1451 – Amerigo Vespucci, Italian navigator, was born.
1728 – During the course of the Anglo-Spanish War, a military force of English settlers from the South Carolina colony conducts an expedition deep into Spanish controlled Florida to destroy a Yamassee Indian village close to the Spanish settlement of St. Augustine.
1781 – The siege of Pensacola Florida begins. The Spaniard, Gov. Gen. Bernardo Galvez y Gallardo, conde de Galvez, had just completed a very successful campaign against the English in New Orleans, Natchez, and Baton Rouge. Indeed, this leader showed his brilliance from the outset of this campaign. As Galvez had his 14 ships ready to attack at Baton Rouge (1779), a great storm struck sinking most of his ships and destroying their provisions. Undaunted, he recovered cannon from the sunken ships, built a shore battery, and attacked the fort. He succeeded where lesser leaders would have confessed failure. At Pensacola the English general had made a weak attempt to help the troops on the Louisiana coast, but he sent so few of his own troops with such weak instructions they were quickly dispatched. Even as the Spanish fleet massed off Santa Rosa Island the English general did not believe they would attack. He failed to grasp the importance of Pensacola as the key to Naval supremacy in the Gulf of Mexico. Galvezhad a firm grasp of this key fact. When Galvez landed his troops on Santa Rosa Island 1400 troops were landed onto Santa Rosa Island. When Galvez’s ships first massed for the entrance into the harbor, a hurricane struck. Great skill in fleet handling and, pre-planning for such, took the large number of ships out to sea for protection and then quickly back on station still ready to “run the guns” of the Royal Navy Redoubt (fort) at Red Cliffs (about 7 miles SW of Pensacola) with minimal losses. Galvez personally took command of a small ship (the brig Galveztown) and led the others under the guns by first going through alone. In doing so he had exposed a flaw in the design of the batteries on the Red Cliffs fort. Although some 140 heavy shot had been fired from the fort the fleet suffered little damage. The big guns could not be lowered enough to hit ships very near them. The English General had miscalculated. Galvez’s ship soon fired on the small Fort Half Moon and struck the powder magazine. His men captured several English sloops, 2 small warships and a frigate, the Port Royal (the English burned the frigate Mentor to avoid it’s capture!). With all these ships in skirmishing actions, some have written of the Naval victory at Pensacola. It was strictly a land victory with the Navy there in large numbers to protect against English reinforcements from the sea. This marks the beginning of the siege of Pensacola that will continue until 9 May.
1788 – Connecticut became the 5th state.
1793 – Jean Pierre Blanchard made the first balloon flight in North America. President George Washington watched aeronaut Jean Pierre Blanchard make the first aerial voyage in the New World.
1798 – Dr. George Balfour became 1st naval surgeon in the US Navy.
1820 – Congress passed the Land Act, paving the way for westward expansion.
1839 – Felix Huston Robertson (d.1928), Brig General (Confederate Army), was born.
1841 – At the end of a historic case, the U.S. Supreme Court rules, with only one dissent, that the African slaves who seized control of the Amistad slave ship had been illegally forced into slavery, and thus are free under American law. In 1807, the U.S. Congress joined with Great Britain in abolishing the African slave trade, although the trading of slaves within the U.S. was not prohibited. Despite the international ban on the importation of African slaves, Cuba continued to transport captive Africans to its sugar plantations until the 1860s, and Brazil to its coffee plantations until the 1850s. On June 28, 1839, 53 slaves recently captured in Africa left Havana, Cuba, aboard the Amistad schooner for a life of slavery on a sugar plantation at Puerto Prýncipe, Cuba. Three days later, Sengbe Pieh, a Membe African known as Cinque, freed himself and the other slaves and planned a mutiny. Early in the morning of July 2, in the midst of a storm, the Africans rose up against their captors and, using sugar-cane knives found in the hold, killed the captain of the vessel and a crewmember. Two other crewmembers were either thrown overboard or escaped, and Jose Ruiz and Pedro Montes, the two Cubans who had purchased the slaves, were captured. Cinque ordered the Cubans to sail the Amistad east back to Africa. During the day, Ruiz and Montes complied, but at night they would turn the vessel in a northerly direction, toward U.S. waters. After almost nearly two difficult months at sea, during which time more than a dozen Africans perished, what became known as the “black schooner” was first spotted by American vessels. On August 26, the USS Washington, a U.S. Navy brig, seized the Amistad off the coast of Long Island and escorted it to New London, Connecticut. Ruiz and Montes were freed, and the Africans were imprisoned pending an investigation of the Amistad revolt. The two Cubans demanded the return of their supposedly Cuban-born slaves, while the Spanish