This Day in US Military History

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    This is an FYI thread showing important events in the US military, a few events extend beyond. The lists are not all encompassing, major battles are mostly omitted. Additions and comments are welcome.

    My primary source:

    This Day in U.S. Military History

    10 August

    1776 – Word of the United States Declaration of Independence reaches London.

    1821 – Missouri enters the Union as the 24th state–and the first located entirely west of the Mississippi River.

    1846 – After a decade of debate about how best to spend a bequest left to America from an obscure English scientist, President James K. Polk signs the Smithsonian Institution Act into law.

    1914 – France declares war on Austria-Hungary.

    1916 – First Naval aircraft production contract, for N-9s.

    1921 – Franklin D. Roosevelt (39) was stricken with polio at his summer home on the Canadian island of Campobello, New Brunswick.

    1921 – Congress establishes the Bureau of Aeronautics under RADM William Moffett.

    1943 - "Pearl Harbor, Aug. 10, (AP) - A Navy bomber crashed in the Pearl Harbor Navy yard during maneuvers today, killing three of its crew and injuring 17 persons, among them four civilian employees." The aircraft struck a loaded bus and eight civilians died, in addition to the three-plane crew.

    1945 – Just a day after the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan submits its acquiescence to the Potsdam Conference terms of unconditional surrender, as President Harry S. Truman orders a halt to atomic bombing.

    1949 – President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Bill, which establishes the Department of Defense.

    1950 – The first Marine Corps helicopter rescue of a downed pilot was successfully made by VMO-6.

    1955 - Two United States Air Force Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar transports of the 10th Troop Carrier Squadron, 60th Troop Carrier Group, collide over Edelweiler, Germany, near Stuttgart, shortly after takeoff for training mission from Stuttgart Army Airfield near Echterdingen. C-119G, 53-3222, c/n 11238, piloted by Robert T. Asher, and C-119G, 53-7841, c/n 11258, piloted by Eugene L. Pesci, both crash. In all, 66 died, 44 on one Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar, and 22 on the other. Troops aboard were of the Army's 499th Engineering Battalion.

    1961 – First use in Vietnam War of the Agent Orange by the U.S. Army.

    1961 – Test pilot Forest Petersen flew the X-15 to 23,835 meters (78,200 feet) and Mach 4.11.

    1965 – Test pilot Joe Engle flew the X-15 to 82,601 meters (271,013 feet; 51.33 miles) and Mach 5.20.

    1965 - A Virginia Air Guard Cessna L-19 Bird Dog crashes at Camp Pickett, Virginia, while flying a support mission for forces in summer field training, killing the crew. Pilot Capt. Laurence A. White and S/Sgt. Melvin D. Mangum, both of the “Richmond Howitzers,” are killed while flying (KWF) when the liaison aircraft comes down near the Nottoway River reservoir.

    1988 – President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act, a measure providing $20,000 payments to Japanese-Americans interned by the U.S. government during World War II.

    1988 - US Navy Kaman SH-2F Seasprite, BuNo 161910, assigned to HSL-35 NAS North Island. Aircraft suffered tail structure failure and loss of directional control, crashed into ocean approximately 30 miles off Point Loma while returning from weapons training exercise at NALF San Celemente Island, the co-pilot (Lt. Walt Hogan) perished in the crash, the other 3 crew-members survived.

    1993 - A McDonnell-Douglas AV-8B Harrier II, BuNo 162955, of VMA-231, crashed on the runway at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina as the pilot was doing "touch and go" landings. The aircraft's flaps jammed when moisture got into the flap controller causing it to short out. The pilot ejected before the aircraft hit the runway however his parachute descended into the fireball killing him.

    2007 – Former USS Jouett (CG-29) was sunk as a target during Exercise Valiant Shield.

    2011 – Former USS Arthur W. Radford (DD-968) was scuttled as an artificial reef at Del-Jersey-Land reef, New Jersey.
     
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    11 August

    1812 – USS Constitution captures and destroys British brig Lady Warren.

    1860 – The first US successful silver mill began operation near Virginia City, Nev.

    1909 – The SOS distress signal was first used by an American ship, the Arapahoe, off Cape Hatteras, N.C.

    1909 – Tug USS Nezinscot, in heavy weather off Rockport, Massachusetts, suffered a shift in cargo and capsized.

    1921 – Carrier arresting gear first tested at Hampton Roads.

    1923 – MCRD transferred from Mare Island to its present location at San Diego.

    1926 - Second Lieutenant Eugene Hoy Barksdale is killed when the Douglas O-2 observation plane, 25–350, McCook Field project number P-441, he was testing went into an uncontrollable spin over McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio. His parachute snagged on the wingstruts preventing escape from the aircraft. Barksdale Field, later Barksdale Air Force Base, is named for him upon establishment at the Military Reservation, Bossier Parish, Louisiana on 2 February 1933.

    1939 - Nine Army Air Corps crew are killed in the takeoff crash of Douglas B-18A Bolo, 37-488,[199] of the 21st Reconnaissance Squadron, at Langley Field, Virginia. An engine fails on liftoff and though the pilot tries to glide for the Back River, he stalls, falls short, crashes and burns.

    1939 – Two U.S. Navy aviators are killed in the crash of their bomber during gunnery practice at Miramar Field, north of San Diego. Killed when the plane crashes and burns are Ens. T. R. Wood, USNR, 28, of Tacoma, Washington, and Radioman (1-C) V. P. Armstrong, 33, of Bristol, Pennsylvania. Wood's widow lives in Coronado, California, and his father, J. W. Wood Sr., in Tacoma. "The navy plane was attached to bombing squadron 3 of the navy aircraft carrier Saratoga (CV-3)."

    1942 – Actress Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil receive a patent for a Frequency-hopping spread spectrum communication system that later became the basis for modern technologies in wireless telephones and Wi-Fi.

    1945 – US Secretary of State, James Byrnes, replies to the Japanese offer to surrender with a refusal to make any compromise on the demand for unconditional surrender. His note states that the Allies envisage an unconditional surrender as one where the emperor will be “subject to” the supreme commander of the Allied powers and the form of government will be decided by the “will of the Japanese people.”

