1721 – John Hanson, first U.S. President under the Articles of Confederation, was born in Maryland. He was the heir of one of the greatest family traditions in the colonies and became the patriarch of a long line of American patriots – his great-grandfather died at Lutzen beside the great King Gustavus Aldophus of Sweden; his grandfather was one of the founders of New Sweden along the Delaware River in Maryland; one of his nephews was the military secretary to George Washington; another was a signer of the Declaration; still another was a signer of the Constitution; yet another was Governor of Maryland during the Revolution; and still another was a member of the first Congress; two sons were killed in action with the Continental Army; a grandson served as a member of Congress under the new Constitution; and another grandson was a Maryland Senator. Thus, even if Hanson had not served as President himself, he would have greatly contributed to the life of the nation through his ancestry and progeny. As a youngster he began a self-guided reading of classics and rather quickly became an acknowledged expert in the juridicalism of Anselm and the practical philosophy of Seneca – both of which were influential in the development of the political philosophy of the great leaders of the Reformation. It was based upon these legal and theological studies that the young planter – his farm, Mulberry Grove was just across the Potomac from Mount Vernon – began to espouse the cause of the patriots. In 1775 he was elected to the Provincial Legislature of Maryland. Then in 1777, he became a member of Congress where he distinguished himself as a brilliant administrator. Thus, he was elected President in 1781. The new country was actually formed on March 1, 1781 with the adoption of The Articles of Confederation. This document was actually proposed on June 11, 1776, but not agreed upon by Congress until November 15, 1777. Maryland refused to sign this document until Virginia and New York ceded their western lands (Maryland was afraid that these states would gain too much power in the new government from such large amounts of land). Once the signing took place in 1781, a President was needed to run the country. John Hanson was chosen unanimously by Congress (which included George Washington). In fact, all the other potential candidates refused to run against him, as he was a major player in the Revolution and an extremely influential member of Congress. As the first President, Hanson had quite the shoes to fill. No one had ever been President and the role was poorly defined. His actions in office would set precedent for all future Presidents. He took office just as the Revolutionary War ended. Almost immediately, the troops demanded to be paid. As would be expected after any long war, there were no funds to meet the salaries. As a result, the soldiers threatened to overthrow the new government and put Washington on the throne as a monarch. All the members of Congress ran for their lives, leaving Hanson running the government. He somehow managed to calm the troops and hold the country together. If he had failed, the government would have fallen almost immediately and everyone would have been bowing to King Washington. Hanson, as President, ordered all foreign troops off American soil, as well as the removal of all foreign flags. This was quite a feat, considering the fact that so many European countries had a stake in the United States since the days following Columbus. Hanson established the Great Seal of the United States, which all Presidents have since been required to use on all official documents. President Hanson also established the first Treasury Department, the first Secretary of War, and the first Foreign Affairs Department. Lastly, he declared that the fourth Thursday of every November was to be Thanksgiving Day, which is still true today. The Articles of Confederation only allowed a President to serve a one-year term during any three-year period, so Hanson actually accomplished quite a bit in such little time. He served in that office from November 5, 1781 until November 3, 1782. He was the first President to serve a full term after the full ratification of the Articles of Confederation – and like so many of the Southern and New England Founders, he was strongly opposed to the Constitution when it was first discussed. He remained a confirmed anti-federalist until his untimely death. Six other presidents were elected after him – Elias Boudinot (1783), Thomas Mifflin (1784), Richard Henry Lee (1785), Nathan Gorman (1786), Arthur St. Clair (1787), and Cyrus Griffin (1788) – all prior to Washington taking office. George Washington was the first President of the United States under the Constitution we follow today. And the first seven Presidents are forgotten in history.
