1682 – The founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn, landed at what is now Chester, Pa. William Penn founded Philadelphia. Penn founded Pennsylvania as a “Holy Experiment” based on Quaker principles.
1792 – Mount Hood (Oregon) is named after the British naval officer Alexander Arthur Hood by Lt. William E. Broughton who spotted the mountain near the mouth of the Willamette River.
1813 – The Demologos, the first steam-powered warship, was launched in New York City.
1814 – Launching of the first American steam powered warship, at New York City. The ship was designed by Robert Fulton. While never formally named, Fulton referred to it as Demologos.
1847 – Marines help take a Mexican schooner in the Gulf of Mexico.
1863 – The troops of Union General Ulysses S. Grant open a supply line into Chattanooga, Tennessee, when they drive away a Confederate attack by General James Longstreet. Although the Confederates still held the high ground above Chattanooga, the new supply line allowed the Union to hold the city and prepare for a major new offensive the next month. After the Battle of Chickamauga in northern Georgia on September 19 and 20, the defeated Union army of General William Rosecrans fled back to nearby Chattanooga. Braxton Bragg’s Confederates took up positions along Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge to the east of the city. The Rebel lines made a semicircle around the city, and Confederate guns closed traffic on the Tennessee River. As a result, Union supplies had to come over a rugged mountainous route from the west. This line was vulnerable to a Confederate attack, and it made the Union’s hold on Chattanooga tenuous at best. On October 23, Grant arrived as the new commander of all western forces. He immediately ordered two brigades to attack Brown’s Ferry, where the Confederates were blocking river traffic to Chattanooga. The Yankees captured the ferry on October 27, then held off a counterattack to maintain control. On the night of October 28, Longstreet mounted a much larger attack to retake the crossing. The Confederates possessed superior numbers but could not pry the Union troops from the river. In the dark, the Yankees held and Longstreet withdrew his forces before dawn. The Union suffered 78 killed, 327 wounded, and 15 missing, while the Confederates suffered 34 killed, 305 wounded, and 69 missing. The Battle of Wauhatchie was one of the few Civil War engagements that took place at night. As a result of the battle, the Tennessee River was reopened for the Union and supplies reached Grant’s troops. One month later, Grant drove the Confederates from the mountains around Chattanooga.
1863 – Eighteen countries meet in Geneva and agree to form the International Red Cross.
1864 – Union forces under the command of Major General Benjamin Butler attacked the Richmond defenses along Darbytown Road. Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, has been under indirect siege since General Ulysses Grant placed the Army of the Potomac in a wide arc surrounding its southern flank, including the outlaying town of Petersburg. Butler hoped to breech Richmond’s outer works but was easily repulsed, loosing about 1,000 men, 600 of whom were captured. General Butler, having no military experience when the war began was never-the-less appointed a brigadier general of Massachusetts volunteers. He succeeded in bringing reinforcements to Washington despite riots in Baltimore against Union troops. For this President Abraham Lincoln appointed him a major general and placed him to command Fort Monroe situated on the point of land blocking the James River connecting Richmond with the Chesapeake Bay. While in command here he offered runaway slaves sanctuary calling them “contraband of war.” In late 1861 he returned to Massachusetts to organize six new regiments and with these he captured New Orleans in May 1862. This was the high point of his military career. After some minor actions, in spring 1864 he was commanding the Army of the James on the southern flank of Richmond. Within this army he organized the XXV Corps composed entirely of U.S. Colored Troops (African Americans fighting for the Union army). He launched this Corps in an unsuccessful attack at Chapins Farm. Fourteen of the 18 Medals of Honor awarded to African Americans soldiers in the Civil War were earned in this battle. One recipient, Sergeant Christian Fleetwood, would later serve as a major commanding the black battalion in the Washington, DC Guard in the 1880s. Soon after his defeat on Darbytown Road, Butler was transferred to North Carolina where he failed to capture Wilmington. Grant and Lincoln finally agreed to remove him from command. Butler went on to have a successful career as a congressman, serving from 1867-1879. He later served as governor of Massachusetts.