    1945 - "LISBON, A B-17 Flying Fortress en route to the United States from London via the Azores with 20 men crashed at sea 320 miles off Cape Finisterre (Spain) today."

    1945 - North American TB-25J Mitchell, 44-31401, c/n 108-37376, built as B-25J-30/32-NC and converted, of the 3036th AAF Base Unit, Yuma Army Airfield, Arizona, piloted by Robert L. Laird, crashes into a mountain 25 miles SSW of Yucca Army Airfield, Arizona, this date, while on training flight from Yuma AAF. Crew of 5 killed. "YUMA, Ariz., Aug.15 (UP) - Twin brothers were among five Army men killed in the crash of their B-25 plane into Powell peak near Topock, Ariz., Saturday, officials of the Yuma Army airfield revealed today. The 20-year-old twin brothers were Second Lts. William G. Winter and John R. Winter, sons of William L. Winter, of Towanda, Pa. The twins were radar observers."

    1948 – Former USS Skipjack (SS-184) was first sunk as a target vessel at the “Crossroads Baker” nuclear test at Bikini Atoll in July 1946. Later raised and towed to Mare Island, on this day she was again sunk as a target off the coast of California by aircraft rockets.

    1956 – Former USS Armstrong County (LST-57) was sunk as a target.

    1966 – USCGC Point Welcome (WPB-82329) was attacked in the pre-dawn hours by U.S. Air Force aircraft while on patrol in the waters near the mouth of the Cua Viet River, about three-quarters of a mile south of the Demilitarized Zone (the 17th Parallel) in South Vietnam. Her commanding officer, LTJG David Brostrom, along with one crewmen EN2 Jerry Phillips, were killed in this “friendly fire” incident.

    1966 – Test pilot John McKay flew the X-15 to 76,505 meters (251,013 feet) and Mach 5.21.

    1972 – The last U.S. ground combat unit in South Vietnam, the Third Battalion, Twenty-First Infantry, departs for the United States.

    1995 – President Clinton banned all US nuclear tests, calling his decision “the right step as we continue pulling back from the nuclear precipice.”
     
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    12 August

    1658 – The 1st US police corps formed in New Amsterdam.

    1812 – USS Constitution captures and destroys British brig Adeona.

    1817 – The Revenue Cutter Active captured the pirate ship Margaret in Chesapeake Bay.

    1862 - CSS Elmea was a Confederate armed sailing vessel that was wrecked in a channel of Nueces Bay, across from Corpus Christi, TX. The next day she was burned by Confederates to prevent capture by USS Arthur.

    1867 – President Andrew Johnson sparked a move to impeach him as he defied Congress by suspending Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.

    1898 – Hawaii was formally annexed to the United States.

    1898 – The brief and one-sided Spanish-American War comes to an end when Spain formally agrees to a peace protocol on U.S. terms: the cession of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Manila in the Philippines to the United States pending a final peace treaty.

    1914 – Great Britain declared war on Austria-Hungary.

    1918 – SECNAV approves acceptance of women as yeoman (F) in U.S. Navy.

    1918 – The Secretary of the Navy authorized the enlistment of women into the Marine Corps Reserve.

    1920 - Lt. William Calvin Maxwell, 28, of the 3d Aero Squadron, Camp Stotsenberg in Luzon, Philippines, a native of Atmore, Alabama, is killed in an aviation crash in the Philippines. While on a flight from Camp Stotsenberg to Manila, engine trouble forced Lt. Maxwell to attempt to land his DH-4, AS-23587, in a sugarcane field.

    Maneuvering to avoid a group of children playing below, he struck a flagpole hidden by the tall sugarcane and was killed instantly. On the recommendation of his former commanding officer, Maj. Roy C. Brown, Montgomery Air Intermediate Depot, Montgomery, Alabama, was renamed Maxwell Field on 8 November 1922.

    1941 – The House passes an extension of the draft period from one year to thirty months (and a similar increase for service in the National Guard) after considerable debate.

    1942 – USS Cleveland (CL-55) demonstrates the effectiveness of the radio-proximity fuze (VT-fuze) against aircraft by successfully destroying 3 drones with proximity bursts fired by her five-inch guns.

    1944 – LT Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., USNR, the older brother of John F. Kennedy, was killed with his co-pilot in a mid-air explosion after taking off from England in a PB4Y from Special Attack Unit One (SAU-1). Following manual takeoff, they were supposed to parachute out over the English Channel while the radio-controlled explosive filled drone proceeded to attack a German V-2 missile-launching site. Possible causes include faulty wiring or FM signals from a nearby transmitter.

    1946 - LST-814 was sunk as a target after colliding with LST-1005 the previous 30 December.

    1953 - A US Navy Grumman AF-2 Guardian, 'SL', from Anti-submarine Squadron VS-22 crashes into the ocean immediately after launch from USS Block Island (CVE-106). The pilot, Ensign E.H. Barry, is recovered by a Piasecki HUP plane-guard helicopter.

    1954 - Two US training planes were shot down over Czechoslovakia. The pilots were captured and held for several months.

    1957 – In first test of Automatic Carrier Landing System, an F3D Skynight flown by LCDR Don Walker is landed aboard USS Antietam (CVS-36).

    1958 – USS Nautilus (SSN-571) arrives Portland, England completing first submerged under ice cruise from Pacific to Atlantic Oceans.

    1960 – Test pilot Robert White flew the X-15 to 41,605 meters (136,506 feet) and Mach 2.52.

    1961 – In an effort to stem the tide of refugees attempting to leave East Berlin, the communist government of East Germany begins building the Berlin Wall to divide East and West Berlin.

    1964 – Test pilot Milton Thompson flew the X-15 to 23,774 meters (78,000 feet) and Mach 5.24.

    1966 – Test pilot Pete Knight flew the X-15 to 70,439 meters (231,110 feet) and Mach 5.02.

    2015 - A U.S. Army Sikorsky MH-60L Black Hawk crashes during a training mission while landing aboard USNS Red Cloud (T-AKR-313) about 20 miles (30 kilometers) east of Okinawa, injuring seven people and damaging the aircraft, officials said. The injured were transported to a Navy hospital, the statement said. Their conditions were not immediately clear. The other 10 people aboard the helicopter were not hurt, said Japanese coast guard spokesman Shinya Terada.
     