government called for the Africans’ extradition to Cuba to stand trial for piracy and murder. In opposition to both groups, American abolitionists advocated the return of the illegally bought slaves to Africa. The story of the Amistad mutiny garnered widespread attention, and U.S. abolitionists succeeded in winning a trial in a U.S. court. Before a federal district court in Connecticut, Cinque, who was taught English by his new American friends, testified on his own behalf. On January 13, 1840, Judge Andrew Judson ruled that the Africans were illegally enslaved, that they would not be returned to Cuba to stand trial for piracy and murder, and that they should be granted free passage back to Africa. The Spanish authorities and U.S. President Martin Van Buren appealed the decision, but another federal district court upheld Judson’s findings. President Van Buren, in opposition to the abolitionist faction in Congress, appealed the decision again. On February 22, 1841, the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing the Amistad case. U.S. Representative John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts, who served as the sixth president of the United States from 1825 to 1829, joined the Africans’ defense team. In Congress, Adams had been an eloquent opponent of slavery, and before the nation’s highest court he presented a coherent argument for the release of Cinque and the 34 other survivors of the Amistad. On March 9, 1841, the Supreme Court ruled that the Africans had been illegally enslaved and had thus exercised a natural right to fight for their freedom. In November, with the financial assistance of their abolitionist allies, the Amistad Africans departed America aboard the Gentleman on a voyage back to West Africa. Some of the Africans helped establish a Christian mission in Sierra Leone, but most, like Cinque, returned to their homelands in the African interior. One of the survivors, who was a child when taken aboard the Amistad as a slave, eventually returned to the United States. Originally named Margru, she studied at Ohio’s integrated and coeducational Oberlin College in the late 1840s, before returning to Sierra Leone as evangelical missionary Sara Margru Kinson.
1847 – During the Mexican-American War, U.S. forces under General Winfield Scott invade Mexico three miles south of Vera Cruz. Encountering little resistance from the Mexicans massed in the fortified city of Vera Cruz, by nightfall the last of Scott’s 10,000 men came ashore without the loss of a single life. It was the largest amphibious landing in U.S. history and not surpassed until World War II. The Mexican-American War began with a dispute over the U.S. government’s 1845 annexation of Texas. In January 1846, President James K. Polk, a strong advocate of westward expansion, ordered General Zachary Taylor to occupy disputed territory between the Nueces and Rio Grande Rivers. Mexican troops attacked Taylor’s forces, and on May 13, 1846, Congress approved a declaration of war against Mexico. In March 1847, General Scott’s forces landed near Vera Cruz, and by March 29, with very few casualties, the Americans had taken the fortified city and its massive fortress, San Juan de Ulua. In April, Scott began his devastating march to Mexico City, which ended on September 14, when U.S. forces entered the Mexican capital and raised the American flag over the Hall of Montezuma. In February 1848, representatives from the United States and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, formally ending the Mexican War, recognizing Texas as part of the United States and extending the boundaries of the United States west to the Pacific Ocean.
1861 – First hostile act of the Civil War occurred when Star of the West fires on Sumter, S.C.
1862 – Engagement lasting four hours took Place between U.S.S. Monitor, Lieutenant Worden, and C.S.S. Virginia, Lieutenant Jones, mostly at close range in Hampton Roads. Although neither side could claim clear victory, this historic first combat between ironclads ushered in a new era of war at sea. The blockade continued intact, but Virginia remained as a powerful defender of the Norfolk area and a barrier to the use of the rivers for the movement of Union forces. Severe damage inflicted on wooden-hulled U.S.S. Minnesota by Virginia during an interlude in the fight with Monitor underscored the plight of a wooden ship confronted by an ironclad. The broad impact of the Monitor-Virginia battle on naval thinking was summarized by Captain Levin M. Powell of U.S.S. Potomac writing later from Vera Cruz: ”The news of the fight between the Monitor and the Merrimack has created the most profound sensation amongst the professional men in the allied fleet here. They recognize the fact, as much by silence as words, that the face of naval warfare looks the other way now and the superb frigates and ships of the line. . . supposed capable a month ago, to destroy anything afloat in half an hour . . . are very much diminished in their proportions, and the confidence once reposed in them fully shaken in the presence of these astounding facts.” And as Captain Dahlgren phrased it: ”Now comes the reign of iron and cased sloops are to take the place of wooden ships.”
