1701 – The English Board of Trade advises the king to create royal colonies of all of the American charter colonies.
1753 – Benjamin Thompson (d.1814), Count Rumford, English physicist and diplomat, was born. He was a Tory spy in the American Revolution and discovered that heat equaled motion, which led to the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
1790 – US Congress passed a Naturalization Act. It required a 2-year residency.
1804 – Congress ordered the removal of Indians east of the Mississippi to Louisiana.
1804 – The Louisiana Purchase was divided into the Territory of Orleans and the District of Louisiana.
1864 – General James B. McPherson assumes command of the Union Army of the Tennessee after William T. Sherman is elevated to commander of the Division of the Mississippi, the overall leader in the West. McPherson was born in Ohio in 1828. He graduated first in his class from West Point in 1853. He joined the engineering corps as a second lieutenant, and he spent the prewar years in New York City and Alcatraz Island in California. When the war began, McPherson was transferred to the East and promoted to captain. He was disappointed when he was assigned to command the forts of Boston Harbor, as the young officer yearned for combat. McPherson contacted General Henry Halleck, commander of the Department of the Missouri and a former acquaintance in California. Halleck summoned him to St. Louis, where McPherson helped set up recruiting stations and inspecting defenses in the state. McPherson was transferred to General Ulysses S. Grant’s command on February 1, 1862, just as Grant was launching an expedition against Forts Henry and Donelson in Tennessee. McPherson’s work in analyzing the defenses of Fort Donelson earned him the respect of Grant, and McPherson’s star rose rapidly after the Battle of Shiloh. McPherson fought with distinction, and he was promoted to colonel. Two weeks later, he became a brigadier general. After his actions at the Battle of Corinth, Mississippi, in October 1862, McPherson was again promoted, this time to major general. In December, he capped an amazing year by taking command of the XVII Corps in Grant’s Army of the Tennessee. McPherson served as corps commander throughout 1863, ably leading his men at Vicksburg and Chattanooga. Grant’s promotion to general-in-chief of all Union forces created a chain reaction of promotions. Grant left for Washington and Sherman assumed command in the West while McPherson inherited the Army of the Tennessee. This force was not an independent command, as it was one of three armies under Sherman’s command during the Atlanta campaign of 1864. When the campaign reached Atlanta in July 1864 after three hard months of fighting, McPherson was charged with attacking Confederate forces on the northeast side of Atlanta. At the Battle of Peachtree Creek on July 22, McPherson was directing operations when he and his staff emerged from a grove of trees directly in front of the Confederate line. They were ordered to surrender but McPherson turned his horse and attempted to escape. He was mortally wounded, becoming the highest-ranking Union general killed in the war.
1865 – A detachment of sailors led by Acting Ensign Peyton H. Randolph of U.S.S. Benton joined troops under the command of Brigadier General B.G. Farrar. They lead a combined expedition to Trinity, Louisiana, where they captured a small number of Confederate soldiers as well as horses, arms and stores.
1910 – US forbade immigration to criminals, anarchists, paupers and the sick.
1914 – William Westmoreland, U.S. army general during the Vietnam War, is born. General Westmoreland took command in Vietnam in June 1964 replacing Gen. Paul Harkins. He was instrumental in raising the level of US forces deployed in Vietnam and in developing the strategies implemented in the region. Westmoreland continuously requested for an increase in manpower in Vietnam and President Johnson, who had his own troubles at home, refused to send more troops and finally recalled Westmoreland after he successfully stopped the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive in 1968. He was replaced by General Creighton W. Abrams. Upon his return to the US, Westmoreland was appointed as Chief of Staff of the US Army. His biggest challenge was to withdraw the troops from Vietnam and ready them for duty in other regions of the world. He was successful in restructuring the Army at a difficult time, but his tactics in Vietnam had become unpopular with some groups in the US. He maintained for many years that the policy in Vietnam had been the right one. General Westmoreland retired in 1972. 1930 – Congress appropriated $50,000 for Inter-American highway.
