1783: After leading the American Continental Army through six years of war against the British, General George Washington, informs his officers while in New York City that he plans to resign his commission and return to civilian life. Washington receives the formal surrender of British General Lord Charles Cornwallis, effectively ending the Revolutionary War, in 1781 but it takes almost two more years to conclude a peace treaty and slightly longer for all British troops to leave New York. Washington officially resigns his commission on December 23. He then returns to his beloved estate at Mount Vernon, Virginia, where he plans to live out his days as a gentleman farmer. However, in 1789, he is coaxed out of retirement and is elected as the first president of the United States, a position he holds until 1797.
1945: The U.S. Senate approves full U.S. participation in the United Nations in an overwhelming vote of 65 to 7. The United Nations officially came into existence on October 24, 1945, when its charter was ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and a majority of other signatories. Senate approval means the U.S. joins other nations in an international organization, which aims to arbitrate differences between countries and stem military aggression. The Senate action marks a tremendous change in the U.S. attitude toward international organizations. In the post-World War I period, the Senate blocked U.S. participation in the League of Nations. With the horrors of World War II as a backdrop, however, the Senate and the American people are willing to place some degree of trust in the United Nations.
1966: A Viet Cong unit penetrates the 13-mile defense perimeter around Saigon's Tan Son Nhut airport and shells the field for over 4 hours. South Vietnamese and U.S. security guards drive off the attackers, killing 18 of them in the process. One U.S. RF-101 reconnaissance jet is badly damaged in the attack. The guerrillas return that same night and resume the attack, but security guards again repel them, killing 11 more Viet Cong during the second battle.
1967: Elements of the U.S. mobile riverine force and 400 South Vietnamese in armored personnel carriers engage communist forces in the Mekong Delta. During the battle, 235 of the 300-member Viet Cong battalion are eliminated.
The mobile riverine force is an Army-Navy task force made up of the U.S. Army’s 9th Infantry Division and the U.S. Navy's Task Force 117 and is often combined with units from the South Vietnamese Army’s 7th and 21st Infantry Divisions and the South Vietnamese Marine Corps. The mobile riverine concept calls for Army troops to operate with Navy gunboats as well as troop carrier boats in the Mekong Delta. It gives the combined arms force the capability to travel 150 miles and launch combat operations with a 5,000-man force within 30 minutes after anchoring. Beginning in June 1967, the mobile riverine force conducts operations throughout the Delta until the responsibility for this mission is transferred to the South Vietnamese forces in April 1971, as part of the "Vietnamization" program.
1992: President George H. Bush orders U.S. troops to Somalia, a war-torn East African nation where rival warlords are preventing the distribution of humanitarian aid to thousands of starving Somalis. Describing the necessity of the military humanitarian mission President Bush states that America must act to save more than a million Somali lives.