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    13 August

    1680 – War started when the Spanish were expelled from Santa Fe, New Mexico, by Indians under Chief Pope.

    1779 – The Royal Navy defeats the Penobscot Expedition with the most significant loss of United States naval forces prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

    1831 – Nat Turner sees a solar eclipse, which he believes is a sign from God. Eight days later he and 70 other slaves kill approximately 55 whites in Southampton County, Virginia, beginning the rebellion that bears his name.

    1846 – The American flag was raised for the first time in Los Angeles as a joint expedition led by CDR Robert Stockton seizes the city.

    1870 – Armed iron-screw tug USS Palos becomes first U.S. Navy ship to transit Suez Canal.

    1912 - During air-ground maneuvers held by the U.S. Army at Stratford, Connecticut, Pvt. Beckwith Havens of the 1st Company, Signal Corps, New York National Guard, suffers engine failure in a Curtiss biplane at about 1000 ft (300 m) over a crowded parade ground, narrowly misses spectators and a cavalry troop as he swoops down, glides down the field and collides with a Burgess-Wright biplane that had just been flown by Lt. Benjamin Foulois, breaking off its tail. No injuries reported, and both aircraft are taken to hangars for repair. Havens, a pilot employed by pioneer aircraft builder Glenn H. Curtiss, had enlisted in the New York National Guard as a private in June 1912. At the National Guard maneuvers with the Army, he flew an aircraft that his employer had loaned him.

    1918 – Opha M. Johnson enlisted at HQMC, becoming the first woman Marine.

    1918 - Jarvis Jennes Offutt (1894–1918), becomes the first fatality among natives of Omaha, Nebraska in World War I, when his S.E.5 crashed during a training flight near Valheureux, France, and succumbs to his injuries. The Flying Field, Fort George Crook, Nebraska renamed Offutt Field, 6 May 1924.

    1942 – Major General Eugene Reybold of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, authorizes the construction of facilities that would house the “Development of Substitute Materials” project, better known as the Manhattan Project.

    1943 - Naval Auxiliary Air Facility Lompoc, California, is commissioned as a blimp base on 8 August 1943. Five days later, as ground crews maneuver ship K-29 in the damp, foggy morning for launch from Circle #2, the blimp's tail pendants approach a high-voltage power line and 11,000 volts arcs through the ship. Four men holding the metal handling bars on the control car are electrocuted and a fifth is seriously burned. The power company was supposed to have moved this hazard but had not. These were the only fatalities at the Lompoc facility during both civilian and military use.

    1945 – About 1600 American aircraft fly over Tokyo and other Japanese cities dropping millions of leaflets explaining the position reached in the surrender negotiations and the state of affairs in Japan. Japanese Sub-Lieutenant Saburo Sakai, the one-eyed fighter ace (with 64 victories), shoots down a B-29 near Tokyo during the night (August 13-14).

    1948 – Responding to increasing Soviet pressure on western Berlin, U.S. and British planes airlift a record amount of supplies into sections of the city under American and British control.

    This date was a particularly nasty day, with terrible weather compounding the crowded airspace and exhaustion of the pilots and crews. Nevertheless, over 700 British and American planes landed in western Berlin, bringing in nearly 5,000 tons of supplies. The joint British-American effort on what came to be known as “Black Friday” was an important victory for two reasons. First and foremost, it reassured the people of western Berlin that the two nations were not backing down from their promise to defend the city from the Soviets. Second, it was another signal that the Soviet blockade was not only unsuccessful but was also backfiring into a propaganda nightmare.

    1950 – Pres. Truman gave military aid to the Vietnamese regime of Bao-Dai.

    1951 - A Boeing B-50D-110-BO Superfortress, 49-0268, on test flight out of Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington after modifications, suffers problems immediately after take off, fails to gain altitude, comes down two miles (3 km) N of field, clipping roof of a brewery with the starboard wing, cartwheels into wooden Lester Apartments, wreckage and structure burns for hours. Six on bomber (three Air Force crew, three Boeing employees) and five on ground die.

    1960 – The first two-way telephone conversation by satellite took place with the help of Echo 1, a balloon satellite.

    1969 – The Apollo 11 astronauts are released from a three-week quarantine to enjoy a ticker tape parade in New York, New York. That evening, at a state dinner in Los Angeles, California, they are awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Richard Nixon.

    2003 – Former USS Downes (FF-1070) Sunk as a target off the West Coast by Harpoon missiles launched from P-3 aircraft
     
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    14 August

    1784 – On Kodiak Island, Grigory Shelikhov, a Russian fur trader, founds Three Saints Bay, the first permanent Russian settlement in Alaska.

    1812 – Marines help to capture British sloop “Alert” during the War of 1812.

    1813 – British warship Pelican attacked and captured US war brigantine Argus.

    1842 – The Second Seminole War ended and the Seminoles were moved from Florida to Oklahoma.

    1848 – The Oregon Territory was established.

    1866 – SECNAV establishes Naval Gun Factory at Washington Navy Yard.

    1900 – During the Boxer Rebellion, an international force featuring British, Russian, American, Japanese, French, and German troops relieves the Chinese capital of Peking after fighting its way 80 miles from the port of Tientsin.

    1940 – Sir Henry Tizard heads a British scientific mission to the United States, carrying with him details of all of Britain’s most advanced thinking in several vital fields. There are ideas on jet engines, explosives, gun turrets and above all a little device called the cavity magnetron. This valve is vital for the development of more advanced types of radar, including the versions used in proximity fuses later and the types working on centimetric wavelengths which will be vital at sea in the U-boat war. The US Official History will later describe this collection as the “most valuable cargo ever brought to our shores.”

    1941 – The Atlantic Charter was created in 1941. It was a joint declaration of peace aims and a statement of principles by US Pres. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill that renounced aggression.

    1941 - USS PC-457 is accidentally sunk in collision with U.S. freighter Norluna, North of Puerto Rico. 2 crew were killed.

