1778 – British and French fleets clash in the Battle of St. Lucia. The Battle of St. Lucia or the Battle of the Cul de Sac was a naval battle fought off the island of St. Lucia in the West Indies during the American War of Independence on 15 December 1778, between the British Royal Navy and the French Navy.
1791 – Following ratification by the state of Virginia, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, become the law of the land. In September 1789, the first Congress of the United States approved 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution and sent them to the states for ratification. The amendments were designed to protect the basic rights of U.S. citizens, guaranteeing the freedom of speech, press, assembly, and exercise of religion; the right to fair legal procedure and to bear arms; and that powers not delegated to the federal government would be reserved for the states and the people. Influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689, the Bill of Rights was also drawn from Virginia’s Declaration of Rights, drafted by George Mason in 1776. Mason, a native Virginian, was a lifelong champion of individual liberties, and in 1787 he attended the Constitutional Convention and criticized the final document for lacking constitutional protection of basic political rights. In the ratification struggle that followed, Mason and other critics agreed to support the Constitution in exchange for the assurance that amendments would be passed immediately. On December 15, 1791, Virginia became the 10th of 14 states to approve 10 of the 12 amendments, thus giving the Bill of Rights the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it legal. Of the two amendments not ratified, the first concerned the population system of representation, while the second prohibited laws varying the payment of congressional members from taking effect until an election intervened. The first of these two amendments was never ratified, while the second was finally ratified more than 200 years later, in 1992.
1862 – Nathan B. Forrest crossed the Tennessee River at Clifton with 2,500 men to raid the communications around Vicksburg.
1862 – In New Orleans, Union Major General Benjamin F. Butler turned his command over to Nathaniel Banks. The citizens of New Orleans held farewell parties for Butler, “The Beast,” but only after he had already left. Maj. Gen Benjamin Butler was given the unusual nickname “Spoons” due to his apparent penchant for stealing the silver while occupying New Orleans. He was also called “Beast” for alleged insults to the women in the town. Both the names were coined by Confederates.
1864 – The once powerful Confederate Army of Tennessee is nearly destroyed when a Union army commanded by General George Thomas swarms over the Rebel trenches around Nashville. This was the sad finale in a disastrous year for the General John Bell Hood’s Confederates. The Rebels lost a long summer campaign for Atlanta in September when Hood abandoned the city to the army of William T. Sherman. Hood then took his diminished force north into Tennessee. He hoped to draw Sherman out of the deep South, but Sherman had enough troops to split his force and send part of it to chase Hood into Tennessee. In November, Sherman took the remainder of his army on his march across Georgia. On November 30, Hood attacked the troops of General John Schofield at Franklin, Tennessee. The Confederates suffered heavy casualties and much of the army’s leadership structure was destroyed: twelve generals were killed or wounded along with 60 regimental leaders. When Schofield moved north to Nashville to join Thomas, Hood followed him and dug his army in outside of Nashville’s formidable defenses. Thomas saw his chance to deal a decisive blow to Hood. More than 50,000 Yankees faced a Rebel force that now totaled less than 20,000. Historians have long questioned why Hood even approached the strongly fortified city with the odds so stacked against him. Early in the morning of December 15, Thomas sent a force under General James Steedman against the Confederates’ right flank. The Union troops overran the Confederate trenches and drove the Rebels back more than a mile. The short December day halted the fighting, but Thomas struck again on December 16. This time, the entire Confederate line gave way and sent Hood’s men from the field in a total rout. Only General Stephen Lee’s valiant rear-guard action prevented total destruction of the Confederate army.More than 6,000 Rebels were killed or wounded and 3,000 Yankees lost their lives. Hood and his damaged army retreated to Mississippi, the Army of Tennessee no longer a viable offensive fighting force.