1743 – Thomas Jefferson was born at Shadwell in Albemarle county, Virginia. He was tutored by the Reverend James Maury, a learned man, in the finest classical tradition. He began the study of Latin, Greek, and French at the age of nine. He attended William and Mary College in Williamsburg at sixteen years old, then continued his education in the Law under George Wythe, the first professor of law in America (who later would sign Jefferson’s Declaration in 1776). Thomas Jefferson attended the House of Burgesses as a student in 1765 when he witnessed Patrick Henry’s defiant stand against the Stamp Act. He gained the Virginia bar and began practice in 1769, and was elected to the House of Burgesses in 1769. It was there that his involvement in revolutionary politics began. He was never a very vocal member, but his writing, his quiet work in committee, and his ability to distill large volumes of information to essence, made him an invaluable member in any deliberative body. In 1775 when a Virginia convention selected delegates to the Continental Congress, Jefferson was selected as an alternate. It was expected that Payton Randolph, (then Speaker of the Virginia House and president of the Continental Congress too,) would be recalled by the Royal Governor. This did happen and Jefferson went in his place. Thomas Jefferson had a theory about self governance and the rights of people who established habitat in new lands. Before attending the Congress in Philadelphia he codified these thoughts in an article called A Summary View of the Rights of British America. This paper he sent on ahead of him. He fell ill on the road and was delayed for several days. By the time he arrived, his paper had been published as a pamphlet and sent throughout the colonies & on to England where Edmund Burke, sympathetic to the colonial condition, had it reprinted and circulated widely. In 1776 Jefferson, then a member of the committee to draft a declaration of independence was chosen by the committee to write the draft. This he did, with some minor corrections from James Madison and an embellishment from Franklin, the document was offered to the Congress on the first day of July. The congress modified it somewhat, abbreviating certain wording and removing points that were outside of general agreement. The Declaration was adopted on the Fourth of July. Jefferson returned to his home not long afterward. His wife and two of his children were very ill, he was tired of being remote from his home, and he was anxious about the development of a new government for his native state. In June of 1779 he succeeded Patrick Henry as Governor of Virginia. The nation was still at war, and the southern colonies were under heavy attack. Jefferson’s Governorship was clouded with hesitation. He himself concluded that the state would be better served by a military man. He declined re-election after his first term and was succeeded by General Nelson of Yorktown. In 1781 he retired to Montecello, the estate he inherited, to write, work on improved agriculture, and attend his wife. It was during this time that he wrote Notes on the State of Virginia, a work that he never completed. Martha Jefferson died in September of 1782. This event threw Jefferson into a depression that, according to his eldest daughter he might never have recovered from. Except that Washington called on him in November of 1782 to again serve his country as Minister Plenipotentiary to negotiate peace with Gr. Britain. He accepted the post, however it was aborted when the peace was secured before he could sail from Philadelphia. In 1784 Jefferson went to France as an associate Diplomat with Franklin and Adams. It was in that year that wrote an article establishing the standard weights, measures, and currency units for the Untied States. He succeeded Franklin as Minster to France the following year. When he returned home in 1789, he joined the Continental Congress for a while, and was then appointed Secretary of State under George Washington. This placed him in a very difficult position. The character of the executive was being established during the first few terms. Jefferson and many others were critical of the form it was taking under the first Federalist administration. Jefferson was sharply at odds with fellow cabinet members John Adams and Alexander Hamilton, both of whom he found to be too authoritarian and too quick to assume overwhelming power for the part of the executive. He resigned from the cabinet in 1793 and formed the Democrat-republican party. Heated competition continued. Jefferson ran for president in 1796, lost to John Adams, and, most uncomfortably, this made him vice president under a man whom he could no longer abide. After a single meeting, on the street, the two never communicated directly during the whole administration. Jefferson again ran for the presidency in 1801 & this time he won. He served for two terms & he did ultimately play a deciding role in forming the character of the American Presidency. The 12th amendment to the Constitution changed the manner in which the vice president was selected, so as to prevent arch enemies from occupying the first and second positions of the executive. Jefferson also found the State of the Union address to be too magisterial when delivered in person. He performed one and afterwards delivered them, as required by the constitution, only in writing. He also undertook the Louisiana Purchase, extending the boundaries of the country and establishing the doctrine of manifest destiny. Thomas Jefferson retired from office in 1808. He continued the private portion of his life’s work, and sometime later re-engaged his dearest & longest friend James Madison, in the work of establishing the University of Virginia. In 1815 one of his projects, a Library of Congress, finally bore fruit, when he sold his own personal library to the congress as a basis for the collection. Shortly before his death in 1826, Jefferson told Madison that he wished to be remembered for two things only; as the Author of the Declaration of Independence, and as the founder of the University of Virginia. Jefferson died on the 4th of July, as the nation celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his splendid Declaration.
1775 – Lord North extended the New England Restraining Act to South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. The act forbade trade with any country other than Britain and Ireland.
