JANUARY 03 - TODAY IN MILITARY HISTORY

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3 JANUARY/ TODAY IN MILITARY HISTORY:
◆1099 Count Bertrand of Toulouse sets out on Crusade.
◆1387 Battle of Castagnaro: Giovanni Acuto/John Hawkwood leads the Carrarans to victory over the Scaligers.
◆1504 French surrender Gaeta to Gonzalo de Cordoba (invested Dec 30).
◆1777 Battle of Princeton.★
◆1781 Mutinous Pennsylvania troops make camp near Princeton, New Jersey, and elect representatives to bargain with the Pennsylvania state officials. Negotiations resolve the crisis, although over half of the mutineers will leave the army.
◆1794 In answer to British orders in council of November 3, 1793, calling for the seizure of neutral ships carrying French West Indian exports. President James Madison presents seven commercial resolutions in the House of Representatives. These resolutions seek remedies against any nations threatening American shipping and trade. After much discussion, none of the resolutions are passed.
◆1799 Gaeta surrenders to the French without a fight.
◆1823 Stephen F. Austin received a grant from the Mexican government and began colonization in the region of the Brazos River in Texas.
◆1834 Stephen Austin imprisoned in Mexico.★
◆1847 General Winfield Scott, who has taken command of the Gulf expedition in Mexico, orders 9000 men from General Taylor's force to assault Vera Cruz.
◆1861 The state of Georgia takes over Federal Fort Pulaski. It will return to Federal hands in April of 1862.
◆1862 Battle of Cockpit Point.★
◆1904 Marines from USS Dixie arrive in Panama.
◆1916 Three armored Japanese cruisers are ordered to guard the Suez Canal.
◆1920 The last of the U.S. troops depart France.
◆1925 Mussolini announced that he would take dictatorial powers.
◆1933 The Japanese take Shuangyashan, China.
◆1940 British warships detain the American SS Mormacsun.
◆1940 President Roosevelt requests $1.8 billion for national defense in his annual budget request to Congress.
◆1942 Chiang Kai-shek is named Commander in Chief of all Allied forces in China.
◆1943 A US B-17 bomber was downed over France following a bombing run over a German submarine base in southern France. John Roten, navigator, was the only survivor. Roten spent 28 months as a POW.
◆1944 CDR Frank Erickson flies plasma in a Coast Guard HNS-1 helicopter from Brooklyn to a hospital in Sandy Hook, NJ in the first recorded mission of mercy conducted by a rotary wing aircraft.
◆1944 Top Marine ace MAJ Boyington captured after shooting down 28 aircraft.
◆1944 Fighting in the Borgen Bay area of New Britain continues but US forces are still unable to bring up armor.
◆1945 In preparation for planned assaults against Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and mainland Japan, Gen. Douglas MacArthur is placed in command of all U.S. ground forces and Adm. Chester Nimitz is placed in command of all U.S. naval forces.★
◆1945 Third Fleet carriers begin a 2 day attack against Formosa destroying 100 aircraft with loss of only 22 aircraft. VMF-124 and VMF-213 from the USS Essex struck Formosa and the Ryukyu Islands in the first Marine land strike off a carrier.
◆1945 Battle of the Bulge continues.★
◆1951 As massive numbers of Chinese troops crossed the frozen Han River east and west of Seoul, Eighth Army began evacuating the South Korean capital. The ROK government began moving to Pusan. In one of the largest FEAF Bomber Command air raids, more than sixty B-29s dropped 650 tons of incendiary bombs on Pyongyang. UN forces burned nearly 500,000 gallons of fuel and 23,000 gallons of napalm at Kimpo in preparation for abandoning the base to the advancing enemy. Far East Air Forces flew 958 combat sorties, a one-day record.
◆1958 The Air Force forms two squadrons of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) armed with medium-range ballistic missiles.★
◆1959 Fidel Castro takes command of the Cuban army.
◆1959 President Eisenhower signs a special proclamation admitting the territory of Alaska into the Union as the 49th and largest state.
◆1966 Cambodia warns the United Nations of retaliation unless the United States and South Vietnam end intrusions.
◆1967 Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, dies of cancer in a Dallas hospital.★
◆1978 North Vietnamese troops reportedly occupy 400 square miles in Cambodia. North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops were using Laos and Cambodia as staging areas for attacks against allied forces.
◆1990 Ousted Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega surrendered to U.S. forces, 10 days after taking refuge in the Vatican's diplomatic mission. He is flown to Florida and arraigned on drug-trafficking charges.★
◆2003 US warplanes hit an al Qaeda compound in the Khost region south of Tora Bora and Islamic fighters near Baghran were reported to be in negotiations.
◆2004 The NASA spacecraft Spirit landed on Mars at the Gusev Crater. It was the 4th successful US landing on Mars.

