Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This Week in Naval History

14 Feb 1778: 1st official salute to U.S. flag by foreign govt.

On 14 February 1778, during the American Revolution, Continental ship Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones, received the first official salute to a U.S. Stars and Stripes flag by a Foreign Government (the French fleet) at Quiberon, France. To read more about Continental ship Ranger, please click here:

15 Feb 1898: USS Maine blows up on Havana Harbor

On 15 February 1898 , the battleship Maine blew-up in Havana Harbor and nearly three-quarters of the battleship's crew died as a result of the explosion. With the cause unsettled, contemporary American popular opinion blamed Spain and war followed within a few months. Maine's wreck was raised in 1912 to clear the harbor and to facilitate an investigation into the cause of her sinking. Her remains were subsequently scuttled in deep waters north of Havana. To read more about USS Maine, please click here:

16 Feb 1804: Burning of the Frigate Philadelphia

On 16 February 1804, Lieutenant Stephen Decatur, with volunteers from frigate Constitution and schooner Enterprise, entered Tripoli harbor by night in the ketch Intrepid to burn the captured frigate Philadelphia. Decatur's raid succeeds without American losses. England's Lord Nelson calls this "the most daring act of the age." To read more about the Burning of the Philadelphia, please click here:

17 Feb 1945: MOH recipient LT Rufus G. Herring, USNR

On 17 Feb 1945, while shelling enemy positions in support of Underwater Demolition Team swimmers at Iwo Jima, LCI(G)-449 was heavily hit by Japanese counter-fire and went out of control. Despite very serious wounds that left him gravely weakened, Lt Rufus G. Herring took the helm, rallied his men, and kept the ship in action. For his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty," he was awarded the Medal of Honor. To read more about Lieutenant Herring, please click here:

18 Feb 1944: Amphibious Force secures Engebi Island, Eniwetok

On 18 February 1944, the Amphibious Force under Rear Admiral Harry W. Hill landed troops on Engebi Island, Eniwetok, securing the island before the end of the day. Eniwetok Island was secured on the 21st , with Parry Island secured on the 22nd. The remaining smaller islands of the Atoll were secured on the 23rd. To read more about USS Chanengo, which partook in the landing, please click here:

19 Feb 1945: US Marines landed on Iwo Jima

On 19 February 1945, following pre-invasion Naval gunfire and aerial bombardment, U.S. Marines landed on Iwo Jima, securing the island on 16 March. The abundant heroism of the attackers was recognized by the award of no fewer than twenty-seven Medals of Honor, more than half given posthumously. Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz described the invasion as one “where uncommon valor was a common virtue.” To read indepth about the Battle for Iwo Jima, please click here:

20 Feb 1942: MOH recipient LT Edward H. "Butch" O'Hare

On 20 February 1942, while defending Lexington in a F4F "Wildcat" fighter, Lt Edward H . “Butch” O'Hare encountered an advancing formation of nine Japanese bombers east of the enemy base at Rabaul, New Britain. Alone and unaided, he repeatedly attacked the enemy aircraft and was credited with shooting down five of them, and damaging a sixth, before they reached their intended target. For his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" on this occasion, O'Hare was meritoriously promoted to Lieutenant Commander in April 1942 and was awarded the Medal of Honor. To read more about F4F “wildcat” fighters, please click here:

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