1777 – American forces are ambushed and defeated in the Battle of Bound Brook, New Jersey. The Battle of Bound Brook was a surprise attack conducted by British and Hessian forces against a Continental Army outpost at Bound Brook, New Jersey. The British objective of capturing the entire garrison was not met, although prisoners were taken. The American commander, Major General Benjamin Lincoln, left in great haste, abandoning papers and personal effects. Late on the evening of April 12, 1777, four thousand British and Hessian troops under the command of Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis marched from the British stronghold of New Brunswick. All but one detachment reached positions surrounding the outpost before the battle began near daybreak the next morning. During the battle, most of the 500-man garrison escaped by the unblocked route. American reinforcements arrived in the afternoon, but not before the British plundered the outpost and began the return march to New Brunswick.
1847 – Naval Forces begin 5 day battle to capture several towns in Mexico.
1847 – Marines captured LaPaz, California, during the Mexican War.
1860 – 1st Pony Express reached Sacramento, Calif.
1861 – After a thirty-three hour bombardment by Confederate cannon, Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor surrenders. The first engagement of the war ended in Rebel victory. The surrender concluded a standoff that began with South Carolina’s secession from the Union on December 20, 1860. When President Lincoln sent word to Charleston in early April that he planned to send food to the beleaguered garrison, the Confederates took action. They opened fire on Sumter in the predawn of April 12. Over the next day, nearly 4,000 rounds were hurled toward the black silhouette of Fort Sumter. Inside Sumter was its commander, Major Robert Anderson, 9 officers, 68 enlisted men, 8 musicians, and 43 construction workers who were still putting the finishing touches on the fort. Captain Abner Doubleday, the man often inaccurately credited with inventing the game of baseball, returned fire nearly two hours after the barrage began. By the morning of April 13, the garrison in Sumter was in dire straits. The soldiers had sustained only minor injuries, but they could not hold out much longer. The fort was badly damaged, and the Confederate’s shots were becoming more precise. Around noon, the flagstaff was shot away. Louis Wigfall, a former U.S. senator from Texas, rowed out without permission to see if the garrison was trying to surrender. Anderson decided that further resistance was futile, and he ran a white flag up a makeshift flagpole. The first engagement of the war was over, and the only casualty had been a Confederate horse. The Union force was allowed to leave for the north; before leaving, the soldiers fired a 100-gun salute. During the salute, one soldier was killed and another mortally wounded by a prematurely exploding cartridge. The Civil War had officially begun.
1862 – In the Washington area volunteers led by Sarah J. Evans paid homage to the graves of Civil War soldiers. Villagers in Waterloo, NY, held their 1st Memorial Day service on May 5, 1866. In 1966 Pres. Johnson gave Waterloo, NY, the distinction of holding the 1st Memorial Day.
1863 – Battle of Irish Bend, LA (Ft. Bisland).
1863 – Hospital for Ruptured and Crippled in NY became the 1st orthopedic hospital.
1865 – Union forces under Gen. Sherman began their devastating march through Georgia. Sherman’s troops took Raleigh, NC.
1873 – In the Colfax Massacre in Grant Parish, Louisiana, 60 blacks were killed. The dispute over the government of Louisiana continued to escalate. Republican officers of Grants Parrish were holed up in the city of Colfax. Blacks from the surrounding area feared an attack, so they entrenched themselves in front of the court house. A huge white mob attacked. The day was a massacre, as somewhere between 60 and 100 local blacks were killed even as they tried to surrender. The white mob suffered only 3 casualties. The battle for the courthouse of Colfax, Louisiana has been renamed the Colfax Massacre. All of the blacks in the area and governor Kellogg were spared only because the President ordered the federal troops to intercede and stop the white mob before they moved to another area, killing all the blacks and their white sympathizers. The New Orleans Times’ headline the next day read, “War at Last!!” They also warned other white sympathizers to beware. The majority of the white people in Louisiana supported the “Colfax Massacre,” and the systematic annihilation of blacks and the white sympathizer governments.
1885 – Marines guarded the rail line to Panama City.
1919 – Eugene V. Debs is imprisoned at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, for speaking out against the draft during World War I.
1939 – USS Astoria arrives in Japan under the command of Richard Kelly Turner in an attempt to photograph the Japanese battleships Yamato and Musashi. U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Turner, whose motto was “If you don’t have losses, you’re not doing enough,” saw the cruiser Astoria through many assignments, from assessing Japanese naval strength before U.S. entry in the war, to returning the ashes of a Japanese ambassador to Japan, to the amphibious assault at Guadalcanal. The Astoria was unfortunately sunk, along with the Quincy and the Vincennes, during Operation Watchtower, the landing of 16,000 troops on Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands, in August 1942.
