USAF Colonel (Retired) Walter Watson Jr, the first and only African American SR-71 pilot. Colonel Watson would attend college ROTC to become an Air Force officer and be assigned as an Avionics Maintenance Officer, he quickly would be selected for training as a pilot early in his service. His time as a pilot would be diverse and distinguished, serving as a flight instructor, examiner and as a flight commander for both tactical and strategic reconnaissance squadrons. He would become the first and only African American crewmember of an SR-71 during this time. The super secret aircraft set altitude and speed records which still stand today and could achieve speeds over Mach 3. As his flying career ended, he would continue to impact the Air Force as an instructor and leader at Air Force ROTCs and chief of scholarships within the AFROTC program. Over his career in the Air Force he would set the standard in leadership and constantly move the Air Force forward in its officer program.
22 FEB 1909 – The US Great White Fleet returns to port at Norfolk, VA. The Great White Fleet was the first time a US fleet circumnavigated the globe. The trip took from 16 December 1907 to 22 February 1909 and the armada consisted of 16 ships from the US Atlantic fleet. Presidents Theodore Roosevelts purpose of the voyage was to showcase American goodwill and to show American Military might as a sea power. The ships were painted white, the peacetime color of the Navy at the time, and adorned with glided scrollwork along with red, white and blue banners, this stark white paint scheme led to the fleet later being called the “Great White Fleet”. As a result of the voyage the US stance as a world power was further recognized by prominent nations around the world. The armadas voyage was also a learning lesson for the USA, experience in fleet operations as well as ship design were quickly implemented and put into effect.
23 FEB 1778 – Baron Von Steuben joins the American Revolutionary Army at Valley Forge. He is remembered as one of the fathers of the Continental Army and his work, Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States, which would serve as the United States Military drill manual until the War of 1812.
24 FEB 1991– After months of massive bombings, special operations attacks, small battles and limited incursions in to Iraq, the ground invasion of Iraq began during Desert Storm. The ground invasion, known as Operation Desert Saber, included a multinational force and would sweep through Iraq with incredible speed. Only 100 hours after the invasion began President Bush would declare a ceasefire, ending the ground war and declaring Kuwait liberated.