May 8

8 May

1541South of present-day Memphis, Tennessee, Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto reaches the Mississippi River, one of the first European explorers to ever do so. After building flatboats, de Soto and his 400 ragged troops crossed the great river under the cover of night, in order to avoid the armed Native Americans who patrolled the river daily in war canoes. From there the conquistadors headed into present-day Arkansas, continuing their fruitless two-year-old search for gold and silver in the American wilderness. Born in the last years of the 15th century, de Soto first came to the New World in 1514. By then, the Spanish had established bases in the Caribbean and on the coasts of the American mainland. A fine horseman and a daring adventurer, de Soto explored Central America and accumulated considerable wealth through the Indian slave trade. In 1532, he joined Francisco Pizarro in the conquest of Peru. Pizarro, de Soto, and 167 other Spaniards succeeding in conquering the Inca empire, and de Soto became a rich man. He returned to Spain in 1536 but soon grew restless and jealous of Pizarro and Hernando Cortýs, whose fame as conquistadors overshadowed his own. Holy Roman Emperor Charles V responded by making de Soto governor of Cuba with a right to conquer Florida, and thus the North American mainland. In late May 1539, de Soto landed on the west coast of Florida with 600 troops, servants, and staff, 200 horses, and a pack of bloodhounds. From there, the army set about subduing the natives, seizing any valuables they stumbled upon, and preparing the region for eventual Spanish colonization. Traveling through Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, across the Appalachians, and back to Alabama, de Soto failed to find the gold and silver he desired, but he did seize a valuable collection of pearls at Cofitachequi, in present-day Georgia. Decisive conquest eluded the Spaniards, as what would become the United States lacked the large, centralized civilizations of Mexico and Peru. As was the method of Spanish conquest elsewhere in the Americas, de Soto ill-treated and enslaved the natives he encountered. For the most part, the Indian warriors they met were intimidated by the Spanish horsemen and kept their distance. In October 1540, however, the tables were turned when a confederation of Indians attacked the Spaniards at the fortified Indian town of Mabila, near present-day Mobile, Alabama. All the Indians were killed along with 20 of de Soto’s men. Several hundred Spaniards were wounded. In addition, the Indian conscripts they had come to depend on to bear their supplies fled with the baggage. De Soto could have marched south to reconvene with his ships along the Gulf Coast, but instead he ordered his expedition northwest in search of America’s elusive riches. In May 1541, the army reached and crossed the Mississippi River, probably the first Europeans ever to do so. From there, they traveled through present-day Arkansas and Louisiana, still with few material gains to show for their efforts. Turning back to the Mississippi, de Soto died of a fever on its banks on May 21, 1542. In order that Indians would not learn of his death, and thus disprove de Soto’s claims of divinity, his men buried his body in the Mississippi River. The Spaniards, now under the command of Luis de Moscoso, traveled west again, crossing into north Texas before returning to the Mississippi. With nearly half of the original expedition dead, the Spaniards built rafts and traveled down the river to the sea, and then made their way down the Texas coast to New Spain, finally reaching Veracruz, Mexico, in late 1543.
1639 – William Coddington founded Newport, RI.
1725 – John Lovewell, US Indian fighter, died in battle.
1792 – US established a military draft.
1792 – British Capt. George Vancouver sighted and named Mt. Rainier, Wash.
1808 – Marine Barracks, Charleston was established under Lt Pinckney and 22 Marines.
1846Before the United States formally declared war on Mexico, General Zachary Taylor defeats a superior Mexican force in the Battle of Palo Alto north of the Rio Grande River. The drift toward war with Mexico had begun a year earlier when the U.S. annexed the Republic of Texas as a new state. Ten years before, the Mexicans had fought an unsuccessful war with Texans to keep them from breaking away to become an independent nation. Since then, they had refused to recognize the independence of Texas or the Rio Grande River as an international boundary. In January 1946, fearing the Mexicans would respond to U.S. annexation by asserting control over disputed territory in southwestern Texas, President James K. Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor to move a force into Texas to defend the Rio Grande border. After a last-minute effort to settle the dispute diplomatically failed, Taylor was ordered to take his forces up to the disputed borderline at the Rio Grande. The Mexican General Mariano Arista viewed this as a hostile invasion of Mexican territory, and on April 25, 1846, he took his soldiers across the river and attacked. Congress declared war on May 13 and authorized a draft to build up the U.S. Army. Taylor, however, was in no position to await formal declaration of a war that he was already fighting. In the weeks following the initial skirmish along the Rio Grande, Taylor engaged the Mexican army in two battles. On May 8, near Palo Alto, and the next day at Resaca de la Palma, Taylor led his 200 soldiers to victories against much larger Mexican forces. Poor training and inferior armaments undermined the Mexican army’s troop advantage. Mexican gunpowder, for example, was of such poor quality that artillery barrages often sent cannonballs bouncing lazily across the battlefield, and the American soldiers merely had to step out of the way to avoid them. Following his victories at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, Taylor crossed the Rio Grande and took the war into Mexican territory. During the next 10 months, he won four battles and gained control over the three northeastern Mexican states. The following year, the focus of the war shifted elsewhere, and Taylor’s role diminished. Other generals continued the fight, which finally ended with General Winfield Scott’s occupation of Mexico City in September of 1847. Zachary Taylor emerged from the war a national hero. Americans admiringly referred to him as “Old Rough and Ready” and erroneously believed his military victories suggested he would be a good political leader. Elected president in 1848, he proved to be an unskilled politician who tended to see complex problems in overly simplistic ways. In July 1850, Taylor returned from a public ceremony and complained that he felt ill. Suffering from a recurring attack of cholera, he died several days later.
1861 – Richmond, Va, was named the capital of the Confederacy.
1862 – General ‘Stonewall’ Jackson repulsed the Federals at the Battle of McDowell, in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign.
1862U.S.S. Monitor, Dacotah, Naugatuck, Seminole, and Susquehanna by direction of the President”-shelled Confederate batteries at Sewell’s Point, Virginia, as Flag Officer L. M. Goldsborough reported, ”mainly with the view of ascertaining the practicability of landing a body of troops thereabouts” to move on Norfolk. Whatever rumors President Lincoln had received about Confederates abandoning Norfolk were now confirmed; a tug deserted from Norfolk and brought news that the evacuation was well underway and that C.S.S. Virginia, with her accompanying small gunboats, planned to proceed up the James or York River. It was planned that when Virginia came out, as she had on the 7th, the Union fleet would retire with U.S.S. Monitor in the rear hoping to draw the powerful but under-engined warship into deep water where she might be rammed by high speed steamers. The bombardment uncovered reduced but considerable strength at Sewell’s Point. Virginia came out but not far enough to be rammed.
1862 – Landing party from U.S.S. Iroquois, Commander James S. Palmer, seized arsenal and took possession of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
1863 – Union Mortar Flotilla under Commander Charles H. B. Caldwell, supported by U.S.S. Richmond Captain Alden, opened the bombardment of the Confederate works at Port Hudson, Louisiana.
1864Yankee troops arrive at Spotsylvania Court House to find the Rebels already there. After the Battle of the Wilderness (May 5-6), Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Potomac marched south in the drive to take Richmond. Grant hoped to control the strategic crossroads at Spotsylvania Court House, so he could draw Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia into open ground. Spotsylvania was important for a number of reasons. The crossroads were situated between the Wilderness and Hanover Junction, where the two railroads that supplied Lee’s army met. The area also lay past Lee’s left flank, so if Grant beat him there he would not only have a head start toward Richmond, but also the clearest path. Lee would then be forced to attack Grant or race him to Richmond along poor roads. Unbeknownst to Grant, Lee had received reports of Union cavalry movements to the south of the Wilderness battle lines. On the evening of May 7, Lee ordered James Longstreet’s corps, which were under the direction of Richard Anderson after Longstreet had been shot the previous day, to march at night to Spotsylvania. Anderson’s men marched the 11 miles entirely in the dark, and won the race to the crossroads, where they took refuge behind hastily constructed breastworks and waited. Now it would be up to Grant to force the Confederates from their position. The stage was set for one of the bloodiest engagements of the war.
1864 – The Atlanta Campaign saw severe fighting at Rocky Face Ridge.
1884Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States (1945-1953), was born near Lamar, Mo. A history buff, President Harry Truman penned this description of Franklin Pierce, the 14th president, “Pierce was the best looking President the White House ever had—but as President he ranks with Buchanan and Calvin Coolidge.” “If there is one basic element in our Constitution, it is civilian control of the military.” He decided to drop the bomb that ended World War II and sent troops to Korea to halt communist aggression.
1904 – U.S. Marines landed in Tangier to protect the Belgian legation.
1911 – Navy ordered its first airplane, Curtiss A-1, Birthday of Naval Aviation.
