Today being the first day of a month, the RedState Department of History is replete with interesting anniversaries and birthdays, if you will. So in a bit of a break from the usual, here are a few of them in summary form.
October 1, 1878 – General Lew Wallace is sworn in as governor of the New Mexico territory. This is noteworthy for a couple of reasons; first, that he was the governor who had to deal with Billy the Kid and second, the appointment was important to what Wallace felt was his quest for redemption. At the Civil War battle of Shiloh in 1862, Wallace was accused of incompetence after being slow to move his troops in support of General Ulysses S. Grant. This led to a lifelong desire to restore his name. His eventual authorship of Ben-Hur in later life accomplished that goal at least in part.
October 1, 1942 – The Bell P-59 Airacomet, the first United States jet fighter, made its maiden flight. Like its British counterpart the Gloster Meteor, the Airacomet never saw combat — thought the Meteor did enter active service during the war — but provided valuable experience to American engineers in building jet airframes.
October 1, 1947 – Five years to the day after the first flight of the P-59, the F-86 Sabre flies for the first time. The mainstay of American air power in the Korean conflict, the plane was America’s first swept-wing fighter plane, giving the Americans eventual superiority over the Russian-built MIG-15 fighter. So successful was this early jet fighter that it was in use in some air forces until 1994.
October 1, 1958 – NASA is created. It inherited the earlier National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and was created after a crisis of confidence in the latter agency following early Soviet successes in the space race. Within eleven years, the new agency had placed men on the moon, sent probes to both Mars and Venus, and had established the United States as the world’s premier force in space exploration.
October 1 is a fascinating day in history. If you have time today (or, if like me, you’re taking time off from the NFL), take a few moments to learn about these and other great occurrences in history. Enjoy today’s open thread!