The instances vary greatly in size of operation, legal
authorization, and significance. The number of troops involved range from a few
sailors or Marines landed to protect American lives and property to hundreds of
thousands in Vietnam and millions in World War II. Some actions were of short
duration and some lasted a number of years. In some instances a military officer
acted without authorization; some actions were conducted solely under the
President's powers as Chief Executive or Commander in Chief; other instances
were authorized by Congress in some fashion; five were declared wars. For most
of the instances listed, however, the status of the action under domestic or
international law has not been addressed. Thus inclusion in this list does not
connote either legality or significance.
1798-1800 -- Undeclared Naval War with France.
This contest included land actions, such as that in the Dominican Republic, city
of Puerto Plata, where marines captured a French privateer under the guns of the
1801-05 -- Tripoli. The First Barbary War included the
USS George Washington and USS Philadelphia affairs and the Eaton
expedition, during which a few marines landed with United States Agent William
Eaton to raise a force against Tripoli in an effort to free the crew of the
Philadelphia. Tripoli declared war but not the United States.
1806 -- Mexico (Spanish territory). Capt. Z. M. Pike, with a
platoon of troops, invaded Spanish territory at the headwaters of the Rio Grande
on orders from Gen. James Wilkinson. He was made prisoner without resistance at
a fort he constructed in present day Colorado, taken to Mexico, and later
released after seizure of his papers.
1806-10 -- Gulf of Mexico.
American gunboats operated from New Orleans against Spanish and French
privateers off the Mississippi Delta, chiefly under Capt. John Shaw and Master
Commandant David Porter.
1810 -- West Florida (Spanish
territory). Gov. Claiborne of Louisiana, on orders of the President,
occupied with troops territory in dispute east of Mississippi as far as the
Pearl River, later the eastern boundary of Louisiana. He was authorized to seize
as far east as the Perdido River.
1812 -- Amelia Island and other -
parts of east Florida, then under Spain. Temporary possession was authorized
by President Madison and by Congress, to prevent occupation by any other power;
but possession was obtained by Gen. George Matthews in so irregular a manner
that his measures were disavowed by the President.
1812-15 -- War of
1812. On June 18, 1812, the United States declared war between the United
States and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Among the
issues leading to the war were British interception of neutral ships and
blockades of the United States during British hostilities with France.
1813 -- West Florida (Spanish territory). On authority given by
Congress, General Wilkinson seized Mobile Bay in April with 600 soldiers. A
small Spanish garrison gave way. Thus U.S. advanced into disputed territory to
the Perdido River, as projected in 1810. No fighting.
Marguesas Islands. U.S. forces built a fort on the island of Nukahiva to
protect three prize ships which had been captured from the British.
-- Spanish Florida. Gen. Andrew Jackson took Pensacola and drove out the
British with whom the United States was at war.
Caribbean. Engagements between pirates and American ships or squadrons
took place repeatedly especially ashore and offshore about Cuba, Puerto Rico,
Santo Domingo, and Yucatan. Three thousand pirate attacks on merchantmen were
reported between 1815 and 1823. In 1822 Commodore James Biddle employed a
squadron of two frigates, four sloops of war, two brigs, four schooners, and two
gunboats in the West Indies.
1815 -- Algiers. The second Barbary War was
declared by the opponents but not by the United States. Congress authorized an
expedition. A large fleet under Decatur attacked Algiers and obtained
1815 -- Tripoli. After securing an agreement from
Algiers, Decatur demonstrated with his squadron at Tunis and Tripoli, where he
secured indemnities for offenses during the War of 1812.
Spanish Florida. United States forces destroyed Nicholls Fort, called
also Negro Fort, which harbored raiders making forays into United States
1816-18 -- Spanish Florida - First Seminole War. The
Seminole Indians, whose area was a resort for escaped slaves and border
ruffians, were attacked by troops under Generals Jackson and Gaines and pursued
into northern Florida. Spanish posts were attacked and occupied, British
citizens executed. In 1819 the Floridas were ceded to the United States.
1817 -- Amelia Island (Spanish territory off Florida). Under
orders of President Monroe, United States forces landed and expelled a group of
smugglers, adventurers, and freebooters.
1818 -- Oregon. The
USS. Ontario dispatched from Washington, landed at the Columbia River and
in August took possession of Oregon territory. Britain had conceded sovereignty
but Russia and Spain asserted claims to the area.
Africa. Naval units raided the slave traffic pursuant to the 1819 act of
1822 -- Cuba. United States naval forces suppressing
piracy landed on the northwest coast of Cuba and burned a pirate
1823 -- Cuba. Brief landings in pursuit of pirates
occurred April 8 near Escondido; April 16 near Cayo Blanco; July 11 at Siquapa
Bay; July 21 at Cape Cruz; and October 23 at Camrioca.
Cuba. In October the USS Porpoise landed bluejackets near Matanzas
in pursuit of pirates. This was during the cruise authorized in
1824 -- Puerto Rico (Spanish territory). Commodore David
Porter with a landing party attacked the town of Fajardo which had sheltered
pirates and insulted American naval officers. He landed with 200 men in November
and forced an apology. Commodore Porter was later court-martialed for
overstepping his powers.
1825 -- Cuba. In March cooperating
American and British forces landed at Sagua La Grande to capture
1827 -- Greece. In October and November landing parties
hunted pirates on the islands of Argenteire, Miconi, and Androse.
-- Falkland Islands. Captain Duncan of the USS Lexington
investigated the capture of three American sealing vessels and sought to protect
1832 -- Sumatra - February 6 to 9. A naval
force landed and stormed a fort to punish natives of the town of Quallah Battoo
for plundering the American ship Friendship.
Argentina - October 31 to November 15. A force was sent ashore at Buenos
Aires to protect the interests of the United States and other countries during
1835-36 -- Peru - December 10, 1835, to January
24, 1836, and August 31 to December 7, 1836. Marines protected American
interests in Callao and Lima during an attempted revolution.
