War on Terror

The War on Terror (WOT), also known as the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), refers to the international military campaign that started after the September 11th, attacks on the United States.

A coordinated attack, orchestrated by Osama Bin Laden, took place the morning of September 11th,  2001.  Nineteen men affiliated with Al-Qaeda hijacked four airliners all bound for California. Once the hijackers assumed control of the airliners, they told the passengers that they had a bomb on board and would spare the lives of passengers and crew once their demands were met.  No passenger and crew actually suspected that they would use the airliners as suicide weapons since it had never happened before in history, and many previous hijacking attempts had been resolved with the passengers and crew escaping unharmed after obeying the hijackers.  The hijackers, who were members of Al-Qaeda’s Hamburg cell, intentionally crashed two airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.  Both buildings collapsed within two hours from fire damage related to the crashes, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, just outside Washington D.C. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after some of its passengers, one of who was overheard on a phone saying “Let’s Roll”, and the flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington D.C., to target the White House or the U.S. Capitol. None of the flights had any survivors. A total of 2,977 victims and the 19 hijackers perished in the attacks.

The concept of America at war with terrorism may have begun on September 11th, 2001 when a newscaster, having just witnessed the collapse of one of the towers of the World Trade Center, declared “Terrorists have declared war on America.”

On September 16th,  2001, at Camp David, President George W. Bush used the phrase war on terrorism in an unscripted comment when he said, “This crusade – this war on terrorism – is going to take a while.”

U.S. President George W. Bush first used the termWar on Terror” on September 20th,  2001 during a televised address to a joint session of Congress.  This term included both terrorist organizations and the regimes accused of supporting them.  A particular focus was put on countries associated with Islamic terrorist organizations including Al-Qaeda and like-minded organizations.  Bush also stated that ‘our ’war on terror’ begins with Al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.”

Operation Enduring Freedom is the official name used by the Bush administration for the War in Afghanistan, together with three smaller military actions, under the umbrella of the Global War on Terror. These global operations are intended to seek out and destroy any Al-Qaeda fighters or affiliates.

The Iraq War began in March 2003 with an air campaign, which was immediately followed by a U.S.-led ground invasion. In January 2007, President Bush presented a new strategy for Operation Iraqi Freedom based upon counter-insurgency theories and tactics.

Osama bin Laden, the founder and head of the Islamist group Al-Qaeda, was killed in Pakistan on May 2nd,  2011, shortly after 1:00 am by United States SEAL Team Six.  The operation, code-named Operation Neptune Spear, was authorized by President Obama.  The raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan was launched from Afghanistan. U.S. military officials said after the raid, U.S. forces took his body to Afghanistan for identification, then buried him at sea within 24 hours of his death in accordance with Islamic tradition.

As of 2017, the War on Terror continues.  It is being fought in various locations by the brave men and women of the U.S. military of these United States of America and our allies.

Gulf War

The Gulf War, August 2nd, 1990 to February 28th, 1991, code-named Operation Desert Shield, August 2nd, 1990 to January 17th, 1991, for operations leading to the buildup of troops and defense of Saudi Arabia and Operation Desert Storm, January 17th, 1991 to February 28th, 1991, in its combat phase, was a war waged by coalition forces from 35 nations led by the United States against Iraq in response to Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait.

The war is also known under other names, such as the Persian Gulf War and First Gulf War.  The Iraqi Army‘s occupation of Kuwait that began August 2nd, 1990 was met with international condemnation, and brought immediate economic sanctions against Iraq by members of the UN Security Council. US President George H. W. Bush deployed US forces under the command of General Norman Schwartzkopf into Saudi Arabia, and urged other countries to do the same.  An array of nations joined the coalition, the largest military alliance since World War II. The great majority of the coalition’s military forces were from the US, with Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and Egypt as leading contributors, in that order. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia paid around U.S. $32 billion of the U.S. $60 billion cost.

The war was marked by the introduction of live news broadcasts from the front lines of the battle.  The war has also earned the nickname Video Game War after the daily broadcast of images from cameras on board US bombers during Operation Desert Storm.

The initial conflict to expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait began with an aerial and naval bombardment on January 17th, 1991, continuing for five weeks. This was followed by a ground assault on February 24th,  This was a decisive victory for the coalition forces, who liberated Kuwait and advanced into Iraqi territory. The coalition ceased its advance, and declared a ceasefire 100 hours after the ground campaign started. Aerial and ground combat was confined to Iraq, Kuwait, and areas on Saudi Arabia’s border. Iraq launched Scud missiles against coalition military targets in Saudi Arabia and against Israel.

On February 26th, 1991, Iraqi troops began retreating from Kuwait, after they had set 737 of its oil wells on fire. A long convoy of retreating Iraqi troops formed along the main Iraq-Kuwait highway. Although they were retreating, this convoy was bombed so extensively by coalition air forces that it came to be known as the Highway of Death.  Hundreds of Iraqi troops were killed. American, British, and French forces continued to pursue retreating Iraqi forces over the border and back into Iraq, eventually moving to within 150 miles of Baghdad, before withdrawing back to Iraq’s border with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Land mines had been placed in areas around the oil wells, and a military cleaning of the areas was necessary before the fires could be put out. Somewhere around 6 million barrels of oil were lost each day. Eventually, privately contracted crews extinguished the fires, at a total cost of U.S. $1.5 billion to Kuwait.  By that time, however, the fires had burned for approximately 10 months, causing widespread pollution.  The last oil well was extinguished by November,1991.

On February 28th, one hundred hours after the ground campaign started, President George H.W. Bush called for a ceasefire, and declared that Kuwait had been liberated. There were 292 casualties, 172 of which were KIA.

Cold War

The Cold War, 1946 to 1991, resulted from tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union after WWII when Soviet troops occupied Eastern Europe and Asia and forcibly imposed totalitarian communist governments.  The successful U.S. airlift of supplies to Berlin ended the 1948 Soviet blockade but the Soviets crushed Hungary’s revolt in 1956 and Czechoslovakia’s in 1968.  Tensions escalated in 1962 when the Soviets placed nuclear missiles in Cuba.

Germany’s defeat in WWII split the country; the eastern part went to the Soviets, the western part to the U.S., Great Britain, and France. The Berlin Wall divided the country from August 13th, 1961 to November 9th, 1989.

