US Navy Grumman F6F-3 Hellcats, May 1943 (US National Museum of Naval Aviation)
75 Years Ago—May 23, 1942: US Navy orders production of Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter.
Coastal Picket Patrol (civilian “Hooligan Navy”) established under control of US Coast Guard Auxiliary.
San Francisco emergency vehicles are requested not to use sirens due to confusion with air raids.
US poster, WWII
75 Years Ago—May 22, 1942: Mexico declares war on Germany, Japan, and Italy after many ships are lost to German U-boats.
United Steel Workers of America is formed, combining smaller unions.
US F-5 photo reconnaissance aircraft and C-47 cargo planes at Amchitka in Aleutian Islands, 7 May 1942
75 Years Ago—May 21, 1942: Japanese land in Leyte Gulf in Philippines, and occupy Leyte and Samar.
North Pacific Force established under Rear Adm. Robert Theobald for all US Army and Navy and Canadian forces in Alaska area.
Gen. Joseph Stilwell marching out of Burma, May 1942 (public domain via WW2 Database)
75 Years Ago—May 20, 1942: Japanese complete conquest of Burma.
US Gen. Joseph Stilwell arrives in Imphal, India from Burma with 100 military personnel and civilians, including missionary Dr. Gordon Seagrave and 19 nurses, after 150-mile march.
Last Japanese-Americans are evacuated from San Francisco.
US poster honoring Lt. Col. James Doolittle, WWII
75 Years Ago—May 19, 1942: Lt. Col. James Doolittle receives Medal of Honor, revealing who led the US air raid on Tokyo.
New York City discontinues night baseball games for the duration.
Republic P-47B Thunderbolt (US Army Air Forces photo)
75 Years Ago—May 18, 1942: Germans break through to surrounded troops at Demyansk, Russia.
First deliveries of Republic P-47B Thunderbolt fighter planes to US Army Air Force (doesn’t see combat until April 1943).
German Panzer IV, Kharkov, May 1942 (public domain via WW2 Database)
75 Years Ago—May 17, 1942: Germans counterattack near Kharkov, ending Soviet advance in the Ukraine.
Igor Sikorsky and Les Morris fly XR-4, Army’s first helicopter, 700 miles from Stratford, CT, to Wright Field, OH.
Col. Oveta Culp Hobby (right) talks with WAACs Margaret Peterson and Elizabeth Gilbert at Mitchel Field, NY, 1943 (Library of Congress)
75 Years Ago—May 16, 1942: Allies complete withdrawal from Burma into India.
Mrs. Oveta Culp Hobby is sworn in as director of US Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps.
New song in Top Ten: “Sleepy Lagoon.”
US poster for the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, WWII
75 Years Ago—May 15, 1942: Germans take Kerch in the Crimea; Soviets flee peninsula, leaving Sevastopol to stand alone.
National insignia on US Army Air Force, Navy, and Marine aircraft changed to white star on dark blue disc, eliminating central red disc due to confusion with Japanese aircraft.
US Army Air Force pursuit units are renamed fighter units.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs legislation forming the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC).
Gas rationing begins in 17 Eastern states due to tanker losses to U-boats; 8 million motorists register for cards worth 3 gallons/week.
US national insignia, May 1942
75 Years Ago—May 14, 1942: Australia decides to ration food and clothing.
US Navy begins full convoys on East Coast as the first convoy departs from Hampton Roads, VA to Key West, FL.
German agent Alfred Langbein is landed by U-213 at New Brunswick to report on convoys; he does not, and he surrenders to Canadians on 11/1/44 when he runs out of money.