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July 31 in U.S. military history

1777: The Marquis de Lafayette, a 19-year-old French nobleman whom Gen. George Washington will soon take under his wing, is commissioned “major general” in the Continental Army.

1945: The U.S. government warns Japan that eight cities will be destroyed if they refuse to surrender. Days later, atomic bombs fall on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but the Japanese surrender before further cities are leveled.

1964: The U.S. Navy’s all-nuclear Task Force One - USS Enterprise (CVAN 65), USS Long Beach (CGN 9), and USS Bainbridge (DLGN 25) - pass through the Straights of Gibraltar, beginning their 30,565-mile cruise around the world. Including port calls, the fleet crosses the globe – unrefueled – in 65 days.

Adapted (and abridged) in part from “This Week in US Military History” by W. Thomas Smith Jr. at Human Events.

Today's Photo: Climbing the 'corporal' ladder

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