This Month in Military History

AUG11914As France begins mobilization of its army, Germany crosses into neighboring Luxembourg and declares war against Russia.
AUG11943177 B-24 Liberator bombers of the Ninth and Eighth Air Forces depart Libya to conduct a low-level strike the Axis oil fields at Ploiesti, Romania. A massive German air defense network inflicts heavy casualties on the Americans, shooting down 53 B-24s and damaging another 55. One bomber manages to limp back to the Benghazi airfield with an incredible 365 bullet holes. Over 310 Americans are killed with over 200 captured or missing. Five raiders earn the Medals of Honor - the most ever awarded for a single mission.
AUG11943In the Solomon Islands, the Japanese destroyer Aragiri rams the motor torpedo boat PT-109. Two sailors are killed by the nighttime collision. Lieutenant (junior grade) John F. Kennedy and his remaining 11-man crew swim over three miles to a nearby deserted island and are rescued days later. The future president is awarded the Purple Heart and the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for gallantry.
AUG11944GEN George Patton's Third Army becomes operational and forms the right flank of the Allied force sweeping across France.
AUG11944MG Harry Schmidt declares the island of Tinian secure after nine days of fighting. The "perfect amphibious operation" surprises and wipes out the 9,000-man Japanese garrison at the cost of less than 2,000 American casualties.
AUG11945Over 800 B-29 Superfortress bombers completely incinerate the industrial town of Toyama, Japan.
AUG11955The famous U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft accidentally makes its first-ever flight above Groom Lake, Nevada. The first flight was planned for August 4, but 70-knot surface winds unexpectedly turns the high-speed taxi test into a short flight.
AUG11966From an observation deck 28 floors above the University of Texas at Austin, former Marine Charles Whitman opens fire on targets of opportunity, killing 17 and wounding 31 people. His shooting spree goes on for 96 minutes before Whitman is shot dead by police.
AUG12005A six-man Marine sniper team is attacked and overrun by Iraqi insurgents near Haditha, Iraq.
AUG21776Although the Continental Congress voted to establish "the thirteen united [sic] States of America" on July 2 and adopted Thomas Jefferson's draft of the Declaration of Independence two days later, congressional delegates sign the Declaration on this date. The most famous inscription belongs to John Hancock, the president of Congress, who is said to have declared, "There, I guess King George will be able to read that without his spectacles," after adding his rather substantial signature.
AUG21862The brass approves the plan by MAJ Jonathan Letterman, Medical Director for the Army of the Potomac, to establish an ambulance corps. Letterman is considered the "Father of Battlefield Medicine" for revolutionizing the way casualties are handled; soldiers now had first aid stations at the regimental level where they could be treated and triaged. Those more seriously wounded could be sent - by ambulance - to field hospitals at the division and corps level.
AUG21909After a successful demonstration for the military by Orville Wright, the Army Signal Corps purchases a Wright Flyer for $30,000. The two-seat "Signal Corps Airplane No. 1" will train America's first military pilots at College Park, and Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio over the next two years - crashing several times - before it's retirement. Today, the legendary aircraft hangs in the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.
AUG21934Upon the death of German president Paul von Hindenberg, Chancellor Adolf Hitler begins his "thousand-year Reich," assuming full dictatorial powers as Reichsführer.
AUG21934Hitler changes the military oath so that the Wehrmacht swears allegiance to him instead of Germany.
AUG21944Convoy HX 300, the largest convoy of World War II, safely crosses the Atlantic, bringing over one million tons of supplies to ports in the United Kingdom. 32 escort vessels protected the 155 cargo ships, and the formation spanned nine miles across and four miles long. Not a single ship was attacked by a German submarine.
AUG21950As the North Korean Army bears down on the American and UN forces occupying the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula, the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade lands at Pusan and mans the Pusan Perimeter's left flank.
AUG21964The destroyer USS Maddox (DD-731), supporting South Vietnamese covert operations against the North in the Gulf of Tonkin, is attacked by three North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin. Within days, Congress would pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, paving the way for full-scale conflict in Vietnam.
AUG21990At 0200., several divisions of the Iraqi military's elite Republican Guards pour across the border into Kuwait, beginning a seven-month occupation of the neighboring state.
AUG31804During the First Barbary War, Commodore Edward Preble's Mediterranean Squadron begins his first bombardment of Tripoli Harbor. Commanding a division of ships is Stephen Decatur, the youngest sailor ever to be promoted to captain in U.S. Naval history. When Decatur's brother is killed while boarding a Tripolitan gunboat, Decatur hands over command of his ship and, along with a small crew, boards the enemy vessel and engages the much-larger force in fierce hand-to-hand combat. When the captain responsible for his brother's death attempts to behead Decatur, Daniel Fraser throws himself over Decatur, taking the lethal blow for his captain. Decatur shoots and kills the captain and avenges his brother.
AUG31914As Germany declares war on France, Britain mobilizes their military. The Ottoman Empire declares armed neutrality (although they have secretly signed an alliance with Germany) and mobilizes their forces as well. Meanwhile, Belgium rejects Germany's ultimatum to allow their troops to pass through on their way to invade France.
AUG31943As American, British, and Canadian troops drive across Sicily, Axis forces begin evacuating the island. While visiting soldiers awaiting evacuation at Nicosia, GEN George S. Patton, commanding the Seventh Army, slaps a soldier suffering from battle fatigue and orders him back to the front lines. GEN Dwight D. Eisenhower reprimands Patton for the incident, and the legendary general will not command another combat force for 11 months.
AUG31950Eight F4U-4B "Corsairs" of Marine Fighter Squadron (VMF) 214 takeoff from the deck of USS Sicily (CVE-118) and attack enemy installations at Chengu, marking the first Marine aviation sortie of the Korean War. During World War II, the "Black Sheep" of VMF-214 destroyed hundreds of Japanese aircraft, sank several vessels, and earned the Presidential Unit Citation under Medal of Honor recipient and former "Flying Tiger" MAJ Greg "Pappy" Boyington - the Marine Corps' top ace, with 28 aerial victories.
AUG31950Congress initiates an involuntary recall of former enlisted soldiers, ordering 30,000 men to report for duty in September.
AUG31950The first members of the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group members arrive in Saigon. The 35-man group will supervise the allocation of military aid to the French military in Vietnam, and later act as military trainers.
AUG31958USS Nautilus — the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine and the U.S. Navy’s sixth so-named vessel — becomes the first “ship” to cross the North Pole.
AUG41790Congress approves Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton’s proposal to "build ten cutters to protect the new nation’s revenue," establishing the Revenue Cutter Service – first of the predecessor services of the modern Coast Guard.