    1942 - When Lt. Elza Shahn ferried his Lockheed P-38F Lightning to England, he spotted a German Focke-Wulf Fw 200C-3 Condor near Iceland. Lt. Shahn shot the Condor down, becoming the first American Army pilot to shoot down a German plane in World War II.

    1943 - Curtiss XP-60E-CU, 42-79425, is damaged in a forced landing just before being released to the USAAF for official trials. Becomes XP-60C when it is retrofit with wings, landing gear, and other items from the Curtiss XP-60A-CU, 42-79423. Meanwhile, original Curtiss XP-60C-CU, 42-79424, becomes second XP-60E with removal of 2,000 hp (1,500 kW) R-2800-53 engine and contraprops, replaced with R-2800-10 engine and four-blade prop. Whole P-60 project is essentially a dead-end, being nothing more than Curtiss' attempt to stretch pre-war design that started out as the P-36, and the company's unwillingness or inability to start fresh with a new fighter design will force them out of the airframe business a few years after the war.

    1943 – New draft regulations come into force. There is a revised list of reserved occupations and having dependents are now deciding factors in deferments.

    1944 – The US federal government allowed the manufacture of certain domestic appliances, such as electric ranges and vacuum cleaners, to resume on a limited basis.1944 – The US federal government allowed the manufacture of certain domestic appliances, such as electric ranges and vacuum cleaners, to resume on a limited basis.

    1945 – At a government meeting with Emperor Hirohito, the emperor states that the war should end. He records a radio message to the Japanese people saying that they must “bear the unbearable.” During the night, begining about 2300 hours, a group of army officers lead forces number over 1000 in an attempt to steal the recording and prevent it being broadcast but fail to overcome the guards at the Imperial Palace. Coup leader, Major Kenji Hatanaka, who killed the commander of the imperial guard, commits suicide after its failure. The Japanese decision to surrender is transmitted to the Allies.

    1945 – In the last air raid of the war, during the night (August 14-15) US B-29 Superfortress bombers strike Kumagaya and Isezaki, northwest of Tokyo, and Akita-Aradi oil refinery.

    1945 – The American War Production Board removes all restrictions on the production of automobiles in the United States. Meanwhile, General Douglas MacArthur is appointed supreme Allied commander to accept the Japanese surrender. An immediate suspension of hostilities is ordered and Japan is ordered to end fighting by all its forces on all fronts immediately.

    1959 - Martin XSM-68-1-MA Titan I missile B-5, 57–2692, explodes on launchpad at Launch Complex 19 during sub-orbital flight, Cape Canaveral, Florida, when its tie-down bolts explode prematurely as the vehicle builds up thrust. An umbilical generates a "no-go" signal prompting an engine-kill signal from the flight controls and the Titan loses all thrust, falls back through the launcher ring and explodes. The umbilical tower is damaged in the ensuing fire.

    1962 – Test pilot Joe Walker flew the X-15 to 59,009 meters (193,609 feet) and Mach 5.25.

    1963 – Former USS Queenfish (SS-393) was sunk as a target by USS Swordfish (SSN-579)

    1964 – Test pilot Robert Rushworth flew the X-15 to 31,486 meters (103,300 feet) and Mach 5.23.

    1964 - Lockheed U-2A, 56-6955, Article 395, was the fifth and last airframe of the USAF supplementary production, delivered to the USAF in March 1959. Assigned to the 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Laughlin AFB, Texas, it crashed near Boise, Idaho. ROCAF pilot successfully ejects.

    1967 – Former USS Scurry (MSF-304) was sunk as a target off the Virginia Capes.

    1968 – Former USS Devilfish (AGSS-292) was sunk as a target by USS Wahoo (SS-565) off San Francisco, California as part of a MK 16 MOD 8 torpedo test in 2000 fathoms (12,000 feet or 3,700 meters) of water.

    1974 – Congress authorized US citizens to own gold.

    1978 - A U.S. Navy Douglas C-117D Skytrain departed NAS Agana, Guam, to fly to Ulithi, with 30 souls aboard, including two rear admirals, 13 members of the Navy Band, and four Department of the Interior officials, who were on a mission to visit the Trust Territories. About 130 miles out, the right engine's oil pressure dropped, and the pilots shut the engine down and turned back to Guam. Prior to takeoff they had not factored in heat and humidity to the airplane performance, and so were now too heavy to maintain altitude on one engine. In trying to maintain altitude, they slowed to 100 MPH, which made them sink even faster. They ditched 8 miles from the southern tip of Guam. The pilot failed to use flaps to lower his speed during landing, and landed with a 15 MPH tailwind, contributing to a hard landing, the aircraft nose tearing off, and two fatalities.

    1995 – Shannon Faulkner officially became the first female cadet in the history of The Citadel, South Carolina’s state military college. She quit the school less than a week later, citing the stress of her court fight, and her isolation among the male cadets.

    1997 – An unrepentant Timothy McVeigh was formally sentenced to death for the Oklahoma City bombing.

    2001 – Helios, a remote-controlled, solar powered NASA plane, reached a record 96,500 feet.
     
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    15 August

    1824 – Freed American slaves formed the country of Liberia.

    1863 – Submarine H. L. Hunley had arrived in Charleston on two covered railroad flat cars. Brigadier General Jordan advised Mr. B.A. Whitney that a reward of $100,000 dollars would he paid by John Fraser and Company for the destruction of U.S.S. New Ironsides and other ships.

    1876 – US law removed Indians from Black Hills after gold find. Sioux leaders Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull led their warriors to protect their lands from invasion by prospectors following the discovery of gold.

    1895 – Commissioning of U.S.S. Texas, the first American steel-hulled battleship. Texas served off Cuba during the Spanish-American War and took part in the naval battle of Santiago. Under the name of San Marcos, she was sunk in weapon effects tests in Chesapeake Bay in 1911.

    1908 – First Navy post offices established in Navy ships.

    1914 – The American-built waterway across the Isthmus of Panama, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, is inaugurated with the passage of the U.S. vessel Ancon, a cargo and passenger ship.

    1945 – World War II gasoline rationing in America ended on this day.

    1945 – Celebrations mark the end of World War II — VJ Day. A two-day holiday is proclaimed for all federal employees. V-J Day is also used to describe 2 September.

