Year
1972

New troops sent to An Loc

South Vietnam’s 21st Division, decimated by repeated attempts to relieve An Loc, is replaced by the 25th Division. At the same time, U.S. helicopters flew 18th Division troops to positions south of An Loc to replace badly battered 9th Division troops that had also been trying to get to the city.

The 21st Division and attached units had been trying to reach the besieged city since April 9, when the group had been moved from its normal station in the Mekong Delta and ordered to attack up Highway 13 from Lai Khe to open the route to An Loc. The South Vietnamese forces had been locked in a desperate battle with a North Vietnamese division blocking the highway since the very beginning of the siege. As the 21st Division tried to open the road, the defenders inside An Loc fought off repeated attacks by two North Vietnamese divisions that had surrounded the city early in April. This was the southernmost thrust of the North Vietnamese invasion that had begun on March 30; the other main objectives were Quang Tri in the north and Kontum in the Central Highlands.

The arrival of the fresh South Vietnamese soldiers would eventually result in the lifting of the siege at An Loc. The 18th Division troops successfully attacked the North Vietnamese forces surrounding the city and most of the communist troops within An Loc had been eliminated by the end of the month. The 25th Division was less successful and the North Vietnamese forces continued to block Route 13 south of the city.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown is born

On this day in 1964, Dan Brown, author of the international blockbuster “The Da Vinci Code” as well as other best-selling thrillers, is born in New Hampshire. Brown’s extensively researched novels are known for involving symbols, conspiracies and secret societies. The three ...read more

Notorious Boston mobster Whitey Bulger is arrested

On this day in 2011, after 16 years on the run from law enforcement, James “Whitey” Bulger, a violent Boston mob boss wanted for 19 murders, is arrested in Santa Monica, California. The 81-year-old Bulger, one of the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” fugitives, was arrested with his ...read more

Louis becomes champ

In Chicago’s Comiskey Park, Joe Louis wins the world heavyweight boxing title when he defeats American Jim Braddock in an eighth-round knockout. Louis was the first African American heavyweight champ since Jack Johnson, who lost the title in 1915. During his subsequent reign, the ...read more

Hudson set adrift by mutineers

After spending a winter trapped by ice in present-day Hudson Bay, the starving crew of the Discovery mutinies against its captain, English navigator Henry Hudson, and sets him, his teenage son, and seven supporters adrift in a small, open boat. Hudson and the eight others were ...read more

Battle of Okinawa ends

During World War II, the U.S. 10th Army overcomes the last major pockets of Japanese resistance on Okinawa Island, ending one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. The same day, Japanese Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima, the commander of Okinawa’s defense, committed ...read more

FDR signs G.I. Bill

On this day in 1944, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the G.I. Bill, an unprecedented act of legislation designed to compensate returning members of the armed services–known as G.I.s–for their efforts in World War II. As the last of its sweeping New Deal reforms, ...read more

Hand of God helps out Maradona

On this day in 1986, Argentine midfielder Diego Maradona scores two goals to lead Argentina past England and into the semifinals of the World Cup. The game was watched the world over, as Argentina and England had not yet normalized relations after a war over the Malvina Islands, ...read more

FDR signs GI bill

On this day in 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the GI bill to provide financial aid to veterans returning from World War II. Upon signing the legislation, Roosevelt voiced his belief that ensuring veterans’ employability was critical to a sound postwar economy. The ...read more

General Santa Anna dies in Mexico City

Embittered and impoverished, the once mighty Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna dies in Mexico City. Born in 1792 at Jalapa, Vera Cruz, Mexico, Santa Anna was the son of middle-class parents. As a teen, he won a commission in the Spanish army and might have been expected to live out an ...read more

Anne Morrow Lindbergh is born

Writer and pilot Anne Morrow Lindbergh is born on this day in 1906 in Englewood, New Jersey. Lindbergh attended Smith College, where her writing won several coveted literary awards. At age 23, she married celebrated aviator Charles Lindbergh, who had made the first transatlantic ...read more

George Carlin dies

On this day in 2008, the influential comic writer, actor and stand-up comedian George Carlin dies of heart failure at the age of 71. Born in New York City, Carlin dropped out of high school and joined the Air Force. While stationed in Shreveport, Louisiana, he got a job as a ...read more

Mysterious crash in Guadeloupe

On this day in 1962, an Air France Boeing 707 crashes on the island of Guadeloupe, killing all 113 passengers and crew members aboard. This crash was only one of five major accidents involving Boeing 707s during the year. Altogether, the five crashes killed 457 people. The ...read more

Cease-fire established in Angolan civil war

After nearly 15 years of civil war, opposing factions in Angola agree to a cease-fire to end a conflict that had claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. The cease-fire also helped to defuse U.S.-Soviet tensions concerning Angola. Angola was a former Portuguese colony that had ...read more

Lee strikes back at Petersburg

On this day in 1864, Union forces attempt to capture a railroad that had been supplying Petersburg, Virginia, from the south, and extend their lines to the Appomattox River. The Confederates thwarted the attempt, and the two sides settled into trenches for a nine-month siege. The ...read more