AUG41846Sailors and Marines from the USS Congress capture Santa Barbara during the Mexican-American War.
AUG41873LTC George Custer and his 7th Cavalry Regiment engage the mighty Sioux warriors, led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, for the first time
AUG41914As Germany crosses into Belgium and declares war on the United Kingdom, President Woodrow Wilson announces that the United States shall remain neutral.
AUG41944The Army Air Force conducts its first mission of the top-secret program, Operation APHRODITE. In theory, a pilot and co-pilot would fly the specially modified B-17 "baby" bomber towards the objective before parachuting from the aircraft, and another pilot in a nearby "mother ship" would use a television feed and remote control would drive the B-17 into the target. None of the flying bombs reached their targets - German V-1 rocket bases - as control issues led to multiple fatal crashes.
AUG41950At the southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula, troops manning the 140-mile Pusan Perimeter halt the North Korean advance in the first major engagement of the Korean War. During the battle, a Sikorsky R-5 helicopter of the Air Force's 3rd Air Rescue Squadron evacuates PFC Claude C. Crest, Jr., marking the first time a wounded soldier is medically evacuated from the battlefield. Helicopters will fly out over 21,000 wounded troops by war's end.
AUG41964The destroyer USS Turner Joy detects what appears to be - on radar - a small watercraft approaching the destroyer. For two-and-a-half hours, Maddox, and Turner Joy - accompanied by aircraft from USS Ticonderoga - fire at the supposed targets. In response, aircraft from the carriers Ticonderoga and Constellation attack North Vietnamese patrol boat bases and the oil storage facility at Vinh. Within days, Congress would pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, leading to full-scale conflict in Vietnam.
AUG61763With Ottawa chief Pontiac laying siege to Fort Pitt, a force marches to the frontier fort to break the siege, consisting of Pennsylvania rangers and Scottish soldiers of the 42d Royal Highlanders - the famed "Black Watch." Allied natives ambush the relief force at a creek known as Bushy Run and a bloody two-day battle kicks off. COL Henry Bouquet's men emerge victorious, routing the Natives - although at high cost to the Scottish/American troops - and lifting the siege at Fort Pitt.
AUG61945A lone B-29 bomber takes off from Tinian Island's North Field and heads out for a six-hour flight to Japan. Once the Enola Gay is over its target of Hiroshima, COL Paul Tibbetts releases the bomb and dives to speed away from the device's powerful shock wave. 43 seconds later, the world's first atomic bomb detonates, killing between 80,000 and 140,000 Japanese instantly, and severely wounding another 100,000.
AUG62011An enemy rocket-propelled grenade hits a CH-47 Chinook helicopter carrying a quick-reaction force of Navy SEALs flown in to augment a team of Rangers trying to kill or capture a senior Taliban leader. The helicopter crashes and all aboard are killed (33 passengers, five crew, and a working dog), making it the deadliest incident for the U.S. military during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

The helicopter crew consisted of pilot, CWO5 David R. Carter, SGT Alexander J. Bennett, SPC Spencer C. Duncan, SSG Patrick D. Hamburger, and CWO2 Bryan J. Nichols. The fallen SEALs include POs Darrick C. Benson, Christopher G. Campbell, Matthew D. Mason, Jesse D. Pittman, Nicholas P. Spehar, Jon T. Tumilson, Aaron C. Vaughn, and Jason R. Workman; CPOs Brian R. Bill, John W. Faas, Kevin A. Houston, Stephen M. Mills, Heath M. Robinson, and Robert J. Reeves; SCPO Thomas A. Ratzlaff, MCPO Louis J. Langlais, and LCDR Jonas B. Kelsall. Three airmen accompanied the SEALs: Combat Controller SSG Andrew W. Harvell along with Pararescuemen TSGT John W. Brown and TSGT Daniel L. Zerbe. The five special warfare support personnel included CPO Nicholas H. Null, PO1 Michael J. Strange, SCPO Kraig M. Vickers, PO1 Jared W. Day, PO1 John Douangdara, and his dog "Bart." Also aboard were seven Afghan commandos and an Afghan interpreter.
AUG71782GEN George Washington establishes the Badge of Military Merit, America's first military decoration and perhaps the first-ever decoration awarded to common soldiers. A purple heart, made from a cloth badge, was issued for "instances of unusual gallantry in battle [...] extraordinary fidelity and essential service." Today's Purple Heart medal, awarded to service members killed or wounded in combat, traces its roots to Washington's Badge.
AUG71794When farmers in Pennsylvania rebel against the tax on alcohol to repay war debts, President Washington invokes the Militia Act, calling up and federalizing state militias to help enforce the law. The president himself rides in front of the army, marking one of the only times a sitting U.S. president will lead troops in the field.
AUG71917At Bazhoces, France, SGT William Shemin hops out of his trench and crosses 150 yards of coverless, machinegun-swept ground to rescue fellow soldiers on three occasions. Once enemy fire knocks out all his commissioned and senior non-commissioned officers, Shemin takes command of the platoon and leads them until he is taken out of action by shrapnel and a bullet to the head. He was originally awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, but 96 years later, the military upgraded it to the Medal of Honor.
AUG71942The 1st Marine Division streams ashore on Japanese-held Guadalcanal in what was the first major ground combat operation by U.S. forces in World War II. On this day, Marines also land at - and quickly secure - Tulagi and other islands and atolls in the British Solomons. The Marines will slug it out with the Japanese defenders for six months before securing Guadalcanal, using the captured islands as staging bases for the Allied campaign of island hopping through the Solomons.
AUG71964Congress overwhelmingly passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, enabling President Lyndon Johnson to increase U.S. involvement in Vietnam - and eventually leading to full-scale war.
AUG71990President George H.W. Bush announces the "wholly defensive" Operation DESERT SHIELD following Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, seeking to prevent the Iraqi dictator from entering Saudi Arabia and seizing control of most of the world's oil reserves. Two carrier battle groups are dispatched to the area, as well as the deployment of Air Force F-15s and F-16s, and the military buildup of over 500,000 troops begins.
AUG81863Following his defeat at Gettysburg, GEN Robert E. Lee sends a letter of resignation to Confederate president Jefferson Davis. Davis refuses.
AUG81918Ten Allied divisions and hundreds of tanks attack the Germans at Amiens, France, in the first battle of what will be known as the Hundred Days Offensive - a series of engagements that drive the Germans out of France and leads to the armistice. The Battle of Amiens signifies the end of trench warfare and the first large-scale use of tanks in combat. The Allies catch the German defenders by surprise and on this day alone, the Allies kill, wound, or capture 30,000 German soldiers. By its conclusion, the offensive will produce over two million Allied and German casualties.