The failed Bay of Pigs invasion, April 17th, 1961, helped to strengthen the position of Castro’s leadership. This eventually led to the Soviet Union placing missiles in Cuba.  In response, President John F. Kennedy established a naval blockade around Cuba and The Cuban Missile Crisis ended two weeks later. The United States and Soviet Union came to agreement that the Soviet Union would no longer give nuclear weapons to Cuba as long as the United States does not invade Cuba again. This was the highest period of tension during the Cold War and it was the closest the world came to a nuclear war.

After Détente (1962–1981), the agreement that ended the Cuban Missile Crisis, relations between the two sides eased. Several treaties, designed to reduce the number of nuclear weapons, were signed. During this period, the United States began building a good relationship with China, a previous ally of Russia.  The policy of détente ended in 1981, when the U.S. president Ronald Reagan ordered a massive military build-up to challenge the Soviet Union’s influence around the world.

In the late 1980s the new Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev made an effort to make an ally of the United States to fix world problems caused by the war, with the ultimate aim of eliminating nuclear weapons completely. However, this did not take place because the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, insisted on having a nuclear missile defense system. The people of the Soviet Union were divided on their feelings about this.  Mixed feelings between the leaders created an atmosphere of political in-fighting, and the people were no longer united behind one goal which caused the Communist Party to crumble and the Soviet Union collapsed.

President Ronald Reagan’s “tear down this wall” speech on June 12th, 1987 helped to set the terms for the end of the cold war and the Soviets became interested in reducing the costly arms race.  Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan sign the INF Treaty at the White House, 1987.  After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and without Communist rule holding together the countries that comprised the Soviet Union, the USSR broke into smaller countries, like Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania and Georgia. The nations of Eastern Europe returned to capitalism, and the period of the Cold War was over.

The demolition of the wall began on June 13th, 1990 and was completed in 1992.  East and West Germany’s reunification was October 3rd, 1990.  Soviet reforms proved difficult and economic changes were badly transitioned which caused the Soviet Union to collapse.  The Cold War ended in 1991.

 

Caribbean Conflicts

       Dominican Republic

The Dominican Civil War took place between April 24th, 1965, and September 3rd, 1965, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It started when civilian and military supporters of constitutionally elected former president Juan Bosch overthrew acting President Donald Reid Cabral.

On April 29th, American ambassador to the Dominican Republic, who had previously sent numerous reports to President Lyndon Johnson, reported that the situation had reached life-threatening proportions for U.S. citizens and that the rebels received foreign support. The ambassador stressed that the U.S. must act immediately as the creation of an international coalition would be time consuming.

On  April 30th, 1965, the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division landed at the San Isidro Air Base, beginning the American military intervention in the conflict. During the next couple of hours, two brigade combat teams and heavy equipment were also dispatched. At sunrise the 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment moved up the San Isidoro highway, securing a position east of the Duarte Bridge.  The 1st Battalion 505th Infantry Regiment remained at the airbase and sent out patrols to the perimeter. A force of 1,700 Marines of the 6th Marine Expeditionary Unit occupied an area containing a number of foreign embassies, the locale was proclaimed an International Security Zone by the Organization of American States (OAS). Earlier in the day, OAS also issued a resolution calling the combatants to end all hostilities. Representatives of the loyalists, the rebels and the U.S. military signed a cease fire which would take effect at midnight.  The treaty’s timing favored the demoralized loyalists, who had at that point lost control of Ciudad Colonial.

On May 5th, the OAS Peace Committee arrived in Santo Domingo and a second definite cease fire agreement was signed ending the main phase of the civil war.

On May 26th, U.S. forces began gradually withdrawing from the island. The first post war elections were held on July 1st, 1966, pitting Reformist Party candidate Joaquín Balaguer against former president Juan Emilio Bosch Gaviño. Balaguer emerged victorious in the elections, after building his campaign on promises of reconciliation. On September 21st, 1966, the last OAS peacekeepers withdrew from the island, ending the foreign intervention into the conflict.

 Grenada

The Invasion of Grenada was a 1983 United States–led invasion of the Caribbean island nation of Grenada, north of Venezuela, that resulted in a U.S. victory within a matter of weeks. The invasion resulted in the appointment of an interim government, followed by democratic elections in 1984.

Grenada gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1974. The leftist New Jewel Movement, seized power in a coup in 1979, suspending the constitution. A 1983 internal power struggle ended with the house arrest on October 12th, 1983 and murder on October 19th, 1983 of the coup leader which had brought a revolutionary government to power for the preceding four years.  This triggered the invasion, code-named Operation Urgent Fury, which  began on October 25th, 1983, just two days and several hours after the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut (October 23rd, Beirut time).

The U.S. Army’s Rapid Deployment Force (1st, 2nd Ranger Battalions and 82nd Airborne Division Paratroopers), U.S. Marines, U.S. Army Delta Force, and U.S. Navy SEALS and other combined forces constituted the 7,600 troops from the United States, Jamaica, and members of the Regional Security System (RSS) defeated Grenadian resistance.

The invasion commenced on October 25th, 1983.  It was the first major operation conducted by the U.S. military since the Vietnam War. Fighting continued for several days and the total number of U.S. troops reached some 7,000 along with 300 troops from the Organization of American States (OAS).  The invading forces encountered about 1,500 Grenadian soldiers and about 700 Cubans. The U.S. called in two battalions of reinforcements on the evening of October 26th. The total naval and air superiority of the coalition forces—including helicopter gunships and naval gunfire support as well as members of reserve  Navy SEALS had overwhelmed the defenders.

Nearly 8,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines had participated in Operation Urgent Fury along with 353 Caribbean Peace Forces.  U.S. forces sustained 19 killed and 116 wounded with more than 5,000 medals for merit and valor awarded.

The date of the invasion is now a national holiday in Grenada, called Thanksgiving Day. For many Grenadians, the Grenada Revolution died with Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and so they gave thanks when the US rescued them from the faction which killed Bishop. The Point Salines International Airport was renamed in honor Bishop on the 65th anniversary of his birth on May 29th, 2009.

Panama

The United States Invasion of Panama, code-named Operation Just Cause, was the invasion of Panama by the United States between mid-December 1989 and late-January 1990. It occurred ten years after the Torrijos–Carter Treaties were ratified to transfer control of the Panama Canal from the United States to Panama by Jan.1st, 2000.

