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First Encounter

US Military History Throughout The Years

Short bits of history you know and some you may not!

  • First Colonel: Friday, March 13, 1942 – Julia Otteson Flikke of the US Army Nurse Corps becomes the first women promoted to Colonel in the Army. Though her promotion in 1942 was temporary she would gain the rank and privileges in 1947. She would serve in both world wars, having joined the Nurse Corps in 1918 where she would be assigned to a hospital in France. After her time in France she would serve in the Philippines and China as well as spending time at Walter Reed General Hospital.
  • Flyover: Friday, March 15, 1963 – Two Soviet aircraft would be the first to penetrate US airspace during the Cold War. The reconnaissance aircraft would be flying separate routes, and both would violate airspace on the same day. They would fly 30 miles into the airspace of southwestern Alaska, over a more remote are that did not host any major military installations. The two Soviet aircraft would be detected by radar as they flew over the Bering Strait and F-102 fighter jets from Alaskan bases would be scrambled to intercept them. The US jet fighters would track the Soviet aircraft by radar but would never close within visual distance. The two Soviet aircraft would then, whether knowing they were tracked or not, would then turn and leave American airspace, without ever coming into range of US Nike ADA missile units. Though visual confirmation of the Soviet was never achieved, their route into and out of American airspace confirmed their origin. The American public would become aware of the incident the next day when the US State Department released a protest note to the USSR.
  • Old Ironsides: Sunday, March 16, 1930 – After nearly three years of restoration work, the 85% restored USS Constitution would emerge floating from dry dock. While Old Ironsides had been authorized restoration as of 1900 no funds were allocated towards it. After the Secretary of the Navy suggested to use her as target practice in 1905, public outcry forced the government to allocate $100,000 towards restoring her. By 1907 she was restored enough to act as a museum ship and in 1917 renamed Old Constitution to free up her name for a new class of ships being built. When those ships were canceled in 1923 she would regain her namesake. After Old Ironsides was floated she would undergo more work and be upgraded for preparation of a three year tour of the US. Over the three years she toured over 4.6 million people visited the ship as she visited more 90 ports along the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific coasts. When she returned to Boston in 1934 she would once again become a museum ship, with more restoration being required in 1970 as she deteriorated from years of poor upkeeping and underfunding.

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