1885 – George B. McClellan (58), Union army general, died. A brilliant engineer and highly capable organizer, George B. McClellan just wasn’t an army commander. In that position he proved the weakness of West Point in its early years; the academy was simply geared to the production of engineers and company officers for a small, pre-Civil War regular army. The Philadelphia native had entered the academy from the University of Pennsylvania and graduated in 1846 in the second position of his class. Accordingly he was assigned to the engineers. He earned two brevets under Winfield Scott in Mexico and later served at his alma mater. The slow promotions in the regular army prompted him to take a captaincy in the cavalry in the 18 5 5 expansion of the service. He was dispatched to study European armies and filed an extensive report centering on the Crimean War siege operations at Sebastopol. This experience would later influence his decisions on the Virginia Peninsula. During the rest of his year overseas he travelled widely and altered the Prussian and Hungarian cavalry saddles into the “McClellan Saddle” that was used until the army abolished its mounted arm. He resigned his commission on January 16, 1857, and entered railroad engineering. He worked for the Illinois Central-as chief engineer and vice president and just before the Civil War became a division president for the Ohio & Mississippi. Despite his success in the private field he was happy to reenter the military in 1862. His assignments included: major general, Ohio Volunteers (April 23, 1861); commanding Ohio Militia (April 23 – May 13, 1861); commanding Army of Occupation, West Virginia, Department of the Ohio and the department (May 13-July 23, 1861); major general, USA (May 14, 1861); commanding Military Division of the Potomac (July 25 – August 15, 1861); commanding Army and Department of the Potomac (August 15, 1861 – November 9, 1862); and commander-in-chief, USA (November 5, 1861 – March 11, 1862). Initially appointed by Ohio’s Governor William Dennison, he was soon made second only to Scott by a former attorney for the Illinois Central-Abraham Lincoln. Letting his rapid rise from retired captain to major general go to his head, he issued comical denials of any desire to become a dictator. By then he had won some minor victories in western Virginia, receiving the Thanks of Congress on July 16, 186 1, although much of the credit belonged to his subordinates there and in Kentucky. He was called to take charge at Washington after the disaster at Ist Bull Run, but his behavior toward Scott and the civil authorities was unpardonable. Now called “The Young Napoleon,” he actively worked for Scott’s retirement and was named in his place. His engineering and organizational skills shined bright in the creation of the Army of the Potomac, a mighty machine. But he did not advance and refused to divulge his plans to the civilians over him. He even refused to see the president on one occasion. In December 1861 he was downed by typhoid and this prolonged the delays. By the time he did advance on Manassas, Joseph E. Johnston’s army had withdrawn. McClellan then planned an advance on Richmond by way of the Peninsula between the James and York Rivers. It was a good plan despite Lincoln’s fears for Washington. But McClellan did not have the ability to direct it. The movement started well but-remembering Sebastopol-he begin siege operations at Yorktown which allowed Johnston to move in reinforcements. When Johnston withdrew McClellan followed, fighting at Williamsburg, to within sight of the Confederate capital. He then stopped. He was constantly overestimating the strength of the enemy facing him. It was these constant delays which prompted Lincoln to suspend him from command of all the armies on March 11, 1862, so that he could concentrate on the Army of the Potomac and Richmond. He survived the Confederate counterattack at Seven Pines, principally through confusion in the Confederate army and the actions of his own subordinates. When Lee attacked him in the Seven Days in late June he failed to take the opportunity to strike at Richmond along the weakly defended south side of the Chickahominy River. Instead he panicked and ordered a dangerous change of base from the York to the James River in the facing of Lee’s attacks. Most of the battles fought in the movement were Union successes but the overall outcome of the campaign was negative as a result of McClellan’s weaknesses. Safely entrenched at Harrison’s Landing he began condemning the War Department, Lincoln, and Stanton, blaming them for the defeat. Finally it was decided in Washington to abandon the campaign and transfer most of McCiellan’s men to John Pope’s army in northern Virginia. There were charges that McClellan-now called by the press “Mac the Unready” and “The Little Corporal of Unsought Fields”was especially slow in cooperating. With Pope defeated at 2nd Bull Run and his men streaming back to the Washington fortifications, McClellan