1747 – Kasimir Pulaski, US General (Revolutionary War), was born.
1776 – First amphibious landing operation. Continental naval squadron under Commodore Esek Hopkins lands Sailors and Marines, commanded by Captain Samuel Nicholas, on New Providence Island in the Bahamas, capturing urgently-needed ordnance and gunpowder. The Battle of Nassau (March 3–4, 1776) was a naval action and amphibious assault by American forces against the British port of Nassau, Bahamas, during the American War of Independence. It is considered the first cruise and one of the first engagements of the newly established Continental Navy and the Continental Marines, the progenitors of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The action was also the Marines’ first amphibious landing. It is sometimes known as the Raid of Nassau. Departing from Cape Henlopen, Delaware, on February 17, 1776, the fleet arrived in the Bahamas on March 1, with the objective of seizing gunpowder and munitions that were known to be stored there. Two days later the marines went ashore and seized Fort Montagu at the eastern end of the Nassau harbor, but did not advance to the town, where the gunpowder was stored. That night, Nassau’s governor had most of the gunpowder loaded aboard ships that then sailed for St. Augustine. On March 4, the colonial marines advanced and took control of the poorly defended town. The colonial forces remained at Nassau for two weeks, and took away all the remaining gunpowder and munitions they could.
1779 – The Battle of Brier Creek was an American Revolutionary War battle fought near the confluence of Brier Creek with the Savannah River in eastern Georgia. A Patriot force consisting principally of militia from North Carolina and Georgia was surprised, suffering significant casualties.
1791 – Congress established the U.S. Mint.
1791 – The 1st Internal Revenue Act taxed distilled spirits and carriages.
1805 – Louisiana-Missouri Territory formed.
1809 – Five-year enlistments in the Marine Corps replaced the previous three-year terms.
1812 – US Congress passed its 1st foreign aid bill providing aid to Venezuela earthquake victims.
1813 – Office of Surgeon General of the US army was established.
1817 – Mississippi Territory was divided into Alabama Territory and Mississippi.
1817 – The first commercial steamboat route from Louisville to New Orleans was opened.
1819 – Congress authorized the revenue cutters to protect merchant vessels of United States against piracy and to seize vessels engaged in slave trade. The cutters Louisiana and Alabama were built shortly thereafter to assist in the government’s efforts against piracy.
1820 – After months of bitter debate, Congress passes the Missouri Compromise, a bill that temporarily resolves the first serious political clash between slavery and antislavery interests in U.S. history. In February 1819, Representative James Tallmadge of New York introduced a bill that would admit Missouri into the Union as a state where slavery was prohibited. At the time, there were 11 free states and 10 slave states. Southern congressmen feared that the entrance of Missouri as a free state would upset the balance of power between North and South, as the North far outdistanced the South in population, and thus, U.S. representatives. Opponents to the bill also questioned the congressional precedent of prohibiting the expansion of slavery into a territory where slave status was favored. Even after Alabama was granted statehood in December 1819 with no prohibition on its practice of slavery, Congress remained deadlocked on the issue of Missouri. Finally, a compromise was reached. On March 3, 1820, Congress passed a bill granting Missouri statehood as a slave state under the condition that slavery was to be forever prohibited in the rest of the Louisiana Purchase north of the 36th parallel, which runs approximately along the southern border of Missouri. In addition, Maine, formerly part of Massachusetts, was admitted as a free state, thus preserving the balance between Northern and Southern senators. The Missouri Compromise, although criticized by many on both sides of the slavery debate, succeeded in keeping the Union together for more than 30 years. In 1854, it was repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which dictated that slave or free status was to be decided by popular vote in the territories of Kansas and Nebraska; though both were north of the 36th parallel.
1836 – Texans celebrate the first Texas Independence Day with the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence, officially broke Texas from Mexico, and creating the Republic of Texas.
1837 – US President Andrew Jackson and Congress recognized the Republic of Texas.
1839 – Congress directed that Revenue Captain Ezekial Jones, commanding the revenue cutter Washington in the Seminole War, be allowed the same pay as a lieutenant in the Navy would receive for like services.
1843 – US Congress appropriated $30,000 “to test the practicability of establishing a system of electro-magnetic telegraphs.”
1845 – For the first time, the U.S. Congress passed legislation on this day overriding a President’s veto. President John Tyler was in office at the time.
1845 – Congress authorized ocean mail contracts for foreign mail delivery.
1845 – Florida became the 27th state. Florida is a state in the southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida.
1849 – Congress created the Minnesota Territory. The Territory of Minnesota was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed May 11, 1858, when the eastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Minnesota. The boundaries of the Minnesota Territory, as carved out of Iowa Territory, included the current Minnesota region and most of what later became Dakota Territory east of the Missouri River. Minnesota Territory also included portions of Wisconsin Territory that did not become part of Wisconsin, located between the Mississippi River and Wisconsin, including the Arrowhead Region.
