DECEMBER IN USARPAC HISTORY




1 - 1941 - World War II - Japanese Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo tells Saboru Nomura to continue the U.S. negotiations "to prevent the U.S. from becoming unduly suspicious."

More: The same day, the Japanese fleet code changed for the second time in one month-an unprecedented event.

1 - 1942 - World War II - LTG Robert L. Eichelberger takes command of all American troops in the Buna area.

More: He has been personally charged by GEN Douglas MacArthur with reenergizing the faltering U.S. effort at Buna. MacArthur's order to him was direct and brutal: "Take Buna, Bob, or don't come back alive." After visiting the front, Eichelberger relieves the 32nd Infantry Division commander on December 2 and replaces him with Brig. Gen. Albert Waldron.

1 - 1950 - Korean War - The survivors of a regimental-sized Army task force east of the Chosen Reservoir make their way to the Marine positions at Hagaru, at the south end of the reservoir.

More: Like their comrades on the western side of North Korea, the soldiers and Marines of X Corps in eastern North Korean came under massive Chinese attack on November 27. The 7th Infantry Division task force east of Chosen is almost wiped out. The task force commander is captured. His replacement, Lt. Col. Don Faith, struggles to get the remainder of the task force back to safety. He dies of wounds received along the way (he is later posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.). The remnants of Task Force Faith join other Army units in the 1st Marine Division's epic "advance in another direction" and fight their way through seven Chinese divisions to reach safety at Hungnam on the North Korean coast.

1 - 1968 - Vietnam War - Operation SPEEDY EXPRESS begins in the Mekong Delta by the 9th Infantry Division.

More: The 9th Infantry Division committed seven battalions to this search and destroy operation which was a sub-operation of QUYET THANG. It was charged with the security of the Dong Tam area and claimed 10,899 known enemy casualties versus 40 U.S. Killed in Action and 312 Wounded in Action.

2 - 1941 - World War II - Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto signals Vice Admiral Nagumo's fleet with a "Climb Mount Nitaka" code -- that is, to proceed with an attack on Pearl Harbor.

More: The fleet is refueled by December 3 and is halfway to Hawaii. The same day, the new American decryption device, Magic, translates the Japanese Foreign Minister's Togo's "boomerang" message to destroy all codes. The Army G2's Rufus Bratton wants to have a war warning issued but Army Chief of Staff GEN George Marshall says no.

2 - 1954 - Korean War - The US and the Republic of China (Taiwan) sign a mutual defense treaty.

4 - 1941 - World War II - Quote of the Day: "No matter what happens, the U.S. Navy is not going to be caught napping." -Frank Knox (U.S. Secretary of the Navy)

More: In the Pacific, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, under the command of Rear Admiral William "Bull" Halsey, delivers Marine aircraft to Wake Island. Upon completing this mission, the carrier heads back to Pearl Harbor, with an anticipated date of arrival on December 7th.

5 - 1941 - World War II - Japan assures the United States that her troop movements in French Indochina are only precautionary.

More: In the Pacific, Rear Admiral Husband Kimmel, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, sends the USS Lexington with a task force under Rear Admiral Newton to deliver 25 scout bombers to Midway Island.

5 - 1942 - World War II - Brig. Gen. Clovis E. Byers, I Corps chief of staff, replaces the 32nd Infantry Division commander at Buna, New Guinea, after the latter is wounded.

6 - 1941 - World War II - During the afternoon, Mrs. Dorothy Edgers, a research analyst and Japanese translator at the Office of Naval Intelligence translates deferred Magic intercepts that cause her great concern.

More: Her boss, Commander Alwin Kramer tells her to "go home." The same day, President Roosevelt sends a last-resort letter to Japanese Emperor Hirohito. At 9:30 pm, the President reads a 13-part 900-series intercept: "this means war." In the Pacific, Vice Admiral Halsey's TF-8 aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise is slated to reach Pearl today. However, heavy weather on the 5th delayed refueling and push back the time of arrival in Pearl to the morning of the 7th.

