1798. Congress approves first Naval Regulations.
1891. Marines begin protecting seal herds from poachers in the Bering Sea.
1959. The nuclear space rocket program's first experimental reactor operates successfully in a test at Jackass Flats, Nev.
1973. Authorization ends for the military draft.
1992. Air Force begins Operation Provide Promise—flying humanitarian relief missions into Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina. It will become the longest-running air supply effort in history, officially ending January 4, 1996.
1926. The U.S. Army Air Service becomes the U.S. Army Air Corps.
1926. Congress establishes the Distinguished Flying Cross, and makes it retroactive to April 6, 1917, for action in WW I.
1932. The CG Cutter Itasca, while conducting supply operations in the Central Pacific, makes the last-known radio contact with Amelia Earhart and her co-pilot Fred Noonan. Itasca later joins the unsuccessful Navy-directed search that is cancelled after 15 days.
1943. Lt. Charles Hall shoots down a German FW-190 over Sicily, becoming the first black U.S. flyer to down an Axis plane.
1950. In the only sea battle of the Korean War, cruiser Juneau and two British ships sink three North Korean torpedo boats off Chumunjim.
1898. Battle of Santiago, Cuba occurs.
1950. Pilots from the USS Valley Forge initiate the first carrier air strikes of the Korean War.
1800. Marine Corps Band makes its initial public appearance at the Tun Tavern in Philadelphia
1942. Gen. Claire Chenault's Flying Tigers squadron becomes part of the Army Air Corps, with the designation of 23rd Pursuit Group.
1838. Congress creates the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers to lead exploration and mapping of the nation.
1912. Army officers Charles D. Chandler, T. D. Milling, and Hap Arnold, qualify as first “Military Aviators.
1905. Marine Guard escorts the body of John Paul Jones from France, landing at Annapolis July 23 for interment at the U.S. Naval Academy.
1899. Retired Air Force GEN James H. Doolittle receives the nation's highest civilian award—the Presidential Medal of Freedom—at a White House ceremony
1942. The 396th Bombardment Squadron's B-18 sinks a German U-Boat off Cherry Point, N.C. It is the first sure “kill by aircraft off the U.S. Atlantic coast.
1853. Commodore Matthew Perry's Squadron enters Tokyo Bay.
1846. Marines and sailors occupy Sonoma during the Mexican War, and California is proclaimed part of the United States
1979. Voyager-2 space probe, launched in 1977, flies within 399,560 miles of Jupiter's cloud tops, and is scheduled to pass Neptune in 1989.
1943. Coast Guard-manned ships land first troops ashore for the invasion of Sicily.
1798. Congress establishes the U.S. Marine Corps, succeeding the Continental Marines.
1955. At its Lowry AFB temporary location, the newly established Air Force Academy administers the oath to its first class of 306 cadets.
1990. Four Air National Guard F-16 pilots from the 177th Fighter Interceptor Group at Atlantic City, N.J., escort two Soviet MiG-29 fighters and an Il-76 transport in US airspace, flying from Kalamazoo, MI to Rockford IL. It is part of the Soviet Union's first U.S. air show tour.
1920. The Navy establishes its Atlantic, Pacific, and Asiatic Fleets.
1863. The Army sends troops to New York to quell Civil War anti-draft riots in that city.
1957. Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes America's first President to fly in a helicopter.
1775. A resolution by the Continental Congress authorizes ten companies of riflemen. It is the nation's first Army.
1862. The Navy abolishes grog rations aboard its ships.
1806. Army LT Zebulon Pike leads an exploration of the Rocky Mountains, during which he discovers Pike's Peak.
1925. Hamilton Rice Expedition, the first group of explorers to use an airplane, returns to the U.S. The expedition, using a Curtiss Seagull floatplane, discovered the headwaters of the Amazon River.
1952. The Ground Observer Corps begins its round-the-clock sky watch program as part of a nationwide air defense effort.
1958. Navy ships land Marines at Beirut, Lebanon.
1975. (15-24) U.S. astronauts Brig. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford, USAF, Vance D. Brand, and Donald K. Slayton rendezvous, dock, and shake hands with Soviet cosmonauts Alexei Leonov and Valeri Kubasov.
1861. Marines fight in Civil War's first battle at Bull Run.
1945. The world's first atomic bomb is successfully detonated at Trinity Site, near Alamagordo, NM. The weapon, referred to as “the gadget,” is the prototype of the “Fat Man plutonium bomb and has an explosive yield of nineteen kilotons.
1971. Jeanne M. Holm becomes the first female general officer in the Air Force.
1944. Army P-38 pilots become the first to drop Napalm incendiary bombs. Their target is a fuel depot at Coutances, near Saint Lô, France.
1990. Marines at Subic Bay help rescue Philippine citizens after a major earthquake at Cabanatuan.
1914. Congress creates the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps, forerunner of the Army Air Corps, authorizing 60 officers and students and 260 enlisted men.
1918. The 4th Marine Brigade sustains 1,922 casualties in an attack at Soissons, France.
1944. The U.S. First Army captures St. Lô after two-weeks of fighting through the hedgerows of France.
1913. In the skies over Seattle, Milton J. Bryant begins a new form of advertising: Skywriting.
1918. The cruiser San Diego sinks after hitting a mine off Fire Island, becoming the only loss of a major U.S. ship during WW I.