1855 – Congress approved $30,000 to test camels for military use. Sec. of War Jefferson Davis sent agents to northern Africa to purchase a small herd of camels and sent them to New Mexico to transport goods to California.
1862 – The Siege of New Madrid, Missouri begins. With the surrender of Forts Henry and Donelson, Tennessee, and the evacuation of Columbus, Kentucky, Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, commander of the Confederate Army of the Mississippi, chose Island No. 10, about 60 river miles below Columbus, to be the strongpoint for defending the Mississippi River. Nearby was New Madrid, one of the weak points. Brig. Gen. John Pope, commander of the Union Army of the Mississippi, set out from Commerce, Missouri, to attack New Madrid, on February 28. The force marched overland through swamps, lugging supplies and artillery, reached the New Madrid outskirts on March 3, and laid siege to the city. Brig. Gen. John P. McCown, the garrison commander, defended both New Madrid and Island No. 10 from the fortifications. He launched a sortie, under Brig. Gen. M. Jeff Thompson, Missouri State Guard, against the besiegers and brought up heavy artillery to bombard them. On the 13th, the Confederates bombarded the Yankees to no avail. Since it did not appear possible to defend New Madrid, the Confederate gunboats and troops evacuated to Island No. 10 and Tiptonville. On the 14th, Pope’s army discovered that New Madrid was deserted and moved in to occupy it. A U.S. Navy flotilla, under the command of Flag-Officer Andrew H. Foote, arrived March 15 upstream from Island No. 10. The ironclad Carondelet on the night of April 4 passed the Island No. 10 batteries and anchored off New Madrid. Pittsburgh followed on the night of April 6. The ironclads helped to overawe the Confederate batteries and guns, enabling Pope’s men to cross the river and block the Confederate escape route. Brig. Gen. William W. Mackall, who replaced McCown, surrendered Island No. 10 on April 8. The Mississippi was now open down to Fort Pillow, Tennessee. 1863 – During the Civil War, the U.S. Congress passes a conscription act that produces the first wartime draft of U.S. citizens in American history. The act called for registration of all males between the ages of 20 and 45, including aliens with the intention of becoming citizens, by April 1. Exemptions from the draft could be bought for $300 or by finding a substitute draftee. This clause led to bloody draft riots in New York City, where protesters were outraged that exemptions were effectively granted only to the wealthiest U.S. citizens. Although the Civil War saw the first compulsory conscription of U.S. citizens for wartime service, a 1792 act by Congress required that all able-bodied male citizens purchase a gun and join their local state militia. There was no penalty for noncompliance with this act. Congress also passed a conscription act during the War of 1812, but the war ended before it was enacted. During the Civil War, the government of the Confederate States of America also enacted a compulsory military draft. The U.S. enacted a military draft again during World War I, in 1940 to make the U.S. ready for its involvement World War II, and during the Korean War. The last U.S. military draft occurred during the Vietnam War.
1863 – Abraham Lincoln approved a charter for National Academy of Sciences.
1863 – Ironclads U.S.S. Passaic, Nahant, and Patapsco, with three mortar boats and gunboats U.S.S. Seneca, Dawn, and Wissahickon, under Captain Drayton, again engaged Fort McAllister at Savannah for 6 hours. Rear Admiral Du Pont held that the series of engagements was vital ”before enter-ing upon more important operations -the assault on Charleston, Du Pont wanted to subject the ironclads to the stresses and strains of battle, as well as give the crews additional gunnery practice.1863 – Idaho Territory formed.
1865 – General Sherman’s large army, marching parallel to the coast from Columbia in order to keep sea support near at hand, steadily approached Fayetteville, N.C. The Navy continued to clear Cape Fear River of torpedoes and obstructions so as to provide him with a base at Wilmington for sea supply comparable to Savannah. As the river was cleared light draft gunboats bumped up the river to be ready to open communications.
1865 – A naval squadron consisting of twelve steamers and four schooners commanded by Commander R.W. Shufeldt joined with Army troops under Brigadier General John Newton in a joint expedition directed against St. Marks Fort below Tallahassee, Florida. Although the expedition was not successful, in part because shallow water prevented the naval guns from approaching the Fort, the ships did succeed in crossing the bar and blockading the mouth of the St. Marks River, thus effectively preventing access to the harbor.
