This Day in Naval History - July 20

Story Number: NNS020715-18Release Date: 7/15/2002 2:31:00 PM
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From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

1846 - In the effort to negotiate a treaty with Japan, Commodore James Biddle arrives with the ship of the line, USS Columbus, and the sloop of war, USS Vincennes, at Edo (Yedo), Japan. These are the first U.S. warships to visit Japan.

1861 - During the Civil War, the wooden screw gunboat, USS Albatross, commanded by Cmdr. G.A. Prentiss, recaptures the civilian schooner, Enchantress, off Hatteras Inlet. She is previously captured by the Confederate privateer, CSS Jefferson Davis, on July 6. Also on this date, the wooden screw steamship, USS Mount Vernon, commanded by Oliver S. Glisson, seizes the sloop, Wild Pigeon, on the Rappahannock River.

1942 - Adm. William D. Leahy becomes Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and the Navy, the precursor to the post of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In Dec. 1944, Leahy is promoted to Fleet Admiral. Fleet Adm. Leahy also dies on this date in 1959.

1945 - USS Threadfin (SS 410) sinks the Japanese minesweeper (W 39) northwest of Mokpo, Korea.

1960 - In the first launch of the Polaris missile, USS George Washington (SSBN 598) successfully fires two operational Polaris missiles while submerged off Florida.

1969 - Former Navy pilot Neil Armstrong is the first man to set foot on the moon, saying That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong is Commander of Apollo 11, which during its 8 day mission lands on the Sea of Tranquility. Michael Collins is the Command Module Pilot and Edwin Buzz E. Aldrin Jr., is the Lunar Module Pilot.

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