7 - World War II - 1941 - Japanese carrier-based horizontal bombers, dive bombers, torpedo bombers, and fighters launch a surprise attack

More: Targeting ships of the United States Pacific Fleet and military installations at Pearl harbor as well as other places on Oahu. Midway Island is bombarded by two Japanese destroyers. President orders mobilization. Japanese declaration of war reaches Washington, D.C.

10 a.m., Dec. 7 - President Roosevelt reads the 14th message that does not declare war nor sever relations, but concludes "it is impossible to reach an agreement through further negotiations." 

11 a.m., Dec. 7 - The President reads a 15th message setting 1 p.m. delivery time for a 14-part message to Secretary of State Cordell Hull - but there is still no indication of where Japanese attack will take place.

11:30 a.m., Dec. 7 - Army Chief of Staff, Gen. George Marshall orders that a "be on the alert" warning be sent to all Pacific bases, but does not use a scrambler telephone or define nature of the alert.

6:00 a.m. (PHT) - The first wave of Japanese planes take off from aircraft carriers 230 miles away from Oahu.

6:30 a.m. (PHT) = 11:30 a.m. (EST) - A Navy Catalina PBY reconnaissance plane spots a Japanese Midget submarine trying to enter Pearl Harbor and tells the destroyer USS Ward. The first gun is fired at 6:45, 2nd sub believed sunk by 7:00 a.m. Naval duty officers are slow to inform Rear Admiral Husband Kimmel, the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, about incident.

7:02 a.m. (PHT) - At the Opana Radar Station, close to Oahu's North Shore, Privates Joseph Lockhard and George Elliott pick up the Japanese planes now 132 miles to the northeast. They report the incident to higher headquarters at Fort Shafter.

7:20 a.m. - Lt. Kermit Tyler, on duty at the Command Information Center at Fort Shafter, dismisses the radar sightings as B-17 bombers are due to arrive that day from California. 

7:25 a.m. - Rear Admiral Kimmel informed of Ward's attack on sub, but no action taken

7:33 a.m. - GEN Marshall's warning message received at the Western Union office in Honolulu.

7:49 a.m. - Captain Mitsuo Fuchida, leader of the first wave attack, radios his planes to attack with "To To To" code for "charge."

7:53 a.m. - Captain Fuchida prematurely radios "Tora Tora Tora" code ("tiger") that the surprise attack on Pearl was successful.

7:55 a.m. - 1st wave of 183 Japanese planes led by Fuchida attack Pearl from NW

9:00 a.m. - 2nd wave of 167 Japanese planes led by Shimazaki attack Pearl from NE

9:45 a.m.
- of 96 ships in harbor, 18 sunk (Arizona, Oklahoma) or seriously damaged
- Of 394 aircraft at Hickam, Wheeler, Bellows airfields, 188 are destroyed and 159 are damaged
- 2403 U.S. military killed (1102 on the USS Arizona) and 1178 wounded
- Japanese losses are 29 aircraft and five midget submarines.

7 - 1969 - Vietnam War - In the I Corps region, the 101st Airborne Division launches Operation RANDOLPH GLEN.

More: The 101st, in conjunction with the 1st Army of Vietnam Division, provides a shield of security on the periphery of the populated lowlands of Thua Thien Province and claims 670 known enemy casualties.

8 - 1941 - World War II - United States declares war on Japan.

More: Japanese aircraft in widely scattered operations bomb Guam, Wake, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippine Islands. In the Philippines, Japanese forces land on Bataan Island, north of Luzon, and on east coast of Malay Peninsula. The Japanese catch most of the Army aircraft on the ground in the Philippines. This and subsequent attacks virtually destroy American airpower there.

8 - 1967 - Vietnam War - The 25th Infantry Division begins Operation YELLOWSTONE in War Zone C.

More: The large-scale operation occurred in Tay Ninh Province, near the Cambodian border and claimed 1,254 known enemy casualties.

8 - 1970 - Vietnam War - The 25th Infantry Division (less the 2nd Brigade) begins to re-deploy back to Hawaii from Vietnam.