Mexico. General Gaines occupied Nacogdoches (Tex.), disputed territory,
from July to December during the Texan war for independence, under orders to
cross the "imaginary boundary line" if an Indian outbreak
1838-39 -- Sumatra - December 24, 1838, to January 4,
1839. A naval force landed to punish natives of the towns of Quallah Battoo and
Muckie (Mukki) for depredations on American shipping.
1840 -- Fiji
Islands - July. Naval forces landed to punish natives for attacking American
exploring and surveying parties.
1841 -- Drummond Island, Kingsmill
Group. A naval party landed to avenge the murder of a seaman by the
1841 -- Samoa - February 24. A naval party landed and
burned towns after the murder of an American seaman on Upolu Island.
-- Mexico. Commodore TA.C. Jones, in command of a squadron long cruising
off California, occupied Monterey, Calif., on October 19, believing war had
come. He discovered peace, withdrew, and saluted. A similar incident occurred a
week later at San Diego.
1843 -- China. Sailors and marines from
the St. Louis were landed after a clash between Americans and Chinese at
the trading post in Canton.
1843 -- Africa -- November 29 to
December 16. Four United States vessels demonstrated and landed various parties
(one of 200 marines and sailors) to discourage piracy and the slave trade along
the Ivory coast, and to punish attacks by the natives on American seamen and
1844 -- Mexico. President Tyler deployed U.S. forces to
protect Texas against Mexico, pending Senate approval of a treaty of annexation.
(Later rejected.) He defended his action against a Senate resolution of
1846-48 -- Mexican War. On May 13,1846, the United States
recognized the existence of a state of war with Mexico. After the
annexation of Texas in 1845, the United States and Mexico failed to resolve a
boundary dispute and President Polk said that it was necessary to deploy forces
in Mexico to meet a threatened invasion.
1849 -- Smyrna. In July
a naval force gained release of an American seized by Austrian officials.
1851 -- Turkey. After a massacre of foreigners (including
Americans) at Jaffa in January, a demonstration by the Mediterranean Squadron
was ordered along the Turkish (Levant) coast.
1851 -- Johanns Island
(east of Africa) -- August. Forces from the U.S. sloop of war Dale
exacted redress for the unlawful imprisonment of the captain of an American
1852-53 -- Argentina -- February 3 to 12, 1852;
September 17, 1852 to April 1853. Marines were landed and maintained in Buenos
Aires to protect American interests during a revolution.
Nicaragua -- March 11 to 13. U.S. forces landed to protect American lives
and interests during political disturbances.
1853-54 -- Japan.
Commodore Perry and his expedition made a display of force leading to the
"opening of Japan" and the Perry Expedition.
1853-54 -- Ryukyu and
Bonin Islands. Commodore Perry on three visits before going to Japan and
while waiting for a reply from Japan made a naval demonstration, landing marines
twice, and secured a coaling concession from the ruler of Naha on Okinawa; he
also demonstrated in the Bonin Islands with the purpose of securing facilities
1854 -- China -- April 4 to June 15 to 17. American
and English ships landed forces to protect American interests in and near
Shanghai during Chinese civil strife.
1854 -- Nicaragua -- July 9
to 15. Naval forces bombarded and burned San Juan del Norte (Greytown) to avenge
an insult to the American Minister to Nicaragua.
1855 -- China --
May 19 to 21. U.S. forces protected American interests in Shanghai and, from
August 3 to 5 fought pirates near Hong Kong.
1855 -- Fiji Islands
-- September 12 to November 4. An American naval force landed to seek
reparations for depredations on American residents and seamen.
Uruguay -- November 25 to 29. United States and European naval forces
landed to protect American interests during an attempted revolution in
1856 -- Panama, Republic of New Grenada -- September
19 to 22. U.S. forces landed to protect American interests during an
1856 -- China -- October 22 to December 6. U.S.
forces landed to protect American interests at Canton during hostilities between
the British and the Chinese, and to avenge an assault upon an unarmed boat
displaying the United States flag.
1857 -- Nicaragua -- April to
May, November to December. In May Commander C.H. Davis of the United States
Navy, with some marines, received the surrender of William Walker, who had been
attempting to get control of the country, and protected his men from the
retaliation of native allies who had been fighting Walker. In November and
December of the same year United States vessels Saratoga, Wabash,
and Fulton opposed another attempt of William Walker on Nicaragua.
Commodore Hiram Paulding's act of landing marines and compelling the removal of
Walker to the United States, was tacitly disavowed by Secretary of State Lewis
Cass, and Paulding was forced into retirement.
1858 -- Uruguay --
January 2 to 27. Forces from two United States warships landed to protect
American property during a revolution in Montevideo.
1858 -- Fiji
Islands -- October 6 to 16. A marine expedition chastised natives for the
murder of two American citizens at Waya.
1858-59 -- Turkey. The
Secretary of State requested a display of naval force along the Levant after a
massacre of Americans at Jaffa and mistreatment elsewhere "to remind the
authorities (of Turkey) of the power of the United States."
Paraguay. Congress authorized a naval squadron to seek redress for an attack
on a naval vessel in the Parana River during 1855. Apologies were made after a
large display of force.
1859 -- Mexico. Two hundred United States
soldiers crossed the Rio Grande in pursuit of the Mexican bandit
1859 -- China -- July 31 to August 2. A naval force
landed to protect American interests in Shanghai.
1860 -- Angola,
Portuguese West Africa -- March 1. American residents at Kissembo called
upon American and British ships to protect lives and property during problems
1860 -- Colombia, Bay of Panama -- September 27 to
October 8. Naval forces landed to protect American interests during a
1863 -- Japan -- July 16. The USS Wyoming
retaliated against a firing on the American vessel Pembroke at
1864 -- Japan -- July 14 to August 3. Naval forces
protected the United States Minister to Japan when he visited Yedo to negotiate
concerning some American claims against Japan, and to make his negotiations
easier by impressing the Japanese with American power.