1862 – Naval force under Commander Godon, consisting of U.S.S. Mohican, Pocahontas, and Potomska, took possession of St. Simon’s and Jekyl Islands and landed at Brunswick, Georgia. All locations were found to be abandoned in keeping with the general Confederate withdrawal from the seacoast and coastal islands.
1862 – Landing party from U.S.S. Anacostia and Yankee of the Potomac Flotilla, Lieutenant Wyman, destroyed abandoned Confederate batteries at Cockpit Point and Evansport, Virginia, and found C.S.S. Page blown up.
1863 – U.S. Grant was appointed commander-in-chief of the Union forces.
1864 – President Abraham Lincoln officially commissioned Ulysses S. Grant the first lieutenant general in the U.S. Army since George Washington. After leading Union victories in the West in 1862-63, Lincoln gave Grant supreme command of the Union forces with the revived rank of lieutenant general.
1893 – President Cleveland withdraws the Hawaiian Annexation Treaty pending an investigation of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in January.
1898 – Congress unanimously appropriates $50,000,000 “for national defense and each and every purpose connected therewith.” The Navy is already well prepared, but the Army is scandalously disorganized.
1914 – Test of wind tunnel at Washington Navy Yard.
1916 – In the early morning of March 9, 1917, several hundred Mexican guerrillas under the command of Francisco “Pancho” Villa cross the U.S.-Mexican border and attack the small border town of Columbus, New Mexico. Seventeen Americans were killed in the raid, and the center of town was burned. It was unclear whether Villa personally participated in the attack, but President Woodrow Wilson ordered the U.S. Army into Mexico to capture the rebel leader dead or alive. Before he invaded the United States, Pancho Villa was already known to Americans for his exploits during the Mexican Revolution. He led the famous Division del Norte, with its brilliant cavalry, Los Dorados, and won control of northern Mexico after a series of audacious attacks. In 1914, following the resignation of Mexican leader Victoriano Huerta, Pancho Villa and his former revolutionary ally Venustiano Carranza battled each other in a struggle for succession. By the end of 1915, Villa had been driven north into the mountains, and the U.S. government recognized General Carranza as the president of Mexico. In January 1916, to protest President Woodrow Wilson’s support for Carranza, Villa executed 16 U.S. citizens at Santa Isabel in northern Mexico. Then, in early March, he ordered the raid on Columbus. Cavalry from the nearby Camp Furlong U.S. Army outpost pursued the Mexicans, killing several dozen rebels on U.S. soil and in Mexico before turning back. On March 15, under orders from President Wilson, U.S. Brigadier General John J. Pershing launched a punitive expedition into Mexico to capture Villa and disperse his rebels. The expedition eventually involved some 10,000 U.S. troops and personnel. It was the first U.S. military operation to employ mechanized vehicles, including automobiles and airplanes. For 11 months, Pershing failed to capture the elusive revolutionary, who was aided by his intimate knowledge of the terrain of northern Mexico and his popular support from the people there. Meanwhile, resentment over the U.S. intrusion into Mexican territory led to a diplomatic crisis with the government in Mexico City. On June 21, the crisis escalated into violence when Mexican government troops attacked a detachment of the 10th Cavalry at Carrizal, Mexico, leaving 12 Americans dead, 10 wounded, and 24 captured. The Mexicans suffered more than 30 dead. If not for the critical situation in Europe, war might have been declared. In January 1917, having failed in their mission to capture Villa, and under continued pressure from the Mexican government, the Americans were ordered home. Villa continued his guerrilla activities in northern Mexico until Adolfo de la Huerta took power over the government and drafted a reformist constitution. Villa entered into an amicable agreement with Huerta and agreed to retire from politics. In 1920, the government pardoned Villa, but three years later he was assassinated at his ranch in Parral.