1941 – The USSR and Japan sign a five year Neutrality Agreement. For Stalin this is an invaluable piece of diplomacy which, backed by secret information from Soviet spies in Tokyo, will allow him to transfer forces from Siberia to face a possible German attack. These moves begin now. The agreement represents a complete change in Japanese policy and marks the growing concern of the Japanese military leaders and statesmen to look south to the resources of the East Indies. The agreement has been negotiated almost alone by Foreign Minister Matsuoka, in Moscow on the way back from a European visit.
1943 – President Roosevelt dedicated the Jefferson Memorial. It was designed by John Russell Pope. Located in Washington, DC, the Jefferson Memorial honors Thomas Jefferson — author of the Declaration of Independence, first Secretary of State, and third President of the United States. The memorial is built along the Tidal Basin, in line with the White House, other memorials and the Capitol. The Tidal Basin is surrounded by cherry blossom trees. The trees were a gift from the city of Tokyo, Japan, to the city of Washington, DC. The structure of the building is based on the classic style of architecture Jefferson introduced into this country. In the center of the memorial is a standing statue of Jefferson. On the inside walls are four inscriptions based upon Jefferson’s writings. They describe his beliefs in freedom, education of all people, and the need for change in the laws and institutions of a democracy.
1943 – The Jefferson Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C., on the 200th anniversary of President Thomas Jefferson’s birth.
1943 – US bombers conduct day and night raids on Kiska Island.
1944 – American and British tactical air forces conduct numerous attacks on German coastal batteries in Normandy.
1945 – On Okinawa, elements of the US 6th Marine Division not engaged on the Motobu Peninsula continue to advance up the west coast of the island and reach the northwest tip at Hedo Point. Japanese Kamikaze attacks hit a destroyer. British carriers attack Sakashima Gunto.
1945 – The Nazi concentration camps at Belsen and Buchenwald are liberated by British and American forces respectively. Jena is captured by US 3rd Army units. To the south, US 7th Army forces take Bamberg.
1945 – In Manila Bay, American forces land on Fort Drum, known as “the Concrete Battleship”, and begin to pour 5,000 gallons of oil fuel into the fortifications. This is then set on fire and burns for five days, eliminating the Japanese garrison.
1945 – Some 327 American B-29 Superfortress bombers attack Tokyo during the night, dropping some 2139 tons of incendiaries. The nominal target area is the arms manufacturing district.
1945 – Adolf Hitler proclaims from his underground bunker that deliverance was at hand from encroaching Russian troops–Berlin would remain German. A “mighty artillery is waiting to greet the enemy,” proclaims Der Fuhrer. This as Germans loyal to the Nazi creed continue the mass slaughter of Jews. As Hitler attempted to inflate his troops’ morale, German soldiers, Hitler Youth, and local police chased 5,000 to 6,000 Jewish prisoners into a large barn, setting it on fire, in hopes of concealing the evidence of their monstrous war crimes as the end of the Reich quickly became a reality. As the Jewish victims attempted to burrow their way out of the blazing barn, Germans surrounding the conflagration shot them. “Several thousand people were burned alive,” reported one survivor. The tragic irony is that President Roosevelt, had he lived, intended to give an address at the annual Jefferson Day dinner in Washington, D.C., on that very day, proclaiming his desire for “an end to the beginnings of all wars–yes, an end to this brutal, inhuman, and thoroughly impractical method of settling the differences between governments.”
1951 – As Lieutenant General Ridgway was winding up affairs as Eighth Army commander prior to assuming command of the U.N. Command, he put the final touches on plans developed during his term of command for rotating Army troops. Over 70,000 soldiers already were eligible under the length of service criteria of six months in combat units or one year in a support unit. The backlog of eligible troops would leave in monthly quotas based on the replacement flow. Since replacements currently exceeded casualty losses by more than 50 percent, the first quota of troops would leave Korea beginning on April 22.