AUG81942Marines capture the unfinished Japanese airfield on Guadalcanal - later completed and renamed Henderson Field - and secure the islands of Tulagi, Gavutu, and Tanambogo. That evening, a Japanese naval force catches the Allied fleet by surprise and hands the U.S. Navy one of its worst-ever defeats. Three American cruisers, one Australian cruiser, and an American destroyer are sunk during the Battle of Savo Island, or as it was nicknamed by veterans as the Battle of the Five Sitting Ducks.
AUG81944As the Germans call off their offensive due to heavy armor losses inflicted by Allied aircraft, the U.S. 15th Army Corps captures Le Mans, France. South of Caen, the Canadians attempt to break through the German lines south of Caen. During this engagement, a Tiger tank commanded by the legendary SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain) Micheal Wittmann's is destroyed, killing Germany's top tank ace.
AUG81945President Harry Truman informs Japan that they can expect additional nuclear attacks if they do not surrender.
AUG81945American land- and carrier-based bombers continue to strike mainland Japan, and an opportunistic Soviet Union declares war – invading Manchuria just past midnight the following day.
AUG81946Convair's B-36 Peacemaker - the world's first intercontinental bomber - makes its first flight. The B-36's massive 230-foot wingspan makes it the largest of any combat aircraft ever built, and the joint jet- and piston-powered aircraft could deliver its nuclear payload 10,000 miles unrefueled.
AUG91945The second atomic bomb is dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.
AUG101861Confederate troops led by BG Benjamin McCulloch and MG Sterling Price's Missouri State Guard clashed with the Union's "Army of the West" in present-day Springfield, Missouri. The Confederates defeat the Army of the West, killing its commander, BG Nathaniel Lyon. The Union retreats to Rolla, giving the Confederates control over southwest Missouri.
AUG101864As the 37,000-man Army of the Shenandoah approaches, led by newly appointed General Phillip Sheridan, Confederate LTG Jubal Early abandons his positions at Winchester, Virginia. Sheridan will drive the Confederates from the Shenandoah Valley and destroy the crops, rendering the strategic invasion route useless to the Southerners.
AUG101918SGT James I. Mestrovitch, an ethnic Serb who emigrated to the United States in 1913, spots his wounded company commander lying in the middle of a killzone 30 yards past friendly lines. Mestrovitch leaves the cover of a stone wall and braves the machinegun and shell fire, throwing the officer on his back and crawling to safety, where he administers first aid and saves the man's life. For his actions, SGT Mestrovitch was awarded the Medal of Honor.
AUG101944Although pockets of Japanese resistance remain on the island, Guam is declared secure. The Marines and soldiers of the III Amphibious Corps take 8,000 casualties during the battle to retake Guam, killing over 18,000 of the Japanese garrison force.
AUG101945The Emperor of Japan informs his War Council that he will "bear the unbearable" and agree to unconditional surrender.
AUG101967President Lyndon B. Johnson authorizes the bombing of road and rail targets in the Hanoi-Haiphong area. Throughout Operation ROLLING THUNDER, Washington prevented the military from targeting facilities that would significantly benefit the war effort, such as attacking North Vietnamese airfields or mining harbors.
AUG101972Soldiers of the 21st Infantry Regiment - the first American troops to fight in Korea, and the last combat unit in Vietnam - departs for the United States. Over 40,000 advisers and support personnel remain in country, but the departure marks the end of dedicated combat personnel in Vietnam.
AUG111945While American planes continue hammering Japanese facilities, Secretary of State James Byrnes rejects the Japanese War Council's surrender terms, including the emperor would remain in power. The Allies' terms dictate that the Japanese people themselves would determine their own form of government and that the emperor would be subject to the Supreme Allied Commander.
AUG111949President Harry Truman appoints GEN Omar Bradley to the new position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Bradley advises that the post-World War II Army had been weakened to the point that it "could not fight its way out of a paper bag," but the Truman administration does not implement his recommendations. As a result, the United States military enters the Korean War significantly understaffed and with outdated equipment.
AUG111952The First Marine Division takes Hill 122 - subsequently named "Bunker Hill" - and begins several days of bloody clashes with Chinese troops. The Marines, supported by tanks and air strikes, repel numerous communist assaults, and drive off the enemy. 48 of COL Walter F. Layer's men give their lives in defense of the hill but inflict several thousand Chinese casualties.
AUG111965When deadly race riots break out across Los Angeles, the California National Guard deploys over 12,000 Guardsmen to the area to restore order.
AUG111967While on a patrol in South Vietnam's Quảng Nam Province, Marine LCPL Roy M. Wheat accidentally steps on an enemy "Bouncing Betty" anti-personnel mine. When he hears the distinctive sound made by the triggered fuze, Wheat throws himself over the mine's location and absorbs the blast with his body. For his actions, Wheat was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
AUG131812Near Bermuda, the frigate USS Essex fires a devastating broadside at the British sloop HMS Alert. In just eight minutes, CPT John Porter captured the first warship of the War of 1812. He permits CPT T.L.P. Laugharne to sail to Newfoundland to unload his crew, then surrender Alert to the Americans at New York.
AUG131918Opha May Johnson takes the oath of enlistment, becoming the first female to enlist in the Marine Corps. After boot camp, PVT Johnson and 300 other females take office jobs and assist nurses, freeing the men they replace for front line duty.
AUG131942MG Eugene Raybold, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, authorizes the first construction projects for the Development of Substitute Materials. COL Leslie Groves, who will soon be named director, feels the title would draw too much attention and renames it to the Manhattan Project - the top-secret atomic weapons development program.
AUG131952During the Battle of Bunker Hill, Navy Corpsman John E. Kilmer ignores intense mortar, artillery, and sniper fire, moving from one wounded Marine to another and providing medical assistance. Although Kilmer himself is wounded by an enemy mortar fragment, he pulls himself to the next casualty. When an enemy barrage hammers his position, Kilmer covers the Marine with his body, and is mortally wounded. For his selfless actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
AUG131961At midnight, East German troops close off the streets between Soviet and Western areas of Berlin. Crews begin tearing up the roads and installing barricades on this day, which was called Stacheldrahtsonntag - Barbed Wire Sunday. Soon, a "Berlin Wall" consisting of concrete walls, guard towers, dogs, and anti-vehicular emplacements will surround the city, keeping socialism in and democracy out.