1938 – Comedian Bob Hope makes his first film appearance, singing “Thanks for the Memories” in The Big Broadcast of 1938. Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope in Eltham, England, in 1903 and moved to Cleveland, Ohio, at age four. The son of a stonemason and a former concert singer, Hope worked as a newsboy, a soda jerk, a shoe salesman, and a boxer (under the name “Packy East”) in his teens. Later, he joined the vaudeville circuit with a song-and-dance routine, making his debut in 1924 in a Fatty Arbuckle revue. Hope began appearing in comedy shorts in the 1930s. He appeared on Broadway for the first time in 1933 and made his radio debut in 1935 as a cast member of The Intimate Revue. In 1938, he was picked to star in The Big Broadcast. Since he had already committed to a radio contract in New York at the same time, he moved to Hollywood to film the movie, and delivered his radio monologues via a long-distance wire hook-up to the New York studio. Hope’s popularity grew in 1939 with the film Cat and the Canary. In 1940, he co-starred with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour in the Road to Singapore, the first of seven Road movies he made with Crosby and Lamour. In most of the years between 1941 and 1953, Hope ranked among Hollywood’s Top 10 moneymaking stars. He regularly appeared on television shows like The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. From 1953 to 1994, he hosted a Christmas television special that was broadcast internationally. Hope also tirelessly entertained American troops stationed throughout the world during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. He made more than 700 trips to American military bases and hospitals around the world, entertaining some 10,000 troops. These efforts earned him five special Academy Awards and the nickname “Mr. Humanitarian.” President John F. Kennedy once called him “America’s most prized ambassador of goodwill throughout the world,” and the United States Congress made him an “honorary veteran” in 1997-an unprecedented gesture. Hope has won more than 2,000 awards and citations, including 54 honorary doctorates, an honorary knighthood, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1985, he was awarded the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors for Lifetime Achievement. His accolades earned him the title “Most Decorated and Honored Entertainer” in the Guinness Book of Records.
1942 – Admiral Ghormley is relieved by Admiral Hard Stark as commander US naval forces in European waters.
1944 – The Coast Guard-manned destroyer escort USS Leopold (DE-319) was torpedoed off Iceland by the U-255. The attack was one of the first times the Germans used their newly developed acoustic torpedo successfully. All 13 officers and 148 (out of 186) enlisted men on board were lost. The 28 survivors were rescued by the USS Joyce (DE-317), another Coast Guard-manned destroyer escort.
1944 – On Bougainville, Japanese counter attacks on the US 37th Division fail to make substantial gains. The American airfields at Piva and Torokina are shelled.
1944 – The first American planes begin operating from Momote airfield in the Admiralty Islands.
1945 – U.S. warplanes launch a new bombing offensive against Japan, dropping 2,000 tons of incendiary bombs on Tokyo. Almost 16 square miles in and around the Japanese capital were incinerated, and between 80,000 and 130,000 Japanese civilians were killed in the worst single firestorm in recorded history. Early on March 9, Air Force crews met on the Mariana Islands of Tinian and Saipan for a military briefing. They were planning a low-level bombing attack on Tokyo that would begin that evening, but with a twist: Their planes would be stripped of all guns except for the tail turret. The decrease in weight would increase the speed of each Superfortress bomber-and would also increase its bomb load capacity by 65 percent, making each plane able to carry more than seven tons. Speed would be crucial, and the crews were warned that if they were shot down, all haste was to be made for the water, which would increase their chances of being picked up by American rescue crews. Should they land within Japanese territory, they could only expect the very worst treatment by civilians, as the mission that night was going to entail the deaths of tens of thousands of those very same civilians. “You’re going to deliver the biggest firecracker the Japanese have ever seen,” said U.S. Gen. Curtis LeMay. The cluster bombing of the downtown Tokyo suburb of Shitamachi had been approved only a few hours earlier. Shitamachi was composed of roughly 750,000 people living in cramped quarters in wooden-frame buildings. Setting ablaze this “paper city” was a kind of experiment in the effects of firebombing; it would also destroy the light industries, called “shadow factories,” that produced prefabricated war materials destined for Japanese aircraft factories. The denizens of Shitamachi never had a chance of defending themselves. Their fire brigades were hopelessly undermanned, poorly trained, and poorly equipped. At 5:34 p.m., Superfortress B-29 bombers took off from Saipan and Tinian, reaching their target at 12:15 a.m. on March 10. Three hundred and thirty-four bombers, flying at a mere 500 feet, dropped their loads, creating a giant bonfire fanned by 30-knot winds that helped raze Shitamachi and spread the flames throughout Tokyo. Masses of panicked and terrified Japanese civilians scrambled to escape the inferno, most unsuccessfully. The human carnage was so great that the blood-red mists and stench of burning flesh that wafted up sickened the bomber pilots, forcing them to grab oxygen masks to keep from vomiting. The raid lasted slightly longer than three hours. “In the black Sumida River, countless bodies were floating, clothed bodies, naked bodies, all black as charcoal. It was unreal,” recorded one doctor at the scene. Only 243 American airmen were lost-considered acceptable losses.