1953 – CIA director Allen Dulles launches the mind-control program Project MKULTRA. Project MKUltra — sometimes referred to as the CIA’s mind control program — MKULTRA was the code name given to an illegal and clandestine program of experiments on human beings, made by the CIA – the Intelligence Service of the United States of America. Experiments on humans were intended to identify and develop drugs and procedures to be used in interrogations and torture, in order to weaken the individual to force confessions through mind control. Organized through the Scientific Intelligence Division of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the project coordinated with the Special Operations Division of the U.S. Army’s Chemical Corps. The program began in the early 1950s, was officially sanctioned in 1953, was reduced in scope in 1964, further curtailed in 1967 and officially halted in 1973. The program engaged in many illegal activities; in particular it used unwitting U.S. and Canadian citizens as its test subjects, which led to controversy regarding its legitimacy. MKUltra used numerous methodologies to manipulate people’s mental states and alter brain functions, including the surreptitious administration of drugs (especially LSD) and other chemicals, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, isolation, and verbal abuse. The scope of Project MKUltra was broad, with research undertaken at 80 institutions, including 44 colleges and universities, as well as hospitals, prisons and pharmaceutical companies. The CIA operated through these institutions using front organizations, although sometimes top officials at these institutions were aware of the CIA’s involvement. As the Supreme Court later noted, MKULTRA was:
concerned with “the research and development of chemical, biological, and radiological materials capable of employment in clandestine operations to control human behavior.” The program consisted of some 149 subprojects which the Agency contracted out to various universities, research foundations, and similar institutions. At least 80 institutions and 185 private researchers participated. Because the Agency funded MKULTRA indirectly, many of the participating individuals were unaware that they were dealing with the Agency.
Project MKUltra was first brought to public attention in 1975 by the Church Committee of the U.S. Congress, and a Gerald Ford commission to investigate CIA activities within the United States. Investigative efforts were hampered by the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms ordered all MKUltra files destroyed in 1973; the Church Committee and Rockefeller Commission investigations relied on the sworn testimony of direct participants and on the relatively small number of documents that survived Helms’ destruction order. In 1977, a Freedom of Information Act request uncovered a cache of 20,000 documents relating to project MKUltra, which led to Senate hearings later that same year. In July 2001 some surviving information regarding MKUltra was officially declassified.
1960 – Navy’s navigation satellite, Transit 1-B, placed into orbit from Cape Canaveral, FL and demonstrates ability to launch another satellite.
1970 – Disaster strikes 200,000 miles from Earth when oxygen tank No. 2 blows up on Apollo 13, the third manned lunar landing mission. Astronauts James A. Lovell, John L. Swigert, and Fred W. Haise had left Earth two days before for the Fra Mauro highlands of the moon but were forced to turn their attention to simply making it home alive. Mission commander Lovell reported to mission control on Earth: “Houston, we’ve had a problem here,” and it was discovered that the normal supply of oxygen, electricity, light, and water had been disrupted. The landing mission was aborted, and the astronauts and controllers on Earth scrambled to come up with emergency procedures. The crippled spacecraft continued to the moon, circled it, and began a long, cold journey back to Earth. The astronauts and mission control were faced with enormous logistical problems in stabilizing the spacecraft and its air supply, and providing enough energy to the damaged fuel cells to allow successful reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. Navigation was another problem, and Apollo 13’s course was repeatedly corrected with dramatic and untested maneuvers. On April 17, with the world anxiously watching, tragedy turned to triumph as the Apollo 13 astronauts touched down safely in the Pacific Ocean.
1972 – Three North Vietnamese divisions attack An Loc with infantry, tanks, heavy artillery and rockets, taking half the city after a day of close combat. An Loc, the capital of Binh Long Province, was located 65 miles northwest of Saigon. This attack was the southernmost thrust of the three-pronged Nguyen Hue Offensive (later more commonly known as the “Easter Offensive”), a massive invasion by North Vietnamese forces designed to strike the knockout blow that would win the war for the communists. The attacking force included 14 infantry divisions and 26 separate regiments, with more than 120,000 troops and approximately 1,200 tanks and other armored vehicles. The main North Vietnamese objectives, in addition to An Loc in the south, were Quang Tri in the north, and Kontum in the Central Highlands. Initially, the South Vietnamese defenders in each case were almost overwhelmed, particularly in the northernmost provinces, where the South Vietnamese abandoned their positions in Quang Tri and fled south in the face of the enemy onslaught. In Binh Long, the North Vietnamese forces crossed into South Vietnam from Cambodia to strike first at Loc Ninh on April 5, then quickly encircled An Loc, holding it under siege for almost three months while they made repeated attempts to take the city. The defenders suffered heavy casualties, including 2,300 dead or missing, but with the aid of U.S. advisors and American airpower, they managed to hold An Loc against vastly superior odds until the siege was lifted on June 18. Fighting continued all over South Vietnam throughout the summer months, but eventually the South Vietnamese forces prevailed against the invaders, even retaking Quang Tri in September. With the communist invasion blunted, President Nixon declared that the South Vietnamese victory proved the viability of his Vietnamization program, instituted in 1969 to increase the combat capability of the South Vietnamese armed forces.