was restored to active command of his reconstituted army and was welcomed by his men who affectionately called him “Little Mac.” In the Maryland Campaign he advanced to confront Lee in the western part of the state and moved uncharacteristically fast when some of his command found a copy of Lee’s orders for the movement of his troops. Lee fought several delaying actions along South Mountain in order to reconcentrate his army. His caution returning, McClellan slowed down, and Lee was able to get most of his men in line at Antietam. McClellan attacked piecemeal and his attacks failed to crush Lee who was heavily outnumbered with his back to the Potomac River. Lincoln was extremely upset by the escape of Lee and his army but nonetheless used the “victory” to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. Continuing his dilatory tactics, McClellan resorted to constant demands for more men and called for massive reequipping and fresh mounts for his cavalry. Then for the second time JEB Stuart’s cavalry rode completely around the Army of the Potomac, Under orders from the War Department, McClellan relinquished command on November 9, 1862, and repaired to his Trenton, New Jersey, home to await new directives destined never to arrive. The Democratic candidate for president in 1864, he was hampered by the party’s plank calling for an end to the war, which was labeled a failure. He himself denounced the plank and was for the rigorous pursuit of victory. At first it appeared that he would defeat Lincoln, but Union victories in the field diminished the public’s war weariness. Winning in only three states, he resigned from the army on election day. Active in state politics, he served as New Jersey’s governor in the late 1870’s and early 1880’s. He died at Orange, New Jersey, and is buried in Riverview Cemetery, Trenton.
1901 – Leon Czolgosz was electrocuted for the assassination of President McKinley at Auburn Prison in NY state. Czolgosz, an anarchist, shot McKinley on September 6 during a public reception at the Temple of Music in Buffalo, N.Y. Despite early hopes of recovery, McKinley died September 14, in Buffalo.
1921 – Bill Maudlin, American political cartoonist whose GI “Willie” and “Joe” characters appeared in Stars and Stripes newspapers, was born in New Mexico. He won Pulitzer Prizes in 1945 and 1959. William Henry Mauldin was born October 29, 1921, in Mountain Park, New Mexico. He knew from an early age that he wanted to make cartooning his career, and after high school, began studying toward that goal at Chicago’s Academy of Fine Art. But World War II intervened, as it did for so many young men of his generation, and he’d scarcely begun his studies when he found himself a member of the U.S. Army’s 45th Division. But the war didn’t even slow his career down. In 1940, he created Willie & Joe, a couple of cartoon soldiers, for the division’s newspaper. They resonated so well with the army’s rank and file that by 1944 Mauldin was cartooning full time for Stars & Stripes, also a military newspaper, but one that served the entire U.S. Army. His work there received a favorable write-up by the famous war correspondent Ernie Pyle. As a result, by the time the war was over, Mauldin’s cartoons were being syndicated by United Feature, alongside The Captain & the Kids and Nancy. In 1945, he won his first Pulitzer Prize for newspaper cartooning, and published his first book — Up Front, which reprinted dozens of Willie & Joe cartoons, accompanied by Mauldin’s comments on the real-life situation his fictional characters were in. It has remained in print for decades, and even now stands as one of the most vivid and true-to-life accounts of the typical American soldier’s life during World War II. More books followed — Back Home (1947), Bill Mauldin in Korea (1952), The Brass Ring (1971), and several others. He also wrote a few short stories, and appeared in the 1951 movie, The Red Badge of Courage. He won a second Pulitzer in 1959, so it was almost an anticlimax when, two years later, he took home The National Cartoonists’ Society’s Reuben Award, as Cartoonist of the Year. By that time, he was working as editorial cartoonist for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. United Feature had found his cartoons hard to sell in many markets, because of his tendency not to pull punches when cartooning about McCarthyism or The Ku Klux Klan; and he’d been so discouraged that for a few years during the ’50s, he’d actually given up cartooning altogether. It was a mistake he didn’t make again — but he did find larger urban areas, where a wider range of opinion has always flourished, more receptive to his viewpoints. Mauldin moved to The Chicago Sun-Times in 1962, and stayed there for many years. By the time he retired, in 1992, his cartoons were being syndicated to about 250 papers. He died in a nursing home on January 22, 2003, 81 years of age.
1922 – King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, appoints Benito Mussolini as Prime Minister.