1864 – As Major General Thomas opened his offensive in the pivotal battle of Nashville, gunboats of the Mississippi Squadron, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Fitch, operated closely with the Union Army by engaging batteries on the Cumberland River and helping to secure a resounding victory for Thomas. On the night of 14 December, Fitch, together with the seven gunboats of his command, had moved down toward the main Confederate battery guarding the river and Major General Forrest’s far left. Fitch described the joint effort: “Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Howard then returned to where I was, just above their works, and reported but four guns in position. These I could easily have silenced and driven off, but our army had not yet sufficiently advanced to insure their capture. I therefore maneuvered around above them till the afternoon, when our cavalry had reached the desired position in the rear; the Neosho and Carondelet then moved down again and the rebels, finding the position they were in, had tried to remove the guns, but were too late; our cavalry closed in and took them with but little resistance.” The Union gunboats then engaged other batteries down the river, in some cases silencing them with gun- -fire and in others absorbing the attention of the Confederate gunners while Union cavalry encircled them. By the afternoon of 15 December, Hood’s batteries on the Cumberland had been captured and his left flank, further inland, was in full retreat. In reply to congratulations from President Lincoln on his important victory, Thomas remarked: “I must not forget to report the operations of Brigadier-General Johnson in successfully driving the enemy, with the cooperation of the gunboats, under Lieutenant Commander Fitch, from their established batteries on the Cumberland River below the City of Nashville.
1864 – An expedition under Acting Master William G. Morris, including U.S.S. Coeur De Lion and U.S.S. Mercury, seized and burned more than thirty large boats. The Confederates had been massing them on the Coan River, Virginia. Defending soldiers were also driven off in a brief engagement.
1890 – After many years of successfully resisting white efforts to destroy him and the Sioux people, the great Sioux chief and holy man Sitting Bull is killed by Indian police at the Standing Rock reservation in South Dakota. One of the most famous Native Americans of the 19th century, Sitting Bull (Tatanka Iyotake) was a fierce enemy of Anglo-Americans from a young age. Deeply devoted to the traditional ways, Sitting Bull believed that contact with non-Indians undermined the strength and identity of the Sioux and would lead to their ultimate decline. However, Sitting Bull’s tactics were generally more defensive than aggressive, especially as he grew older and became a Sioux leader. Fundamentally, Sitting Bull and those associated with his tribe wished only to be left alone to pursue their traditional ways, but the Anglo settlers’ growing interest in the land and the resulting confinement of Indians to government-controlled reservations inevitably led to conflicts. Sitting Bull’s refusal to follow an 1875 order to bring his people to the Sioux reservation directly led to the famous Battle of the Little Bighorn, during which the Sioux and Cheyenne wiped out five troops of Custer’s 7th Cavalry. After the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Sitting Bull and his followers fled to Canada for four years. Faced with mass starvation among his people, Sitting Bull finally returned to the United States and surrendered in 1883. Sitting Bull was assigned to the Standing Rock reservation in present-day South Dakota, where he maintained considerable power despite the best efforts of the Indian bureau agents to undermine his influence. When the apocalyptic spiritual revival movement known as the Ghost Dance began to grow in popularity among the Sioux in 1890, Indian agents feared it might lead to an Indian uprising. Wrongly believing that Sitting Bull was the driving force behind the Ghost Dance, agent James McLaughlin sent Indian police to arrest the chief at his small cabin on the Grand River. The Indian police rousted the naked chief from his bed at 6:00 in the morning, hoping to spirit him away before his guards and neighbors knew what had happened. When the fifty-nine-year-old chief refused to go quietly, a crowd gathered and a few hotheaded young men threatened the Indian police. Someone fired a shot that hit one of the Indian police; they retaliated by shooting Sitting Bull in the chest and head. The great chief was killed instantly. Before the ensuing gunfight ended, twelve other Indians were dead and three were wounded. The man who had nobly resisted the encroachment of whites and their culture for nearly three decades was buried in a far corner of the post cemetery at Fort Yates. Two weeks later, the army brutally suppressed the Ghost Dance movement with the massacre of a band of Sioux at Wounded Knee, the final act in the long and tragic history of the American war against the Plains Indians.
