage acting, Griffith assembled a company of young, talented actors and rigorously trained them in a new, subtler performing style that lured huge audiences to showings of his films. His players included future stars Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish. In 1910, he brought them to Los Angeles to take advantage of the sunny climate and varied scenery. In 1911, Griffith directed a two-reel film, Enoch Arden. Previously, directors had assumed a two-reel film would exhaust the attention span of the American audience. When he left Biograph after making more than 450 short films, he began working secretly on The Birth of a Nation, released in 1915. His next picture, Intolerance (1916), took two years to make and featured a complex, interwoven plot portraying racism, prejudice, and injustice throughout history. He used much of his own money to finance the $2.5 million film, and its failure ruined him financially: his career foundered for several years after that. In 1919, he co-founded United Artists with Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and Charles Chaplin. In 1935, Griffith won an honorary Oscar for his “lasting contributions to the progress of the motion picture arts.” Griffith died in 1948 at the Knickerbocker Hotel in Hollywood. Today, the highest honor bestowed by the Directors Guild of America is the D.W. Griffith Award.
1918The Army newspaper, “The Stars and Stripes”, begins publication for a second time. The first paper called The Stars and Stripes was a product of the Civil War, put out by four Union soldiers in 1861. Using the facilities of a captured newspaper plant in Bloomfield, Mo., they ran off a one-page paper that made just one appearance. The World War I edition first appeared late in the war in Paris. It was produced weekly by an all-military staff to serve the doughboys of the American Expeditionary Force under General of the Armies John J. “Black Jack” Pershing. Some of its staff went on to journalistic fame, including Pvt. Harold Ross, who later became the founder and editor of The New Yorker magazine, and sports writer Lt. Grantland Rice. The newspaper ceased production after the war ended, but 24 years later, on April 18, 1942, The Stars and Stripes was reborn during World War II. In a London print shop’s tiny room, a small group of servicemen founded a four-page weekly paper selling for two pence a copy (about 5 cents) which quickly grew to an eight-page daily newspaper. The Hawaii edition was launched a week after VE day (Victory in Europe, May 8, 1945) and became the forerunner of the Pacific Stars and Stripes.
1922 – President Harding had a radio installed in the White House.
1924The first coast-to-coast radio broadcast takes place. Bell Telephone’s vice president and chief of research spoke at a meeting of the Bond Men’s Club in a Chicago hotel. The speech was broadcast in Providence, New York, Washington, Oakland, and San Francisco and was heard by some 50 million people.
1926 – German Reichstag decided to apply for League of Nations membership.
1928 – 1st transatlantic TV image was received at Hartsdale, NY.
1928 – Scottish inventor J. Blaird demonstrated color TV.
1940 – “Harry Sawyer” (Sebold) arrives in New York to lead a German spy network in the USA. His special equipment includes “microdots”. (Sebold is a double agent, working for the FBI).
1941 – The Lend-Lease Bill is passed by the House by 260 votes to 165.
1942 – Congress advised FDR that Americans of Japanese descent should be locked up en masse so they wouldn’t oppose the US war effort.
1943 – The last 2000 Japanese troops are evacuated from Guadalcanal by 18 destroyers.
1943British General Wingate led a guerrilla force of “Chindits” against the Japanese in Burma. Detachment 101’s support of Maj. Gen. Orde Wingate’s Chindits and Maj. Gen. Frank Merrill’s Marauders was crucial to the Allied success in Burma and to the eventual victory in Southeast Asia.
1944 – At the Anzio beachhead, the British 1st Division continues to battle German forces advancing toward Aprilia and “The Factory”.
1945 – In the US 3rd Army sector, the US 8th Corps manages to advance beyond the Our.
1945 – The US 1st Cavalry Division is heavily engaged in the eastern suburbs of Manila. The US 37th Division is also fighting in the city.
1945 – American USAAF B-24 and B-29 bombers raid Iwo Jima in preparation for the landings later in the month. They drop a daily average of 450 tons of bombs over the course of 15 days (6800 tons).
1951Superfortress bombers attacked the key bridges at Toksil-li, Komusan, and Chuuronjang and cratered the highway paralleling the east-coast rail route. Air Force B-26s, F-51s and F-80s damaged seven bridges and 11 tunnels located mostly near Kilchu. Further south, B-26s bombed boxcars stacked up in the marshaling yard at Hamhung.
1956 – U.S. banned the launching of weather balloons because of Soviet complaints.
1957 – The United States agrees to continue military support of Saudi Arabia in return for a 5 year lease extension of Dhahran airfield which had been built by the US in 1944. Negotiations for this arrangement are concluded by President Eisenhower and King Ibn Saud.
