September 17

17 September

US Constitution Day (See 1787)

1630 – The city of Boston, Massachusetts is founded.
1691 – The Massachusetts Bay Colony received a new charter.
1730 – Friedrich von Steuben, Prussian and US inspector-general of Washington’s army, was born.
1775 The Siege of Fort St. Jean (also called St. John, St. Johns, or St. John’s) was begun by American Brigadier General Richard Montgomery on the town and fort of Saint-Jean in the British province of Quebec during the American War of Independence. The siege lasted until November 3, 1775. After several false starts in early September, the Continental Army established a siege around Fort St. Jean. Beset by illness, bad weather, and logistical problems, they established mortar batteries that were able to penetrate into the interior the fort, but the defenders, who were well-supplied with munitions, but not food and other supplies, persisted in their defense, believing the siege would be broken by forces from Montreal under General Guy Carleton. On October 18, the nearby Fort Chambly fell, and on October 30, an attempt at relief by Carleton was thwarted. When word of this made its way to St. Jean’s defenders, combined with a new battery opening fire on the fort, the fort’s defenders capitulated, surrendering on November 3. The fall of Fort St. Jean opened the way for the American army to march on Montreal, which fell without battle on November 13. General Carleton escaped from Montreal, and made his way to Quebec City to prepare its defenses against an anticipated attack.
1766Samuel Wilson, the future Uncle Sam, was born in Menotomy Mass. Menotomy later became Arlington. Samuel moved to Troy, New York, where he and his brother set up meat packing plants which later provided food for the US Army during the War of 1812.
1776 – The Presidio of SF formed as a Spanish fort. The Spanish built the Presidio on the hill where the Golden Gate Bridge now meets San Francisco.
1778 The Treaty of Fort Pitt — also known as the Treaty With the Delawares, the Delaware Treaty, or the Fourth Treaty of Pittsburgh, — was signed and was the first written treaty between the new United States of America and any American Indians—the Lenape (Delaware Indians) in this case. Although many informal treaties were held with Native Americans during the American Revolution years of 1775–1783, this was the only one that resulted in a formal document. It was signed at Fort Pitt, Pennsylvania, site of present-day downtown Pittsburgh. It was essentially a formal treaty of alliance. The treaty gave the United States permission to travel through Delaware territory and called for the Delawares to afford American troops whatever aid they might require in their war against Britain, including the use of their own warriors. The United States was planning to attack the British fort at Detroit, and Lenape friendship was essential for success. In exchange, the United States promised “articles of clothing, utensils and implements of war”, and to build a fort in Delaware country “for the better security of the old men, women and children … whilst their warriors are engaged against the common enemy.” Although not part of the written treaty, the commissioners pointed out the American alliance with France and intended that the Delaware would become active allies in the war against the British.
1787The Constitution of the United States of America is signed by 38 of 41 delegates present at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Supporters of the document waged a hard-won battle to win ratification by the necessary nine out of 13 U.S. states. The Articles of Confederation, ratified several months before the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781, provided for a loose confederation of U.S. states, which were sovereign in most of their affairs. On paper, Congress–the central authority–had the power to govern foreign affairs, conduct war, and regulate currency, but in practice these powers were sharply limited because Congress was given no authority to enforce its requests to the states for money or troops. By 1786, it was apparent that the Union would soon break up if the Articles of Confederation were not amended or replaced. Five states met in Annapolis, Maryland, to discuss the issue, and all the states were invited to send delegates to a new constitutional convention to be held in Philadelphia. On May 25, 1787, delegates representing every state except Rhode Island convened at Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania State House for the Constitutional Convention. The building, which is now known as Independence Hall, had earlier seen the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the signing of the Articles of Confederation. The assembly immediately discarded the idea of amending the Articles of Confederation and set about drawing up a new scheme of government. Revolutionary War hero George Washington, a delegate from Virginia, was elected convention president. During an intensive debate, the delegates devised a brilliant federal organization characterized by an intricate system of checks and balances. The convention was divided over the issue of state representation in Congress, as more-populated states sought proportional legislation, and smaller states wanted equal representation. The problem was resolved by the Connecticut Compromise, which proposed a bicameral legislature with proportional representation in the lower house (House of Representatives) and equal representation of the states in the upper house (Senate). On September 17, 1787, the Constitution was signed. As dictated by Article VII, the document would not become binding until it was ratified by nine of the 13 states. Beginning on December 7, five states–Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut–ratified it in quick succession. However, other states, especially Massachusetts, opposed the document, as it failed to reserve undelegated powers to the states and lacked constitutional protection of basic political rights, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press. In February 1788, a compromise was reached under which Massachusetts and other states would agree to ratify the document with the assurance that amendments would be immediately proposed. The Constitution was thus narrowly ratified in Massachusetts, followed by Maryland and South Carolina. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document, and it was subsequently agreed that government under the U.S. Constitution would begin on March 4, 1789. In June, Virginia ratified the Constitution, followed by New York in July. On September 25, 1789, the first Congress of the United States adopted 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution–the Bill of Rights–and sent them to the states for ratification. Ten of these amendments were ratified in 1791. In November 1789, North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Rhode Island, which opposed federal control of currency and was critical of compromise on the issue of slavery, resisted ratifying the Constitution until the U.S. government threatened to sever commercial relations with the state. On May 29, 1790, Rhode Island voted by two votes to ratify the document, and the last of the original 13 colonies joined the United States. Today, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest written constitution in operation in the world.