Japan -- September 4 to 14. Naval forces of the United States, Great
Britain, France, and the Netherlands compelled Japan and the Prince of Nagato in
particular to permit the Straits of Shimonoseki to be used by foreign shipping
in accordance with treaties already signed.
1865 -- Panama --
March 9 and 10. U.S. forces protected the lives and property of American
residents during a revolution.
1866 -- Mexico. To protect American
residents, General Sedgwick and 100 men in November obtained surrender of
Matamoras. After 3 days he was ordered by U.S. Government to withdraw. His act
was repudiated by the President.
1866 -- China. From June 20 to
July 7, U.S. forces punished an assault on the American consul at
1867 -- Nicaragua. Marines occupied Managua and
1867 -- Formosa -- June 13. A naval force landed and burned
a number of huts to punish the murder of the crew of a wrecked American
1868 -- Japan (Osaka, Hiolo, Nagasaki, Yokohama, and
Negata) -- February 4 to 8, April 4 to May 12, June 12 and 13. U.S. forces
were landed to protect American interests during the civil war in Japan over the
abolition of the Shogunate and the restoration of the Mikado.
Uruguay -- February 7 and 8, 19 to 26. U.S. forces protected foreign
residents and the customhouse during an insurrection at Montevideo.
-- Colombia -- April. U.S. forces protected passengers and treasure in
transit at Aspinwall during the absence of local police or troops on the
occasion of the death of the President of Colombia.
1870 -- Mexico
-- June 17 and 18. U.S. forces destroyed the pirate ship Forward, which
had been run aground about 40 miles up the Rio Tecapan.
Hawaiian Islands -- September 21. U.S. forces placed the American flag at
half mast upon the death of Queen Kalama, when the American consul at Honolulu
would not assume responsibility for so doing.
1871 -- Korea --
June 10 to 12. A U.S. naval force attacked and captured five forts to punish
natives for depredations on Americans, particularly for murdering the crew of
the General Sherman and burning the schooner, and for later firing on
other American small boats taking soundings up the Salee River.
Colombia (Bay of Panama) -- May 7 to 22, September 23 to October 9. U.S.
forces protected American interests during hostilities over possession of the
government of the State of Panama.
1873 -- Mexico. United States
troops crossed the Mexican border repeatedly in pursuit of cattle and other
thieves. There were some reciprocal pursuits by Mexican troops into border
territory. Mexico protested frequently. Notable cases were at Remolina in May
1873 and at Las Cuevas in 1875. Washington orders often supported these
excursions. Agreements between Mexico and the United States, the first in 1882,
finally legitimized such raids. They continued intermittently, with minor
disputes, until 1896.
1874 -- Hawaiian Islands -- February 12 to
20. Detachments from American vessels were landed to preserve order and protect
American lives and interests during the coronation of a new king.
Mexico -- May 18. An American force was landed to police the town of
Matamoras temporarily while it was without other government.
Egypt -- July 14 to 18. American forces landed to protect American
interests during warfare between British and Egyptians and looting of the city
of Alexandria by Arabs.
1885 -- Panama (Colon) -- January 18 and
19. U.S. forces were used to guard the valuables in transit over the Panama
Railroad, and the safes and vaults of the company during revolutionary activity.
In March, April, and May in the cities of Colon and Panama, the forces helped
reestablish freedom of transit during revolutionary activity.
Korea -- June. A naval force was sent ashore to protect American
residents in Seoul during unsettled political conditions, when an outbreak of
the populace was expected.
1888 -- Haiti -- December 20. A display
of force persuaded the Haitian Government to give up an American steamer which
had been seized on the charge of breach of blockade.
Samoa -- November 14, 1888, to March 20, 1889. U.S. forces were landed to
protect American citizens and the consulate during a native civil
1889 -- Hawaiian Islands -- July 30 and 31. U.S. forces
protected American interests at Honolulu during a revolution.
Argentina. A naval party landed to protect U.S. consulate and legation in
1891 -- Haiti. U.S. forces sought to protect
American lives and property on Navassa Island.
1891 -- Bering
Strait -- July 2 to October 5. Naval forces sought to stop seal
1891 -- Chile -- August 28 to 30. U.S. forces protected
the American consulate and the women and children who had taken refuge in it
during a revolution in Valparaiso.
1893 -- Hawaii -- January 16 to
April 1. Marines were landed ostensibly to protect American lives and property,
but many believed actually to promote a provisional government under Sanford B.
Dole. This action was disavowed by the United States.
Brazil -- January. A display of naval force sought to protect American
commerce and shipping at Rio de Janeiro during a Brazilian civil
1894 -- Nicaragua -- July 6 to August 7. U.S. forces sought
to protect American interests at Bluefields following a
1894-95 -- China. Marines were stationed at Tientsin
and penetrated to Peking for protection purposes during the Sino--Japanese
1894-95 -- China. A naval vessel was beached and used as a
fort at Newchwang for protection of American nationals.
Korea -- July 24, 1894 to April 3, 1896. A guard of marines was sent to
protect the American legation and American lives and interests at Seoul during
and following the Sino-- Japanese War.
1895 -- Colombia -- March 8
to 9. U.S. forces protected American interests during an attack on the town of
Bocas del Toro by a bandit chieftain.
1896 -- Nicaragua -- May 2
to 4. U.S. forces protected American interests in Corinto during political
1898 -- Nicaragua -- February 7 and 8. U.S. forces
protected American lives and property at San Juan del Sur.
1898 -- The
Spanish--American War. On April 25, 1898, the United States declared war
with Spain. The war followed a Cuban insurrection against Spanish rule
and the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in the harbor at
1898--99 -- China -- November 5, 1898 to March 15, 1899.
U.S. forces provided a guard for the legation at Peking and the consulate at
Tientsin during contest between the Dowager Empress and her son.
Nicaragua. American and British naval forces were landed to protect
national interests at San Juan del Norte, February 22 to March 5, and at
Bluefields a few weeks later in connection with the insurrection of Gen. Juan P.