The official U.S. justification for the invasion was articulated by President George H. W. Bush on the morning of December 20th, 1989, a few hours after the start of the operation. Bush listed four reasons for the invasion:  Safeguarding the lives of U.S. citizens in Panama, defending democracy and human rights in Panama, combating drug trafficking, and protecting the integrity of the Torrijos–Carter Treaties.

U.S. military forces were instructed to begin maneuvers and activities within the restrictions.  The incursion began on December 20th, 1989. The invasion of Panama was the first combat deployment for the AH-64 (Helicopter), the HMMWV (Humvee) and the F-117A (Stealth Fighter)

The operation began with an assault of strategic installations, such as the Punta Paitilla Airport in Panama City and a PDF garrison and airfield at Rio Hato, where Manuel Noriega also maintained a residence. U.S. Navy SEALS destroyed Noriega’s private jet and a Panamanian gunboat. A Panamanian ambush killed four SEALS and wounded nine. The attack on the central headquarters of the Panamanian Defense Forces (PDF) touched off several fires, and began the opening round of attacks in Panama City and included a special operations raid on the Carcel Modelo prison to free Kurt Muse, a US citizen convicted of espionage by Noriega.

A platoon from the 1138th Military Police Company, Missouri Army National Guard, which was on a routine two-week rotation to Panama was called upon to set up a detainee camp on Empire Range to handle the mass of civilian and military detainees. This unit was the first National Guard unit called into active service since the Vietnam War.

During the invasion, de facto Panamanian leader, general, and dictator Manuel Noriega was deposed, president-elect Guillermo Endara sworn into office at Fort Clayton & the Panamanian Defense Force (PDF) dissolved.

Haiti

The United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH) — a peacekeeping operation carried out by the United Nations between September 1993 and June 1996. The Mission was reestablished (MINUSTAH) in April 2004, after a rebellion took over most of Haiti and President Bertrand Aristide resigned.

On September 23rd, 1993, the first multinational force was sent to Haiti in 1994 which was made of 20,000 members.  Their goal was to help reform different aspects of their society that had broken down over years of corruption.

Operation Uphold Democracy September 19th, 1994 to March 31st, 1995 was an intervention designed to remove the military regime installed by the 1991 Haitian coup d’état that overthrew the elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

The operation began with the alert of United States and its allies for a forced entry into the island nation of Haiti.  As forces prepared to invade, a diplomatic element persuaded the leaders of Haiti to step down and allow elected officials to return to power. This effort was successful and the military mission changed to a peace-keeping, nation-building operation with the deployment of the U.S.-led multinational force in Haiti.

Units of the 25th Infantry Division (Light) who deployed on January 4th, 1995 assumed command authority from the 10th Division on January 9th, 1995. Port-au-Prince was the headquarters element of the Multinational Forces, Combined Task Force 190 and the Republic of Haiti.  The U.S. Army Reserve unit and the 458th Transportation Detachment (ATMCT) was activated and reported to Fort Bragg, North Carolina within 48 hours of notification.  This was the fastest a Reserve unit has ever been deployed.

Father Jean Bertrand Aristide returned to Haiti in October of 1994 after 3 years of forced exile.  Uphold Democracy officially ended on March 31st, 1995 when it was replaced by the U.N. Mission in Haiti (UNMIH).

From the March 1995 until March 1996, 2,400 U.S. personnel remained as a support group called Operation New Horizons.  A large contingent of U.S. troops (USFORHAITI) participated as peacekeepers until 1996 The U.S. forces commander also commanded of the U.N. forces. U.N. forces, under various mission names, were in Haiti from 1995 through 2000.

 

Middle East Conflicts

Lebanon

The 1958 Lebanon crisis was a Lebanese political crisis caused by political and religious tensions in the country that included a U.S. military intervention. The intervention lasted around three months until President Camille Chamoun, who had requested the assistance, completed his term as president of Lebanon.

The President of the United States, Eisenhower responded by authorizing Operation Blue Bat on July 15th, 1958. The goal was to bolster the pro-Western Lebanese government against internal opposition and threats from Syria and Egypt. The plan was to occupy and secure the Beirut International Airport.

The chain of command for Operation Blue Bat was as follows: the Eisenhower administration at the strategic level; Specified Command, Middle East (SPECCOMME), a ‘double-hat’ for Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean (CINCNELM) at the operational level; the Sixth Fleet, with aircraft carriers Saratoga, Essex, and Wasp, cruisers Des Moines and USS Boston, and two squadrons of destroyers. At the end of June Essex and Boston were anchored at Piraeus, Greece, while Des Moines, from which Vice Admiral Charles R. Brown was flying his flag, was at Villefranche-sur-Mer. Land forces included the 2nd Provisional Marine Force (Task Force 62) and the Army Task Force 201 at the tactical level.  Each of these three components influenced Operations Plan 215-58 and its execution.

The operation involved approximately 14,000 men, including 8,509 United States Army personnel, a contingent from the 1st Airborne Battle Group, 187th Infantry from the 24th Infantry Division (based in West Germany) and 5,670 officers and men of the United States Marine Corps (the 2nd Provisional Marine Force, of Battalion Landing Teams 1/8 and 2/2). The Second Battalion 8th Marines arrived on July 16th after a 54-hour airlift from Cherry Point, North Carolina.  They were supported by a fleet of 70 ships and 40,000 sailors. On July 16th, 1958, Admiral James L. Holloway, Jr. (CINCNELM) and Commander in Chief (CINC) SPECCOMME), flew in from London to Beirut airport and boarded USS Taconic (AGC-17), from which he commanded the remainder of the operation.  American and Lebanese government forces successfully occupied the port and international airport of Beirut.  With the crisis over, the U.S. withdrew its forces on October 25th, 1958.

Beirut

The Siege of Beirut took place in the summer of 1982, as part of the 1982 Lebanon War, which resulted from the breakdown of the cease-fire effected by the United Nations. The siege ended with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) being forced out of Beirut and Lebanon.

The Israeli forces invaded in a three-pronged attack. One group moved along the coastal road to Beirut, another aimed at cutting the main Beirut-Damascus road, and the third moved up along the Lebanon-Syria border.  Israel had gained air superiority by June 11th after shooting down several Syrian aircraft.  Syria requested a cease-fire, and most PLO guerrillas fled.