1787 – The “College of Electors” (electoral college) was established at the Constitutional Convention with representatives to be chosen by the states. Pierce Butler of South Carolina first proposed the electoral college system.
1796President George Washington delivered his “Farewell Address” to Congress before concluding his second term in office. Washington counseled the republic in his farewell address to avoid “entangling alliances” and involvement in the “ordinary vicissitudes, combinations, and collision of European politics.” Also “we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.”
1859 – Joshua A. Norton proclaims himself Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico with a proclamation delivered to the offices of the San Francisco Bulletin. Although he had no political power, and his influence extended only so far as he was humored by those around him, he was treated deferentially in San Francisco, and currency issued in his name was honored in the establishments he frequented. Though some considered him insane, or eccentric, the citizens of San Francisco celebrated his regal presence and his proclamations, most famously, his order that the United States Congress be dissolved by force and his numerous decrees calling for a bridge crossing and a tunnel to be built under San Francisco Bay. Similar structures were built long after his death in the form of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge and the Transbay Tube, and there have been campaigns to rename the bridge “The Emperor Norton Bridge”. On January 8, 1880, Norton collapsed at a street corner and died before he could be given medical treatment. At his funeral two days later, nearly 30,000 people packed the streets of San Francisco to pay homage. Norton has been immortalized as the basis of characters in the literature of writers Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, Christopher Moore, Maurice De Bevere, Selma Lagerlöf, and Neil Gaiman.
1861 – Union landing party from USS Massachusetts takes possession of Ship Island south of New Orleans, LA. This was the headquarters for ADM David Farragut’s Gulf Coast Blockading Squadron.
1861Landing party from U.S.S. Pawnee, Commander Rowan, destroyed guns and fortifications on Beacon Island, closing Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina. Admiral D. D. Porter later wrote: “The closing of these inlets [Hatteras and Ocracoke] to the Sounds of North Carolina sent the blockade runners elsewhere to find entrance to Southern markets, but as channel after channel was closed the smugglers’ chance diminished.
1861 – Confederates evacuated Ship Island, Mississippi; landing party from U.S.S. Massachusetts took possession. Ship Island eventually became the staging area for General Butler’s troops in the amphibious opera¬tions below New Orleans.
1862Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and Union General George B. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac fight to a standstill along a Maryland creek on the bloodiest day in American history. Although the battle was a tactical draw, it forced Lee to end his invasion of the North and retreat back to Virginia. After Lee’s decisive victory at the Second Battle of Bull Run on August 30, 1862, the Confederate general had steered his army north into Maryland. Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis believed that another Rebel victory might bring recognition and aid from Great Britain and France. Lee also sought to relieve pressure on Virginia by carrying the conflict to the North. His ragtag army was in dire need of supplies, which Lee hoped to obtain from Maryland farms that were untouched by the war. Lee split his army as he moved into Maryland. One corps marched to capture Harpers Ferry, Virginia, while the other two searched for provisions. Although a copy of Lee’s orders ended up in the hands of McClellan, the Union general failed to act quickly, allowing Lee time to gather his army along Antietam Creek at Sharpsburg, Maryland. McClellan arrived on September 16 and prepared to attack. The Battle of Antietam actually consisted of three battles. Beginning at dawn on September 17, Union General Joseph Hooker’s men stormed Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s troops around the Dunker Church, the West Woods, and David Miller’s cornfield. The Federals made repeated attacks, but furious Rebel counterattacks kept the Yankees in check. By early afternoon, the fighting moved south to the middle of the battlefield. Union troops under General Edwin Sumner inflicted appalling casualties on the Confederates along a sunken road that became known as “Bloody Lane” before the Southerners retreated. McClellan refused to apply reserves to exploit the opening in the Confederate center because he believed Lee’s force to be much larger than it actually was. In the late afternoon, Union General Ambrose Burnside attacked General James Longstreet’s troops across a stone bridge that came to bear Burnside’s name. The Yankees crossed the creek, but a Confederate counterattack brought any further advance to a halt. The fighting ended by early evening, and the two armies remained in place throughout the following day. After dark on September 18, Lee began pulling his troops out of their defenses for a retreat to Virginia. The losses for the one-day battle were staggering. McClellan lost a total of 12,401 men, including 2,108 dead, 9,540 wounded, and 753 missing. Lee lost 10, 406, including 1,546 dead, 7,752 wounded, and 1,108 missing. Although the Union army drove Lee’s force back to Virginia, the battle was a lost opportunity for the Yankees. McClellan had an overwhelming numerical advantage, but he did not know it. Another attack on September 18 may well have scattered the Confederates and cut off Lee’s line of retreat. A week later, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and changed the Northern goal from a war for reunification into a crusade for the end of slavery.
1862At the end of the single bloodiest day in American military history, both Union and Confederate armies arrayed along Antietam Creek stop fighting due to exhaustion. More than 23,000 soldiers on both sides were killed, wounded or missing. After the 18th passed quietly Confederate General Robert E. Lee started withdrawing his army on the morning of the 19th back into Virginia without interference.
1862Sgt. William McKinley and a single volunteer drove a wagon of hot coffee and warm food through Confederate fire at Antietam to the men of the 23rd Ohio regiment. Col. Rutherford B. Hayes promoted him to lieutenant for his bravery and initiative.
1862 – Battle of Cumberland Gap, Tenn., was evacuated by Federals.
1862The Allegheny Arsenal explosion results in the single largest civilian disaster during the Civil War. On Wednesday, around 2 pm, the arsenal exploded. The explosion shattered windows in the surrounding community and was heard in Pittsburgh, over two miles (3 km) away. At the sound of the first explosion, Col. John Symington, Commander of the Arsenal, rushed from his quarters and made his way up the hillside to the lab. As he approached, he heard the sound of a second explosion, followed by a third. Fire fighting equipment as well as a bucket brigade tried to douse the flames with water. The volunteer fire company from Pittsburgh arrived and assisted in bringing the fire under control.
1863 – Union cavalry troops clashed with a group of Confederates at Chickamauga Creek.
