Military History for May

1st
1936. Coast Guard enforces Whaling Treaty Act that makes it unlawful to take right whales or calves of any whale.

1960. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) pilot Francis Gary Powers, flying a Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft, is shot down over the Soviet Union. He is captured and later put on trial for espionage. The incident creates an international furor, and a cancellation of a superpower summit scheduled for later in the month. Powers was exchanged for Soviet KGB agent Rudolf Abel in 1962.

2nd
1923. Lieutenants Oakley G. Kelly and John A. Macready complete the first nonstop transcontinental flight. The trip from New York to San Diego takes twenty-six hours, fifty minutes, three seconds in a Fokker T-2.

3rd
1942. Last submarine to evacuate people departs Cavite Naval Base, Philippines.

1944. An acoustic torpedo fired by the U-371 hit and destroyed the stern of the Coast Guard manned destroyer escort USS Menges while she was escorting a convoy in the Mediterranean, killing thirty-one of her crew

4th
1942. The Battle of the Coral Sea becomes the first naval engagement fought solely by aircraft.

1942. Chief of Naval Operations ADM Ernest J. King orders the USCG Auxiliary to organize into a anti-submarine patrol force, which becomes known as the “Corsair Fleet.

1970. Ohio Army National Guardsman are called out to maintain order during anti-war demonstrations at Kent State University. Unfortunate overreaction resulted in rifle fire that killed four students and caused a national controversy.

5th
1916. Army Capt. Douglas MacArthur leads a daring raid behind Mexican lines and returns with three railroad locomotives.

1950. Congress enacts the Uniform Code of Military Justice, replacing the Articles of War as the judicial regulations for the U.S. armed forces.

1961. CDR Alan B. Shepard, Jr., USN, becomes the first Project Mercury astronaut to cross the space frontier. His flight in Freedom 7 lasts 15 minutes, 28 seconds, reaches an altitude of 116.5 miles, and ends 303.8 miles downrange.

6th
1937. The German dirigible Hindenburg explodes and burns while mooring at Lakehurst, N.J., killing thirty-six people.

1942. Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright surrenders all U.S. and Philippine Army Forces to the Japanese at Corregidor, P.I. Thousands of American and Filipino soldiers, including 19 generals become prisoners of war.

7th
1918. 1st LT Edward V. Rickenbacker, who would become the leading American ace of World War 1, records his first solo victory.

8th
1911. The first Navy airplane, A-1, an amphibian, is ordered from Glenn Curtiss. This date has been officially proclaimed the birthday of naval aviation.

1945. V-E Day. The war ends in Europe.

9th
1942. USCGC Icarus sank German U-352 off Charleston and took 33 prisoners, the first German prisoners taken in combat by any U.S. forces in World War II.

1983. A C-141 crew from the 18th Military Airlift Squadron, McGuire AFB, N.J., becomes first USAF all-female crew to fly a round-trip mission across the Atlantic.

10th
1869. Army battalion of the 21st Infantry, serves as honor guard for the ceremonies at Promontory Point, Utah Territory, linking the Central and Union Pacific Railroads. On its way to the Presidio of San Francisco, the unit becomes the first military service to cross the continent by rail.

1934. The first amphibious landing exercise is made by embryo Fleet Marine Force at Culebra.

1963. Nuclear submarine Thresher is lost in a sea disaster off Cape Cod.

11th
1949. President Harry S. Truman signs a bill providing for a 3,000-mile-long guided-missile test range for the Air Force. The range is subsequently established at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

12th
1968. LTCOL Joe M. Jackson, flying an unarmed Fairchild C-123 transport, lands at a forward outpost at Kham Duc, South Vietnam, in a rescue attempt of a Combat Control Team. After a rocket-propelled grenade fired directly at his aircraft proves to be a dud, Colonel Jackson takes off with the team on board and lands at Da Nang. He is later awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.

13th
1864. Pvt. William Christman, 67th Pennsylvania Infantry, is the first soldier buried in the newly opened Arlington National Cemetery.

1941. In the first mass flight of bombers over the Pacific, 21 B-17s fly from Hamilton Field, Calif., to Hickam Field, Hawaii, thirteen hours, ten minutes.

