Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Today in Naval History
October 21
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1797 - The frigate Constitution launches at Edmund Hartt's Shipyard, Boston, Mass. The ship is now the oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy.
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1797

The frigate Constitution launches at Edmund Hartt's Shipyard, Boston, Mass. The ship is now the oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy.

1862

The Cairo class ironclad river gunboat Louisville, under the command of Lt. Cmdr. R.W. Meade III, escorts the steamer Meteor, whose embarked Army troops landed at Bledsoes Landing and Hamblins Landing, Ark. The towns are burned in reprisal for attacks by Confederate guerrillas on mail steamer Gladiator early in the morning of Oct. 19.

1864

The wooden side-wheel cruiser Fort Jackson captures steamer Wando at sea, east of Cape Romain, S.C., with cargo of cotton.

1942

The British submarine HMS Seraph lands Navy Capt. Jerauld Wright and four Army officers including Maj. Gen. Mark Clark at Cherchel, French North Africa to meet with a French military delegation to assess French attitude towards future Allied landings (Operation Torch). Eventually, the French agreed to the mission.

1942

USS Guardfish (SS 217) sinks Japanese freighter Nichiho Maru about 120 miles north-northeast of Formosa while USS Gudgeon (SS 211) attacks a Japanese convoy in the Bismarck Sea and sinks the transport Choko Maru.

1952

USS Lewis (DE 535) aids two Korean minesweepers under fire at Wonson Harbor. As she approaches, at least four enemy batteries open up on the destroyer escort. Lewis returns fire and lays down a smoke screen to cover the minesweepers retreat. Shortly thereafter the destroyer escort takes two 75mm shell hits, killing six crewmen outright and mortally wounding a seventh. The second hit explodes on the main deck, port side, lightly wounding one sailor.

1989

Los Angeles-class submarine USS Topeka (SSN 754) is commissioned at Groton, CT

1995

USS Stethem (DDG 63) is commissioned at Port Hueneme, Calif., and named in honor of Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient, Robert Dean Stethem. She is the 13th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the U.S. Navy.

2017

Expeditionary Sea Base USNS Hershel "Woody" Williams (ESB 4) is put into service during a christening ceremony at General Dynamics NASSCO, San Diego.