07 December 2007

This day in history: 7 Dec

1787: Delaware became the first state to ratify the US Constitution.

1917: The United States declared war on Austria-Hungary.

1941: USS Ward (DD 139) sank a Japanese midget submarine off the entry to Pearl Harbor.* Shortly thereafter, Japanese naval aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor, Hickam Field, and other US bases in the Territory of Hawai`i.

That same day, Canada declared war on Finland, Hungary, and Romania.

1942: SS Ceramic, with 656 people on board, was sunk by U 515 (Kptlt Werner Henke) in the Atlantic Ocean, west of the Azores. The only survivor was Sapper Eric Munday, Royal Engineers, who was rescued for interrogation by Kptlt Henke.

1944: USS Ward (now APD 16) was sunk off Leyte by gunfire from USS O'Brien (DD 725) after being hit by a Japanese kamikaze aircraft.

1972: Apollo 17, the last Apollo moon mission, was launched from Cape Canaveral with commander Eugene Cernan, command module pilot Ronald Evans and lunar module pilot Harrison Schmitt on board.

1995: Galileo arrived at Jupiter, a little over six years after being launched by Space Shuttle Atlantis (Mission STS-34) on 18 October 1989.

1998: 17-year-old Jesse Martin departed Melbourne in the 34-foot (10m) sloop Lionheart. He returned to Melbourne on 31 October 1999, thus becoming the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo, non-stop, and unassisted.

Michel Ney (1769–1815), William Bligh FRS (1754–1817) and Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) died on this date.

And happy birthday to Henry Stuart, Duke of Albany (1545–1567), Richard Sears (1863-1914), Gerard Kuiper (1905–1973), Eli Wallach (1915-TBD), Walter Nowotny (1920-1944) and Harry Chapin (1942–1981).

* The wreck of the sub was located in August of 2002.

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