This Day in Naval History - April 21

Story Number: NNS011216-21Release Date: 12/16/2001 10:00:00 PM
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From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1861 - Sloop-of-War Saratoga, commanded by Alfred Taylor, captures Nightingale, a clipper slaver, at the mouth of the Congo River at Cabinda, Angola, with 961 slaves on board.

1898 - President William McKinley orders the Navy to begin a blockade of Cuba and Spain, the beginning of the Spanish-American War. Congress responds with a formal declaration of war April 25, made retroactive to the start of the blockade.

1914 - President Woodrow Wilson orders intervention at Vera Cruz, Mexico, after the Tampico Affair where Sailors from USS Dolphin were detained. The U.S. Atlantic Fleet, under the command of Rear Adm. Frank F. Fletcher, land the first Marines and Sailors from USS Florida and USS Utah and engage in battle.

1944 - Task Force 58 begins the bombing of Japanese airfields and defensive positions at Hollandia, Wakde, Sawar, and Sarmi, New Guinea, in preparation for the U.S. Army landing operations Persecution and Reckless.

1972 - Navy Capt. John W. Young, commander of Apollo 16, is the ninth man to walk on the moon. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Thomas K. Mattingly II is the command module pilot for the 11-day, 1-hour and 51-minute mission where 213 pounds of lunar material is collected.

1990 - USNS John Ericcson (T-AO 194) is launched at Chester, Penn. The Henry J. Kiser-class replenishment oiler is named for John Ericcson who designed USS Monitor.

2001 - USS Lassen (DDG 82) is commissioned at Tampa, Fla., prior to sailing for her homeport in San Diego as part of Destroyer Squadron 23. The Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer is named after Lt. Clyde Everett Lassen, a Medal of Honor recipient for rescuing two downed aviators while he was the commander of a search and rescue helicopter in Vietnam.

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