Today’s post is in honor of Lance Cpl. Brian P. Parrello, who was killed by enemy action on this date in 2005 in Iraq’s Anbar province. The 19-year-old native of Milford, N.J. was serving with the Small Craft Company, Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.
1929: Former World War I fighter pilot – and future Air Force Chief of Staff – Maj. Carl A. Spaatz and his modified Fokker C2-3 trimotor lift off for a record-setting flight that lasts 150 hours and 40 minutes. During that time, the Question Mark takes on 5,700 gallons of fuel from 43 in-flight refuelings as it flies back and forth between San Diego and Santa Monica, Calif.
1945: After two weeks of weather delays, Hermann Göring’s Luftwaffe musters all available pilots and aircraft for a top-secret operation to wipe out Allied air forces and gain air superiority over France, Holland and Belgium. 120 Royal Air Force and 20 American warplanes are destroyed on the ground, but one-quarter of the German force – 200 aircraft – are shot down. In fact, many of the attackers are shot down by friendly fire as German anti-aircraft gunners weren’t aware of the operation due to the high levels of secrecy.
Göring’s force failed to achieve air superiority, and Allied aircraft losses were replaced in days. The last-ditch Operation BODENPLATTE was the Luftwaffe’s final major strategic operation of the war.
1946: A solitary U.S. soldier registering American graves on Corregidor is interrupted by 20 Japanese soldiers waving a flag of surrender. The men had lived in a tunnel on the island and learned of Japan’s surrender months before by spotting a newspaper while on a foraging mission.
1951: Half a million Communist Chinese and North Korean troops launch a new offensive, hammering away at the UN forces falling back from the 38th Parallel. As the South Korean capital of Seoul is about to fall into enemy hands a second time, Gen. Douglas MacArthur informs the Japanese that they may have to rearm due to the threat. However, the overextended and exhausted communists break off the attack by month’s end.
1962: (Featured Image) U.S. Navy SEAL Teams “One” and “Two” are established. The special warfare operators, created for guerilla and counter-guerilla operations, are drawn from the ranks of the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Teams. Team One is headquartered at Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) by Coronado, Calif. and Two at NAB Little Creek near Virginia Beach, Va.