1938 – US Coast Guard motor lifeboat Triumph departed from the Point Adams Station, located near Hammond, Oregon at the mouth of the Columbia River. It proceeded out to the bar and stood by while several crab boats crossed in. The tug Tyee with a barge load of logs in tow was attempting to cross out. Tyee passed too close to the life buoy and the barge drifted into the outer break on Clatsop Spit. Triumph, while attempting to assist Tyee, lost Surfman Richard O. Bracken overboard in the breakers of Clatsop Spit. Bracken would have been drowned had it not been for the skill of BN (L) John F. McCormick, Officer-in-Charge of Triumph, and the cooperation of the crew, namely CMOMM (L) Albert L. Olsen and Surfman Harold W. Lawrence. In making the rescue, Triumph was carried broadside on the face of a wave a distance of approximately 50 yards. The masts had been completely submerged, then the boat righted itself. Bracken had been washed overboard by the force of the sea. McCormick acting with exceptional skill maneuvered Triumph against the strong current, into the breakers and picked up the drowning man. Olsen remained in the engine room during all these maneuvers, stayed at the controls under perilous conditions, and rendered commendable service. McCormick was awarded a Gold Life-Saving Medal for this rescue. Olsen and Lawrence were awarded Silver Lifesaving Medals for their actions during this rescue.
1942 – ADM King becomes both Chief of Naval Operations and Commander, U.S. Fleet.
1943 – Elsie S. Ott, US army nurse, became the 1st woman to receive air medal.
1943 – Battle of Komandorski Islands, prevents Japanese reinforcements from reaching Attu. An American squadran of 2 cruisers and 4 destroyers (under the command of Admiral McMorris) meets a Japanese squadron of 4 cruisers and 5 destroyers (under the command of Admiral Hosogaya) off the Komandorski Islands. A traditional gun engagement begins and a cruiser on each side is badly damaged. Hosogaya decides to break off at this point although he has a clear superiority which is beginning to tell.
1944 – Japanese patrols again sight large American naval forces heading for Palau Island. They decide to disperse their warships.
1944 – In Italy, a major reorganization of the Allied forces takes place. The New Zealand Corps is taken out of the line and broken up. Other units of the Eighth Army are brought from the east side to replace it along with the French Corps. The next Allied offensive will not be until May when this reorganization is complete.
1945 – Generals Eisenhower, Bradley, and Patton attack at Remagen on the Rhine.
1945 – The US 7th Army begins to send units of US 15th and US 6th Corps across the Rhine River between Worms and Mannheim. To the north all the Allied armies continue to advance.
1945 – On Iwo Jima, the few hundred Japanese troops remaining on the island mount a final suicide attack. They are wiped out by elements of the 5th Marine Division, which have been assigned the task of reducing the last pockets of resistance. About 200 of the Japanese garrison of 20,700 remain alive as prisoners of the marines of US 5th Amphibious Corps. American casualties have been almost 6,000 dead and 17,200 wounded.
1945 – About 14,000 men commanded by General Arnold and drawn from the units of the Americal Division land just south of Cebu City on the island of Cebu. Admiral Berkey leads a bombardment group in support.
1945 – US naval forces (TF58 and TF52) continue air strikes on Okinawa. US Task Force 54 (Admiral Deyo), with 10 battleships, 10 cruisers and 33 destroyers, begin the main bombardment of Okinawa. The US 77th Infantry Division (General Bruce) lands on Kerama Retto and overruns the small Japanese garrison. The British Pacific Fleet (Admiral Rawlings), also designated Task Force 57, with 4 fleet carriers, 2 battleships, 5 cruisers and 11 destroyers, attacks airfields and other targets on Sakashima Gunto. Japanese submarines make unsuccessful attacks on the Allied ships. Coast Guardsmen participated in the landings at Geruma Shima, Hokaji Shima, and Takashiki in the Ryukyu Islands.
1946 – International Ice Patrol resumed after being suspended during World War II.