Israel’s goal, a siege with a ring around Beirut, was a quick and decisive victory June 13th, 1982.  PLO and part of Syrian forces were isolated in the city.  The United States was pushing for peace negotiations and the longer the siege took, the less chance for a positive outcome. For seven weeks, Israel attacked Beirut by sea, air, and land, cutting off food and water supplies, disconnecting the electricity, securing the airport and some southern suburbs.  On July 14th, Prime Minister Menachem Begin asked for a large-scale operation to conquer West Beirut to evict the PLO.  The plan was rejected on July 16th, by full Israeli cabinet, out of concern for heavy loss of life.

On August 10th, American envoy Philip Habib submitted a draft agreement to Israel.  Defense minister Ariel Sharon ordered a saturation bombing of Beirut, where at least 300 people died.  That bombing brought about condemnation from President Ronald Reagan. In response, on August 12th, the Israeli cabinet stripped Sharon of most of his powers; he was not allowed to order the use of any military action without agreement of cabinet or prime-minister.

During the siege, the Israelis secured several key locations in other parts of Lebanon, but did not manage to take the city before a peace agreement was finally implemented. Although Syria had agreed on August 7th, Israel, Lebanon, and the PLO finally agreed, with US mediation, on the 18th. On August 21st, 350 French paratroopers arrived in Beirut, followed by 800 US Marines and Italian Bersaglieri plus additional international peacekeepers (totally 2,130) to supervise the removal of the PLO, first by ship and then overland, to Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan, and Syria. Altogether 8500 PLO men were evacuated to Tunisia, and 2500 by land to other Arab countries.

         Libya

After years of occasional skirmishes with Libya over territorial claims, the United States contemplated military intervention on the Libyan mainland. In March 1986, the United States, asserting the 12-nautical-mile limit per international law, sent a carrier task force to the region. Libya aggressive counter-maneuvers led to the Gulf of Sidra incident on March 24th.

On April 5th, 1986, Libyan agents bombed “La Belle” nightclub in West Berlin, killing three people, one being a U.S. Serviceman, and injuring 229 people. West Germany and the United States obtained cable transcripts from Libyan agents in East Germany confirming the perpetrators were Libyan.  On Tuesday, April 15, 1986 the United States initiated the bombing of Libya, code-named Operation El Dorado Canyon, due to the nightclub bombing, the bombing of a Berlin discotheque killing 40 Libyan civilians, and the shooting down of one U.S. plane resulting in death of two airmen.  Warfare Aircraft from aircraft carriers USS Saratoga, USS America and USS Coral Sea on station in the Gulf of Sidra, The attack began at 0200 hours (Libyan time), and lasted about twelve minutes, with 60 tons of munitions dropped striking five targets with the stated objectives of sending a message and reducing Libya’s ability to support and train terrorists. President Reagan warned that “if necessary, [they] shall do it again.”

Eighteen F-111 bombers supported by four EF-111 electronic countermeasures aircraft flying from the United Kingdom bombed Tripoli airfield, a frogman training center at a naval academy, and the Bab al-Azizia barracks in Tripoli.  During the bombing of the Bab al-Azizia barracks, an American F-111 was shot down by a Libyan surface-to-air missile over the Gulf of Sidra. Twenty-Four A-6 Intruders and F/A-18 Hornets launched from aircraft carriers bombed radar and antiaircraft sites in Benghazi before bombing the Benina and Jamahiriya barracks

Elements of the then-secret 4450th Tactical Group (USAF) were put on standby to fly the strike mission against Libya with over 30 F-117s already delivered to Tactical Air Command (USAF).  The Secretary of Defense scrubbed the stealth mission, fearing exposure of the secret aircraft.  The air strike was carried out with conventional US Navy and US Air Force aircraft.  The F-117 would remain completely unknown to the world for several more months, before being unveiled in 1988 and featured prominently in media coverage of Operation Desert Storm.

Somalia

The Unified Task Force (UNITAF) was a US-led, United Nations-sanctioned multinational force and operated in Somalia between December 5th, 1992 and May 4th, 1993. A United States initiative (code-named Operation Restore Hope), UNITAF was charged with carrying out the December 3rd, 1992 adopted United Nations Security Council Resolution 794 to create an environment to protect the delivery of food and other humanitarian aid in the country.  President George H. W. Bush initiated Operation Restore Hope on December 4th, 1992, and the United States would assume command.

The operation began on December 6th, 1992, when U.S. Navy SEALs and Special Boat crewmen from Naval Special Warfare Task Unit TRIPOLI began conducting 3 days of reconnaissance operations in the vicinity of the airport and harbor.  On December 8th, 1992 elements of the Army’s 4th Psychological Operation Group (Airborne) attached to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) conducted leaflet drops over Mogadishu.  On December 9, the MEU entered Mogadishu from USS Tripoli (LPH-10), USS Juneau (LPD 10) and USS Rushmore (LSD-47).

The MEU’s ground combat element, 2nd Battalion 9th Marines (2/9), performed simultaneous raids on the Port of Mogadishu and the airport, establishing a foothold for additional incoming troops. Echo and Golf Company assaulted the airport by helicopter and Amphibious Assault Vehicles, while Fox Company secured the port with a rubber boat raid. The 1st Marine Division’s Air Contingency Battalion (ACB) and the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, (1/7) arrived soon after the airport was secured.  The 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines (3/9) and the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines (1/7) went on to secure the airport in Baidoa and the city of Bardera while Golf Company the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines (2/9) and elements of the Belgian Special Forces conducted an amphibious landing at the city of Kismayo. Air support was provided by the combined helicopter units of HMLA-267, HMH-363, HMH-466, HMM-164 and HC-11 DET 10.

United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali determined that the presence of UNITAF troops had a “positive impact on the security situation in Somalia and on the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance.”

One day prior to the signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 814, which marked the transfer of power from UNITAF to UNOSOM II, a United Nations led force. On May 3rd, 1993, UNOSOM II officially assumed command, and on May 4th, 1993, it assumed responsibility for the operations

Kosovo

On  June 9th 1998, President Bill Clinton declared a “national emergency” due to the “unusual threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States” imposed by Yugoslavia and Serbia over the Kosovo War.

