Today’s post is in honor of 1st Sgt. Tobias C. Meister, who was killed by an improvised explosive device on this day in 2005 in Asadabad, Afghanistan. Meister, 30, of Jenks, Okla., was assigned to the Army Reserve’s 321st Civil Affairs Brigade.
1835: Having shadowed two companies of American soldiers marching from Fort Brooke (present-day Tampa, Fla.) to Fort King (Ocala, Fla.) for five days, Seminole warriors ambush and kill Maj. Francis L. Dade and all but three of his 110 officers and men. The Americans only manage to kill three of their attackers in what becomes known as the Dade Massacre.
1941: (Featured Image) After the execution of civilian construction contractors who fought alongside the Marines on Wake Island until their capture by the Japanese, the Navy’s Chief of Bureau of Yards and Docks, Rear Admiral Ben Moreell, requests that Naval construction battalions be created. The teams would be capable of building anything, anywhere, under any conditions, at any time, and – if necessary – pick up weapons and fight.
The famous “Seabees” have been born. In the Pacific Theater alone, they construct 111 major air fields, over 300 bases, and countless roads, bridges, and facilities. Just two years after their founding, Admiral Ernest King will write that “Your ingenuity and fortitude have become a legend in the naval service.”
1944: In Belgium, the Allies begin gaining ground during their counter-offensive in the Battle of the Bulge. Against the advice of his generals, who believe that further progress is impossible, Adolf Hitler orders renewed offensives in the Ardennes and Alsace.
1950: The Chinese cross the 38th Parallel into South Korea.
1972: After nearly two weeks of constant bombardment by American warplanes, the North Vietnamese government agrees to resume peace talks in Paris. B-52 bombers conducted 700 sorties during Operation LINEBACKER II along with 1,000 fighter-bomber strikes. Some 20,000 tons of bombs dropped on strategic targets around Hanoi and Haiphong – the largest heavy bomber strikes since World War II.
1982: 40 years after being launched, the Iowa-class battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) is re-commissioned for the third – and final – time, after refitting the ship to carry Tomahawk cruise missiles. The “Big J” will finally be taken out of service following Operation DESERT STORM in 1991.
1990: In preparation for DESERT STORM, the aircraft carriers USS America (CV-66) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) deploy from Norfolk, Va., joining USS Ranger (CV-61) and USS Midway (CV-41) in the Persian Gulf, and USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) and USS Saratoga (CV-60) in the Red Sea.