1919First Lieutenant Elmer F. Stone, USCG, piloting the Navy’s flying boat NC-4 in the first successful trans-Atlantic flight, took off from the Naval Air Station at Rockaway, New York, at 1000 hours on 8 May, 1919, together with the NC-1 and NC-3. Although the NC-1 and NC-3 did not complete the journey, the NC-4 successfully crossed the Atlantic and landed in Lisbon, Portugal on 27 May 1919. Stone was decorated that same day by the Portuguese government with the Order of the Tower and Sword.
1942Both the Japanese and the American fleets become aware of each others positions due to aerial reconnaissance. In the battle that follows, the USS Lexington is badly damaged and abandoned. (She will later be sunk by an American destroyer) The USS Yorktown is also hit. On the Japanese side, the Shokaku is seriously damaged. Of major importance is the loss of trained pilots on the Japanese side, as they take severe aerial losses. The battle is noteworthy for several reasons. The Japanese are forced to abandon their attack on Port Moresby, the first real stumbling block in their expansion. It is also the first time that a naval battle has taken place without visual contact between the main combatants. The damage done to the ships was achieved by aircraft launched from carriers and not by naval guns.
1943 – Three Japanese destroyers are sunk by the American mines surrounding New Georgia Island.
1944 – The US Senate extends the term of Lend-Lease aid to June 1945.
1944 – General Eisenhower selects June 5th as D-Day for the Normandy invasion.
1945Great Britain and the United States celebrate Victory in Europe Day. Cities in both nations, as well as formerly occupied cities in Western Europe, put out flags and banners, rejoicing in the defeat of the Nazi war machine. The eighth of May spelled the day when German troops throughout Europe finally laid down their arms: In Prague, Germans surrendered to their Soviet antagonists, after the latter had lost more than 8,000 soldiers, and the Germans considerably more; in Copenhagen and Oslo; at Karlshorst, near Berlin; in northern Latvia; on the Channel Island of Sark–the German surrender was realized in a final cease-fire. More surrender documents were signed in Berlin and in eastern Germany. The main concern of many German soldiers was to elude the grasp of Soviet forces, to keep from being taken prisoner. About 1 million Germans attempted a mass exodus to the West when the fighting in Czechoslovakia ended, but were stopped by the Russians and taken captive. The Russians took approximately 2 million prisoners in the period just before and after the German surrender. Meanwhile, more than 13,000 British POWs were released and sent back to Great Britain. Pockets of German-Soviet confrontation would continue into the next day. On May 9, the Soviets would lose 600 more soldiers in Silesia before the Germans finally surrendered. Consequently, V-E Day was not celebrated until the ninth in Moscow, with a radio broadcast salute from Stalin himself: “The age-long struggle of the Slav nations…has ended in victory. Your courage has defeated the Nazis. The war is over.”
1945On Luzon, the US 145th Infantry Regiment captures the ridge near Guagua, southeast of Mount Pacawagan and blocks a track along the Mariquina river. On Mindanao, units of the US 24th Division establish a bridgehead over the Talomo river, north of Mintal. The US 31st Division clears the Colgan woods, reaching the Maramag airfield. American units land on Samar. On Negros, American forces in the south continue to progress against strong Japanese resistance.
1945 – On Okinawa, torrential rain restricts military operations. The US 1st Marine Division eliminates several Japanese held cave positions on Nan Hill, with explosives.
1950 – US Secretary of State Dean Atcheson announces that an agreement has been reached with France for US arms assistance to the French Associated States of Indochina. This is the beginning of a long commitment.
1950 – Chiang Kai-shek asked US for weapons.
1951 – North Korea charged the U.N. Command with the use of germ warfare.
1952 – Allied fighter-bombers staged the largest raid of the war on North Korea.
1954Members of the nine delegations assemble in Geneva and start negotiations for ending the war in Vietnam as part of a larger settlement of Indochina problems. The French are publicly opposed to any solution that involves a partition of Vietnam but behind the scenes they are considering this as a compromise. For the French and the West, partition would at least salvage half of the country. The Chinese indicate a willingness to support partition, for they have no desire to continue a war that might spill over into China and they have their own motives for wanting to keep the Vietnamese from becoming too strong. Negotiations will drag on for six weeks as the French reject the demands made by the Vietminh’s chief delegate, Pham Van Dong.
1957During a visit to the United States by Diem from 5 to 19 May, Eisenhower calls him the ‘miracle man’ of Asia and reaffirms support for his regime. The Vietminh see a powerful America replacing a weak France as the major outside force in Indochina. After Diem’s visit, 6,000 hardcore guerrillas, exhausted after eight years of war with the French and underground since 1954, begin a program of harassment, sabotage, and assassination.
1958 – President Eisenhower ordered National Guard out of Little Rock as Ernest Green became the first black to graduate from an Arkansas public school.