1863Reports of Confederate vessels building in the rivers of North Carolina were a source of grave concern to the Union authorities. Secretary Welles wrote Secretary of War Stanton suggesting an attack to insure the destruction of an ironclad– which would be C.S.S. Albemarle and a floating battery, reported nearing completion up the Roanoke River. Should they succeed in getting down the river, Welles cautioned, “our possession of the sounds would be jeoparded [sic].”
1864 – Gen. Grant approved Sheridan’s plan for Shenandoah Valley Campaign. “I want it so barren that a crow, flying down it, would need to pack rations.”
1868Early in the morning on this day in 1868, a large band of Cheyenne and Sioux stage a surprise attack on Major George A. Forsyth and a volunteer force of 50 frontiersmen in Colorado. Retreating to a small sandbar in the Arikaree River that thereafter became known as Beecher’s Island, Forsyth and his men succeeded in repulsing three massed Indian charges. Thanks to the rapid fire capability of their seven-shot Spencer rifles, Forsyth’s volunteers were able to kill or wound many of the Indian attackers, including the war chief Roman Nose. But as evening came and the fighting temporarily halted, Forsyth found he had 22 men either dead or wounded, and he estimated the survivors were surrounded by a force of 600 Indians. The whites faced certain annihilation unless they could somehow bring help. Two men-Jack Stilwell and Pierre Trudeau-volunteered to attempt a daring escape through the Indian lines and silently melted into the night. The battle raged for five more days. Forsyth’s effective fighting force was reduced to ten men before the Indians finally withdrew, perhaps reasoning that they had inflicted enough damage. Miles from help and lacking wagons and horses, Forsyth knew that many of his wounded would soon be dead if they didn’t get help. Fortunately, on September 25, the 10th Cavalry-one of the Army’s two African-American units nicknamed the “Buffalo Soldiers”-came riding to their rescue with a field ambulance and medical supplies. Miraculously, Stilwell and Trudeau had managed to make it through the Sioux and Cheyenne and bring help. Thanks to their bravery and the timely arrival of the Buffalo Soldiers, the lives of many men were saved.
1900The Battle of Mabitac was an engagement in the Philippine-American War, when Filipinos under General Juan Cailles defeated an American force commanded by Colonel Benjamin F. Cheatham, Jr. Mabitac was linked to the garrison town of Siniloan by a causeway which, on the day of the battle, was flooded with water (in many parts waist-deep). The water in the flanking rice fields was even deeper, making it impossible to properly deploy off the narrow road. Trenches occupied by Filipinos under Cailles cut across this causeway, blocking the path into Mabitac. The battle began when elements of the 37th Infantry Regiment and 15th Infantry Regiment, advancing from Siniloan, came under intense fire some 400 yards from the enemy trenches, estimated at 800 in strength. Eight troops sent ahead to scout the enemy positions died to the last man as they closed to within 50 yards of the Filipinos. One of the last to fall was 2nd Lieutenant George Cooper. General Cailles, in an honorable gesture, let the defeated Cheatham recover the bodies of the eight slain soldiers after the battle. Meanwhile, the main body of U.S. Infantry had become pinned down in the waist-deep mud, still several hundred yards from the Filipino trenches. Unable to properly deploy, and in a dangerously exposed position, they engaged in a firefight with Philippine forces for nearly 90 minutes. Despite the bravery of one Captain John E. Moran, later awarded the Medal of Honor for trying to rally his demoralized comrades, the Americans were badly mauled, sustaining scores of casualties. Even supporting fire from a U.S. Navy gunboat (some 1,300 yards distant) and an attempted flank attack by 60 Americans, who had not participated in the costly frontal assault, could not dent the Filipino position, and Cheatham withdrew soon after. Eventually, General Cailles managed a skillful withdrawal in order to avoid envelopment, and by the next day, his entire command had made good their escape. According to the Americans the US Army lost some 21 killed and 23 wounded in the battle, an effective loss of 33% of their strength (termed a “profoundly impressive loss” by American General Arthur MacArthur, Jr. in an effort to allay the potential shock on U.S. servicemen). The Filipinos, in their turn, suffered 11 killed and 20 wounded. Numbered among their dead was Lieutenant Colonel Fidel Sario.
1902 – U.S. troops were sent to Panama to keep train lines open over the isthmus as Panamanian nationals struggled for independence from Colombia.
1908Orville Wright’s passenger on a test flight was Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge. They were circling the landing field at Fort Myer, Va., when a crack developed in the blade of the aircraft’s propeller. Wright lost control of the Flyer and the biplane plunged to the ground. Selfridge became powered flight’s first fatality, and Wright was seriously injured in the crash. But despite the tragic mishap, the War Department awarded the contract for the first military aircraft to Wright.
1919General John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force in Europe during World War I, leads the National Victory Day Parade down Pennsylvania Avenue and past the White House. As Guard units are inactivated at their point of return to the United States, no Guard commands exist to take part in this parade. While not officially represented the Guard does have at least one “unofficial” contingent fall in at the back of he parade. They are African American veterans from the former 1st Battalion, 372nd Infantry, part of the Guard’s all-black 93rd Division during the war. The 1st Battalion was organized from the District of Columbia’s three black Guard companies that existed during the 1917 mobilization. The men, many wearing their uniforms, received both applause and jeers as they marched along behind the ‘official’ parade. No official Victory Parade was held again in the nation’s capital until the end of Desert Storm in 1991.
1941The US Navy increases its role in escorting Atlantic convoys. It assumes responsibility for some of the Halifax to Britain convoys and the security of traffic to Iceland. It will augment the Canadian Naval escorts which travel to 22 degrees west until British ships take over.
1942All atomic research is place under military control. General Groves is appointed head of the program. He has deep fears about security and a dislike of the British which leads to a policy of reluctant sharing of information concerning atomic weapon development with the British Allies.
1943 – The US 5th Army begins to advance out of its beachhead. German forces attack Altavilla and Battipaglia in rearguard action to cover their withdrawal to the Volturno Line.
1943 – American land-based Liberator bombers attack the island of Tarawa.