AUG141900After fighting their way 80 miles from the port of Tientsin, an eight-nation relief force (the United States, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, Austria-Hungary, Germany, France, and Italy) arrives at the walls of Peking. A young Marine PVT named Dan Daly earns his first of two Medals of Honor during the battle by single-handedly holding off hundreds of Chinese soldiers.
AUG141900U.S. Army CPL Calvin P. Titus earns the Medal of Honor for volunteering to scale the city wall surrounding Peking. The troops break the siege, effectively bringing an end to the Boxer Rebellion.
AUG141942While ferrying P-38 Lightning fighters from Maine to England, MAJ John W. Weltman and 2LT Elza E. Shahan spot a German long-range reconnaissance plane gathering weather data and spotting convoys for the U-boats below. The pilots shot down the Fw-200 Condor, marking the first Army Air Force victory of World War II.
AUG141945The night before the United States accepts the surrender of Japan, 754 B-29s and 169 fighters take off from the Marianas Islands for the last bombing raid of the war, targeting the towns of Kumagaya, Isesaki, and the Akita-Aradi oil refinery.
AUG151934The Marines depart Haiti, ending the United States' 19-year occupation of the Caribbean island.
AUG151942U.S. Navy destroyers finally manage to deliver the first load of supplies to Marines on Guadalcanal, who have been coping with limited rations and ammunition since landing nearly ten days ago.
AUG151942MG Matthew Ridgway's 82d "All-American" Infantry Division is redesignated as the 82d Airborne Division, becoming the first airborne division in American military history
AUG15194335,000 American and Canadian troops conduct an amphibious landing on the beaches of Kiska, Alaska - only to discover that the Japanese had abandoned the island.
AUG151943In the Solomon Islands, 6,500 soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division storm ashore on Vella Lavella.
AUG151944Over 100,000 American and French troops land on the French Riviera, easily driving the German defenders back and capturing several strategic ports. The soldiers move so quickly across France that the supply trains can't keep up. Operation DRAGOON has begun.
AUG151944On Cape Cavalaire's "Red Beach," SGT James P. Connor charges through a defense network of mines, mortars, 20-mm flak guns, machine guns, and snipers. When the German defenders take out both his platoon leader and platoon sergeant are killed, Connor takes command, despite being wounded in the landing. He personally eliminates two enemy snipers before being hit again, then pushes his men forward through "almost impregnable mortar concentrations." Connor and his platoon drive forward to their objective: a group of buildings overlooking the beaches that are home to several snipers and machine gun nests. Wounded a third time, Connor is unable to continue, but still orders his men from the prone position. Despite being reduced to one-third of their original strength, the platoon flanks the enemy and takes the objective. Seven Germans are killed, 40 captured, along with three machineguns. SGT Connor is awarded the Medal of Honor.
AUG151944German ace Helmut Lennartz, flying the Messerschmidt 262 "Schwalbe", shoots down an American B-17 bomber - the first American warplane to be claimed by a jet fighter.
AUG151945Emperor Hirohito, in his first-ever communication to the common Japanese people, announces via radio that Japan has unconditionally surrendered to the Allies. Not all of Japan is ready for the war to end, however: after hearing the emperor's speech, ADM Matome Ugaki climbs into a dive bomber and conducts the last kamikaze raid of the war. The Japanese military leadership attempts a coup, unsuccessfully storming the palace, and will order submarines to continue the war. The Japanese Army also executes scores of Allied prisoners.
AUG151950Near midnight, as enemy mortar rounds hammer the American lines along the Naktung River, a force of 500 communist soldiers crosses the river under cover of fog and launches a fierce attack. When the infantry begins to withdraw, their supporting armored vehicles take up defensive positions to cover the soldiers. Two American tanks are overrun, one is destroyed, and another retreats, leaving just one M-26 Pershing tank to hold off the enemy. SFC Ernest R. Kouma, a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge and now a tank commander, and his crew are surrounded. For the next nine hours, they held off repeated fanatical attacks. When the North Koreans get too close, Kouma hops out of the protection of his tank and mans the .50-caliber gun, showering the communists with deadly point-blank fire. Once the gun was empty, he switched to his pistol and used grenades to keep the enemy from overrunning his tank. As the exhausted soldiers withdraw to friendly lines, they first must cross eight miles of hostile territory and take out three machinegun positions along the way. Kouma is sent home and awarded the Medal of Honor.
AUG161777A force of militiamen from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont - led by GEN John Stark - clash with a detachment of British GEN John Burgoyne's army in the Battle of Bennington. The Americans rout the British, and the number of supplies captured during the engagement leads to Burgoyne's forthcoming defeat at Saratoga - which convinces the French to join the war.
AUG161780Following his successful campaign in the south, Lord Cornwallis engages GEN Horatio Gates' force in Camden. The Americans are annihilated, taking nearly 2,000 casualties in just one hour. The infamous cavalry commander COL Banastre Tarleton wrote that "rout and slaughter ensued in every quarter." Gates' defeat is so severe that the "Hero of Saratoga" will never again command troops in battle.
AUG161824General (MG, United States; LTG, France) Marquis de Lafayette, having aided both the American and French Revolutions, begins his farewell tour across America. He did so on invitation from President James Monroe in commemoration of the nation's 50th anniversary.
AUG161918600 miles north of Moscow, American troops (Along with British, Australian, Canadian, and French allies) assist in capturing Archangel from Vladimir Lenin's Bolshevik forces. The war will end before the "Polar Bear Brigade" can reach the rear of the German lines and some 200 Americans never return from the little-known Russian expedition.
AUG161942The Army stands up the 101st "Screaming Eagles" Airborne Division, commanded by GEN William Lee - the "Father of the U.S. Airborne." Lee declares that "the 101st has no history, but it has a rendezvous with destiny."
AUG16195098 B-29 bombers drop 800 tons of bombs on enemy troops concentrating near Waegwan, South Korea. This marks the largest use of bombers against ground forces since the Normandy invasion.
AUG161954Following the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu and the subsequent partitioning of French Indochina into North and South Vietnam, the U.S. Navy begins transporting hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese and French citizens fleeing the communist North to refugee centers in the South.
AUG161960After riding a balloon to an altitude of 102,800 feet, CPT Joseph W. Kittinger, Jr. (USAF) steps out of the gondola and begins a four-and-a-half minute free-fall. Kittinger reached 714 miles per hour before his main chute opened at 18,000 feet, setting records for speed and altitude on a parachute jump that stand for 52 years until Felix Baumgartner's jump in 2012.
AUG161972U.S. fighter-bombers fly 664 air strikes against targets in North and South Vietnam while B-52s fly 35 missions in the busiest day of the year for American pilots and crew in Southeast Asia.
