Feast Day of St. Luke the Apostle, Patron Saint of the Medical Corps: Luke, the writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, has been identified with St. Paul’s “Luke, the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14). We know few other facts about Luke’s life from Scripture and from early Church historians. It is believed that Luke was born a Greek and a Gentile. In Colossians 10-14 speaks of those friends who are with him. He first mentions all those “of the circumcision” — in other words, Jews — and he does not include Luke in this group. Luke’s gospel shows special sensitivity to evangelizing Gentiles. It is only in his gospel that we hear the parable of the Good Samaritan, that we hear Jesus praising the faith of Gentiles such as the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian (Lk.4:25-27), and that we hear the story of the one grateful leper who is a Samaritan (Lk.17:11-19). According to the early Church historian Eusebius Luke was born at Antioch in Syria.
1540 – Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto’s forces destroy the fortified town of Mabila in present-day Alabama, killing Tuskaloosa. When Hernando de Soto had first met Tuskaloosa at his home village, and asked him for supplies, Tuskaloosa advised them to travel to another of his towns, known as Mabila, where supplies would be waiting. A native messenger was sent ahead to Mabila, but when Tuskaloosa and the first group of Spaniards arrived, Tuskaloosa simply asked them to leave. When a fight broke out between one soldier and a native, many hidden warriors emerged from houses and began shooting arrows. The Spaniards fled, leaving their possessions inside the fortress. The full conflict that resulted is called the Battle of Mabila.
1676 – Nathaniel Bacon, who rallied against the Virginian government, died of fever at 29. Bacon’s Rebellion fell apart when he fell ill.
1767 – The boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania, the Mason-Dixon line, was agreed upon. The two surveyors who mapped the line were Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon.
1775 – The Burning of Falmouth (now Portland, Maine) prompts the Continental Congress to establish the Continental Navy. The Burning of Falmouth was an attack by a fleet of Royal Navy vessels on the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts (site of the modern city of Portland, Maine, and not to be confused with the modern towns of Falmouth, Massachusetts or Falmouth, Maine). The fleet was commanded by Captain Henry Mowat. The attack began with a naval bombardment which included incendiary shot, followed by a landing party meant to complete the town’s destruction. The attack was the only major event in what was supposed to be a campaign of retaliation against ports that supported Patriot activities in the early stages of the American Revolutionary War. Among the colonies, news of the attack led to rejection of British authority and the establishment of independent governments. It also led the Second Continental Congress to contest British Naval dominance by forming a Continental Navy. Both Mowat and his superior, Vice-Admiral Samuel Graves, who had ordered Mowat’s expedition, suffered professionally as a consequence of the act.
1776 – At the Battle of Pelham Col. John Glover and the Marblehead regiment collided with British Forces in the Bronx. Sir William Howe, Commander-in-Chief of the British army, landed 4,000 English and Hessian troops near the stables on Pelham Parkway in an action which became the first permanent invasion of the American mainland in the American Revolution. Howe’s objective was to outflank the American army by marching west across today’s Bronx along the Boston Post Road. This would also cut off Washington’s vital supply route from New England and enable the British to surround Washington and quickly end the rebellion. However, 600 seamen from the Boston area, led by Colonel John Glover, and fighting from behind Pelham Manor’s stone walls put an end to Howe’s plan and saved Washington’s army. The main significance of the Battle of Pelham lay in the fact that it bought time for Washington to remove the American army from an extremely perilous position and to retreat to White Plains. It is for this reason that the Battle of Pelham has been called the battle that saved the American Revolution.
1779 – The Franco-American Siege of Savannah is lifted. The Siege of Savannah or the Second Battle of Savannah was an encounter of the American Revolutionary War. The year before, the city of Savannah, Georgia, had been captured by a British expeditionary corps under Lieutenant-Colonel Archibald Campbell. The siege itself consisted of a joint Franco-American attempt to retake Savannah beginning on September 16, 1779. On October 9 a major assault against the British siege works had failed. With the failure of the joint American-French attack, the siege failed, and the British remained in control of Savannah until July 1782, near the end of the war. More than 500 Haitian volunteers from Saint-Domingue, Haiti under the command of Comte d’Estaing, fought alongside American colonial troops against the British in the Siege of Savannah, one of the most significant foreign contributions to the American Revolutionary War.
