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Nov. 2 in U.S. military history

1783: Gen. George Washington​ delivers his “Farewell Address to the Army” near Princeton, N.J., in which he refers to the Continental Army as “one patriotic band of brothers."

1861: Pres. Abraham Lincoln removes Union Gen. John C. Fremont as commander of the Western Department, following Fremont's unilateral decision to declare martial law in the border state of Missouri and thus freeing all slaves.

1943: The cruisers and destroyers of Task Force 39, commanded by Rear Adm. Aaron S. "Tip" Merrill, defeat Japanese naval forces in the Battle of Empress Bay off the coast of Bougainville.

1963: Unpopular South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem is assassinated following a U.S.-backed coup by the South Vietnamese army.

Medal of Honor: On this day in 1943, Maj. Raymond H. Wilkins, Commander of the Army Air Corps' 8th Bombing Squadron, led an attack against Japanese-held Rabaul. His bombs destroyed an enemy transport and destroyer, and although his plane was badly damaged and his bombs expended, Wilkins strafed a Japanese cruiser, drawing their fire so his fellow pilots could escape the deadly air defenses. Wilkins would not survive, but the raid sinks 30 of the 38 Japanese vessels anchored at Rabaul.

Adapted (and abridged) in part from “This Week in US Military History” by W. Thomas Smith Jr. at Human Events.

For more “This day in U.S. military history” content, visit the Center for American Military History

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