196320,000 Buddhists in Hue, celebrating the traditional birthday of Guatama Siddhartha Buddah, are fired upon by the order of Catholic deputy province chief Major Dang Xi, who chose to enforce an old French decree forbidding Buddhists from flying their multicolored flag. Seven children and one woman are among the nine killed, and about 20 are wounded. Diem blames the incident on the Vietcong and refuses Buddhist demands that the officials responsible be punished. Major Xi and two others will eventually be dismissed, but it will be too little, too late. Buddhists comprise 70 percent of the Vietnamese population and Catholics, less than 10, but Diem and is family are Catholic, and in the armed services, the police, the civil service, universities and trade unions, Buddhists have all been pushed out of key positions and replaced by Catholics, who Diem views as more reliable. Buddhist protests begin to crystalize growing resentment against the Diem regime. Thich Tri Quang, a politically sophisticated monk of North Vietnamese origin twice arrested by the French on suspicion of Vietminh connections, stirs up the people against Diem and informs the US officials in Saigon, whom he holds responsible due to US support of Diem, that they must make Diem reform or get rid of him. Ambassador Nolting urges Diem to conciliate, but Diem refuses.
1967 – Boxer Muhammad Ali was indicted for refusing induction in U.S. Army.
1970 – More than 250 State Department and foreign aid employees sign a letter to Secretary of State Rogers criticizing US military involvement in Cambodia.
1970 – The Hard Hat Riot took place in Lower Manhattan. The riot started about noon when about 200 construction workers mobilized by the New York State AFL-CIO attacked about 1,000 high school and college students and others protesting the Kent State shootings, the American invasion of Cambodia and the Vietnam War near the intersection of Wall Street and Broad Street. The riot, which spread to New York City Hall, lasted little more than two hours. More than 70 people were injured, including four policemen. Six people were arrested.
1971 – In Washington, DC, the Reverent Carl McIntire leads some 15,000 demonstrators carrying US flags and Bibles in support of military victory in Vietnam. members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and of New York Ironworkers Local 361 (the ‘hardhat movement’) also participate.
1972President Richard Nixon announces that he has ordered the mining of major North Vietnamese ports, as well as other measures, to prevent the flow of arms and material to the communist forces that had invaded South Vietnam in March. Nixon said that foreign ships in North Vietnamese ports would have three days to leave before the mines were activated; U.S. Navy ships would then search or seize ships, and Allied forces would bomb rail lines from China and take whatever other measures were necessary to stem the flow of material. Nixon warned that these actions would stop only when all U.S. prisoners of war were returned and an internationally supervised cease-fire was initiated. If these conditions were met, the United States would “stop all acts of force throughout Indochina and proceed with the complete withdrawal of all forces within four months.” Nixon’s action was in response to the North Vietnamese Nguyen Hue Offensive. On March 30, the North Vietnamese had initiated a massive invasion of South Vietnam. Committing almost their entire army to the offensive, the North Vietnamese launched a three-pronged attack. In the initial attack, four North Vietnamese divisions attacked directly across the Demilitarized Zone into Quang Tri province. Following that assault, the North Vietnamese launched two more major attacks: at An Loc in Binh Long Province, 60 miles north of Saigon; and at Kontum in the Central Highlands. With the three attacks, the North Vietnamese committed 500 tanks and 150,000 regular troops (as well as thousands of Viet Cong) supported by heavy rocket and artillery fire. The North Vietnamese, enjoying much success on the battlefield, did not respond to Nixon’s demands. The announcement that North Vietnamese harbors would be mined led to a wave of antiwar demonstrations at home, which resulted in violent clashes with police and 1,800 arrests on college campuses and in cities from Boston to San Jose, California. Police used wooden bullets and tear gas in Berkeley; three police officers were shot in Madison, Wisconsin; and 715 National Guardsmen were activated to quell violence in Minneapolis.
1973On the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, armed members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) surrender to federal authorities, ending their 71-day siege of Wounded Knee, site of the infamous massacre of 300 Sioux by the U.S. 7th Cavalry in 1890. AIM was founded in 1968 by Russell Means, Dennis Banks, and other Native-American leaders as a militant political and civil rights organization. From November 1969 to June 1971, AIM members occupied Alcatraz Island off San Francisco, saying they had rights to it under a treaty provision granting them unused federal land. In November 1972, AIM members briefly occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., to protest programs controlling reservation development. Their actions were acclaimed by many Native Americans, but on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Oglala