1958A U.S. Navy P5M aircraft enroute from San Juan to Norfolk lost one engine and changed course to the island of San Salvador, British West Indies, to attempt a night ditching. AIRSTA Miami sent up a Coast Guard UF amphibian plane, later reinforced by a second amphibian. After contacting the disabled US Navy plane, the pilot of the first amphibian talked the Navy pilot out of attempting to ditch without benefit of illumination and alerted the commanding officer of the Coast Guard LORAN station on San Salvador for assistance after ditching. In true Coast Guard tradition, the LORAN station’s CO borrowed a truck and an 18-foot boat to assist. The commanding officer managed to be on the scene 1 1/2 miles offshore, when the Navy P5M landed with two minutes of fuel remaining. While one of the amphibians provided additional illumination, the Navy plane was guided through a dangerous reef to a mooring, using her operative port engine. There were no casualties.
1959 – William J. “Wild Bill” Donovan (76), Office Strategic Services, died.
1962The Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV), headed by Gen. Paul D. Harkins, former U.S. Army Deputy Commander-in-Chief in the Pacific, is installed in Saigon as the United States reorganizes its military command in South Vietnam. Before MACV, the senior U.S. military command in South Vietnam was the U.S. Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG-Vietnam), which was formed on November 1, 1955 to provide military assistance to South Vietnam. MAAG-Vietnam had U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps elements that provided advice and assistance to the South Vietnamese Ministry of Defense, Joint General Staff and corps and division commanders, as well as to training centers and province and district headquarters. MAAG-Vietnam was disbanded in 1964 and its personnel and responsibilities absorbed by MACV. The establishment of MACV, which greatly enlarged and reorganized the advisory effort, represented a substantial increase in the U.S. commitment to the war in Vietnam, and American assistance to the South Vietnamese doubled between 1961 and 1962. Thereafter, the conduct of the war was directed by MACV and a major build-up of American advisers, support personnel, and eventually an escalation that included the commitment of U.S. combat troops began.
1963 – Travel, financial and commercial transactions by United States citizens to Cuba are made illegal by the John F. Kennedy administration.
1963In Iraq the Baath Party first took power. Right-wing Baathists succeeded in mounting a coup and executed PM Gen. Abdel Karim Qassim. Abdul Salam Arif came to power. This was followed by a massacre of thousands of peasants, communists and trade unionists. The Arab Baath Socialist Party pulled off the coup and ruled Iraq for 9 months.
1965 – South Vietnamese bombed the North Vietnamese communications center at Vinh Linh.
1968 – Robert F. Kennedy said that the U.S. cannot win the Vietnam War.
1968The National Guard at South Carolina State killed 3 black students and injured nearly 50 in the Orangeburg Massacre. The students were killed in a confrontation with highway patrolmen in Orangeburg, S.C., during a civil rights protest against a whites-only bowling alley. In 2001 Gov. Jim Hodges voiced his regret over the massacre.
1971South Vietnamese army forces invade southern Laos. Dubbed Operation Lam Son 719, the mission goal was to disrupt the communist supply and infiltration network along Route 9 in Laos, adjacent to the two northern provinces of South Vietnam. The operation was supported by U.S. airpower (aviation and airlift) and artillery (firing across the border from firebases inside South Vietnam). Observers described the drive on North Vietnam’s supply routes and depots as some of the bloodiest fighting of the war. Enemy resistance was initially light, as a 12,000-man spearhead of the South Vietnamese army thrust its way across the border into the communists’ deepest jungle stronghold–the town of Tchepone, a major enemy supply center on Route 9, was their major objective. However, resistance stiffened in the second week when the North Vietnamese rushed reinforcements to the area. During the last week of February, the big push bogged down about 16 miles from the border, after bloody fighting in which the communist troops overran two South Vietnamese army battalions. Also on this day: In Cambodia, Premier Lon Nol suffers a paralyzing stroke and turns his duties over to Deputy Premier Sirik Matak. Debilitated by the stroke, Lon Nol resigned on April 20. A week later, he withdrew his resignation, staying on in a figurehead role as Sirik Matak continued to run the government pending his recovery.
1973 – Senate leaders named seven members of a select committee to investigate the Watergate scandal, including the chairman, Sam J. Ervin Jr., D-N.C.
1974 – The three-man crew of “Skylab” space station returned to Earth after spending 84 days in space.
1978 – The deliberations of the Senate were broadcast on radio for the first time as members opened debate on the Panama Canal treaties.
1980President Carter unveils a plan to re-introduce draft registration. A system of conscription has been used during the Civil War and again during World War I with the draft mechanism in both instances being dissolved at the end of hostilities. In 1940, prior to U.S. entry into World War II, the first peacetime draft in our nation’s history was enacted in response to increased world tension and the system was able to fill wartime manpower needs smoothly and rapidly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. At the end of the war the draft law was allowed to expire, but it was reenacted less than two years later to maintain necessary military manpower levels as a result of the Cold War. From 1948 until 1973, during both peacetime and periods of conflict, men were drafted to fill vacancies in the armed forces which could not be filled through voluntary means. Induction authority expired in 1973, but the Selective Service System remained in existence in a “standby” posture to support the all-volunteer force in case an emergency should make it necessary for Congress to authorize a resumption of inductions. Registration was suspended early in 1975 and the Selective Service System entered into a “deep standby” posture. Beginning in late 1979, a series of “revitalization” efforts were begun in an effort to upgrade the System’s capability for rapid mobilization in an emergency, and in the summer of 1980 the registration requirement was resumed. Presently, young men must register within 30 days of their 18th birthday.
