Posted in Military History

1 October: Today in U.S. military history

USS Newport News — the U.S. Navy’s last all-gun heavy cruiser

Today we honor the 20 sailors killed aboard USS NEWPORT NEWS (CA-148) on this date in 1971 when an 8-inch shell detonated in the bore of the Number 2 turret during combat operations off the coast of North Vietnam. Lost were: Seaman Apprentice Herman C. Acker (19 years old, from Reserve, La.), Seaman Jack S. Bergman, Jr. (20, Baltimore), Boatswain’s Mate Third Class William Clark, Jr. (22, Vienna, Ga.), Gunner’s Mate Third Class Charles W. Clinard (21, Maysfield, Texas), Seaman Apprentice Ronald P. Daley (20, Marshfield, Mass.), Seaman Recruit Raymond R. Davis (19, Shreveport, La.), Seaman Terry W. Deal (21, Taylorsville, N.C.), Seaman Joseph Grisafi (21, Springfield, Pa.), Seaman Apprentice William Harrison III (19, Clifton Forge, Va.), Gunner’s Mate Second Class Tommy M. Hawker (27, Sutherlin, Va.), Seaman Apprentice Robert M. Kikkert (18, Muster, Ind.), Seaman Edward R. McEleney, Jr. (19, Medford, Mass.), Seaman Apprentice Robert T. Moore (20, Philadelphia), Seaman Apprentice Stanley G. Pilot, Jr. (18, Salisbury, N.C.), Seaman Ralph L. Robinson (20, Baltimore), Gunner’s Mate First Class Wesley H. Rose (37, Indianapolis), Seaman Apprentice Ricky L. Rucker (18, Baltimore), Seaman Apprentice Jeffrey L. Scheller (18, Rahway, N.J.), Seaman David L. Scott (18, Seymour, Mo.), and Seaman Richard C. Tessman (18, Seymour, Mo.). 36 others were wounded before damage control parties brought the blaze under control.

1918: When German soldiers attack the lines of the 110th Infantry Regiment, Irish immigrant and U.S. Army Maj. Joseph H. Thompson courageously defies enemy machinegun and artillery fire to encourage his troops, repulsing two separate assaults. Later, when his troops are stalled by enemy machinegun and anti-tank fire, which disabled all but one of the American tanks, Maj. Thompson charged forward of his line on three occasions through withering fire to guide the last remaining tank to a position where it could neutralize the machinegun nest. For his actions, Maj. Thompson was awarded the Medal of Honor.

In 1971, “Colonel Joe” Thompson, a former football star and successful coach at the University of Pittsburgh before leaving to fight in Mexico and World War I, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Continue reading “1 October: Today in U.S. military history”

Posted in Military History

7 December: Today in U.S. military history

Today’s post is in honor of Spc. Micah S. Gifford, who on this day in 2006 was killed by an improvised explosive device attack in Baghdad. The 27-year-old native of Redding, Calif. was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

1917: Four U.S. battleships, USS Delaware (BB-28), USS Florida (BB-30), USS New York (BB-34), and USS Wyoming (BB-32) arrive in British waters and join the British Grand Fleet for service during World War I. That same day, the United States declares war on Austria-Hungary.

1941: At 3:57 a.m., the minesweeper USS Condor spots a periscope at the entrance to Pearl Harbor. The ship signals the nearby destroyer USS Ward, whose crew begins searching for the unidentified vessel. At 6:37 a.m., Ward spots the periscope as a two-man Japanese mini-sub attempts to follow a U.S. cargo ship into the harbor and sinks the enemy warship – the first U.S. shots of World War II.

Having achieved total tactical and strategic surprise, Vice Adm. Chuichi Nagumo’s 1st Air Fleet begins their attack on Pearl Harbor. The strike is conducted in two waves: The first wave of 183 enemy aircraft strikes just before 8:00 a.m. The second wave of 170 planes hits a little after 8:30 a.m. Continue reading “7 December: Today in U.S. military history”

Posted in Images Military History

20 incredible aircraft of the Strategic Air Command

When most American troops were returning to civilian life after winning of World War II, the Army Air Force established a new outfit, responsible for delivering America’s new atomic weapon: Strategic Air Command. Before the United States had an arsenal of nuclear-armed submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles, the only way to target our opponents was to send the pilots and crew of SAC flying over hostile territory. Advancements in jets, missiles, and air defense technology meant SAC’s arsenal of planes had to constantly adapt and be replaced in order to provide the nuclear deterrent needed during the Cold War. Here are just some of the aircraft used by SAC during its 45-year history:

B-50 Superfortress

After World War II, Boeing modified its iconic B-29 design, adding more powerful engines, a larger tail fin, and a stronger air frame. Boeing also produced reconnaissance and aerial tanker versions of their last piston-powered warplane. RB-50s conducted reconnaissance flights over the Soviet Union, but the advent of jet-powered MiG fighters means that Soviet flyers can – and on occasion do – shoot down these high-flying “Superforts.”