1799 – In an action of the Quasi-War with France, USRC Pickering (70 men) captured the French privateer L’Egypte Conquiste (250 men).
1812 – U.S. sloop of war Wasp captures HM brig Frolic. Folic had been separated from a convoy by a storm. While repairing damage, the Wasp came into view and was at first taken for a part of the convoy. On October 18th the “Wasp” moved toward the British ship. The “Frolic” hoisted Spanish colors, this keep the strange ship from pursuing the convoy. At 11:30 a.m. the two ships were sailing no more than 60 yards apart. The “Wasp” fired her port guns, and the “Frolic” fired her starboard guns. The British ship fired rapidly, delivering three broadsides to the American’s two. Both crews cheered wildly as the battle became heated. The “Wasp” was landing more shot than the British ship. The ocean was very rough, the crew of the “Frolic” fired their cannon when they were on the crest of the waves. The Americans fired their guns on the lower part of the waves. But in spite of the weather both ships fire was well directed. At 11:36 a.m. the “Wasp’s” maintop-mast was shot away and fell with it’s yard. At 11:46 a.m. her mizzentop -gallant mast came down and by 11:52 every brace and most of her rigging had been shot away. The British ship however, had been severely damaged in her hull and lower masts. The “Wasp” gradually moved ahead and raked the “Frolic” with a devastating effect. The American ship fired again, this caused many casualties on the “Frolic”. The ships came together, and after one failed attempt because of rough seas the Americans boarded the British ship. Not one Englishman was there to stop the crew of the “Wasp” from boarding. The man at the wheel was dazed but still at his post. Captain Whinyates and Lieutenant Wintle were wounded so severely that they could not stand without support. The crew of the “Frolic” could not fight any longer and Lieutenant Biddle lowered the flag at 12:15 just 43 minutes after the battle had started. The American ship had been damaged severely in her rigging but only two or three shots struck her hull. The American’s had 5 killed and 5 wounded. The British had 30 killed and 60 wounded. The American ship “Wasp” had a crew of 135 and carried 9 guns. The British ship “Frolic” had a crew of 110 and carried 10 guns.
1842 – US Commodore Thomas ap Catesby Jones sailed into Monterey, the Mexican capital of California, on the mistaken belief that the US and Mexico had gone to war.
1848 – Captain Douglas Ottinger, USRM, was designated by the Secretary of the Treasury to supervise the construction of the first Life-Saving Stations and the equipment and boats to be place at them.
1859 – U.S. Marines reach Harper’s Ferry, VA and assault the arsenal seized by John Brown and his followers. Colonel Robert E. Lee has Lieutenant JEB Stuart carry a note to Brown demanding his surrender. Brown refuses and closes and bars the doors of the Engine House. Stuart waves his hat up and down as a signal to begin the assault. The Marines attack the doors with sledgehammers, but to no effect. They find a heavy ladder and use that as a battering ram. In two blows, they create a small opening in the right hand door which is split, and they storm into the building. Lieutenant Israel Green, who leads the assault, attacks Brown with the dress sword he brought by mistake from Washington. The sword, which was never meant for combat, bends on Brown’s leather belt. Green grasps the sword by the ruined blade and hits Brown over the head with it, knocking him unconscious. The raid is over.
1862 – Morgan’s raiders captured federal garrison at Lexington, Ky. John Morgan and his cavalry surprised Union Major Seidel at Ashland and captured him and his command in broad daylight. After outfitting his command with new horses, colt revolvers and other captured goods, Morgan’s men burned the government stables and railroad depot before leaving Lexington.
1867 – United States takes possession of Alaska after purchasing it from Russia for $7.2 million. Celebrated annually in the state as Alaska Day.
1898 – The American flag was raised in Puerto Rico shortly before Spain formally relinquished control of the island.
1939 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt banned foreign war submarines from U.S. ports and waters.
1942 – In reaction to several incidents, Hitler orders that all prisoners taken from Commando or similar units are to be shot immediately whether in uniform or not and whether surrendering or not.
1942 – On New Guinea, American forces sent on a parallel trail to help the Australians cut off Japanese retreats down the Kokoda Trail, finally begin to reach Pongani. The trip has proved to be so difficult that the soldiers are in no condition to fight. In addition, the transport of troops by air from Port Moresby to the northern coast has made the land trip unnecessary.
