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Dates in American Naval History: March

March 1

1942 - U-656 becomes the first German submarine of World War II to be sunk by Naval air (VP-82).
1954 - 1st of 6 detonations, Operation Castle nuclear test.

March 2

1859 - Launch of Saginaw at Mare Island, first Navy ship built on West Coast of U.S.
1867 - Birthday of Civil Engineer Corps.
1899 - Act of Congress creates the rank Admiral of the Navy for George Dewey.
1973 - Women begin pilot training to U.S. Navy.

March 3

1776 - First amphibious landing operation. Continental naval squadron under Commodore Esek Hopkins lands Sailors and Marines, commanded by Captain Samuel Nicholas, on New Providence Island in the Bahamas, capturing urgently-needed ordnance and gunpowder.
1871 - Navy Medical Corps established
1883 - Congress authorizes 4 modern ships of steel, "A,B,C, D Ships"; three cruisers, Atlanta, Boston and Chicago, and dispatch boat Dolphin
1915 - Office of Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) established>
1915 - Congress creates Federal Naval Reserve. Under it Naval Reserve Force built up 1960 - USS Sargo return to Hawaii from arctic cruise of 11,000 miles, 6,003 miles under the polar ice

March 4

1911 - Appropriation of first funds for experiments in naval aviation.
1925 - Congress authorizes restoration of USS Constitution.
1947 - Operation Highjump, air operations in Antarctica, ends.
1963 - Navy Hercules aircraft completes 12-day rescue operation of critically ill Danish seaman from Danish freighter off the coast of Antarctic.

March 5

1942 - Name "Seabees" and insignia officially authorized
1943 - USS Bogue begins first anti-submarine operations by escort carrier.
1960 - USS Newport News (CA-148) and personnel from Port Lyautey complete emergency relief operatons at Agadir, Morocco after earthquake on 29 February.

March 6

1822 - USS Enterprise captures four pirate ships in Gulf of Mexico
1862 - USS Monitor departed New York for Hampton Roads, VA
1942 - U.S. Cruisers and destroyers bombard Vila and Munda, Solomon Islands, sinking 2 Japanese destroyers
1945 - First two Navy flight nurses land on an active battlefield (Iwo Jima): Nurse (with relative rank of Ensign) Jane Kendeigh, USNR, and Chief Nurse (with relative rank of Lieutenant j.g.) Emily G. Purvis, USN

March 7

1958 - Commissioning of USS Grayback, first submarine built from keel up with guided missile capability, to fire Regulus II missile.
1960 - USS Kearsarge (CVS-33) rescues 4 Russian soldiers from their landing craft 1,000 miles from Midway Island, which was drifting several weeks after their engine failed off Kamchatka Peninsula.
1966 - Department of Navy reorganized into present structure under CNO
1967 - PBRs assists Operation Overload II in Rung Sat Zone, Vietnam
1968 - Operation Coronado XII begins in Mekong Delta, Vietnam
1994 - Navy issues first orders to women assigned aboard combat ship, USS Eisenhower

March 8

1854 - Commodore Matthew Perry opens treaty negotiations with Japan
1862 - Ironclad ram CSS Virginia destroys USS Cumberland and Congress
1945 - Phyllis Daley becomes first African-American Ensign, Navy Nurse Corps
1958 - Battleship USS Wisconsin (BB-64) is decommissioned, leaving the Navy without an active battleship for the first time since 1895.
1965 - Seventh Fleet lands first major Marine units in South Vietnam at Danang

March 9

1798 - Appointment of first surgeon U.S. Navy, George Balfour
1847 - Commodore David Connor leads successful amphibious assault near Vera Cruz, Mexico
1862 - First battle between ironclads, USS Monitor and CSS Virginia
1914 - Test of wind tunnel at Washington Navy Yard

March 10

1783 - USS Alliance (CAPT John Barry) defeats HMS Sybil in final naval action of Revolution in West Indies waters
1933 - Pacific Fleet provides assistance after earthquake at Long Beach, CA
1945 - Navy and civilian nurses interned at Los Banos, Philippines flown back to U.S. Navy nurses awarded Bronze Star.
1948 - First use of jets assigned to operational squadron (VF-5A) on board a carrier (Boxer)

March 11

1935 - Birth of Naval Security Group when OP-20G became the Communications Security Group
1941 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Lend-Lease Act
1942 - In a PT boat, LCDR John Bulkeley leaves the Philippines to take General Douglas MacArthur to Australia
1945 - Use of first Navy landing craft to cross Rhine River at Bad Neuenahr
1965 - Market Time patrols begin off South Vietnam coast

March 12

1917 - All American merchant ships to be armed in war zones
1942 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt designates Admiral Ernest J. King to serve as the Chief of Naval Operations, as well as the Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet to which he was appointed on 30 December 1941.
1956 - In first overseas deployment of Navy missile squadron, VA-83 left on USS Intrepid

March 13

1895 - Award of first submarine building contract to John P. Holland Torpedo Boat Co.
1917 - Armed merchant ships authorized to take action against U-boats.
1959 - Naval Research Laboratory takes first ultraviolet pictures of sun.
1963 - USS Albany (CG-10) and aircraft from Navy Airborne Early Warning Squadron Four from Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico aid five ill crewmembers of Norwegian freighter Jotunfjell.

