The Bakersfield Californian
TODAY IN HISTORY
1939: The foreign ministers of Germany and Italy, Joachim von Ribbentrop and Galeazzo Ciano, signed a “Pact of Steel” committing the two countries to a military alliance.
1960: An earthquake of magnitude 9.5, the strongest ever measured, struck southern Chile, claiming some 1,655 lives.
1962: Continental Airlines Flight 11, en route from Chicago to Kansas City, Missouri, crashed after a bomb apparently brought on board by a passenger exploded, killing all 45 occupants of the Boeing 707.
1964: President Lyndon B. Johnson, speaking at the University of Michigan, outlined the goals of his “Great Society,” saying that it “rests on abundance and liberty for all” and “demands an end to poverty and racial injustice.”
1967: A fire at the L’Innovation department store in Brussels killed 322 people. Poet and playwright Langston Hughes died in New York at age 65.
1968: The nuclear-powered submarine USS Scorpion, with 99 men aboard, sank in the Atlantic Ocean. (The remains of the sub were later found on the ocean floor 400 miles southwest of the Azores.)
1969: The lunar module of Apollo 10, with Thomas P. Stafford and Eugene Cernan aboard, flew to within nine miles of the moon’s surface in a dress rehearsal for the first lunar landing.
1985: U.S. sailor Michael L. Walker was arrested aboard the aircraft carrier Nimitz, two days after his father, John A. Walker Jr., was apprehended; both were later convicted of spying for the Soviet Union. (Michael Walker served 15 years in prison and was released in 2000.)
1992: After a reign lasting nearly 30 years, Johnny Carson hosted NBC’s “Tonight Show” for the final time. (Jay Leno took over as host three days later.)
2006: The Department of Veterans Affairs said personal data, including Social Security numbers of 26.5 million U.S. veterans, was stolen from a VA employee after he took the information home without authorization.
2011: A tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri, with winds up to 250 mph, claiming at least 159 lives and destroying about 8,000 homes and businesses.