 


 

Medal of Honor Citation for Actions Taken This Day 

TURNER, GEORGE B.
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Battery C, 499th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, 14th Armored Division. Place and date. Philippsbourg, France, 3 January 1945. Entered service at: Los Angeles, Calif. Born: 27 June 1899, Longview, Tex. G.O. No.: 79, 14 September 1945.

Citation: At Phillippsbourg, France, he was cut off from his artillery unit by an enemy armored infantry attack. Coming upon a friendly infantry company withdrawing under the vicious onslaught, he noticed 2 German tanks and approximately 75 supporting foot soldiers advancing down the main street of the village.

Seizing a rocket launcher, he advanced under intense small-arms and cannon fire to meet the tanks and, standing in the middle of the road, fired at them, destroying 1 and disabling the second. From a nearby half-track he then dismounted a machinegun, placed it in the open street and fired into the enemy infantrymen, killing or wounding a great number and breaking up the attack.

In the American counterattack which followed, 2 supporting tanks were disabled by an enemy antitank gun. Firing a light machinegun from the hip, Pfc. Turner held off the enemy so that the crews of the disabled vehicles could extricate themselves. He ran through a hail of fire to one of the tanks which had burst into flames and attempted to rescue a man who had been unable to escape; but an explosion of the tank's ammunition frustrated his effort and wounded him painfully.

Refusing to be evacuated, he remained with the infantry until the following day, driving off an enemy patrol with serious casualties, assisting in capturing a hostile strong point, and voluntarily and fearlessly driving a truck through heavy enemy fire to deliver wounded men to the rear aid station. The great courage displayed by Pfc. Turner and his magnificently heroic initiative contributed materially to the defense of the French town and inspired the troops about him.

 


 

3 JANUARY 1777

THE BATTLE OF PRINCETON was a battle in which General George Washington's revolutionary forces defeated British forces. On the night of January 2, 1777 George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, repulsed a British attack at the Battle of the Assunpink Creek in Trenton. That night, he evacuated his position, circled around General Lord Cornwallis' army, and went to attack the British garrison at Princeton.

Brigadier General Hugh Mercer of the Continental Army, clashed with two regiments under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Mawhood of the British Army. Mercer and his troops were overrun and Washington sent some militia under Brigadier General John Cadwalader to help him.

The militia, on seeing the flight of Mercer's men, also began to flee. Washington rode up with reinforcements and rallied the fleeing militia. He then led the attack on Mawhood's troops, driving them back. Mawhood gave the order to retreat and most of the troops tried to flee to Cornwallis in Trenton.

In Princeton itself, Brigadier General John Sullivan encouraged some British troops who had taken refuge in Nassau Hall to surrender, ending the battle. After the battle, Washington moved his army to Morristown, and with their third defeat in 10 days, the British evacuated southern New Jersey. With the victory at Princeton, morale rose in the ranks and more men began to enlist in the army. The battle (while considered minor by British standards) was the last major action of Washington's winter New Jersey campaign.

