Historical Highlights - May 8th

Photo by CPL Neill A. Sevelius

May 8th is quite the eventful day in American military history.

It's most well known as Victory in Europe Day in Britain and the United States, marking the official unconditional surrender of German forces to the Allies in Reims, France on May 8th, 1945.  

Elsewhere in the World War II, May 8th, 1942 was the final day of the Battle of the Coral Sea, where American and Australian naval and air forces attempted to contest a Japanese invasion of New Guinea and the southeastern Solomon Islands. The battle was a pivotal moment in history: it was the first time opposing aircraft carriers faced off and was the first naval engagement where the fleets never made visual contact. The battle signified the end of the age of the battleship, and the rise of naval aviation began.

Speaking of naval aviation, today marks the genesis of naval aircraft in the US Navy, when Captain Washington Irving Chambers placed an order for two Curtiss A-1 Triad floatplanes in 1911. 

Finally, in more recent history, the Battle of Al-Qaim began in Al-Anbar Province, Iraq. Also known as Operation Matador, the 2005 engagement lasted until May 19th and was part of a larger Marine Corps effort against Al-Qaeda-In-Iraq (AQI) fighters in the Western Euphrates river valley called Operation Sayeed.  The Marine task force in Al-Qaim suffered 9 men killed in action, and 40 wounded, while over 125 AQI insurgents were killed The fierce running battle was another indication that even in the wake of the Second Battle of Fallujah, Anbar Province was still one of the most dangerous places in Iraq.

This marks the beginning of what will be a daily dive into America's military and law enforcement history. If you've got a cool moment in history to share, let us know on Facebook or Twitter! 

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