1942 – Admiral Halsey is appointed chief of the Pacific Command Area, replacing Admiral Ghormley.
1943 – There is a heavy air raid on the Japanese air base at Buin on Bougainville.
1943 – In Italy, elements of the US 5th Army reach Dragoni, while other elements capture Gioia.
1943 – General Orders 27, 29th Infantry Division (DC, MD, VA) disbands the 29th Ranger Battalion (Provisional). Organized in December 1942 from volunteers drawn from the 29th Division, its 500-men undertook specialized training conducted by the famous British Commandos. The soldiers learned how to penetrate deep behind enemy lines, staging raids and gathering intelligence. When the battalion was organized it was planned by the Army to disband the unit so its men could return to their former companies and teach these advanced skills to other members of the division. Some veterans of D-Day and the Normandy campaign credit these added skills to saving their lives.
1944 – Lt. General Joseph Stilwell was recalled from China by president Franklin Roosevelt.
1944 – All able-bodied German males between the ages of 16 and 60 are now liable for conscription into the Volkssturm (the home defense force).
1944 – General McClain takes command of the US 1st Army on the western front. He replaces General Corlett.
1944 – The American escort carriers of TG77.4 concentrate air strikes on Leyte while the now 12 fleet carriers, in three groups from TF38, strike Luzon.
1945 – The first German War Crimes Trial began. The International Military Tribunal met at Nuremberg and lasted through to 1946. Ranking Nazi officials were tried and convicted of war crimes, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. The proceedings were endorsed by the UN. William D. Denson (d.1998 at 85) was the chief prosecutor for the US.
1945 – The USSR’s nuclear program receives plans for the United States plutonium bomb from Klaus Fuchs at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
1950 – US forces drove north across the 38th parallel into the Peoples Republic of North Korea.
1954 – Texas Instruments announces the first Transistor radio.
1961 – 1961 – General Maxwell Taylor arrives in Saigon for a one week fact finding tour. He is greeted by President Diem’s formal declaration of a state of emergency, a result of increased Vietcong activity and severe floods. Diem asks for tactical aviation, helicopter companies, coastal patrol forces, and ground transport, and reiterates his desire for a bilateral defense treaty with the United States. General Taylor perceives the disastrous flooding in the Mekong Delta as a potential cover for the introduction of 6,000 to 8,000 US combat troops, which might be withdrawn or augmented after the work of flood rehabilitation is completed.
1967 – A protest in Madison, Wisc., against recruiting by Dow Chemical, the maker of napalm and Agent Orange, turned violent.
1968 – In Operation Sea Lords, the Navy’s three major operating forces in Vietnam (TF 115, 116, and 117) are brought together for the first time to stop Vietcong infiltration deep into South Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.
1987 – President Reagan summoned congressional leaders to the White House to announce he had decided on what action to take in response to an Iranian missile attack on a U.S.-flagged tanker off Kuwait two days earlier. (The next day, U.S. destroyers bombarded an Iranian offshore oil rig.)
1989 – The space shuttle Atlantis was launched on a five-day mission that included deployment of the Galileo space probe on a course for Jupiter.
1990 – Iraq offered to sell its oil to anyone—including the United States—for $21 a barrel, the same price level that preceded the invasion of Kuwait.
1997 – A $21.5 million memorial to honor the military service of US women was dedicated at entrance to Arlington National Cemetery.
1999 – A US presidential panel recommended that Navy gunnery on the Vieques Island of Puerto Rico be reduced and abandoned in 5 years.
2000 – President Clinton honored the 17 sailors killed in a suicide bomb attack against the USS Cole as he attended a ceremony at the Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia.
2001 – CBS News announced that an employee in Dan Rather’s office had tested positive for skin anthrax.
2001 – Two new cases of anthrax were reported in New Jersey.
2001 – The FBI and Postal Service announced a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest of anthrax mailings.
2001 – Four disciples of Osama bin Laden, convicted in the 1998 bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, were sentenced to life in prison and ordered to pay $33 million in restitution to victims.
