The Definition of Insanity
Losing a war and a peace

Jan. 5 in US Military History

1781: Commanding 1,600 British troops, American Traitor – now a British brigadier general – Benedict Arnold captures and burns Richmond, Va.

1855: A landing party from the USS Plymouth skirmishes with Chinese forces near Canton during the Taiping Rebellion.

1861: The civilian merchant vessel Star of the West departs New York for Fort Sumter with supplies and 250 troops. South Carolina had seceded from the Union and the base was surrounded by Confederate forces and in need of supplies. Upon arriving in Charleston Harbor four days later, shore batteries attacked the vessel, forcing it to turn around. The standoff would continue until April, when the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter.

1875: Cdr. Edward Lull (USN) leads an expedition to locate the best route for the Panama Canal.

1904: Marines arrive in Korea to defend the U.S. legation assembly at Seoul.

1945: Japanese pilots receive their first order to become kamikaze suicide attackers. At Okinawa alone, 1,465 kamikaze pilots destroy at least 30 U.S. warships and kill 5,000 Americans.

1967: U.S. and South Vietnamese Marines conduct a joint amphibious assault of the Mekong Delta. The goal of Operation Deckhouse V is to capture Viet Cong prisoners from the Thanh Phu Secret Zone, and it is the first time U.S. troops operate in the delta.

Medal of Honor: 42 years ago, SSgt. Franklin D. Miller was leading a long range patrol of Special Forces soldiers and Montagnards in Laos when a booby trap wounded several members. Eventually, the entire patrol was wounded – including Miller, who was shot in the chest. The last man able to fight, Miller held off repeated enemy assaults against their position, despite being vastly outnumbered.

Miller would serve over six years in Southeast Asia. When asked by Pres. Richard Nixon at his award ceremony where he wanted to be assigned next, Miller answered “Vietnam.”

Image of the Day: Soldier kills a tiger

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