1974 – Western Union (in cooperation with NASA and Hughes Aircraft) launches the United States’ first commercial geosynchronous communications satellite, Westar 1.
1980 – US boycotted the Summer Olympics in Moscow.
1990 – The Soviet government officially accepts blame for the Katyn Massacre of World War II, when nearly 5,000 Polish military officers were murdered and buried in mass graves in the Katyn Forest. The admission was part of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s promise to be more forthcoming and candid concerning Soviet history. In 1939, Poland had been invaded from the west by Nazi forces and from the east by Soviet troops. Sometime in the spring of 1940, thousands of Polish military officers were rounded up by Soviet secret police forces, taken to the Katyn Forest outside of Smolensk, massacred, and buried in a mass grave. In 1941, Germany attacked the Soviet Union and pushed into the Polish territory once held by the Russians. In 1943, with the war against Russia going badly, the Germans announced that they had unearthed thousands of corpses in the Katyn Forest. Representatives from the Polish government-in-exile (situated in London) visited the site and decided that the Soviets, not the Nazis, were responsible for the killings. These representatives, however, were pressured by U.S. and British officials to keep their report secret for the time being, since they did not want to risk a diplomatic rupture with the Soviets. As World War II came to an end, German propaganda lashed out at the Soviets, using the Katyn Massacre as an example of Russian atrocities. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin flatly denied the charges and claimed that the Nazis were responsible for the slaughter. The matter was not revisited for 40 years. By 1990, however, two factors pushed the Soviets to admit their culpability. First was Gorbachev’s much publicized policy of “openness” in Soviet politics. This included a more candid appraisal of Soviet history, particularly concerning the Stalin period. Second was the state of Polish-Soviet relations in 1990. The Soviet Union was losing much of its power to hold onto its satellites in Eastern Europe, but the Russians hoped to retain as much influence as possible. In Poland, Lech Walesa’s Solidarity movement was steadily eroding the power of the communist regime. The Katyn Massacre issue had been a sore spot in relations with Poland for over four decades, and it is possible that Soviet officials believed that a frank admission and apology would help ease the increasing diplomatic tensions. The Soviet government issued the following statement: “The Soviet side expresses deep regret over the tragedy, and assesses it as one of the worst Stalinist outrages.” Whether the Soviet admission had any impact is difficult to ascertain. The communist regime in Poland crumbled by the end of 1990, and Lech Walesa was elected president of Poland in December of that year. Gorbachev resigned in December 1991, which brought an effective end to the Soviet Union.
1991 – Speaking at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, President Bush warned Iraq the United States would “not tolerate any interference” with the international relief effort for Kurdish refugees.
1993 – The day before a visit by Pres. Bush, fourteen people were arrested in Kuwait for plotting to assassinate him. Kuwaiti officials said the plot was organized by Iraqi intelligence.
1993 – NATO forces began combat patrols over Bosnia to enforce a UN ban on flights.
1996 – The US agreed to close the Futenma Air Station at Okinawa, Japan. The 1200 acre base is surrounded by the densely populated city of Ginowan. Marine Corps Air Station, Futenma began in 1945 as a bomber base. Construction of hangars and barracks began in 1958. The airfield was commissioned as a “Marine Corps Air Facility” in 1960 and became an Air Station in 1976. Located within Ginowan City, Okinawa, the Air Station is home to approximately 4,000 Marines and Sailors. It is capable of supporting most aircraft and serves as the base for Marine Aircraft Group 36, Marine Air Control Group 18, and Marine Wing Support Squadron 172. The Air Station provides support for the III Marine Expeditionary Force and for Marine Corps Base, Camp Butler. Since 15 January 1969 MCAS Futenma serves as a United Nations air facility and a divert base for Air Force and Naval aircraft operating in the vicinity of Okinawa.
1999 – NATO bombs were dropped on Pristina. Yugoslav infantry troops crossed into northeastern Albania for a short time and clashed with Albanian border police. Refugees in Albania reported gang-rapes and murders by Serbian soldiers.
2001 – With the crew of a U.S. spy plane safely back in the United States, American officials gave their detailed version of what happened when the plane collided with a Chinese fighter on April 1; the United States said its plane was struck by the jet. China maintained that the U.S. plane rammed the fighter.
