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This Week in History | 6/07/2020 – 6/11/2020

7 June 1942 – The Forgotten Battle. Just as the Imperial Japanese Navy faced defeat during the Battle of Midway, they invaded the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska. Days earlier Japanese aircraft had bombed Dutch Harbor, damaging some infrastructure. Upon landing at the islands of Attu and Kiska, the Japanese would kill 25 American troops and intern the Alaskan Unangax tribe members living on the islands. It was not till 11 May 1943 that American forces were able to conduct operations to recapture the islands. The Japanese occupation of the Aleutians is one of the two times Axis forces set foot on American land. Nazi spies were captured in New York and Florida in June 1942 during their failed Operation Pastorius.

8 June 1995 – USAF F-16C Pilot, Captain Scott O’Grady is rescued by a USMC tactical recovery team in Bosnia. Capt O’Grady was shot down on 2 June, by a Bosnian-Serb army surface-to-air missile, while conducting operations as a part of the NATO led Operation Deny Flight. Capt O’Grady would put his SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) training to great use during his evasion of the enemy. He successfully avoided the enemy and was rescued on the morning of the 8th. During his extraction the USMC Sea Stallions carrying him and the rescue team would come under enemy fire. Thankfully, no one was injured and both helicopters would return to the USS Kearsarge without serious damage. The 2001 film Behind Enemy Lines is loosely based on these events. 

11 June 1970 – Colonels Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P Hoisington became the first female US Army Generals in history. They both were promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. Before promotion BG Hays was the Chief, Army Nurse Corps and BG Hoisington was Director, Women’s Army Corps. As a result of promotion ceremonies occurring alphabetically Hays was officially the first woman General, with Hoisington being promoted only minutes later.

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