4004BC– According to 17th century divine James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, and Dr. John Lightfoot of Cambridge, the world was created on this day, a Sunday, at 9 a.m.
1775 – Continental Congress approved a resolution barring blacks from army.
1783 – Virginia emancipated slaves who fought for independence during the Revolutionary War.
1818 – The RC Monroe captured the armed brig Columbia inside the Virginia Capes. Columbia had been “cut out” of a Venezuelan fleet by pirates.
1861 – President Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus in Washington, D.C. for all military-related cases.
1863 – General Grant arrived at Chattanooga and assumed command from General GeorgeThomas..
1864 – Forces led by Union Gen. Samuel R. Curtis defeated Confederate Gen. Stirling Price’s army in Missouri. Maj. Gen. Sterling Price’s Missouri Expedition had changed course from St. Louis and Jefferson City to Kansas City and Fort Leavenworth. As his army neared Kansas City, Maj. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis’s Army of the Border blocked its way west, while Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton’s provisional cavalry division was closing on their rear. Price decided that he needed to deal with the two Union forces and decided to attack them one at a time. With Pleasonton still behind him, Price chose to strike Curtis at Westport first. Curtis had established strong defensive lines and during a four-hour battle, the Confederates hurled themselves at the Union forces but to no avail. The Rebels could not break the Union lines and retreated south. Westport was the decisive battle of Price’s Missouri Expedition, and from this point on, the Rebels were in retreat.
1917 – The 1st Infantry division, “Big Red One,” fired the 1st US shot in WW I. This morning the first American shell of the war was sent screaming toward German lines by a First Division artillery unit.
1918 – President Wilson felt satisfied that the Germans were accepting his armistice terms and agreed to transmit their request for an armistice to the Allies. The Germans had agreed to suspend submarine warfare, cease inhumane practices such as the use of poison gas, and withdraw troops back into Germany.
1918 – By the 22nd of the month III and V Corps had secured the Bois de Foret and Bois des Rappes and had pushed to the northern and western limits of the Bois de Bantheville. First Army prepares for final assault on Sedan.
1921 – Four unknown soldiers from the cemeteries of Asine-Marne, Meuse-Argonne, Somme, and St. Mihiel were brought to the Hotel de Ville in France for final selection to commemorate the sacrifice of the 77,000 American servicemen who died during World War I. the US military selected bodies of unknown soldiers who died in France. One was chosen to be brought to Arlington National Cemetery. The chosen soldier would represent just one of many who would never be identified. The military service record describes the selection of the first unknown soldier out of a group of four: “The original records showing the internment of these bodies were searched and the four bodies selected represented the remains of soldiers of which there was absolutely no indication as to name, rank, organization or date of death.” The selection of the first unknown soldier to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery was made at the Hotel de Ville. Sergeant Edward F. Younger was chosen to select which of the four unknown soldiers would be brought to the United States. Younger entered the mortuary room, “carrying a spray of white roses which had been donated by M. Brasseur Brulfer, a former member of the City Council. Sergeant Younger passing between two lines formed by the officials, entered the chamber in which the bodies of the four Unknown Soldiers lay, circled the caskets three times, then silently placed the flowers on the third casket from the left. He faced the body, stood at attention and saluted. General Duport stepped forward at the other end of the casket and saluted in the name of the French people. He was followed by the other officials present.” The casket was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with the inscription, “An Unknown American who gave his life in the World War.”
