Today’s post is in honor of Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Taylor, who gave his life for our country on this date in 2009. The 27-year-old explosive ordnance technician from Bovey, Minn. was clearing a bridge near Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan, when he was killed by an improvised explosive device. He had previously served in Iraq and was assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 372, Marine Wing Support Group 37, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force.
1861: 1,000 Confederate soldiers land on Florida’s Santa Rosa Island and assault Union-held Fort Pickens. The attackers withdraw after the federal guns inflict 90 casualties. Fort Pickens sits across the bay from Naval Air Station Pensacola – the birthplace of Naval aviation – and coastal defense guns were installed at the old fort during World War II.
1940: After USS Nautilus (SS-168) conducts a successful test, Secretary of the Navy William F. Knox approves a plan for 24 submarines to each carry 20,000 gallons of aviation gasoline for refueling seaplanes at sea.
1950: As the U.S. military crosses into North Korea, Pfc. Robert H. Young and his fellow troopers of the 1st Cavalry Division are spearheading an assault. Young is wounded once by an enemy barrage, but he refuses medical treatment and remains on the line. He is wounded a second time, and is awaiting treatment when the enemy threatens to surround the Americans. Young rejoins the action and, from an exposed position, kills five enemy soldiers. He is hit a third time, but remains on the field – directing friendly tanks to destroy enemy gun positions. Young is hit by an enemy mortar blast while he is treating his fellow wounded soldiers, but despite his multiple grievous wounds, he instructs the medics to help the others first.
Pfc. Young will perish from his wounds on November 9, 1950, and is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
1951: When a dug-in enemy position hammers his fellow soldiers during the battle for Heartbreak Ridge, Sgt. 1st Class Tony K. Burris charges and destroys the position with grenades – killing 15. The next day (Oct. 9), Burris is wounded by enemy machinegun fire while assaulting enemy positions on the next ridge. He continues his assault and is wounded a second time. He reaches the top of the ridge, then remains in an exposed position to draws enemy fire and pinpoint their location for a recoilless rifle team. When that position is destroyed, Burris continues on to the next ridge, killing the heavy machinegun crew’s six members. He charges one more position, and is fatally cut down as he hurls his last grenade into the position, which destroys the enemy emplacement.
Burris is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
1967: Che Guevara, co-founder of Fidel Castro’s Communist regime, is executed by firing squad while leading a revolution in Bolivia. While the cold-blooded murderer and terrorist remains an icon to many Americans, many of his fans wouldn’t exist had the Soviets left their ballistic missiles on Cuba: “If the nuclear missiles had remained,” Che said, “we would have used them against the very heart of America, including New York City […] We will march the path of victory even if it costs millions of atomic victims […] We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm.”