JANUARY 01 - TODAY IN MILITARY HISTORY
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1 JANUARY/ TODAY IN MILITARY HISTORY:
◆46 BCE Caesar captures Leptis, in Africa.
◆404 Last recorded gladiatorial fights at Rome.
◆633 Battle of Meicen: King Edwin of Northumbria defeats King Cadwallon of Cwynedd.
◆1136 Battle of Swansea: Welsh defeat Anglo-Norman colonists.
◆1158 Battle of Galloway: Roland defeats Gilpatrick.
◆1189 Saladin abandons the siege of Tyre.
◆1698 The Abenaki Indians and Massachusetts colonists sign a treaty halting hostilities between the two.
◆1735 Paul Revere was born in Boston, Massachusetts.
◆1745 Anthony Wayne was born.★
◆1776 Virginia Governor Dunmore orders the shelling of the garrison at Norfolk.
◆1780 American patriots conduct a continuing guerrilla campaign against the British in the territory surrounding Augusta, Georgia.
◆1782 The supporters of the British cause, the Loyalists, begin to leave the US, mainly for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Among the first to leave are those from the New England states and New York. If they stay, the Loyalists fear legal charges of treason or collaboration, and property confiscation.
◆1804 The tradition of the Marine Band serenading the Commandant was established.
◆1808 A U.S. law banning the import of slaves comes into effect, but is widely ignored.
◆1815 At New Orleans, British commander Sir Edward Pakenham leads an attack against the US fortifications around the city. Under General Andrew Jackson, the US Artillery proves superior, and the British are forced to withdraw in order to await reinforcements.
◆1863 Confederate General Braxton Bragg and Union General William Rosecrans readjust their troops as the Battle of Murfreesboro continues.
◆1863 Battle of Galveston.★
◆1883 William Jacob Donovan, American lawyer and director of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), was born in Buffalo, N.Y.
◆1915 The German submarine U-24 sinks the British battleship Formidable off the coast of Plymouth Massachusetts.
◆1920 Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and his assistant J. Edgar Hoover, begin prosecution of what he perceives as a "Red Menace."
◆1920 Basil L. Plumley is born.★
◆1933 Defense of the Great Wall.★
◆1944 American aircraft attack a Japanese convoy off Kavieng, New Ireland. The planes are from the carrier task group led by Admiral Sherman.
◆1945 Operation Bodenplatte.★
◆1945 Operation Nordwind.★
◆1946 An American soldier accepts the surrender of about 20 Japanese soldiers who only discovered that the war was over by reading it in the newspaper.★
◆1950 Mary T. Sproul commissioned as first female doctor in Navy
◆1951 As almost half a million Chinese Communist and North Korean troops launched a new ground offensive. They take Inchon and Kimpo Airfied. Fifth Air Force embarked on a campaign of air raids on enemy troop columns.
◆1959 Cuban dictator Batista falls from power: In the face of a popular revolution spearheaded by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement, Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista flees the island nation.★
◆1966 1st Marine Division advance elements arrive in Vietnam.★
◆1967 Operation Sam Houston begins: Operation Sam Houston begins as a continuation of border surveillance operations in Pleiku and Kontum Provinces in the Central Highlands by units from the U.S. 4th and 25th Infantry Divisions. The purpose of the operation was to interdict the movement of North Vietnamese troops and equipment into South Vietnam from communist sanctuaries in Cambodia and Laos. The operation ended on April 5. A total of 169 U.S. soldiers were killed in action; 733 enemy casualties were reported.
◆2003 U.S. and British warplanes attacked an Iraqi mobile radar system after it entered the southern no-fly zone.
Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
CHEEVER, BENJAMIN H., JR.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At White River, S. Dak., 1 January 1891. Entered service at: Washington, D.C. Born: 7 June 1850, Washington, D.C. Date of issue. 25 April 1891. Citation: Headed the advance across White River partly frozen, in a spirited movement to the effective assistance of Troop K, 6th U.S. Cavalry.
HOWZE, ROBERT L.
Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, Company K, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At White River, S. Dak., 1 January 1891. Entered service at: Overton, Rusk County, Tex. Born: 22 August 1864, Overton, Rusk County, Tex. Date of issue: 25 July 1891. Citation: Bravery in action.
