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, Samoa, where American, German and British ships are 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 the loss of escort carriers and 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).

1953 - Marine pilots of VMA 312 destroy eight rail cars, two possible radar towers, a power transformer and numerous other assorted targets in Korea before returning to USS Bataan (CVL 29).

1957 - A ZPG-2 airship driven by Cmdr. Jack R. Hunt lands at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla., after a flight that began March 4 at South Weymouth, Mass., then circled over the Atlantic Ocean toward Portugal, the African coast and back for a new world record in distance and endurance, covering 9,448 statute miles and remaining airborne 264 hours 12 minutes without refueling.

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