AUG171861The Departments of Northeastern Virginia, Washington, and Shenandoah are merged into one outfit: the Army of the Potomac. MG George B. McClellan, the only Union general with any victories under his belt so far, will be its first commander.
AUG171942In the Marshall Islands, the submarines USS Argonaut and USS Nautilus unload 211 Marine Raiders who board rubber boats and head for Makin Island. LTC Evan Carlson's Raiders manage to make it ashore despite heavy surf and engine troubles, succeeding in wiping out most of the island's Japanese defenders, but fail to accomplish their objectives of taking prisoners and gaining intelligence. The raid on Makin Island, along with the raid on Tulagi earlier in the month, are considered the first use of special operations during World War II.
AUG171942B-17 bombers target Nazi-occupied Europe for the first time, hitting a railroad marshaling yard in Rouen, France. Piloting the lead bomber is MAJ Paul W. Tibbetts Jr., who will drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima nearly three years later.
AUG171943The Eighth Air Force conducts a massive raid against a Messerschmidt aircraft factory and ball bearing production facilities in Germany. Of the 376 B-17s that flew, 96 were shot down and another 95 are unable to be used again. The factory is destroyed, and ball bearing production is significantly reduced.
AUG171943As Axis troops evacuate the island, LTG George Patton and his Seventh Army enter the Sicilian capital of Messina. Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery intended to relegate Patton's maligned force to protecting the British Eighth Army's flank and mop-up operations, but Patton's "Race to Messina" proved the mettle of American combat troops and restored prestige to his troops after the North African campaign.
AUG171944When enemy machine gun fire halts the progress of his company, SSG Stanley Bender climbs to the top of a disabled tank to determine where the enemy positions are. For two minutes, he stands defiant while enemy bullets bounce off his makeshift observation platform. Spotting the machine gun nests on a knoll 200 yards away, he leads his squad through withering fire to an irrigation ditch. As his men provide cover fire, Bender calmly walks around to the rear of the first machine gun crew, avoiding both enemy and friendly fire, and dispatches the Germans with one burst of his weapon. He ignores incoming fire and knocks out a second position. His fellow soldiers rush the remaining enemy soldiers and capture the town of La Fonde, France. Thanks to Bender's incredible bravery, 37 German soldiers are dead, 26 captured along with two anti-tank guns, one town, and three intact bridges across the Maravenne River. SSG Bender was awarded the Medal of Honor.
AUG171946A 37-mm bullet fires the seat carrying 1SG Lawrence Lambert (U.S. Army Air Forces) out of the back of a P-61 "Black Widow" night fighter, making the veteran parachutist the first person to eject from an aircraft in flight. Automatic timers separate Lambert from his seat and deploy his parachute.
AUG171952When PVT First Class Robert E. Simanek and his fellow men of the 2d Battalion, 5th Marines are ambushed, an enemy grenade lands in their position. Simanek hurls himself on the grenade and shields his comrades from the deadly blast. Incredibly, he survives the wounds, and the following year is awarded the Medal of Honor by President Dwight Eisenhower, becoming the 36th Marine to earn the military's highest award during the Korean War to date.
AUG181940When Adolf Hitler authorizes Operation SEA LION - the invasion of Britain - Luftwaffe commander Hermann Göring orders the German air force to destroy the Royal Air Force to establish air superiority. What ensues is one of the largest air battles in history as the Germans launch nearly 1,000 sorties across the English Channel.
AUG181945Japanese anti-aircraft artillery engage a flight of American B-32 Dominator reconnaissance planes over Tokyo. 14 Japanese fighters take off to engage the Americans, killing SGT Anthony Marchione - the last American killed in action in World War II.
AUG181945Thousands of Japanese soldiers surrender in formerly occupied areas of China, but Chinese communist troops attack the Japanese garrison at Hong Kong, hoping to take control of the strategic port city before the Chinese Nationalist government forces arrive.
AUG181945Soviet Union troops begin their occupation of Japan's Kurile Islands. Soviet and Japanese forces will fight for several days, and at war's end, the contested islands will end up in communist hands.
AUG181959A helicopter engine explodes during a test aboard the USS Wasp (CV-18), igniting a blaze that threatens the nuclear weapons being transported by the ship. The explosion and subsequent fire cause serious damage and several decks are flooded while crews race to contain the fire before the nuclear warheads are compromised. Fortunately, the fire was brought under control in 30 minutes.
AUG181965Over 5,000 Marines assault a Viet Cong regiment near Van Tuong, South Vietnam, in the first large-scale operation of U.S. forces in the Vietnam War.
AUG181976American soldiers attempting to cut down a tree blocking observation of the Korean Demilitarized Zone are attacked by North Korean soldiers. A North Korean officer crosses into South Korean territory, claiming that their leader Kim Il Sung planted the tree and his troops attack and kill CPT Arthur Bonifas and LT Mark Barrett, who were armed only with axes.
AUG201910100 feet over New York City's Sheepshead Bay Race Track, LT Jacob E. Fickel becomes the world's first aerial gunner. Sitting in the biplane's passenger seat, with Glenn Curtiss at the controls, Fickel fires his Army Springfield .30-caliber rifle, demonstrating that a bullet can be fired from a moving aircraft without the recoil knocking the plane out of the sky.
AUG201912After less than three hours of instruction, 1LT Alfred A. Cunningham boards a Curtiss biplane and makes his first solo flight, becoming the Marine Corps' first aviator.
AUG201950After over two weeks of fighting at Taegu, South Korea, an outnumbered UN force consisting of the American 1st Cavalry Division and the Republic of Korea's II Corps defeat five divisions of North Korean soldiers. The Pusan Perimeter still holds.
AUG201953Wernher von Braun watches as his Redstone rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral, becoming the United States' first ballistic missile. Redstone No. 1 - built using technology from Germany's V-2 rocket - flew for one minute and 20 seconds before its engine shut down and the missile falls into the ocean.
AUG201977A Titan III-Centaur rocket blasts off from Cape Canaveral carrying the Voyager 2 space probe.
AUG201998U.S. Navy warships launch dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles at a medical manufacturing plant in Sudan and terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. The attacks are a response to the al Qaeda bombings of U.S. Embassy buildings in Kenya and Tanzania earlier in the month.