KERR, JOHN B.
Rank and organization: Captain, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At White River, S. Dak., 1 January 1891. Entered service at: Hutchison Station, Ky. Birth: Fayette County, Ky. Date of issue: 25 April 1891. Citation: For distinguished bravery while in command of his troop in action against hostile Sioux Indians on the north bank of the White River, near the mouth of Little Grass Creek, S. Dak., where he defeated a force of 300 Brule Sioux warriors, and turned the Sioux tribe, which was endeavoring to enter the Bad Lands, back into the Pine Ridge Agency.
KNIGHT, JOSEPH F.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Troop F, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At White River, S. Dak., 1 January 1891. Entered service at: - - - . Birth: Danville, 111. Date of issue: 1 May 1891. Citation: Led the advance in a spirited movement to the assistance of Troop K, 6th U.S. Cavalry.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company K, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At White River, S. Dak., 1 January 1891. Entered service at: Washington, D.C. Birth: Germany. Date of issue: 4 February 1891. Citation: With 5 men repelled a superior force of the enemy and held his position against their repeated efforts to recapture it.
SMITH, CORNELIUS C.
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company K, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: Near White River, S. Dak., 1 January 1891. Entered service at: Helena, Mont. Birth: Tucson, Ariz. Date of issue: 4 February 1891. Citation: With 4 men of his troop drove off a superior force of the enemy and held his position against their repeated efforts to recapture it, and subsequently pursued them a great distance.
MacGlLLlVARY, CHARLES A.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company I, 71st Infantry, 44th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Woelfling, France, 1 January 1945. Entered service at: Boston, Mass. Birth: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. G.O. No.: 77, 10 September 1945. Citation: He led a squad when his unit moved forward in darkness to meet the threat of a breakthrough by elements of the 17th German Panzer Grenadier Division. Assigned to protect the left flank, he discovered hostile troops digging in. As he reported this information, several German machineguns opened fire, stopping the American advance. Knowing the position of the enemy, Sgt. MacGillivary volunteered to knock out 1 of the guns while another company closed in from the right to assault the remaining strong points. He circled from the left through woods and snow, carefully worked his way to the emplacement and shot the 2 camouflaged gunners at a range of 3 feet as other enemy forces withdrew. Early in the afternoon of the same day, Sgt. MacGillivary was dispatched on reconnaissance and found that Company I was being opposed by about 6 machineguns reinforcing a company of fanatically fighting Germans. His unit began an attack but was pinned down by furious automatic and small arms fire. With a clear idea of where the enemy guns were placed, he voluntarily embarked on a lone combat patrol. Skillfully taking advantage of all available cover, he stalked the enemy, reached a hostile machinegun and blasted its crew with a grenade. He picked up a submachine gun from the battlefield and pressed on to within 10 yards of another machinegun, where the enemy crew discovered him and feverishly tried to swing their weapon into line to cut him down. He charged ahead, jumped into the midst of the Germans and killed them with several bursts. Without hesitation, he moved on to still another machinegun, creeping, crawling, and rushing from tree to tree, until close enough to toss a grenade into the emplacement and close with its defenders. He dispatched this crew also, but was himself seriously wounded. Through his indomitable fighting spirit, great initiative, and utter disregard for personal safety in the face of powerful enemy resistance, Sgt. MacGillivary destroyed four hostile machineguns and immeasurably helped his company to continue on its mission with minimum casualties.
*YANO, RODNEY J. T.
