Kentucky military history for the month of July

This July we proudly celebrate Independence Day and our Nation’s 236th birthday.  This year, we commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812, our “second revolutionary war”.  And we continue to honor Kentucky’s military history each month with important dates and events that have helped shape our Commonwealth and our country.

George Rogers Clark and the capture of Kaskaskia, July 4, 1778.

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.

July 1, 1942 – Tech. Sgt. Berchell Keeling, Company D, 192nd Light Tank Battalion (Harrodsburg Tankers) died at Camp Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, Philippines of dysentery (World War II)

July 01, 1945 – Borneo campaign ended unopposed (World War II)

July 01, 1970 – Siege of Fire Base Ripcord began (Vietnam War)

July 01, 1955 – Units of Kentucky Air National Guard were redesignated as fighter-interceptor outfits.

July 02, 1926 – U.S. Army Air Corps established.

July 02, 1950– Korean War’s only U.S. Sea Battle (Korean War)

July 02, 1951 – 1st. Lt. Eugene Louis Ruiz was the first combat casualty from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd when he was shot down in Korea, as a member of the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the 543rd Tactical Support Group (Korean War)

July 02, 1967 – Operation Buffalo began (Vietnam War)

July 02, 1969 – Sgt. James Allen Wray, formerly Battery C,  2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery, was killed while serving with Battery B, 1st Battalion, 40th Field Artillery, 108th Artillery Group (Vietnam War)

July 03, 1942 – Pvt. Edward George Willis, Headquarters Company, 192nd Light Tank Battalion (Harrodsburg Tankers) died at Camp Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, Philippines of dysentery (World War II)

July 03, 2005 – Sgt. Ryan Jay Montgomery, of Greensburg, Kentucky was killed in Iraq when his up-armored HUMVEE encountered an improvised explosive device (IED) while returning from a convoy escort mission near Baghdad. At the time of his death, Montgomery was assigned to B Battery 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery (Global War on Terrorism)

July 04 – Independence Day.

July 04, 1777 – Second attack on Boonesborough by Indians (Early Indian Wars)

July 04, 1778 – Kaskaskia surprised and captured by George Rogers Clark and his men (Revolutionary War).

July 04, 1863 – Battle of Tebb’s Bend, Taylor County, Kentucky (Civil War)

1/623rd in Korea

1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery in the “Smoke Valley”, South Korea, 1952.

July 05, 1952 – Kentucky’s 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery, armed with eighteen 155mm towed howitzers, moves into “Smoke Valley,” South Korea in support of X Corps in holding operations against Communist Chinese assaults. During this period it will earn a Republic of Korea Unit Citation for its fire support of South Korea troops in repelling an enemy assault. In October the battalion, the last Guard artillery unit deployed to Korea, will see hard fighting and earns a Navy Unit Commendation embroidered PANMUNJOM for firing missions in support of the 1st Marine Division (Korean War)

July 05, 1950 – Battle of Osan (Korean War)

July 08, 1942 – Sgt. Jennings Bryan Scanlon, Headquarters Company, 192ndLight Tank Battalion (Harrodsburg Tankers) died at Camp Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, Philippines of dysentery.      (World War II)

July 08, 1998 – Maj. Robert Stephen Hacker, a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 201st Engineer Battalion of the Kentucky Army National Guard, died of injuries received in a vehicle accident while on active duty in the Esmeraldas Province of the South American nation of Ecuador.

July 09, 1918 – Army Warrant Officer Corps birthday.

July 09, 1966 – Battle of Minh Thanh Road (Vietnam War)

Theodore O'Hara

Theodore O’Hara

July 10, 1867 – Death of Theodore O’Hara in Alabama.

July 10, 1943 – Operation Husky (World War II)

July 12, 1942 – 1st Sgt. Yandell Terhune, of Company D, 192nd Light Tank Battalion (Harrodsburg Tankers) died at Camp Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, Philippines of dysentery (World War II)

July 13, 1892 – Pvt. Almyr Sherrell Edwards of Company G, 3rd Regiment Kentucky State Guard died while on state active duty. His unit activated on July 11, 1892 at the request of the mayor of Paducah in response to a riot by an armed group of citizens intent on freeing a suspect from the local jail, On that day an African American, Thomas Burgess, was arrested on charges of being a “sneak thief” (burglar). The African American community believed that this individual was going to be unfairly convicted, and a group tried to release him from the jail, dispersing once daylight hours came, peaceably.  The next evening they returned near midnight, armed, and then commenced firing on the jail and the guardsman who were defending it. During a short firefight Edwards was mortally wounded.  Newspaper accounts of the time reflect a tense state of race relations during these events in Paducah. A monument in honor of Edwards was dedicated on July 13, 1893.  The monument was believed to have been moved to its current location after the 1939 floods and it is now located in Caldwell Park at 14th & Park Ave in Paducah.

July 13, 1950 – Battle of Kum River began (Korean War)

July 13, 1953 – Battle of Kumsong River Salient began (Korean War)

July 13, 1995 – Sgt. 1st Class Charles Sidney “Chuck” Fitch Sr. died of a massive heart attack following a PT test. Fitch enlisted in the Kentucky Army National Guard in September of 1988. Fitch became an Active Guard Reserve (AGR) in September 1991 serving as a Recruiting and Retention NCO until his death.