1914 – The outbreak of fighting in Europe triggered the closing of the New York Stock Exchange, as market officials looked to prevent a rapid-fire liquidation of the European account, then worth roughly $2.4 billion. But, after being closed for over four months, the NYSE got back into the swing of things on this day, albeit with a tight set of trading restrictions designed to prevent fiscal disaster.
1924 – Soviets warned the U.S. against repeated entry of ships into the territorial waters of the USSR.
1933 – The Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution officially becomes effective, repealing the Eighteenth Amendment that prohibited the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol.
1938 – Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Jefferson Memorial took place in Washington, D.C.
1941 – An American Federation of Labor council adopted a no-strike policy in war industries, which included automotive plants being converted to military production (domestic automobile manufacturing stopped completely from 1941 to 1944). The U.S. was gearing up for the worst years of World War II.
1942 – Admiral Tanaka’s supply flotilla begins missions to aid the building of an airfield on New Georgia to support the Japanese positions on Guadalcanal.
1942 – The Battle of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse begins during the Guadalcanal Campaign. The battle, part of which is sometimes called the Battle of the Gifu, lasted to 23 January 1943 and was primarily an engagement between United States and Imperial Japanese forces in the hills near the Matanikau River area on Guadalcanal during the Guadalcanal Campaign. The U.S. forces were under the overall command of Alexander Patch and the Japanese forces were under the overall command of Harukichi Hyakutake. In the battle, U.S. Soldiers and Marines, assisted by native Solomon Islanders, attacked Japanese Army (IJA) forces defending well-fortified and entrenched positions on several hills and ridges. The most prominent hills were called Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse by the Americans. The U.S. was attempting to destroy the Japanese forces on Guadalcanal and the Japanese were trying to hold their defensive positions until reinforcements could arrive. Both sides experienced extreme difficulties in fighting in the thick jungles and tropical environment that existed in the battle area. Many of the American troops were also involved in their first combat operations. The Japanese were mostly cut off from resupply and suffered greatly from malnourishment and lack of medical care. After some difficulty, the U.S. succeeded in taking Mount Austen, in the process reducing a strongly defended position called the Gifu, as well as the Galloping Horse and the Sea Horse. In the meantime, the Japanese secretly decided to abandon Guadalcanal and withdrew to the west coast of the island. From that location most of the surviving Japanese troops were successfully evacuated during the first week of February 1943.
1943 – The US 5th Army begins new attacks. The 2nd Corps renews its drive toward San Pietro and Monte Lungo. To the right the 6th Corps attacks as well. The 1st Moroccan Division performs well.
1943 – The US 112th Cavalry Regiment (General Cunningham), with Coast Guard support, lands at Arawe, off the island of New Britain. This is a diversionary operation. Task Force 76 (Admiral Barbey) provides naval support for the operation. There is an air attack on the Japanese airfield at Cape Gloucester in support of the operation as well.
1944 – On the island of Mindoro (about 75 miles from Manila), American forces, under the command of General Dunckel, land at San Augustin. The force consists of part of US 24th Division and a parachute regiment. There is almost no resistance and American troops advance up to 8 miles inland. Naval support includes 3 battleships and 6 escort carriers. One carrier and two destroyers are damaged by Kamikaze attacks. Meanwhile, TF38 continues air strikes on airfields on Luzon. Coast Guardsmen participated in the landings.
1944 – The US 7th Army enters Germany, along the Palatinate frontier, from Alsace between Wissembourg and Lauterbourg.