14th
1942. The Women/s Army Auxiliary Corps becomes the Women's Army Corps.

1951. The collier Thomas Tracy rammed the USS Valcour. CGC Cherokee responded, assisted in extinguishing the resulting fires, and towed the Valcour to Norfolk. Thirty-seven sailors perished.

15th
1963. MAJ Gordon Cooper becomes the second Air Force astronaut in space as he makes nearly twenty-two orbits in his spacecraft, Faith 7. He is the last American to be launched into space alone, he is the first to spend a complete day in orbit, and because of a failure of the automatic system, he is the first to perform an entirely manual reentry. This is the last Project Mercury space mission

16th
1846. Eleven cutters are assigned to cooperate with the Army and Navy in the Mexican War.

1929. At the first Academy Award ceremonies in Los Angeles, Calif., the Paramount movie “Wings wins the Oscar for Best Picture for the years 1927 and 1928. The World War I epic stars Richard Arlen, Buddy Rogers, and Clara Bow. A young Gary Cooper has a minor role.

17th
1919. LT Elmer F. Stone, USCG, piloted Navy NC-4 in first trans-Atlantic flight.

1961. Cuban patriots attempt ill-fated landing at the Bay of Pigs.

18th
1902. Marines from USS Ranger land in Panama to protect American citizens.

1969. In a dress rehearsal for the moon landing, Apollo 10 astronauts COL Thomas P. Stafford, USAF, and CDR Eugene A. Cernan, USN, fly the lunar module Snoopy to within nine miles of the lunar surface. Astronaut CDR John W. Young, USN, remains in orbit aboard Charlie Brown, the command module.

19th
1908. Army Signal Corps LT Thomas E. Selfridge becomes the first soldier to fly a heavier-than-air machine.

20th
1902. Following the election of a Cuban president, MajGen Leonard Wood ends his appointment as Military Governor and the American Army forces begins withdrawal.

1927. Charles A. Lindbergh makes first solo nonstop transatlantic flight in the Ryan-NYP Spirit of St. Louis: New York to Paris in thirty-three hours, thirty-two minutes, landing on the 21st.

21st
1937. Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan leave from San Francisco in a Lockheed Electra on a round-the-world flight that ends on July 2, 1937, when they disappear in the Pacific.

22nd
1946. The Army launches its first surface-to-surface ballistic missile, named the WAC Corporal.

1993. LCDR Kathryn P. Hire, the first woman in the Navy to be assigned to a combat unit, flies her first mission as a tactical crewmember with VP-62, a Reserve unit based at NAS Jacksonville.

23rd
1899. Marines arrive to secure Cavite Naval Base, Philippines.

24th
1918. U.S. Army Air Service is organized.

25th
1945. The Joint Chiefs of Staff approve the date November 1, 1945 for Operation Olympic, the invasion of Japan.

1973. Navy CAPT Pete Conrad, CDR Joseph Kerwin, and CDR Paul Weitz salvage the Skylab program, as they repair the space station in orbit. It had been damaged during launch The 28 day 404 orbit mission would end on June 22, the longest in history to this point.

26th
1853. Commodore Matthew Perry's Navy Squadron arrives Okinawa with a Marine contingent.

1900. The War Department issues General Order 155, creating the Army War College.

27th
1972, Navy selects CAPT Alene B. Durek to become first female flag officer.

28th
1857. Army punitive expedition departs Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas Territory, against Mormon settlers in Utah territory resisting federal authority. Conflict will be settled without a major battle.

1959. Astrochimps Able and Baker are recovered alive in the Atlantic after their flight to an altitude of 300 miles in the nosecone of a Jupiter missile launched from Cape Canaveral.

1980. First women graduate from the Air Force and Naval Academies.

29th
1944. The 4th Marine Division sails from Pearl Harbor for invasion of Saipan during WWII.

30th
1868. Former Union MajGen John A. Logan establishes the first Memorial Day

1913. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology begins teaching aerodynamics.

1958 The Unknown Soldiers of WWII and Korea are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

31st
1900. Marines guard Peking Diplomatic Quarters during the Boxer Rebellion.