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Commander
may 

May

The Month of May in American Naval History
May 1

1898 - Battle of Manila Bay, Adm Dewey defeats Spanish at Manila, Philippines
1934 - LT Akers demonstrates blind landing system at College Park, MD in OJ-2 aircraft
1945 - VADM Barbey lands Australian troops on Tarakan Island, Borneo, supported by naval gunfire
1951 - USS Princeton aircraft attack Hwachon Dam using aerial torpedoes, only use of this weapon in Korean War
1980 - 11 Navy ships begin operations assisting Coast Guard in rescuing Cuban refugees fleeing Cuba in overcrowded boats

May 2

1975 - US Navy departs Vietnamese waters at end of evacuation.

May 3

1861 - USS Surprise captures Confederate privateer Savannah
1898 - Marines land at Cavite, Philippines, and raise U.S. flag
1949 - First Navy firing of a high altitude Viking rocket at White Sands, NM

May 4

1917 - First Navy ships, Destroyer Division 8, arrive at Queenstown, Ireland, to provide convoy escorts against German U-boats
1942 - Battle of Coral Sea, first carrier vs. carrier battle, begins
1945 - Japanese attempt to land on Okinawa repulsed; kamikaze attacks damage 6 U.S. Navy ships
1961 - Pilot CDR Malcolm D. Ross, USNR, and medical observer LCDR Victor A. Prather, Jr., ascended in two hours to over 110,00 feet in Strato-Lab 5, a 411-foot hydrogen filled balloon launched from from the deck of USS Antietam. This was the highest altitude attained by man in an open gondola. Tragically, Prather drowned during the recovery.
 

May 5

1944 - USS Comfort is commissioned in San Pedro, CA; first ship to be manned jointly by Army and Navy personnel
1948 - VF-17A becomes first carrier qualified jet squadron (USS Saipan)
1961 - CDR Alan Shepard Jr. makes first U.S. manned space flight. Flight of Freedom 7 (Mercury 3) which lasted 15 minutes and 28 seconds reached the altitude of 116.5 statute miles with a velocity of 5,134 mph. Recovery was by HUS1 helicopter of HMR(L)-262 from USS Lake Champlain(CVS-39).
1980 - USS Robert E. Peary rescues 440 Vietnamese refugees from disabled craft south of Thailand

May 6

1909 - Great White Fleet anchors in San Francisco
1916 - First ship-to-shore radio telephone voice conversation from USS New Hampshire off Virginia Capes to SECNAV Josephus Daniels in Washington, DC
1942 - CAPT Milton Miles arrives in Chungking, China, to begin building an intelligence and guerilla training organization, Naval Group China
1945 - Naval landing force evacuates 500 Marshallese from Jaluit Atoll, Marshall Islands

May 7

1779 - Continental Navy sloop Providence captures British brig Diligent off Cape Charles
1934 - USS Constitution completes tour of principal U.S. ports
1940 - FDR orders Pacific Fleet to remain in Hawaiian waters indefinitely
1942 - Carrier aircraft sink Japanese carrier Shoho during Battle of Coral Sea

May 8

1911 - Navy ordered its first airplane, Curtiss A-1, Birthday of Naval Aviation
1942 - Battle of the Coral Sea ends with Japanese retiring from area
1945 - VE - Day, Germany's unconditional surrender to the Allies
1963 - Navy ships evacuate 2,279 civilians from Haiti during crisis.
1972 - U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aircraft mine Haiphong Harbor in North Vietnam.

May 9

1926 - LCDR Richard Byrd and Chief Machinist Mate Floyd Bennett make first flight over North Pole; both receive Congressional Medal of Honor.
1942 - USS Wasp in Mediterranean launches 47 Spitfire aircraft to help defend Malta

May 10

1775 - Force under Ethan Allan and Benedict Arnold cross Lake Champlain and capture British fort at Ticonderoga, New York.
1800 - USS Constitution captures Letter of Marque Sandwich.
1862 - Confederates destroy Norfolk and Pensacola Navy Yards.
1949 - First shipboard launching of LARK, guided missile by USS Norton Sound.
1960 - USS Triton (SSRN-586) completes submerged circumnavigation of world in 84 days following many of the routes taken by Magellan and cruising 46,000 miles.

May 11

1862 - CSS Virginia blown up by Confederates to prevent capture.
1898 - Sailors and Marines from USS Marblehead cut trans-oceanic cable near Cienfuegos, Cuba, isolating Cuba from Spain.
1943 - Naval task force lands Army troops on Attu, Aleutians.
1965 - U.S. destroyers deliver first shore bombardment of Vietnam War.