1944 – Army Air Force Band leader and trombonist Glenn Miller boarded a single-engine C-64 Norseman in England for a flight to France, where he was to make arrangements for a Christmas broadcast. The plane never reached France and no trace of it or its occupants was ever found. Iowa-born Glenn Miller became a professional musician after graduating from high school. By the time he volunteered for military service in 1942, the Glenn Miller Orchestra was world famous and had appeared in two motion pictures. Miller persuaded the U.S. Army to accept his service to “put a little more spring into the feet of our marching men and a little more joy into their hearts.” For the next 18 months, Miller’s 50-member band stayed busy with morale-building concerts and radio broadcasts. No cause has ever been established for the loss of Miller’s aircraft, but the Norseman did not have de-icing equipment on board and it is likely that icy weather forced the plane down in the English Channel.
1944 – In Hungary a gold train departed Budapest on orders from Adolf Eichmann. In May it was intercepted by American forces in Austria. Some of the valuables were requisitioned by US commanders and the rest was later auctioned in NY and the proceeds given to a UN agency to help Jewish refugees. Kenneth Alford later authored “The Spoils of World War II.”
1945 – General Douglas MacArthur, in his capacity as Supreme Commander of Allied Powers in the Pacific, brings an end to Shintoism as Japan’s established religion. The Shinto system included the belief that the emperor, in this case Hirohito, was divine. On September 2, 1945 aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, MacArthur signed the instrument of Japanese surrender on behalf of the victorious Allies. Before the economic and political reforms the Allies devised for Japan’s future could be enacted, however, the country had to be demilitarized. Step one in the plan to reform Japan entailed the demobilization of Japan’s armed forces, and the return of all troops from abroad. Japan had had a long history of its foreign policy being dominated by the military, as evidenced by Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoye’s failed attempts to reform his government and being virtually pushed out of power by career army officer Hideki Tojo. Step two was the dismantling of Shintoism as the Japanese national religion. Allied powers believed that serious democratic reforms, and a constitutional form of government, could not be put into place as long as the Japanese people looked to an emperor as their ultimate authority. Hirohito was forced to renounce his divine status, and his powers were severely limited–he was reduced to little more than a figurehead. And not merely religion, but even compulsory courses on ethics–the power to influence the Japanese population’s traditional religious and moral duties–were wrenched from state control as part of a larger decentralization of all power.
1946 – Vietnam leader Ho Chi Minh sent a note to the new French Premier, Leon Blum, asking for peace talks.
1946 – U.S.-backed Iranian troops evict the leadership of the breakaway Republic of Mahabad, a short-lived self-governing Kurdish state in present-day Iran, putting an end to the Iran crisis of 1946. The Iran crisis of 1946, also known as the Iran-Azerbaijan Crisis, followed the end of World War II and stemmed from the Soviet Union’s refusal to relinquish occupied Iranian territory, despite repeated assurances. In 1941 Iran had been jointly invaded and occupied by the Allied powers of the Soviet Red Army in the north and by the British in the centre and south. Iran was used by the Americans and the British as a transportation route to provide vital supplies to the Soviet Union’s war efforts. As of August 1941, the United States was a neutral nation and had not entered as a belligerent in World War II. Therefore, the bloc known as ‘The Allies’ were principally (with Poland and France occupied by Germany in 1939 and 1940, respectively) the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, recently forming their alliance after the German invasion of territories of the Western Soviet Union in June 1941. In the aftermath of the occupation of Iran, those Allied forces agreed to withdraw from Iran within six months after the cessation of hostilities. However, when this deadline came in early 1946, the Soviets, under Joseph Stalin, remained in Iran and local pro-Soviet Iranians proclaimed a separatist People’s Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Mahabad. In late 1945, in addition to the People’s Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Mahabad also came into existence. Soon, the alliance of the Kurdish and People’s Azerbaijani forces, supported in arms and training by the Soviet Union, engaged in fighting with Iranian forces, resulting in a total of 2,000 casualties. Negotiation by Iranian premier Ahmad Qavam and diplomatic pressure on the Soviets by the United States eventually led to Soviet withdrawal. The crisis is seen as one of the early conflicts in the growing Cold War at the time.