1944Operation Market Garden begins. The Allied intention is to secure key bridges over a series of rivers and canals in Holland to achieve a rapid advance onto the north German plain. On the first day, the US 101st Airborne Division secures bridges at Veghel and Zon. The US 82nd Airborne Division secures the bridge at Grave but not the one at Nijmegen. The British 1st Airborne Division, dropped near Arnhem, fails to secure the bridge there because of unexpected German resistance. Unknown to Allied planners, the 9th SS Hohenstaufen and 10th SS Frundsberg Panzer Divisions are located in Arnhem for rest and refit from combat on the Eastern Front. Meanwhile, the British 30th Corps (part of British 2nd Army) attacks northward toward Eindhoven to relieve the paratroopers. To the west, Canadian forces, also part of British 21st Army Group, launch an attack on Boulogne after a preparatory bombing by the RAF.
1944US 8th Infantry Division (General Mueller) lands on Angaur. There is limited resistance by the Japanese garrison, numbering about 1600 men. On Pelelieu, American forces have consolidated their hold on the south side of the island and begin attacks on the well developed Japanese positions on Mount Umurgrobol. Despite naval bombardment supporting the advance, only limited progress is achieved by the attacks.
1945 – Josef Kramer and 44 others German SS officers stand trial at Luneburg on charges of conspiracy to commit mass murder at Auschwitz and Belsen.
1947 – James Forestall (d.1949) was sworn in as first the U.S. Secretary of Defense as a new National Military Establishment unified America’s armed forces.
1950 – North Korean Air Force aircraft slightly damaged the USS Rochester at Inchon during the first enemy air attack of the war on a U.S. ship.
1950 – The U.S. 7th Infantry Division began debarking at Inchon and, augmented by the ROK Army’s 17th Infantry Regiment, prepared for the advanced to secure Suwon.
1950The 5th Marine Regiment seized Kimpo Airfield, allowing F4U Corsairs from the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing to land and begin combat operations. Meanwhile, the 7th Marine Regiment landed at Inchon to rejoin the 1st Marine Division advancing on Seoul.
1959 – The X-15 rocket plane made its first flight.
1962 – U.S. space officials announced the selection of nine new astronauts, including Neil A. Armstrong, who became the first man to step onto the moon.
1966 – Elements of 5thMarDiv in Operation “Deckhouse IV,” south of DMZ.
1966 – Operation “Golden Fleece,” Marines protected rice harvest in Vietnam. (concluded 27 September)
1970The People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) for South Vietnam presents a new peace plan at the Paris talks. Nguyen Thi Binh, foreign minister of the PRG, attending the peace talks for the first time in three months, outlined the eight-point program, which was similar to another program first presented in May 1969. In exchange for the withdrawal of all U.S. and Allied forces by June 30, 1971, communist forces promised to refrain from attacking the departing troops and also offered to begin immediate negotiations on the release of POWs once the withdrawal was agreed to. The PRG statement demanded the purge of South Vietnam’s top three leaders: President Nguyen Van Thieu, Vice President Nguyen Cao Ky, and Premier Tran Thien Khiem. This demand was a major inhibitor to any meaningful peace negotiations, since the United States refused to abandon Thieu.
1976NASA publicly unveils its first space shuttle, the Enterprise, during a ceremony in Palmdale, California. Development of the aircraft-like spacecraft cost almost $10 billion and took nearly a decade. In 1977, the Enterprise became the first space shuttle to fly freely when it was lifted to a height of 25,000 feet by a Boeing 747 airplane and then released, gliding back to Edwards Air Force Base on its own accord. Regular flights of the space shuttle began on April 12, 1981, with the launching of Columbia from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Launched by two solid-rocket boosters and an external tank, only the aircraft-like shuttle entered into orbit around Earth. When the two-day mission was completed, the shuttle fired engines to reduce speed and, after descending through the atmosphere, landed like a glider at California’s Edwards Air Force Base. Early shuttles took satellite equipment into space and carried out various scientific experiments. To date, there have been more than 100 space shuttle flights.
1972Three U.S. pilots are released by Hanoi. They were the first POWs released since 1969. North Vietnamese officials cautioned the United States not to force the freed men to “slander” Hanoi, claiming that “distortions” about Hanoi’s treatment of POWs from a previous release of prisoners in 1969 caused Hanoi to temporarily suspend the release of POWs. The conditions for their release stipulated that they would not do anything to further the U.S. war effort in Indochina. The rest of the POWs were released in March 1973 as part of the agreement that led to the Paris Peace Accords.
1978At the White House in Washington, D.C., Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin sign the Camp David Accords, laying the groundwork for a permanent peace agreement between Egypt and Israel after three decades of hostilities. The accords were negotiated during 12 days of intensive talks at President Jimmy Carter’s Camp David retreat in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland. The final peace agreement–the first between Israel and one of its Arab neighbors–was signed in March 1979. Sadat and Begin were jointly awarded the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. A state of war had existed between Egypt and the State of Israel since the establishment of Israel in 1948. In the first three Arab-Israeli wars, Israel decisively defeated Egypt. As a result of the 1967 war, Israel occupied Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, the 23,500-square-mile peninsula that links Africa with Asia. When Anwar el-Sadat became Egyptian president in 1970, he found himself leader of an economically troubled nation that could ill afford to continue its endless crusade against Israel. He wanted to make peace and thereby achieve stability and recovery of the Sinai, but after Israel’s stunning victory in the 1967 war it was unlikely that Israel’s peace terms would be favorable to Egypt. So Sadat conceived of a daring plan to attack Israel again, which, even if unsuccessful, might convince the Israelis that peace with Egypt was necessary. In 1972, Sadat expelled 20,000 Soviet advisers from Egypt and opened new diplomatic channels with Washington, which, as Israel’s key ally, would be an essential mediator in any future peace talks. Then, on October 6, 1973, Egyptian and Syrian forces launched a joint attack against Israel. It was Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews, and Israeli forces were taken entirely by surprise. It took more than a week for Israel to beat back the impressive Arab advances. A U.S. airlift of arms aided Israel’s cause, but President Richard Nixon delayed the emergency military aid for seven days as a tacit signal of U.S. sympathy for Egypt. In November, an Egyptian-Israeli cease-fire was secured by the United States. Although Egypt had again suffered military defeat against its Jewish neighbor, the initial Egyptian successes greatly enhanced Sadat’s prestige in the Middle East and provided him with an opportunity to seek peace. In 1974, the first of two Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agreements providing for the return of portions of the Sinai to Egypt were signed, and in 1975 Sadat traveled to the United States to discuss his peace efforts and seek American aid and investment. When talks with Israel stalled, Sadat made a dramatic