 


 

3 JANUARY 1834 

STEPHEN AUSTIN IMPRISONED BY MEXICO: Escalating the tensions that would lead to rebellion and war, the Mexican government imprisons the Texas colonizer Stephen Austin in Mexico City. Stephen Fuller Austin was a reluctant revolutionary. His father, Moses Austin, won permission from the Mexican government in 1821 to settle 300 Anglo-American families in Texas. When Moses died before realizing his plans, Stephen took over and established the fledgling Texas community on the lower reaches of the Colorado and Brazos Rivers.

Periodic upheavals in the government of the young Mexican Republic forced Austin to constantly return to Mexico City where he argued for the rights of the American colonists in Texas, representing their interests as a colonial founder. Yet, Austin remained confident that an Anglo-American state could succeed within the boundaries of the Mexican nation. Mexican authorities were less certain.

Alarmed by the growing numbers of former Americans migrating to Texas (8,000 in Austin's colonies alone by 1832) and rumors the U.S. intended to annex the region, the Mexican government began to limit immigration in 1830. Though Austin found loopholes allowing him to circumvent the policy, the Mexican policy angered many Anglo-American colonists who already had a long list of grievances against their distant government.

In 1833, a group of colonial leaders met to draft a constitution that would create a new Anglo-dominated Mexican state of Texas by splitting away from the Mexican-dominated Coahuila region it had previously been tied to. The colonists hoped that by decreasing the influence of native Mexicans, whose culture and loyalties were more closely wedded to Mexico City, they could argue more effectively for American-style reforms.

Once they had hammered out a new constitution, the colonial leaders directed Austin to travel to Mexico City to present it to the government along with a list of other demands. Austin conceded to the will of the people, but President Santa Ana refused to grant Texas separate status from Coahuila and threw Austin in prison on suspicion of inciting insurrection. When he was finally released eight months later in August 1835, Austin found that the Anglo-American colonists were on the brink of rebellion.

They were now demanding a Republic of Texas that would break entirely from the Mexican nation. Reluctantly, Austin abandoned his hope that the Anglo Texans could somehow remain a part of Mexico, and he began to prepare for war. The following year Austin helped lead the Texan rebels to victory over the Mexicans and assisted in the creation of the independent Republic of Texas. Defeated by Sam Houston in a bid for the presidency of the new nation, Austin instead took the position of secretary of state. He died in office later that year.

 


 

3 JANUARY 1862

THE BATTLE OF COCKPIT POINT, also known as Batteries at Evansport, the Battle of Freestone Point, or the Battle of Shipping Point, took place on January 3, 1862, in Prince William County, Virginia, as part of the blockade of the Potomac River during the American Civil War.

After victory at First Bull Run, the Confederate States Army established a defensive line from Centreville along the Occoquan River to the Potomac River. The Confederates used the Potomac’s banks as gun positions to halt Union traffic on the river, protecting Manassas Junction to the west and Fredericksburg to the south and to close the Potomac River to shipping and isolate Washington.

In October 1861, the Confederates constructed batteries at Evansport (now downtown Quantico, consisted of two batteries on the river bank, and another 400 yards (370 m) inland), a CSA field battery located at the mouth of Chopawamsic Creek where it empties to the Potomac (now the Marine Corps Air Facility), Shipping Point (now Hospital Point on Quantico, number of guns unknown), Freestone Point (a CSA four-gun battery on the shore of the Potomac River, now within Leesylvania State Park), and Cockpit Point (near the current asphalt plant, consisted of six guns (one heavy gun) in four batteries, a powder magazine, and rear rifle pits, on top of a 75-foot (23 m) high cliff known as Possum Nose). By mid-December, the Confederates had 37 heavy guns in position along the river.

On September 25, 1861, the Freestone Point batteries were shelled by the USS Jacob Bell(Commanded by Lieutenant Edward P. McCrea) and USS Seminole, Commanded by Lieutenant Charles S. Norton. On January 1, 1862, Cockpit Point was shelled by USS Anacostia (Lieutenant Oscar C. Badger commanding) and USS Yankee (Lieutenant Eastman commanding), with neither side gaining an advantage, though Yankee was slightly damaged.