1899 -- Samoa -- February-May 15. American and British
naval forces were landed to protect national interests and to take part in a
bloody contention over the succession to the throne.
Philippine Islands. U.S. forces protected American interests following the
war with Spain and conquered the islands by defeating the Filipinos in their war
1900 -- China -- May 24 to September 28.
American troops participated in operations to protect foreign lives during the
Boxer rising, particularly at Peking. For many years after this experience a
permanent legation guard was maintained in Peking, and was strengthened at times
as trouble threatened.
1901 -- Colombia (State of Panama) --
November 20 to December 4. U.S. forces protected American property on the
Isthmus and kept transit lines open during serious revolutionary
1902 -- Colombia -- April 16 to 23. U.S. forces
protected American lives and property at Bocas del Toro during a civil
1902 -- Colombia (State of Panama) -- September 17 to
November 18. The United States placed armed guards on all trains crossing the
Isthmus to keep the railroad line open, and stationed ships on both sides of
Panama to prevent the landing of Colombian troops.
Honduras -- March 23 to 30 or 31. U.S. forces protected the American
consulate and the steamship wharf at Puerto Cortez during a period of
1903 -- Dominican Republic -- March 30 to
April 21. A detachment of marines was landed to protect American interests in
the city of Santo Domingo during a revolutionary outbreak.
Syria -- September 7 to 12. U.S. forces protected the American consulate in
Beirut when a local Moslem uprising was feared.
Abyssinia. Twenty-five marines were sent to Abyssinia to protect the U.S.
Consul General while he negotiated a treaty.
1903-14 -- Panama. U.S. forces sought to protect
American interests and lives during and following the revolution for
independence from Colombia over construction of the Isthmian Canal. With brief
intermissions, United States Marines were stationed on the Isthmus from November
4, 1903, to January 21 1914 to guard American interests.
1904 -- Dominican Republic -- January 2 to
February 11. American and British naval forces established an area in which no
fighting would be allowed and protected American interests in Puerto Plata and
Sosua and Santo Domingo City during revolutionary fighting.
1904 -- Tangier, Morocco. "We want either
Perdicaris alive or Raisula dead." A squadron demonstrated to force release of a
kidnapped American. Marine guard was landed to protect the consul
1904 -- Panama -- November 17 to 24. U.S. forces
protected American lives and property at Ancon at the time of a threatened
1904-05 -- Korea -- January 5, 1904, to November
11, 1905. A Marine guard was sent to protect the American legation in Seoul
during the Russo-Japanese War.
1906-09 -- Cuba -- September 1906 to January 23,
1909. U.S. forces sought to restore order, protect foreigners, and establish a
stable government after serious revolutionary activity.
1907 -- Honduras -- March 18 to June 8. To protect
American interests during a war between Honduras and Nicaragua, troops were
stationed in Trujillo, Ceiba, Puerto Cortez, San Pedro Laguna and
1910 -- Nicaragua -- May 19 to September 4. U.S. forces
protected American interests at Bluefields.
1911 -- Honduras --
January 26. American naval detachments were landed to protect American lives and
interests during a civil war in Honduras.
1911 -- China. As the
nationalist revolution approached, in October an ensign and 10 men tried to
enter Wuchang to rescue missionaries but retired on being warned away and a
small landing force guarded American private property and consulate at Hankow. A
marine guard was established in November over the cable stations at Shanghai;
landing forces were sent for protection in Nanking, Chinkiang, Taku and
1912 -- Honduras. A small force landed to prevent
seizure by the government of an American-owned railroad at Puerto Cortez. The
forces were withdrawn after the United States disapproved the
1912 -- Panama. Troops, on request of both political
parties, supervised elections outside the Canal Zone.
1912 -- Cuba
-- June 5 to August 5. U.S. forces protected American interests on the Province
of Oriente, and in Havana.
1912 -- China -- August 24 to 26, on
Kentucky Island, and August 26 to 30 at Camp Nicholson. U.S. forces protect
Americans and American interests during revolutionary activity.
Turkey -- November 18 to December 3. U.S. forces guarded the American
legation at Constantinople during a Balkan War.
Nicaragua -- August to November 1912. U.S. forces protected American
interests during an attempted revolution. A small force, serving as a legation
guard and seeking to promote peace and stability, remained until August 5,
1912-41 -- China. The disorders which began with the
Kuomintang rebellion in 1912, which were redirected by the invasion of China by
Japan and finally ended by war between Japan and the United States in 1941, led
to demonstrations and landing parties for the protection of U.S. interests in
China continuously and at many points from 1912 on to 1941. The guard at Peking
and along the route to the sea was maintained until 1941. In 1927, the United
States had 5,670 troops ashore in China and 44 naval vessels in its waters. In
1933 the United States had 3,027 armed men ashore. The protective action was
generally based on treaties with China concluded from 1858 to 1901.
-- Mexico -- September 5 to 7. A few marines landed at Ciaris Estero to
aid in evacuating American citizens and others from the Yaqui Valley, made
dangerous for foreigners by civil strife.
1914 -- Haiti -- January
29 to February 9, February 20 to 21, October 19. Intermittently U.S. naval
forces protected American nationals in a time of rioting and
1914 -- Dominican Republic -- June and July. During a
revolutionary movement, United States naval forces by gunfire stopped the
bombardment of Puerto Plata, and by threat of force maintained Santo Domingo
City as a neutral zone.
1914-17 -- Mexico. Undeclared
Mexican--American hostilities followed the Dolphin affair and Villa's
raids and included capture of Vera Cruz and later Pershing's expedition into
1915-34 -- Haiti -- July 28, 1915, to August 15,
1934. U.S. forces maintained order during a period of chronic and threatened
1916 -- China. American forces landed to quell a
riot taking place on American property in Nanking.
1916-24 -- Dominican Republic -- May 1916 to
September 1924. American naval forces maintained order during a period of
chronic and threatened insurrection.
1917 -- China. American troops were landed at
Chungking to protect American lives during a political crisis.