Sioux Tribal President Dick Wilson had banned all AIM activities. AIM considered his government corrupt and dictatorial, and planned the occupation of Wounded Knee as a means of forcing a federal investigation of his administration. By taking Wounded Knee, The AIM leaders also hoped to force an investigation of other reservations, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and broken Indian treaties. In addition to its historical significance, Wounded Knee was one of the poorest communities in the United States and shared with the other Pine Ridge settlements some of the country’s lowest rates of life expectancy. On February 27, 1973, some 200 AIM-led Sioux seized control of Wounded Knee, taking 11 allies of Dick Wilson hostage as local authorities and federal agents descended on the reservation. The next day, AIM members traded gunfire with the federal marshals surrounding the settlement and fired on automobiles and low-flying planes that dared come within rifle range. Russell Means began negotiations for the release of the hostages, demanding that the U.S. Senate launch an investigation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Pine Ridge, and all Sioux reservations in South Dakota, and that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hold hearings on the scores of Indian treaties broken by the U.S. government. The Wounded Knee occupation lasted for a total of 71 days, during which time two Sioux men were shot to death by federal agents. One federal agent was paralyzed after being shot. On May 8, the AIM leaders and their supporters surrendered after White House officials promised to investigate their complaints. Russell Means and Dennis Banks were arrested, but on September 16, 1973, the charges against them were dismissed by a federal judge because of the U.S. government’s unlawful handling of witnesses and evidence. Violence continued on the Pine Ridge Reservation throughout the rest of the 1970s, with several more AIM members and supporters losing their lives in confrontations with the U.S. government. In 1975, two FBI agents and a Native-American man were killed in a massive shoot-out between federal agents and AIM members and local residents. In a controversial trial, AIM member Leonard Peltier was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to two consecutive life terms. With many of its leaders in prison, AIM disbanded in 1978. Local AIM groups continued to function, however, and in 1981 one group occupied part of the Black Hills in South Dakota. The U.S. government took no steps to honor broken Indian treaties, but in the courts some tribes won major settlements from federal and state governments in cases involving tribal land claims. Russell Means continued to advocate Native-American rights at Pine Ridge and elsewhere and in 1988 was a presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party.
1979 – Radio Shack released TRSDOS 2.3.
1980 – The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that smallpox had been eradicated.
1984Claiming that its athletes will not be safe from protests and possible physical attacks, the Soviet Union announces that it will not compete in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Despite the Soviet statement, it was obvious that the boycott was a response to the decision of the United States to boycott the 1980 games that were held in Moscow. Just months before the 1984 Olympic games were to begin in Los Angeles, the Soviet government issued a statement claiming, “It is known from the very first days of preparations for the present Olympics the American administration has sought to set course at using the Games for its political aims. Chauvinistic sentiments and anti-Soviet hysteria are being whipped up in this country.” Russian officials went on to claim that protests against the Soviet athletes were likely to break out in Los Angeles and that they doubted whether American officials would try to contain such outbursts. The administration of President Ronald Reagan responded to these charges by declaring that the Soviet boycott was “a blatant political decision for which there was no real justification.” In the days following the Soviet announcement, 13 other communist nations issued similar statements and refused to attend the games. The Soviets, who had been stung by the U.S. refusal to attend the 1980 games in Moscow because of the Russian intervention in Afghanistan in 1979, were turning the tables by boycotting the 1984 games in America. The diplomatic impact of the action was quite small. The impact on the games themselves, however, was immense. Without competition from the Soviet Union, East Germany, and other communist nations, the United States swept to an Olympic record of 83 gold medals.
1985The largest cocaine seizure by the Coast Guard (to date) was made when Coast Guard units seized the Goza Now with 1,909 pounds of cocaine. The unlit speedboat, or “go-fast,” named Goza Now, was first located by the CGC Cape Shoalwater as the go-fast raced towards Miami. An AIRSTA Miami helicopter was dispatched to investigate and then began chasing her as she neared Miami Beach. As they approached the shoreline, the three-man crew of the go-fast jumped overboard and escaped but a TACLET seized the abandoned Goza Now and her illicit cargo. District 7 got a “Bravo Zulu” from Attorney General Edwin Meese.