journey to Jerusalem in November 1977 and spoke before the Israeli Knesset (Parliament). In September 1978, President Jimmy Carter invited Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Begin to the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, where dual peace accords were hammered out under the direction of Carter. Signed on September 17, the historic agreements provided for complete Israeli evacuation from the Sinai, laid the groundwork for the signing of a final peace agreement, and outlined a broader framework for achieving peace in the Middle East. Sadat and Begin received the Nobel Peace Prize, and on March 29, 1979, a permanent peace agreement was signed that closely resembled the Camp David Accords. The treaty ended the state of war between the two countries and provided for the establishment of full diplomatic and commercial relations. Although Sadat was greatly praised in the West, he was widely condemned in the Arab world. In 1979, Egypt was expelled from the Arab League, and internal opposition to his policies led to domestic crises. On October 6, 1981, Sadat was assassinated by Muslim extremists in Cairo while viewing a military parade commemorating the Yom Kippur War. Despite Sadat’s death, the peace process continued under Egypt’s new president, Hosni Mubarak. In 1982, Israel fulfilled the 1979 peace treaty by returning the last segment of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. Egyptian-Israeli peace continues today.
1990 – Defense Secretary Dick Cheney sacked Air Force chief of staff General Mike Dugan for openly discussing contingency plans to launch massive air strikes against Baghdad and target Iraqi President Saddam Hussein personally.
1991The first version of the Linux kernel (0.01) is released to the Internet. While attending the University of Helsinki, Linus Torvalds became curious about operating systems and frustrated by the licensing of MINIX, which limited it to educational use only. He began to work on his own operating system which eventually became the Linux kernel. Torvalds began the development of the Linux kernel on MINIX and applications written for MINIX were also used on Linux. Linus Torvalds had wanted to call his invention Freax, a portmanteau of “free”, “freak”, and “x” (as an allusion to Unix). During the start of his work on the system, he stored the files under the name “Freax” for about half of a year. Torvalds had already considered the name “Linux,” but initially dismissed it as too egotistical.
1992 – Special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh called a halt to his five-and-a-half-year probe of the Iran-Contra scandal.
1994 – As some 20 warships sat off the coast of Haiti, former President Jimmy Carter, Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) and retired Gen. Colin Powell arrived in the Caribbean nation in an 11th-hour bid to avert a U.S.-led invasion.
1997 – Pres. Clinton announced that the US would not sign the int’l. treaty banning anti-personnel land mines after 89 nations rejected US demands to water down the accord. 89 nations endorsed the pact.
1999 – President Clinton lifted key parts of the US trade embargo against North Korea following North Korea’s pledge to refrain from testing long-range missiles.
1999The CGC Dallas returned to Charleston after an 84-day deployment to the Mediterranean and Black seas. Originally scheduled to go to the Adriatic and Ionian seas in support of NATO forces engaged in Kosovo, the Dallas turned to support the U.S. 6th Fleet after tensions in Kosovo eased. The Dallas also visited several ports not normally seen by Coast Guard crews, including Rota, Spain; Souda Bay, Crete; Haifa, Israel; and Antayla, Turkey.
2001President Bush said the United States wanted terrorism suspect Osama bin Laden “dead or alive.” President Bush visited a mosque in Washington as he appealed to Americans to get back to everyday business and not turn against their Muslim neighbors.
2001In Afghanistan Islamic clerics demanded proof from the US that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the Sep 11 terrorist attacks. They also requested that the Organization of Islamic Conference, a group of over 50 Muslim countries, make a formal demand for bin Laden’s handover.
2001 – Macedonia approved the deployment of a modest NATO security force.
2001 – Pakistan virtually shut down its 1,560-mile border with Afghanistan. Some 1.2 million Afghan refugees in the North-West Frontier Province were confined to dozens of camps in the region.
2002 – UN Weapons inspectors and Iraqi officials agreed to meet in Vienna in 10 days to complete arrangements for the inspectors’ return. The UN said Iraq had abandoned its illegal surcharges in the oil-for-food program.
2003 – An audiotape purporting to carry the voice of Saddam Hussein, broadcast on Arab television, called on Iraqis to fight the American occupation.
2004 – In Afghanistan suspected Taliban rebels killed two tribal elders who were encouraging participation in elections.
2004A suicide car bomber slammed into a line of police cars sealing off a Baghdad neighborhood as American troops rounded up dozens of suspected militants, capping a day of violence across Iraq that left at least 53 dead. Sheikh Abu Anas al-Shami, a spiritual leader of a group of militants, was killed when a missile hit the car in which he was traveling.
2004The Coast Guard made the largest cocaine seizure in its history (to date) when Coast Guard and Navy forces located and seized 30,000 pounds of cocaine aboard the fishing vessel Lina Maria approximately 300 miles southwest of the Galapagos Islands. LEDET 108, embarked aboard the USS Curts, made the seizure. A second Coast Guard and Navy team intercepted the Lina Maria’s sister ship, the fishing vessel San Jose, 500 miles west of the Galapagos, and discovered and seized 26,250 pounds of cocaine.
2007 – The Iraqi government announced that it was revoking the license of the U.S. security firm Blackwater USA over the firm’s involvement in the killing of eight civilians, including a woman and an infant, in a firefight that followed a car bomb explosion near a State Department motorcade.
2009 – The Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Jan Fischer, says that President Barack Obama told him that the United States is abandoning plans for a missile shield based in Poland and the Czech Republic.
2010Pedro Mascheroni, a former scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and his wife, Marjorie, a contractor at LANL, are indicted on charges of trying to provide information about the United States nuclear program to Venezuela. The pair had access to nuclear secrets, including material on the design and manufacture of nuclear weapons. On June 21, 2013, Mascheroni and his wife pled guilty in Federal court. Mascheroni faces a prison sentence of 24 to 66 months. His wife faces a prison sentence of 12 to 24 months.
2012 – United States and Japanese government officials agree to put a second missile defense system in Japan.
2013 – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani confirmed he had contacted U.S. President Barack Obama via letters. Both countries cut all diplomatic relations after the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1980.
2014 – Al-Qaeda announced that it had temporarily captured the Pakistani Navy frigate PNS Zulfiquar, with the intent to attack the U.S fleet with onboard missiles, before it was recaptured by Pakistani Forces.

Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, Company H, 90th Pennsylvania Infantry. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. Entered service at: Philadelphia, Pa. Birth:——. Date of issue: 30 October 1896. Citation: After his command had been forced to fall back, remained alone on the line of battle, caring for his wounded comrades and carrying one of them to a place of safety.

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, Company B, 33d New York Infantry. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. Entered service at: Nunda, N.Y. Born: 16 June 1842, Troy, N.Y. Date of issue: 10 September 1897. Citation: While in command of a detached company, seeing his regiment thrown into confusion by a charge of the enemy, without orders made a countercharge upon the attacking column and checked the assault. Penetrated within the enemy’s lines at night and obtained valuable information.

Rank and organization: Corporal, Battery A, 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. Entered service at: Providence, R.I. Born: 8 May 1843, Providence, R.I. Date of issue: 20 July 1897. Citation: Was wounded and taken to the rear insensible, but when partially recovered insisted on returning to the battery and resumed command of his piece, so remaining until the close of the battle.

Rank and organization: Private, Company C, 26th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Hartford, N.Y. Date of issue: 12 June 1895. Citation: Voluntarily took and carried the colors into action after the color bearer had been shot.

Rank and organization: Bugler, Battery B, 4th U.S. Artillery. Place and date: At Antietam Md., 17 September 1862. Entered service at: Cincinnati, Ohio. Birth: Hamilton County, Ohio. Date of issue: 30 June 1894. Citation: Volunteered at the age of 15 years to act as a cannoneer, and as such volunteer served a gun under a terrific fire of the enemy.

Rank and organization: Assistant Surgeon, 33d New York Infantry. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. Entered service at: Seneca Falls, N.Y. Born: 4 January 1838, Ireland. Date of issue: 30 March 1898. Citation: Voluntarily exposed himself to great danger by going to the fighting line there succoring the wounded and helpless and conducting them to the field hospital.

Rank and organization: Major and Assistant Adjutant General, U.S. Army. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. Entered service at: Scott, N.Y. Born: 25 January 1833, Scott, N.Y. Date of issue: 13 December 1893. Citation: Formed the columns under heavy fire and put them into position.

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, Company C, 61st New York Infantry. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. Entered service at: Staten Island, N.Y. Birth: New York. Date of issue: 10 February 1887. Citation: A Confederate regiment, the 4th Alabama Infantry (C.S.A.), having planted its battle flag slightly in advance of the regiment, this officer rushed forward and seized it, and, although shot through the neck, retained the flag and brought it within the Union lines.

Rank and organization: Corporal, Company D, 128th Pennsylvania Infantry. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. Entered service at: Lehigh County, Pa. Born: 15 August 1832, Germany. Date of issue: 12 December 1895. Citation: While exposed to the fire of the enemy, carried from the field a wounded comrade.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company C, 35th Massachusetts Infantry. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. Entered service at: Chelsea, Mass. Birth: Chelsea, Mass. Date of issue: 18 November 1896. Citation: Although wounded and exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy, at the risk of his own life he rescued a badly wounded comrade and succeeded in conveying him to a place of safety.

Rank and organization: Private, Company D, 23d New York Infantry. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. At Fredericksburg, Va., 13 December 1862. Entered service at: ——. Birth: New York, N.Y. Date of issue: 22 June 1891. Citation: Distinguished gallantry in actions while attached to Battery B, 4th U.S. Artillery; lost his left arm at Fredericksburg.

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, Company E, 4th Vermont Infantry. Place and date: At South Mountain, Md., 14 September 1862. Entered service at: Boston, Mass. Birth: Salem, N.Y. Date of issue: 17 September 1891. Citation: Rode alone, in advance of his regiment, into the enemy’s lines, and before his own men came up received the surrender of the major of a Confederate regiment, together with the colors and 116 men.

Rank and organization: Major, 7th Maine Infantry. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. Entered service at: Bath, Maine. Birth: Italy. Date of issue: 8 April 1891. Citation: Led his regiment in an assault on a strong body of the enemy’s infantry and kept up the fight until the greater part of his men had been killed or wounded, bringing the remainder safely out of the fight.

Rank and organization: Private, Company G, 9th Pennsylvania Reserves. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. Entered service at: Connellsville, Pa. Born: 1845, Fayette County, Pa. G.0. No.: 160, 30 May 1863. Citation: Individual bravery and daring in capturing from the enemy 2 colors of the 1st Texas Rangers (C.S.A.), receiving in the act a severe wound.

Rank and organization: Captain, Company E, 9th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Birth:——. Date of issue: 2 April 1898. Citation: In the advance on the enemy and after his color bearer and the entire color guard of 8 men had been shot down, this officer seized the regimental flag and with conspicuous gallantry carried it to the extreme front, urging the line forward.