1939 – North of Murmansk, a German prize crew steers the US ship City of Flint into Kola Bay. The steamer was seized as contraband by a German cruiser. SS City of Flint, a freighter of the United States Merchant Marine, was the first American ship captured by the Germans during World War II. Under the command of Captain Joseph H. Gainard, City of Flint first became involved in the war when she rescued 200 survivors of the torpedoed British passenger liner SS Athenia in early September 1939. On October 9, City of Flint was carrying 4000 tons of lubricating oil from New York to Great Britain. (Panzerschiff) Deutschland seized her some 1200 miles out from New York, declaring her cargo to be contraband and the ship a prize of war. A German prize crew painted out all US insignia and hoisted the German ensign. To avoid the Royal Navy, the prize crew headed for Tromsø. The Norwegians, neutral at the time and disturbed by the sinking of the merchant SS Lotent W. Hassen, refused entry to the Germans. The prize crew then sailed for Murmansk, claiming havarie (the privilege of sanctuary for damage caused at sea), but the Russians also refused entry, stating that if the Germans claimed havarie, the American crew could not be prisoners of war. In the several weeks that elapsed, the United States ordered many US merchant ships to register with other countries, so as to continue supporting the Allies without violating the US’s nominal neutrality. The Royal Navy began closing on the captured ship. The prize crew then tried Norway again at the port of Haugesund. The Norwegian government again refused entry, describing the German crew as kidnappers. The approaching Royal Navy left the prize crew no choice, though; on November 3 they entered the harbor. The Norwegian Admiralty interned the German crew and, on November 6 returned City of Flint to Captain Gainard’s command.
1942 – In preparation for Operation Torch, British General Clark lands in Algeria for discussion with French General Mast and Robert Murphy, an American diplomat. Murphy has been conducting the negotiations with the French leaders in Morocco and Algeria concerning the coming invasion. French Generals Mast and Bethourart, Chiefs of Staff at Algiers and Casablanca have given their support. However, support of the Allies is less prevalent with the more senior French officials and soldiers. It is nonexistent with the Navy, who have not forgiven the British for the bombings of French ships at Mers-el-Kebir and Dakar. The purpose of this particular meeting is to ensure the cooperation of General Mast with the allied effort and to gain his acceptance of French General Giraud as the French leader. Mast agrees.
1942 – All 12 passengers and crewmen aboard an American Airlines DC-3 airliner are killed when it is struck by a U.S. Army Air Forces bomber near Palm Springs, California. Amongst the victims is award-winning composer and songwriter Ralph Rainger (“Thanks for the Memory”, “Love in Bloom”, “Blue Hawaii”).
1942 – The Western Task Force, destined for North Africa, departed from Hampton Roads, Virginia. The command of the Western Task Force, part of an invasion of North Africa during World War II known as Operation Torch, was given to General George Patton. Placed under the command of General George Patton, the Western Task Force had the advantage of having a man at the top who would stop at nothing to see that the mission was accomplished, a quality that would be needed in the days ahead. Naval operations were in the hands of Rear Adm. H. Kent Hewitt, an easygoing man who, in the beginning, found it difficult to work with Patton, but with increasing familiarity became a solid partner.
1942 – 4th Marine Raider Battalion organized at Camp Joseph H. Pendleton, Oceanside, CA. Bn. composed of HQ, A, B and C Companies.
1943 – In Italy, a British division of Gen. Mark Clark’s 5th Army takes Sparanise, a town adjacent to the ancient Roman Appian Way, and nears the Germans’ Barbara defense line, 95 miles south of Rome.
1944 – In the Philippines the Battle of Leyte Gulf began. The US 1st Cavalry Division (part of US 10th Corps) attacks northwest form Toclaban. To the right, armored forces attached to 7th Division (part of US 24th Corps) capture Burauen. At sea, the Japanese Center Force (Kurita) is sited off Palawan by two American submarines. The Japanese lose 2 cruisers to the submarines and sink 1 American submarine. The report of the sighting, however, alerts the three groups of Task Force 38, east of the Philippines.
1944 – Troops of the US 5th Army capture Monte Salvaro, Italy.
1944 – The 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry, 36th Infantry Division (TX), soon known as the “Lost Battalion” was cut off on top of a hill by German infantry and armored forces. After six days of stemming repeated enemy attacks and suffering extremely high losses and with ammunition, food and water running out, the battalion was relieved by the other two battalions of the 141st along with the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team made up of Japanese-Americans.