Rank and organization: Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army, Air Cavalry Troop, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. Place and date: Near Bien Hao, Republic of Vietnam, 1 January 1969. Entered service at: Honolulu, Hawaii. Born: 13 December 1943, Kealakekua Kona, Hawaii. Citation: Sfc. Yano distinguished himself while serving with the Air Cavalry Troop. Sfc. Yano was performing the duties of crew chief aboard the troop's command and control helicopter during action against enemy forces entrenched in dense jungle. From an exposed position in the face of intense small arms and antiaircraft fire he delivered suppressive fire upon the enemy forces and marked their positions with smoke and white phosphorous grenades, thus enabling his troop commander to direct accurate and effective artillery fire against the hostile emplacements. A grenade, exploding prematurely, covered him with burning phosphorous, and left him severely wounded. Flaming fragments within the helicopter caused supplies and ammunition to detonate. Dense white smoke filled the aircraft, obscuring the pilot's vision and causing him to lose control. Although having the use of only 1 arm and being partially blinded by the initial explosion, Sfc. Yano completely disregarded his welfare and began hurling blazing ammunition from the helicopter. In so doing he inflicted additional wounds upon himself, yet he persisted until the danger was past. Sfc. Yano's indomitable courage and profound concern for his comrades averted loss of life and additional injury to the rest of the crew. By his conspicuous gallantry at the cost of his life, in the highest traditions of the military service, Sfc. Yano has reflected great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
1 JANUARY 1945
OPERATION BODENPLATTE: The German Luftwaffe makes a series of heavy attacks on Allied airfields in Belgium, Holland and northern France. They have assembled around 800 planes of all types for this effort by deploying every available machine and pilot.
Many of the pilots have had so little training that they must fly special formations with an experienced pilot in the lead providing the navigation for the whole force. The Allies are surprised and lose many aircraft on the ground. Among the German aircraft losses for the day are a considerable number of planes shot down by German anti-aircraft fire. Allied losses amount to 300 planes opposed to about 200 German aircraft shot down.
1 JANUARY 1959
CASTRO SEIZES CONTROL OF CUBA. Cuban dictator Batista falls from power: In the face of a popular revolution spearheaded by Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement, Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista flees the island nation. As celebration and chaos intermingled in the Cuban capitol of Havana, U.S. policymakers debated how best to deal with the radical Castro and the ominous rumblings ofanti-Americanism in Cuba.
The United States government had supported the American-friendly Batista regime since it came to power in 1952. After Fidel Castro, together with a handful of supporters that included the professional revolutionary Che Guevara, landed in Cuba to unseat Batista in December 1956, the U.S. continued to support Batista.
Suspicious of what they believed to be Castro’s leftist ideology and fearful that his ultimate goals might include attacks on U.S. investments and properties in Cuba, American officials were nearly unanimous in opposing his revolutionary movement. Cuban support for Castro’s revolution, however, spread and grew in the late 1950s, partially due to his personal charisma and nationalistic rhetoric, but also because of the increasingly rampant corruption, brutality, and inefficiency within the Batista government.
This reality forced U.S. policymakers to slowly withdraw their support from Batista and begin a search in Cuba for an alternative to both the dictator and Castro. American efforts to find a “middle road” between Batista and Castro ultimately failed. On January 1, 1959, Batista and a number of his supporters fled Cuba.
Tens of thousands of Cubans (and thousands of Cuban-Americans in the United States) joyously celebrated the end of the dictator’s regime. Castro’s supporters moved quickly to establish their power. Judge Manuel Urrutia was named as provisional president. Castro and his band of guerrilla fighters triumphantly entered Havana on January 7.
In the years that followed, the U.S. attitude toward the new revolutionary government would move from cautiously suspicious to downright hostile. As the Castro government moved toward a closer relationship with the Soviet Union, and Castro declared himself to be a Marxist-Leninist, relations between the U.S. and Cuba collapsed into mutual enmity, which continued only somewhat abated through the following decades.
1 JANUARY 1933
THE DEFENSE OF THE GREAT WALL. Falling back from Rehe, Wan Fulin's 32nd Corps retreated to Lengkou Pass, while the 29th Corps of General Song Zheyuan also fell back, Zhang Zuoxiang's 37th Division retreated to Xifengkou Pass, General Guan Linzheng's 25th Division to the Gubeikou Pass.
On March 4, the 139th Division of the KMT 32nd Corps managed to hold Lengkou Pass, and on March 7, KMT 67th Corps withstood attacks by the 16th Brigade of the Japanese 8th Division, at Gubeikou Pass.
On March 9, Chiang Kai-shek discussed with Zhang Xueliang about resisting Japanese invasion in Baoding in Hebei Province. Chiang Kai-shek began to relocate his forces away from his campaign against the Jiangxi Soviet, which would include the forces of Huang Jie, Xu Tingyao and Guan Linzheng. Chiang Kai-shek also called over Fu Zuoyi's 7th Corps from Suiyuan. However, his actions were too late and the reinforcements were of insufficient strength to stop the Japanese advance.