On September 23rd, 1998 the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1199, the peace plan for NATO’s occupation of Kosovo. On October 15th, the NATO agreement was signed and withdrawal deadline was October 27th.  The Serbian withdrawal commenced on October 25th and Operation Eagle Eye commenced on October 30th, 1998.

The January to March 1999 phase brought increasing insecurity.  March 23rd, 1999, the peace talks failed and  NATO began military action.  On March 24th UTC NATO started bombing Yugoslavia.  NATO’s bombing lasted from March 24th to June 11th, 1999.

In April, President Bill Clinton authorized CIA operations to destabilize the Yugoslav government.  Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević accepted conditions offered by Finnish–Russian mediation and allowed NATO troops within Kosovo.  On June 3rd, 1999, he accepted an international peace plan to end fighting.  The North Atlantic Council ratified the agreement June 10th.  On June 12th, Milošević accepted the conditions for a NATO-led peacekeeping Kosovo Force (KFOR) entering Kosovo.

The U.S. Initial Entry Force, was led by the 1st Armored Division and spearheaded by British Forces. Units included 1st and 2nd Battalions, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne); TF 1–6 (1-6 infantry with C Co 1-35AR) Infantry with C Co 1-35AR), the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment and Echo Troop, 4th Cavalry Regiment.  Although no further resistance was met, three U.S. soldiers from the Initial Entry Force died in accidents.

On October 1st, 1999, Alpha Company, 1/508th Airborne Battalion Combat Army Ranger Sgt. Jason Neil Pringle, was killed after his parachute failed to deploy. The 1/508th joined the 82nd Airborne in patrolling various areas of Kosovo, through October 3rd, 1999.

On December 15th, 1999, Staff Sergeant Joseph Suponcic of 3rd Battalion/10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) was killed when the HUM-V he was in struck an anti-tank mine planted by Albanians and meant for the Russian contingent with which SSG Suponcic’s team was patrolling.

The initial U.S. forces established their area around the towns of Uroševac, the future Camp Bondsteel, and Gnjilane, at Camp Monteith, and spent four months—the start of a stay which continues to date—establishing order in the southeast sector of Kosovo.

Vietnam War

The Vietnam War was a long, costly armed conflict that pitted the communist regime of North Vietnam and its southern allies, known as the Viet Cong, against South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States.  The war occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from November 1st, 1955 to the fall of Saigon on April 30th, 1975. The U.S. government viewed its involvement in the war as a way to prevent a Communist takeover of South Vietnam. The North Vietnamese government and the Viet Cong (the National Liberation Front, or NLF), were fighting to reunify Vietnam. The Viet Cong and a South Vietnamese communist common front aided by the North, fought a guerrilla war against anti-communist forces in the region.  The People’s Army of Vietnam (the North Vietnamese Army, or NVA), engaged in more conventional warfare, at times committing large units to battle.

Beginning in 1950, American military advisors arrived in what was then French Indochina.  U.S. involvement escalated in the early 1960s, with troop levels tripling in 1961 and again in 1962.  Further escalation followed the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, in which a U.S. destroyer clashed with North Vietnamese fast attack craft. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution which gave the U.S. president authorization to increase U.S. military presence was enacted.  Regular U.S. combat units were deployed beginning in 1965. Significant battles followed; Battle of Pleiku, February 6th, 1965, Battle of Van Tuong, August 18th, 1965, and the Battle of Ia Drang, November 14th, 1965.  The Battle of Dak To that took place between November 3rd and the22nd of 1967, was not only one of the major battles in the Vietnam War but one of the bloodiest.  It was fought in two phases, November 4th to the 12th and the most violent phase from November 17th to the 22nd.  The strongest enemy resistance was on the infamous Hill 875 where two battalions of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, the 2nd and 4th Battalion of the 503rd Infantry Regiment fought from November 19th to Thanksgiving Day, November 23rd.  Hundreds were killed or wounded and many were MIA.  Most experts agree that the battle of Dak To in November was one of the preliminary battles to the Tet Offensive in Jan. 1968.

Areas of Laos and Cambodia were heavily bombed by U.S. forces as American involvement in the war peaked in 1968 beginning with the Battle of Khe Sanh, January 21st to July 9th, 1968.  With U.S. and South Vietnamese soldiers focused on Khe Sanh, North Vietnam launched attacks on towns and cities in South Vietnam on January 30th, 1968 to coincide with Tet, the Vietnamese New Year. VC and Communist sympathizers attacked military bases, government offices, and foreign embassies and executed thousands of civilians.  The attacks continued till March 28th.  The Tet Offensive in 1968 failed to overthrow the South Vietnamese government but became the turning point in the war. Other significant battles were the Battle of Hamburger Hill, May 10th to 20th, 1969 and the Easter Offensive, March 30th, 1972.  The military actions of the Viet Cong decreased as the role and engagement of the NVA grew.  U.S. and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery, airstrikes and large-scale strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnam by the U.S.

Gradual withdrawal of U.S. ground forces began as part of “Vietnamization“, was aimed to end American involvement in the war while transferring the task of fighting the communists to the South Vietnamese themselves. Though the Paris Peace Accord was signed by all parties in January 1973, the fighting continued.  Despite many years of massive U.S. military aid to South Vietnam a large segment of the U.S. population no longer believed the illusion of progress toward winning the war that the government had claimed. The war, increasingly unpopular at home, led to the end of military involvement on August 15th, 1973.  The capture of Saigon, April 27th to April 30th by the North Vietnamese Army, marked the end of the war and North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year.

An estimated 58,220 U.S. service member died in the conflict, and 1,626 were listed as missing in action.

Korean War

The Korean War, June 25th, 1950 to July 27th, 1953, was a war between North and South Korea, in which a United Nations force led by the United States fought for the South, and China fought for the North, which was also assisted by the Soviet Union.  Korea was ruled by Japan from 1910 until the closing days of World War II. In August 1945, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, as a result of an agreement with the United States, and liberated Korea north of the 38th parallel.