2001 – In Afghanistan the city of Kandahar was reported to have collapsed to “pre-Taliban lawlessness.” The first US Special Forces were reported to have begun operating on the ground in southern Afghanistan.
2001 – Germany issued an int’l. arrest warrant for Zakariya Essabar (24) for links to the bombing of the WTC.
2001 – Japan’s House of Representatives approved an anti-terrorism bill that defines a narrow role for its military to support US attacks in Afghanistan.
2001 – In the Philippines Pres. Arroyo lifted a moratorium on executions and said she would use the penalty on kidnappers.
2002 – Two US Navy planes, F/A-18F Super Hornet jets, collided off the Big Sur coast of California and 4 pilots were killed.
2002 – Space shuttle Atlantis returned to Earth following an 11-day mission to the int’l. space station.
2002 – Five trucks carrying looted Kuwaiti archives left the Iraqi capital, bound for Kuwait.
2003 – Pres. Bush addressed a special joint session of the Philippine Congress in Manila. Some 290 families lost their homes in a shantytown of the Batasan Hills, which faced the building where the address was to be held. Bush promised to help the Philippines defeat terrorism by aiding in the modernization of its under-equipped military. Thousands of university students and other activists marched to protest Bush’s visit to Manila already tense over security concerns.
2003 – A new audiotape, purporting to be from Osama bin Laden and promised fresh attacks against the United States.
2003 – South Korea pledged to send more troops to Iraq.
2003 – Russia launched a Soyuz capsule from Kazakhstan with a 3-man crew for the int’l. space station. Aboard were an American, a Russian and a Spaniard.
2004 – In southeastern Afghanistan 5 people were killed when an explosive device hit a vehicle being used by election staff. Hamid Karzai’s chief rival Yunus Qanooni accused organizers of “robbing the people’s vote.”
2004 – Iraqi PM Allawi said that an exchange of weapons for cash will be extended across the country. A militant group in Iraq said it had executed two Macedonian men accused of spying for the US. Macedonia has 32 soldiers stationed in Taji, north of Baghdad. Saboteurs attacked a key oil pipeline in northern Iraq, setting it on fire.
2005 – Saddam Hussein’s trial begins.
2011 – Spaceport America officially opens in New Mexico as the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport.
2011 – United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes an unannounced visit to the Libyan capital Tripoli, aiming to strengthen ties between the United States and the National Transitional Council, which has established itself as Libya’s ruling body following the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.
2014 – USS Detroit (LCS-7), a Freedom class littoral combat ship of the United States Navy, was launched and christened. The ceremonial “laying of the keel” was in early November 2012, at Marinette WI.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company K, 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Haaren, Germany, 18 October 1944. Entered service at: Prescott, Ariz. Birth: Bethel, N.C. G.O. No.: 47, 18 June 1945. Citation: On 18 October 1944, Company K, 18th Infantry, occupying a position on a hill near Haaren, Germany, was attacked by an enemy infantry battalion supported by tanks. The assault was preceded by an artillery concentration, lasting an hour, which inflicted heavy casualties on the company. While engaged in moving wounded men to cover, Sgt. Thompson observed that the enemy had overrun the positions of the 3d Platoon. He immediately attempted to stem the enemy’s advance single-handedly. He manned an abandoned machinegun and fired on the enemy until a direct hit from a hostile tank destroyed the gun. Shaken and dazed, Sgt. Thompson picked up an automatic rifle and although alone against the enemy force which was pouring into the gap in our lines, he ??fired burst after burst, halting the leading elements of the attack and dispersing those following. Throwing aside his automatic rifle, which had jammed, he took up a rocket gun, fired on a light tank, setting it on fire. By evening the enemy had been driven from the greater part of the captured position but still held 3 pillboxes. Sgt. Thompson’s squad was assigned the task of dislodging the enemy from these emplacements. Darkness having fallen and finding that fire of his squad was ineffective from a distance, Sgt. Thompson crawled forward alone to within 20 yards of 1 of the pillboxes and fired grenades into it. The Germans holding the emplacement concentrated their fire upon him. Though wounded, he held his position fearlessly, continued his grenade fire, and finally forced the enemy to abandon the blockhouse. Sgt. Thompson’s courageous leadership inspired his men and materially contributed to the clearing of the enemy from his last remaining hold on this important hill position.