    1945 – The recorded message of Emperor Hirohito is broadcast to the Japanese people. Many cannot at first accept what has happened. The tight control of the government has prevented civilians from knowing the full extent of the weakness of Japan’s position.

    1948 – The Republic of Korea [South Korea] was proclaimed.

    1956 – Former LST-17 was sunk by torpedo as a target.

    1958 – Former USS Hillsborough County (LST-827) was sunk as a target in the Gulf of California.

    1961 – Two days after sealing off free passage between East and West Berlin with barbed wire, East German authorities begin building a wall–the Berlin Wall–to permanently close off access to the West.

    1975 - Lockheed U-2R, 68-10334, Article 056, sixth airframe of the first R-model order, first flown 18 May 1968, N814X allocated, delivered to 100th SRW, 10 June 1968. Crashes into the Gulf of Thailand ~50 miles S of U-Tapao, this date, when pilot Capt. Jon T. Little, 32, of Tucson, Arizona, ejects from the aircraft he was ferrying back to the U.S. from U-Tapao. Shortly after departing the Thai base in the company of another U-2R and a KC-135 on a very dark night, the autopilot develops problems and Little loses control as it overspeeds. The tail separates and the pilot ejects, being rescued by a fishing boat in the Gulf of Thailand the next morning. The fishing boat crew takes Little to the Thai village of Patani near the Malaysian border said a spokesman for Pacific Command. Although Little survives, he never flies a U-2 again, SAC tradition at the time. This is the second U-2R loss.

    2001 – The Air Force gave the go-ahead to build its new F-22 fighter but said it would build fewer planes for more money than it had once planned.

    2003 – Former USS Henry B. Wilson (DDG-7) was sunk as a target 250nm SSW of Los Angeles, California.

    2004 - A US Marine Corps CH-53D Sea Stallion lost tail rotor authority on approach to MCAS Futenma on the island of Okinawa. This was due to improper maintenance. The failure to install a cotter pin resulted in vibrations forcing loose a bolt, thus causing separation of the tail boom from the aircraft. The aircraft proceeded to spin out of control striking a college building before hitting the ground and catching fire. The post maintenance test flight crew of 3 survived the crash with injuries.

    2005 - A US Navy Grumman C-2A Greyhound, BuNo 162178, c/n 58, of VAW-120, makes successful belly landing at Chambers Field, Naval Air Station Norfolk, Virginia, after undercarriage refuses to extend. Aircraft had departed Norfolk for NAS Pensacola, Florida, when problems were detected. Aircraft circled for two hours to burn fuel before making successful landing. None of 25 on board were injured. Airframe struck off charge with Class A damage, as damaged beyond repair.

    2007 - Lts. Ryan Betton, Cameron Hall and Jerry Smith were killed when their Grumman E-2C Hawkeye, BuNo 163696, 'AD', from Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 120 (VAW-120), based at the Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, crashed in the Atlantic Ocean off North Carolina at ~2300 hrs. An investigation was unable to determine the cause of the crash, according to a copy of the Judge Advocate General final report — known as a JAGMAN — obtained by Navy Times. The aircraft catapulted off the deck of the carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) and crashed into the water moments later. The carrier never received any emergency radio transmissions or acknowledgment by the mishap crew, according to the report.
     
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    16 August

    1691 – Yorktown, Va., was founded.

    1812 – During the War of 1812, American General William Hull surrenders Fort Detroit and his army to the British without a fight.

    1812 – USS Constitution recaptures American merchant brig Adeline.

    1858 – A telegraphed message from Britain’s Queen Victoria to President Buchanan was transmitted over the recently laid trans-Atlantic cable. The cable linked Ireland and Canada and failed after a few weeks.

    1861 – President Lincoln prohibited the states of the Union from trading with the seceding states of the Confederacy.

    1896 – Sometime prospector George Carmack stumbles across gold while salmon fishing along the Klondike River in the Yukon.

    1942 – U.S. Navy L class blimp L-8, a former Goodyear advertising blimp, of ZP-32, departed Treasure Island, San Francisco, California, with crew of two officer-pilots. Five hours later the partially deflated L-8 is sighted drifting over Daly City, California where it touches down sans crew. Nothing is ever found of Lt. Ernest D. Cody and Ensign Charles E. Adams. It is assumed that they were lost over water but were never found. The control car from this blimp is now in the National Museum of Naval Aviation, NAS Pensacola,

    1942 – Third firing of German V-2 guided missile. The nose broke off after 45 seconds of flight.

    1945 – The Emperor issues an Imperial Rescript (decree) at 1600 hours (local time) ordering all Japanese forces to cease fire. The Cabinet resigns. General Prince Higashikumi becomes the prime minister of Japan and forms a new government. He orders the Imperial Army to obey the Emperor’s call and lay down their arms.

    1945 – Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright, (captured by the Japanese on the island of Corregidor, in the Philippines), is freed by Russian forces from a POW camp in Manchuria, China.

    1945 – Following the surrender of the Japanese, Ho Chi Minh and his ‘People’s Congress’ create a National liberation Committee of Vietnam to form a provisional government.

    1946 - Captain Elmer Lee Belcher Jr. from Roanoke Alabama crashed to his death near Salinas Ecuador (Julio Moreno). He was stationed at France Field Canal Zone with the 20th Fighter Squadron of the Sixth Air Force. Flying a P-47D serial # 44-40191. He was flying by instruments in bad weather when he crashed.

    1947 – The fate of the scuttled and never-completed ex-German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin is something of a mystery. Some sources say she was sunk this date while under tow to Russia by either striking a mine or deliberately scuttled. Other Soviet records claim the ship reached Russia and was later subjected to ordnance tests and eventually torpedoed and sunk. The wreck was discovered 12 July 2006 in the Baltic Sea at 55° 31′ 3″ N, 18° 17′ 9″ E.

    1956 - The Battle of Palmdale was the attempted shoot-down of a runaway Grumman F6F-5K Hellcat drone by United States Air Force interceptors in the skies over Southern California. The drone was launched at 1134 hrs. PDT from Point Mugu Naval Air Station and soon went out of control. Northrop F-89D Scorpion interceptor aircraft of the 437th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron took off from Oxnard Air Force Base and caught up to the drone, but were ultimately unable to bring it down, in spite of expending all of their 208 rockets.

