1776: Sgt. Ezra Lee silently makes his way down the Hudson River in an 8-ft. long submersible named Turtle towards British Adm. Richard Howe’s flagship, HMS Eagle, anchored just south of Manhattan. Turning two hand cranks for propulsion, Lee reaches the ship but is unable to drill into the hull in order to attach a “torpedo.” While Lee’s attack is unsuccessful, the craft designed by inventor David Bushnell marks the first-ever submarine attack.
1864: As he prepares for his March to the Sea, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman orders an evacuation of Atlanta. When the mayor protests, Sherman replies with “War is cruelty and you cannot refine it.” Government and military facilities are destroyed, and the Union provides transportation south for the displaced residents.
1903: During a period of unrest, Marines from USS Brooklyn (ACR-3) land at Beirut (modern-day Lebanon) to protect U.S. citizens and the American University.
1940: 1,200 German bombers and escorts depart airfields in France and cross into English airspace. Instead of targeting Royal Air Force bases, the warplanes hit London’s East End, marking the first day of the London Blitz. For 57 straight days, the Luftwaffe hits the English capital, killing over 40,000 but the German air crews are unable to cripple England’s war production or break the will of its people, and Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring will call off the campaign in 1941.
1942: Japan suffers its first setback of World War II when a battalion of elite Special Naval Landing Forces are forced to withdraw following their defeat by a numerically superior joint Australian-U.S. defense force at New Guinea’s Milne Bay.
1950: After a month of combat, the 1st Marine Brigade (Provisional) is pulled from the lines and sent to Japan to join the 1st and 7th Marine Regiments for the upcoming amphibious invasion at Inchon.
1997: Lockheed Martin’s F-22 “Raptor”, a fifth-generation stealth fighter billed as unmatched by “any known or projected fighter aircraft,” makes its first flight. Only 187 of the $150 million Raptors are built before production ends.
2001: Four days before the 9/11 attacks, the State Department issues a warning to U.S. citizens worldwide of a possible “terrorist threat” from “extremist groups with links to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda organization.”