9 - 1941 - World War II - The Japanese occupy Bangkok, Thailand.

More: The same day, they land forces on Tarawa and Makin in the Gilbert Islands. China declares war on Japan, Germany, and Italy.

9 - 1942 - World War II -The Americal Division relieves the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal. 

10 - 1941 - World War II - Guam surrenders to Japanese landing force. Gen. Homma landed 43,000 Japanese troops in N. and W. Luzon, the Philippines

11 - 1941 - World War II - U.S. Marines on Wake Island repulse Japanese landing attempt and sink two enemy destroyers. 


11 - 1969 - Vietnam War - The 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division departs Vietnam.

More: The brigade had been rushed to the Republic of Vietnam in February, 1968, in reaction to the Tet Offensive.

11 - 1941 - World War II - In the Philippines, the Japanese land a task force of 2,500 at Legaspi, southern Luzon.

More: Following the December 7th Japanese attack on Oahu, the Hawaiian Department commanding general, Lt. Gen. Walter Short is replaced by Lt. Gen. Delos C. Emmons. Also relieved at this time are the Pacific Fleet commander and the commander of the Army Air Force in Hawaii. Permission is given on December 15 for the few remaining Army B-17s in the Philippines to withdraw to Darwin, Australia.

15 - 1943 - World War II - U.S. Army troops are landed on Arawe Peninsula in New Britain.

More: In the Solomon Islands, XIV Corps assumes responsibility for the Bougainville Campaign.

15 - 1944 - World War II - The 7th Infantry Division lands on the southwest coast of Mindoro Island, Philippines.

17 - 1942 - World War II - The 35th Infantry Regiment of the 25th Infantry Division lands on Guadalcanal.

19 - 1899 - Philippine Insurrection - Maj. Gen. Henry W. Lawton is killed in action at San Mateo on Luzon.

More: Lawton had enlisted in an Indiana regiment during the Civil War and fought at Shiloh, Stones River, Chickamauga and Atlanta. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions at Atlanta. Commissioned in the Regular Army after the Civil War, he fought in numerous campaigns against the Indians, helping to capture Geronimo in 1886. He commanded a division in Cuba in 1898 and then was ordered to the Philippines in 1899, where he was one of the most aggressive of the American commanders. He is killed by enemy fire as he walks down the firing line of his troops. He is the highest ranking officer to be killed in the Philippine Insurrection.

19 - 1967 - Vietnam War - The Americal Division commences Operation MUSCATINE in the I Corps region.

20 - 1941 - World War II - The Japanese invade Mindanao in the southern Philippines.


21 - 1941 - World War II - Naval local defense forces in Philippine Islands move their headquarters to Corregidor.

More: Meanwhile, the Japanese make landings in Lingayen Gulf area, Philippines.

21 - 1950 - Korean War - The 3rd and 7th Infantry Divisions evacuate from Hungnam, North Korea. 

23 - 1941 - World War II - Wake Island, which had been subjected to prolonged enemy bombing, surrenders to the Japanese invasion force.

More: Midway is the only remaining American base between Hawaii and the Philippines. In the Philippines, an additional 7,000 Japanese troops land at Lamon Bay, southern Luzon. That same day, GEN Douglas MacArthur decides to evacuate Manila and withdraw his forces to Bataan. The move will involve 80,000 troops and 26,000 civilians. Due to food shortages, the force is cut to 1/2 rations.

23 - 1943 - World War II - The Americal Division lands on Bougainville.

23 - 1950 - Korean War - LTG Walton Walker, commanding general of the Eighth U.S. Army, is killed in a motor vehicle accident. He is immediately replaced by LTG Matthew B. Ridgway. 

23 - 1965 - Vietnam War - The first elements of the 25th Infantry Division arrive in Vietnam from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.


