This Week in U.S. Military History

Compiled by Charles O’Leary

May 17, 1943 [World War II]: The Flying Fortress known as the Memphis Belle completes its twenty-fifth mission and her crew returns her home.

May18, 1917 [World War I]: The Selective Service Act is passed, allowing the federal government to draft men to serve in the armed forces.

May 19, 1945 [World War II]: U.S. B-29s continue the firebombing campaign against Japan’s aircraft factories by raiding Hamamatsu, a seaside factory city south of Tokyo.

May 20, 1969 [Vietnam War]: The Battle of Hamburger Hill concludes. This was the last major ground assault of the war and was led by the Army paratroopers, 101st Airborne 3rd Brigade with support from 9th Marine Regiment. The 10-day battle resulted in 70 dead, 372 wounded U.S. troops and over 630 dead N.V.A. troops.

May 21, 1956 [Cold War]: The United States explodes the first airborne hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

May 22, 1933: Congress approves National Maritime Day as the annual day of tribute the U.S. Merchant Marine. Hominy’s own Robert “Babo” Carter was a member of the Merchant Marine during the Vietnam War.

May 23, 1944 [World War II]: Allied forces begin a major offensive in Anzio, Italy with Oklahoma’s own 45th Infantry Division at the “tip of the spear.”

The Korean War:

“This was the way it was, waiting, attacking, digging holes, attacking, waiting and more hills to climb up and down. That was Korea and its famous mountain ranges. Engagements were sometimes swift with little defensive reaction, but often they became fierce, and men were killed or injured and most were never seen again.” –Paul Steppe, infantry marine, U.S. Marine Corps

[From “Forever a Soldier”, the Library of Congress Veterans History Project]

This article is brought to you by Blackwell-Frazier Post 142 of the American Legion in Hominy, which reminds all veterans that the Post is still shut down due to the governor’s order and the COVID-19 virus. No flags at the cemetery this year for Memorial Day due to COVID-19. The O’Leary family will put out flags on Main Street and Hwy 99 & 20. The Babo Carter family will put out stick flags at the cemetery entrance drive and circle at the Veterans Memorial; Post 142 will place a memorial wreath for Memorial Day. Next Legion meeting is Thursday, June 18, 2020, 7 p.m. No meal. Stay safe everyone. Remember our veterans!