1865 – President Lincoln signs a bill creating the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. Known as the Freedmen’s Bureau, this federal agency oversaw the difficult transition of blacks from slavery to freedom. The Freedman’s Bureau was born out of abolitionist concern for freed slaves during the war. Union General Oliver O. Howard served as commissioner for the entire seven years of the bureau’s existence. The bureau was given power to dispense relief to both white and black refugees in the South, to provide medical care and education, and to redistribute “abandoned” lands to former slaves. The latter task was probably the most effective measure to ensure the prosperity and security of the freedmen, but it was also extremely difficult to enact. Many factors stymied the bureau’s work. White southerners were very hostile to the Yankee bureau members, and even more hostile to the freedmen. Terror organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan targeted both blacks and whites and intimidated those trying to improve the lives of the freedmen. The bureau lacked the necessary funds and personnel to carry out its programs, and the lenient policies of Andrew Johnson’s administration encouraged resistance. Most of the land confiscated from Confederates was eventually restored to the original owners, so there was little opportunity for black land ownership. Although the Freedman’s Bureau was not able to provide long-term protection for blacks, nor did it ensure any real measure of equality, it did signal the introduction of the federal government into issues of social welfare and labor relations.
1871 – Congress passed the Indian Appropriation Act, which revoked the sovereignty of Indian nations and made Native Americans wards of the American government. The act eliminated the necessity of treaty negotiating and established the policy that tribal affairs could be managed by the U.S. government without tribal consent.
1871 – Congress established the civil service system.
1871 – Navy Medical Corps established.
1873 – Signal Corps of the Army established a storm signal service for benefit of seafaring men, at several life-saving stations and constructed telegraph lines as a means of communication between the stations.
1879 – Congress establishes the United States Geological Survey, an organization that played a pivotal role in the exploration and development of the West. Although the rough geographical outlines of much of the American West were known by 1879, the government still had astonishingly little detailed knowledge of the land. Earlier federal exploratory missions under men like Ferdinand Hayden and John Wesley Powell had begun to fill in the map, yet much remained to be done. Congress decided to transform the earlier system of sporadic federal geological explorations into a permanent government agency, the United States Geological Survey (USGS). From the beginning, the USGS focused its efforts on practical geographical and geological investigations that might spur western economic development. Since the vast majority of the nation’s public land was in the West, the USGS became one of the federal government’s most important tools for encouraging the exploitation of western natural resources. Congress appointed Clarence King, a brilliant young mining engineer and geologist, as the first director. King, who had previously done considerable work for western mining companies, viewed the USGS as a tool for aiding further mineral exploitation. As a result, the first major reports produced under King’s tenure concerned the economic geology of two important mining districts, Nevada’s Comstock Lode and Colorado’s Leadville silver district. King’s attempts to aid western mining won him praise from both mining companies and western congressmen, but King was eager to make his own fortune in the mining business. He resigned as director in 1881 to pursue what he hoped would be more lucrative opportunities. John Wesley Powell, a bold geologist-explorer who had led the first American explorations of the Grand Canyon, succeeded King as director. Powell extended the work of the survey into new areas like paleontology and soon became controversial for his bold assertion that much of the arid West would remain unsettled without large-scale irrigation projects. The direct and plainspoken Powell was so closely associated with the USGS during his 14-year term as director that many people have mistakenly believed he was the first director of the agency. Despite his expansion of the survey’s mission, though, Powell never abandoned the practical economic emphasis established by King. Subsequent directors of the USGS also remained true to King’s early focus on aiding the economic development of the West, providing topographical and geological maps that have continued to prove essential to the mineral, agricultural, and hydraulic development of the region to this day.
1883 – Congress authorizes 4 modern ships of steel, “A,B,C, D Ships”; three cruisers, Atlanta, Boston and Chicago, and dispatch boat Dolphin.
1891 – Congress created the Office of Superintendent of Immigration (Treasury Department). 1895 – Matthew Ridgway, the son of Colonel Thomas Ridgway, an artillery officer, was born in Virginia. He attended the West Point Military Academy and graduated in 1917 (56/139) and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army. In 1918 he returned to West Point as an instructor in Spanish. After completing the officers course at the Infantry School at Fort Benning he was given command of the 15th Infantry in China. This was followed by a posting to Nicaragua where he helped supervise free elections in 1927. Considered to be an expert on foreign affairs, Ridgway sat on a commission that adjudicated on Bolivia and Paraguay before becoming a military adviser to the Governor General of the Philippines in 1930. He also attended the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas (1935-37). General George Marshall was impressed with Ridgway and took him to Brazil on a special assignment and soon after the outbreak of the Second World War he was sent to the War Plans Division in Washington. In August 1942 Ridgway was promoted to brigadier general and given command of the 82nd Infantry Division, one of the Army’s two parachute divisions. In the spring of 1943 Ridgway helped to plan the airborne operation that was part of the invasion of Sicily that began on 10th July, 1943. This was the first time in history that the US Army had used paratroopers in battle. Ridgeway was also responsible for planning the airborne operation during the D-Day landings on 6th June 1944. This time Ridgeway jumped with his troops. The 82nd fought for 33 days in advancing to St-Sauveur-le-Vicomte. In September 1944 Ridgway took command of the 18th Airborne Corps. He led his troops during the invasion of the Rhineland and Ardennes-Alsace and on 2nd May his troops joined up with the Red Army on the Baltic. On 4th June 1945 he was promoted to lieutenant general. After the war Ridgway was Commander in Chief of the Caribbean Command (1948-49) before becoming Chief of Staff to Joe L. Collins. In 1950 he was given command of the 8th Army in Korea. He launched the counter-offensive on 25th January 1951 and when General Douglas MacArthur was recalled in April he was promoted to full general and became Commander in Chief of the Far East Command. Ridgway replaced General Dwight D. Eisenhower as the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe on 30th May 1952. His decision to surround himself with American personal staff upset other European military leaders and he was brought back to the United States in July 1953 to replace General Joe L. Collins as chief of staff of the United States Army. After retiring from the US Army in June 1955 he published his autobiography, The Memoirs of Matthew B. Ridgway (1956). Matthew Ridgway died in March 1993.