1929 – The DJIA dropped 11.7%. “Black Tuesday” was the worst day of the market crash as panicked survivors dumped 16 million shares on the market. Clerical workers stayed up all night to find that $30 billion in paper value had been wiped out in one day. Prices collapsed amid panic selling and thousands of investors were wiped out as America’s Great Depression began. On Wall street prices plunged $14 million. By mid- November $30 billion of the $80 billion worth of stocks listed in September were been wiped out. Stocks continued to slide until 1932, but the fear caused by the crash made Americans unwilling to buy or invest and the economy slowly worsened into the Great Depression. In 1994 daily trades average 200-300 million shares. In 2001 Maury Klein authored “Rainbow’s End: The Crash of 1929.”
1939 – Reflecting the rising number of Chinese defections to the Japanese, the US military attache reports that there are 100,000 armed Chinese serving as Huang Hsieh Chun (Imperial Assisting Troops).
1940 – The first draftees are selected by lottery from the Selective Service registrations. In New York, the first person chosen is Yuen Chong Chan. Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson drew the first number.
1942 – On Guadalcanal, the Japanese, stung by their heavy losses begin withdrawals from the coast to the west of the American beachhead. The Americans begin preparing to occupy this area.
1943 – 3 Allied officers escaped the German camp Stalag Luft 3.
1944 – On Leyte, elements of US 24th Corps capture Abuyag, south of Dulag, while Catmon Hill is cleared and the advance to Dagami continues. At sea, carrier groups under the command of Admiral Davison and Admiral Bogan conduct air strikes. In two days, they destroy almost 100 Japanese planes for a loss of 15 American aircraft. The carrier USS Intrepid is damaged by a Kamikaze attack.
1950 – The X Corps advance in the northeast was slowed by determined resistance by communist forces. First Marine Division units were attacked at Kojo. The 7th Infantry Division landed at Iwon, 150 miles north of Wonsan to join X Corps forces on the ground.
1952 – Eight Navy Aircraft from VF-54 struck the city of Kapsan in North Korea. Intelligence reports had indicated that a congregation of high-level Communist Party officials would be attending a meeting there. A week following the raid, North Korean broadcasts denounced the strike and labeled the participants as the “Butchers of Kapsan.”
1956 – Israeli armed forces push into Egypt toward the Suez Canal, initiating the Suez Crisis. They would soon be joined by French and British forces, creating a serious Cold War problem in the Middle East. The catalyst for the joint Israeli-British-French attack on Egypt was the nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egyptian leader General Gamal Abdel Nasser in July 1956. The situation had been brewing for some time. Two years earlier, the Egyptian military had begun pressuring the British to end its military presence (which had been granted in the 1936 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty) in the canal zone. Nasser’s armed forces also engaged in sporadic battles with Israeli soldiers along the border between the two nations, and the Egyptian leader did nothing to conceal his antipathy toward the Zionist nation. Supported by Soviet arms and money, and furious with the United States for reneging on a promise to provide funds for construction of the Aswan Dam on the Nile River, Nasser ordered the Suez Canal seized and nationalized. The British were angry with the move and sought the support of France (which believed that Nasser was supporting rebels in the French colony of Algeria), and Israel (which needed little provocation to strike at the enemy on its border), in an armed assault to retake the canal. The Israelis struck first, but were shocked to find that British and French forces did not immediately follow behind them. Instead of a lightening strike by overwhelming force, the attack bogged down. The United Nations quickly passed a resolution calling for a cease-fire. The Soviet Union began to issue ominous threats about coming to Egypt’s aid. A dangerous situation developed quickly, one that the Eisenhower administration hoped to defuse before it turned into a Soviet-U.S. confrontation. Though the United States sternly warned the Soviet Union to stay out of the situation, Eisenhower also pressured the British, French, and Israeli governments to withdraw their troops. They eventually did so in late 1956 and early 1957.
1963 – Kennedy cables Lodge, instructing him to ask that the expected coup, already delayed a number of times, be postponed again. Lodge never delivers the message.
1967 – In Oakland, Ca., police made a traffic stop on Black Panther leader Huey Newton. In a gun battle Newton was wounded and police officer John Frey was killed. Newton was convicted of voluntary manslaughter but the conviction was overturned. Gene McKinney (d.2000 at 58) and Newton had driven out for takeout feed following a Black Panther Party fundraiser when they were pulled over. McKinney commandeered a passing car to get Newton to a hospital.
