Today’s post is in honor of Marine Gunnery Sgt. Floyd C. Holley who, on this day in 2010, was killed while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. The 36-year-old from Casselberry, Fla. was serving his third combat deployment and was assigned to the 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.
1940: At Lawson Army Airfield (modern-day Fort Benning, Ga.), 1st Lt. William T. Ryder and his Parachute Test Platoon conduct the first mass parachute jump in U.S. military history.
Meanwhile, a delegation of British scientists begin sharing radar and other military technologies with the United States, hoping to secure assistance from the still-neutral nation.
1944: (Featured image) Four years after German conquerors marched through Paris’ famous Arc de Triomphe, 15,000 American soldiers of the 28th Infantry Division parade down the newly-liberated capital’s Champs-Élysées.
Meanwhile, a 21-man OSS force led by Lt. Cmdr. Frank Wisner parachutes into Romania, coordinating the rescue operation of well over 1,000 American prisoners of war before they can fall into the hands of the Soviet Red Army.
1945: An American B-29 Superfortress, carrying a load of humanitarian aid to Allied prisoners of war in Korea, is intercepted by Soviet Yak-9 fighters. The supposed allied pilots attack the bomber, forcing 1st Lt. Joseph Queen’s crew to bail out before the plane crashes. The air crew are rescued, and the incident marks one of the first international confrontations between the soon-to-be Cold War rivals.
Across the Sea of Japan, Allied occupation forces begin arriving in Japan, as well as the battleship USS Missouri, which will host the upcoming formal surrender ceremonies on Sept. 2. Gen. Douglas MacArthur is granted the authority to oversee the formation of a new Japanese government. Rather than disband the existing government, MacArthur rules through the emperor – whom the Japanese people still view as divine – during Japan’s transition to democracy.
Today’s post is in honor of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Dennis H. Laffick of the Oklahoma National Guard who was killed on this day in 1995 when his OH-58 Kiowa helicopter struck power lines during a counter-drug operation in Bixby, Okla.. The 48-year-old Chicago native previously served with the 114th Aviation Helicopter Company in Vietnam and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
1862: One year after the Confederacy’s “glorious but dear-bought victory” over the Union in the First Battle of Bull Run, the two (significantly larger) armies meet again on the same battleground. 70,000 soldiers of Union Maj. Gen. John Pope’s Army of Virginia engage Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s 50,000-man Army of Northern Virginia, resulting in heavy casualties on both sides. Maj. Gen. James Longstreet’s five divisions (25,000 men) execute the largest mass assault of the war, smashing their opponents’ left flank and forcing and the Union to once again withdraw.
1944: Army Air Force pilots Maj. Joseph Myers and 2nd Lt. Manford Croy, Jr., flying P-47 Thunderbolts, become the first fighter pilots to score a victory over a jet aircraft when they shoot down German pilot Hieronymus Lauer’s Me 262.
Meanwhile, the First Army crosses the Marne River in France just days after the liberation of Paris, and to the south, the coastal towns of Marseilles and Toulon surrender to the Allies.
1945: An advance party of 150 soldiers – the first American troops to set foot in Japan – land at the naval airfield at Atsugi to prepare for the 11th Airborne Division’s arrival in two days.
1952: Off the Korean coast, USS Boxer launches the first “guided missile” ever fired from an aircraft carrier – a radio-controlled F6F-5K Hellcat fighter fitted with 1,000-lb. bombs. A pilot controlled the drone, which was fitted with a TV camera, from a two-seat AD-2Q Skyraider. Of the six drones launched by Boxer, only one will reach its target.
Today’s post is in honor of Army PFC Tan Q. Ngo, who was killed on this day in 2008 when his mounted patrol was hit with enemy small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Ngo (20, of Beaverton, Ore.) was serving with 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment out of Hohenfels, Germany.
1776: Five days after 15,000 British soldiers land on Long Island, Gen. William Howe’s forces attack the Patriots garrisoned at Brooklyn Heights. Gen. George Washington’s troops are flanked by the Redcoats during the first major battle of the Revolutionary War and suffer some 2,000 casualties before retreating to their redoubt at Brooklyn.
Rather than press the attack and smash the rebellion, Howe ordered his troops to prepare for a siege. However, in two days, the entire 10,000-man army slips through the Royal Navy stationed along the East River and evacuates (with their arms and supplies) to Manhattan. Washington is the last man to leave. While New York City falls into enemy hands, the patriots have survived to fight another day.
1918: (Featured image) U.S. and Mexican Army soldiers, along with militia and armed civilians, clash along the border between Nogales, Ariz. and Nogales, Mexico. A handful of U.S. soldiers are killed and over 100 Mexicans, but the battle is over when the Americans seize the high ground overlooking the two Nogales on the Mexican side.
Following the battle, a chain-link fence is installed, splitting the two towns and becoming the first permanent border fence between the United States and Mexico.
Today’s post is in honor of Marine Cpl. Barton R. Humlhanz, who was killed by enemy action in Iraq’s Babil province on this day 15 years ago. Humlhanz, 23, of Hellertown, Pa. was assigned to Marine Expeditionary Unit Service Support Group 24, 24th MEU out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.
1950: The 5th Regimental Combat Team (RCT) replaces the 34th Infantry Regiment which was utterly decimated by a series of delaying actions against the North Korean Army. Since only 184 soldiers remained out of the regiment’s original strength of 1,898, surviving 34th Infantry soldiers are used to fill holes in other units and the regiment is reconstituted in Japan.
One of those 5th RCT soldiers is Master Sgt. Melvin O. Handrich, who fought in the Aleutian Islands Campaign before becoming a paratrooper and fighting across Europe. When a force of enemy soldiers attempts to overrun Handrich’s company, he leaves the relative safety of his position behind and moves forward, where he will spend the next eight hours directing mortar and artillery fire on the enemy.
When the hostile force makes another attempt to overrrun the American position, Handrich observes friendly soldiers attempting to withdraw. He crosses the fire-swept ground to rally them, and returns to his forward post. Refusing medical care or even to seek cover, the North Koreans eventually cut down Handrich. But when U.S. soldiers retake the ground, they count 70 dead enemy surrounding Handrich’s body.
1957: Following the launch of the Soviet Union’s R-7 Semyorka missile, state-run news agency TASS announces that the USSR has successfully tested a multi-stage intercontinental ballistic missile that could target “any place in the world.”