1905 – Congress authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to acquire a suitable site in the state of Maryland upon which to establish a depot for the Revenue Cutter Service; this station eventually became the Coast Guard Yard.
1911 – The 1st US federal cemetery with Union and Rebel graves opened at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri.
1915 – National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, a NASA forerunner, was created. The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was a U.S. federal agency founded to undertake, promote, and institutionalize aeronautical research. On October 1, 1958, the agency was dissolved, and its assets and personnel transferred to the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NACA was pronounced as individual letters, rather than as an acronym. Among other advancements, NACA research and development produced the NACA duct, a type of air intake used in modern automotive applications, the NACA cowling and several series of NACA airfoils which are still used in aircraft manufacturing.
1915 – Congress creates Federal Naval Reserve. By the end of World War I, about 30,000 Naval Reserve Officers and 3,000,000 Naval Reserve enlisted people had served on active duty with regular Navy at a wide variety of duty stations. About 75 percent of the officers and enlisted men who served on active duty with the Navy in World War II were reservists. During the Korean conflict, about 25 percent of the Navy’s personnel on active duty were reservists. In 1961, 58 Naval Reserve ships and air squadrons were called to active duty for the Berlin crisis. There was no large-scale mobilization of naval reservists for service in Vietnam. However, Naval Reserve personnel served on active duty in Vietnam. In 1968, eight mobile construction battalions (Seabees) and air squadrons were called to active duty for one year. Operations “Desert Shield” and “Desert Storm” (1990-1991) gave dramatic evidence that the Naval Reserve Force is a thouroughly effective and vital part of the overall operational capabilities of the Navy in an emergency scenario. More than 20,000 Naval Reservists were recalled for active duty. These “civillian” sailors responded and performed their jobs beyond all expectations. Naval Reservists and various sqaudrons/units also provide logistics support throughout the world while performing their two weeks of annual training (AT) with regular Navy forces.
1915 – The post of Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) was established by Act of Congress and Admiral William S. Benson was appointed as the first CNO. During World War II, Admiral Ernest J. King held the dual titles of CNO and Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, and directed the worldwide operations of the Navy in coordination with our allies. King was followed, shortly after the war ended, by Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, wartime commander of the Pacific Fleet. In 1955, President Eisenhower appointed Admiral Arleigh A. Burke to the first of what would be an unprecendented three 2-year terms as CNO. The CNO is the Navy’s senior flag officer, and takes precedence over all other officers in the naval service. He is the Navy representative on the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), keeps the Secretary of the Navy informed on JCS activities and decisions, and is reponsible to the Secretary for the management of the Navy.
1918 – Germany, Austria and Russia sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk ending Russia’s involvement in World War I, and leading to the independence of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
1923 – US Senate rejected membership in International Court of Justice, The Hague.
1924 – The thirteen-century-old Islamic caliphate is abolished when Caliph Abdul Mejid II of the Ottoman Empire is deposed. The last remnant of the old regime gives way to the reformed Turkey of Kemal Atatürk.
1931 – President Herbert Hoover signs a congressional act making “The Star-Spangled Banner” the official national anthem of the United States. On September 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key composed the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner” after witnessing the massive overnight British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Maryland during the War of 1812. Key, an American lawyer, watched the siege while under detainment on a British ship and penned the famous words after observing with awe that Fort McHenry’s flag survived the 1,800-bomb assault. After circulating as a handbill, the patriotic lyrics were published in a Baltimore newspaper on September 20, 1814. Key’s words were later set to the tune of “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a popular English song. Throughout the 19th century, “The Star-Spangled Banner” was regarded as the national anthem by most branches of the U.S. armed forces and other groups, but it was not until 1916, and the signing of an executive order by President Woodrow Wilson, that it was formally designated as such. In March 1931, Congress passed an act confirming Wilson’s presidential order, and on March 3 President Hoover signed it into law.
