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This Day in Military History


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29 November 1943

USS Hornet (CV-12) is commissioned.

 

Originally due to be named USS Kearsarge, she was renamed in honor of the previous USS Hornet (CV-8), which was lost at the Battle of Santa Cruz in October 1942.

 

She played a major role in the Western Pacific during WWII, and also served in the Korea and Vietnam conflicts, as well as recovering the Apollo 11 astronauts when they returned from the Moon in July 1969.

 

I would be happy to live to see a new ship named Hornet. :)

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4 December 1983:

 

American aircraft attack Syrian SAM batteries in the mountains east of Beirut, in direct response to having been fired upon.

 

Two US Navy planes, an A-6 Intruder and an A-7 Corsair, flying from the USS John F. Kennedy) are downed.

 

A-6 bombardier/navigator Lt Bobby Goodman is captured and held for 30 days.

 

8 Marines are killed on the same day, during an attack by Syrian backed militias against their airport observation post.

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6 December 1934:

 

In a speech to the American Correspondents Association, American ambassador at large Norman H. Davis warned Japan against leaving the Washington Naval Treaty, saying it would become a grave security threat in the Pacific.

 

Barely three weeks later, Japan went ahead and gave formal notice of its denunciation of the treaty.

 

Davis' words would prove prophetic, because almost exactly seven years later, Japan attacked at Pearl Harbor.

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7 December 1941

 

Few events stand so prominently in military history as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

 

At 0645 hrs that morning, at the entrance to Pearl Harbor, the Wickes class destroyer USS Ward (DD-139) attacked and sank the Japanese Type A Ko-hyoteki class midget submarine No.20, striking the sub with two shells from her 4 inch guns.

 

These marked the first American shots of World War II, and its entrance into that conflict.

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10 December 1941:

 

The capital ships of the British Royal Navy's Force Z, the King George V class battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the Renown class battlecruiser HMS Repulse are attacked near Kuantan (Malaya) by Japanese G3M 'Nell' and G4M 'Betty' medium bombers flying out of Saigon.

 

Struck by multiple torpedoes and bombs, Repulse was the first to succumb, followed by Prince of Wales less than an hour later.

 

The battle is known for an early hallmark of the vulnerability of warships to airpower.

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11 December 1994

 

Russian Federation troops begin a ground assault into the unrecognized secessionist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, aimed at the capital Grozny.

 

It marks the start of the First Chechen War, which would continue for the better part of the next two years.

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A couple of events with a local flavour today.

 

12 December 1901

 

Italian physicist and radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi receives a trans Atlantic radio message sent from Cornwall, England, and received at what is now known as Signal Hill, Newfoundland.

 

12 December 1985

 

Arrow Air Flight 1285 crashes about half a mile from the runway just after takeoff from Gander, Newfoundland. The DC-8-63CF jet liner was carrying US troops of the famed 101st Airborne Division from Cairo, Egypt, to their home base at Ft Campbell, KY. All 256 passengers and crew are killed. The soldiers had been serving on a peacekeeping mission in the Sinai.

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