March 14

1863 - RADM Farragut's squadron of 7 ships forces way up Mississippi River to support Union troops at Vicksburg and Baton Rouge
1929 - NAS Pensacola aircraft make 113 flights for flood rescue and relief

March 15

1943 - Numbered fleet system established
1947 - Ensign John W. Lee becomes first African American officer commissioned in regular Navy. He was assigned to USS Kearsage.
1957 - Airship ZPG-2 lands NAS Key West after 11 day non-stop flight across the Atlantic
1966 - Establishment of River Squadron Five in Vietnam

March 16

1911 - Hulk of USS Maine sunk at sea in deep water with full military honors.
1945 - Iwo Jima declared secure.
1966 - Launch of Gemini 8. Former naval aviator Neil Armstrong flew on this mission which completed 7 orbits in 10 hours and 41 minutes at an altitude of 161.3 nautical miles. Recovery was by USS Leonard F. Mason (DD-852).

March 17

1898 - USS Holland, first practical submarine, launched
1942 - United States Naval Forces Europe established to plan joint operations with British
1958 - Navy Vanguard rocket launches 3.25 pound sphere from Cape Canaveral
1959 - USS Skate (SSN-578) surfaces at North Pole

March 18

1945 - Carriers begin 3 month Okinawa Campaign by destroying aircraft on Kyushu, Japan
1974 - Navy sent to sweep mines from Suez Canal

March 19

1898 - USS Oregon departs San Francisco for 14,000 mile trip around South America to join U.S. Squadron off Cuba
1917 - Navy Department authorizes enrollment of women in Naval Reserve with ratings of yeoman, radio electrician, or other essential ratings.
1942 - SecNav gave Civil Engineering Corps command of Seabees
2003 - Operation Iraqi Freedom begins with Tomahawk strikes from Navy ships and submarines.

March 20

1833 - CDR Geisinger of Peacock negotiates first commercial treaty with King of Siam
1922 -USS Jupiter recommissioned as Langley, Navy's first aircraft carrier
1939 - Naval Research Lab recommends financing research program to obtain power from uranium.
2003 - U.S. began Operation Iraqi Freedom by launching cruise missiles from Navy ships in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf.

March 21

1917 - Loretta Walsh becomes first woman Navy petty officer when sworn in as Chief Yeoman.
1919 - Navy installs and tests Sperry gyrocompass, in first instance of test of aircraft gyrocompass
1945 - Bureau of Aeronautics initiates rocket-powered surface-to-air guided missile development by awarding contract to Fairchild

March 22

1820 - Commodore Stephen Decatur dies after duel with Capt. James Barron
1915 - "Naval Aviator" replaces former "Navy Air Pilot" for officers qualified as aviators
1929 - Navy ships protect Americans and their property during Mexican revolution
1946 - USS Missouri departs U.S. to return body of deceased Turkish ambassador to the U.S. back to Turkey for burial. Missouri arrived in Istanbul on 5 April.

March 23

1815 - USS Hornet captures HMS Penguin in battle lasting 22 minutes
1882 - SECNAV Hunt issues General Order No. 292 creating Office of Naval Intelligence.
1945 - Carriers begin pre-assault strikes on Okinawa, kamikaze attacks follow
1958 - First launching of simulated Polaris missile from submerged tactical launcher facility off CA.
1965 - LCDR John W. Young, USN, Pilot of Gemini 3 completed 3 orbits in 4 hours., 53 minutes at an altitude of 224 km. Recovery was by helicopters from USS Intrepid (CVS-11).

March 24

1903 - George Dewey commissioned Admiral of the Navy with the date of rank, 2 March 1899. He was the only person to hold this rank.

March 25

1813 - USS Essex takes Neryeda, first capture by U.S. Navy in Pacific
1898 - Assist. SECNAV Theodore Roosevelt proposes Navy investigate military application of Samuel Langley's flying machine, beginning naval aviation

March 26

1942 - ADM King becomes both Chief of Naval Operations and Commander, U.S. Fleet
1943 - Battle of Komandorski Islands, prevents Japanese reinforcements from reaching Attu
1966 - Operation Jackstay in Navy's first amphibious assault in Vietnam's inland waters
1968 - Operation Bold Dragon III began in Mekong Delta

March 27

1794 - Congress authorizes construction of 6 frigates, including Constitution
1799 - USS Constitution recaptures American sloop Neutrality from France
1880 - USS Constellation departs New York with food for famine victims in Ireland

March 28

1800 - Essex becomes first U.S. Navy vessel to pass Cape of Good Hope
1814 - HMS Phoebe and Cherub capture USS Essex off Valparaiso, Chile. Before capture, Essex had captured 24 British prizes during the War of 1812.
1848 - USS Supply reaches the Bay of Acre, anchoring under Mount Carmel near the village of Haifa, during expedition to explore the Dead Sea and the River Jordan.

March 29

1954 - Carrier aircraft began reconnaissance near Dien Bien Phu, Indochina
1960 - Launch of first fully integrated Fleet Ballistic Missile from USS Observation Island
1973 - Naval Advisory Group and Naval forces, Vietnam disestablished and last U.S. prisoners of war left Vietnam.
1975 - Evacuation of Danang by sea began

March 30

1944 - First use of torpedo squadrons from carriers to drop aerial mines (Palau Harbor)
1972 - Easter Offensive began in Vietnam

March 31

1854 - Commodore Matthew Perry negotiates Treaty of Kanagawa to open trade between U.S. and Japan
1971 - Poseidon (C-3) missile becomes operational when USS James Madison began her 3rd patrol carrying 16 tactical Poseidon missiles.
1992 - USS Missouri (BB-63), the last active American battleship is decommissioned.


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23 September 2005