May 12

    1780 - Fall of Charleston, SC; three Continental Navy frigates (Boston, Providence, and Ranger) captured; and one American frigate (Queen of France) sunk to prevent capture
    1846 - U.S. declares war against Mexico
    1975 - SS Mayaguez seized by Khmer Rouge and escorted to Koh Tang Island.
    1986 - Destroyer USS David R. Ray deters an Iranian Navy attempt to board a U.S. merchant ship.

May 13

1908 - Navy Nurse Corps established.
1908 - Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, later called Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, was officially established in the Territory of Hawaii as a coaling station for U.S. Navy ships transiting the Pacific Ocean.
1943 - Bureau of Navigation renamed Bureau of Naval Personnel
1945 - Aircraft from fast carrier task force begin 2-day attack on Kyushu airfields, Japan
1964 - Organization and deployment of world's first all nuclear-powered task group, USS Enterprise, USS Long Beach, and USS Bainbridge, to Sixth Fleet

May 14

1801 - Tripoli declares war against the United States
1836 - U.S. Exploring Expedition authorized to conduct exploration of Pacific Ocean and South Seas, first major scientific expedition overseas. LT Charles Wilkes USN, would lead the expedition in surveying South America, Antarctica, Far East, and North Pacific.
1845 - First U.S. warship visits Vietnam. While anchored in Danang for reprovisioning, CAPT John Percival commanding USS Constitution, conducts a show of force against Vietnamese authorities in an effort to obtain the release of a French priest held prisoner by Emperor of Annam at Hue.
1975 - Marines recapture Mayaguez, go ashore on Koh Tang Island and release the crew.

May 15

1800 - CAPT Preble in Essex arrives in Batavia, Java, to escort U.S. merchant ships
1942 - First Naval Air Transport Service flight across Pacific
1969 - Sinking of USS Guitarro (SSN-665)
1991 - Amphibious Task Force arrives at Chittagong, Bangladesh, for relief operations after Cyclone Marian

May 16

1820 - Congress becomes first U.S. warship to visit China
1919 - Three Navy flying boats begin 1st trans-Atlantic flight from Newfoundland
1965 - First US gunfire support in Vietnam by USS Tucker

May 17

1940 - FDR announces plans to recommission 35 more destroyers
1942 - USS Tautog (SS-199) sinks Japanese sub, I-28; while USS Triton (SS-201) sinks I-164
1951 - Aircraft from carriers attack bridges between Wonsan and Hamhung, Korea
1962 - Naval amphibious ready group lands Marines to guard Thailand's borders from Communist probes
1966 - Naval Support Activity Saigon established
1973 - First woman to hold a major Navy command, Captain Robin Lindsay Quigley assumes command of Navy Service School, San Diego, CA.
1987 - USS Stark (FFG-31) struck by Iraqi Exocet missile in Persian Gulf, killing 37 Sailors. 21 were wounded.
1990 - USS Roark rescues 42 refugees from unseaworthy craft in South China Sea

May 18

1775 - Benedict Arnold captures British sloop and renames her Enterprise, first of many famous ships with that name
1798 - Appointment of Benjamin Stoddert as first Secretary of the Navy
1969 - Launch of Apollo 10, dress rehearsal for first lunar landing mission. CDR John W. Young, USN, was the Command Module Pilot and CDR Eugene A. Cernan, USN, was the Lunar Module Pilot. During the 8 Day mission, the craft made 31 lunar orbits in 61.6 hours. Recovery was by HS-4 helicopters from USS Princeton (LPH-5).

May 19

1882 - Commodore Shufeldt (USS Swatara) lands in Korea to negotiate first treaty between Korea and Western power
1912 - Navy establishes North Atlantic Ice Patrol following RMS Titanic disaster
1965 - 30th Naval Construction Regiment activated at Danang, Vietnam

May 20

1801 - Four warships sent to Mediterranean to protect American commerce
1815 - Commodore Stephen Decatur ( Frigate Guerriere) sails with 10 ships to suppress Mediterranean pirates' raids on U.S. shipping
1844 - USS Constitution sails from New York on round the world cruise
1943 - Establishment of Tenth Fleet in Washington, DC, under command of ADM King to coordinate U.S. antisubmarine operations in Atlantic

May 21

1850 - Washington Navy Yard begins work on first castings for the Dahlgren guns
1917 - USS Ericsson fires first torpedo of war
1944 - During preparations for the invasion of Saipan an accidental ordnance blast on LST 353 sets off cataclysmic ammunition explosions at West Loch, Pearl Harbor, killing 163 and injuring 396. Six tank landing ships (LST-39, LST-43, LST-69, LST-179, LST-353, LST-480), three tank landing craft (LCT-961, LCT-963, LCT-983), and 17 track landing vehicles (LVTs) are destroyed in explosions and fires.
1964 - The initiation of the standing carrier presence at Yankee Station in the South China Sea.

