1777: The Marquis de Lafayette, a 19-year-old French nobleman whom Gen. George Washington will soon take under his wing, is commissioned “major general” in the Continental Army.
1874: USS Intrepid, the world’s first warship armed with self-propelled torpedoes, is commissioned.
1942: As Army Air Forces aircraft begin their seven-day preparatory bombardment of Guadalcanal, 75 U.S. and Australian warships carrying a landing force of 16,000 Marines departs Fiji on what will become the first American offensive of World War II.
1945: The U.S. government warns Japan that eight cities will be destroyed if they refuse to surrender. Days later, atomic bombs fall on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but the Japanese surrender before further cities are leveled.
1964: The U.S. Navy’s all-nuclear Task Force One – USS Enterprise (CVAN 65), USS Long Beach (CGN 9), and USS Bainbridge (DLGN 25) – passes through the Straights of Gibraltar, beginning their 30,565-mile cruise around the world. Including port calls, the fleet crosses the globe – unrefueled – in 65 days.
1971: (featured image) Behind the wheel of NASA’s Lunar Roving Vehicle, Apollo 15 astronaut and former Air Force test pilot David R. Scott becomes the first human to drive on the moon.