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Today in World War II History—Oct. 12, 1940 & 1945

President Harry Truman awarding the Medal of Honor on conscientious objector Desmond Doss, 12 October 1945 (US government photo)

President Harry Truman awarding the Medal of Honor on conscientious objector Desmond Doss, 12 October 1945 (US government photo)

80 Years Ago—Oct. 12, 1940: In Africa, Free French troops under Gen. Charles de Gaulle invade Vichy French-held Gabon.

First use of radar in naval combat: off Malta in Battle of Cape Pessaro, British cruiser Ajax damages Italian destroyers Artigliere and Aviere, and sinks Italian torpedo boats Ariel and Airone.

Japan establishes the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, merging all political parties into a single totalitarian ruling party.

All Japanese are required to join neighborhood associations for social control and public assistance.

75 Years Ago—Oct. 12, 1945: PFC Desmond Doss, a medic, becomes the first conscientious objector in US history to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor, for saving lives at great peril on Okinawa.

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