1936 – Standard Oil of California struck oil at Damman No 7. Aramco made the first commercial oil find in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The English Arabist, H. St. John Philby, orchestrated the Aramco concession in Saudi Arabia.
1943 – The Japanese convoy carrying the troops of the 51st Division, is heavily attacked by Allied aircraft from the 5th Air Force.
1944 – On the Anzio beachhead, German forces attack the line held by the US 3rd Division, near Ponte Ricco, but fail to penetrate. The German 14th Army goes over to the defensive after this failure.
1944 – A night attack by the Japanese garrison on Los Negros is defeated by American forces.
1945 – Japanese resistance in Manila comes to an end after a month-long battle. Most of the 20,000 Japanese defenders have been killed and the town has been devastated. Troops from the Americal Division are landed on Ticao and Burias Islands to the west of the San Bernadino Strait.
1945 – On Iwo Jima, an area of the island which has become known as “the Mincer” is cleared by the marines of US 5th Amphibious Corps. The third airfield is completely occupied by the American.
1945 – Troops of Canadian 1st and US 9th Armies link up near Geldern. Farther south, units of the US 12th Corps from US 3rd Army capture a crossing over the KyllRiver. Meanwhile, elements of the US 7th Army take Forbach.
1949 – Sec. of Defense Forrestal resigned. He was worn out by his futile efforts to bring about the unification of the armed services. He was succeeded by Louis A. Johnson. Johnson proceeded to slash defense expenses. He retired all but 5 aircraft carriers and dismantled the first supercarrier.
1951 – A new shipment of tarzon bombs arrived in the Far East, allowing Far East Air Forces to resume raids, suspended since January 17, with the large guided weapons.
1952 – Operation SATURATE was launched with the objective of destroying selected segments of the enemy’s rail lines with sustained round-the-clock bombing.
1959 – Pioneer 4, the 1st US probe to enter solar orbit, was launched.
1960 – The French cargo ship “La Coubre,” laden with Belgian weapons, exploded in Havana Harbor and killed 136 people. The blast was blamed on US agents.
1960 – USS Sargo return to Hawaii from arctic cruise of 11,000 miles, 6,003 miles under the polar ice. On February 9 she had arrived under the North Pole. Making her first pass under the pole at 0934, the submarine began a clover leaf search for thin ice and at 1049 she surfaced, according to her log, 25 feet from the pole, through 36 inches of ice. Later the same day, the Hawaiian flag was raised at the pole; and on the morning of the 10th, USS SARGO submerged and departed the pole.
1965 – US performed a nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.
1965 – More than 30 U.S. Air Force jets strike targets along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. Since such raids had become common knowledge and were being reported in the American media, the U.S. State Department felt compelled to announce that these controversial missions were authorized by the powers granted to President Johnson in the August 1964 Tonkin Gulf Resolution. The Johnson administration came under increasing criticism at home and abroad because of the bombing raids. Congressional opponents of the Johnson administration thought the president was escalating the war without authorization. Overseas, there was also an immediate response. Not surprisingly, the communists roundly criticized Johnson’s actions. In Havana, Premier Fidel Castro condemned the United States and promised that Cuba would aid North Vietnam. On March 4, about 2,000 students attacked the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. There was also a reaction in non-communist capitals. Prime Minister Lester Pearson of Canada expressed concern about the risk of escalation, but said that Canada understood the U.S. position.
1967 – US performed a nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.
1969 – The Apollo 9 mission was the first manned flight of all Apollo lunar hardware in Earth orbit and first manned flight of the lunar module. Lunar module pilot Russel L. Schweickart performed a 37 minute EVA. Human reactions to space and weightlessness were tested in 152 orbits over 10 days.
1971 – The U.S. Army’s 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) departs South Vietnam. The Special Forces were formed to organize and train guerrilla bands behind enemy lines. President John F. Kennedy, a strong believer in the potential of the Special Forces in counterinsurgency operations, had visited the Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg to review the program and authorized the Special Forces to wear the headgear that became their symbol, the Green Beret. The 5th Group was sent to Vietnam in October 1964 to assume control of all Special Forces operations in Vietnam. Prior to this time, Green Berets had been assigned to Vietnam only on temporary duty. The primary function of the Green Berets in Vietnam was to organize the Civilian Irregular Defense Groups (CIDG) among South Vietnam’s Montagnard population. The Montagnards–“mountain people” or “mountaineers”–were a group of indigenous people from several tribes, such as the Rhade, Bru, and Jarai, who lived mainly in the highland areas of Vietnam. These tribes were recruited to guard camps in the mountainous border areas against North Vietnamese infiltration. At the height of the war the Green Berets oversaw 84 CIDG camps with more than 42,000 CIDG strike forces and local militia units. The CIDG program ended in December 1970 with the transfer of troops and mission to the South Vietnamese Border Ranger Command. The Green Berets were withdrawn as part of the U.S. troop reductions in Vietnam.