1948 – The Secretary of the Navy signed a “Memorandum of Agreement” with the State Department which laid the basis for the modern Marine Security Guard program at U.S. embassies throughout the world.
1948 – Former State Department official Alger Hiss was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York on charges of perjury. They charged that he lied in denying that he gave Chambers confidential documents and that he had spoken with Chambers in Feb and Mar of 1938. A first trial ended in a hung jury. Hiss, accused of lying about dealings with confessed Communist spy Whittaker Chambers, was convicted in 1950 and served nearly four years in prison.
1950 – The F-86 Sabre jets of the U.S. Air Force’s 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing flew their first missions of the Korean War.
1950 – U.N. forces withdraw south of the 38th parallel. Eighth Army established the Imjin River defense line north of Seoul.
1960 – Richard Pavlick is arrested for plotting to assassinate U.S. President-Elect John F. Kennedy. Richard Paul Pavlick (February 13, 1887 – November 11, 1975) was a retired postal worker from New Hampshire who stalked U.S. President-Elect John F. Kennedy, with the intent of assassinating him. On December 11, 1960 in Palm Beach, Florida, Pavlick positioned himself to carry out the assassination by blowing up Kennedy and himself with dynamite, but delayed the attempt because Kennedy was with his wife and children. He was then arrested before he was able to stage another attempt.
1965 – In the first raid on a major North Vietnamese industrial target, U.S. Air Force planes destroy a thermal power plant at Uong Bi, l4 miles north of Haiphong. The plant reportedly supplied about 15 percent of North Vietnam’s total electric power production.
1965 – Launch of Gemini 6 with Captain Walter M. Schirra, Jr., USN, as Command Pilot. The mission included 16 orbits in 25 hours and 51 minutes. Recovery was by HS-11 helicopters from USS Wasp (CVS-18).
1965 – Two U.S. manned spacecraft, Gemini 6 and Gemini 7, maneuvered to within 10 feet of each other while in orbit.
1969 – President Richard Nixon announces that 50,000 additional U.S. troops will be pulled out of South Vietnam by April 15, 1970. This was the third reduction since the June Midway conference, when Nixon announced his Vietnamization program. Under the Vietnamization program, the South Vietnamese forces would receive intensified training and new equipment so they could gradually assume overall responsibility for the war. Concurrent with this effort, Nixon announced that he would begin to bring U.S. troops home. This third increment would bring the total reductions to 115,000. By January 1972, there were only around 70,000 U.S. troops left in South Vietnam. Noting the steady withdrawal of American forces, the North Vietnamese decided to launch a massive invasion of South Vietnam in March 1972. The South Vietnamese forces, supported by American advisers and U.S. airpower, reeled under the onslaught but ultimately prevailed, holding on despite overwhelming odds. After much posturing and many lengthy negotiations (with additional “motivation” contributed by Nixon’s bombing of North Vietnam in December 1972), National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger and his North Vietnamese counterpart, Le Duc Tho, hammered out a peace agreement. A cease-fire went into effect on January 27, 1973. The war was over for the United States, but fighting soon resumed between North and South Vietnam. The South Vietnamese held out for nearly two years, but succumbed when the United States cut off all military support. When the North Vietnamese launched a new offensive in March 1975, South Vietnam fell in just 55 days.