Union ships approached the point again on March 9. A landing party from USS Anacostia and Yankee destroyed abandoned Confederate batteries at Cockpit Point and Evansport, Virginia, and found CSS Page blown up. The Confederates, in keeping with their general tactic of withdrawal from the sea coast and coastal islands, had abandoned their works and retired closer to Richmond, after effectively sealing off the Potomac River for nearly five months.

 


 

3 JANUARY 1945

MacARTHUR & NIMITZ. In preparation for planned assaults against Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and mainland Japan, Gen. Douglas MacArthur is placed in command of all U.S. ground forces and Adm. Chester Nimitz is placed in command of all U.S. naval forces. This effectively ended the concept of unified commands, in which one man oversaw more than one service from more than one country in a distinct region.

Douglas MacArthur’s career was one of striking achievement. His performance during World War I combat in France won him decorations for valor and earned him the distinction of becoming the youngest general in the Army at the time. He retired from the Army in 1934, but was then appointed head of the Philippine Army by its president (the Philippines had U.S. Commonwealth status at the time).

When World War II erupted, MacArthur was called back to active service as commanding general of the U.S. Army in the Far East. He was convinced he could defeat Japan if Japan invaded the Philippines. In the long term he was correct, but in the short term the United States suffered disastrous defeats at Bataan and Corregidor.

By the time U.S. forces were compelled to surrender, he had already shipped out on orders from President Roosevelt. As he left, he uttered his immortal line: “I shall return.” Refusing to admit defeat, MacArthur took supreme command of a unified force in the Southwest Pacific, capturing New Guinea from the Japanese with an innovative “leap frog” strategy.

True to his word, MacArthur returned to the Philippines in October 1944. With the help of the U.S. Navy, which destroyed the Japanese fleet and left the Japanese garrisons on the islands without reinforcements, the Army defeated the Japanese resistance. In January 1945, he was given control of all American land forces in the Pacific; by March, MacArthur was able to hand control of the Philippine capital back to its president.

Admiral Nimitz, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, fought in World War I as chief of staff to the commander of the Atlantic submarine force, an experience that forever convinced him of the efficacy of submarine warfare.

Upon America’s entry into World War II, Nimitz was made commander in chief of the unified Pacific Fleet (Ocean Area), putting him in control of both air and sea forces. He oversaw American victories at Midway and the Battle of the Coral Sea, and directed further victories at the Solomon Islands, the Gilbert Islands, the Philippines, and finally, as commander of all naval forces in the Pacific, in Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Both MacArthur and Nimitz had the honor of accepting the formal Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri.

 

 

3 JANUARY 1945 

BATTLE OF THE BULGE: In the Ardennes the fighting continues. There are desperate German attacks on the narrow corridor leading to Bastogne which manage to upset the timetable of the US attacks a little but achieve nothing else. Forces from the US Third and now also the First Armies are attacking toward Houffaliza from the south and north. In Alsace the German attacks and the American retreat continue. The US VI Corps is being pressed particularly hard around Bitche. Farther south there is also fighting near Strasbourg.

 


 

3 JANUARY 1958

STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND. The Air Force forms two squadrons of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) armed with medium-range ballistic missiles. Strategic Air Command (SAC) was both a Department of Defense Specified Command and a United States Air Force (USAF) Major Command (MAJCOM) responsible for Cold War command and control of two of the three components of the U.S. military's strategic nuclear strike forces, the so-called "Nuclear Triad," with SAC having control of land-based strategic bomber aircraft and intercontinental ballistic missiles or ICBMs (the other being submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM)).

SAC also operated all strategic reconnaissance aircraft, all strategic airborne command post aircraft, and all USAF aerial refueling aircraft, to include those in the Air Force Reserve (AFRES) and Air National Guard (ANG), with the exception of those KB-50, KC-97, HC-130 and MC-130 aircraft operated by Tactical Air Command (TAC), Military Airlift Command (MAC), and from 1990 onward, the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), or associated AFRES and ANG aerial refueling aircraft gained by TAC, MAC or AFSOC.

