Today in U.S. military history: UFOs and Pirates of the Caribbean

Today’s post is in honor of Lance Cpl. Joseph R. Giese, who was killed during combat operations in Afghanistan’s Helmand province on this day in 2011. The 24-year-old native of Winder, Ga. was assigned to 2d Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.


1822: The sailors of the West Indies Squadron made this a pretty rough day for the pirates of the Caribbean: the schooner USS Porpoise (the first of five so-named Naval vessels) captures six pirate ships off the Cuban coast and destroys their base. Meanwhile, the heavily-armed brig USS Spark recaptures a Dutch sloop from pirates as another landing party destroys their base.

1942: After sailing across the Pacific to Japan, USS Pollack (SS-180) becomes the first U.S. submarine to sink an enemy vessel during World War II by torpedoing the 2,250-ton cargo ship Unkai Maru No. 1 off the coast of Honshu.

Lt. Cmdr. Stanley P. Moseley’s crew will send another Japanese cargo vessel to the bottom two days later.

1945: Off Manila Bay, a screening force of four American destroyers – USS Charles Ausburne (DD-294), USS Braine (DD-630), USS Shaw (DD-373), and USS Russel (DD-419) – move out to intercept a target spotted by radar. They find the Japanese destroyer Hinoki, which the flotilla quickly sinks, marking the last surface naval engagement of the Pacific War.

1948: (Featured image) After officials receive multiple calls from citizens to investigate a large metallic object flying through the sky, a flight of four Kentucky Air National Guard F-51 Mustangs (having just been re-designated from P-51) takes off to intercept the UFO.

The pilots chase what appears to be large and metallic object (most likely a high-altitude secret research balloon), and call of the flight once they pass 22,000 feet. However, one Mustang pilot, Capt. Thomas F. Mantell, continues to climb and will pass out from lack of oxygen. His plane spirals to the ground and crashes, killing the World War II veteran aviator and attracting sensational nationwide attention.


The seaplane tender USS Norton Sound launches a Skyhook atmospheric research balloon, which was the likely cause of many “UFO” reports in the 1940s and ’50s

1993: Hundreds of U.S. Marines engage Somali warlord Mohamed Farah Aidid’s forces in a 40-minute firefight – the largest clash of Operation RESTORE HOPE.

[Originally published at OpsLens.com]

Author: Chris Carter

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