1943. Rome is bombed for the first time. Flying from Benghazi, Libya, 158 B-17 crews and 112 B-24 crews carry out the morning raid. A second attack is staged in the afternoon.
1782. Congress adopts the Great Seal of the United States. The eagle from that seal becomes a common part of the Army insignia.
1960. In waters off shore from Cape Canaveral Missile Test Annex, the USS George Washington (SSBN-598) successfully completes the first underwater launch of a Polaris ballistic missile.
1969. Man sets foot on the moon for the first time. At 10:56 p.m. EDT, Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong places his left foot on the lunar surface. He and lunar module pilot Edwin “Buzz Aldrin, Jr., spend almost three hours walking on the moon. Command module pilot Michael Collins, remains in orbit.
1944. Operation Stevedore begins. Navy lands Marines and Army units to recapture Guam from the Japanese.
1946. Navy Lt. Cmdr. James Davidson makes the first successful takeoff and landing of a jet-powered aircraft from an aircraft carrier. He is flying a McDonnell FH-1 Phantom from the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB-42).
1961. Capt. Virgil I. Grissom becomes the first Air Force astronaut in space. He attains an altitude of 118.3 miles on the second Mercury mission.
1987. Operation Earnest Will begins. Navy convoys U.S.-flag tankers in the Persian Gulf.
1919. Marines help civil authorities restore order after race riots in Washington D.C.
1944. In the first all-fighter shuttle, Italy-based US P-38 Lightnings and P-51 Mustangs of Fifteenth Air Force attack Nazi airfields at Bacau and Zilistea, northeast of Ploesti. The planes land at Russian bases.
1944. Unknown non-hero naval aviation cadet Byron D. Varner (now your KA Editor) wins his coveted Navy Wings of Gold and commission as Ensign, then marries girl of his dreams the same day. Still together after more than 58 years, they are living happily ever after, somewhere in Texas.
1958. The Boeing Vertol VZ-2A tilt-wing research aircraft makes the first successful transition from vertical to horizontal flight and vice versa.
1936. U.S. authorities order the Coast Guard Cutter Cayuga to San Sebastian, Spain, to evacuate U.S. citizens at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. While on this deployment, with the U.S. ambassador to Spain and his staff on board, the ship serves as the temporary U.S. Embassy in Spain.
1944. Marines invade Tinian in the Pacific.
1990. The Air Force Strategic Air Command cancels Operation Looking Glass. When its last Airborne Command Post Boeing EC-135C aircraft lands at Offutt AFB, NE, it ends more than 29-years of continuous airborne alert surveillance during the Cold War.
1866. David Farragut becomes the Navy's first Rear Admiral after Congress creates that rank on this date. Two years later, Congress authorizes the rank of Admiral, and Farragut becomes the first to hold that rank.
1971. Apollo 15 blasts off with an all-Air Force crew: David R. Scott, James B. Irwin, and Alfred M. Worden. The mission is described as the most scientifically important and potentially most perilous lunar trip since the first Moon Landing. Millions of viewers throughout the world watch first-time color TV coverage of space exploration as Scott and Irwin explore the lunar surface in a moon rover vehicle.
1953. CAPT Ralph S. Parr, 335th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, records the last aerial victory of the Korean War when his North American F-86 shoots down an Il-2 near Hoha-dong shortly after midnight. It was his tenth aerial victory. Later that same day, officials signed the cease-fire agreement at Pannmunjom.
1914. World War I begins.
1942. Coast Guard plane V-214 sinks German sub U-166 in the Gulf of Mexico.
1973. Skylab-3 crew of the Navy's Alan Bean, Marine Jack Lousma, and scientist Dr. Owen Garriott, return from their 59-day, 892-orbit in space station, where they performed valuable science experiments and Earth observations.
1858. A joint U.S.-British expedition begins laying the first telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean.
1919. Marines from the USS New Orleans land near Vladivostok, Russia to protect American interests during political disturbances
1953. Two days after the truce ending the Korean War, the Air Forces announces that the Far East Air Force shot down 839 MiG-15 jet fighters, probably destroyed 154 more, and damaged 919 others during the thirty-seven months of war. United Nations air forces lost 110 aircraft in air-to-air combat, 677 to enemy ground fire, and 213 to “other causes.
1909. The second test of the Army Wright plane is completed: a ten-mile cross-country flight over a stipulated course from Fort Myer VA to Alexandria VA and back, at a speed of 42+ mph. The Wrights receive a bonus of $5,000 (ten percent of the base price of $25,000 for each mile per hour over forty), increasing the purchase price to $30,000. The plane is formally accepted three days later.
1918. The U.S. Marine 1st Division lands in France.
1941. The Navy establishes the WAVES—Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services.
1777. Congress commissions 19-year-old Marquis de Lafayette a Major General, the youngest general in the history of the American Army.
1957. The DEW Line, a distant early warning radar defense installation extending across the Canadian Arctic, is reported to be fully operational.