1987 – Coast Guard units, including the CGC Ocracoke, make the largest seizure of cocaine by the Coast Guard (to date). They located 3,771 pounds (1.9 tons) aboard the La Toto off the northwest coast of St. Croix.
1989 – Former President Carter, a leader of an international team observing Panama’s elections, declared that the armed forces were defrauding the opposition of victory.
1990 – One crewman was killed, 18 others injured in a fire aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Conyngham in the Atlantic, about 100 miles southeast of Norfolk, Va.
1991 – General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of American forces in the Persian Gulf War, received a hero’s welcome as he addressed Congress.
1993 – The Muslim-led government of Bosnia-Herzegovina and rebel Bosnian Serbs signed an agreement for a nationwide cease-fire.
1999 – The Citadel, South Carolina’s formerly all-male military school, graduated its first female cadet, Nancy Ruth Mace.
1999 – US warplanes bombed northern Iraq as Iraqi TV reported 3 people were killed when 18 bombs fell on civilian and military positions.
1999In China protestors attacked US diplomatic mission in demonstrations against the NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. Many of the demonstrations were organized by the government-controlled Beijing Students Assoc. NATO expressed regret for a mistaken attack on the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, but pledged to pursue the bombing campaign.
2000 – In Puerto Rico the US Navy resumed practice bombing on Vieques Island with dummy bombs.
2001 – China rejected a US plan to repair EP-3 the spy plane and fly it away. China protested the resumption of U.S. surveillance flights off its coast and said it would refuse to let the United States fly out a crippled Navy spy plane.
2002 – FBI Director Robert Mueller told a Senate committee an FBI memo from Phoenix warning that several Arabs were suspiciously training at a U.S. aviation school wouldn’t have led officials to the Sept. 11 hijackers even if they’d followed up the warning with more vigor.
2002 – US Sec. of State Rumsfeld said the Pentagon would kill the $11 billion Crusader artillery system.
2002Abdullah Al Mujahir, also known as Jose Padilla, was arrested as he flew from Pakistan into Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Padilla was alleged to be al-Qaida connected and suspected of plotting to build and detonate a radioactive ”dirty” bomb in an attack in the United States. A public announcement of his arrest was delayed until Jun 10.
2003 – The US Senate unanimously endorsed adding to NATO seven former communist nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
2003 – A federal grand jury indicted Katrina Leung on charges that she’d illegally taken, copied and kept secret documents obtained from an FBI agent.
2004Gunmen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr rampaged through Basra and Amarah, attacking British patrols and government buildings. Witnesses in Basra reported 9 militiamen killed in the fighting. One child was killed when his house was struck by a projectile. Attackers in Habhab set off a bomb outside the house of a police official killing three members of his family and wounding three others. A pipeline was bombed and slowed the flow of export oil by as much as 25%.
2005The Battle of Al Qaim (code-named Operation Matador) was a military offensive conducted by the United States Marine Corps, against insurgent positions in Iraq’s northwestern Anbar province, which ran from 8 May 2005 to 19 May 2005. It was focused on eliminating insurgents and foreign fighters in a region known as a smuggling route and a sanctuary for foreign fighters. Task Force 3/2 and elements of Task Force 3/25 (3rd Battalion/2nd Marines, 3rd Battalion/25th Marines, 4th Assault Amphibian Bn, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Bn,B Co 4th Combat Engineer Bn, 2nd Platoon A Co 1st Tank Bn, and a detachment of H-1’s from HMLA 269 ) conducted a sweep of an insurgent-held area near the Syrian border. 814th Engineer Company (MRB) led the initial offensive; breaching the river obstacle with a ribbon float bridge while conducting concurrent rafting. It lasted eleven days, during which the U.S. troops killed more than 125 suspected insurgents and captured 39 others. The Marines captured and/or destroyed many weapon caches and suffered 9 killed in action and 40 wounded in action. Notable among these casualties was a squad from 1st Platoon, Lima Company 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines which had all of its members killed or wounded, mostly while embarked in an AAV that was struck by an IED.
2007 – U.S. police arrest six Islamic men from the Republic of Macedonia and the Middle East based on a tip from a Mount Laurel, NJ resident who discovered their plot to attack Fort Dix, New Jersey, and “kill as many soldiers as possible.”
2008 – Russia expels two United States military attachés following earlier expulsion of two Russian diplomats from the United States.
2012 – A CIA double agent was involved in a foiled bomb plot by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to blow up an U.S.-bound flight, according to government officials.
2014 – The House Veterans Affairs Committee votes to subpoena Shinseki and others in relation to the Phoenix VA scandal.

Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day

Rank and organization: Private, Company G, 95th Pennsylvania Infantry. Place and date: At Alsops Farm, Va., 8 May 1864. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Philadelphia, Pa. Date of issue: 24 October 1895. Citation: Voluntarily held an important position under heavy fire.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company C, 154th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Dug Gap, Ga., 8 May 1864. Entered service at: Allegheny, Cattaraugus County, N.Y. Birth: Mansfield, N.Y. Date of issue: 13 April 1894. Citation: Voluntarily risked his life in rescuing under the fire of the enemy a wounded comrade who was Iying between the lines.

Rank and organization: Private, Company B, 82d Ohio Infantry. Place and date: At McDowell, Va., 8 May 1862. Entered service at: Hardin County, Ohio. Birth: Licking County, Ohio. Date of issue: 14 August 1893. Citation: After the charge of the command had been repulsed, he rushed forward alone with an empty gun and captured two of the enemy’s sharpshooters.

Rank and organization: Captain, Company C., 61st New York Infantry. Place and date: At Todds Tavern, Va., 8 May 1864. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Orange County, N.Y. Date of issue: 21 August 1893. Citation: Led the regiment in charge at a critical moment under a murderous fire until he fell desperately wounded.

Rank and organization: Colonel, 7th Maryland Infantry. Place and date: At Laurel Hill, Va., 8 May 1864. Entered service at: Baltimore, Md. Born: 1 May 1833, Guilford, Vt. Date of issue: 30 March 1898. Citation: Rode to the head of the assaulting column, then much broken by severe losses and faltering under the close fire of artillery, placed himself conspicuously in front of the troops, and gallantly rallied and led them to within a few feet of the enemy’s works, where he was severely wounded and captured.

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, Company K, 93d New York Infantry. Place and date: At Corbins Bridge, Va., 8 May 1864. Entered service at: Argyle, N.Y. Birth: Argyle, N.Y. Date of issue: 2 August 1897. Citation: While acting as aide_de_camp to a general officer, seeing a regiment break to the rear, he seized its colors, rode with them to the front in the face of the advancing enemy, and rallied the retreating regiment.

Rank and organization: Brigadier General, U.S. Volunteers. Place and date: At Laurel Hill, Va., 8 May 1864. Entered service at: Binghamton, N.Y. Birth: Binghamton, N.Y. Date of issue: 28 March 1894. Citation: Placed himself at the head of the leading brigade in a charge upon the enemy’s breastworks; was severely wounded.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company C, 154th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Dug Gap, Ga., 8 May 1864. Entered service at: Allegany, Cattaraugus County, N.Y. Birth: Groton, N.Y. Date of issue: 13 April 1894. Citation: Risked his life in rescuing a wounded comrade under fire of the enemy.

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, Junior Grade, U.S. Naval Reserve. Place and date: Coral Sea, 7 and 8 May 1942. Entered service at: Utah. Born: 31 October 1913, Storrs, Utah. Citation: For extreme courage and conspicuous heroism in combat above and beyond the call of duty as pilot of a scouting plane in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Coral Sea on 7 and 8 May 1942. In a resolute and determined attack on 7 May, Lt. (j.g.) Hall dived his plane at an enemy Japanese aircraft carrier, contributing materially to the destruction of that vessel. On 8 May, facing heavy and fierce fighter opposition, he again displayed extraordinary skill as an airman and the aggressive spirit of a fighter in repeated and effectively executed counterattacks against a superior number of enemy planes in which 3 enemy aircraft were destroyed. Though seriously wounded in this engagement, Lt. (j.g.) Hall, maintaining the fearless and indomitable tactics pursued throughout these actions, succeeded in landing his plane safe.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company I, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division. Place and date: Balete Pass, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 8 May 1945. Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Born: 15 August 1915, Chicago, Ill. G.O. No.: 18, 13 February 1946. Citation: He was an acting squad leader, directing his men in consolidating a newly won position on Hill B when the enemy concentrated small arms fire and grenades upon him and 4 others, driving them to cover in an abandoned Japanese trench. A grenade thrown from above landed in the center of the group. Instantly pushing his comrades aside and jamming the grenade into the earth with his rifle butt, he threw himself over it, making a shield of his body to protect the other men. The grenade exploded under him, and he died a few minutes later. By his extraordinary heroism in deliberately giving his life to save those of his comrades, Pfc. Krotiak set an inspiring example of utter devotion and self-sacrifice which reflects the highest traditions of the military service.

