Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Today in Naval History
October 17
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1922 - The Vought VE-7SF, piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Virgil C. Griffin, makes the Navy's first carrier takeoff from USS Langley (CV 1), anchored in York River, Va.
On This Day


Sailors from the Union screw steam gunboat Tahoma and side-wheel steamer Adela board the blockade runners Scottish Chief and Kate Dale at Old Tampa Bay, Fla. and destroy them. During the battle, five of the landing party are killed, 10 are wounded and five are taken prisoner. This mission also diverts the real attention from the shelling of Tampa, Fla.


German submarine U-155 torpedoes and sinks the freighter S.S. Lucia in the Atlantic. Despite being rigged with buoyancy boxes to render her virtually unsinkable, a torpedo penetrates the engine room, killing two men and sinking her the next day. USS Fairfax (DD 93) rescues her crew and transfers them to armored cruiser No. 5 USS Huntington.


The Vought VE-7SF, piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Virgil C. Griffin, makes the Navys first carrier takeoff from USS Langley (CV 1), anchored in York River, Va.


Before the United States' entry into World War II, German submarine U-568 torpedoes and damages USS Kearny (DD 432) near Iceland, killing 11 and injuring 22.


USS Trigger (SS 237) sinks the Japanese freighter Holland Maru near the mouth of Bungo Strait off Kyushu, Japan. Lost in action with all hands later in the war, Trigger receives 11 battle stars for her World War II service and the Presidential Unit Citation for her fifth, sixth, and seventh war patrols.


USS Tarpon (SS 175) sinks German auxiliary cruiser Michel (Schiffe No. 28) off Chichi Jima, Bonin Islands.


Naval forces land Army rangers on islands at the entrance to Leyte Gulf in preparation for landing operations on Leyte Island.


Operation Blue Moon—low-level reconnaissance flights over Cuba to help verify Soviet military deployments to that country—becomes operational. VFP-62 initially prepares ten photo variant RF-8A Crusaders with aerial cameras for high-speed, low-level photo missions, and places four of the jets on four-hour alert at NAS Cecil Field, FL, but subsequently shifts the Crusaders to NAS Key West, FL.


Aboard USS America (CV 66), Lt. Cmdr. Barry D. Gabler of VFP-206, the Navy’s last photoreconnaissance squadron, makes the final catapult takeoff and carrier landing of an F-8       Crusader. 


An earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale devastates northern California killing 62 people. HM-15 Detachment 3, HC-1, and HC-11 Detachment conduct lifts of food, water, and relief materials to the heavily damaged areas from ammunition ship Flint (AE 32) and fast combat support ship Kansas City (AOE 3). Amphibious assault ship Peleliu (LHA 5) provides food and shelter to 300 homeless earthquake victims.