Kentucky military history for the month of June

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The crest for Army National Guard units of the Commonwealth of Kentucky includes fifteen stars, a reference to Kentucky being the fifteenth state admitted to the Union.

The following is a compilation of significant dates in our commonwealth’s military history.  For more on the legacy of our Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen, visit the Kentucky National Guard eMuseum.

June 1, 1792 – Kentucky’s Birthday – Kentucky became the 15th state of the United States of America.

June 1, 1942 – Technical Sgt. Johnnie Bottoms, Headquarters Company, 192nd Light Tank Battalion (Harrodsburg Tankers) died at Calauan Camp #3 – Old Bilibid Prison, Rizal Manila Philippines (World War II).

June 1, 1969 – Sgt. Bertram A. “Sonny” Carr, Louisville, Ky., of B Battery 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery was killed near Hamburger Hill. He was originally a member of Service Battery (Vietnam War).

June 2, 1942 – Pvt. Willard Emmal Foster, Headquarters Company, 192nd Light Tank Battalion (Harrodsburg Tankers) died of dysentery at Camp O’Donnell, Capas, Tarlac, Philippines (World War II).

Sgt. Hezakiah Franklin “Heze” Sallee

June 3, 1942 – Battle of Midway began (World War II).

June 6, 1944– D-Day Invasion of Europe (World War II).

June 6, 1944 – Sgt. Hezakiah Franklin “Heze” Sallee of Company D, 192nd Light Tank Battalion (Harrodsburg Tankers) died in coal mining accident at Japanese Prisoner of War Camp Fukuoku-17, Nagasaki, Japan (World War II).

June 6, 1952 – Operation Counter began (Korean War).

John Hunt Morgan

June 8, 1864 – John H. Morgan raided Mt. Sterling, took Lexington, thence to Georgetown and Cynthiana, thence through Flemingsburg and West Liberty into the State of Virginia (Civil War).

June 9, 1969 – Kentucky Air National Guard returned home from its duties during the Pueblo Crisis (Korea) and was released from active duty in ceremonies in Louisville. During the recall period of 17 months the wing flew 19,715 tactical flying hours from a total of 11,561 sorties. The 165th Squadron alone processed 257,200 prints and 284,251 feet of film and flew 4,438 recon sorties totaling 7,192 hours.

June 10, 1951 – Battle for the Punchbowl began (Korean War)

June 10, 1953 – Siege of Outpost Harry began (Korean War)

June 11, 1960 – The Kentucky Air National Guard facility at Standiford Field was dedicated to the honor of a former member of the unit, Capt. John William Shewmaker, killed in Korea Oct. 23, 1951, while flying with the 111th Fighter- Bomber Squadron. Members of the family were guests of the Kentucky Air National Guard for the occasion.

Shewmaker Field dedication ceremony

June 11, 1969 – Staff Sgt. Harold Milton Brown, Mt. Washington, Ky., formerly Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery was killed by rocket fire while in a bunker in Chu Lai while serving with Battery C, 1st Battalion, 82nd Artillery, Americal Division (Vietnam War)

June 13, 1942 – Pvt. Herbert C. Steele of Company D, 192nd Light Tank Battalion (Harrodsburg Tankers) died of dysentery at Camp O’Donnell, Capas, Tarlac, Philippines (World War II)

June 14 – Flag Day.

June 14, 1775 – U.S. Army founded.

June 14, 1920 – Col. Isaac Wilder is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky, by Governor Edwin P. Morrow. Wilder resigned the position two days later.

June 15, 1950 – Governor Clements issues an executive order appointing Brig. Gen. Roscoe L. Murray to the rank of major general conforming to general assembly’s change to KRS 36.030 raising the rank of the adjutant general from brigadier general to major general. This is the first time in the history of the Commonwealth that the adjutant general was granted the rank of major general.

June 16, 1920 – James Madison DeWeese is appointed adjutant general of Kentucky for the second time by Governor Edwin P. Morrow.