1978 – In one of the most dramatic announcements of the Cold War, President Jimmy Carter states that as of January 1, 1979, the United States will formally recognize the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC) and sever relations with Taiwan. Following Mao Zedong’s successful revolution in China in 1949, the United States steadfastly refused to recognize the new communist regime. Instead, America continued to recognize and supply the Nationalist Chinese government that had been established by Chiang Kai-shek on the island of Taiwan. In 1950, during the Korean War, U.S. and PRC armed forces clashed. During the 1960s, the United States was angered by PRC support and aid to North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. By the 1970s, however, a new set of circumstances existed. From the U.S. viewpoint, closer relations with the PRC would bring economic and political benefits. Economically, American businessmen were eager to try and exploit the huge Chinese market. Politically, U.S. policymakers believed that they could play the “China card”-using closer diplomatic relations with the PRC to pressure the Soviets into becoming more malleable on a variety of issues, including arms agreements. The PRC also had come to desire better relations with its old enemy. It sought the large increase in trade with the United States that would result from normalized relations, and particularly looked forward to the technology it might obtain from America. The PRC was also looking for allies. A military showdown with its former ally, Vietnam, was in the making and Vietnam had a mutual support treaty with the Soviets. Carter’s announcement that diplomatic ties would be severed with Taiwan (which the PRC insisted on) angered many in Congress. The Taiwan Relations Act was quickly passed in retaliation. It gave Taiwan nearly the same status as any other nation recognized by the United States and also mandated that arms sales continue to the Nationalist government. In place of the U.S. embassy in Taiwan, an “unofficial” representative, called the American Institute in Taiwan, would continue to serve U.S. interests in the country.
1979 – The deposed Shah of Iran left the United States for Panama, the same day the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that Iran should release all its American hostages.
1988 – End of Earnest Will convoy operations to escort reflagged tankers in the Persian Gulf.
1990 – With one month left before a UN deadline for Iraq to leave Kuwait, Iraq gave no indication it was prepared to pull out.
1991 – Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev asked U.S. Secretary of State James Baker for formal U.S. recognition of the various Soviet republics that had declared independence.
1997 – US Defense Sec. Cohen ordered all 1.5 million men and women in uniform to be inoculated against anthrax.
1997 – In Missouri the nation’s last workable Minuteman II missile silo was destroyed in Dederick. It was the last of 150 in Missouri aimed at the Soviet Union. The missiles were deactivated and the silos destroyed due to the 1995 signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
1998 – Richard Butler, chairman of the UN Special Commission overseeing the disarmament of Iraq, reported that Saddam’s government continued to obstruct inspections.
1998 – A 40-nation conference on the Dayton accord opened in Madrid.
1998 – US forces in the Persian Gulf were ordered on high alert following credible information of an imminent terrorist attack.
1998 – The Endeavour shuttle and crew returned to Cape Canaveral in a night time landing following NASA’s first space station-building mission.
1999 – The US and China agreed to a $28 million compensation package for damage to the Chinese embassy in Belgrade on May 7. China agreed to pay $2.87 million for damage to the US Embassy and consular offices.
1999 – In North Korea a US led consortium signed a $4.6 billion deal to build 2 nuclear reactors in Kumho.
2000 – The US Army planned to hold closing ceremonies for the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga. The school planned to reopen in January as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.
2000 – Mazen Al-Najjar, a Palestinian immigrant who had taught at the Univ. of South Florida, was released following 3½ years in jail on secret evidence. He still faced deportation and was suspected of having ties with the Syrian-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
2001 – Anthony Zinni, US envoy to Israel, left after his 20 days in the region failed to produce a cease-fire.
2001 – With a crash and a large dust cloud, a 50-foot tall section of steel, the last standing piece of the World Trade Center’s façade, was brought down in New York.
2003 – The US Navy seized a boat carrying nearly two tons of hashish in the Persian Gulf. It was soon considered as the first hard evidence of al-Qaida links to drug smuggling.
2003 – Cambodia’s prime minister ordered the destruction of the country’s surface-to-air missiles to prevent them from falling into the hands of terrorists. Hun Sen issued the order after a meeting in Phnom Penh with U.S. Ambassador Charles Ray.
2003 – In Pakistan police arrested 10 people suspected of links to the Taliban and al-Qaida in two nighttime raids at Rawalpindi.
2003 – Oil prices fall 4% on the news that U.S. military forces capture Saddam Hussein near his hometown of Tikrit, Iraq.