1969 – The first-ever computer-to-computer link is established on ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet. The first message on the ARPANET was sent by UCLA student programmer Charley Kline, at 10:30 pm, from Boelter Hall 3420. Kline transmitted from the university’s SDS Sigma 7 Host computer to the Stanford Research Institute’s SDS 940 Host computer. The message text was the word login; the l and the o letters were transmitted, but the system then crashed. Hence, the literal first message over the ARPANET was lo. About an hour later, having recovered from the crash, the SDS Sigma 7 computer effected a full login. The first permanent ARPANET link was established on 21 November 1969, between the IMP at UCLA and the IMP at the Stanford Research Institute. By 5 December 1969, the entire four-node network, adding University of California, Santa Barbara and The University of Utah, was established.
1971 – The total number of U.S. troops remaining in Vietnam drops to 196,700 – the lowest level since January 1966. This was a result of the Vietnamization program announced by President Richard Nixon at the June 1969 Midway Conference. U.S. troops were to be withdrawn as the South Vietnamese assumed more responsibility for the war. The first withdrawal included troops from the 9th Infantry Division, who departed in August 1969. The withdrawals continued steadily, and by January 1972 there were less than 75,000 U.S. troops remaining in South Vietnam.
1979 – On the 50th anniversary of the great stock market crash, anti-nuclear protesters tried but failed to shut down the New York Stock Exchange.
1980 – USS Parsons (DDG-33) rescues 110 Vietnamese refugees 330 miles south of Saigon.
1980 – A demonstration flight of a secretly modified C-130 for a second attempt at an Iran hostage crisis rescue attempt ends in crash landing at Eglin Air Force Base’s Duke Field, Florida leading to cancellation of Operation Credible Sport.
1990 – The UN Security Council voted to hold Saddam Hussein’s regime liable for human rights abuses and war damages during its occupation of Kuwait.
1991 – The American Galileo spacecraft makes its closest approach to 951 Gaspra, becoming the first probe to visit an asteroid.
1991 – President Bush imposed trade sanctions against Haiti to pressure its new leaders to restore ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power.
1991 – On the eve of a historic Middle East peace conference in Spain, President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev met at the Soviet Embassy in Madrid and expressed hope for a positive outcome.
1993 – A group of U.S. luge athletes was attacked by right-wing skinheads in Oberhof, Germany.
1994 – Francisco Martin Duran of Colorado Springs, Colo., fired more than two dozen shots from a semiautomatic rifle at the White House while standing on Pennsylvania Avenue; Duran was later convicted of trying to assassinate President Clinton and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
1995 – Palestinians burned American and Israeli flags and swore revenge for the assassination of Dr. Fathi Shakaki, the leader of the radical Islamic Jihad and a top architect of terror attacks against Israel. Shakaki was gunned down three days earlier in Malta, reportedly by Israeli intelligence.
1997 – Pres. Clinton and China’s Pres. Jiang Zemin engaged in high level talks and publicly disagreed on Chinese human rights policies, but agreed to end the diplomatic chill between their countries. Business deals included an accord to let Westinghouse and other firms develop nuclear power in China and a $3 billion order from Boeing.
1997 – Iraq barred US personnel from being included in UN inspection teams of weapons programs– a move that outraged chief weapons inspector Richard Butler and prompted him to suspend inspections.
