This Day in Naval History - March 15

Story Number: NNS011215-16Release Date: 12/15/2001 6:24:00 PM
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From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1889 - A typhoon strikes Apia inSamoa, where American, German and British ships were protecting their national interests. The typhoon drives USS Trenton, USS Vandalia, and USS Nipsic ashore, killing 51 crew members, and sinks all three German ships with the loss of 150 crew.
1944 - USS Shamrock Bay (CVE 84) is commissioned. During World War II, she serves in the Atlantic and is sent to the Pacific due to the loss of escort carriers in the Pacific. She participates in the Okinawa Campaign.
1947 - Ensign John W. Lee, Jr., becomes the first African-American with a commission in the regular Navy and serves on board USS Kearsarge (CV 33).
1957 - A ZPG-2 airship, commanded by Cmdr. Jack R. Hunt, lands at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla., after a flight that began March 4 at South Weymouth, Mass. He circles over the Atlantic Ocean toward Portugal, the African coast and back for a new world record in distance and endurance. He covers 9,448 statute miles and remains airborne for 264 hours 12 minutes without refueling.
1953 - Marine pilots of VMA 312 destroy eight rail cars, two possible radar towers, a power transformer and numerous other assorted targets before returning to USS Bataan (CVL 29).

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