AUG211918When enemy fighters shoot down ENS George M. Ludlow's Machhi M.5 seaplane off the Austria-Hungary coast, Charles H. Hammann lands beside him and rescues the downed aviator. Hamman's fighter is also damaged, and the winds high and seas choppy, but he manages to take off with Ludlow holding the struts behind him and flies 65 miles across the Adriatic Sea to the air station at Porto Cassini, Italy. The plane sinks from the weight of the extra passenger after landing but both aviators are safe. Hammann becomes the first Naval aviator awarded the Medal of Honor and commissioned as an ensign after his daring flight.
AUG211942On Guadalcanal, around 900 soldiers of Japan's 17th Army slam into about 2,500 Marines manning positions along Alligator Creek. Wave after wave of Japanese soldiers are cut down by the Marines, killing well over 700 attackers - including the Japanese commander - while inflicting nearly 100 percent casualties.
AUG211944The F8F-1 Bearcat - Grumman's last piston-powered fighter - makes its first flight. The warplane can fly faster and climb more quickly than the venerable "Hellcat” but enters service too late to see action in World War II.
AUG211957The Soviet Union launches the R-7 "Semyorka", the world's first intercontinental ballistic missile. The R-7 could carry a 3-ton nuclear warhead over 5,000 miles away.
AUG211959President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs an executive order granting statehood to the territory of Hawaii.
AUG211959Retired U.S. Army CPT Daniel Inouye begins his 53-year career in Congress. During World War II, Inouye served in the highly decorated all-Nisei 442d Regimental Combat Team. He lost his arm during a daring attack on German machine gun positions in Italy, in which the already wounded officer had to pry a live grenade from his severed hand and used it to destroy a bunker. For his actions, Inouye was awarded the Medal of Honor.
AUG211965A Titan II rocket blasts off from Cape Canaveral, carrying Gemini V astronauts COL "Gordo" Cooper (USAF) and LCDR "Pete" Conrad (USN) into space to spend what Conrad refers to as "eight days in a garbage can." The long, cramped spaceflight marks the first time Americans set the endurance record for time in space.
AUG211980During a Western Pacific patrol, the nuclear-powered cruiser USS Truxtun (CGN-35) and the destroyer USS Merrill (DD-976) rescue over 100 Vietnamese refugees some 200 miles southeast of Saigon.
AUG221776A force of over 20,000 Redcoats led by GEN William Howe landed on Long Island.
AUG221863The crew of Union steamer USS Shokokon spots the Confederate schooner Alexander Cooper in New Topsail Inlet on the North Carolina Coast. A crew of sailors board a dinghy which they use to reach the rear of the Confederate camp guarding the ship, where Master-at-arms Robert T. Clifford sneaks ashore and counts the enemy. Although outnumbered three-to-one, Clifford leads a charge against the Rebels, who are routed and leave behind their ship and supplies. For his actions, Clifford is awarded the Medal of Honor.
AUG221914The world is introduced to a level of violence on a scale never before seen as the German army kills 27,000 French soldiers in one day at Ardennes and Charleroi. By month's end, the Battle of the Frontiers will account for over a quarter million French casualties - with 75,000 killed in action.
AUG221914French, British, and Belgian troops manage to inflict 200,000 casualties on German GEN Helmuth von Moltke's invasion force.
AUG221942Elements of GEN Friedrich Paulus' Sixth Army begin arriving outside Stalingrad, beginning what would become perhaps the largest and deadliest engagement in human history - claiming some two million casualties over the course of the battle. The Sixth Army will be surrounded and wiped out after five brutal months of urban combat, and only 6,000 of the 107,000 prisoners will survive the war.
AUG221945As Japanese forces surrender across Asia, American aircraft drop several teams of French colonial administrators into French Indochina. Having worked alongside Ho Chi Minh against the Japanese during World War II, the United States was originally supportive of Vietnamese independence, but will reluctantly have to side with the French during the Cold War.
AUG221956Chinese fighters engage a U.S. Navy P4M Mercator flying a nighttime patrol over international waters, killing all 16 crew members.
AUG231942American P-40 "Lightnings" with the 49th Fighter Group shoot down 15 Japanese fighters and bombers attempting to target the air base in Darwin, Australia.
AUG231944When GEN George S. Patton's Third Army reaches the Seine River, Adolf Hitler orders GEN Hans Speidel to destroy all bridges in Paris - which Speidel ignores, as well as another order days later to target Paris with V-1 buzz bombs and V-2 rockets.
AUG231944In Brittany, SSG Alvin P. Carrey spots an enemy machinegun nest 200 yards up a hill that is pinning down his soldiers. He grabs as many grenades as he can carry and has his soldiers cover him, then crawls up the hill. Carrey shoots a German soldier on the way up, then begins hurling grenades at the enemy position - drawing the machine gunners' fire. Although mortally wounded, he still manages to hurl a grenade right on target, killing the crew and knocking their guns out. Carrey is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
AUG231950Over 70,000 Army Reservists are ordered to report for duty during the Korean War.
AUG231964A Lockheed YC-130 prototype takes off for its first flight - a 61-minute trip from the Lockheed plant in Burbank, California, to Edwards Air Force Base. Designed to haul a tank and take off/land on short, primitive fields, the plane lifts off in just 800 feet. Once it becomes operational, the versatile C-130 Hercules can even make takeoffs and landings on an aircraft carrier without using the catapult or wires.
AUG231990As American forces continue deployment to the Persian Gulf for Operation DESERT SHIELD, 46,000 Reservists are called up.
AUG231996Osama bin Laden issues his first fatwa, declaring war on the United States for, among other reasons, maintaining a military presence in Saudi Arabia. The founder of the terrorist group Al Qaeda's message isn't taken seriously until bombs kill over 200 people at American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya two years later.
AUG241814British soldiers and Royal Marines clash with an American force of militia and a detachment of Marines and sailors in the Battle of Bladensburg. The professional British troops easily scatter the militia but run into a wall when they square off against the Marines. In their first volley, the leathernecks destroy an entire company of the King's men then pursue their foe into a ravine.
AUG241912The Navy's first electrically powered ship, USS Jupiter (AC-3) is launched. Ten years later, a flight deck is added to the 542-ft. vessel, and the renamed USS Langley becomes America's first aircraft carrier.
AUG241942VADM Frank J. Fletcher's Task Force 61 and a Japanese carrier division converge in the Solomon Islands as Japanese troops attempt to reinforce Guadalcanal. The Battle of the Eastern Solomons is fought entirely by aircraft; the Japanese inflict serious damage on USS Enterprise (CV-6), while the Americans sink several vessels, including the light carrierRyujo.
AUG241942Over Guadalcanal, Japanese warplanes clash with Army and Marine aircraft of the "Cactus Air Force," with CPT Marion E. Carl in his F4F Wildcat scoring four of the day's ten Allied victories, becoming the Marine Corps' first ace.