1972 – Sculpted figures of Jefferson Davis, Robert E Lee, and Stonewall Jackson were completed at Stone Mountain, GA.
1980 – The USS Nautilus is decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register. USS Nautilus (SSN-571) was the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine. The vessel was the first submarine to complete a submerged transit to the North Pole on 3 August 1958. Sharing names with the submarine in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and named after another USS Nautilus (SS-168) that served with distinction in World War II, Nautilus was authorized in 1951 and launched in 1954. Because her nuclear propulsion allowed her to remain submerged far longer than diesel-electric submarines, she broke many records in her first years of operation, and traveled to locations previously beyond the limits of submarines. In operation, she revealed a number of limitations in her design and construction. This information was used to improve subsequent submarines. Nautilus was a component of SubRon Ten (Submarine Squadron Ten). Nautilus was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1982. The submarine has been preserved as a museum of submarine history in Groton, Connecticut, where the vessel receives some 250,000 visitors a year.
1988 – The U.S. House of Representatives rejected a package of $30 million in non-lethal aid for the Nicaraguan Contras.
1989 – Robert McFarlane got a $20,000 fine and 2 years probation for Iran-Contra.
1991 – American General H. Norman Schwarzkopf and Saudi Lt. Gen. Prince Khalid discussed cease-fire terms with Iraqi commanders Lt. Gen. Mohammed Abdez Rahman al-Dagitistani and Lt. Gen. Sabin Abdel-Aziz al Douri. The Iraqis’ astonishment at the disparity involved in the prisoner exchange demonstrated how ignorant they still were of the magnitude of their own defeat. Iraq accepts the terms of ceasefire.
1993 – In Somalia, a Special Forces member is KIA by a land mine.
1999 – Turkey called US raids on Iraq that cut off oil flow to Turkey unacceptable. The US planes were based in Turkey.
2001 – A US National Guard C-23 Sherpa plane carrying members of an engineering crew crashed in Georgia and 21 people were killed.
2002 – US military forces and 6 allied nations made air and ground assaults against al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in the Afghan Shah-e-Kot mountains of eastern Paktia province.
2003 – Iraq crushed 6 more Al Samoud 2 missiles with bulldozers and planned to hand over a report about its unilateral destruction of anthrax and VX nerve agent.
2003 – In Kenya US diplomats opened a new embassy in Nairobi, replacing the one destroyed 4 ½ years ago when terrorists launched attacks.
2003 – In Tanzania a new U.S. Embassy opened in Dar Es Salaam, replacing the one destroyed 4 ½ years ago when terrorists launched attacks.
2004 – Pakistani authorities detained at least 15 tribal leaders in a remote border region near Afghanistan for failing to turn over suspected al-Qaida fugitives.
2004 – In Yemen security forces arrested Abdul Raouf Naseeb, a leading al-Qaida member, along with other militants in the southern mountains.
2005 – President Bush visited CIA headquarters, where he promised agency employees they would retain an “incredibly vital” role in safeguarding the nation’s security despite the creation of a new post of national director of intelligence.
2005 – Steve Fossett’s GlobalFlyer touches down at Salina, Kansas, completing his nonstop around-the-world flight. Fossett had overcome earlier fuel problems to become the first person to achieve the flight solo.
2006 – After four years of legal efforts to get the names of about 490 Guantanamo Bay inmates released, the United States is forced by a federal judge’s ruling to release transcripts of hearings of 317 of them.
2010 – Master Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver, a US army bomb disposal expert sues for multi-millions the makers of The Hurt Locker. He claimed to be the main character in The Hurt Locker. Sarver’s case was dismissed, and under California law, was required to pay the defendants’ attorney fees of $187,000.
2011 – The United States Air Force starts preparation of evacuation flights to get Egyptian refugees out of Libya following an order from the President of United States Barack Obama.
2011 – President Obama calls on Colonel Gaddafi to stand down and advises that the United States is looking at “full range” of military options.
2011 – Harvard University welcomes the United States Reserve Officer Training Corps program back on campus following the lifting of the bans on gays in the military.
2013 – SpaceX CRS-2: The cargo ship SpaceX Dragon docks at the International Space Station after a brief delay.
2013 – NASA’s Curiosity rover is switched to a redundant onboard computer in response to an undefined memory issue on the active computer.
2015 – Former CIA director and U.S. Army officer David Petraeus pleads guilty in federal court to a charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified information.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken this Day
FOLLETT, JOSEPH L.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company G, 1st Missouri Light Artillery. Place and date: At New Madrid, Mo., 3 March 1862; at Stone River, Tenn., 31 December 1862. Entered service at: St. Louis, Mo. Birth: Newark, N.J. Date of issue: 19 September 1890. Citation: At New Madrid, Mo., remained on duty though severely wounded. While procuring ammunition from the supply train at Stone River, Tenn., was captured, but made his escape, secured the ammunition, and in less than an hour from the time of his capture had the batteries supplied.