On March 11, Japanese troops pushed up to the Great Wall itself. On March 12, Zhang Xueliang resigned his post to He Yingqin, who as the new leader of the Northeastern Army was assigned the duty of securing defensive positions along the Great Wall.
Over twenty close assaults were launched, with sword-armed Northwestern Army soldiers repelling them. However on March 21, the Japanese took Yiyuankou Pass. The KMT 29th Corps evacuated from Xifengkou Pass on April 8.
On April 11, Japanese troops retook Lengkou Pass after dozens of seesaw fights over the pass defenses and Chinese forces at Jielingkou abandoned that pass. The Chinese army was significantly underarmed in comparison with the Japanese in heavy weapons and many units were equipped only with trench mortars, a few heavy machine guns, some light machine guns and rifles, but mostly handguns, hand grenades, and traditional Chinese swords. Beaten back by overwhelming Japanese firepower, on May 20, the Chinese army retreated from their remaining positions on the Great Wall.
Although the NRA suffered defeat in the end, several individual NRA units like the He Zhuguo platoon managed to hold off the better equipped Japanese army for up to 3 days before being overrun. Some NRA Divisions also managed to win minor victories in passes like Xifengkuo and Gubeikou by using the ramparts to move soldiers from one sector to another in the Great Wall, just like the Ming dynasty soldiers before them.
OPERATION NORDWIND. Operation North Wind (Unternehmen Nordwind) was the last major German offensive of the Second World War on the Western Front. It began on 1 January 1945 in Alsace and Lorraine in north-eastern France, and it ended on 25 January.
On 1 January 1945, German Army Group G (Heeresgruppe G) commanded by Colonel General (Generaloberst) Johannes Blaskowitz and Army Group Upper Rhine (Heeresgruppe Oberrhein) commanded by Heinrich Himmler launched a major offensive against the thinly stretched, 110 km line of the U.S. 7th Army.
Operation North Wind soon had the understrength U.S. 7th Army in dire straits. The 7th Army, at the orders of U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, had sent troops, equipment, and supplies north to reinforce the American armies in the Ardennes involved in the "Battle of the Bulge."
On the same day that the German Army launched Operation North Wind, the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) committed almost one-thousand aircraft in support. This attempt to cripple the Allied air forces based in northwestern Europe was known as Operation Baseplate (Unternehmen Bodenplatte).
The initial attack was conducted by three Corps of the German 1st Army of Army Group G, and by 9 January, the XXXIX Panzer Corps was heavily engaged as well. By 15 January, at least seventeen German divisions (including units in the Colmar Pocket) were engaged from Army Group G and Army Group Upper Rhine, including the 10th SS Panzer, 7th Parachute, 21st Panzer, and 25th Panzer Grenadier divisions. Another attack, smaller, was against the French positions south of Strasbourg but it was finally stopped.
U.S. VI Corps, which bore the brunt of the German attacks, was fighting on three sides by 13 January. With casualties mounting, and running severely short on replacements, tanks, ammunition, and supplies, Eisenhower, fearing the outright destruction of the U.S. 7th Army, rushed already battered divisions hurriedly relieved from the Ardennes, southeast over 100 km, to reinforce the 7th Army.
Their arrival was delayed, and the Americans were forced to withdraw to defensive positions on the south bank of the Moder River on 21 January. The German offensive finally drew to a close on 25 January, the same day that the reinforcements began to arrive from the Ardennes. Strasbourg was saved but the Colmar pocket was a danger which had to be eliminated.
“This attack has a very clear objective, namely the destruction of the enemy forces. There is not a matter of prestige involved here. It is a matter of destroying and exterminating the enemy forces wherever we find them. The question of liberating all of Alsace at this time is not involved either. That would be very nice, the impression on the German people would be immeasurable, the impression on the world decisive, terrific psychologically, the impression on the French people would be depressing. But that is not important. It is more important, as I said before, to destroy his manpower.”