1946 – The United Nations General Assembly convened in New York for the first time, at an auditorium in Flushing Meadow.
1950 – Communist troops massacred 68 American POWs in the Sunchon tunnel. A 1st Cavalry Division force under the command of Brigadier General Frank A. Allen rescued 21 survivors.
1954 – In Paris, an agreement was signed providing for West German sovereignty and permitting West Germany to rearm and enter NATO and the Western European Union. Britain, England, France and USSR agreed to end occupation of Germany.
1955 – Diem’s referendum in South Vietnam results in a 98.2% majority against Bao Dai and for Diem, who becomes chief of state. More of a test of loyalty than an exercise in democracy, the election is by all accounts rigged, with the CIA’s Colonel Lansdale once again playing an important role. In Saigon, Diem receives one-third more votes than there are registered voters.
1965 – The 1st Cavalry Division (United States) (Airmobile), in conjunction with South Vietnamese forces, launches a new operation seeking to destroy North Vietnamese forces in Pleiku in the II Corps Tactical Zone (the Central Highlands).
1973 – US President Richard M. Nixon agrees to turn over subpoenaed audio tapes of his Oval Office conversations.
1983 – A truck filled with explosives, driven by a Moslem suicide terrorist, crashed into the U.S. Marine barracks near the Beirut International Airport in Lebanon. The bomb killed 241 Marines and sailors and injured 80. Almost simultaneously, a similar incident occurred at French military headquarters, where 58 died and 15 were injured. Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyeh was suspected of involvement. They were part of a contingent of 1,800 Marines that had been sent to Lebanon as part of a multinational force to help separate the warring Lebanese factions. Twice during the early 1980s the U.S. had deployed troops to Lebanon to deal with the fall-out from the 1982 Israeli invasion. In the first deployment, Marines helped oversee the peaceful withdrawal of the PLO from Beirut. In mid-September 1982 — after the U.S. troops had left — Israel’s Lebanese allies massacred an estimated 800 unarmed Palestinian civilians remaining in refugee camps. Following this, 1,800 Marines had been ordered back into Lebanon. The president assembled his national security team to devise a plan of military action. The planned target was the Sheik Abdullah barracks in Baalbek, Lebanon, which housed Iranian Revolutionary Guards believed to be training Hezbollah fighters. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger aborted the mission, reportedly because of his concerns that it would harm U.S. relations with other Arab nations. Instead, President Reagan ordered the battleship USS New Jersey, stationed off the coast of Lebanon, to the hills near Beirut. The move was seen as largely ineffective. Four months after the Marine barracks bombing, U.S. Marines were ordered to start pulling out of Lebanon.
1983 – Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada, West Indies) begins. The State Department sent Ambassador Francis J. McNeill to meet with representatives of the OECS, Jamaica, and Barbados in Bridgetown, Barbados, and assess their countries’ willingness to join peacekeeping operations. Admiral McDonald flew to Washington late in the evening to brief the JCS on the plan. Titled “Evacuation of US Citizens from Grenada,” it reflected the missions added to the estimate: restoration of a democratic government in concert with the OECS, Jamaica, and Barbados; logistical support for US allies; and deterrence of Cuban intervention. Thre were several operational problems in ADM McDonald’s concept of operations which stemmed from the makeup of his and VADM Metcalf’s headquarters. Both organizations were “bluewater commands” overwhelmingly made up of naval officers. Atlantic Command lacked the Army and Air Force staff officers needed to plan the maneuver and tactical air support of several battalions of ground troops. To remedy that deficiency, this night, the JCS ordered MG Schwarzkopf, Commanding General of the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division, to report to VADM Metcalf at Norfolk to serve as Metcalf’s adviser on ground operations. Two of General Schwarzkopf’s superiors, Lieutenant General Jack V. Mackmull, USA, Commanding General, XVIII Airborne Corps, and General Richard E. Cavazos, USA, Commander in Chief, Forces Command, had recommended Schwarzkopf because of his extensive experience with airborne troops and Rangers and with Marines while assigned to a unified command.
