Kentucky military history for the month of December

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

A Kentucky Army National Guard M1917 tank is used to destroy moonshine stills during the Newport Rolling Mills Strike, December 1921.

December 1, 2009 – Pfc. Alva Lorenzy Holland, of Bellevue, Ky. (Campbell County) was on active duty status when he was killed in a motorcycle accident.  Holland was en route to 149th Vertical Engineer Construction Company of Cynthiana when the accident occurred. Holland was a medical assistant at a chiropractic center in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was a 2004 graduate of Bellevue High School. Holland was a medic in the Kentucky National Guard’s 149th Vertical Engineer Construction Company.  Holland volunteered for an active duty deployment in February, 2010 with the 2123rdTransportation Company.

Pfc. Alva Lorenzy Holland

December 6, 1776 – Kentucky County established by Virginia, out of part of Fincastle County.

December 7 – National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, observed in remembrance of the December 7, 1941 attack.

December 7, 1971 – Richard L. Frymire is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Wendell H. Ford.  He would be re-appointed by Gov. Julian Carroll.  Frymire, the former commander of the 165th Rac. Recon. Sq. became the first member of the Kentucky Air National Guard to serve as Adjutant General of Kentucky.

December 7, 1987 – Michael Walker Davidson is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Wallace G. Wilkinson.

 December 8, 1941 – The United States declared war on Japan (World War II)

 December 8, 1941 – Initial Japanese attack on the Philippine Islands.  Co. D, 192nd Tank Battalion (aka “The Harrodsburg Tankers”), come under attack. (World War II)

 December 8, 1959 – Arthur Young Lloyd is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Bert T. Combs and re-appointed by Gov. Edward T. Breathitt.

December 8, 1977 – Billy Gene Wellman is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Julian M. Carroll.  He would be re-appointed to the position by Govs. John Y. Brown, and Martha Layne Collins.

 December 9, 1947 – Roscoe Lee Murray is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Earle C. Clements and re-appointed by Gov. Lawrence W. Wetherby.

December 9, 1990 – 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery federally activated for Operation Desert Shield/Storm.

Adjutant General Donald C. Storm

December 9, 2003 Donald C. Storm is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Ernest Fletcher.

December 10, 1829 Peter Dudley is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Thomas Metcalf.  Dudley would be re-appointed to the position by Governors John Breathitt, James T. Morehead, James Clark, Charles A. Wicklife, Robert P. Letcher, William Owsley, John J. Crittenden, and John L. Helm.

December 10, 1895 – Daniel Ray Collier receives his first appointment as Adjutant General of Kentucky from Gov. William O. Bradley.  He received a second appointment on November 1, 1898, from Gov. William S. Taylor. Collier was re-appointed Adjutant General under Gov. William S. Taylor on December 13, 1899, following the contested governor’s election, and  continued to hold office simultaneously with John B. Castleman from February 3, 1900 while the two candidates disputed the issues in the courts. Collier remained in office in the Old Capitol, serving under Taylor, until May 22, 1900, at which time he yielded the office to General Castleman in compliance with a U.S. Supreme Court order.

 December 10, 1903 – William Purcell Dennis (Percy) Haly is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. J.C.W. Beckham.

December 10, 1939 – John Arthur Polin is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Keen Johnson.

December 10, 1950 – Wonsan-Hungnam Campaign ended (Korean War)

December 10, 1991 – Robert Louis DeZarn is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Brereton C. Jones.

 December 11, 1923 – Jouett Henry Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. William J. Fields.

December 11, 1935 – George Lee McClain is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Albert B. (Happy) Chandler.

 December 11, 1941 – The United States declared war on Germany and Italy (World War II)

 December 11, 1951 – Jesse Scott Lindsay is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Lawrence W. Wetherby.

Adjutant General
Edward W. Tonini

December 11, 2006 – Staff Sgt. Thomas W. Clemons, Falls of Rough, (Grayson County) Ky., died as he was preparing to go on patrol with his team near Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq, when he succumbed to a heart attack.  A member of the Kentucky Army Guard since August 2000, Clemons deployed in March 2006 to Iraq with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 123rdArmor.

 December 11, 2007 Edward W. Tonini is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Steve Beshear.

 December 12, 1967 – Allan Kenneth Carrell is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Louie B. Nunn.