1945 – Bonn and Godesberg are captured by units of US 1st Army while others continue to expand the bridgehead over the Rhine River, at Remagen, where Erpel is captured. Farther south, toward Koblenz, US 3rd Army units reach the Rhine at Andernach.
1945 – Alarmed by growing insurgent activity, the Japanese grant independence to Vietnam under Japanese protection and reinstall Bao Dai as head of state. Bao Dai is never able to gain much support for what is clearly a puppet government. He will abdicate on 23 August.
1946 – The Coast Guard-manned LST-767 was damaged in a hurricane near Okinawa. She was later declared a total loss and was decommissioned.
1953 – U.S. vs. Reynolds was a landmark ruling that formally established the government’s “state secrets” privilege. Privilege that has enabled federal agencies to conceal certain conduct, withhold documents and block litigation where such actions might reveal the “sources and methods” of US intelligence.
1953 – Responding to press reports that U.S. pilots routinely pursued communist jets across the Manchurian border, Commander in Chief Far East asserted that UN pilots broke off engagements at the Yalu River boundary, enabling many damaged MiGs to escape, although some border violations might have occurred in the heat of combat. Informing the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff that air operations in Korea were conducted strictly within limitations established by appropriate authority, he also directed Far East Air Forces to comply with directives concerning violation of the Manchurian border.
1954 – CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow critically reviewed Wisconsin Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy’s anti-Communism campaign on “See It Now.”
1954 – Senate Republicans level criticism at fellow Republican Joseph McCarthy and take action to limit his power. The criticism and actions were indications that McCarthy’s glory days as the most famous investigator of communist activity in the United States were coming to an end. A Republican senator from Wisconsin, McCarthy had risen to fame in early 1950 when he stated in a speech that there were over 200 known communists operating in the U.S. Department of State. Various other charges and accusations issued forth from McCarthy in the months and years that followed. Although he was notably unsuccessful in discovering communists at work in the United States, his wild charges and sensational Senate investigations grabbed headlines and his name became one of the most famous in America. Republicans at first embraced McCarthy and his devastating attacks on the Democratic administration of President Harry S. Truman. However, when McCarthy kept up with his charges about communists in the government after the election of Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, the party turned against him. Eisenhower himself was particularly disturbed by McCarthy’s accusations about communists in the U.S. Army. On March 9, 1954, Republican Senator Ralph Flanders (Vermont) verbally blasted McCarthy, charging that he was a “one-man party” intent on “doing his best to shatter that party whose label he wears.” Flanders sarcastically declared, “The junior Senator from Wisconsin interests us all, no doubt about that, but also he puzzles some of us. To what party does he belong? Is he a hidden satellite of the Democratic Party, to which he is furnishing so much material for quiet mirth?” In addition to Flanders’ speech, Senate Republicans acted to limit McCarthy’s ability to conduct hearings and to derail his investigation of the U.S. Army. McCarthy’s days as a political force were indeed numbered. During his televised hearings into the U.S. Army later in 1954, the American people got their first look at how McCarthy bullied witnesses and ignored procedure to suit his purposes. By late 1954, the Senate censured him, but he remained in office until his death in 1957. His legacy was immense: during his years in the spotlight, he destroyed careers, created a good deal of hysteria, and helped spread fear of political debate and dissent in the United States.
