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January 19 in U.S. military history

Today we honor six Marines killed when their CH-53D Super Stallion helicopter crashed while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province on this date in 2012. The fallen: Capt. Daniel B. Bartle, 27, of Ferndale, Wash.; Capt. Nathan R. McHone, 29, of Crystal Lake, Ill.; Master Sgt. Travis W. Riddick, 40, of Centreville, Iowa; Cpl. Joseph D. Logan, 22, of Willis, Texas; Cpl. Kevin J. Reinhard, 25, of Colonia, N.J.; and Cpl. Jesse W. Stites, 23, of North Beach, Md.. They were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

Bartle, McHone, Riddick, Logan, Reinhard, Stites (left to right)

1770: The little-known but historically significant Battle of Golden Hill erupts in New York City between members of the patriot organization “Sons of Liberty” and a contingent of British soldiers. The clash begins when the “Sons,” whom the Redcoats had labeled as “the real enemies of society,” snatch a few of the King’s men, who are cutting down wooden “liberty poles” (symbols of resistance against British rule) which the Sons had erected. Redcoats from the nearby barracks respond, and a bayonet charge is ordered. Several are wounded on both sides, and one civilian is killed.

Less than seven weeks before the Boston Massacre, the Battle of Golden Hill is considered by some historians as the first armed clash of the American Revolution.

1862: In southern Kentucky, a Union force commanded by Brig. Gen. George H. Thomas hands the Confederates their first significant defeat of the Civil War in the Battle of Mill Springs – known to Southerners as the Battle of Fishing Creek. Continue reading “January 19 in U.S. military history”

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9 October: Today in U.S. military history

USS Guavina (AGSS-362) fueling a Martin P5M-1 Marlin of Patrol Squadron 44 (VP-44) in the open sea off Norfolk, Virginia (USA), in 1955.

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 refueling of a seaplane, 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, the 1st Cavalry Division spearheads the assault. Pfc. Robert H. Young is wounded once by an enemy barrage, but he refuses medical treatment and remains on the line. Wounded a second time and awaiting treatment, he springs back into action when the enemy threatens to surround the Americans. Firing from an exposed position, he kills five enemy soldiers and 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 wounded comrades, 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. Continue reading “9 October: Today in U.S. military history”

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Sept. 17: Today in military history

Today’s post is in honor of the crew of CONDOR 01, an Air Force F-105 “Wild Weasel” jet shot down by an enemy surface-to-air missile while escorting a strike package to Hanoi. Both the pilot, Capt. Thomas O’Neal Zorn Jr. (24, of Waycross, Ga.) and electronic warfare operator 1st Lt. Michael S. Turose (24, Parma, Ohio), ejected from their aircraft over the Gulf of Tonkin on this date in 1972, but enemy fire prevented rescue crews from recovering the men. Zorn and Turose are memorialized at the Courts of the Missing in Honolulu.


1862: The Battle of Antietam (Maryland) – the bloodiest single-day battle in American history – opens between Confederate Army forces under Gen. Robert E. Lee and Union Army forces under Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan. After 12 hours of fighting, some 23,000 Americans are dead, wounded, or missing.

Though a strategic victory for the Union, the battle will prove tactically inconclusive for both sides.

1908: 2,500 people gather at Fort Myer, Va. to watch Orville Wright demonstrate his Wright Flyer to the Army Signal Corps. One of the propellers breaks during the flight, sending the aircraft nose-first into the ground, severely wounding Wright and killing his passenger, Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge. Although Wright survived the first-ever fatal aircraft incident, he would spend the next seven weeks recovering in an Army hospital.

Continue reading “Sept. 17: Today in military history”

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4 September: Today in U.S. military history

Surrender ceremony on Wake Island, 1945

Today’s post is in honor of Capt. Raymond P. Salzarulo, Jr. who was killed when his F-4C Phantom was shot down by an enemy surface-to-air missile over North Vietnam on this day in 1966. Although no parachutes were spotted, Salzarulo’s pilot, 1st Lt. John H. Nasmyth Jr., survived and spent the next 2,355 days as a prisoner of war. Salzarulo, a native of Hollansbee, W. Va. and a graduate of the Air Force Academy (Class of ’64), served with the famed 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron out of Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base. Originally listed as missing in action, his remains were identified in 1990 and he is buried next to the headstone for his father Ray Sr., a LB-30 Liberator pilot who was lost in an attack on the retreating Japanese fleet after the Battle of Midway, at Arlington National Cemetery.
Continue reading “4 September: Today in U.S. military history”

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9 April: This day in military history

Pfc. Ambrose

Today’s post is in honor of Pfc. Gregory F. Ambrose, who was killed during a firefight on 15 March 1968 in the Republic of Vietnam’s Gia Dinh province. Pfc. Ambrose had served in Vietnam for just under a year, assigned to B Company, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division and was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V.”


1865: The war lost, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee concludes, “There is nothing left for me to do, but to go and see Gen. [Ulysses S.] Grant, and I would rather die a thousand deaths.”

Lee formally surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to Grant at the home of Wilmer McLean in the village of Appomattox Court House, Virginia. Still-operating Confederate forces will surrender within months.

94th Aero Squadron pilots (left to right) Eddie Rickenbacker, Douglas Campbell, and Kenneth Marr in front of a Nieuport fighter. (U.S. Army image)

1918: The famed 94th “Hat in the Ring” Aero Squadron moves up to the Croix de Metz Aerodrome in France, becoming the first American aviation outfit to enter combat. In May, Lt. Douglas Campbell becomes the first American-trained pilot to earn “ace” status, and fellow squadron mate Lt. Eddie Rickenbacker – who will ultimately become America’s top flying ace of World War I – scores his fifth victory in June.

1942: Having run out of food, ammunition, and supplies after months of fighting the Japanese, Maj. Gen. Edward P. King surrenders over 11,000 American and 60,000 Filipino forces under his command on Luzon Island to the Japanese. Immediately after the fall of Bataan, the Japanese begin bombarding Lt. Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright and some 10,000 troops now isolated on the island fortress of Corregidor, who will manage to hold out for a month before they must surrender as well. Continue reading “9 April: This day in military history”