united states military history

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Today marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor which officially catapulted the United States into the Second World War.

This illustration from 1943 depicts Doris “Dorie” Miller (1919-1943), an African-American sailor from Waco, Texas during that fateful morning in 1941 as he defends the fleet at Pearl Harbor from the USS West Virginia. Despite not being trained on the .50 caliber Browning, Miller impressively managed to shoot down an estimated 3 to 4 Japanese planes until he ran out of ammunition. At that point, Miller began to help moving injured sailors out of harm’s way before abandoning the ship.

For his efforts on that day, Miller was awarded the US Navy Cross and was lauded as one of the first American heroes in Second World War (as the pin shows).

Miller would unfortunately be killed in action onboard the USS Liscome Bay during the battle of Makin Island 1943.

(US National Archives, USAmericana)

The other day an elderly gentleman, a veteran of the United States Air Force, came to the Museum with a potential donation. We often receive a number of walk-ins offering to donate some family heirloom and occasionally these items are ones that fit the Museum’s current collecting policy and needs. Such was the case with this gentleman’s offered timepiece.

The donor was stationed at a United States installation in Europe in 1959 when, for some reason unknown to the donor, the decision was made to throw away a stash of Hamilton Navigational watches that had never been issued or used. These watches, utilizing the amazing 4992B movement, were a work horse of the United States Army Air Corp / Air Force during World War Two and the Korean War. The Museum has six examples of this type of watch in the collection, some with clear service records, and others without.

The watch offered by the donor was one of several that he had been allowed to take, some of which he had given away to friends or relatives over the years. The watch he wished to donate had been the one that he had kept for himself and had rarely taken it out or used it. He had planned to use it on a mission to survey some areas of South America for the Air Force in the 1960s, but the mission had never materialized.

When the donor revealed the watch to us, it looked like it had just been issued. The case shows no sign of wear at all, the engraved serial numbers on the case back are as clear as they were the day they were engraved. Upon opening the watch (something the donor had NEVER done) the movement shone like it had just left the Hamilton factory. Needless to say, a watch with such a clear provenance and history, in such pristine condition was something that we were eager to add to our Hamilton collection here at the Museum.

We want to thank the donor for his service to his country and his generosity to the Museum for the donation of this watch. We hope you enjoy seeing it as much as we did.

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The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is an American twin-engine, straight wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic in the early 1970s. It is the only United States Air Force production aircraft designed solely for close air support, including attacking tanks, armored vehicles, and other ground targets with limited air defenses. The A-10 was designed around the 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon that is its primary armament. The A-10’s airframe was designed for durability, with measures such as 1,200 pounds (540 kg) of titanium armor to protect the cockpit and aircraft systems, enabling it to absorb a significant amount of damage and continue flying.  The A-10’s official name comes from the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt of World War II, a fighter that was particularly effective at close air support. The A-10 is more commonly known by its nicknames “Warthog” or“Hog”. Its secondary mission is to provide airborne forward air control, directing other aircraft in attacks on ground targets. The A-10’s service life may be extended to 2028, though there are proposals to retire it sooner.

THIS SIDE OF THE LORD

The last two members of the 26th North Carolina reach the Angle during Pickett’s Charge. Union troops were so impressed by their bravery that they lowered their rifles and raised their hands, shouting, “Come over to this side of the Lord!”. Gettysburg, July 3rd, 1863.

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The 17 pounder, Self-Propelled, Achilles was a British variant of the American M10 tank destroyer armed with the powerful British Ordnance QF 17 pounder anti-tank gun in place of the standard 3" (76.2 mm) Gun M7. With a total of 1,100 M10s converted, the 17 pdr SP Achilles was the second most numerous armoured fighting vehicle to see service armed with the 17 pounder gun, behind the Sherman Firefly.

requested by radzaarty