2004 – A US interceptor missile failed to fire in a test flight from the Marshall Islands. It was the 1st test flight for the missile defense system in 2 years.
2005 – Iraq holds it’s first Parliamentary election. over 2600 precincts are established, and 300,000 election observers watch as Iraqi voters fill 275 seats in their new Parliament.
2005 – Introduction of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor into USAF active service. The Raptor achieved Full Operational Capability (FOC) in December 2007, when General John Corley of Air Combat Command (ACC) officially declared the F-22s of the integrated active duty 1st Fighter Wing and Virginia Air National Guard 192d Fighter Wing fully operational.
2006 – NATO forces launched Operation Falcon Summit with the intention of expelling Taliban fighters from the Panjawi and Zhari districts of Kandahar. Canadian troops had been fighting with Taliban fighters in the area for several months. Although the operation was under British command, the majority of movements and elements on the ground were Canadians operating from forward operating bases set up in the district during the fighting of Operation Mountain Thrust and Operation Medusa.
2006 – First flight of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all weather stealth multirole fighters undergoing testing and final development. The fifth generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions. The F-35 has three main models: the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant, the F-35B short take-off and vertical-landing (STOVL) variant, and the F-35C carrier-based CATOBAR (CV) variant. The F-35 is descended from the X-35, which was the winning design of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. It is being designed and built by an aerospace industry team led by Lockheed Martin. Other major F-35 industry partners include Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney and BAE Systems. The F-35 variants are intended to provide the bulk of its manned tactical airpower for the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy over the coming decades. Deliveries of the F-35 for the U.S. military are scheduled to be completed in 2037. F-35 JSF development is being principally funded by the United States with additional funding from partners. The partner nations are either NATO members or close U.S. allies. The United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Turkey are part of the active development program; Several additional countries have ordered, or are considering ordering, the F-35.
2007 – The focus of this operation was Iskandariyah, Babil province. On the first day of the operation, Coalition forces uncovered and destroyed a large tunnel network used by AQI to hide weapons and fighters along the banks of the Euphrates River. A large cache was turned over to coalition forces by a Concerned Local Citizen group on the same day. Operation Marne Roundup concluded at the beginning of January 2008.
2010 – Data confirms that Voyager 1 has entered the heliopause, the area of space where the Sun’s solar wind is stopped by the interstellar wind. It is believed the probe will now leave the Solar System within the next four years.
2011 – The United States flag is lowered in Baghdad marking the end of U.S. military operations in Iraq after eight years of the Iraq War. The last U.S. troops withdraw from Iraq on 18 December, although the US embassy and consulates continue to maintain a staff of more than 20,000 including US Marine Embassy Guards and between 4,000 and 5,000 private military contractors.
2011 – A French court convicts Venezuela-born terrorist Carlos the Jackal of organizing four deadly attacks in the 1980s
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
CHURCHILL, SAMUEL J.
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company G, 2d Illinois Light Artillery. Place and date: At Nashville, Tenn., 15 December 1864. Entered service at: DeKalb County, Ill. Birth: Rutland County, Vt. Date of issue: 20 January 1897. Citation: When the fire of the enemy’s batteries compelled the men of his detachment for a short time to seek shelter, he stood manfully at his post and for some minutes worked his gun alone.