*BERRY, CHARLES JOSEPH
Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 10 July 1923, Lorain, Ohio. Accredited to: Ohio. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as member of a machinegun crew, serving with the 1st Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, on 3 March 1945. Stationed in the front lines, Cpl. Berry manned his weapon with alert readiness as he maintained a constant vigil with other members of his guncrew during the hazardous night hours. When infiltrating Japanese soldiers launched a surprise attack shortly after midnight in an attempt to overrun his position, he engaged in a pitched hand grenade duel, returning the dangerous weapons with prompt and deadly accuracy until an enemy grenade landed in the foxhole. Determined to save his comrades, he unhesitatingly chose to sacrifice himself and immediately dived on the deadly missile, absorbing the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his own body and protecting the others from serious injury. Stouthearted and indomitable, Cpl. Berry fearlessly yielded his own life that his fellow marines might carry on the relentless battle against a ruthless enemy and his superb valor and unfaltering devotion to duty in the face of certain death reflect the highest credit upon himself and upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
*CADDY, WILLIAM ROBERT
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Born: 8 August 1925, Quincy, Mass. Accredited to: Massachusetts. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifleman with Company 1, 3d Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 3 March 1945. Consistently aggressive, Pfc. Caddy boldly defied shattering Japanese machinegun and small arms fire to move forward with his platoon leader and another marine during the determined advance of his company through an isolated sector and, gaining the comparative safety of a shell hole, took temporary cover with his comrades. Immediately pinned down by deadly sniper fire from a well-concealed position, he made several unsuccessful attempts to again move forward and then, joined by his platoon leader, engaged the enemy in a fierce exchange of hand grenades until a Japanese grenade fell beyond reach in the shell hole. Fearlessly disregarding all personal danger, Pfc. Caddy instantly dived on the deadly missile, absorbing the exploding charge in his own body and protecting the others from serious injury. Stouthearted and indomitable, he unhesitatingly yielded his own life that his fellow marines might carry on the relentless battle against a fanatic enemy. His dauntless courage and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death reflect the highest credit upon Pfc. Caddy and upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his comrades.
HARRELL, WILLIAM GEORGE
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, 1st Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division. Place and date: Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 3 March 1945. Entered service at: Mercedes, Tex. Born: 26 June 1922, Rio Grande City, Tex. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as leader of an assault group attached to the 1st Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division during hand-to-hand combat with enemy Japanese at Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, on 3 March 1945. Standing watch alternately with another marine in a terrain studded with caves and ravines, Sgt. Harrell was holding a position in a perimeter defense around the company command post when Japanese troops infiltrated our lines in the early hours of dawn. Awakened by a sudden attack, he quickly opened fire with his carbine and killed 2 of the enemy as they emerged from a ravine in the light of a star shellburst. Unmindful of his danger as hostile grenades fell closer, he waged a fierce lone battle until an exploding missile tore off his left hand and fractured his thigh. He was vainly attempting to reload the carbine when his companion returned from the command post with another weapon. Wounded again by a Japanese who rushed the foxhole wielding a saber in the darkness, Sgt. Harrell succeeded in drawing his pistol and killing his opponent and then ordered his wounded companion to a place of safety. Exhausted by profuse bleeding but still unbeaten, he fearlessly met the challenge of 2 more enemy troops who charged his position and placed a grenade near his head. Killing 1 man with his pistol, he grasped the sputtering grenade with his good right hand, and, pushing it painfully toward the crouching soldier, saw his remaining assailant destroyed but his own hand severed in the explosion. At dawn Sgt. Harrell was evacuated from a position hedged by the bodies of 12 dead Japanese, at least 5 of whom he had personally destroyed in his self-sacrificing defense of the command post. His grim fortitude, exceptional valor, and indomitable fighting spirit against almost insurmountable odds reflect the highest credit upon himself and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
WAHLEN, GEORGE EDWARD
Rank and organization: Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class, U.S. Navy, serving with 2d Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division. Place and date: Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands group, 3 March 1945. Entered service at: Utah. Born: 8 August 1924, Ogden, Utah. