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First to Fall

US Military History Throughout The Years

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

  • The First to Fall: Wednesday, September 26, 1945 – Lt Col Peter Dewey is shot and killed by Viet Minh troops while he waited on a delayed flight out of Vietnam. Lt Col Dewey was a part of the OSS and was in Vietnam to collect intelligence and represent American interests. At the end of the war the French were struggling against an independence movement in Vietnam, led by Ho Chi Minh. Lt Col Dewey had complained to the local British commander about French abuses towards the Vietnamese people but was rebuked, being declared persona non grata. Dewey knew that the Viet Minh were primarily concerned with attacking French troops and would attempt to fly an American flag on the jeep he had, but due to the local British commander adhering to tradition of only general officers being allowed to do so it was wrapped up and unidentifiable. As a result, when Lt Col Dewey was driving towards a villa he was ambushed by Viet Minh troops. It is claimed he was misidentified by the troops due to him yelling at them in French. His body was never recovered after the ambush and reportedly Ho Chi Minh himself would send a letter of condolence for his death to President Truman. Lt Col Dewey would be the first US Military death in Vietnam, 10 years before the US would eventually recognize the war there following the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu. As a result his name is not on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
  • Flogging Ends: Saturday, September 28, 1850 – Although support at large by officers in the US Navy, at the time, flogging is abolished as a form of punishment. The form of punishment had been a part of the US Navy since its creation but as soon as 1797 there had been warnings against its use, especially in excessive use. After multiple petitions, as many as 217, were brought forth to the Senate against flogging it was finally considered for abolishment and Senator Hale would succeed in getting a law passed to end it.

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