1992 – President Bush announced that Vietnam had agreed to turn over all materials in its possession related to U.S. personnel in the Vietnam War.
1995 – President Clinton met with Russian President Boris Yeltsin in Hyde Park, New York; the leaders agreed that Russian troops would help enforce peace in Bosnia, but remained deadlocked on the issue of NATO command.
1997 – The UN threatened a trade ban against Iraq unless Iraq cooperates with weapons inspectors.
1998 – An American brokered peace deal was reached at the Wye Plantation in Maryland between Yasser Arafat and Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli and Palestinian extremists denounced the deal. Land for the Palestinians was exchanged for security guarantees to the Israelis backed by the American CIA. Pres. Clinton agreed to release Jonathan Pollard, who was jailed 11 years ago on charges of spying for Israel.
2000 – Secretary of State Madeleine Albright held talks in North Korea with communist leader Kim Jong Il.
2000 – The Int’l. Commission on Kosovo recommended that Kosovo become a separate state when the safety of its minorities can be guaranteed.
2001 – President Bush announced he had authorized money for improved post office security following the deaths of two postal workers from inhalation anthrax.
2001 – Traces of anthrax were found at an off-site facility that handled mail for the White House.
2001 – A relieved NASA team celebrated as the 2001 Mars Odyssey slipped into orbit around the Red Planet, two years after back-to-back failures by Mars missions.
2001 – US bombs in Kabul, Afghanistan, reportedly killed 22 Harkat ul-Mujahedeen fighters from Pakistan.
2001 – John Ashcroft, US Attorney Gen’l., said 3 men wanted by German authorities, Said Bahaji, Ramzi Binalshibh and Zakariya Essabar, were part of a terrorist cell in Hamburg that included 3 men from the Sep 11 attack on the WTC.
2001 – US military officers were sent to the Philippines to assess how the US might help the local war against terrorism.
2001 – The Irish Republican Army (IRA) began to destroy its arsenal of weapons in a move to save the Northern Ireland peace process.
2001 – In the Philippines 6 suspected Muslim rebels surrendered and 3 were captured. 2002 – Allied planes bombed two military air defense sites in the southern no-fly zone over Iraq in the third round of strikes in a week.
2003 – Madame Chiang Kai-shek (105), who became one of the world’s most famous women as she helped her husband fight the Japanese during World War II and later the Chinese Communists, died in NYC. Mayling Soong was born in March, 1897, in Shanghai. Her father Yaoju “Charlie” Soong, was a Methodist minister and businessman. Her mother, Kwei Twang Nyi, was a devout Christian and strict disciplinarian. The fourth of six children, Soong came to the United States in 1908, living near the campus of the Wesleyan College for Women, in Macon, GA, where her sister was a student. She was tutored by Wesleyan students, and attended school in Demorest, GA. She was an excellent student, who picked up English, which she spoke with a Georgia accent, quickly. In 1913, Mayling entered Wellesley College, where she majored in English Literature and minored in philosophy. In her senior year, she was named a Durant Scholar, Wellesley’s highest academic distinction. Following her graduation from Wellesley College in 1917, she returned to China, where she honed her fluency in spoken Chinese, and studied the classics and literature of China. She did social work for the Y.W.C.A. in Shanghai and was appointed to be a member of Shanghai’s Child Labor Commission. Mayling met Chiang Kai-shek in 1920. He was eleven years her elder, and a Buddhist. Although he was already married, Chiang proposed marriage to Mayling, much to the objection of Mayling’s mother. He eventually won Mrs. Soong’s blessing for marriage to her daughter by providing proof of his divorce, and after committing to convert to Christianity. He told his future mother-in-law that he couldn’t convert immediately, because religion needed to be gradually absorbed, not swallowed like a pill. He was baptised in 1929. A rising star in the Chinese military, he became Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of the Nationalist Party, and engaged