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US Military History – Peacemaker, Penobscot Expedition

Short bits of history you know, and some you may not!
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  • Peacemaker: Thursday, August 8, 1946 – The Convair B-36 makes its first flight. The Peacemaker is the largest mass produced piston engine (prop plane) to ever be built. With a wingspan of 230 feet the bomber was able to carry all nuclear bombs the US had in service at the time and was capable of intercontinental flight without refueling. The bomber was adopted in 1948 and would quickly be upgraded to carry the evolving nuclear arsenal of the US Military, with the later upgrades being called the “Grand Slam Installation”. The bomber would remain in service till 1954, being replaced by the B-52 Stratofortress. The B-36 would never see combat use, partially as a result of the jet age occurring soon after its creation and jet fighters being of great danger to the bomber. The lack of combat use also lends to its value in keeping the peace as a deterrent, rather than an outright offensive platform due to its capabilities.
  • Veterans Bureau: Tuesday, August 9, 1921 – In order to assist the returning American veterans of WW1, Congress creates the Veterans Bureau. The Bureau consolidated the Bureau of War Risk Insurance, Public Health Service and the Federal Board of Vocational Education under one roof. Two other agencies were left separate, the Bureau of Pensions of the Interior Department and the National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. The Bureau quickly became full of scandal, with the first Director Col. Charles R. Forbes, being imprisoned on charges of conspiracy to defraud the government. Within nine years the Bureau would be abolished and replaced with the Veterans Administration, which as many of us know is a heart ache in itself. Wait times are fun aren’t they?
  • Penobscot Expedition: Friday, August 13, 1779 – The largest American naval armada, the Penobscot Expedition, of the Revolutionary War would be destroyed by the British Royal Navy. The Penobscot Expedition was assembled to retake parts of the Maine coast that the British had captured and land a force of over 1,000 American Colonial Marines. The 44 ship expedition would find little success during their three weeks of attacks on the coast and siege of Fort George. On the 14th of August they would be destroyed be a force of 10 British warships. This disaster would remain the worst American naval defeat till the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 162 years later.
  • VJ Day: Wednesday, August 15, 1945 – Following the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and a Soviet Declaration of war, Japan would communicate its intention to surrender under the terms of the Potsdam Declaration. Days later, on the 15th, Emperor Hirohito would announce to the Japanese people the surrender of Japan to the Allies. This day effectively ended WW2, since Germany had surrendered three months earlier. A formal peace treaty between the US and Japan was not signed until 1952. Within the Pacific Theater of WW2 there were around 426,000 Americans casualties, with 161,000 killed.

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