    After it ran out of fuel, the unmanned aircraft crashed in a sparsely populated tract of desert. During the incident over 1000 acres were scorched and a substantial amount of property was damaged or destroyed.

    1960 – Air Force Col Joseph Kittinger parachutes from a balloon over New Mexico at 102,800 feet (31,300 m), setting three records that held until 2012: High-altitude jump, free fall, and highest speed by a human without an aircraft.
     
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    17 August

    1585 – A first group of colonists sent by Sir Walter Ralegh under the charge of Ralph Lane lands in the New World to create Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island, off the coast of present-day North Carolina.

    1590 – John White, the leader of 117 colonists sent in 1587 to Roanoke Island (North Carolina) to establish a colony, returned from a trip to England to find the settlement deserted. No trace of the settlers was ever found.

    1812 – Frigate President captures British schooner L’Adeline in North Atlantic.

    1863 - USS Crocus was a Union screw steam tug of 122 tons, built in 1863 at Mystic, Conn. that was wrecked this date at Bodie Island with no loss of life.

    1921 – German WW1 battlecruiser SMS Baden was scuttled by Germans in Scapa Flow in 1919 but refloated by the British Navy and used for a gunnery target. After numerous large caliber hits, she was scuttled this date in Hurd Deep in the English Channel.

    1941 – The United States government presents a formal warning to the Japanese along the lines agreed at Placentia Bay.

    1942 – The first bombing raid flown by a completely American squadron bombs Rouen in France.

    1942 - Grumman XF6F-3 Hellcat, BuNo 02982, first flown 30 July 1942, suffers engine failure of Pratt & Whitney R-2800-10 on test flight out of Bethpage, New York, Grumman test pilot Bob Hall dead-sticks into a farmer's field on Long Island, survives unpowered landing but airframe heavily damaged.

    1945 - Two Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers collide over Weatherford, Texas, during a night bomber training exercise. Eighteen crew members are killed, two manage to escape from the falling wreckage and parachute to safety. An Associated Press account stated that some crew that bailed out had their chutes set alight by fiery wreckage and subsequently fell to their deaths. Residents of the town were panicked by the collision high overhead. "The explosion shook Weatherford. The skies were full of pieces of burning planes. The glare was seen 20 miles away. Some had a first impression that the town had been hit by a Jap balloon bomb." Boeing B-29A-10-BN Superfortress, 42-93895, of the 234th Combat Crew Training Squadron, Clovis Army Air Field, New Mexico, and Boeing B-29B-40-MO Superfortress, 44-86276, (the last Block 40-MO airframe) of the 231st Combat Crew Training Squadron, Alamagordo Army Air Field, New Mexico, involved.

    1945 – Ho Chi Minh begins the first of a series of eight letters to President Harry Truman. Because of his relations with the OSS, collaborating against the Japanese, he regards the US as the friend of all struggling peoples. He asks for US aid in gaining Vietnam’s independence from France. There is no record of any US official ever answering these appeals. The US government is in a quandary, not wanting to support French colonialism, but not wanting to turn Vietnam over to a Communist administration.

    1953 - A T-6 Texan was shot down over the Korean demilitarized zone by North Korean ground fire. One crew member was killed and one survived.

    1957 - A B-25 Mitchell medium bomber assigned to Vance Air Force Base, Enid, Oklahoma, crashes into a housing project near Palm Beach Air Force Base in Palm Beach, Florida at ~0300 hours just prior to landing on the final leg of a training flight. The four-man crew are KWF. The crew were 1st Lt. Robert E. DeTroye, of San Luis Obispo, California; 1st Lt. John Jones, 27, Muncie, Indiana; 1st Lt. James E. Brookman, Mount Vernon, Illinois; and 2nd Lt. James A. Ewalt, Northwoods, Missouri. All of the men were unmarried, it was announced.

    1960 – American Francis Gary Powers pleaded guilty at his Moscow trial for spying over the Soviet Union in a U-2 plane.

    1962 – Navy’s first hydrofoil patrol craft, USS High Point (PCH-1) launched at Seattle, WA.

    1968 – Former USS Traw (DE-350) was sunk as a target by gunfire from USS Bausell (DD-845) during Operation StrikEx 3-68, off Baja California, Mexico.

    1969 - A US Army OH-23 Raven of the 59th Aviation Company was shot down over the Korean demilitarized zone. The crew, Malcolm Loepke, Herman Hofstatter and one other, were captured by the North Koreans and released 108 days later.

    1971 - USS Regulus (AF-57) ran aground and was wrecked at Kau Yi Chau, Honk Kong. She was later broken up at Junk Bay.

    1982 - A United States Army Reserve Medevac UH-1H Crashed at Salt Lake City International Airport during an Auto-rotation exercise. Killing the pilot. Other crew members sustained serious injuries.

    1987 – Rudolf Hess, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s former deputy, is found strangled to death in Spandau Prison in Berlin at the age of 93, apparently the victim of suicide.

    1994 - US NAVY McDonnell Douglas T-45A Goshawk Mid-air collision between T-45 163629 and 163639 60 miles southwest of NAS Kingsville, Texas. Pilot - LTJG Brian S. DeHaan - did not eject and was killed.

    1996 – An Air Force C-130 cargo plane carrying gear for President Clinton crashed and exploded shortly after takeoff from Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming; eight crew members and a Secret Service employee were killed.

    1998 – It was reported that spy satellites had detected a secret underground complex in North Korea that was suspected of being involved in a nuclear weapons program.

    2014 – For the first time, an unmanned plane took off and landed form a US Aircraft Carrier, alongside a manned aircraft. The X-47B UCAS participated in flight operations side by side with the Navy’s standard F/A/-18E Super Hornet fighter. The goal for the flight test on the USS Theodore Roosevelt was for the two aircraft to take off within 90 seconds of one another and then for both had to land within a minute and a half.
     