— Adolf Hitler
1 JANUARY 1745
ANTHONY WAYNE IS BORN. Anthony Wayne (d. 15 December 1796) was a United States Army officer, statesman, and member of the United States House of Representatives. Wayne adopted a military career at the outset of the American Revolutionary War, where his military exploits and fiery personality quickly earned him promotion to brigadier general and the sobriquet Mad Anthony. He later served as General in Chief of the Army and commanded the Legion of the United States.
At the onset of the war in 1775, Wayne raised a militia unit and, in 1776, became colonel of the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment. He and his regiment were part of the Continental Army's unsuccessful invasion of Canada where he was sent to aid Benedict Arnold, during which he commanded a successful rear-guard action at the Battle of Trois-Rivières, and then led the distressed forces on Lake Champlain at Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Independence. His service resulted in a promotion to brigadier general on February 21, 1777.
On September 11, 1777, Wayne commanded the Pennsylvania Line at Brandywine, where Wayne held off General Wilhelm von Knyphausen to protect the American right flank. The two forces fought for three hours until the American line withdrew, and Wayne was ordered to retreat. Later, Wayne was ordered to harass the British rear in order to slow General Howe's advance towards Pennsylvania. Wayne's camp was attacked on the night of September 20–21, in the Battle of Paoli.
General Charles Grey ordered his men to remove their flints and attack with bayonets in order to keep their assault secret. The attack earned General Grey the nickname "No Flint," but the Americans used the tactics and casualties as propaganda regarding British brutality. General Wayne's own reputation was tarnished by the American losses, and he demanded a formal inquiry in order to clear his name.
Only days later, on October 4, 1777, Wayne again led his forces against the British in the Battle of Germantown. Wayne's soldiers pushed ahead of other American units, and, according to his report, when the British retreated, they "pushed on with their Bayonets – and took Ample Vengeance." Generals Wayne and Sullivan advanced too quickly, however, and became entrapped when they reached two miles ahead of other American units. As General Howe arrived and reformed the British line, American forces retreated. General Wayne was again ordered to hold off the British and cover the rear of the retreating body.
After winter quarters at Valley Forge, Wayne led the American attack at the 1778 Battle of Monmouth. During this battle, Wayne's forces were abandoned by General Charles Lee and pinned down by a numerically superior British force. Wayne held out until relieved by reinforcements sent by Washington. Wayne reformed his troops and continued to fight. Because the body of Lt. Colonel Henry Monckton was discovered by the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment, a legend grew that he had died fighting Wayne.
In July 1779 Washington named Wayne to command the Corps of Light Infantry, a temporary unit of four regiments of light infantry companies drawn from all the regiments in the Main Army.
Wayne's successful attack on British positions at Stony Point, New York in the Battle of Stony Point was the high point of his revolutionary war service. On July 16, 1779, Wayne replicated the bold attack used against him at Paoli, and personally led a bayonets-only night attack lasting thirty minutes.
Wayne's three columns of about 1500 light infantry stormed and captured British fortifications at Stony Point, a cliffside redoubt commanding the southern Hudson River. The battle lasted 25 minutes and ended with around 550 prisoners taken for less than 100 casualties for Wayne's forces. The success of this operation provided a boost to the morale of an army which had at that time suffered a series of military defeats. The Continental Congress awarded him a medal for the victory.
On July 21, 1780, Washington sent Wayne with two Pennsylvania brigades and four cannons to destroy a blockhouse at Bulls Ferry opposite New York City. In the Battle of Bull's Ferry, Wayne's troops were unable to capture the position, suffering 64 casualties, while inflicting only 21 on the loyalist defenders.
On January 1, 1781, Wayne served as commanding officer of the Pennsylvania Line of the Continental Army when pay and condition concerns led to the Pennsylvania Line Mutiny, one of the most serious of the war. Wayne successfully resolved the mutiny by dismissing about one half of the line. Wayne largely returned the Pennsylvania Line to full strength by May 1781, but doing so delayed his departure to Virginia, where he had been sent to assist the Marquis de Lafayette against British forces operating there. The line's departure was delayed once more when the men again complained about being paid in the nearly worthless Continental currency.