-- World War I. On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war with
Germany and on December 7,1917, with Austria-Hungary. Entrance of the
United States into the war was precipitated by Germany's submarine warfare
against neutral shipping.
1917-22 -- Cuba. U.S. forces protected
American interests during insurrection and subsequent unsettled conditions. Most
of the Uni States armed forces left Cuba by August 1919, but two companies
remained at Camaguey until February 1922.
1918-19 -- Mexico. After
withdrawal of the Pershing expedition, U.S. troops entered Mexico in pursuit of
bandits at least three times in 1918 and s times in 1919. In August 1918
American and Mexican troops fought at Nogales.
1918-20 -- Panama.
U.S. forces were used for police duty according to treaty stipulations, at
Chiriqui, during election disturbances and subsequent unrest.
Soviet Russia. Marines were landed at and near Vladivostok in June and
July to protect the American consulate and other points in the fighting between
the Bolshevik troops and the Czech Army which had traversed Siberia from the
western front. A joint proclamation of emergency government and neutrality was
issued by the American, Japanese, British, French, and Czech commanders in July.
In August 7,000 men were landed in Vladivostok and remained until January 1920,
as part of an allied occupation force. In September 1918, 5,000 American troops
joined the allied intervention force at Archangel and remained until June 1919.
These operations were in response to the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and were
partly supported by Czarist or Kerensky elements.
Dalmatia. U.S. forces were landed at Trau at the request of Italian
authorities to police order between the Italians and Serbs.
Turkey. Marines from the USS Arizona were landed to guard the U.S.
Consulate during the Greek occupation of Constantinople.
Honduras -- September 8 to 12. A landing force was sent ashore to maintain
order in a neutral zone during an attempted revolution.
China -- March 14. A landing force was sent ashore for a few hours to
protect lives during a disturbance at Kiukiang.
1920 -- Guatemala
-- April 9 to 27. U.S. forces protected the American Legation and other American
interests, such as the cable station, during a period of fighting between
Unionists and the Government of Guatemala.
1920-22 -- Russia
(Siberia) -- February 16, 1920, to November 19, 1922. A Marine guard was
sent to protect the United States radio station and property on Russian Island,
Bay of Vladivostok.
1921 -- Panama -- Costa Rica. American naval
squadrons demonstrated in April on both sides of the Isthmus to prevent war
between the two countries over a boundary dispute.
1922 -- Turkey
-- September and October. A landing force was sent ashore with consent of both
Greek and Turkish authorities, to protect American lives and property when the
Turkish Nationalists entered Smyrna.
1922-23 -- China. Between
April 1922 and November 1923 marines were landed five times to protect Americans
during periods of unrest.
1924 -- Honduras -- February 28 to March
31, September 10 to 15. U.S. forces protected American lives and interests
during election hostilities.
1924 -- China -- September. Marines
were landed to protect Americans and other foreigners in Shanghai during Chinese
1925 -- China -- January 15 to August 29.
Fighting of Chinese factions accompanied by riots and demonstrations in Shanghai
brought the landing of American forces to protect lives and property in the
1925 -- Honduras -- April 19 to 21. U.S.
forces protected foreigners at La Ceiba during a political upheaval.
-- Panama -- October 12 to 23. Strikes and rent riots led to the landing
of about 600 American troops to keep order and protect American
1926 -- China -- August and September. The Nationalist
attack on Han brought the landing of American naval forces to protect American
citizens. A small guard was maintained at the consulate general even after
September 16, when the rest of the forces were withdrawn. Likewise, when Nation
forces captured Kiukiang, naval forces were landed for the protection of
foreigners November 4 to 6.
1926-33 -- Nicaragua -- May 7 to June
5, 1926; August 27, 1926, to January 1933. The coup d'etat of General Chamorro
aroused revolutionary activities leading to the landing of American marines to
protect the interests of United States. United States forces came and went
intermittently until January 3, 1933. Their work included activity against the
Sandino in 1928.
1927 -- China -- February.
Fighting at Shanghai caused American naval forces and marines to be increased.
In March a naval guard was stationed at American consulate at Nanking after
Nationalist forces captured the city. American and British destroyers later used
shell fire to protect Americans and other foreigners. Subsequently additional
forces of marines and naval
forces were stationed in the vicinity of Shanghai
1932 -- China. American forces were landed to
protect American interests during the Japanese occupation of
1933 -- Cuba. During a revolution against President
Gerardo Machada naval forces demonstrated but no landing was made.
-- China. Marines landed at Foochow to protect the American Consulate.
1940 -- Newfoundland, Bermuda, St. Lucia, - Bahamas, Jamaica,
Antigua, Trinidad, and British Guiana. Troops were sent to guard air and
naval bases obtained by negotiation with Great Britain. These were sometimes
called lend-lease bases.
1941 -- Greenland. Greenland was taken
under protection of the United States in April.
1941 -- Netherlands
(Dutch Guiana). In November the President ordered American troops to occupy
Dutch Guiana, but by agreement with the Netherlands government in exile, Brazil
cooperated to protect aluminum ore supply from the bauxite mines in
1941 -- Iceland. Iceland was taken under the protection
of the United States
1941 -- Germany. Sometime in the spring the
President ordered the Navy to patrol ship lanes to Europe. By July U.S. warships
were conveying and September were attacking German submarines. In November, the
Neutrality Act was partially repealed to protect U.S. military aid to
Britain.1941-45 -- World War II. On December 8, 1941, the United States
declared war with Japan, on December 11 with Germany and Italy, and on June 5,
1942, with Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. The United States declared war
against Japan after the surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor, and against Germany
and Italy after those nations, under the dictators Hitler and Mussolini,
declared war against the United States.
1945 -- China. In October
50,000 U.S. Marines were sent to North China to assist Chinese Nationalist
authorities in disarming and repatriating the Japanese in China and in
controlling ports, railroads, and airfields. This was in addition to
approximately 60,000 U.S. forces remaining in China at the end of World War
1946 -- Trieste. President Truman ordered the augmentation of
U.S. troops along the zonal occupation line and the reinforcement of air forces
in northern Italy after Yugoslav forces shot down an unarmed U.S. Army transport
plane flying over Venezia Giulia. Earlier U.S. naval units had been dispatched
to the scene.