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    18 August

    1812 – Returning from a cruise into Canadian waters Captain Isaac Hull’s USS Constitution encountered British Captain Richard Dacre’s HMS Guerriere about 750 miles out of Boston. After a frenzied 55-minute battle that left 101 dead, Guerriere rolled helplessly in the water, smashed beyond salvage. Dacre struck his colors and surrendered to Hull’s boarding party.

    1838 – Six US Navy ships departed Hampton Roads, Va., led by Lt. Charles Wilkes on a 3-year mission called the US South Seas Exploring Expedition, the “U.S. Ex. Ex.” The mission proved Antarctica to be a continent.

    1863 - CSS Oconee was a Confederate States side wheel paddle steamer used as a blockade runner. She was formerly the PSS Evergalde and later the CSS Savannah before being converted to a blockade runner. She foundered at sea in a gale/storm after leaving Savannah in bad weather.

    1914 – President Wilson issued his Proclamation of Neutrality, aimed at keeping the United States out of World War I.

    1914 – Germany declared war on Russia.

    1920 – The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, is ratified by Tennessee, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it the law of the land.

    1930 - Capt. Ira C. Eaker takes Boeing P-12B, 29-441, c/n 1189, of the AC Detachment, Bolling Field, Washington, D.C., up for tests to see how the ship handles with 70 lbs. of ballast – the weight of period radios and their battery – loaded behind the cockpit. After initiating a spin to the right from 7,000 feet, the fighter enters a flat spin which no control inputs can stop.

    Eaker bails out at low altitude, skinning his nose and leg as he strikes the stabilizer, but his partially opened chute fetches up on the steep roof of a house with the pilot going over the other side, breaking his fall somewhat. He suffers an injured foot when he slams into a concrete stoop but survives. The P-12 destroys a henhouse and burns in an apple orchard.

    1937 - Col. William Caldwell McChord (1881–1937), rated a junior military aviator in 1918, was killed while trying to force-land his Northrop A-17, 35–105, near Maidens, Virginia. At the time of his death, he was Chief of the Training and Operations Division in HQ Army Air Corps. Tacoma Field, Washington, was renamed McChord Field, 17 December 1937.

    1945 - Last U.S. air combat casualty of World War II occurs during mission 230 A-8, when two Consolidated B-32 Dominators of the 386th Bomb Squadron, 312th Bomb Group, launch from Yontan Airfield, Okinawa, for a photo reconnaissance run over Tokyo, Japan. Both bombers are attacked by several Japanese fighters of both the 302nd Air Group at Atsugi and the Yokosuka Air Group that make 10 gunnery passes. Japanese aces Sadamu Komachi and Saburō Sakai are part of this attack. B-32 piloted by 1st Lt. John R. Anderson, is hit at 20,000 feet, cannon fire knocks out number two (port inner) engine, and three crew are injured, including Sgt. Anthony J. Marchione, 19, of the 20th Reconnaissance Squadron, who takes 20 mm hit to the chest, dying 30 minutes later. Tail gunner Sgt. John Houston destroys one attacker. Lead bomber, Consolidated B-32-20-CF Dominator, 42-108532, "Hobo Queen II", piloted by 1st Lt. James Klein, is not seriously damaged but second Consolidated B-32-35-CF Dominator, 42-108578, loses engine, has upper turret knocked out of action, and loses partial rudder control.

    Both bombers land at Yontan Airfield just past ~1800 hrs. after surviving the last air combat of the Pacific war. The following day, propellers are removed from Japanese aircraft as part of surrender agreement. Marchione is buried on Okinawa on 19 August, his body being returned to his Pottstown, Pennsylvania home on 18 March 1949. He is interred in St. Aloysius Old Cemetery with full military honors. B-32, 42-108578, is scrapped at Kingman, Arizona after the war.

    1951 - Boeing XB-47-BO Stratojet, 46-065, first prototype of two, stalls on landing, suffers major structural damage. No injuries. Another source cites date of 18 August 1950.

    1955 - A US Air Force LT-6 utility/training aircraft was shot down by North Korean ground fire after the aircraft inadvertently overflew the DMZ into North Korea. The pilot was wounded and the observer was killed. The body of the observer and the pilot were returned by the North Koreans on August 23, 1955.

    1956 – Test pilot Iven Kincheloe flew the X-2 to 21,336 meters (70,000 feet) despite premature engine shutdown.

    1963 - Twin accidents aboard the USS Constellation (CV-64) kill three. First, a McDonnell F-4B Phantom II, BuNo 149436, of VF-143, snaps arresting cable during night landing, goes over the side, pilot LT Robert J. Craig, 31, of San Diego is lost with his unidentified Radar Intercept Officer, three deck crew injured by whipping cable. Then several hours later, in an unrelated accident, Missile Technician 2nd Class Robert William Negus, originally from Lompoc, California, is crushed by a missile, the Navy in San Diego reported.

    1966 – First ship-to-shore satellite radio message sent from USS Annapolis in South China Sea to Pacific Fleet Headquarters at Pearl Harbor.

    1971 - CH-47A helicopter, airframe 66-19023, was operated by the 4th Aviation Company, 15th Aviation Group. The helicopter was transporting 33 soldiers of the Heavy Mortar Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 56th Field Artillery Brigade from battalion headquarters in Ludwigsburg to Grafenwoehr for live fire training exercises.

    Fatigue failure of the rear rotor blade led to its separation causing structural damage resulting in the crash and explosion that killed all 37 on board, including four crew members. A memorial plaque was placed near the crash site in the forest outside Pegnitz, but it was stolen in 2009.

    1974 - Lockheed C-141A Starlifter, 65-0274, of the 437th MAW, Charleston AFB, South Carolina, hits Mount Potosi at the 19,000 foot level, ~17 miles from destination, John F. Kennedy International Airport, La Paz, Bolivia, killing seven crew.

    1976 – Two U.S. Army officers were killed in Korea’s demilitarized zone as a group of North Korean soldiers wielding axes and metal pikes attacked U.S. and South Korean soldiers.

    1990 - USS Reid (FFG-30) fired warning shots across the bow of an Iraqi oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman—apparently the first shots fired by the United States in the Persian Gulf crisis.
     
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    19 August

    1782 – Battle of Blue Licks – the last major engagement of the War of Independence, almost ten months after the surrender of the British commander Charles Cornwallis following the Siege of Yorktown.