The war arose from the division of Korea at the end of World War II.  By 1948, Korea was split into two regions, with separate governments and U.S. forces subsequently moved into the south.  Both governments claimed to be the legitimate government of Korea, and neither side accepted the border as permanent. The conflict escalated into open warfare when North Korean forces, supported by the Soviet Union and China, invaded South Korea on June 25th, 1950, with the front line close to the 38th parallel.  On June 27th, the United Nations Security Council authorized the formation and dispatch of UN forces to Korea to repel what was recognized as a North Korean invasion.  Twenty-one countries of the United Nations eventually contributed to the UN force, with the United States providing 88% of the UN’s military personnel.

On November 27th, 1950, the Chinese 9th Army surprised the US X Corps (U.S. Army Reserve Unit of World War II) at the Chosin Reservoir.  A brutal 17-day battle ensued between November 27th and December 13th, in some of the roughest terrain and the harshest weather conditions of the Korean War.  On November 14th, the temperature plunged to as low as −35 °F.  Considerable danger of frostbite casualties, icy roads, and weapon malfunctions ensued.  Medical supplies such as morphine injections had to be defrosted in a medic’s mouth before they could be administered, frozen blood plasma proved to be useless and cutting off clothing to deal with a wound risked gangrene and frostbite.  The 30,000 troops that fought at the Chosin Reservoir would later be nicknamed “The Chosin Few”.  Seventeen Medals of Honor were awarded covering 3 different branches of the military for their actions during the 17-day battle.

Jet fighters confronted each other in air-to-air combat for the first time in history, and Soviet pilots covertly flew in defense of their Communist allies. The war in the air was never a stalemate as North Korea was subject to a massive bombing campaign. The United States supplied 150 F-86 Sabre Jets, and had the B 0 26 Night Intruder which dropped bombs on supply lines in “Operation Strangle” in 1951-52.  A majority of the dogfights happened in “M16 Alley”, between the Yalu River & Pyongyang. The Bell 47 helicopter was designated the H-13 Sioux by the U.S. Army and it served a variety of roles including reconnaissance, scouting, search & rescue & med-e vac.

The Battle of Pork Chop Hill, October 1951 to July 1953, was comprised of several related infantry battles.  The 300 meters (980 foot)-high hill was so-named because its topographic shape vaguely resembled a pork chop.  Initially seized by the U.S. 8th Cavalry Regiment in October 1951, it was lost and regained in May 1952 by Item Company of the U.S. 180th Infantry Regiment.  It was again defended again by the 21st Thai Regiment of the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division of the U.S. on November 29th, 1952.  The fighting ended on July 27th, 1953, when an armistice was signed less than three weeks after the Battle of Pork Chop Hill. The agreement created the Korean Demilitarized Zone, an area 160 miles long, and 2.5 miles wide between North and South Korea, running across the peninsula roughly following the 38th parallel.  The Demilitarized Zone was created to separate North and South Korea and allow the return of prisoners,  No peace treaty has been signed, and the two Korea’s are technically still at war.

A total of 33,651 service members died in battle during the Korean War and 7,140 service members became prisoners of war.

World War II

On December 7th, 1941, the Empire of Japan conducted a surprise attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean.  The total number of deaths came to 2403 and 1,143 were wounded.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt said the attack was “a date which will live in infamy” and declared war on Japan December 8th, 1941. Italy’s leader Benito Mussolin, and Germany’s leader Adolf Hitler, declared war on the United States December 11th, 1941.

Germany conquered most of Europe by 1940 and threatened Great Britain.  Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned or put to death.  By 1941, killing centers, concentration camps at Dachau in Germany and Auschwitz in Poland and other Nazi extermination camps replaced firing squads as the primary method of mass killing.  The total number of Jews murdered during the war is estimated at five and a half to six million, including over a million children.  Twelve million were put into forced labor.

Japan lost the Battle of Midway in 1942 and Germany was defeated in North Africa and Stalingrad by the Soviet Union.  In 1943, with multiple German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Italy and Sicily, Italy surrender.  During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major losses in Asia, South Central China and Burma, and the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands.

Aerial bombings of Germany escalated in 1944.  The Normandy Invasion (D-Day) June 6th, 1944, was the largest seaborne invasion in history.  The Battle of Hürtgen Forest, September 19th, to December 16th, 1944 was the longest single battle fought by the U.S. Army.  The Battle of the Bulge, December 16th, 1944 to January 25th, 1945, was the largest and bloodiest battle of the war.  The Battle of Remagen, March 7th, to March 25th, 1945, resulted in the capture of the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine.  The Soviet Union and other Allied powers conquered Germany during the Battle of Berlin April 16th, to May 2nd, 1945.  Adolf Hitler and girlfriend Eva Braun committed suicide April 30th.  German Chancellor Joseph Goebbels and his wife Magda committed suicide the next day, after murdering their six children.  From May 4th to 8th, 1945, most of the remaining German forces surrendered.  The German Instrument of Surrender was signed May 7th.  Many of the surviving Nazi leadership were put on trial for war crimes at the Nuremberg trials.

The Potsdam Declaration for the Japanese Surrender called for the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces during World War II.  On July 26th, 1945, and following the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6th and August 9th respectively. With an invasion imminent and the possibility of additional atomic bombings, Japan surrendered on August 15th, 1945 and documents were signed aboard the deck of the American battleship USS Missouri on September 2nd, 1945, ending the war.

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces and were intricate to the success of the European campaign.  Their training began in June 1941 with the 99th Pursuit Squadron at Tuskegee University consisting of 47 officers and 429 enlisted men.  After training at Moton Field, they were moved to the nearby Tuskegee Army Air Field, Tuskegee, AL.

On 15 May 1942, the 99th Pursuit Squadron was renamed the 99th Fighter Squadron and joined the 33rd Fighter Group in North Africa in April 1943.  Their first combat mission was to attack the small strategic volcanic island of Pantelleria in the Mediterranean Sea to clear the sea lanes for the Allied invasion of Sicily slated for July, 1943.  The 99th was then moved to Sicily and received a Distinguished Unit Citation for its performance in combat.  The 99th was then sent to mainland Italy and on 1 May 1944, were assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group where they conducted heavy strategic bombing raids into Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Germany. The Allies called these airmen “Red Tails” or “Red-Tail Angels,” because of the distinctive crimson unit identification marking predominantly applied on the tail section of the unit’s aircraft.