July 15, 1916 – Pvt. Kenneth Witty of Hopkinsville, Christian County, died while on federal active duty of typhoid pneumonia at Fort Thomas, Kentucky. He was part of the Kentucky National Guard contingent called to federal duty to patrol a sixty mile stretch of the border between Fort Bliss and Fort Hancock during the Mexican Punitive Expedition. He enlisted in Company D, 1st Battalion, 3rd Regiment on June 21, 1916.

July 15, 1951 – 1st Lt. George Conder perished during a massive flight demonstration when two F-51s collided in mid-air.

Pfc. Lanny Kay Brown

July 15, 1970 – Pfc. Lanny Kay Brown, of Monticello (Wayne County) died during Annual Training at Fort Knox. He was a member of C Battery, 1st Battalion, 623rd  Field Artillery. Brown was standing inside a squad tent in the unit bivouac area at approximately 8:30 p.m. during a violent thunderstorm when he was electrocuted by a lightning strike. Brown joined the Kentucky Army National Guard on June 12, 1968.

July 16 – Atomic Veterans Day – First Nuclear Bomb Test; Code name “Trinity”

July 16, 1968 – Operation Kingfischer began (Vietnam War)

July 16, 1836 – Gov. Morehead, at the request of President Jackson, issues his proclamation calling for 1,000 mounted Kentuckians, to rendezvous in Frankfort by August 17, to proceed to Camp Sabine, and protect the southwestern frontier. Before August 3, 45 companies tender their services, but only 10 are accepted, one each from Franklin, Henry, Shelby, Madison, Harrison, Oldham, Gallatin, Woodford, Jefferson, and Fayette counties. The governor appoints Leslie Combs, of Fayette, colonel, Thomas A. Russell, of Fayette, lieutenant colonel, and George Boswell, of Shelby, major. Before they commence their march, orders are received for their discharge.

July 17, 1789 – Chenoweth Station Massacre, Shawnee Indians attacked the settlement of Capt. Richard Chenoweth killing 3 of his children and another man. Chenoweth and 3 other children were wounded, his wife was shot with an arrow tomahawked and scalped, but did not perish.

July 17, 1952 – Battle for Old Baldy began (Korean War)

July 19, 1950 – Battle of Taejon began (Korean War)

July 20, 1847 – Remains of Col. William R. McKee, Lt. Col. Henry Clay, Jr., Capt. William T. Willis, Capt. William H. Maxey, Adjutant E.M. Vaughn, Lt. James Powell and 11 privates, who fell in battle during the Mexico War, interred in the state cemetery at Frankfort; 20,000 people present; in the procession 11 volunteer military companies, besides several hundred of the returned soldiers from the Mexican war.

July 22, 1864 – Battle of Intrenchment Creek, part of Atlanta Campaign. Kentucky Orphan Brigade suffers heavy casualties (Civil War)

Three U.S. Air Force North American F-51D Mustang fighters (s/n 44-73129, 44-73510, 44-74477) from the 165th Fighter Squadron, 123rd Fighter Group, Kentucky Air National Guard, in flight. The 123rd FG flew the F-51 from 1946 to 1952.

July 22, 1946 – Organization of the units of the Kentucky Air National Guard authorized by the War Department. Organizational authority was extended in October and December during the process of organizing and manning the Kentucky Air National Guard.

July 22, 1942 – Staff Sgt. Wallace Denny, Company D, 192nd Tank Battalion (Harrodsburg Tankers) died at Camp Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, Philippines of dysentery (World War II)

July 22, 1977 – Staff Sgt. Joseph M. McHenry, of Owensboro (Daviess County) and Pfc. Danny Edwin Rowan, of Hartford (Ohio County) died in a ¼ -ton jeep accident during a convoy from Fort Hood, Texas to Home Station for the CSC, 2nd Battalion, 123rd Armor in Owensboro. McHenry and Pfc. Danny Rowan were traveling eastbound on Interstate 30 near Mt Vernon, in Franklin County, Texas at approximately 1:10 p.m. local time when the left rear tire blew out causing the vehicle to go out of control.

July 22, 1991 – Tech. Sgt. David A. Atkinson, of Louisville (Jefferson County) died about 8 p.m. during an airborne training exercise at Hurlburt Field near Fort Walton Beach Florida.  Atkinson was performing a “high-opening” jump from about 12,500 feet. Atkinson was a member of the 123rd Tactical Airlift Wing Combat Control Team of the Kentucky Air National Guard.

Clockwise, from top: UN forces reach the 38th parallel; F-86 Sabre fighter aircraft in Korean combat; Incheon harbor, starting point of the Battle of Inchon; Chinese soldiers welcomed home; Marines over the top of the Incheon seawall.

July 24, 1953 – Final U.S. Ground Combat of Korean War began (Korean War)

July 27, 1953– Korean War ended.

July 27 – National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.

July 27, 2009 – Pfc. Timothy J. Rogers, of Corbin, Whitley County, died as the result of a traffic accident while on the way home from annual training. He was a member of Company B, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry.

July 28, 1942 – Pvt. Fred C. Leonard, Jr., Headquarters Company, 192nd Light Tank Battalion (Harrodsburg Tankers) died at Camp Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, Philippines of cerebral malaria (World War II)

July 31, 1813 – Kentucky Governor Isaac Shelby issues call for volunteers to revenge hundreds of Kentuckians massacred at the River Raisin (present-day Monroe, MI).  Shelby would go on to lead the Kentucky troops himself at the Battle of the Thames while still serving as governor (War of 1812)

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