SAC primarily consisted of the Second Air Force (2AF), Eighth Air Force (8AF) and the Fifteenth Air Force (15AF), while SAC headquarters (HQ SAC) included Directorates for Operations & Plans, Intelligence, Command & Control, Maintenance, Training, Communications, and Personnel. At a lower echelon, headquarters divisions included Aircraft Engineering, Missile Concept, and Strategic Communications.

In 1992, as part of an overall post-Cold War reorganization of the U.S. Air Force, SAC was disestablished as both a Specified Command and as a MAJCOM, and its personnel and equipment redistributed among the Air Combat Command (ACC), Air Mobility Command (AMC), Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), and Air Education and Training Command (AETC), while SAC's central headquarters complex at Offutt AFB, Nebraska was concurrently transferred to the newly created United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), which was established as a joint Unified Combatant Command to replace SAC's Specified Command role.

In 2009, SAC's previous USAF MAJCOM role was reactivated and redesignated as the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC), with AFGSC eventually acquiring claimancy and control of all USAF bomber aircraft and the USAF strategic ICBM force.

 


 

3 JANUARY 1967

JACK RUBY DIES. Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, dies of cancer in a Dallas hospital. The Texas Court of Appeals had recently overturned his death sentence for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald and was scheduled to grant him a new trial.

On November 24, 1963, two days after Kennedy’s assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald was brought to the basement of the Dallas police headquarters on his way to a more secure county jail. A crowd of police and press with live television cameras rolling gathered to witness his departure.

As Oswald came into the room, Jack Ruby emerged from the crowd and fatally wounded him with a single shot from a concealed .38 revolver. Ruby, who was immediately detained, claimed he was distraught over the president’s assassination. Some called him a hero, but he was nonetheless charged with first-degree murder.

Jack Ruby, originally known as Jacob Rubenstein, operated strip joints and dance halls in Dallas and had minor connections to organized crime. He also had a relationship with a number of Dallas policemen, which amounted to various favors in exchange for leniency in their monitoring of his establishments.

He features prominently in Kennedy assassination theories, and many believe he killed Oswald to keep him from revealing a larger conspiracy. In his trial, Ruby denied the charge, maintaining that he was acting out of patriotism. In March 1964, he was found guilty and sentenced to death.

The official Warren Commission report of 1964 concluded that neither Oswald nor Ruby were part of a larger conspiracy, either domestic or international, to assassinate President Kennedy.

Despite its seemingly firm conclusions, the report failed to silence conspiracy theories surrounding the event, and in 1978 the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in a preliminary report that Kennedy was “probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy” that may have involved multiple shooters and organized crime. The committee’s findings, as with the findings of the Warren Commission, continue to be widely disputed.

 


 

3 JANUARY 1990

MANUEL NORIEGA SURRENDERS. Ousted Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega surrendered to U.S. forces, 10 days after taking refuge in the Vatican's diplomatic mission. He is flown to Florida and arraigned on drug-trafficking charges.

The elections of May 1989 were surrounded by controversy. A PRD-led coalition nominated Carlos Duque, publisher of the country's oldest newspaper, La Estrella de Panamá. Most of the other political parties banded behind a unified ticket of Guillermo Endara, a member of Arias' Authentic Panameñista Party, along with vice-presidential candidates Ricardo Arias Calderón (no relation to Arnulfo Arias) and Guillermo Ford.

According to Guillermo Sanchez, the opposition alliance knew that Noriega planned to rig the count, but had no way of proving it.[22] They found a way through a loophole in Panamanian election law. The alliance, with the support of the Roman Catholic Church, set up a count based directly on results at the country's 4,000 election precincts before the results were sent to district centers.

Noriega's lackeys swapped fake tally sheets for the real ones and took those to the district centers, but by this time the opposition's more accurate count was already out. It showed Endara winning in a landslide even more massive than in 1984, beating Duque by a 3-to-1 margin. Noriega had every intention of declaring Duque the winner regardless of the actual results. However, Duque knew he had been badly defeated and refused to go along.

