The Gun That Killed James Garfield
Charles Guiteau used a British Bulldog pistol to kill the 20th president of the United States James Garfield on July 2, 1881 at the busy Baltimore and Potomac Railroad station in Washington, D.C. Guiteau had stalked Garfield for a considerable time. He reportedly believed that killing Garfield, thus elevating Vice... Read more
In 1987, U.S. Navy F-14s Engaged Phantom Iranian Planes
When it debuted in 1974, the Grumman F-14 Tomcat was supposed to replace the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II in U.S. Navy service. This replacement occurred gradually, meaning Tomcats and Phantoms flew alongside each other for another decade. They also flew alongside each other in the Islamic Republic of... Read more
When to Shoot a Nuclear Bomb With Your Gun
This story originally appeared on Jan. 30, 2015. The year is 1960 and a congressional delegation is touring military bases in Western Europe to evaluate custody and safety issues associated with U.S. nuclear weapons. With the delegation is a scientist named Harold Agnew—and he’s not just another congressional staffer.... Read more
In 1905, a Former U.S. Army Officer Added Moving Maps to Cars
Before satellite navigation, people found their way using paper maps. Which, of course, can be cumbersome — and ill-suited to the confines of any vehicle, let alone an early open-top automobile. In 1905, Henry Metcalfe, a 58-year-old retired U.S. Army ordnance officer and firearms inventor, filed a patent for... Read more
The Gun That Killed Abraham Lincoln
On April 14, 1865 U.S. president Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by a single shot to the back of the head. The American Civil War had ended just days before with Southern general Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox when John Wilkes Booth, a well-known stage actor, shot Lincoln as the president... Read more
When Richard Nixon Threatened to Nuke Vietnam
This story originally appeared on June 1, 2015. Washington now sees nuclear weapons as a last ditch resort … but it hasn’t always and the Pentagon has been more than happy come up with plans to lob the devastating bombs at America’s enemies. Sometimes, Washington used those plans to... Read more
The Gun That Killed John F. Kennedy
On Nov. 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald fired two 6.5-millimeter rounds from an Italian Carcano Fucile di Fanteria Mod. 91/38 rifle and killed U.S. president John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was the fourth American president to be assassinated. Oswald, a 24-year-old former Marine, fired from the sixth floor of... Read more
The Guns That Killed Malcolm X
On Feb. 21, 1965, Malcolm X, leader of Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity, was assassinated during an Organization of Afro-American Unity meeting at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan. Malcolm X had been a civil-rights activist and leader of the Black Muslim community in New York City... Read more
The Gun That Killed Martin Luther King, Jr.
At 6:00 P.M. on April 4, 1968, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. stepped onto the balcony outside his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. Seconds later, a single .30-06 round mortally wounded the 39-year-old civil-rights leader. King had arrived at the motel on March 29. He was in... Read more
Michael Cavanaugh Flew in a Secret Air Force
In a seaside resort town on the coast of the gulf of Thailand an old warrior lives out his days, separated from the battles of his past by the insurmountable barrier of time but physically near their setting. Retired U.S. Air force colonel Michael Cavanaugh, 77, was a pilot... Read more
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