1998 – The shuttle Discovery blasted off with 6 crew mates including John Glenn (77), the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962. Nearly four decades after he became the first American to orbit the Earth, Senator John Hershel Glenn, Jr., is launched into space again as a payload specialist aboard the space shuttle Discovery. At 77 years of age, Glenn was the oldest human ever to travel in space. During the nine-day mission, he served as part of a NASA study on health problems associated with aging. Glenn, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, was among the seven men chosen by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1959 to become America’s first astronauts. A decorated pilot, he had flown nearly 150 combat missions during World War II and the Korean War. In 1957, he made the first nonstop supersonic flight across the United States, flying from Los Angeles to New York in three hours and 23 minutes. In April 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space, and his spacecraft, Vostok 1, made a full orbit before returning to Earth. Less than one month later, American Alan B. Shepard, Jr., became the first American in space when his Freedom 7 spacecraft was launched on a suborbital flight. American “Gus” Grissom made another suborbital flight in July, and in August Soviet cosmonaut Gherman Titov spent more than 25 hours in space aboard Vostok 2, making 17 orbits. As a technological power, the United States was looking very much second-rate compared with its Cold War adversary. If the Americans wanted to dispel this notion, they needed a multi-orbital flight before another Soviet space advance arrived. On February 20, 1962, NASA and Colonel John Glenn accomplished this feat with the flight of Friendship 7, a spacecraft that made three orbits of the Earth in five hours. Glenn was hailed as a national hero, and on February 23 President John F. Kennedy visited him at Cape Canaveral. Glenn later addressed Congress and was given a ticker-tape parade in New York City. Out of a reluctance to risk the life of an astronaut as popular as Glenn, NASA essentially grounded the “Clean Marine” in the years after his historic flight. Frustrated with this uncharacteristic lack of activity, Glenn turned to politics and in 1964 announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate from his home state of Ohio and formally left NASA. Later that year, however, he withdrew his Senate bid after seriously injuring his inner ear in a fall from a horse. In 1970, following a stint as a Royal Crown Cola executive, he ran for the Senate again but lost the Democratic nomination to Howard Metzenbaum. Four years later, he defeated Metzenbaum, won the general election, and went on to win reelection three times. In 1984, he unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for president. In 1998, Glenn attracted considerable media attention when he returned to space aboard the space shuttle Discovery. In 1999, he retired from his U.S. Senate seat after four consecutive terms in office, a record for the state of Ohio.
2000 – The wounded destroyer USS Cole departed Aden, Yemen, towed by tugboats to a Norwegian heavy-lift ship to be taken home to repair the gaping hole in its side; 17 sailors were killed in a suicide bombing attack on Oct. 12.
2001 – Pres. Bush said that he has created a task force to recommend sweeping changes on immigration laws to keep out terrorists and deport those already here.
2001 – A hospital worker in NY and a woman who handled mail in New Jersey were found to have anthrax. Since Oct 4 a total of 37 people have tested positive for exposure and 15 have contracted the disease.
2002 – The federal government filed charges against Washington sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad under a 1946 extortion law that could bring the death penalty, accusing him of a murderous plot to get $10 million.
2002 – China and the United States have agreed to resume military-to-military ties with plans to hold talks at senior level in the near future.
2004 – Osama bin Laden appeared in a new video, dropped off at the Pakistan offices of Al-Jazeera television. He claimed responsibility for the Sept. 11 attacks and claimed more violence is possible regardless of who wins the US elections. Bin Laden vowed to bleed America to bankruptcy, according to a full transcript of the unaired portions.
2004 – Hundreds of British soldiers arrived at their base near Baghdad in a deployment aimed at provide cover for U.S. troops considering a new assault on Iraqi insurgents.
2007 – The USS Arleigh Burke enters Somali waters in pursuit of a Japanese ship carrying benzene that was hijacked by pirates.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
Rank and organization: Private, Company G, 8th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Chiricahua Mountains, Ariz., 29 October 1869. Entered service at:——. Birth: Columbus, Ohio. Date of issue: 14 February 1870. Citation: Gallantry in action.
MATHEWS, GEORGE W.
Rank and organization: Assistant Surgeon, 36th Infantry, U.S. Volunteers. Place and date: Near Labo, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 29 October 1899. Entered service at: Worcester, Mass. Birth: Worcester, Mass. Date of issue: 14 March 1902. Citation: While in attendance upon the wounded and under a severe fire from the enemy, seized a carbine and beat off an attack upon wounded officers and men under his charge.
HAJIRO, BARNEY F.