1947 – FBI director J. Edgar Hoover warned HUAC that communists had launched “a furtive attack on Hollywood” 12 years earlier.
1950 – During a radio broadcast dealing with a Senate investigation into communists in the U.S. Department of State, news is leaked that Senator Joseph McCarthy has charged Professor Owen Lattimore with being a top spy for the Soviet Union. Lattimore soon became a central figure in the Red Scare hysteria created by McCarthy’s reckless charges and accusations. McCarthy had achieved instant fame in February 1950 when he stated in a speech that he had a list of over 200 “known communists” in the Department of State. When pressed for details, however, McCarthy was evasive. When the Senate demanded that he produce evidence to support his claim, McCarthy gave a rambling and nearly incoherent presentation. Nevertheless, the senator from Wisconsin maintained his claim and insisted that he had definitive evidence on at least one person who had worked for the State Department–it soon became clear that Lattimore was that person. Lattimore was a scholar of Chinese history who taught at Johns Hopkins University. During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him as a special representative to the Nationalist Chinese government of Chiang Kai-Shek. Lattimore also served in the Office of War Information. His troubles began after the war, when it became apparent that Chiang’s government would fall to the communist forces of Mao Zedong. When China fell to the communists in 1949, shocked Americans looked for scapegoats to blame for the debacle. Individuals such as Lattimore, who had been unremitting in their criticism of Chiang’s regime, were easy targets. In March 1950, Senator McCarthy was being pressed hard to produce the “known communists” he had spoken of in his February speech. He turned his attention to those in the Department of State who had been involved in Chinese affairs, and Lattimore’s name naturally arose. Soon, McCarthy was charging that Lattimore was the top Soviet spy in the United States. Lattimore angrily denied it and hearings before a congressional committee cleared him of all charges. McCarthy did not give up, however. In 1951-1952, the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee revisited the accusations against Lattimore. During his testimony, the scholar admitted that his 1950 testimony contained some minor inaccuracies. This was enough for the Subcommittee to charge Lattimore with perjury. These charges were also eventually dropped for lack of evidence, but Lattimore’s career had already been severely damaged. In 1963, he left the United States to teach and write in Great Britain. He returned some years later and died in 1989. He was just one of the many victims of McCarthy’s reckless witch-hunts–as with all of McCarthy’s “communists,” no evidence ever surfaced to support his charges against Lattimore.
1951 – The United States Air Force flag design was approved.
1953 – In talks with French Premier Rene Mayer, Eisenhower offers increased aid to the French fighting in Indochina.
1954 – The U.S. set off the second H-bomb blast in four weeks in the Marshall Islands at Bikini Island. The 15-megaton device was 750 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The blast contaminated the neighboring island of Rongelap and nearly 100 people on the island and other downwind atolls.
1958 – The U.S. Army launched America’s third successful satellite, Explorer 3. Explorer 3 (international designation 1958 Gamma) was an artificial satellite of the Earth, nearly identical to the first United States artificial satellite Explorer 1 in its design and mission. It was the second successful launch in the Explorer program.
1966 – Operation Jackstay in Navy’s first amphibious assault in Vietnam’s inland waters. Operation JACKSTAY begins with an amphibious assault on the Long Thanh peninsula by the US Marines. The RVN committed two Marine battalions. In late February and early March, the VC had attacked two cargo ships on the shipping channel to Saigon and MACV requested that this force be used to clear their base area. This operation, 39 miles southeast of Saigon in the Rung Sat Special Zone, is the southernmost large-scale employment of U.S. forces in Vietnam to date. It terminates on 6 April 1966. They claimed at least 63 enemy KIAs while suffering 5 US KIA, 2 US MIA and 25 US WIA.
1968 – Operation Bold Dragon III began in Mekong Delta it is under the direct control of the Chief of Naval Operations, Vietnam. The force included two SEAL platoons operating from U.S. naval vessels off the coast of Long Tau and Ba Xuyen during Phase I and off Phu Quc Island in Phase II. It was supported by Army and HA(L)-3 helicopters.