Rank and organization: Private, Company K, 5th Ohio Infantry. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. Entered service at: Cincinnati, Ohio. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 11 September 1866. Citation: Capture of flag of 13th Alabama Infantry (C.S.A.).

Rank and organization: Corporal, Company D, 28th Pennsylvania Infantry. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Philadelphia, Pa. Date of issue: 15 January 1867. Citation: Capture of flag of 7th South Carolina Infantry (C.S.A.), in hand_to_hand encounter, although he was wounded in the shoulder.

Rank and organization: Private, Company E, 90th Pennsylvania Infantry. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Philadelphia, Pa. Date of issue: 3 November 1896. Citation: Under a most withering and concentrated fire, voluntarily picked up the colors of his regiment, when the bearer and 2 of the color guard had been killed, and bore them aloft throughout the entire battle.

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, Company H, 1st Delaware Infantry. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. Entered service at: Wilmington, Del. Birth: Pennsylvania. Date of issue: 13 December 1889. Citation: Carried off the regimental colors, which had fallen within 20 yards of the enemy’s lines, the color guard of 9 men having all been killed or wounded; was himself 3 times wounded.

Rank and organization: Private, Company G, 35th Massachusetts Infantry. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. At Spotsylvania, Va., 18 May 1864. Entered service at: Ayersville, Mass. Birth: Woodstock, Maine. Date of issue: 21 February 1874. Citation: Was among the last to leave the field at Antietam and was instrumental in saving the lives of several of his comrades at the imminent risk of his own. At Spotsylvania was foremost in line in the assault, where he lost a leg.

Rank and organization: Private, Company E, 29th Massachusetts Infantry. Place and date: At Antietam, Md., 17 September 1862. Entered service at: Plympton, Mass. Birth: Plympton, Mass. Date of issue: 29 January 1896. Citation: Voluntarily advanced under a destructive fire and removed a fence which would have impeded a contemplated charge.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company E, 11th Ohio Cavalry. Place and date: At Powder River Expedition Dakota Territory, 17 September 1865. Entered service at:——. Birth: Philadelphia, Pa. Date of issue: 24 August 1894. Citation: Carried a message through a country infested with hostile Indians and saved the life of a comrade en route.

Rank and organization: Gunner’s Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 1871, Newark, N.J. Accredited to: New Jersey. G.O. No.: 404, 22 November 1892. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Philadelphia during the sham attack on Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Md., 17 September 1892. Displaying extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession on this occasion, Eilers remained at his post in the magazine and stamped out the burning particles of a prematurely exploded cartridge which had blown down the chute.

Rank and organization: Captain, Company L, 37th Infantry, U.S. Volunteers. Place and date: Near Mabitac, Laguna, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 17 September 1900. Entered service at: Cascade County, Mont. Born: 23 August 1856, Vernon, Windham County, Vt. Date of issue: 10 June 1910. Citation: After the attacking party had become demoralized, fearlessly led a small body of troops under a severe fire and through water waist deep in the attack against the enemy.

Rank and organization: Shipfitter First Class, U.S. Navy. Born: 30 May 1876, Hubbard, Ohio. Accredited to: Ohio. G.O. No.: 341, 1917. Citation: For extraordinary heroism while attached to the Huntington. On the morning of 17 September 1917, while the U.S.S. Huntington was passing through the war zone, a kite balloon was sent up with Lt. (j.g.) H. W. Hoyt, U.S. Navy, as observer. When the balloon was about 400 feet in the air, the temperature suddenly dropped, causing the balloon to descend about 200 feet, when it was struck by a squall. The balloon was hauled to the ship’s side, but the basket trailed in the water and the pilot was submerged. McGunigal, with great daring, climbed down the side of the ship, jumped to the ropes leading to the basket, and cleared the tangle enough to get the pilot out of them. He then helped the pilot to get clear, put a bowline around him, and enabled him to be hauled to the deck. A bowline was lowered to McGunigal and he was taken safely aboard.

Rank and organization: Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company K, 109th Infantry, 28th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Kalborn, Luxembourg, 12 September 1944; near Sevenig, Germany, 17 September 1944. Entered service at: Salem, N.Y. Birth: Whitehall, N.Y. G.O. No.: 77, 10 September 1945. Citation: He fought gallantly in Luxembourg and Germany. On 12 September 1944, Company K began fording the Our River near Kalborn, Luxembourg, to take high ground on the opposite bank. Covered by early morning fog, the 3d Platoon, in which T/Sgt. Clark was squad leader, successfully negotiated the crossing; but when the 2d Platoon reached the shore, withering automatic and small-arms fire ripped into it, eliminating the platoon leader and platoon sergeant and pinning down the troops in the open. From his comparatively safe position, T/Sgt. Clark crawled alone across a field through a hail of bullets to the stricken troops. He led the platoon to safety and then unhesitatingly returned into the fire-swept area to rescue a wounded soldier, carrying him to the American line while hostile gunners tried to cut him down. Later, he led his squad and men of the 2d Platoon in dangerous sorties against strong enemy positions to weaken them by lightning-like jabs. He assaulted an enemy machinegun with hand grenades, killing 2 Germans. He roamed the front and flanks, dashing toward hostile weapons, killing and wounding an undetermined number of the enemy, scattering German patrols and, eventually, forcing the withdrawal of a full company of Germans heavily armed with automatic weapons. On 17 September, near Sevenig, Germany, he advanced alone against an enemy machinegun, killed the gunner and forced the assistant to flee. The Germans counterattacked, and heavy casualties were suffered by Company K. Seeing that 2 platoons lacked leadership, T/Sgt. Clark took over their command and moved among the men to give encouragement. Although wounded on the morning of 18 September, he refused to be evacuated and took up a position in a pillbox when night came. Emerging at daybreak, he killed a German soldier setting up a machinegun not more than 5 yards away. When he located another enemy gun, he moved up unobserved and killed 2 Germans with rifle fire. Later that day he voluntarily braved small-arms fire to take food and water to members of an isolated platoon. T/Sgt. Clark’s actions in assuming command when leadership was desperately needed, in launching attacks and beating off counterattacks, in aiding his stranded comrades, and in fearlessly facing powerful enemy fire, were strikingly heroic examples and put fighting heart into the hard-pressed men of Company K.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company L, 30th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Radden, France, 17 September 1944. Entered service at: Chester, Pa. Birth: Grier City, Pa. G.O. No.: 71, 17 July 1946. Citation: He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. Braving machinegun, machine pistol, and rifle fire, he moved fearlessly and calmly from man to man along his 40-yard squad front, encouraging each to hold against the overwhelming assault of a fanatical foe surging up the hillside. Knocked to the ground by a burst from an enemy automatic weapon, he immediately jumped to his feet, and ignoring his grave wounds, fired his submachine gun at the enemy that was now upon them, killing 5 and wounding many others before his ammunition was spent. Virtually surrounded by a frenzied foe and all of his squad now casualties, he elected to fight alone, using his empty submachine gun as a bludgeon against his assailants. Spotting 1 of the enemy about to kill a wounded comrade, he felled the German with a blow of his weapon. Seeing friendly reinforcements running up the hill, he continued furiously to wield his empty gun against the foe in a new attack, and it was thus that he made the supreme sacrifice. Sgt. Messerschmidt’s sustained heroism in hand-to-hand combat with superior enemy forces was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service .