1948 -- Palestine. A marine consular guard was sent
to Jerusalem to protect the U.S. Consul General.
1948 -- Berlin.
After the Soviet Union established a land blockade of the U.S., British, and
French sectors of Berlin on June 24, 1948, the United States and its allies
airlifted supplies to Berlin until after the blockade was lifted in May
1948-49 -- China. Marines were dispatched to Nanking to
protect the American Embassy when the city fell to Communist troops, and to
Shanghai to aid in the protection and evacuation of Americans.
-- Korean War. The United States responded to North Korean invasion of
South Korea by going to its assistance, pursuant to United Nations Security
1950-55 -- Formosa (Taiwan). In June 1950 at
the beginning of the Korean War, President Truman ordered the U.S. Seventh Fleet
to prevent Chinese Communist attacks upon Formosa and Chinese Nationalist
operations against mainland China.
1954-55 -- China. Naval units
evacuated U.S. civilians and military personnel from the Tachen
1956 -- Egypt. A Marine battalion evacuated U.S.
nationals and other persons from Alexandria during the Suez crisis.
-- Lebanon. Marines were landed in Lebanon at the invitation of its
government to help protect against threatened insurrection supported from the
1959-60 -- The Caribbean. 2d Marine Ground Task Force was
deployed to protect U.S. nationals during the Cuban crisis.
Cuba. President Kennedy instituted a "quarantine" on the shipment of
offensive missiles to Cuba from the Soviet Union. He also warned Soviet Union
that the launching of any missile from Cuba against nations in the Western
Hemisphere would bring about U.S. nuclear retaliation on the Soviet Union. A
negotiated settlement was achieved in a few days.
Thailand. The 3d Marine Expeditionary Unit landed on May 17, 1962 to
support that country during the threat of Communist pressure from outside; by
Jul 30 the 5000 marines had been withdrawn.
1962-75 -- Laos. From
October 1962 until 1976, the United States played a role of military support in
1964 -- Congo. The United States sent four transport planes
to provide airlift for Congolese troops during a rebellion and to transport
Belgian paratroopers to rescue foreigners.
1964-73 -- Vietnam War.
U.S. military advisers had been in South Vietnam a decade, and their numbers had
been increased as the military position the Saigon government became weaker.
After the attacks on U.S. destroyers in the Tonkin Gulf, President Johnson asked
for a resolution expressing U.S. determination to support freedom and protect
peace in Southeast Asia. Congress responded with the Tonkin Gulf Resolution,
expressing support for "all necessary measures" the President might take to
repel armed attacks against U.S. forces and prevent further aggression.
Following this resolution, and following a Communist attack on a U.S.
installation in central Vietnam, the United States escalated its participation
in the war to a peak of 543 000 in April 1969.
1965 -- Dominican
Republic. The United States intervened to protect lives and property during
a Dominican revolt and sent more troops as fears grew that the revolutionary
forces were coming increasingly under Communist control.
Congo. The United States sent three military transport aircraft with
crews to provide the Congo central government with logistical support during a
1970 -- Cambodia. U.S. troops were ordered into Cambodia
to clean out Communist sanctuaries from which Viet Cong and North Vietnamese
attacked U.S and South Vietnamese forces in Vietnam. The object of this attack,
which lasted from April 30 to June 30, was to ensure the continuing safe
withdrawal of American forces from South Vietnam and to assist the program of
1974 -- Evacuation from Cyprus. United States
naval forces evacuated U.S. civilians during hostilities between Turkish and
Greek Cypriot forces.
1975 -- Evacuation from Vietnam. On April 3, 1975,
President Ford reported U.S. naval vessels, helicopters, and Marines had been
sent to assist in evacuation of refugees and U.S. nationals from Vietnam. (Note
1975 -- Evacuation from Cambodia. On April 12, 1975, President
Ford reported that he had ordered U.S. military forces to proceed with the
planned evacuation of U.S. citizens from Cambodia.
1975 -- South
Vietnam. On April 30 1975, President Ford reported that a force of 70
evacuation helicopters and 865 Marines had evacuated about 1,400 U.S. citizens
and 5,500 third country nationals and South Vietnamese from landing zones near
the U.S. Embassy in Saigon and the Tan Son Nhut Airfield.
Mayaguez incident. On May 15, 1975, President Ford reported he had
ordered military forces to retake the SS Mayaguez, a merchant vessel en
route from Hong Kong to Thailand with U.S. citizen crew which was seized from
Cambodian naval patrol boats in international waters and forced to proceed to a
1976 -- Lebanon. On July 22 and 23, 1974,
helicopters from five U.S. naval vessels evacuated approximately 250 Americans
and Europeans from Lebanon during fighting between Lebanese factions after an
overland convoy evacuation had been blocked by hostilities.
Korea. Additional forces were sent to Korea after two American military
personnel were killed while in the demilitarized zone between North and South
Korea for the purpose of cutting down a tree.
1978 -- Zaire. From
May 19 through June 1978, the United States utilized military transport aircraft
to provide logistical support to Belgian and French rescue operations in
1980 -- Iran. On April 26, 1980, President Carter reported
the use of six U.S. transport planes and eight helicopters in an unsuccessful
attempt to rescue American hostages being held in Iran.
1981 -- El Salvador. After a guerilla offensive
against the government of El Salvador, additional U.S. military advisers were
sent to El Salvador, bringing the total to approximately 55, to assist in
training government forces in counterinsurgency.
1981 --Libya. On August 19, 1981, U.S. planes
based on the carrier Nimitz shot down two Libyan jets over the Gulf of
Sidra after one of the Libyan jets had fired a heat-seeking missile. The United
States periodically held freedom of navigation exercises in the Gulf of Sidra,
claimed by Libya as territorial waters but considered international waters by
the United States.