1962 – US “advisors” in South-Vietnam joined the fight.
1964 – The US Supreme Court, in its New York Times v. Sullivan decision, ruled that public officials who charged libel could not recover damages for defamatory statements related to their official duties unless they proved actual malice on the part of the news organization.
1964 – A group of 5 Lakota (Sioux) Native Americans occupied Alcatraz Island in a peaceful protest. They declared that it should be a Native American cultural center and university.
1966 – CGC Point White, on duty with Coast Guard Squadron One, Division 13, in Vietnam, captured a Vietcong junk after a running firefight. Point White was in Vietnam only a month when she started conducting patrols on a VC-controlled area of the Soi Rap River. Point White used a plan of steaming out of the patrol area and covertly returning. On 9 March she spotted a junk crossing the river and attempted to stop it. The junk opened fire with small arms, including automatic weapons. Point White returned the fire and rammed the junk, throwing the occupants into the water. The cutter’s commanding officer, LTJG Eugene J. Hickey, rescued a survivor who turned out to be a key VC leader of the Rung Sat Secret Zone. During March, three WPBs of Division 13 killed twenty-seven VC in action, captured seven more, and confiscated considerable contraband.
1967 – Svetlana Alliluyeva (Allilueva), Josef Stalin’s daughter defected to the U.S.
1968 – General William Westmoreland asked for 206,000 more troops in Vietnam.
1970 – The U.S. Marines turn over control of the five northernmost provinces in South Vietnam to the U.S. Army. The Marines had been responsible for this area since they first arrived in South Vietnam in 1965. The change in responsibility for this area was part of President Richard Nixon’s initiative to reduce U.S. troop levels as the South Vietnamese accepted more responsibility for the fighting. After the departure of the 3rd Marine Division from Vietnam in late 1969, the 1st Marine Division was the only marine division left operating in South Vietnam.
1974 – Last Japanese soldier, a guerrilla operating in Philippines, surrendered, 29 years after World War II ended.
1976 – The 1st female cadets were accepted to West Point Military Academy.
1977 – About a dozen armed Hanafi Muslims invaded three buildings in Washington D.C., killing one person and taking more than 130 hostages. The siege ended two days later. They took 149 hostages and killed a radio journalist. After a 39-hour standoff, the gunmen surrendered and all hostages were released from the District Building (the city hall; now called the John A. Wilson Building), B’nai B’rith headquarters, and the Islamic Center of Washington.
1986 – Navy divers found the crew compartment of the space shuttle Challenger along with the remains of the astronauts.
1996 – The first “all-Coast Guard” Ceremonial Honor Guard carried out a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.
1998 – An arms embargo was imposed on Yugoslavia by the US, Britain and other powers.
1999 – Pres. Clinton visited Honduras and paid tribute to US military efforts in rebuilding roads, bridges, schools and clinics following Hurricane Mitch.
1999 – Energy Secretary Bill Richardson fired Wen Ho Lee, a Los Alamos weapons designer, who was under suspicion of handing nuclear secrets to China in 1988.
2001 – In Afghanistan the smaller giant Buddha at Bamiyan was destroyed.
2002 – A Marine Corps helicopter from Beaufort, SC, crashed in the Atlantic Ocean during a rescue operation from a downed civilian helicopter. 2 people were killed.
2004 – In Chad 2 days of fighting broke out as the army battled Islamic militants near a remote village on the country’s western border with Niger, killing 43 “terrorists” of a group suspected of links with al-Qaida.
2005 – Colombia extradited to the United States a top member of the South American country’s main rebel group, a woman known by the nom de guerre of Sonia and accused of running the insurgents’ drug trafficking business.
2006 – Astronomers announce that the Cassini-Huygens probe has detected possible geysers of water on Saturn’s moon Enceladus, perhaps the first example of naturally occurring liquid water beyond Earth.
2007 – The United States Coast Guard stages an exercise in Florida in preparation for a possible mass exodus from Cuba in the event of the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro. During the drill 40 Cuban exiles reach the United States.
2010 – Following several decades of “official denial”, Japan confirms it permitted nuclear-armed United States vessels to pass through its ports using its Cold War “secret treaties”.
