This Day in Military History

1 November: This Day in Military History

Today’s post is in honor of Navy Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) 2nd Class Matthew G. Kantor, 22, of Gillette, NJ, who was killed in action during a firefight in Zabul, Afghanistan on this day in 2012. Kantor was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star with Combat V, and his citation can be found at the bottom of this page.

1904: The brand-new U.S. Army War College opens its doors to three majors and six captains, among them Capt. (future General of the Armies) John J. “Black Jack” Pershing.

1942: On Guadalcanal, a machine gun section led by Marine Cpl. Anthony Casamento is hit so badly during the fourth (and final) battle at the Matanikau River that all but Casamento were grievously wounded or killed. Despite his own wounds (he was hit 14 times during the engagement), Casamento single-handedly held his position and repelled numerous enemy attacks. Casamento will be awarded the Medal of Honor in 1980 after surviving eyewitnesses to his actions are found.

Marine Cpl. Anthony Casamento receiving Medal of Honor from President Carter

1943: The 3rd Marine Division, led by Gen. Allen H. Turnage, hits the beaches on Japanese-held Bougainville. U.S. Marines and soldiers kill some 8,000 of the island’s garrison, and around 16,000 die from starvation and disease.

1944: Japan launches the first of some 9,000 hydrogen-filled balloon bombs towards the U.S. and Canada. By war’s end, only six Americans would be killed and a small amount of damage is inflicted by the bombs.

Mitchell Monument, Bly, Oregon where six people perished from one of Japan’s balloon bombs

Meanwhile, Tokyo Rose, a B-29 Superfortress modified for photo reconnaissance, makes the first U.S. flight over Tokyo since the Doolittle Raid in 1942.

1952: (Featured Image) The U.S. tests the world’s first hydrogen bomb, codenamed “Ivy Mike,” at Eniwetok Atoll. The thermonuclear device, with a yield 1,000 times greater than previous bombs, gave the United States a temporary leg up on the Soviet Union in the arms race. The blast digs a mile-wide, 150-ft. crater and literally wipes the small island of Elugelab off the face of the Earth.

Elugelab Island before Ivy Mike
Elugelab Island after Ivy Mike

1983: During Operation URGENT FURY, 300 Marines from the 22nd Marine Amphibious Unit conduct an air and amphibious landing on the Caribbean island of Carriacou, 15 miles northeast of Grenada, in search of Cuban military forces.

For heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy as a SEAL Operator, for Special Operations Task Force-SOUTHEAST, in direct support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM from September to November 2012. During this period, Petty Officer Kantor conducted 25 combat operations inside Taliban safe havens. On 1 November, Petty Officer Kantor was providing rear security as the heavy weapons gunner for a 31-man combat reconnaissance patrol. He was the first line defense protecting the most vulnerable position of his platoon against potentially devastating enemy attacks. While returning from the patrol, his element received effective enemy machinegun fire from 500 meters away. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, and being mortally wounded, Petty Officer Kantor advanced forward and returned suppressive fire. His selfless actions allowed enough time for his teammates to find cover and maneuver on the enemy’s position. Petty Officer Kantor absolutely prevented additional loss of life and undoubtedly ensured the safe return of his teammates. By his extraordinary guidance, zealous initiative, and total dedication to duty, Petty Officer Kantor reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

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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,, 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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