1861 - Congress authorizes the Medal of Honor, the Nation's highest award, for Naval personnel.
1943 - USS Grayling (SS-208) sinks fourth Japanese ship since 18 December.
1951 - First helicopter landing aboard a hospital ship, USS Consolation.
1968 - Launch of Apollo 8 with Captain James A. Lovell, Jr. as Command Module Pilot. During the mission Lovell was one of the first two people to see the far side of the moon. The mission lasted 6 days and 3 hours, and included 10 moon orbits. Recovery was by HS-4 helicopters from USS Yorktown (CVS-10).
1775 - Congress commissions first naval officers: Esek Hopkins, Commander in Chief of the Fleet, Captains Dudley Saltonstall, Abraham Whipple, Nicolas Biddle, and John Hopkins. Lieutenants included John Paul Jones.
1841 - Commissioning of USS Mississippi, first U.S. ocean-going side-wheel steam warship, at Philadelphia.
1942 - Pharmacist's Mate First Class Thomas A. Moore performs appendectomy on Fireman Second Class George M. Platter on board USS Silversides (SS-236).
1942 - Sue Dauser takes oath of office as Superintendant of Navy Nurse Corps, becoming first woman with the relative rank of captain in U.S. Navy. She was promoted to the rank of captain on 26 February 1944.
1944 - Commissioning of first 2 African-American WAVES officers, Harriet Ida Pickens and Frances F. Wills.
1960 - HS-3 and HU-2 (USS Valley Forge) helicopters rescue 27 men from oiler SS Pine Ridge breaking up in heavy seas off Cape Hatteras.
1826 - Captain Thomas ap Catesby Jones of USS Peacock and King Kamehameha negotiate first treaty between Hawaii and a foreign power
1910 - LT Theodore G. Ellyson becomes first naval officer sent to flight training.
1941 - Gallant defenders of Wake Island (Sailors, Marines, volunteer civilian contractors, and Army Air Force radio detachment) surrender.
1814 - Treaty of Ghent ends the War of 1812.
1864 - Naval Forces under Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter with Army forces under Major General Benjamin F. Butler begin unsuccessful two-day attack against Fort Fisher, NC.
1950 - Under cover of naval gunfire support, Task Force 90 completes a 14-day evacuation of 100,000 troops and equipment and 91,000 refugees from Hungnam, North Korea.
1941 - Admiral Chester W. Nimitz arrives at Pearl Harbor to assume command of U.S. Pacific Fleet.
1862 - Four nuns who were volunteer nurses on board Red Rover were the first female nurses on a U.S. Navy hospital ship.
1943 - Seventh Amphibious Force lands 1st Marine Division on Cape Gloucester, New Britain.
1777 - Floating mines intended for use against British Fleet found in Delaware River.
1814 - Destruction of schooner Carolina, the last of Commodore Daniel Patterson's make-shift fleet that fought a series of delaying actions that contributed to Andrew Jackson's victory at the Battle of New Orleans. After loss of craft, the naval guns were mounted on shore to continue the fight.