March 9: The Man Who Put the Iron in “Old Ironsides”

  Today in 1798, 25-year-old Isaac Hull, who was destined to become one of the United States’ most famous heroes of the War of 1812, began his distinguished career in the Navy after accepting a commission as a 4th Lieutenant aboard the U.S. frigate Constitution. Born in 1773 in Derby, Connecticut, young Isaac was raised…

March 6: The Oldest Man at the Alamo

  On March 6, 1836, 189 men who had pledged allegiance to the newly formed Republic of Texas lost their lives defending a small, fortified mission known as the Alamo near San Antonio, Texas. Following a thirteen-day siege, Mexican troops under General Antonio López de Santa Anna stormed that mission, a critical and savage moment…

February 8: Defending the West from the Worst

  A descendant of the Joseph Wadsworth who protected his colony’s charter by hiding it in the legendary Charter Oak, Elijah Wadsworth would also be tasked with saving his people’s government. Not from a takeover, however, but from a British invasion. And not in Connecticut, but in in the part of Ohio once owned by…

January 30: The Most Successful Rescue Operation in U.S. Military History

  Today  in 1945, Bridgeport native Lt. Col. Henry Mucci led a coalition of U.S. Rangers and Filipino allies in a daring raid deep into heavily occupied enemy territory to rescue over 500 Allied prisoners of war from a Japanese concentration camp. The mission, known as the Raid on Cabanatuan or simply “The Great Raid,”…

January 21: World’s First Nuclear Submarine Launched at Groton

  On January 21, 1954, hundreds of spectators, including General Dynamics employees, military brass, First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, and scores of reporters gathered along the banks of the ThamesRiver to witness a momentous occasion. At 10:57am, the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear submarine, slid off a dry dock at General Dynamics in Groton, Connecticut,…

January 20: Windsor Locks’ Army Air Base Becomes “Bradley Field”

At the start of 1941, though the United States had not yet formally entered World War II, the U.S. military was anxious to shore up defenses along the eastern seaboard, which some considered a vulnerable target for a German attack. Early in the year, the Connecticut General Assembly approved the purchase of 1,700 acres of…

December 31: Middletown’s Nathan Starr Arms the Nation

  As a major in the Continental Army, Nathan Starr forged and repaired weapons as part of his service during the Revolutionary War. After the war was over, Starr returned to his hometown of Middletown, Connecticut, and made a living manufacturing blades of a different sort: mostly agricultural tools like scythes for local farmers. In…

December 30: A Mutiny at “Connecticut’s Valley Forge”

  When Americans think of the hardships faced by starving, shivering Continental Army troops during the harsh winters of the Revolutionary War, the infamous winter encampment of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania of 1777–1778 usually comes to mind. What few realize, however, is that the eastern division of the Continental Army under the command of General Israel…

December 28: When Eastern Pennsylvania Belonged to Connecticut

  Connecticut stands today as one of the smallest states in the Union in terms of land area. But during the 17th and 18th centuries, ambitious Connecticans dreamed of expanding the colony’s control over vast swaths of territory located far to the west. Connecticut’s Royal Charter of 1662, issued by King Charles II, had originally…

December 27: Hero of the 1955 Floods Receives Connecticut’s Highest Honor.

  In August 1955, Connecticut experienced some of the worst flooding in its recorded history after two major hurricanes — Connie and Diane — dumped between 20 and 30 inches of rain across the state in the span of a single week. All of the state’s major waterways, including the Connecticut, Quinebaug, Farmington, and Housatonic…

December 17: Ensign Jimmy Carter Finishes Submarine School in Groton

  Decades before he became President of the United States, a young James “Jimmy” Earl Carter, Jr. had his sights set on a lifelong career in the U.S. Navy. As a teenager, Carter dreamed of attending the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. After graduating from high school in rural Plains, Georgia at the age…

December 11: The World’s First Jet-Powered Helicopter

  Today in 1951, aerospace engineer Charles H. Kaman’s modified K-225 helicopter took its first test flight in Bloomfield, Connecticut, changing the future of helicopter aviation forever. As the first helicopter to use a jet engine to power its drive shaft, the K-225 demonstrated a way to make helicopters  fly faster and higher, with less…