Private Barney F. Hajiro distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 19, 22, and 29 October 1944, in the vicinity of Bruyeres and Biffontaine, eastern France. Private Hajiro, while acting as a sentry on top of an embankment on 19 October 1944, in the vicinity of Bruyeres, France, rendered assistance to allied troops attacking a house 200 yards away by exposing himself to enemy fire and directing fire at an enemy strong point. He assisted the unit on his right by firing his automatic rifle and killing or wounding two enemy snipers. On 22 October 1944, he and one comrade took up an outpost security position about 50 yards to the right front of their platoon, concealed themselves, and ambushed an 18-man, heavily armed, enemy patrol, killing two, wounding one, and taking the remainder as prisoners. On 29 October 1944, in a wooded area in the vicinity of Biffontaine, France, Private Hajiro initiated an attack up the slope of a hill referred to as “Suicide Hill” by running forward approximately 100 yards under fire. He then advanced ahead of his comrades about 10 yards, drawing fire and spotting camouflaged machine gun nests. He fearlessly met fire with fire and single-handedly destroyed two machine gun nests and killed two enemy snipers. As a result of Private Hajiro’s heroic actions, the attack was successful. Private Hajiro’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon him, his unit, and the United States Army.
*OKUBO, JAMES K.
Technician Fifth Grade James K. Okubo distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 28 and 29 October and 4 November 1944, in the Foret Domaniale de Champ, near Biffontaine, eastern France. On 28 October, under strong enemy fire coming from behind mine fields and roadblocks, Technician Fifth Grade Okubo, a medic, crawled 150 yards to within 40 yards of the enemy lines. Two grenades were thrown at him while he left his last covered position to carry back wounded comrades. Under constant barrages of enemy small arms and machine gun fire, he treated 17 men on 28 October and 8 more men on 29 October. On 4 November, Technician Fifth Grade Okubo ran 75 yards under grazing machine gun fire and, while exposed to hostile fire directed at him, evacuated and treated a seriously wounded crewman from a burning tank, who otherwise would have died. Technician Fifth Grade James K. Okubo’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
SAKATO, GEORGE T.
Private George T. Sakato distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 29 October 1944, on hill 617 in the vicinity of Biffontaine, France. After his platoon had virtually destroyed two enemy defense lines, during which he personally killed five enemy soldiers and captured four, his unit was pinned down by heavy enemy fire. Disregarding the enemy fire, Private Sakato made a one-man rush that encouraged his platoon to charge and destroy the enemy strongpoint. While his platoon was reorganizing, he proved to be the inspiration of his squad in halting a counter-attack on the left flank during which his squad leader was killed. Taking charge of the squad, he continued his relentless tactics, using an enemy rifle and P-38 pistol to stop an organized enemy attack. During this entire action, he killed 12 and wounded two, personally captured four and assisted his platoon in taking 34 prisoners. By continuously ignoring enemy fire, and by his gallant courage and fighting spirit, he turned impending defeat into victory and helped his platoon complete its mission. Private Sakato’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
CAPTAIN HUMBERT R. VERSACE
UNITED STATES ARMY for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Captain Humbert R. Versace distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period of 29 October 1963 to 26 September 1965, while serving as S-2 Advisor, Military Assistance Advisory Group, Detachment 52, Ca Mau, Republic of Vietnam. While accompanying a Civilian Irregular Defense Group patrol engaged in combat operations in Thoi Binh District, An Xuyen Province, Captain Versace and the patrol came under sudden and intense mortar, automatic weapons, and small arms fire from elements of a heavily armed enemy battalion. As the battle raged, Captain Versace, although severely wounded in the knee and back by hostile fire, fought valiantly and continued to engage enemy targets. Weakened by his wounds and fatigued by the fierce firefight, Captain Versace stubbornly resisted capture by the over-powering Viet Cong force with the last full measure of his strength and ammunition. Taken prisoner by the Viet Cong, he exemplified the tenets of the Code of Conduct from the time he entered into Prisoner of War status. Captain Versace assumed command of his fellow American soldiers, scorned the enemy’s exhaustive interrogation and indoctrination efforts, and made three unsuccessful attempts to escape, despite his weakened condition which was brought about by his wounds and the extreme privation and hardships he was forced to endure. During his captivity, Captain Versace was segregated in an isolated prisoner of war cage, manacled in irons for prolonged periods of time, and placed on extremely reduced ration. The enemy was unable to break his indomitable will, his faith in God, and his trust in the United States of America. Captain Versace, an American fighting man who epitomized the principles of his country and the Code of Conduct, was executed by the Viet Cong on 26 September 1965. Captain Versace’s gallant actions in close contact with an enemy force and unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect the utmost credit upon himself and the United States Army.