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 2d Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima in the Volcano group on 3 March 1945. Painfully wounded in the bitter action on 26 February, Wahlen remained on the battlefield, advancing well forward of the frontlines to aid a wounded marine and carrying him back to safety despite a terrific concentration of fire. Tireless in his ministrations, he consistently disregarded all danger to attend his fighting comrades as they fell under the devastating rain of shrapnel and bullets, and rendered prompt assistance to various elements of his combat group as required. When an adjacent platoon suffered heavy casualties, he defied the continuous pounding of heavy mortars and deadly fire of enemy rifles to care for the wounded, working rapidly in an area swept by constant fire and treating 14 casualties before returning to his own platoon. Wounded again on 2 March, he gallantly refused evacuation, moving out with his company the following day in a furious assault across 600 yards of open terrain and repeatedly rendering medical aid while exposed to the blasting fury of powerful Japanese guns. Stouthearted and indomitable, he persevered in his determined efforts as his unit waged fierce battle and, unable to walk after sustaining a third agonizing wound, resolutely crawled 50 yards to administer first aid to still another fallen fighter. By his dauntless fortitude and valor, Wahlen served as a constant inspiration and contributed vitally to the high morale of his company during critical phases of this strategically important engagement. His heroic spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of overwhelming enemy fire upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
Rank and organization: Pharmacist’s Mate Third Class, U.S. Naval Reserve. Born: 18 October 1924, Harrison, Ark. Accredited to: Arkansas. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 3d Battalion 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division, during the occupation of Iwo Jima Volcano Islands, 3 March 1945. Gallantly going forward on the frontlines under intense enemy small-arms fire to assist a marine wounded in a fierce grenade battle, Williams dragged the man to a shallow depression and was kneeling, using his own body as a screen from the sustained fire as he administered first aid, when struck in the abdomen and groin 3 times by hostile rifle fire. Momentarily stunned, he quickly recovered and completed his ministration before applying battle dressings to his own multiple wounds. Unmindful of his own urgent need for medical attention, he remained in the perilous fire-swept area to care for another marine casualty. Heroically completing his task despite pain and profuse bleeding, he then endeavored to make his way to the rear in search of adequate aid for himself when struck down by a Japanese sniper bullet which caused his collapse. Succumbing later as a result of his self-sacrificing service to others, Williams, by his courageous determination, unwavering fortitude and valiant performance of duty, served as an inspiring example of heroism, in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
*STONE, LESTER R., JR.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, 1st Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, 11th Infantry Brigade, 23d Infantry Division (Americal). Place and date: West of Landing Zone Liz, Republic of Vietnam, 3 March 1969. Entered service at: Syracuse N.Y. Born: 4 June 1947, Binghamton, N.Y. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Stone, distinguished himself while serving as squad leader of the 1st Platoon. The 1st Platoon was on a combat patrol mission just west of Landing Zone Liz when it came under intense automatic weapons and grenade fire from a well concealed company-size force of North Vietnamese regulars. Observing the platoon machinegunner fall critically wounded, Sgt. Stone remained in the exposed area to provide cover fire for the wounded soldier who was being pulled to safety by another member of the platoon. With enemy fire impacting all around him, Sgt. Stone had a malfunction in the machinegun, preventing him from firing the weapon automatically. Displaying extraordinary courage under the most adverse conditions, Sgt. Stone repaired the weapon and continued to place on the enemy positions effective suppressive fire which enabled the rescue to be completed. In a desperate attempt to overrun his position, an enemy force left its cover and charged Sgt. Stone. Disregarding the danger involved, Sgt. Stone rose to his knees and began placing intense fire on the enemy at pointblank range, killing 6 of the enemy before falling mortally wounded. His actions of unsurpassed valor were a source of inspiration to his entire unit, and he was responsible for saving the lives of a number of his fellow soldiers. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military profession and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
*WILSON, ALFRED M.
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Company M, 3d Battalion, 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division. Place and date: Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, 3 March 1969. Entered service at: Abilene, Tex. Born: 13 January 1948, Olney, Ill. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifleman with Company M in action against hostile forces. While returning from a reconnaissance-in-force mission in the vicinity of Fire Support Base Cunningham, the 1st Platoon of Company M came under intense automatic weapons fire and a grenade attack from a well concealed enemy force. As the center of the column was pinned down, the leading squad moved to outflank the enemy. Pfc. Wilson, acting as squad leader of the rear squad, skillfully maneuvered his men to form a base of fire and act as a blocking force. In the ensuing fire fight, both his machine gunner and assistant machine gunner were seriously wounded and unable to operate their weapons. Realizing the urgent need to bring the weapon into operation again, Pfc. Wilson, followed by another marine and with complete disregard for his safety, fearlessly dashed across the fire-swept terrain to recover the weapon. As they reached the machinegun, an enemy soldier stepped from behind a tree and threw a grenade toward the 2 marines. Observing the grenade fall between himself and the other marine, Pfc. Wilson, fully realizing the inevitable result of his actions, shouted to his companion and unhesitating threw himself on the grenade, absorbing the full force of the explosion with his own body. His heroic actions inspired his platoon members to maximum effort as they aggressively attacked and defeated the enemy. Pfc. Wilson’s indomitable courage, inspiring valor and selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.