Year
1966

Operation Masher/White Wing/Thang Phong II launched

In the largest search-and-destroy operation to date–Operation Masher/White Wing/Thang Phong II–the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), South Vietnamese, and Korean forces ssweep through Binh Dinh Province in the central lowlands along the coast.

The purpose of the operation was to drive the North Vietnamese out of the province and destroy enemy supply areas. In late January, it became the first large unit operation conducted across corps boundaries when the cavalrymen linked up with Double Eagle, a U.S. Marine Corps operation intended to destroy the North Vietnamese 325A Division. Altogether, there were reported enemy casualties of 2,389 by the time the operation ended.

Also on this day: Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, in a memorandum to President Johnson, recommends raising the number of U.S. troops in Vietnam to more than 400,000 by the end of the year. However, he warned that planned deployments and increased bombing would not ensure military success. Ultimately, McNamara was correct and the war raged on even as total U.S. troop strength in country went over 500,000 soldiers in 1969.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Winston Churchill dies

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, the British leader who guided Great Britain and the Allies through the crisis of World War II, dies in London at the age of 90. Born at Blenheim Palace in 1874, Churchill joined the British Fourth Hussars upon his father’s death in 1895. ...read more

Japanese soldier found hiding on Guam

After 28 years of hiding in the jungles of Guam, local farmers discover Shoichi Yokoi, a Japanese sergeant who was unaware that World War II had ended. Guam, a 200-square-mile island in the western Pacific, became a U.S. possession in 1898 after the Spanish-American War. In 1941, ...read more

First canned beer goes on sale

Canned beer makes its debut on this day in 1935. In partnership with the American Can Company, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company delivered 2,000 cans of Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale to faithful Krueger drinkers in Richmond, Virginia. Ninety-one percent of the ...read more

Von Paulus to Hitler: Let us surrender!

On this day, German Gen. Friedrich von Paulus, commander in chief of the German 6th Army at Stalingrad, urgently requests permission from Adolf Hitler to surrender his position there, but Hitler refuses. The Battle of Stalingrad began in the summer of 1942, as German forces ...read more

Truce is expected in Laos and Cambodia

National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger announces that a truce is expected in Laos and Cambodia. Kissinger had been meeting privately with Le Duc Tho and other North Vietnamese and Viet Cong representatives in Paris since early January. They had worked out a peace agreement ...read more

Mike Bossy scores 50th goal in 50 NHL games

On January 24, 1981, Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders scores his 50th goal in the first 50 games of the season, becoming only the second player in National Hockey League (NHL) history to achieve this mark. Born in Montreal, Quebec, Bossy made his NHL debut with the Islanders ...read more

Nixon honors Eugene Ormandy

On this day in 1970, President Richard Nixon travels to Philadelphia to present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Eugene Ormandy, the world-renowned conductor and music director of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. In keeping with tradition, the orchestra struck up Hail to ...read more

Gold discovered at Sutter’s Creek

A millwright named James Marshall discovers gold along the banks of Sutter’s Creek in California, forever changing the course of history in the American West. A tributary to the South Fork of the American River in the Sacramento Valley east of San Francisco, Sutter’s Creek was ...read more

Chile suffers killer quake

An 8.3-magnitude earthquake centered in south central Chile leaves 50,000 people dead and 60,000 injured on this day in 1939. The disaster came just 33 years after another terrible quake in Chile killed tens of thousands. Earthquakes in Chile are relatively common as virtually ...read more

Emmett Till murderers make magazine confession

On January 24, 1956, Look magazine publishes the confessions of J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, two white men from Mississippi who were acquitted in the 1955 kidnapping and murder of Emmett Louis Till, an African-American teenager from Chicago. In the Look article, titled “The ...read more