1982 -- Sinai. On March 19, 1982, President Reagan
reported the deployment of military personnel and equipment to participate in
the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai. Participation had been
authorized by the Multinational Force and Observers Resolution, Public Law
1982 -- Lebanon. On August 21, 1982, President
Reagan reported the dispatch of 80 marines to serve in the multinational force
to assist in the withdrawal of members of the Palestine Liberation force from
Beirut. The Marines left Sept. 20, 1982.
1982 -- Lebanon. On September 29, 1982, President
Reagan reported the deployment of 1200 marines to serve in a temporary
multinational force to facilitate the restoration of Lebanese government
sovereignty. On Sept. 29, 1983, Congress passed the Multinational Force in
Lebanon Resolution (P.L. 98-119) authorizing the continued participation for
1983 -- Egypt. After a Libyan plane bombed a city
in Sudan on March 18, 1983, and Sudan and Egypt appealed for assistance, the
United States dispatched an AWACS electronic surveillance plane to
1983-89 -- Honduras. In July 1983 the United
States undertook a series of exercises in Honduras that some believed might lead
to conflict with Nicaragua. On March 25, 1986, unarmed U.S. military helicopters
and crewmen ferried Honduran troops to the Nicaraguan border to repel Nicaraguan
1983 -- Chad. On August 8, 1983, President Reagan
reported the deployment of two AWACS electronic surveillance planes and eight
F-15 fighter planes and ground logistical support forces to assist Chad against
Libyan and rebel forces.
1983 -- Grenada. On October 25, 1983, President
Reagan reported a landing on Grenada by Marines and Army airborne troops to
protect lives and assist in the restoration of law and order and at the request
of five members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.
1984 -- Persian Gulf. On June 5, 1984, Saudi
Arabian jet fighter planes, aided by intelligence from a U.S. AWACS electronic
surveillance aircraft and fueled by a U.S. KC-10 tanker, shot down two Iranian
fighter planes over an area of the Persian Gulf proclaimed as a protected zone
1985 -- Italy . On October 10, 1985, U.S. Navy
pilots intercepted an Egyptian airliner and forced it to land in Sicily. The
airliner was carrying the hijackers of the Italian cruise ship Achille
Lauro who had killed an American citizen during the hijacking.
1986 --Libya. On March 26, 1986, President Reagan
reported to Congress that, on March 24 and 25, U.S. forces, while engaged in
freedom of navigation exercises around the Gulf of Sidra, had been attacked by
Libyan missiles and the United States had responded with missiles.
1986 -- Libya. On April 16, 1986, President Reagan
reported that U.S. air and naval forces had conducted bombing strikes on
terrorist facilities and military installations in Libya.
1986 -- Bolivia. U.S. Army personnel and aircraft
assisted Bolivia in anti-drug operations.
1987-88 -- Persian Gulf. After the Iran-Iraq War
resulted in several military incidents in the Persian Gulf, the United States
increased U.S. Navy forces operating in the Persian Gulf and adopted a policy of
reflagging and escorting Kuwaiti oil tankers through the Gulf. President Reagan
reported that U.S. ships had been fired upon or struck mines or taken other
military action on September 23, October 10, and October 20, 1987 and April 19,
July 4, and July 14, 1988. The United States gradually reduced its forces after
a cease-fire between Iran and Iraq on August 20, 1988.
1988 -- Panama. In mid-March and April 1988,
during a period of instability in Panama and as pressure grew for Panamanian
military leader General Manuel Noriega to resign, the United States sent 1,000
troops to Panama, to "further safeguard the canal, U.S. lives, property and
interests in the area." The forces supplemented 10,000 U.S. military personnel
already in Panama.
1989 -- Libya. On January 4, 1989, two U.S. Navy
F-14 aircraft based on USS John F. Kennedy shot down two Libyan jet
fighters over the Mediterranean Sea about 70 miles north of Libya. The U.S.
pilots said the Libyan planes had demonstrated hostile intentions.
1989 -- Panama. On May 11, 1989, in response to
General Noriega's disregard of the results of the Panamanian election, President
Bush ordered a brigade- sized force of approximately 1,900 troops to augment the
estimated 11,000 U.S. forces already in the area.
1989 -- Andean Initiative in War on Drugs. On
September 15, 1989, President Bush announced that military and law enforcement
assistance would be sent to help the Andean nations of Colombia, Bolivia, and
Peru combat illicit drug producers and traffickers. By mid-September there were
50- 100 U.S. military advisers in Colombia in connection with transport and
training in the use of military equipment, plus seven Special Forces teams of
2-12 persons to train troops in the three countries.
1989 -- Philippines. On December 2, 1989,
President Bush reported that on December 1 U.S. fighter planes from Clark Air
Base in the Philippines had assisted the Aquino government to repel a coup
attempt. In addition, 100 marines were sent from the U.S. Navy base at Subic Bay
to protect the U.S. Embassy in Manila.
1989 -- Panama. On December 21, 1989, President
Bush reported that he had ordered U.S. military forces to Panama to protect the
lives of American citizens and bring General Noriega to justice. By February 13,
1990, all the invasion forces had been withdrawn.
1990 -- Liberia. On August 6, 1990, President Bush
reported that a reinforced rifle company had been sent to provide additional
security to the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, and that helicopter teams had
evacuated U.S. citizens from Liberia.
1990 -- Saudi Arabia. On August 9, 1990, President
Bush reported that he had ordered the forward deployment of substantial elements
of the U.S. armed forces into the Persian Gulf region to help defend Saudi
Arabia after the August 2 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. On November 16, 1990, he
reported the continued buildup of the forces to ensure an adequate offensive
1991 -- Iraq. On January 18, 1991, President Bush
reported that he had directed U.S. armed forces to commence combat operations on
January 16 against Iraqi forces and military targets in Iraq and Kuwait, in
conjunction with a coalition of allies and U.N. Security Council resolutions. On
January 12 Congress had passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force
against Iraq Resolution (P.L. 102-1). Combat operations were suspended on
February 28, 1991.
