Military & Aerospace History

This portion of our site is dedicated to the people and technology that have shaped military and aerospace history. Posts will be as simple as historic picture of the day to in-depth interviews. If you have an interesting story you’d like to share, please let us know.

Military & Aerospace History
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On Nov. 8, 1864, Read Arm. David Farragut, commander of US naval forces during the Civil War, wrote a powerful letter to Navy Secretary Gideon Welles months after the Battle of Mobile Bay that sailors, not weapons, determine the outcome of battles. Farragut, the first US naval officer to achieve the ranks of rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral, wrote: “I think the world is sadly mistaken when it supposes that battles are won by this or that kind of gun or vessel. In my humble opinion the Kearsarge would have captured or sunk the Alabama as often as they might have met under the same organization and officers. The best gun and the best vessel should certainly be chosen, but the victory three times out of four depends upon those who fight them. I do not believe that the result would have been different if the Kearsarge had had nothing but a battery of 8-inch guns and 100-pound chase rifle. What signifies the size and caliber of the gun if you do not hit your adversary?”

Military & Aerospace History
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On Oct. 25, 1946 — A captured V-2 rocket launched from the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range, N.M., takes the first ever picture of the Earth from space. The rocket was fitted with a 35mm camera that took pictures every 1.5 seconds and reached an altitude of more than 65 miles. The launch is part of the Small Steps Program to take pictures from space. Before the rocket launch, highest altitude images of the planet were taken from the Explorer II ballon that in 1935 reached a record manned height of 13.7 miles.

Military & Aerospace History
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On Oct. 24, 1944 — Cdr. David McCampbell, USN, the commander of Carrier Air Group 15 aboard USS Essex (CV-9), attacking a force of 60 Japanese aircraft — along with his wingman — shot down nine enemy aircraft, a single-mission record for an American pilot during World War II. When he returned to Essex from the 95-minute battle, his Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter was out of ammunition and almost out of gas.

Military & Aerospace History
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On Oct. 20, 1944, 130,000 soldiers from the US 6th Army — with support from the Third Fleet and the Fifth Air Force — landed on Leyte, Philippines, to begin the battle to retake the nation that fell to the Japanese in 1942. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in the Southwest Pacific, landed on Palo Beach accompanied by Filipino leaders including President Sergio Osmena, making good on the promise he made on evacuating Corregidor some 30 months earlier to return to the Philippines.

Military & Aerospace History
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On Oct. 18, 1915, the US Navy submarines G-1, G-2, G-4 and the tender USS Ozark arrive at Naval Base New London on the Thames River in Groton, Conn., followed by the boats E-1, D-1 and D-3 and the tender USS Tonopah. The growing force was joined on Nov. 1 by the tender USS Fulton (AS-1), the first ship built to support submarines.

Cdr. Yates Stirling, Jr., became the commander of the new submarine base — the first submarine base in the Navy — as well as New London Submarine Flotilla, and the Submarine School.

Military & Aerospace History
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On Oct. 18, 1775, about 750 American troops commanded by Col. John Glover held off 4,000 British and Hessian troops commanded by Gen. Sir William Howe, allowing Gen. George Washington to withdraw his forces from Manhattan to White Plains. The British were trying to trap Washington and his troops in New York. Eight Americans were killed and 13 wounded, while three British were killed and 20 wounded. Hessian casualties were not recorded by estimates range from 200 to 1,000. The battle was one of the most important actions of the Revolutionary War.

Military & Aerospace History
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Rob Doane, the curator of the US Naval War College Museum, on the only life mask of one of history’s greatest naval leaders, Vice Adm. Horatio Nelson, which has been on display in Newport, R.I., until Sept. 30 after which it returns to the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth, England.

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