Rank and Organization: First Lieutenant.  U.S. Army. Place and Date: September 17, 1944, Lure, France.  Born: December 6, 1918, Hooper, NE .  Departed: Yes (02/19/2005).  Entered Service At: .  G.O. Number: .  Date of Issue: 03/18/2014.  Accredited To: .  Citation:  Schwab distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on Sept. 17, 1944. His courage and determination resulted in the dismantling of a strong German position and he would take one prisoner of war.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Company F, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.). Place and date: Near Sosa-ri, Korea, 17 and 20 September 1950. Entered service at: Seattle, Wash. Born: 25 December 1930, Melrose, Mass. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rocket gunner attached to Company F, and in action against enemy aggressor forces. Dug in on a hill overlooking the main Seoul highway when 6 enemy tanks threatened to break through the battalion position during a predawn attack on 17 September, Pfc. Monegan promptly moved forward with his bazooka, under heavy hostile automatic weapons fre and engaged the lead tank at a range of less than 50 yards. After scoring a direct hit and killing the sole surviving tankman with his carbine as he came through the escape hatch, he boldly fired 2 more rounds of ammunition at the oncoming tanks, disorganizing the attack and enabling our tank crews to continue blasting with their 90-mm guns. With his own and an adjacent company’s position threatened by annihilation when an overwhelming enemy tank-infantry force bypassed the area and proceeded toward the battalion command post during the early morning of September 20, he seized his rocket launcher and, in total darkness, charged down the slope of the hill where the tanks had broken through. Quick to act when an illuminating shell lit the area, he scored a direct hit on one of the tanks as hostile rifle and automatic-weapons fire raked the area at close range. Again exposing himself, he fired another round to destroy a second tank and, as the rear tank turned to retreat, stood upright to fire and was fatally struck down by hostile machine gun fire when another illuminating shell silhouetted him against the sky. Pfc. Monegan’s daring initiative, gallant fighting spirit and courageous devotion to duty were contributing factors in the success of his company in repelling the enemy, and his self-sacrificing efforts throughout sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country .

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 23d Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Pia-ri, Korea, 17 September 1951. Entered service at: Oahu, T.H. Born: 10 October 1928, Waianae, Oahu, T.H. G.O. No.: 58, 18 June 1952. Citation: Pfc. Pililaau, a member of Company C, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. The enemy sent wave after wave of fanatical troops against his platoon which held a key terrain feature on “Heartbreak Ridge.” Valiantly defending its position, the unit repulsed each attack until ammunition became practically exhausted and it was ordered to withdraw to a new position. Voluntarily remaining behind to cover the withdrawal, Pfc. Pililaau fired his automatic weapon into the ranks of the assailants, threw all his grenades and, with ammunition exhausted, closed with the foe in hand-to-hand combat, courageously fighting with his trench knife and bare fists until finally overcome and mortally wounded. When the position was subsequently retaken, more than 40 enemy dead were counted in the area he had so valiantly defended. His heroic devotion to duty, indomitable fighting spirit, and gallant self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit upon himself, the infantry, and the U.S. Army.

Rank and Organization: Staff Sergeant. U.S. Army. 3d Company. Place and Date: September 17, 1969, Chi Lang, Vietnam. Born: January 7, 1942, Okmulgee, OK . Departed: No. Entered Service At: Fort Bragg, NC. G.O. Number: . Date of Issue: 03/18/2014. Accredited To: . Citation: Melvin Morris is being recognized for his valorous actions on Sept. 17, 1969, while commanding the Third Company, Third Battalion of the IV Mobile Strike Force near Chi Lang. Then-Staff Sgt. Morris led an advance across enemy lines to retrieve a fallen comrade and single-handedly destroyed an enemy force that had pinned his battalion from a series of bunkers. Staff Sgt. Morris was shot three times as he ran back toward friendly lines with the American casualties, but did not stop until he reached safety.

One thought on “September 17

  1. RAY H. says:

    Operation Deckhouse Five did not take place on this date.

    1966 – Operation Deckhouse Five was a United States Marine Corps (USMC) and Republic of Vietnam Marine Corps operation that took place from 6-15 January 1967 in the Mekong Delta, during the Vietnam War. “The ten-day sweep,” reported the AP from its daily military roundup from Saigon, “proved unproductive.”

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