May 22

1882 - Commodore Shufeldt signs commerce treaty opening Korea to U.S. trade
1958 - Naval aircraft F4D-1 Sky Ray sets five world speed-to-climb records, 22-23 May
1967 - New York City reaches agreement to purchase Brooklyn Navy Yard, ending 166 years of construction and repair of naval vessels.
1968 - USS Scorpion (SSN-589) lost with all hands

May 23

1850 - Navy sends USS Advance and USS Rescue to attempt rescue of Sir John Franklin's expedition, lost in Arctic.
1939 - USS Squalus (SS-92) sinks off Postsmouth, NH, with loss of 26 lives.
1962 - Launch of Aurora 7 (Mercury 7), piloted by LCDR Malcolm Scott Carpenter, USN, who completed 3 orbits in 4 hours, 56 minutes at an altitude up to 166.8 statute miles at 17,549 mph. He was picked up by HSS-2 helicopters from USS Intrepid (CVS-11). The capsule was recovered by USS John R. Pierce (DD-753).
1962 - USS Valcour (AVP-55) provides medical care to a merchant seaman from tanker SS Manhattan in the Persian Gulf.

May 24

1917 - First U.S. convoy to cross North Atlantic during World War I leaves Hampton Roads, VA
1918 - USS Olympia anchors at Kola Inlet, Murmansk, Russia, to protect refugees during Russian Revolution
1939 - First and only use of VADM Allan McCann's Rescue Chamber to rescue 33 men from sunken USS Squalus (SS-192)
1941 - Authorization of construction or acquisition of 550,000 tons of auxiliary shipping for Navy
1945 - Fast carrier task force aircraft attack airfields in southern Kyushu, Japan
1945 - 9 US ships damaged by concentrated kamikaze attack off Okinawa
1961 - USS Gurke notices signals from 12 men from Truk who were caught in a storm, drifted at sea for 2 months before being stranded on a island for 1 month. USS Southerland investigated, notified Truk, and provided provisions and supplies to repair their outrigger canoe. The men would be picked up on 7 June by the motor launch Kaselehlia.

May 25

1952 - USS Iowa bombards Chongjin, Korea.
1973 - Launch of Skylab 2 mission, which was first U.S. manned orbiting space station. It had an all Navy crew of CAPT Charles Conrad, Jr., USN. (commanding), CDR Joseph P. Kerwin, USN and CDR Paul J. Weitz, USN. During the 28 day mission of 404 orbits, the craft rendezvoused with Skylab to make repairs and conduct science experiments. Recovery by USS Ticonderoga (CVS-14)

May 26

1944 - USS England sinks fifth Japanese submarine in one week
1952 - Tests from 26-29 May demonstrate feasibility of the angled-deck concept conducted on simulated angled deck on USS Midway
1990 - USS Beaufort rescues 24 Vietnamese refugees in South China Sea

May 27

1813 - American joint operations against Fort George, Canada
1919 - Navy NC-4 completes trans-Atlantic flight from Newfoundland to Lisbon, Portugal

May 28

1813 - Frigate Essex and prize capture five British whalers
1917 - First underway fueling in U.S. Navy, USS Maumee fuels 6 destroyers in North Atlantic. LCDR Chester W. Nimitz served as Maumee's executive officer and chief engineer.
1957 - 1st of 24 detonations, Operation Plumbbob nuclear test
1980 - 55 women become first women graduates from the U.S. Naval Academy.

May 29

1781 - Frigate Alliance captures HMS Atalanta and Trepassy off Nova Scotia
1991 - Amphibious Task Force in Bangladesh for cyclone relief redeployed

May 30

1814 - Navy gunboats capture three British boats on Lake Ontario near Sandy Creek, NY

May 31

    1900 - Sailors and Marines from USS Newark and USS Oregon arrive at Peking, China with other Sailors and Marines from Britain, France, Russia, Italy and Japan to protect U.S. and foreign diplomatic legations from the Boxers
    1919 - NC-4's transatlantic mission ends at Plymouth, England
    1944 - USS England sank a record 6th Japanese submarine in 13 days.