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20 March: This Day in Military History

[Featured image: USS Langley underway in 1926. Lessons learned from flying off the decks of America’s first aircraft carrier paved the way for future carriers like the Lexington Class, which entered service in 1927. (U.S. Navy photo)]

1863: Confederate cavalry under the command of Kentucky raider, Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan, strikes a sizeable Union reconnaissance force under Col. Albert S. Hall at Vaught’s Hill, Tennessee. Though outnumbered and surrounded, Hall’s hilltop position enables the colonel to beat back a series of attacks until Morgan – learning that Hall is to be reinforced with additional U.S. troops from Murfreesboro – is forced to disengage.

1922: America’s first aircraft carrier, USS Langley(CV-1), is commissioned at Norfolk, Virginia. Converted from the coaling ship USS Jupiter that supplied ships during World War I, the “Covered Wagon” will again see action as a seaplane tender during World War II. But she will be so badly damaged in an action off Java in 1942, her escorts will be forced to scuttle her.

1941: U.S. intelligence warns the Soviets of the possibility that Germany may invade the Soviet Union. In three months, the largest invasion force in history (nearly 4 million Germans) crosses into the Soviet Union, catching Joseph Stalin completely by surprise.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur during his return to the Philippines

1942: U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur – ordered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to leave his besieged soldiers in the Philippines (where their capture is inevitable) and make his way to Australia – delivers his famous “I shall return” speech at an Australian train station. MacArthur will return to the Philippines in Oct. 1944.

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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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