1970 – 500th nuclear explosion since 1945 was announced by the US.
1975 – The city of Hue, in northernmost South Vietnam, falls to the North Vietnamese. Hue was the most recent major city in South Vietnam to fall to the communists during their new offensive. The offensive had started in December 1974, when the North Vietnamese had launched a major attack against the lightly defended province of Phuoc Long, located north of Saigon along the Cambodian border. The communists overran the provincial capital of Phuoc Binh on January 6, 1975. President Richard Nixon had repeatedly promised South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu that the United States would come to the aid of South Vietnam if North Vietnam committed a major violation of the Peace Accords. However, by the time the communists had taken Phuoc Long, Nixon had already resigned from office and his successor, Gerald Ford, was unable to convince a hostile Congress to make good on Nixon’s promises to Saigon. This situation emboldened the North Vietnamese, who launched a campaign in March 1975 to take the provincial capital of Ban Me Thuot in the Central Highlands. The South Vietnamese defenders there fought very poorly and were overwhelmed by the North Vietnamese attackers. Once again, the United States did nothing. President Thieu ordered his forces in the Highlands to withdraw to more defensible positions to the south. What started out as a reasonably orderly withdrawal degenerated into a panic that spread throughout the South Vietnamese armed forces. They abandoned Pleiku and Kontum in the Highlands with very little fighting and the North Vietnamese pressed the attack from the west and north. In quick succession, Quang Tri and Hue fell. The communists then seized Da Nang, the second largest city in South Vietnam. Many South Vietnamese, both military and civilian, died in the general chaos while attempting to escape from the airport, docks, and beaches. By this time, the South Vietnamese forces were in flight all over the northern half of South Vietnam. The North Vietnamese continued to attack south along the coast, overrunning city after city, methodically defeating the South Vietnamese forces. By April 27, the North Vietnamese had completely encircled Saigon and began to maneuver for their final assault, which became known as the “Ho Chi Minh Campaign.” By the morning of April 30, it was all over. As the North Vietnamese tanks broke through the gates of the Presidential Palace in Saigon, the Vietnam War came to an end.
1976 – The United States and Turkey sign a four-year military pact, reopening US bases in Turkey.
1979 – The Camp David peace treaty was signed by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat at the White House.
1980 – Ayatollah Mohammad Behesti calls for trials of the US hostages in Iran if the Shah is not returned.
1982 – Ground was broken in Washington D.C. for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial designed by Maya Lin of Yale. It was dedicated Nov 13.
1983 – US performed a nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.
1987 – NASA launches Fltsatcom-6. It failed to reach orbit.
1989 – The first free elections took place in the Soviet Union. Boris Yeltsin was elected. Voters in the Soviet Union filled 1,500 of more than 2,000 seats in the new Congress of People’s Deputies, beginning embarrassing defeats for the Communist Party.
1991 – The Bush administration indicated it would not aid rebels seeking to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
1993 – President Clinton promised a “full-court press” against Bosnian Serbs to secure their agreement to a United Nations peace plan endorsed by Bosnian Muslims and Croats.
1998 – U.N. Inspectors gain entry into the first Iraqi presidential palace.
1999 – American-led NATO forces launched a third night of airstrikes against Yugoslavia and 2 MiG-29 fighters were shot down as Serbian troops continued to sweep ethnic Albanian villages in Kosovo.
1999 – The UN Security Council defeated a Russian resolution demanding an immediate end to NATO attacks on Yugoslavia. In Russia NATO representatives were from Moscow.
2001 – A US Army plane crashed in Germany and 2 pilots were killed. In Scotland US Air Force F15C fighter jets were lost during training. The body of one pilot, Lt. Col. Kenneth John Hyvonen, and F15 wreckage was found the next day. Wreckage of the 2nd F15 was found after 2 days. The body of Capt. Kirk Jones was found Mar 30.
2003 – In the 8th day of Operation Iraqi Freedom about 1,000 members of the US Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade parachute into northern Iraq and seize control of an airfield. The U.S. Navy announces that Iraq’s Persian Gulf oil export terminal of Mina al-Bakr has escaped sabotage and is ready to resume operations.