    1812 – The USS Constitution vs HMS Guerriere, was a single ship action during the War of 1812, approximately 400 miles southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    1818 – Capt James Biddle takes possession of Oregon Territory for U.S.

    1854 – The First Sioux War begins when United States Army soldiers kill Lakota chief Conquering Bear and in return are massacred.

    1905 – Roald Amundsen and his crew of 6 aboard Gjøe, a converted herring boat, made contact with the US Coast Guard cutter Bear which confirmed their crossing the Northwest Passage following a 26-month journey.

    1935 - Martin B-12A, 33-167, of the 31st Bomb Squadron, 7th Bomb Group, Hamilton Field, California, piloted by William Ball, receives heavy damage when the landing gear collapses on landing at Medford Airport, Medford, Oregon.

    1936 – Former USS R-8 (SS-85) was used as a target vessel for an aerial bombing test. Four near-misses with 100 lb (45 kg) bombs sank her 71 mi (114 km) off Cape Henry, Virginia.

    1940 – First flight of the B-25 Mitchell medium bomber.

    1943 – Italians have approached the Allies about negotiating a surrender. General Bedell Smith, General Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff, and General Strong, his chief of intelligence areeive to continue talks with approaches to the British ambassador, Sir Samuel Hoare.

    1944 – Liberation of Paris – Paris, France rises against German occupation with the help of Allied troops.

    1945 – Japanese representatives of the government arrive in Manila to conclude the surrender of the remaining Japanese troops and receive instructions on the plans for the occupation of Japan and the signing of the surrender documents.

    1945 - Pilot 1st Lt. James K. Holt ferries captured Messerschmitt Me 262A, 500098, "Cookie VII", FE-4011, from Newark Army Air Base, New Jersey to Freeman Field, Indiana, with a refuelling stop at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at ~ 1600 hrs, as one of two Messerschmitts being sent for testing after arriving in the U.S. aboard escort carrier HMS Reaper (D82). Upon landing at Pittsburgh, he experiences complete brake failure, overruns the runway, goes down steep incline, hits opposite side of ditch, tearing engines and undercarriage off the jet and breaking the fuselage in half. Pilot is unhurt but airframe is a total loss.

    1946 - Vladimir Vodopivec, flying a Yak-3 of the Yugoslav Air Force shot down a US Army Air Force C-47 transport over Northern Yugoslavia (Slovenia). The crew of Harold Schreiber, Glen Freestone, Richard Claeys, Matthew Comko and Chester L. Lower were all killed.

    1948 – Second launch attempt of the V-2/Bumper two-stage rocket from White Sands, New Mexico. The first stage engine cut out due to propellant flow interruption after the vehicle reached an altitude of only 13.4 km (approx. 44,000 feet).

    1955 - Sixth of 13 North American X-10s, GM-19312, c/n 6, on Navaho X-10 flight number 16, out of Edwards AFB, California, demonstrates planned automated landing on first AFMTC flight, but drag chute does not deploy after landing. The vehicle overruns the skid strip, the nosewheel collapses in the sand in the overrun, the tanks rupture, and the vehicle burns.

    1957 – The first balloon flight to exceed 100,000 feet took off from Crosby, Minnesota. US Major David Simons reached 30,933 m. in a balloon.

    1960 – Test pilot Joe Walker flew the X-15 to 23,159 meters (75,980 feet) and Mach 3.13.

    1963 - A U.S. Air Force Boeing QB-47E Stratojet, of the 3205th Drone Director Group, veers off course on touchdown at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, crashing onto Eglin Parkway parallel to runway 32/14. The QB-47 was used for Bomarc Surface to Air Missile Program tests, which normally operated from Auxiliary Field Three (Duke Field), approximately 15 miles from the main base, but was diverted to Eglin Main after thunderstorms built up over Duke.

    1963 - Two Boeing B-47 Stratojets of the 40th Bombardment Wing (another source claims 310th Bombardment Wing) from Schilling AFB, Salina, Kansas, B-47E, 53-2365, and B-47E, 53-6206, collide in mid-air over Irwin, Iowa, during a nine-hour navigation, air-refuelling and radar bomb scoring mission. Bombers depart Schilling at 1125 hrs. and 1126 hrs., then collide in overcast shortly after 1230 hrs., coming down on two farms ~2 miles apart. Two crew DOA at Harlan Hospital, Irwin, Iowa, three treated for injuries, one located alive. SAC identifies three survivors as Capt. Richard M. Smiley, 29, of Arlington, Kansas, aircraft commander of one B-47; Capt. Allan M. Ramsey, Jr., 32, of Bainbridge, Georgia, Smiley's navigator; Capt. Richard M. Snowden, 29, navigator on second B-47. Listed as missing: Capt. Leonard A. Theis, 29, San Fernando, California, co-pilot on second B-47; dead is Capt. Peter J. Macchi, 29, Belleville, New Jersey, Smiley's co-pilot; second fatality not immediately identified. Smiley suffers head injuries, Ramsey, back injuries, and Snowden, burns and leg injuries. It is unclear which crew was on which airframe.

    1966 – Test pilot Bill Dana flew the X-15 to 54,254 meters (178,000 feet) and Mach 5.20.

    1981 – Two US Navy F-14A Tomcats, of VF-41, flown by Henry Kleeman (RIO David Venlet) and Lawrence Muczynski (RIO James Anderson), flying from the USS Nimitz (CVN-68), each shot down a Libyan Su-22 Fitter over the Gulf of Sidra.

    2009 - A United States Army Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk from Fort Campbell, Kentucky the home base of the 101st Airborne, crashes while on a training exercise being carried-out by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). The accident occurred 400 ft below the summit of the 14,421 feet high (4,268 m) Mount Massive in the Sawatch Range, Colorado leaving 2 crew dead, 1 injured and 1 crew member missing.

    2010 – The last US combat brigades departed Iraq in the early morning.

    2013 - A USAF Rockwell B-1B Lancer of the 28th Bomb Wing, from Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, crashed in a remote area near Broadus, Montana, in the southeastern part of the state. Two pilots and two weapons systems officers ejected, but with some injuries.
     

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