AUG241945CPO Bob Feller returns to Cleveland and is honored by a parade before pitching in his first major league game since becoming the first professional athlete to enlist in the Armed Forces during World War II. Despite losing nearly four years to his military service - Feller served aboard the battleship USS Alabama - the future Hall of Famer strikes out 12 batters and only allows four hits in the Indians 4-2 win over the Detroit Tigers.
AUG241969In Quang Tri Province, a team of 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion Marines are ambushed by machinegun and automatic weapon fire in the early morning hours. LCPL Richard A. Anderson is hit in both legs and knocked to the ground, where he takes up a prone position and pours suppressive fire into the enemy. He keeps up the attack, despite being wounded again. As a medic treats his wounds, Anderson spots an enemy grenade landing in their position. He rolls on top of the grenade and absorbs the deadly blast with his body, saving several nearby Marines. Anderson is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
AUG251921The United States and Germany finally sign a peace treaty. Meanwhile, coalmine workers attempting to unionize in West Virginia begin fighting with law enforcement and strike breakers in what becomes the largest insurrection since the Civil War. Over one million rounds are fired during the so-called "Battle of Blair Mountain" before hostilities come to an end once President Warren Harding authorizes the Army to intervene.
AUG251941Richard "Dick" Winters - the famous commander of the 101st Airborne Division's "Easy" Company - enlists in the Army, entering basic training at Camp Croft in South Carolina. Winters will soon be selected for Officer Candidate School and go on to join COL Robert Sink's 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment in 1942. Winters and his men jump into Sainte-Mère-Église on D-Day and that day will lead a daring attack on German 88mm guns firing on Utah Beach. For his actions in the Brécourt Manor Assault, GEN Omar Bradley awards Winters with the Distinguished Service Cross - the Army's second-highest award for valor.
AUG251942The Japanese supply fleet carrying reinforcements and supplies for the garrison on Guadalcanal is turned back after taking heavy damage from American air- and land-based aircraft. Several warships are lost, along with hundreds of sailors, soldiers, and many irreplaceable pilots.
AUG251944The 2d Armored Division and 4th Infantry Division enter Paris, capturing the French capital from German troops. Garrison commander GEN Dietrich von Choltitz surrenders his remaining forces that afternoon, ending four years of Nazi occupation.
AUG251944The Red Ball Express, the Allied effort to establish a steady flow of supplies into the French interior, begins. At its peak, the Red Ball Express transports as much as 12,500 lbs of materiel per day. The operation continued until port facilities were opened in Antwerp, and the need for constant flow coming from Normandy ended.
AUG251945While leading an intelligence operation for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), CPT John M. Birch (USAAF) is killed by Chinese communist soldiers. Birch's death is considered the first American casualty of the Cold War. During World War II, Birch assisted BG Jimmy Doolittle and his Raiders as they traveled across China, and Doolittle recommended that COL Claire Chennault should commission the American missionary as an officer for the "Flying Tigers." Hoping to become a chaplain, Birch instead ended up as an intelligence officer.
AUG251950As railroad workers prepare to strike during the Korean War, President Harry Truman issues an executive order stating that rail transport is "essential to the national defense and security of the Nation" and places the U.S. Army in charge of the critical infrastructure.
AUG251967Robert McNamara states that Operation ROLLING THUNDER has had little effect on North Vietnam's war-making capabilities. Although the military has dropped more bombs so far in the Vietnam War than it had during all of World War II, President Lyndon Johnson's policy of dictating targets from Washington hamstrings his commanders, who would otherwise have been able to carry out the campaign by choosing targets that would permit them to accomplish their political objectives.
AUG261950The 5th Regimental Combat Team (RCT) replaces the 34th Infantry Regiment which was utterly decimated by a series of delaying actions against the North Korean Army. Since only 184 soldiers remained out of the regiment's original strength of 1,898, surviving 34th Infantry soldiers are used to fill holes in other units and the regiment is reconstituted in Japan.
AUG261950When a force of enemy soldiers attempts to overrun MSG Melvin O. Handrich's company, he leaves the relative safety of his position behind and moves forward, where he will spend the next eight hours directing mortar and artillery fire on the enemy. When the hostile force makes another attempt to overrun the American position, Handrich observes friendly soldiers attempting to withdraw. He crosses the fire-swept ground to rally them and returns to his forward post. Refusing medical care or even to seek cover, the North Koreans eventually cut down Handrich. But when U.S. soldiers retake the ground, they count 70 dead enemy surrounding Handrich's body.
AUG261957Following the launch of the Soviet Union's R-7 Semyorka missile, state-run news agency TASS announces that the USSR has successfully tested a multi-stage intercontinental ballistic missile that could target "any place in the world."
AUG261993The 75th Ranger Regiment's 3rd Battalion and operators from Special Forces Operational Detatchment-Delta deploy to Somalia to capture the warlord Mohammad Farrah Aidid.
AUG271776Five days after 15,000 British soldiers land on Long Island, GEN William Howe's forces attack the Patriots garrisoned at Brooklyn Heights. GEN George Washington's troops are flanked by the Redcoats during the first major battle of the Revolutionary War and suffer some 2,000 casualties before retreating to their redoubt at Brooklyn.
AUG271776GEN Howe ordered his troops to prepare for a siege. However, in two days, the entire 10,000-man army slips through the Royal Navy stationed along the East River and evacuates (with their arms and supplies) to Manhattan. Washington is the last man to leave.
AUG271918U.S. and Mexican Army soldiers, along with militia and armed civilians, clash along the border between Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico. A handful of U.S. soldiers are killed and over 100 Mexicans, but the battle is over when the Americans seize the high ground overlooking the two Nogales on the Mexican side. Following the battle, a chain-link fence is installed, splitting the two towns and becoming the first permanent border fence between the United States and Mexico.
AUG271945B-29 bombers begin airdropping supplies to U.S. prisoners of war held in China.
AUG271972While U.S. aircraft execute the heaviest day of bombing in four years, leveling scores of barracks and targeting North Vietnamese rail lines to China, a four-ship formation enters Haiphong harbor at night and shells military targets. While the heavy cruiser USS Newport News, the guided-missile cruiser USS Providence, and the destroyers USS Robison and USS Rowan head back to sea, they spot four Soviet-built patrol boats in pursuit. Naval gunfire and tactical air support sink three of the four vessels in what becomes one of the very few surface engagements of the Vietnam War.