In Virginia, Wayne led Lafayette's advance forces in an action at the 1781 Green Spring. Here, Wayne led a small scouting force of 500 to determine the location of Lord Charles Cornwallis, and fell into a trap. Once again, Wayne held out against numerically superior forces until reinforced by Major John Wyllys. Cornwallis then attacked, and Wayne – his forces now only at about 900 men – counterattacked. Wayne led a bayonet charge against the British forces and then retreated in good order while night set in. This increased his popular reputation as a bold commander.
After the British surrendered at Yorktown, he went further south and severed the British alliance with Native American tribes in Georgia. He then negotiated peace treaties with both the Creek and the Cherokee, for which Georgia rewarded him with the gift of a large rice plantation. He was promoted to major general on October 10, 1783.
After the war, Wayne returned to Pennsylvania and served in the state legislature for a year in 1784. He then moved to Georgia and settled upon the tract of land granted him by that state for his military service. He was a delegate to the state convention which ratified the United States Constitution in 1788.
In 1791, he served a year in the Second United States Congress as a U.S. Representative of Georgia's 1st congressional district. A House committee determined that electoral fraud had been committed in the 1790 election, and Wayne lost his seat over his residency qualifications. A special election was held on July 9, 1792, sending John Milledge to fill Wayne's vacant seat. Wayne declined to run for re-election in 1792.
President George Washington recalled Wayne from civilian life in order to lead an expedition in the Northwest Indian War, which up to that point had been a disaster for the United States. Many American Indians in the Northwest Territory had sided with the British in the Revolutionary War. In the Treaty of Paris that had ended the conflict, the British had ceded this land to the United States.
The Indians, however, had not been consulted, and resisted annexation of the area by the United States. The Western Indian Confederacy achieved major victories over U.S. forces in 1790 and 1791 under the leadership of Blue Jacket of the Shawnees and Little Turtle of the Miamis. They were encouraged and supplied by the British, who had refused to evacuate British fortifications in the region as called for in the Treaty of Paris.
Washington placed Wayne in command of a newly formed military force called the "Legion of the United States". Wayne established a basic training facility at Legionville to prepare professional soldiers for his force. Wayne's was the first attempt to provide basic training for regular U.S. Army recruits and Legionville was the first facility established expressly for this purpose.
Wayne dispatched a force to Ohio to establish Fort Recovery as a base of operations, at the exact location of St. Clair's Defeat. The provocative fort became a magnet for military skirmishes in the summer of 1794. Wayne's army continued northward, building strategically defensive forts ahead of the main force. On August 3, 1794, a tree fell on Wayne's tent. He survived, but was rendered unconscious.
By the next day, he had recovered sufficiently to resume the march to the newly built Fort Defiance. On August 20, 1794, Wayne mounted an assault on the Indian confederacy at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, in modern Maumee, Ohio (just south of present-day Toledo), which was a decisive victory for the U.S. forces, ending the war. Wayne then continued to Kekionga, where he oversaw the construction of Fort Wayne.
Wayne then negotiated the Treaty of Greenville between the tribal confederacy and the United States, which was signed on August 3, 1795. The treaty gave most of what is now Ohio to the United States, and cleared the way for that state to enter the Union in 1803.
Wayne died of complications from gout on December 15, 1796, during a return trip to Pennsylvania from a military post in Detroit, and was buried at Fort Presque Isle (now Erie, Pennsylvania) where the modern Wayne Blockhouse stands. His body was disinterred in 1809 and, after the body was boiled to remove the remaining flesh, as many bones as possible were placed into two saddlebags and relocated by his son Isaac Wayne to the family plot in St. David's Episcopal Church cemetery in Radnor, Pennsylvania. A legend says that many bones were lost along the roadway that encompasses much of modern U.S. Route 322, and that every January 1 (Wayne's birthday), his ghost wanders the highway searching for his lost bones.
1 JANUARY 1946
He was interrupted when approximately 20 Japanese soldiers approached him-literally waving a white flag. They had been living in an underground tunnel built during the war and learned that their country had already surrendered when one of them ventured out in search of water and found a newspaper announcing Japan's defeat.
1 JANUARY 1920
CSM BASIL PLUMLEY IS BORN. Basil L. Plumley (d. 10 October 2012) was a career soldier and airborne combat infantryman in the United States Army who eventually achieved the rank of Command Sergeant Major. A veteran of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, he is most famous for his actions during the Battle of Ia Drang in Vietnam.