2003 – NATO officially signed up 7 eastern European nations to become members: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
2004 – West of Baghdad, U.S. Marines and gunmen fought an hour-long battle that left four Iraqis dead and six wounded. A U.S. Marine and an ABC freelance cameraman were killed during a bitter, hours-long firefight between American troops and Iraqi insurgents in the city of Fallujah.
2007 – The military commission process begins for detainees accused by the United States of war crimes, with the first person to face trial being Australian David Hicks. Hicks pleads guilty to providing material support for terrorists.
2008 – The Space Shuttle Endeavour lands at Cape Canaveral, Florida in a rare nighttime landing ending a 16-day mission to the International Space Station.
2008 – A federal indictment of a former official of Life for Relief and Development claims that Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Intelligence Service paid for a U.S. congressional delegation’s trip to the country during the buildup to the war. A spokesman for the Department of Justice said the congressmen on the State Department-approved trip were not aware of this, and that “[n]one of the congressional representatives are accused of any wrongdoing.”
2010 – US President Obama and Russian President Medvedev finalize a new arms control treaty to further reduce the nuclear arsenals of each country still remaining since the Cold War.
2014 – North Korea fires two mid-range ballistic missiles as the leaders of the United States, Japan and South Korea meet to discuss the security threat it poses to the region.
2233 – James T. Kirk, science fiction captain of USS Enterprise (Star Trek), was born.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
*MARTIN, HARRY LINN
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Born: 4 January 1911, Bucyrus, Ohio. Appointed from. Ohio. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as platoon leader attached to Company C, 5th Pioneer Battalion, 5th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 26 March 1945. With his sector of the 5th Pioneer Battalion bivouac area penetrated by a concentrated enemy attack launched a few minutes before dawn, 1st Lt. Martin instantly organized a firing line with the marines nearest his foxhole and succeeded in checking momentarily the headlong rush of the Japanese. Determined to rescue several of his men trapped in positions overrun by the enemy, he defied intense hostile fire to work his way through the Japanese to the surrounded marines. Although sustaining 2 severe wounds, he blasted the Japanese who attempted to intercept him, located his beleaguered men and directed them to their own lines. When 4 of the infiltrating enemy took possession of an abandoned machinegun pit and subjected his sector to a barrage of hand grenades, 1st Lt. Martin, alone and armed only with a pistol, boldly charged the hostile position and killed all of its occupants. Realizing that his few remaining comrades could not repulse another organized attack, he called to his men to follow and then charged into the midst of the strong enemy force, firing his weapon and scattering them until he fell, mortally wounded by a grenade. By his outstanding valor, indomitable fighting spirit and tenacious determination in the face of overwhelming odds, 1st Lt. Martin permanently disrupted a coordinated Japanese attack and prevented a greater loss of life in his own and adjacent platoons. His inspiring leadership and unswerving devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon himself and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.
*DICKEY, DOUGLAS E.
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Company C, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade, 3d Marine Division (Rein). Place and dale: Republic of Vietnam, 26 March 1967. Entered service at: Cincinnati, Ohio. Born: 24 December 1946, Greenville, Darke, Ohio. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. While participating in Operation Beacon Hill 1, the 2d Platoon was engaged in a fierce battle with the Viet Cong at close range in dense jungle foliage. Pfc. Dickey had come forward to replace a radio operator who had been wounded in this intense action and was being treated by a medical corpsman. Suddenly an enemy grenade landed in the midst of a group of marines, which included the wounded radio operator who was immobilized. Fully realizing the inevitable result of his actions, Pfc. Dickey, in a final valiant act, quickly and unhesitatingly threw himself upon the deadly grenade, absorbing with his body the full and complete force of the explosion. Pfc. Dickey’s personal heroism, extraordinary valor and selfless courage saved a number of his comrades from certain injury and possible death at the cost of his life. His actions reflected great credit upon himself, the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.