2002 – Yasser Arafat issued a statement condemning terrorism and planned to meet with Colin Powell the next day. Hamas declared it had no intention of halting attacks.
2003 – In the 26th day of Operation Iraqi Freedom US troops pushed into Tikrit. Marines found 7 missing US troops, including Army Specialist Shoshana Johnson, on the road between Baghdad and Tikrit. Army engineers worked to help restore electricity in Baghdad.
2003 – U.S.-led forces announced the capture of Watban Ibrahim Hasan, a half-brother of and adviser to Saddam Hussein. Watban is one of three of Saddam’s half-brothers (both share the same mother). During his tenure as Interior Minister, he is accused of having overseen the deportations, torture, and executions of hundred of prisoners. Some of those executions were reportedly taped with copies kept at the ministry. Despite his family ties to Saddam and his position, Watban was not thought to be fully trusted by Saddam Hussein. Watban is believed to have been shot in the leg by Uday Husein during a party in 1995. British SAS troops were believed to have orchestrated the capture of Watban Ibrahim Hasan Al-Tikriti near the town of Rabia, on the road between the city of Mosul and the Syrian border, as he was attempting to flee to Syria. He is the 5 of Spades on the Most-Wanted-Deck-of-Cards.
2004 – Pres. Bush defended his Iraq policy, vowed no retreat and conceded the need for UN help in a televised press conference.
2004 – Cuba agreed to buy $13 million in food from American companies and reached a tentative deal for up to $10 million in farm goods from California.
2004 – A 2,500-strong U.S. force, backed by tanks and artillery, pushed to the outskirts of the Shiite holy city of Najaf for a showdown with a radical cleric. One soldier was killed enroute. US forces in Fallujah killed over 100 insurgents.
2009 – The U.S. federal government rescinds travel and gift restrictions to Cuba.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
WESTON, JOHN F.
Rank and organization: Major, 4th Kentucky Cavalry. Place and date: Near Wetumpka, Ala., 13 April 1865. Entered service at: Kentucky. Birth: Kentucky. Date of issue: 9 April 1898. Citation: This officer, with a small detachment, while en route to destroy steamboats loaded with supplies for the enemy, was stopped by an unfordable river, but with 5 of his men swam the river, captured 2 leaky canoes, and ferried his men across. He then encountered and defeated the enemy, and on reaching Wetumpka found the steamers anchored in midstream. By a ruse obtained possession of a boat, with which he reached the steamers and demanded and received their surrender.
COX, ROBERT EDWARD
Rank and organizarion: Chief Gunner’s Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 22 December 1855, St. Albans, W. Va. Accredited to: West Virginia. G.O. No.: 43, 14 April 1921. (Medal presented by President Harding.) Citation: For extraordinary heroism on U.S.S. Missouri 13 April, 1904. While at target practice off Pensacola, Fla., an accident occurred in the after turret of the Missouri whereby the lives of 5 officers and 28 men were lost. The ship was in imminent danger of destruction by explosion, and the prompt action of C.G. Cox and 2 gunners’ mates caused the fire to be brought under control, and the loss of the Missouri, together with her crew, was averted.
Rank and organization. Chief Gunner’s Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 20 January 1867, Norway. G.O. No.: 160, 26 May 1904. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Missouri, for extraordinary heroism in entering a burning magazine through the scuttle and endeavoring to extinguish the fire by throwing water with his hands until a hose was passed to him, 13 April 1904.
Rank and organization: Chief Boatswain, U.S. Navy. Born: 24 May 1876, Goteborg, Sweden. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 142, 4 December 1924. Citation: For gallant conduct upon the occasion of the disastrous fire of accidentally ignited powder charges, which occurred in the forward turret of the U.S.S. Kearsage during target practice on 13 April 1906. Chief Boatswain Nordstrom, then chief boatswain’s mate, was among the first to enter the turret in order to assist in bringing out the injured.
SCHEPKE, CHARLES S.
Rank and organization: Gunner’s Mate First Class, U.S. Navy. Born: 26 December 1878, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 160, 26 May 1904. Citation: For extraordinary heroism while serving on the U.S.S. Missouri in remaining by a burning magazine and assisting to extinguish the fire, 13 April 1904.
GAUJOT, JULIEN E.
Rank and organization: Captain, Troop K, 1st U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Aqua Prieta, Mexico, 13 April 1911. Entered service at: Williamson, W. Va. Birth: Keweenaw, Mich. Date of issue: 23 November 1912. Citation: Crossed the field of fire to obtain the permission of the rebel commander to receive the surrender of the surrounded forces of Mexican Federals and escort such forces, together with 5 Americans held as prisoners, to the American line.