June 18, 1812– U.S. Congress declared war against England (War of 1812)

Lt. General Simon B. Buckner Jr.

June 18, 1945 – During action on Okinawa. Lt. General Simon B. Buckner Jr. became the highest ranking American general officer killed in action during WWII. The Kentucky native was the son of CSA General and Kentucky Governor Simon B. Buckner. In 1954 Congress posthumously promoted him to the rank of general (World War II)

Memorial service at Firebase Tomahawk, Vietnam.

June 19, 1969 – C Battery, 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery attacked on Tomahawk Hill by North Vietnamese Army sappers. Other 2nd Battalion batteries at nearby firebases were shelled by the NVA

so that they could provide little or no fire support for C Battery.  Pfc. Joseph R. McIlvoy, Mackville, Ky., Specialist Four Ronald E. Simpson, Bardstown, Ky., Specialist Four David B. Collins, Bardstown, Ky., Sgt. James T. Moore, Bardstown, Ky., 1st Sgt. Luther M. Chappel, Worthville, Ky., were killed in the attack.  When Firebase TOMAHAWK was attacked during the early morning hours in a pouring rain, sappers infiltrated the base and during the attack threw some 150 satchel charges into the bunkers in addition to firing rocket propelled grenades (RPG).  The battle went on some two hours before the NVA were forced to retreat. The attack destroyed an ammunition storage area, four of the six M-109 self-propelled howitzers, nine bunkers, the mess hall, dining tent, maintenance building, four ammunition carriers, three 2 1/2-ton trucks, two 3/4-ton trucks, and three jeeps. The Battery had nine men killed; five of them were from Kentucky and the other four were non-Guard replacements from various, non-Kentucky, locations. The unit also suffered 37 wounded. A platoon of infantrymen from the 101st Airborne Division was providing perimeter security for the firebase and four of the 101st soldiers were killed and another 13 wounded.  Senior Commander in Vietnam, General Creighton Abrams, said the 2nd Battalion 138th Field Artillery, was “one of the best trained, and absolutely the best maintained battalion-sized unit in Vietnam.” (Vietnam War)

June 20, 1792 – Governor Isaac Shelby signs act establishing the Kentucky Militia.

June 21, 1871 – Reunion at Paris, Ky., of 69 soldiers of the War of 1812; their combined ages equal 5,487.

June 21, 1871 – Capt. Thomas S. Theobald, of Frankfort, aged 79, receives a pension certificate as a veteran of the War of 1812, the first issued to a Kentuckian, and entitling him to $8 per month. He was First Lieutenant in Morrill’s company of Kentucky Mounted Rifles.

A modern reenactment of the raid on Martin's Station.

June 22, 1780 – Capture by Capt. Henry Bird and British-Canadian-Indian army, of Ruddle’s and Martin’s Stations, on upper waters of Licking River (Early Indian Wars)

June 22, 1942 – Pledge of Allegiance recognized by Congress.

June 1944 – GI Bill signed into law.

June 24 – Kentucky National Guard Day in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  On this day in 1792 Governor Shelby established how the Kentucky Militia was to be organized.

June 24, 1792 – Kentucky Militia is organized by Governor Shelby.

June 25, 1850 – Construction of Kentucky’s Battle Monument completed in the state cemetery at Frankfort.

Maj. Gen. William O. Butler, of Carroll County, Kentucky, was the son of the state's first adjutant general, Percival Butler.

June 25, 1950 – Korean War began.

June 28, 1914 – World War I began in Europe after Archduke Francis of Austria and wife assassinated.

June 29, 1846 – Appointment by President Polk of William O. Butler, of Carroll County, Kentucky to be major general of volunteers. Butler was the son of Kentucky’s first adjutant general, P.P. Butler.  Butler State Park in Carrollton is named in honor of William O. Butler (Mexican War).

June 29, 1950 – First U.S. ground forces arrive in Korea (Korean War).

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