Rather than publish the results, Noriega voided the election, claiming "foreign (i.e., American) interference" had tainted the results. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, there as an observer, denounced Noriega, saying the election had been "stolen", as did Bishop Marcos G. McGrath.

The next day, Endara, Arias Calderón, and Ford rolled through the old part of the capital in a triumphant motorcade, only to be intercepted by a detachment of Noriega's paramilitary Dignity Battalions. Arias Calderón was protected by a couple of troops, but Endara and Ford were badly beaten. Images of Ford running to safety with his guayabera shirt covered in blood were broadcast around the world. When the 1984–89 presidential term expired, Noriega named a longtime associate, Francisco Rodríguez, as acting president. The United States, however, recognized Endara as the new president.

The U.S. imposed economic sanctions and, in the months that followed, a tense standoff occurred between the U.S. military forces (stationed in the canal area) and Noriega's troops. On December 15, 1989, the PRD-dominated legislature spoke of "a state of war" between the United States and Panama. It also declared Noriega "chief executive officer" of the government, formalizing a state of affairs that had existed for six years.

Noriega subsequently claimed that this statement referred to U.S. actions against Panama, and did not represent a declaration of hostilities by Panama. The U.S. forces conducted regular "freedom of movement" maneuvers and operations, such as Operation Sand Flea and Operation Purple Storm.

Serving in part as military drills, but also as psychological warfare designed to harass the future enemy, the U.S. military contended that the exercises were justified by the Panama Canal Treaty of 1977 (the Torrijos-Carter Treaties), which guaranteed U.S. forces freedom of movement in the country in defense of the canal. Panama considered the exercises a violation of the treaties, and Noriega called them acts of war.

On the other hand, Noriega's forces are said to have engaged in routine harassment of U.S. troops and civilians. Three incidents in particular occurred very near the time of the invasion, and were mentioned by U.S. President George H. W. Bush as a reason for invasion. In a December 16 incident, four U.S. personnel were stopped at a roadblock outside PDF headquarters in the El Chorrillo neighborhood of Panama City.

The United States Department of Defense said that the servicemen were unarmed and in a private vehicle and that they attempted to flee the scene only after their vehicle was surrounded by a crowd of civilians and PDF troops. Second Lieutenant Robert Paz of the United States Marine Corps was shot and killed in the incident.[30]

The Los Angeles Times claimed that sources stated Paz was a member of the Hard Chargers, a group not sanctioned by the military whose goal was to agitate members of the PDF. The PDF claimed that the Americans were armed and on a reconnaissance mission.

Major General Marc A. Cisneros, deputy commander of the Southern Command at the time of the invasion, said in a recent interview, "The story you've got from somebody that these guys were a vigilante group trying to provoke an incident—that is absolutely false".

According to an official U.S. military report, a U.S. naval officer and his wife who were witnesses to the incident were assaulted by Panamanian Defense Force soldiers while in police custody.[33] A week before the U.S. invasion, a cable from an American diplomat to Washington described Noriega as a "master of survival" and, according to The New York Times, the diplomat did not have an inkling of the coming invasion one week later.

The U.S. invasion of Panama was launched on December 20, 1989. Losses on the U.S. side were 23 troops and 3 civilian casualties, while Panamanian losses were 150 troops and 500 civilian casualties. On December 29, the General Assembly of the United Nations voted 75–20 with 40 abstentions to condemn the invasion as a flagrant violation of international law.

According to a CBS poll, 92% of Panamanian adults supported the U.S. incursion, and 76% wished that U.S. forces had invaded in October during the coup. However, activist Barbara Trent disputed this finding, claiming in a 1992 Academy Award winning documentary The Panama Deception that the Panamanian surveys were completed in wealthy, English-speaking neighborhoods in Panama City, among Panamanians most likely to support U.S. actions.

 


 

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