Military and Police

18 May: This Day in Military History

1775: Future turncoat Col. Benedict Arnold leads a successful surprise attack against a British fort and the adjacent shipyards at St. Johns, Canada. Among Arnold’s prizes is the British sloop HMS George which he renames “Enterprise,” the first of eight so-named American Navy ships.

1846: Gen. Zachary Taylor’s Army of Occupation captures the fortified city of Matamoros during the Mexican-American War.

1863: Union Army forces under the command of Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant move against the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Vastly outnumbered Confederate forces under Lt. Gen. John Pemberton fall back on prepared defenses, and Pemberton’s army is quickly surrounded. Grant strikes Pemberton’s positions the following day hoping to destroy his army before it is properly positioned. Losses are heavy among the ranks of the assault forces.

The siege of Vicksburg, which will last until July 4, has begun.

Union Army dugouts on a hillside during the siege of Vicksburg in Mississippi

1902: Marines from the gunboat USS Ranger land at Panama City to protect American citizens.

1916: Despite engine troubles with his Nieuport fighter, Kiffin Rockwell shoots down a German plane over the Alsace battlefield – the first aerial victory by an American pilot during World War I. When war broke out, Kiffin and brother Paul volunteer for the French Air Service, and joined the French Foreign Legion as infantry instead of waiting stateside for a response. Both brothers are wounded in combat, and after healing from his wounds, Kiffin is one of the first Americans to join the Lafayette Escadrille.

1945: On Okinawa, the Sixth Marine Division has captured most of Sugar Loaf Hill – a 50-ft. tall, 300-yard long, heavily fortified hill. It takes the Marines 11 bloody assaults to finally secure the terrain, and after 12 days, over 1,600 Marines lay dead and 7,400 are wounded.

Sugar Loaf Hill circa 1945

1953: (featured image) On his last day of combat, U.S. Air Force Capt. Joseph C. McConnell shoots down three enemy MiG-15 fighters. McConnell is the first American triple ace of the Korean War and his 16 victories are the most of any U.S. pilot (two Soviet Air Force pilots had 22 kills). During World War II, McConnell flew 60 missions over Europe as a navigator on a B-24 Liberator bomber.

Chris Carter

Chris Carter is an OpsLens contributor, the director of the Victory Institute, and deputy regional director of the U.S. Counterterrorism Advisory Team. His work appears at The US Report, International Analyst Network, Human Events, Canada Free Press, Family Security Matters, Deutsche Welle, NavySEALs.com, Blackfive and other publications. Chris is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, non-commissioned officer in the South Carolina State Guard, and retired firefighter.

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