1991 -- Iraq. On May 17, 1991, President Bush
stated in a status report to Congress that the Iraqi repression of the Kurdish
people had necessitated a limited introduction of U.S. forces into northern Iraq
for emergency relief purposes.
1991 -- Zaire. On September 25-27, 1991, after
widespread looting and rioting broke out in Kinshasa, U.S. Air Force C-141s
transported 100 Belgian troops and equipment into Mnshasa. U.S. planes also
carried 300 French troops into the Central African Republic and hauled back
American citizens and third country nationals from locations outside
1992 -- Sierra Leone. On May 3, 1992, U.S.
military planes evacuated Americans from Sierra Leone, where military leaders
had overthrown the government.
1992 -- Kuwait. On August 3, 1992, the United
States began a series of military exercises in Kuwait, following Iraqi refusal
to recognize a new border drawn up by the United Nations and refusal to
cooperate with U.N. inspection teams.
1992 -- Iraq. On September 16, 1992 President Bush
stated in a status report that he had ordered U.S. participation in the
enforcement of a prohibition against Iraqi flights in a specified zone in
southern Iraq, and aerial reconnaissance to monitor Iraqi compliance with the
1992 -- Somalia. On December 10, 1992, President
Bush reported that he had deployed U.S. armed forces to Somalia in response to a
humanitarian crisis and a U.N. Security Council Resolution determining that the
situation constituted a threat to international peace. This operation, called
Operation Restore Hope, was part of a U.S.-led United Nations Unified Task Force
(UNITAF) and came to an end on May 4, 1993. U.S. forces continued to participate
in the successor United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM II), which the U.N.
Security Council authorized to assist Somalia in political reconciliation and
restoration of peace.
1993 -- Iraq. On January 19, 1993, President Bush
said in a status report that on December 27, 1992, U.S. aircraft shot down an
Iraqi aircraft in the prohibited zone; on January 13 aircraft from the United
States and coalition partners had attacked missile bases in southern Iraq; and
further military actions had occured on January 17 and 18. Administration
officials said the United States was deploying a battalion task force to Kuwait
to underline the continuing U.S. commitment to Kuwaiti independence.
1993 -- Iraq. On January 21, 1993, shortly after
his inauguration, President Clinton said the United States would continue the
Bush policy on Iraq, and U.S. aircraft fired at targets in Iraq after pilots
sensed Iraqi radar or anti-aircraft fire directed at them.
1993 -- Bosnia-Hercegovina. On February 28, 1993,
the United States bagan an airdrop of relief supplies aimed at Muslims
surrounded by Serbian forces in Bosnia.
1993 -- Bosnia-Hercegovina. On April 13, 1993,
President Clinton reported U.S. forces were participating in a NATO air action
to enforce a U.N. ban on all unauthorized military flights over
1993 -- Iraq. In a status report on Iraq of May
24, President Clinton said that on April 9 and April 18 U.S. warplanes had
bombed or fired missiles at Iraqi anti-aircraft sites which had tracked U.S.
1993 -- Somalia. On June 10, 1993, President
Clinton reported that in response to attacks against U.N. forces in Somalia by a
factional leader, the U.S. Quick Reaction Force in the area had participated in
military action to quell the violence. The quick reaction force was part of the
U.S. contribution to a success On July 1, President Clinton reported further air
and ground military operations on June 12 and June 17 aimed at neutralizing
military capabilities that had impeded U.N. efforts to deliver humanitarian
relief and promote national reconstruction, and additional instances occurred in
the following months.
1993 -- Iraq. On June 28, 1993, President Clinton
reported that on June 26 U.S. naval forces had launched missiles against the
Iraqi Intelligence Service's headquarters in Baghdad in response to an
unsuccessful attempt to assassinate former President Bush in Kuwait in April
1993 -- Iraq. In a status report of July 22, 1993,
President Clinton said on June 19 a U.S. aircraft had fired a missile at an
Iraqi anti-aircraft site displaying hostile intent. U.S. planes also bombed an
Iraqi missile battery on August 19, 1993.
1993 -- Macedonia. On July 9, 1993, President
Clinton reported the deployment of 350 U.S. armed forces to Macedonia to
participate in the U.N. Protection Force to help maintain stability in the area
of former Yugoslavia.
(Note 1.) This list
through 1975 is reprinted with few changes from: U.S. Congress. House. Committee
on International Relations [now Foreign Affairs]. Subcommittee on International
Security and Scientific Affairs. Background Information on the Use of U.S. Armed
Forces in Foreign Countries, 1975 Revision. Committee print, 94th Congress, Ist
session. Prepared by the Foreign Affairs Division, Congressional Research
Service, Library of Congress. Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1975.
(Note 2.) Other lists
include: Goldwater, Senator Barry. War Without Declaration. A Chronological List
of 199 U.S. Military Hostilities Abroad Without a Declaration of War. 1798-1972.
Congressional Record, V. 119, July 20, 1973: S14174-14183; U.S. Department of
State. Armed Actions Taken by the United States Without a Declaration of War,
1789-1967. Research Project 806A. Historical Studies Division. Bureau of Public
Affairs; Collins, John M. America's Small Wars. New York, Brassey's, 1990; For a
discussion of the evolution of lists of military actions and legal authorization
for various actions, see Wormuth, Francis D. and Edwin B. Firmage, To Chain
the Dog of War; the War Power of Congress in History and Law. Dallas,
Southern Methodist University Press, 1986. p. 133-149.
(Note 3.) This and
subsequent mentions of Presidential reports refer to reports the President has
submitted to Congress that might be considered pursuant to the War Powers
Resolution (Public Law 91-148, November 7, 1973). For a discussion of the War
Powers Resolution and various types of reports required under it, see The War
Powers Resolution: Eighteen Years of Experience, CRS Report 92- 133 F; or The
War Powers Resolution: Presidential Compliance, CRS Issue Brief IB81050, updated
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12 September 1997