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March 18: This Day in U.S. Military History in the 2000s


2001 – US National Reconnaissance Office was planning a $25 billion project for some 12 satellites to be deployed by 2005.

2002 – Britain planned to send 1,700 troops to Afghanistan to join the 6,300 US forces.

2003 – US President George W. Bush gives a televised speech saying “Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing”.

2003 – Some $900 million was taken from Iraq’s Central Bank by Saddam Hussein and his family. The New York Times reported on May 5 that Saddam ordered the money taken from the Central Bank and sent his son Qusai in the middle of the night.

2003 – In Australia PM John Howard said his government would commit 2,000 military personnel to any U.S.-led strike aimed at disarming Iraq.

2004 – In Kosovo Albanians set fire to Serb Orthodox churches as NATO scrambled to deploy up to 1,000 more troops to stifle an explosion of ethnic violence. The death toll reached 31 with hundreds injured in fighting between Serbs and ethnic Albanians as violence continued for a 2nd day.

2006 – The USS Cape St. George, a Ticonderoga-class cruiser and the USS Gonzalez, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, engaged pirate vessels after receiving fire from them.

2006 – USS Winston Churchill engages pirates off the coast of Somalia, killing one, capturing 12, after the U.N. Security Council on March 15, encouraged any naval forces near Somalia to take action against suspected piracy. This occurred after an attack on a UN World Food Program-chartered ship bringing drought-relief food supplies on March 13.

2007 - The Coast Guard made the largest cocaine seizure in its history (to date) when CGCs Hamilton and Sherman seized 42,845 pound of cocaine aboard the Panamanian-flagged M/V Gatun off the coast of Panama. The Gatun was first located by a HC-130 on 17 March.

2013 – M23 Movement leader Bosco Ntaganda surrenders himself at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, having been wanted by the ICC since 2006 on war crimes charges.

2014 – The United States expels all Syrian diplomats and closes the Syrian embassy in Washington D.C.


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