2011 – Space Shuttle Discovery makes its final landing after 39 flights and 149 million miles. NASA offered Discovery to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum for public display and preservation, after a month-long decontamination process, as part of the national collection. Discovery replaced Enterprise in the Smithsonian’s display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia. Discovery was transported to Washington Dulles International Airport on April 17, 2012, and was transferred to the Udvar-Hazy on April 19 where a welcome ceremony was held. Afterwards, at around 5: 30 pm, Discovery was rolled to its “final wheels stop” in the Udvar Hazy Center.
2013 – NASA’s MRO spacecraft provides images allowing scientists for the first time to create a 3D reconstruction of ancient water channels below the Martian surface.
2015 – U.S. President Barack Obama signs an executive order declaring Venezuela a national security threat to the U.S.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken this Day
CLUTE, GEORGE W.
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company I, 14th Michigan Infantry. Place and date: At Bentonville, N.C., 19 March 1865. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Marathon, Mich. Date of issue: 26 August 1898. Citation: In a charge, captured the flag of the 40th North Carolina (C.S.A.), the flag being taken in a personal encounter with an officer who carried and defended it.
Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1831, Norway, Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 11, 3 April 1863. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Ironclad Steamer Monitor, Hampton Roads, 9 March 1862. During the engagement between the U.S.S. Monitor and the C.S.S. Merrimack, Williams gallantly served throughout the engagement as quartermaster, piloting the Monitor throughout the battle in which the Merrimack, after being damaged, retired from the scene of the battle.
*JULIAN, JOSEPH RODOLPH
Rank and organization: Platoon Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Born: 3 April 1918, Sturbridge, Mass. Accredited to: Massachusetts. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a P/Sgt. serving with the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 9 March 1945. Determined to force a breakthrough when Japanese troops occupying trenches and fortified positions on the left front laid down a terrific machinegun and mortar barrage in a desperate effort to halt his company’s advance, P/Sgt. Julian quickly established his platoon’s guns in strategic supporting positions, andthen, acting on his own initiative, fearlessly moved forward to execute a 1-man assault on the nearest pillbox. Advancing alone, he hurled deadly demolition and white phosphorus grenades into the emplacement, killing 2 of the enemy and driving the remaining 5 out into the adjoining trench system. Seizing a discarded rifle, he jumped into the trench and dispatched the 5 before they could make an escape. Intent on wiping out all resistance, he obtained more explosives and, accompanied by another marine, again charged the hostile fortifications and knocked out 2 more cave positions. Immediately thereafter, he launched a bazooka attack unassisted, firing 4 rounds into the 1 remaining pillbox and completely destroying it before he fell, mortally wounded by a vicious burst of enemy fire. Stouthearted and indomitable, P/Sgt. Julian consistently disregarded all personal danger and, by his bold decision, daring tactics, and relentless fighting spirit during a critical phase of the battle, contributed materially to the continued advance of his company and to the success of his division’s operations in the sustained drive toward the conquest of this fiercely defended outpost of the Japanese Empire. His outstanding valor and unfaltering spirit of self-sacrifice throughout the bitter conflict sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army, Company C, 17th Infantry Regiment. Place and date: Vicinity of Taemi-Dong, Korea, 9 March 1951. Entered service at: Pasadena, Calif. Born: 1 March 1920 Ford City, Pa. G.O. No.: 67, 2 August 1951. Citation: Capt. Harvey Company C, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action. When his company was pinned down by a barrage of automatic weapons fire from numerous well-entrenched emplacements, imperiling accomplishment of its mission, Capt. Harvey braved a hail of fire and exploding grenades to advance to the first enemy machine gun nest, killing its crew with grenades. Rushing to the edge of the next emplacement, he killed its crew with carbine fire. He then moved the 1st Platoon forward until it was again halted by a curtain of automatic fire from well fortified hostile positions. Disregarding the hail of fire, he personally charged and neutralized a third emplacement. Miraculously escaping death from intense crossfire, Capt. Harvey continued to lead the assault. Spotting an enemy pillbox well camouflaged by logs, he moved close enough to sweep the emplacement with carbine fire and throw grenades through the openings, annihilating its 5 occupants. Though wounded he then turned to order the company forward, and, suffering agonizing pain, he continued to direct the reduction of the remaining hostile positions, refusing evacuation until assured that the mission would be accomplished. Capt. Harvey’s valorous and intrepid actions served as an inspiration to his company, reflecting the utmost glory upon himself and upholding the heroic traditions of the military service.
