15 August: This Day in Military History

1934: The Marines depart Haiti, ending the United States’ 19-year occupation of the Caribbean island.

1942: U.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.

Also on this day, Maj. Gen. Matthew Ridgway’s 82d “All-American” Infantry Division is redesignated as the 82d Airborne Division, becoming the first airborne division in American military history. The division’s first combat jumps will take place in Sicily and Italy the following year.


US Army General Matthew Ridgway, Ribera, Sicily

1943: 35,000 American and Canadian troops conduct an amphibious landing on the beaches of Kiska, Alaska – only to discover that the Japanese had abandoned the island weeks ago.

In the Solomon Islands, 6,500 soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division storm ashore on Vella Lavella. The islands will be captured in just under a month.

Vella Lavella airfield Dec 1943

1944: Well over 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, and most of Southern France is liberated in four weeks.

German 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.

Messerschmidt 262 “Schwalbe”

1945: (featured image) Emperor Hirohito, in his first-ever communication to the common Japanese people, announces via radio that Japan has unconditionally surrendered to the Allies. 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, but on September 2, the deadliest war in human history will officially come to an end on the deck of the battleship USS Missouri.

Shigemitsu signs surrender
Chris Carter

Chris Carter is 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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