This Day in Military History

5 December: This Day in Military History

Today’s post is in honor of Pfc. Andrew M. Ward, who was killed on this day in 2004 by enemy small-arms fire in Ramadi, Iraq. Ward, 25, of Kirkland, Wash. was serving with the 44th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division.

1941: USS Lexington (CV-2) departs Pearl Harbor loaded with Marine dive bombers destined for Midway Atoll, leaving no carriers at the base (USS Enterprise departed for Wake on Nov. 28). The mission saves the aircraft carrier from destruction in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Meanwhile, Japanese submarines, having been informed of the Pearl Harbor attack timetables the day before, have surrounded the Hawaiian islands. And, prior to their surprise invasion of the Philippines, Japanese planes conduct reconnaissance flights of Luzon Island’s coastline.

1943: The Eighth Air Force conducts their first bombing mission against secret German V-1 and V-2 launch sites as part of Operation CROSSBOW.

V1 and V2 rocket at RAF Museum Cosford

1945: (Featured Image) A squadron of five Navy Avenger torpedo bombers departs Fort Lauderdale, Fla. for a flight over the so-called “Bermuda Triangle” in the Atlantic Ocean. Two hours later, the lead pilot radios that both of his compasses have malfunctioned and that their position is unknown, with other planes reporting similar problems. Four hours after takeoff, a message is heard ordering pilots to prepare for ditching their aircraft. A rescue operation is launched, and a Mariner search-and-rescue aircraft is also lost. Hundreds of ships and planes are unable to find any trace of the men or aircraft.

1950: Pyongyang, Korea falls to the invading Chinese army. Meanwhile, the aircraft carrier USS Princeton (CV-37) arrives off the coast of Korea to provide air support to US troops retreating from Chinese forces.

USS Princeton

1964: President Lyndon Johnson presents Army Capt. Roger H.C. Donlon the first Medal of Honor of the Vietnam War in ceremonies at the White House. Capt. Donlon led a Green Beret team as they defended against a reinforced Viet Cong battalion near Laos on July 6, 1964.

Capt. Roger H.C. Donlon
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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 SWAT Magazine, Human Events, Canada Free Press, Deutsche Welle,, Lifezette, and other publications. Chris is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, warrant officer in the South Carolina State Guard, and retired firefighter.

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