in a struggle with communist factions which would continue for the rest of his life. Madame Chiang initiated China’s New Life Movement in 1934, with the goal of the “physical, eduacational and moral rebirth of the Chinese nation”, based on traditional Chinese values. In 1936, she assumed the role of Secretary General of the Chinese Commission on Aeronautical Affairs. Madame Chiang Kai-shek was her husband’s English translator, secretary, advisor and an influential propogandist for the Nationalist cause. She distinguished herself as a skilled negotiator during the “Xi’an Incident”. Following the refusal of Nationalist forces in Sian, China, to engage communist forces in December, 1936, Chiang Kai-shek went to Sian, where he was “arrested” by military subordinates. Madame Chiang Kai-shek flew to Sian and successfully negotiated the Generalissimo’s release, on Christmas Day. In February, 1943, Madame Chiang became the first Chinese national, and the second woman, to ever address a joint session of the U.S. House and Senate, making the case for strong U.S. support of China in its war with Japan. In 1949, when communist forces gained control of China’s major cities, Chiang Kai-shek fled the mainland, and declared Taipei, Taiwan to be the temporary capital of China, where he was elected president. Madame Chiang continued to play a prominent international role. She was the honorary chair of the American Bureau for Medical Aid to China, a Patron of the International Red Cross Committee, honorary chair of the British United Aid to China Fund, and First Honorary Member of the Bill of Rights Commemorative Society. Through the late 1960’s she was included among America’s 10 most admired women. President Chiang Kai-shek died during his fifth term, in 1975. Following her husband’s death, Madame Chiang returned to the U.S., residing in Lattington, NY. Her many published works include This Is Our China (1940), Sian: a coup d’Etat (1941) and The Sure Victory (1955).
2004 – A purported Taliban militant set off grenades strapped to his body on a bustling Kabul street, killing Jamie Michalsky (23), an American woman, and an Afghan girl.
2004 – The U.S. military arrested a “senior leader” in the network run by Jordanian terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, along with five others during overnight raids in the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah.
2004 – A suicide car bomber set off an explosion at a police station near Khan al-Baghdadi in western Iraq, killing at least 16 policemen and wounding 40 other people. A 2nd car bomb killed 4 Iraqi guardsmen at Ishaqi near Samarra. 2 foreign truck drivers were fatally shot in Mosul.
2004 – Some 50 unarmed Iraqi soldiers were killed in eastern Iraq as they headed home on leave after basic training. Many were shot execution style with gunshots to the back of the head.
2004 – Gunmen opened fire on a convoy of Turkish trucks in Mosul, killing two Turkish drivers and wounding two others.
2007 – Space Shuttle Discovery successfully lifts off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida in the United States. The Shuttle was carrying the STS-120 crew on an assembly mission to the International Space Station, as well as the Harmony module.
2014 – A New York City physician tests positive for Ebola at the Bellevue Hospital Center in Manhattan after treating Ebola patients in Guinea.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
*DUNN, PARKER F.
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company A, 312th Infantry, 78th Division. Place and date: Near Grand-Pre, France, 23 October 1918. Entered service at: Albany, N.Y. Birth: Albany, N.Y. G.O. No.: 49, W.D., 1922. Citation: When his battalion commander found it necessary to send a message to a company in the attacking line and hesitated to order a runner to make the trip because of the extreme danger involved, Pfc. Dunn, a member of the intelligence section, volunteered for the mission. After advancing but a short distance across a field swept by artillery and machinegun fire, he was wounded, but continued on and fell wounded a second time. Still undaunted, he persistently attempted to carry out his mission until he was killed by a machinegun bullet before reaching the advance line.