Apr. 15 in U.S. military history
1861: Following the capture of Fort Sumter by Confederate forces, Pres. Abraham Lincoln issues a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteers (at the time, the Army consisted of just 16,000 men) to quell the rebellion.
Four years to the day later, Lincoln would die from John Wilkes Booth mortally wounding him with a gunshot to the back of the head at Ford’s Theater.
1912: U.S. Navy scout cruisers USS Chester (CL-1) and USS Salem (CL-3) set out from Massachusetts to assist survivors of RMS Titanic
1947: Former platoon leader in the 761st “Black Panther” Tank Battalion Jackie Robinson breaks the “color barrier,” becoming the first black baseball player in the Major Leagues.
1961: B-26B Invader bombers, painted by the CIA to resemble Cuban Air Force planes, attack Cuban airfields in preparation for the upcoming Bay of Pigs Invasion. Under cover of darkness, a diversionary landing of 164 Cuban exiles, supported by U.S. Navy destroyers, departs for Baracoa, Cuba but turns around due to militia activity on the coast.
That same day, USS Bainbridge (DLGN-25) – America’s first nuclear-powered frigate – launches at Quincy, Mass. Together with the aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN-65) and cruiser Long Beach (CGN-9), the three nuclear-powered ships would sail non-stop around the world in 1964, covering over 30,000 miles in 65 days.
1962: Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 362 deploys to the Mekong Delta, becoming the first operational Marine Corps unit to serve in Vietnam.