JACOBS, JACK H.
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army, U.S. Army Element, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Republic of Vietnam. Place and date: Kien Phong Province, Republic of Vietnam, 9 March 1968. Entered service at: Trenton, N.J. Born: 2 August 1945, Brooklyn, N.Y. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Capt. Jacobs (then 1st Lt.), Infantry, distinguished himself while serving as assistant battalion advisor, 2d Battalion, 16th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division, Army of the Republic of Vietnam. The 2d Battalion was advancing to contact when it came under intense heavy machine gun and mortar fire from a Viet Cong battalion positioned in well fortified bunkers. As the 2d Battalion deployed into attack formation its advance was halted by devastating fire. Capt. Jacobs, with the command element of the lead company, called for and directed air strikes on the enemy positions to facilitate a renewed attack. Due to the intensity of the enemy fire and heavy casualties to the command group, including the company commander, the attack stopped and the friendly troops became disorganized. Although wounded by mortar fragments, Capt. Jacobs assumed command of the allied company, ordered a withdrawal from the exposed position and established a defensive perimeter. Despite profuse bleeding from head wounds which impaired his vision, Capt. Jacobs, with complete disregard for his safety, returned under intense fire to evacuate a seriously wounded advisor to the safety of a wooded area where he administered lifesaving first aid. He then returned through heavy automatic weapons fire to evacuate the wounded company commander. Capt. Jacobs made repeated trips across the fire-swept open rice paddies evacuating wounded and their weapons. On 3 separate occasions, Capt. Jacobs contacted and drove off Viet Cong squads who were searching for allied wounded and weapons, single-handedly killing 3 and wounding several others. His gallant actions and extraordinary heroism saved the lives of 1 U.S. advisor and 13 allied soldiers. Through his effort the allied company was restored to an effective fighting unit and prevented defeat of the friendly forces by a strong and determined enemy. Capt. Jacobs, by his gallantry and bravery in action in the highest traditions of the military service, has reflected great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
ADKINS, BENNIE G.
Rank and Organization: Sergeant First Class. U.S. Army, Detachment A-102, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces. Place and Date: Camp A Shau, Republic of Vietnam, March 9-12, 1966. Entered Service At: Waurika, Oklahoma. Born: 1 February 1934, Waurika, Okla. Departed: No. G.O. Number:. Date of Issue: 09/15/2014. Accredited To:. Citation: Sergeant First Class Adkins distinguished himself during the period 9 March 1966 to 12 March 1966 during combat operations at Camp A Shau, Republic of Vietnam. When the camp was attacked by a large Viet Cong force, Sergeant First Class Adkins rushed through intense hostile fire and manned a mortar position. Although he was wounded, he ran through exploding mortar rounds and dragged several of his comrades to safety. When the hostile fire subsided, Sergeant First Class Adkins exposed himself to sporadic sniper fire and carried his wounded comrades to the camp dispensary. During the evacuation of a seriously wounded American, Sergeant First Class Adkins maneuvered outside the camp walls to draw fire and successfully covered the rescue. During the early morning hours of 10 March 1966, a Viet Cong regiment launched their main attack. Within two hours, Sergeant First Class Adkins was the only man firing a mortar weapon. Although he was painfully wounded and most of his crew was killed or wounded, he fought off the fanatical waves of attacking Viet Cong. After withdrawing to a communications bunker where several Americans were attempting to fight off a company of Viet Cong, Sergeant First Class Adkins killed numerous insurgents with his suppressive fire. Running extremely low on ammunition, he returned to the mortar pit, gathered the vital ammunition, and ran through intense fire back to the communications bunker. After being ordered to evacuate the camp, all signal equipment and classified documents were destroyed. Sergeant First Class Adkins and a small group of men fought their way out of the camp and evaded the Viet Cong for two days until they were rescued by a helicopter. Sergeant First Class Adkins’ extraordinary heroism in close combat against a numerically superior hostile force was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.