The 99th Fighter Squadron, previously known as the 99th Pursuit Squadron, earned three Distinguished Unit Citations (DUC) during World War II. The DUCs were for operations over Sicily from 30 May–11 June 1943 and for successfully fighting off German jet aircraft on 24 March 1945.  The mission was the longest bomber escort mission of the Fifteenth Air Force throughout the war. The 332nd Fighter Group flew missions in Sicily, Anzio, Normandy, the Rhineland, the Po Valley and Rome-Arno and others. Pilots of the 99th once set a record for destroying five enemy aircraft in under four minutes.

The Tuskegee Airmen shot down three German jets in a single day. On 24 March 1945, led by Colonel Benjamin O. Davis escorted B-17 bombers over 1,600 miles into Germany and back. The bombers’ target, a massive Daimler-Benz tank factory in Berlin, was heavily defended by Luftwaffe aircraft.  Pilots Charles Brantley, Earl Lane and Roscoe Brown all shot down German jets over Berlin that day. For the mission, the 332nd Fighter Group earned a Distinguished Unit Citation and pilots earned 96 Distinguished Flying Crosses.

On 29 March 2007, the Tuskegee Airmen were collectively awarded a Congressional Gold Medal at a ceremony in the U.S. Capitol rotunda.  The medal is currently on display at the Smithsonian Institution.  The airfield where the airmen trained is now the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.

Three Tuskegee airmen went on to become generals.  Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr. was appointed a Brigadier General by President Nixon.  Benjamin O. Davis Jr., was the original commander of the 332nd Fighter Group and the first black general in the U.S. Air Force.  Tuskegee aviator, Lucius Theus, retired a major general after dedicating most of his 36-year career in the Air Force to improving the military’s bureaucracy, helping to implement a direct deposit system for service members.

The Tuskegee Airmen Memorial was erected at Walterboro Army Airfield, South Carolina, in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen, their instructors, and ground support personnel who trained at the Walterboro Army Airfield during World War II.

World War II produced two highly decorated hero’s, Mitchell Paige of the U.S. Marine Corps and Audie Murphy of the U.S. Army.

Colonel Mitchell Paige of the United States Marine was a recipient of the Medal of Honor from World War II. He received this, the highest military honor awarded by the United States of America, for his actions at the Battle of Guadalcanal, October 26, 1942, where, after all of the other Marines in his platoon were killed or wounded, he operated four (4) machine guns, single-handedly stopping an entire Japanese regiment. Paige died Nov. 15th, 2008 at the age of 85 and is buried in Riverside National Cemetery in Ca.

Audie Leon Murphy was the most decorated American combat soldiers of WWII.  After the attack on Pearl Harbor he tried to enlist but the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps all turned him down for being underweight and underage. After his sister provided an affidavit falsifying his birth date by a year, he was accepted by the U.S. Army on June 30th, 1942, 10 days after his 17th birthday.  Murphy ultimately received every U.S. military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army, as well as French and Belgian awards for heroism. He received the Medal of Honor for valor demonstrated at the age of 19 for single-handedly holding off an entire company of German soldiers for an hour at the Colmar Pocket in France in January 1945, then leading a successful counterattack while wounded and out of ammunition.  France recognized his service with the French Legion of HonorGrade of Chevalier, the French Croix de guerre with Silver Star, the French Croix de guerre with Palm, the French Liberation Medal and the French Fourragère in Colors of the Croix de guerre.  Belgium awarded Murphy the Belgian Croix de guerre with 1940 Palm.  Murphy began an acting career in 1948 and portrayed himself in a 1955 autobiographical movie titled “To Hell and Back”.  Murphy died in a plane crash May 28th, 1971 at the age of 46 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Code talking was pioneered by Cherokee and Choctaw Indians during World War I, however, the name “code talkers  is strongly associated with bilingual Navajo speakers specially recruited during World War II by the Marines to serve in their standard communications units in the Pacific Theater.  Soldiers of Basque ancestry (north-central Spain and south-western France) were also deployed by the U.S. Marines and the Army deployed the Lakota, Meskwaki and Comanche soldiers as code talkers.

Philip Johnston, a civil engineer, proposed the use of Navajo to the United States Marine Corps at the beginning of World War II.  Johnston, a World War I veteran, was raised on the Navajo reservation as the son of a missionary to the Navajo. He was one of the few non-Navajo who spoke the language fluently.  Still an unwritten language, Johnston thought Navajo could satisfy the military requirement for an undecipherable code. Navajo was spoken only on the Navajo lands of the American Southwest.  One estimate indicates that at the outbreak of World War II, fewer than 30 non-Navajo’s could understand the language.

The Navajo Code Talkers were mainly Marines. Determined that spelling out military terms during combat was too time-consuming, some terms, concepts, tactics and instruments of modern warfare were given uniquely formal descriptive Navajo names.  The word for “shark” referred to a destroyer, and a “silver oak leaf” the rank of lieutenant colonel.  Several of these terms, such as gofasters referring to running shoes or ink sticks for pens, entered Marine Corps vocabulary and are commonly used today.

The code talkers memorized all these variations and practiced their rapid use under stressful conditions during training. Untrained Navajo speakers would have no idea what the code talkers’ messages meant; they would hear only disjointed strings of individual, unrelated nouns, and verbs.

The Navajo Code Talkers were commended for their skill, speed, and accuracy throughout the war. At the Battle of Iwo Jima, Major Howard Conner the 5th Marine Division’s Signal Officer had six Navajo code talkers working around the clock during the first two days of the battle. These six sent and received over 800 messages, all without error. Connor later stated, “Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima.”

As the war progressed representative code talkers of each of the U.S. Marine divisions met in Hawaii to discuss shortcomings in the code, incorporate new terms, and update their codebooks. These representatives trained other code talkers who could not attend the meeting.  The last of the original 29 Navajo code talkers who developed the code, Chester Nez, died on June 4, 2014.

The deployment of the Navajo code talkers continued through the Korean War and after, until it was ended early in the Vietnam War. The Navajo code is the only spoken military code never to have been deciphered.

World War II also brought forth the development of the WAVES, the WACS, and the WASPS.

The Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) was the women’s branch of the United States Naval Reserve, established on July 21st, 1942 by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by the president on July 30th, 1942.

The Women’s Army Corps (WAC), the women’s branch of the United States Army, was created as an auxiliary unit, Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) on May 15th, 1942 by Public Law 554, and converted to full status as the WAC on July 1st, 1943.