ANDERSON, BEAUFORD T.
Rank and organization: Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army, 381st Infantry, 96th Infantry Division. Place and date: Okinawa, 13 April 1945. Entered service at: Soldiers Grove, Wis. Birth: Eagle, Wis. G.O. No.: 63, 27 June 1946. Citation: He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. When a powerfully conducted predawn Japanese counterattack struck his unit’s flank, he ordered his men to take cover in an old tomb, and then, armed only with a carbine, faced the onslaught alone. After emptying 1 magazine at pointblank range into the screaming attackers, he seized an enemy mortar dud and threw it back among the charging Japs, killing several as it burst. Securing a box of mortar shells, he extracted the safety pins, banged the bases upon a rock to arm them and proceeded alternately to hurl shells and fire his piece among the fanatical foe, finally forcing them to withdraw. Despite the protests of his comrades, and bleeding profusely from a severe shrapnel wound, he made his way to his company commander to report the action. T/Sgt. Anderson’s intrepid conduct in the face of overwhelming odds accounted for 25 enemy killed and several machineguns and knee mortars destroyed, thus single-handedly removing a serious threat to the company’s flank.
KERSTETTER, DEXTER J.
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 130th Infantry, 33d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Galiano, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 13 April 1945. Entered service at: Centralia, Wash. Birth: Centralia, Wash. G.O. No.: 97,1 November 1945. Citation: He was with his unit in a dawn attack against hill positions approachable only along a narrow ridge paralleled on each side by steep cliffs which were heavily defended by enemy mortars, machineguns, and rifles in well-camouflaged spider holes and tunnels leading to caves. When the leading element was halted by intense fire that inflicted 5 casualties, Pfc. Kerstetter passed through the American line with his squad. Placing himself well in advance of his men, he grimly worked his way up the narrow steep hogback, meeting the brunt of enemy action. With well-aimed shots and rifle-grenade fire, he forced the Japs to take cover. He left the trail and moving down a cliff that offered only precarious footholds, dropped among 4 Japs at the entrance to a cave, fired his rifle from his hip and killed them all. Climbing back to the trail, he advanced against heavy enemy machinegun, rifle, and mortar fire to silence a heavy machinegun by killing its crew of 4 with rifle fire and grenades. He expended his remaining ammunition and grenades on a group of approximately 20 Japs, scattering them, and returned to his squad for more ammunition and first aid for his left hand, which had been blistered by the heat from his rifle. Resupplied, he guided a fresh platoon into a position from which a concerted attack could be launched, killing 3 hostile soldiers on the way. In all, he dispatched 16 Japs that day. The hill was taken and held against the enemy’s counterattacks, which continued for 3 days. Pfc. Kerstetter’s dauntless and gallant heroism was largely responsible for the capture of this key enemy position, and his fearless attack in the face of great odds was an inspiration to his comrades in their dangerous task.
NORRIS, THOMAS R.
Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, SEAL Advisor, Strategic Technical Directorate Assistance Team, Headquarters, U.S. Military Assistance Command. Place and date: Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, 10 to 13 April 1972. Entered service at: Silver Spring, Md. Born: 14 January 1944, Jacksonville, Fla. Citation: Lt. Norris completed an unprecedented ground rescue of 2 downed pilots deep within heavily controlled enemy territory in Quang Tri Province. Lt. Norris, on the night of 10 April, led a 5-man patrol through 2,000 meters of heavily controlled enemy territory, located 1 of the downed pilots at daybreak, and returned to the Forward Operating Base (FOB). On 11 April, after a devastating mortar and rocket attack on the small FOB, Lt. Norris led a 3-man team on 2 unsuccessful rescue attempts for the second pilot. On the afternoon of the 12th, a forward air controller located the pilot and notified Lt. Norris. Dressed in fishermen disguises and using a sampan, Lt. Norris and 1 Vietnamese traveled throughout that night and found the injured pilot at dawn. Covering the pilot with bamboo and vegetation, they began the return journey, successfully evading a North Vietnamese patrol. Approaching the FOB, they came under heavy machinegun fire. Lt. Norris called in an air strike which provided suppression fire and a smoke screen, allowing the rescue party to reach the FOB. By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, undaunted courage, and selfless dedication in the face of extreme danger, Lt. Norris enhanced the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.