Rank and organization: Seaman, Engineer’s Force, U.S. Navy. Born: 1844, Philadelphia, Pa. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 169, 8 February 1872. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Shenandoah during the rescue of a shipmate at Villefranche, 15 December 1871. Jumping overboard, Sapp gallantly assisted in saving Charles Prince, seaman, from drowning.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company K, 126th Infantry, 32d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Limon, Leyte, Philippine Islands, 15 December 1944. Entered service at: Oakdale, La. Birth: Caney Creek, La. G.O. No.: 83, 2 October 1945. Citation: He was squad leader of a 9-man patrol sent to reconnoiter a ridge held by a well-entrenched enemy force. Seeing an enemy machinegun position, he ordered his men to remain behind while he crawled to within 6 yards of the gun. One of the enemy crew jumped up and prepared to man the weapon. Quickly withdrawing, Sgt. Johnson rejoined his patrol and reported the situation to his commanding officer. Ordered to destroy the gun, which covered the approaches to several other enemy positions, he chose 3 other men, armed them with hand grenades, and led them to a point near the objective. After taking partial cover behind a log, the men had knocked out the gun and begun an assault when hostile troops on the flank hurled several grenades. As he started for cover, Sgt. Johnson saw 2 unexploded grenades which had fallen near his men. Knowing that his comrades would be wounded or killed by the explosion, he deliberately threw himself on the grenades and received their full charge in his body. Fatally wounded by the blast, he died soon afterward. Through his outstanding gallantry in sacrificing his life for his comrades, Sgt. Johnson provided a shining example of the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.
VLUG, DIRK J.
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, 126th Infantry, 32d Infantry Division. Place and date. Near Limon, Leyte, Philippine Islands, 15 December 1944. Entered service at: Grand Rapids, Mich. Birth: Maple Lake, Minn. G.O. No.: 60, 26 June 1946. Citation: He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty when an American roadblock on the Ormoc Road was attacked by a group of enemy tanks. He left his covered position, and with a rocket launcher and 6 rounds of ammunition, advanced alone under intense machinegun and 37-mm. fire. Loading single-handedly, he destroyed the first tank, killing its occupants with a single round. As the crew of the second tank started to dismount and attack him, he killed 1 of the foe with his pistol, forcing the survivors to return to their vehicle, which he then destroyed with a second round. Three more hostile tanks moved up the road, so he flanked the first and eliminated it, and then, despite a hail of enemy fire, pressed forward again to destroy another. With his last round of ammunition he struck the remaining vehicle, causing it to crash down a steep embankment. Through his sustained heroism in the face of superior forces, Pfc. Vlug alone destroyed 5 enemy tanks and greatly facilitated successful accomplishment of his battalion’s mission.
LYNCH, ALLEN JAMES
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company D, 1st Battalion (Airmobile), 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). place and date: Near My An (2), Binh Dinh province, Republic of Vietnam, 15 December 1967. Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Born: 28 October 1945, Chicago, Ill. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Lynch (then Sp4c.) distinguished himself while serving as a radio telephone operator with Company D. While serving in the forward element on an operation near the village of My An, his unit became heavily engaged with a numerically superior enemy force. Quickly and accurately assessing the situation, Sgt. Lynch provided his commander with information which subsequently proved essential to the unit’s successful actions. Observing 3 wounded comrades Lying exposed to enemy fire, Sgt. Lynch dashed across 50 meters of open ground through a withering hail of enemy fire to administer aid. Reconnoitering a nearby trench for a covered position to protect the wounded from intense hostile fire, he killed 2 enemy soldiers at point blank range. With the trench cleared, he unhesitatingly returned to the fire-swept area 3 times to carry the wounded men to safety. When his company was forced to withdraw by the superior firepower of the enemy, Sgt. Lynch remained to aid his comrades at the risk of his life rather than abandon them. Alone, he defended his isolated position for 2 hours against the advancing enemy. Using only his rifle and a grenade, he stopped them just short of his trench, killing 5. Again, disregarding his safety in the face of withering hostile fire, he crossed 70 meters of exposed terrain 5 times to carry his wounded comrades to a more secure area. Once he had assured their comfort and safety, Sgt. Lynch located the counterattacking friendly company to assist in directing the attack and evacuating the 3 casualties. His gallantry at the risk of his life is in the highest traditions of the military service, Sgt. Lynch has reflected great credit on himself, the 12th Cavalry, and the U.S. Army.