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February 23, 2006

Today in history...

1942. Japanese sub I-17 shells oil depot at Goleta, California, to no effect. For another view of the incident, see here. Later, the US Navy found the 1-17 - with effect.

1778 Baron von Steuben joins Continental Army at Valley Forge. Thus beginning the nascent US Army's first transformation period. (Inside joke, those who know, know)

1852 HMS Birkenhead sinks off South Africa, 420 die standing at attention. Before you shake your head in wonder at what appears to be stupid discipline, know this - the Brit soldiers who stood at attention while the Birkenhead sank are the source of the saying... "Women and Children First!" Could *you* meet that standard?

1903 US leases Guantanamo Bay for $4,000 a year (Castro returns the checks).

1919 Osmond Ingram (DD-255) launched, first ship named for an enlisted man

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1945 Iwo Jima: The 28th Marines raise the flag on Mount Suribachi.

1971 William Calley confesses to My Lai massacre, implicates Ernest Medina.
Rather than link to something about Calley or Medina - I'll link to something about CW2 Hugh Thompson, who stood up to Calley and his rampaging troops.

1979 Frank Peterson Jr. becomes first black general in Marine Corps. And he was a Kansan, to boot! Col. Frank E. Petersen Jr. became the first Black Marine promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in the U.S. Marines on this day in 1979. He was the first Black Marine aviator, too. Hailing from Topeka, KS, Petersen earned a bachelor’s degree in 1967 and a master’s degree in 1973 from George Washington University and is a graduate of the National Defense University. He flew over 300 combat missions during his career, including tours in Korea and Vietnam. Petersen spent 38 years in the Corps before retiring in 1988 as commanding general of the Marine Development Educational Command in Quantico. He wrote an autobiography, Into the Tiger’s Jaw: America’s First Black Marine Aviator.