1991 – Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin L. Powell met with American pilots in Saudi Arabia. Powell drew cheers as he described how allied troops would deal with the Iraqi force in Kuwait: “We’ll cut it off and kill it.”
1999 – The Senate heard closing arguments at President Clinton’s impeachment trial, with House prosecutors challenging senators to “cleanse the office” and the president’s attorney dismissing the case as one of partisan retribution.
2002 – In Afghanistan Mullah Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, Taliban foreign minister, surrendered in Kandahar and was turned over to US military.
2002 – Interim Afghan leader Hamid Karzai met with Pakistan Pres. Musharraf in Islamabad and they agreed to bury past misunderstandings.
2003 – The US Navy conducted its last scheduled round of weapons tests on Vieques Island, Puerto Rico.
2003 – The chief UN arms inspectors arrived in Baghdad for a new round of crucial talks with Iraqi officials.
2003 – Philippine troops killed at least eight Abu Sayyaf rebels during a clash with the guerrillas in the southern town of Patikul.
2003Bell Helicopter, a subsidiary of Textron, Inc., announced that its tilt-rotor, Vertical-launch Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), the “Eagle Eye,” received a letter contract to commence concept and preliminary design work for the first phase of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle portion of the Coast Guard’s Integrated Deepwater System (ICGS) Program. The contract calls for Bell to design, develop and build three prototype Eagle Eyes for testing by 2005. LCDR Troy Beshears, the Coast Guard’s UAV Program Manager, confirmed that the fleet plans to buy 69 Eagle Eyes if the aircraft meets the requirements and capabilities determined by the ICGS and the Coast Guard.
2004 – In northeastern Afghanistan 4 days of fighting between rival warlords over control of the drug trade left 7 dead and 8 wounded.
2004 – US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld visited Croatia and thanked Pres. Stipe Mesic for Croatia’s small military police contingent (50) in Iraq.
2004 – A UN team met with Iraqi leaders to discuss the feasibility of early legislative elections, and its leader pledged to do “everything possible” to help the country regain its sovereignty.
2005 – In Kuwait, Amer Khlaif al-Enezi, the alleged ringleader of a terror group accused of plotting to attack Americans and Kuwaiti security forces, died of heart failure while in prison.
2007 – The CGC Storis was decommissioned after 64 years of service.
2010 – Space Shuttle Endeavour launches successfully from Kennedy Space Center at 4:14 EST, marking the beginning of STS-130, a two-week mission to the International Space Station. STS-130 (ISS assembly flight 20A) was a NASA Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Space Shuttle Endeavour’s primary payloads were the Tranquility module and the Cupola, a robotic control station with six windows around its sides and another in the center, providing a 360-degree view around the station.

Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion. Place and date: Near Carano, Italy, 8 February 1944. Entered service at: Cleveland, Tenn. Birth: Cleveland, Tenn. G.O. No.: 41, 26 May 1944. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, in action on 8 February 1944, near Carano, Italy. Cpl. Huff volunteered to lead a 6-man patrol with the mission of determining the location and strength of an enemy unit which was delivering fire on the exposed right flank of his company. The terrain over which he had to travel consisted of exposed, rolling ground, affording the enemy excellent visibility. As the patrol advanced, its members were subjected to small arms and machinegun fire and a concentration of mortar fire, shells bursting within 5 to 10 yards of them and bullets striking the ground at their feet. Moving ahead of his patrol, Cpl. Huff drew fire from 3 enemy machineguns and a 20mm. weapon. Realizing the danger confronting his patrol, he advanced alone under deadly fire through a minefield and arrived at a point within 75 yards of the nearest machinegun position. Under direct fire from the rear machinegun, he crawled the remaining 75 yards to the closest emplacement, killed the crew with his submachine gun and destroyed the gun. During this act he fired from a kneeling position which drew fire from other positions, enabling him to estimate correctly the strength and location of the enemy. Still under concentrated fire, he returned to his patrol and led his men to safety. As a result of the information he gained, a patrol in strength sent out that afternoon, 1 group under the leadership of Cpl. Huff, succeeded in routing an enemy company of 125 men, killing 27 Germans and capturing 21 others, with a loss of only 3 patrol members. Cpl. Huff’s intrepid leadership and daring combat skill reflect the finest traditions of the American infantryman.

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