24 - 1941 - World War II - In the Philippines, GEN Douglas MacArthur moves his HQ, U.S. Army Forces Far East, to Corregidor,

More: while Gen. Jonathan Wainwright's North Luzon Force on Bataan employs five defense lines -- a "defense in depth." Gen. George Parker commands the South Luzon Force. Japanese land at Lamon Bay, Luzon, Philippines.

24 - 1942 - World War II - On Guadalcanal, the 3rd Battalion, 132nd Infantry, Americal Division, is stopped short of its objective (Hill 27 in the Mount Austen area) by fire from the Gifu strongpoint.

More: The Gifu position consists of fixed defenses and interconnecting pillboxes and is held by some 500 Japanese. It is not until January 23, 1943, that the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, eliminates final enemy resistance at the Gifu.

24 - 1943 - World War II - The 158th Regimental Combat Team lands on New Britain. 

24 - 1950 - Korean War - The final elements of X Corps withdraw from the North Korean port city of Hungnam. The docks are blown up behind them.

25 - 1941 - World War II - The British surrender Hong Kong. Japanese troops land at Jolo, Philippines.


25 - 1942 - World War II - While their comrades battle on Guadalcanal, there is no break for Christmas for the men of the 32nd Infantry Division as they struggle to capture the Japanese position at Buna.

More: Companies A and F of the 127th Infantry Regiment succeed in reaching a line of coconut trees near the coast at Buna Mission on Christmas Day. They dig in and repel counterattacks.

25 - 1944 - World War II - In the Philippines, the Eighth U.S. Army relieves the Sixth Army of responsibility for the Leyte-Samar and freeing Sixth Army for the invasion of Luzon.

More: That same day, the 1st Battalion (Reinforced), 305th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division, makes an amphibious landing north of Palompon on the northwest coast of Leyte and then seizes Palompon.

25 - 1950 - Korean War - The Communist Chinese Forces are stopped at the 38th Parallel. The UN sought armistice but not MacArthur who urged all-out war against China

26 - 1941 - World War II - Manila, Philippines, is declared an open city but enemy bombing continues.

More: The North Luzon Force under Maj. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright and South Luzon Force under Brig. Gen. Albert Jones fight delaying actions against the advancing Japanese in order to allow American and Filipino forces to fall back to Bataan.

26 - 1943 - World War II - 1st Marine Division is landed at Cape Gloucester, New Britain.

27 - 1942 - World War II - The 163rd Infantry Regiment of the 41st Infantry Division arrives in New Guinea from Australia. .

29 - 1941 - World War II - Corregidor is bombed by Japanese planes for the first time.


30 - 1899 - Ka'akaukukui Reef Military Reservation is established at Honolulu.

More: In 1909, the fort is renamed Fort Armstrong. Battery Tiernon is located here from 1911 until 1943. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers eventually takes control of the fort in 1949. The area is located on the site of Kakaako Waterfront Park on Mamala Bay near Ahui and Ohe Streets, Honolulu.

31 - 1899 - Philippine Insurrection - Since September to this date, U.S. forces (primarily the Army) in the Philippines have fought in 299 engagements. U.S. casualties are 69 Killed in Action and 302 Wounded in Action.

31 - 1900 - Philippine Insurrection - The U.S. Army in the Philippines reaches its peak strength in the Philippines.

More: There are 69,420 soldiers at 502 garrisons on this date. This was almost three times the size of the entire Regular U.S. Army at the beginning of the Spanish-American War in 1898.

31 - 1941 - World War II - The evacuation of Manila is completed and the Japanese occupation force moves into the Philippine capital two days later. That same day, daily air attacks on Corregidor commence. 

31 - 1950 - Korean War - Chinese forces cross the 38th parallel into South Korea. 

31 - 1974 - USARPAC is inactivated and Eighth Army and U.S. Army, Japan become major commands.

 


USARPAC MISSION

USARPAC postures and prepares the force for unified land operations, responds to threats, sustains and protects the force, and builds military relationships that develop partner defense capacity in order to contribute to a stable and secure U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility.

COMMANDING GENERAL


General Vincent K. Brooks Commanding General

General
Vincent K. Brooks

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