 December 12, 1985 – Gander, Newfoundland Crash.

Adjutant General John R. Groves Jr.

 December 12, 1995 – John Russell Groves, Jr. is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Paul E. Patton.

 December 13, 1907 – Philip Preston Johnston is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Augustus E. Wilson.

December 13, 1955 – John Jacob Bethurum Williams is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Albert B. Chandler.

 December 14, 1927 – William Henry Jones, Jr. is appointed Adjutant General of Kentucky by Gov. Flem D. Sampson and re-appointed to the position by Gov. Ruby Laffoon.

Pvt. Willard R. Yeast, Company D, 192nd Light Tank Battalion

December 14, 1944 – Staff Sgt Joseph Baxter Million, and Pvt. Willard R. Yeast, both of Company D, 192nd Light Tank Battalion (aka “The Harrodsburg Tankers”) died when they were burned to death during the Palawan Island Massacre (World War II)

 December 14, 2002 – Carrollton National Guard Armory named in honor of Robert “Goose” Caldwell.

 December 16, 1944 – Battle of the Bulge began (World War II)

December 16, 1951 – 1st Lt. Lawrence Bertrand Kelly of Louisville (Jefferson County) died in Korea while serving on active duty flying an F-80 with the 80th Fighter Bomber Squadron, 8th FTR Bomb Group. He was declared missing on this date and his status was changed from MIA to KIA on December 31, 1953. Prior to his active service he was a member of the Kentucky Air National Guard (Korean War).

 December 17, 1861 – Battle of Rowletts Station (Hart County) (Civil War)

A Kentucky Army National Guard M1917 tank patrols a local neighborhood during the Newport Rolling Mills Strike, December 1921

December 17, 1989 – Operation Just Cause (Panama).

December 17-18, 1812– Battle of Mississinewa (near Marion, In.) (War of 1812)

December 18, 1972 – Operation Linebacker II (Christmas Bombing) (Vietnam War)

December 20, 1919 – James Madison DeWeese receives his first appointment as Adjutant General of Kentucky, his second appointment is June 16, 1920, by appointments made by Gov. Edwin P. Morrow.

December 22, 1921 – Newport Rolling Mills Strike Duty – The Kentucky National Guard under command of Col. Henry H. Denhardt, who later became Adjutant General, ordered by Gov. Edwin P. Morrow to quiet rioting and wide-spread violence. The first troops arrived on the morning of December 24th to sound of gunfire. The strike continued into 1922.

Pvt. Robert H. Brooks

December 22, 1921– Cpl. Edward Vivion Trisler, of Company D, 192nd Light Tank Battalion died on 23 December 1942 at Camp Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, Philippines of dysentery.

December 23, 1941 – The main parade grounds at Fort Knox named Brooks Field in honor of Private Robert H. Brooks of Sadieville, first Armored Force casualty of World War II, killed in the Philippines while serving with Co. D, 192nd Tank Battalion (World War II)

December 24, 1921 – Pvt. Robert Deaton, a member of Company G, 149th Infantry, Barbourville, Ky., was accidentally killed at the corner of Powell and Brighton streets in Covington, while on state active duty during steel strikes at Newport. While he and Sgt. Charles Black were on duty, Sgt. Black became suddenly ill and about to fall, in recovering his balance his right arm knocked Deaton’s revolver from his holster. The revolver fell to the street discharging the cartridge. The bullet struck the right side of Deaton’s neck. He was rushed to the hospital but bled to death on the way. Col. H. H. Denhardt, commanding the troops made an investigation and pronounced the death accidental. Denhardt would later serve as Adjutant General.

The memorial marker at Brooks Field, Fort Knox, Ky.

December 24, 1964 – USAF began strikes on Laos (Vietnam War)

December 25, 1846 – Gen. Alexander W. Doniphan (formerly of Mason County, Ky.) defeats the Mexicans at Bracito (Mexican-American War)

December 27, 1860 – Major Robert Anderson (of Kentucky), U.S. Army, in command in Charleston harbor, burns the inside of Fort Moultrie, spikes the guns, and retires, with his band of 80 men, to Fort Sumter.

December 29, 1776 – McClellan’s fort (Georgetown) attacked by Indians (Early Indian Wars)

December 31, 1946 – Official end of World War II

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