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy. Born: 13 July 1912, New York City, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. Other Navy award: Air Medal with 1 gold star. Citation: For distinguished and conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, while pilot of an airplane of Bombing Squadron 5, Lt. Powers participated, with his squadron, in 5 engagements with Japanese forces in the Coral Sea area and adjacent waters during the period 4 to 8 May 1942. Three attacks were made on enemy objectives at or near Tulagi on 4 May. In these attacks he scored a direct hit which instantly demolished a large enemy gunboat or destroyer and is credited with 2 close misses, 1 of which severely damaged a large aircraft tender, the other damaging a 20,000-ton transport. He fearlessly strafed a gunboat, firing all his ammunition into it amid intense antiaircraft fire. This gunboat was then observed to be leaving a heavy oil slick in its wake and later was seen beached on a nearby island. On 7 May, an attack was launched against an enemy airplane carrier and other units of the enemy’s invasion force. He fearlessly led his attack section of 3 Douglas Dauntless dive bombers, to attack the carrier. On this occasion he dived in the face of heavy antiaircraft fire, to an altitude well below the safety altitude, at the risk of his life and almost certain damage to his own plane, in order that he might positively obtain a hit in a vital part of the ship, which would insure her complete destruction. This bomb hit was noted by many pilots and observers to cause a tremendous explosion engulfing the ship in a mass of flame, smoke, and debris. The ship sank soon after. That evening, in his capacity as Squadron Gunnery Officer, Lt. Powers gave a lecture to the squadron on point-of-aim and diving technique. During this discourse he advocated low release point in order to insure greater accuracy; yet he stressed the danger not only from enemy fire and the resultant low pull-out, but from own bomb blast and bomb fragments. Thus his low-dive bombing attacks were deliberate and premeditated, since he well knew and realized the dangers of such tactics, but went far beyond the call of duty in order to further the cause which he knew to be right. The next morning, 8 May, as the pilots of the attack group left the ready room to man planes, his indomitable spirit and leadership were well expressed in his own words, “Remember the folks back home are counting on us. 1 am going to get a hit if 1 have to lay it on their flight deck.” He led his section of dive bombers down to the target from an altitude of 18,000 feet, through a wall of bursting antiaircraft shells and into the face of enemy fighter planes. Again, completely disregarding the safety altitude and without fear or concern for his safety, Lt. Powers courageously pressed home his attack, almost to the very deck of an enemy carrier and did not release his bomb until he was sure of a direct hit. He was last seen attempting recovery from his dive at the extremely low altitude of 200 feet, and amid a terrific barrage of shell and bomb fragments, smoke, flame and debris from the stricken vessel.

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy. Born: 5 August 1913, Baltimore, Md. Appointed from: Maryland. Citation: For extraordinary and distinguished gallantry above and beyond the call of duty as Officer-in-Charge of the Engineering Repair Party of the U.S.S. Yorktown in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Battle of the Coral Sea on 8 May 1942. During the severe bombarding of the Yorktown by enemy Japanese forces, an aerial bomb passed through and exploded directly beneath the compartment in which Lt. Ricketts’ battle station was located, killing, wounding or stunning all of his men and mortally wounding him. Despite his ebbing strength, Lt. Ricketts promptly opened the valve of a near-by fireplug, partially led out the fire hose and directed a heavy stream of water into the fire before dropping dead beside the hose. His courageous action, which undoubtedly prevented the rapid spread of fire to serious proportions, and his unflinching devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Rank and organization: Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, Combined Action platoon 1-3-2, 111 Marine Amphibious Force. place and date: Quang Ngai province, Republic of Vietnam, 8 May 1970. Entered service at: Omaha, Nebr. Born: 2 June 1951, San Antonio, Tex. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a machine gunner with Combined Action platoon 1-3-2. During the early morning L/Cpl. Keith was seriously wounded when his platoon was subjected to a heavy ground attack by a greatly outnumbering enemy force. Despite his painful wounds, he ran across the fire-swept terrain to check the security of vital defensive positions and then, while completely exposed to view, proceeded to deliver a hail of devastating machine gun fire against the enemy. Determined to stop 5 of the enemy soldiers approaching the command post, he rushed forward, firing as he advanced. He succeeded in disposing of 3 of the attackers and in dispersing the remaining 2. At this point, a grenade detonated near L/Cpl. Keith, knocking him to the ground and inflicting further severe wounds. Fighting pain and weakness from loss of blood, he again braved the concentrated hostile fire to charge an estimated 25 enemy soldiers who were massing to attack. The vigor of his assault and his well-placed fire eliminated 4 of the enemy soldiers while the remainder fled for cover. During this valiant effort, he was mortally wounded by an enemy soldier. By his courageous and inspiring performance in the face of almost overwhelming odds, L/Cpl. Keith contributed in large measure to the success of his platoon in routing a numerically superior enemy force, and upheld the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the U.S. Naval Service.

One thought on “May 8

  1. Iris Eng says:

    This is a great site! Thank you so much!

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