Plumley enlisted in the US Army as a private on March 31, 1942. He was a member of the 320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. He saw action during the Italian Campaign, the Invasion of Normandy, and Operation Market Garden, making a total of four combat jumps. He was awarded multiple decorations for his service in World War II. Plumley went on to fight in the Korean War and make one more combat jump there with the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment.
He fought in Vietnam with the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment. He participated in the Battle of Ia Drang in Vietnam in 1965, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore, who praised Plumley as an outstanding NCO and leader in the 1992 book about this battle, We Were Soldiers Once...And Young. The book was the basis for the 2002 film We Were Soldiers, in which Plumley was played by actor Sam Elliott. Plumley was known affectionately by his soldiers as "Old Iron Jaw".
He retired as a command sergeant major on December 31, 1974, having been awarded 28 different personal, unit, campaign and service awards and decorations (40 total) in almost 33 years of military service, spanning World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. After his retirement, he worked 15 more years for the army as a civilian in administration at Martin Army Community Hospital and at various medical clinics around Fort Benning (Fort Benning, Georgia), retiring again in 1990.
1 JANUARY 1863
CONFEDERATE VICTORY IN GALVESTON. Confederate warships under Major Leon Smith, CSA, defeated Union blockading forces at Galveston in a fierce surprise attack combined with an assault ashore by Confederate troops that resulted in the capture of the Northern Army company stationed there.
Smith's flotilla included the improvised cotton-clad gunboats C.S.S. Bayou City and Neptune, with Army sharpshooting boarding parties embarked, and tenders John F. Carr and Lucy Gwin. The Union squadron under Commander William B. Renshaw, U.S.S. Harriet Lane, Owasco, Corypheus, Sachem, Clifton, and Westfield, was caught off guard.
Despite the surprise, Harriet Lane, Commander Jonathan M. Wainwright, put up a gallant fight. She rammed Bayou City, but without much damage. In turn she was rammed by Neptune, which was so damaged by the resulting impact and a shot from Harriet Lane taken at the waterline that she sank in 8 feet of water. Bayou City, meanwhile, turned and rammed Harriet Lane so heavily that the two ships could not be separated.
The troops from the cotton-clad clambered over the bulwarks to board Harriet Lane. Commander Wainwright was killed in the wild hand-to-hand combat and his ship was captured. In the meantime, Westfield, Commander Renshaw, had run aground in Bolivar Channel prior to the action, could not be gotten off, and was destroyed to prevent her capture.
Renshaw and a boat crew were killed when Westfield blew up prematurely. The small ships comprising the remainder of the blockading force ran through heavy Confederate fire from ashore and stood out to sea. Surprise and boldness in execution, as often in the long history of warfare, had won another victory.
The tribute paid by Major General John Bankhead Magruder, CSA, was well deserved. "The alacrity with which officers and men, all of them totally unacquainted with this novel kind of service, some of whom had never seen a ship before, volunteered for an enterprise so extraordinarily and apparently desperate in its character, and the bold and dashing manner in which the plan was executed, are certainly deserving of the highest praise."
1 JANUARY 1966
At the peak of its strength, the 1st Marine Division consisted of four regiments of infantry: the 1st, 5th, 7th, and 27th Marines. It also included the 11th Artillery regiment, which consisted of six battalions of 105-mm, 155-mm, and 8-inch howitzers.
Other divisional combat units included the 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Antitank Battalion, 1st Amphibious Tractor Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, and the 1st Force Reconnaissance Company. The division numbered nearly 20,000 marines by the time all elements had arrived in South Vietnam.
During the Tet Offensive of 1968, the 1st Marine Division assisted the South Vietnamese army forces in recapturing the imperial city of Hue. The 1st Marine Division was withdrawn from Vietnam in the spring of 1971 and moved to its current base at Camp Pendleton, California.
During the course of the Vietnam War, 20 members of the 1st Marine Division won the Medal of Honor for conspicuous bravery on the battlefield. The 1st Marine Division was twice awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for gallantry in action in Vietnam and received the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm and the Vietnamese Civil Action Award.
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