AUG28186270,000 soldiers of Union MG John Pope's Army of Virginia engage Confederate GEN Robert E. Lee's 50,000-man Army of Northern Virginia, resulting in heavy casualties on both sides. MG James Longstreet's five divisions (25,000 men) execute the largest mass assault of the war, smashing their opponents' left flank and forcing and the Union to withdraw.
AUG281944Army Air Force pilots MAJ Joseph Myers and 2LT Manford Croy, Jr., flying P-47 Thunderbolts, become the first fighter pilots to score a victory over a jet aircraft when they shoot down German pilot Hieronymus Lauer's Me 262.
AUG281944U.S. First Army crosses the Marne River in France while the coastal towns of Marseilles and Toulon surrendered to the Allies.
AUG281945An advance party of 150 soldiers - the first American troops to set foot in Japan - land at the naval airfield at Atsugi to prepare for the 11th Airborne Division's arrival.
AUG281952Off the Korean coast, USS Boxer launches the first "guided missile" ever fired from an aircraft carrier - a radio-controlled F6F-5K Hellcat fighter fitted with 1,000-lb. bombs. A pilot controlled the drone, which was fitted with a TV camera, from a two-seat AD-2Q Skyraider. Of the six drones launched by Boxer, only one will reach its target.
AUG281969When LCPL José F. Jiménez's unit comes under heavy attack by North Vietnamese soldiers concealed in well camouflaged emplacements south of Da Nang, the Marine charges forward, neutralizing several enemy soldiers and taking an anti-aircraft gun out of action. Jiménez continues his attack, maneuvering to an enemy trench and wipes that position out as well in the face of "vicious" enemy fire. Moving on to the next target, however, Jiménez is mortally wounded and will be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
AUG281972Air Force CPT Richard S. Ritchie, flying a two-seat F-4D Phantom, shoots down a North Vietnamese MiG-21 fighter near Hanoi, becoming one of only two American pilot aces during the Vietnam War.
AUG291861Surrender of Cape Hatteras.
AUG291940At Lawson Army Airfield, 1LT William T. Ryder and his Parachute Test Platoon conduct the first mass parachute jump in U.S. military history.
AUG291940A delegation of British scientists begin sharing radar and other military technologies with the United States.
AUG29194415,000 American soldiers of the 28th Infantry Division parade down the newly liberated capital's Champs-Élysées.
AUG291944A 21-man OSS force led by LCDR Frank Wisner parachutes into Romania, coordinating the rescue operation of well over 1,000 American prisoners of war.
AUG291945An American B-29 "Superfortress", carrying a load of humanitarian aid to Allied prisoners of war in Korea, is intercepted by Soviet Yak-9 fighters. The supposed allies attack the bomber, forcing 1LT Joseph Queen's crew to bail out before the plane crashes.
AUG291945Allied occupation forces begin arriving in Japan, including the battleship, USS Missouri.
AUG291983During the Lebanese Civil War, mortar crews target American positions, killing two Marines and wounding 14 - the first fatalities for the American peacekeeping force in Beirut.
AUG301776GEN George Washington's Continental Army conducts a strategic withdrawal of Long Island, sneaking 10,000 men and their equipment through British ADM Richard Howe's picket force under cover of darkness.
AUG301862Near Lexington, KY, MG Edmund Kirby Smith accomplishes the "nearest thing to a Cannae" during the Civil War. The Confederates rout MG William "Bull" Nelson's inexperienced Union troops - capturing over 4,000 - in the Battle of Richmond.
AUG301918Southeast of Verdun, France, GEN John J. Pershing's First Army moves into position at the Saint-Mihiel salient. Among Pershing's three U.S. (and one French) corps is LTC George S. Patton, Jr.'s newly formed 1st Provisional Tank Brigade.
AUG301943When Marine 1LT Kenneth A. Walsh's F4U Corsair develops engine trouble in the middle of a vital escort mission in the Solomon Islands, Walsh lands his aircraft at Munda and switches out with another ride, and quickly returns to the air to rendezvous with his package. While enroute, he spots a flight of 50 enemy Zero fighters and despite the incredible 50:1 odds, the Devil Dog attacks. Walsh's guns send four Japanese fighters down in flames before they knock the lone American out of the sky. Walsh makes a deadstick landing near Vella Lavella and is later recovered. For his actions, Walsh was awarded the Medal of Honor. He finishes the war with 21 victories.
AUG301958When China threatens to invade Taiwan, President Dwight Eisenhower deploys the Navy's Seventh Fleet to the strait in addition to sending the Air Force's Composite Air Strike Force to the island. Secretly, the United States arms the Nationalist Chinese Air Force's American-made F-86 Sabres with new AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.
AUG301963A 10,000-mile secure cable "hot line" is installed between the Pentagon and Kremlin, providing the two nuclear-armed superpowers with instant communication in hopes of preventing another conflict.
AUG301983USAF COL Guion Bluford becomes the first black astronaut in space when the Space Shuttle Challenger blasts off on its third mission. Accompanying COL Bluford are VADM (R) Richard Truly (USN), CPT Daniel Brandenstien (USN), CPT Dale Gardner (USN), and William Thornton (USAF).
AUG301995NATO begins its first bombing campaign, Operation DELIBERATE FORCE. American land- and carrier-based warplanes, along with aircraft from 14 other nations, drop over 1,000 precision-guided munitions on Bosnian Serb positions, and the operation marks the first combat action for the German Luftwaffe since the end of World War II 50 years earlier.
AUG311864Two armies under the command of MG William T. Sherman engage Confederate GEN John Bell Hood's vastly outnumbered Army of Tennessee just south of Atlanta.
AUG311916Near Guillemont, France, a German artillery shell scores a direct hit on 2LT Henry A. "Harry" Butters, instantly killing the popular Royal Field Artillery officer.
AUG311940As war rages across Europe and Asia, President Franklin Roosevelt federalizes 60,000 National Guard soldiers.
AUG311942After a squadron of eight Japanese destroyers finally manages to squeeze through Guadalcanal's defensive ring and disembarks 1,000 Japanese troops the night before, the arriving force stages an attack on Henderson Field. Meanwhile, the Marine Corps' elite 1st Marine Raider Battalion and 1st Parachute Battalion arrived from Tulagi.
AUG311943The Navy commissions the destroyer escort USS Harmon - the first warship to be named after an African American. While serving aboard the USS San Francisco (CA-36) during the Battle of the Solomon Islands, Mess Attendant First Class Leonard R. Harmon "deliberately exposed himself to hostile gunfire" to protect a medic providing care to wounded sailors, in addition to displaying unusual loyalty on behalf of the ship's injured executive officer. For his actions, Harmon was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.