The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), called “Women’s Army Service Pilots” and their predecessors, the Women’s Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) and the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) organized separately in September 1942. They were the pioneering organizations of civilian female pilots. The WFTD and WAFS were merged on August 5, 1943, to create the paramilitary WASP organization. They flew over 60 million miles in every type of military aircraft. The WASP was granted Veteran status in 1977, and given the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.

World War I

The sinking by a German U-boat of the British ocean liner Lusitania in May 1915 killing 128 Americans helped turn the tide of American public opinion steadfastly against Germany, and in February 1917 Congress passed a $250 million arms appropriations bill intended to make the United States ready for war. After the sinking of seven US merchant ships by submarines President Woodrow Wilson called for war on Germany.  On April 2nd, 1917, he appeared before Congress and called for a declaration of war against Germany. US Congress declared war on April 6th, 1917.

With Germany, able to build up its strength on the Western Front after the armistice with Russia, allied troops struggled to hold off another German offensive until promised reinforcements from the United States could arrive.  The Western Front contained more than 1,000 kilometers of front-line and reserve trenches. Soldiers in the trenches endured conditions ranging from barely tolerable to utterly horrific. They dealt with ‘trench foot’: a gangrene of the feet and toes, ticks, lice, rats, flies, and mosquito’s.  Cholera, typhus, and dysentery thrived because of vermin, poor sewage and waste disposal, stagnant water, spoiled food and bodies. The territory between its opposing front lines was strewn with mines, craters, mud, live ordinance, barbed wire, discarded rubbish, bodies and body parts in all stages of decomposition.

On July 15th, 1918, Germany launched the last offensive of the war, attacking French forces (joined by 85,000 American troops as well as some of the British Expeditionary Force) in the Second Battle of the Marne. This battle turned the tide of war decisively towards the Allies, who gradually regained much of France and Belgium.  By the fall of 1918, the Central Powers were unraveling on all fronts.

Despite the Turkish victory at Gallipoli & later defeats by invading forces, the Turks signed a treaty with the Allies in late October 1918. Austria-Hungary, dissolving from within due to growing nationalist movements among its diverse population, reached an armistice on November 4th.   Facing dwindling resources on the battlefield, discontent on the home front and the surrender of its allies, Germany was finally forced to seek an armistice.  At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War ends. At 5 a.m. that morning, Germany signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiégne, France.  The First World War left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives.

WWI produced two highly decorated hero’s, Edward “Eddie” Vernon Rickenbaker of the U.S. Army Air Service and Alvin Cullum York of the U.S. Army.  Rickenbacker downed seventeen enemy fighters, four reconnaissance aircraft, and five balloons for a total of 26 aerial victories. He received an unprecedented eight Distinguished Service Cross’, the French Croix de Guerre and Legion of Honor. The Distinguished Service Cross he earned for attacking seven, downing two, German aircraft, on September 25th, 1918 was elevated to the Medal of Honor by President Herbert Hoover on November 6th, 1930.  He was also considered to have won the most awards for valor by an American during the war.

Alvin Cullum York, also known as Sergeant York, was one of the most decorated United States Army soldiers of World War I.  He received the Medal of Honor for leading an attack on a German machine gun nest, taking 35 machine guns, killing at least 25 enemy soldiers, and capturing 132. York’s Medal of Honor action occurred during the United States-led portion of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in France, which was intended to breach the Hindenburg line and force the Germans to surrender.

World War I was the first time aircraft were used on a large scale.  They were normally unarmed and used for reconnaissance until the machine gun was affixed to the aircraft to create the “fighter” airplane.  Many aircraft types emerged from the fighting – scouts, night bombers, night fighters and ground attack.  These served to pave the way for the new, post-war aircraft that followed.  It was also the first time for the use of submersible submarines, flame throwers, depth charges, anti-aircraft guns, tanks, and chemical warfare.

Mexican-American War

The Mexican–American War, was an armed conflict between the United States of America and Mexico from spring 1846 to fall 1847, resulting in the defeat of Mexico and the loss of approximately half of its national territory in the north.

After its independence in 1821 and brief experiment with monarchy, Mexico became a republic in 1824. It was characterized by considerable instability, leaving it ill-prepared for conflict when war broke out in 1846.  Native American raids in Mexico’s sparsely settled north in the decades preceding the war prompted the Mexican government to sponsor migration from the U.S. to the Mexican province of Texas to create a buffer. However, Texans from both countries revolted against the Mexican government in the 1836 Texas Revolution, creating a republic not recognized by Mexico.  In spite of its de facto secession in the revolution, Mexico still claimed it as part of its national territory.  In 1845, Texas agreed to an offer of annexation by the U.S. Congress, and became the 28th state on December 29th.

In 1845, James K. Polk, the newly-elected U.S. president, made a proposition to the Mexican government to purchase the disputed lands between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. When that offer was rejected, American forces commanded by Major General Zachary Taylor were moved into the disputed territory. They were then attacked by Mexican forces, who killed 12 U.S. soldiers and took 52 as prisoners. These same Mexican troops later laid siege to an American fort along the Rio Grande.  This led to the war and the eventual loss of much of Mexico’s northern territory.

U.S. forces quickly occupied Santa Fe de Nuevo México and Alta California Territory, and then invaded parts of Central Mexico which modern-day Northeastern Mexico and Northwest Mexico.  The Pacific Squadron conducted a blockade and took control of several garrisons on the Pacific coast farther south in the Baja California Territory. The U.S. Army, under the command of Major General Winfield Scott, captured the capital, Mexico City, marching from the port of Veracruz.

The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the war and specified its major consequence: the Mexican Cession of the territories of Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo México to the United States. The U.S. agreed to pay $15 million compensation for the physical damage of the war. In addition, the United States assumed $3.25 million of debt owed by the Mexican government to U.S. citizens. Mexico acknowledged the loss of Texas, the Pecos River as their border and thereafter cited the Rio Grande as its national border with the United States.

In Mexico, the war came in the middle of political turmoil which turned into chaos during the conflict.  The military defeat and loss of territory was a disastrous blow, causing Mexico to enter “a period of self-examination” as its leaders sought to identify and address the reasons that had led to such turmoil and loss.”  A prominent Mexican wrote the war had resulted in “the state of degradation and ruin” in Mexico.