Instances of Use of United States Forces Abroad, 1798 - 1993
by Ellen C. Collier, Specialist in U.S. Foreign
Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division
Washington DC: Congressional Research Service -- Library of Congress -- October 7, 1993
This report lists 234 instances in which the United States has used its armed forces abroad in situations of conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime purposes. It brings up to date a 1989 list that was compiled in part from various older lists and is intended primarily to provide a rough sketch survey of past U.S. military ventures abroad. A detailed description and analysis are not undertaken here.
The instances differ greatly in number of forces, purpose, extent of hostilities, and legal authorization. Five of the instances are declared wars: the War of 1812, the Mexican War of 1846, the Spanish American War of 1898, World War I declared in 1917, and World War II declared in 1941.
Some of the instances were extended military engagements that might be considered undeclared wars. These include the Undeclared Naval War with France from 1798 to 1800; the First Barbary War from 1801 to 1805; the Second Barbary War of 1815; the Korean War of 1950-53; the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1973; and the Persian Gulf War of 1991. In some cases, such as the Persian Gulf War against Iraq, Congress authorized the military action although it did not declare war.
The majority of the instances listed were brief Marine or Navy actions prior to World War II to protect U.S. citizens or promote U.S. interests. A number were actions against pirates or bandits. Some were events, such as the stationing of Marines at an Embassy or legation, which later were considered normal peacetime practice. Covert actions, disaster relief, and routine alliance stationing and training exercises are not included here, nor are the Civil and Revolutionary Wars and the continual use of U.S. military units in the exploration, settlement, and pacification of the West.
The following list indicates approximately 234 times that the United States has utilized military forces abroad in situations of conflict or potential conflict to protect U.S. citizens or promote U.S. interests. The list does not include covert actions or numerous instances in which U.S. forces have been stationed abroad since World War II in occupation forces or for participation in mutual security organizations, base agreements, or routine military assistance or training operations. Because of differing judgments over the actions to be included, other lists may include more or fewer instances. (Note 2)
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 forts.
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.
1813-14 -- 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.
1814 -- Spanish Florida. Gen. Andrew Jackson took Pensacola and drove out the British with whom the United States was at war.
1814-25 -- 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 indemnities.
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.
1816 -- Spanish Florida. United States forces destroyed Nicholls Fort, called also Negro Fort, which harbored raiders making forays into United States territory.
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.
1820-23 -- Africa. Naval units raided the slave traffic pursuant to the 1819 act of Congress.
1822 -- Cuba. United States naval forces suppressing piracy landed on the northwest coast of Cuba and burned a pirate station.
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.
1824 -- Cuba. In October the USS Porpoise landed bluejackets near Matanzas in pursuit of pirates. This was during the cruise authorized in 1822.
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 pirates.
1827 -- Greece. In October and November landing parties hunted pirates on the islands of Argenteire, Miconi, and Androse.
1831-32 -- Falkland Islands. Captain Duncan of the USS Lexington investigated the capture of three American sealing vessels and sought to protect American interests.
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.
1833 -- 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 an insurrection.
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.
1836 -- 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 threatened.
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 natives.
1841 -- Samoa - February 24. A naval party landed and burned towns after the murder of an American seaman on Upolu Island.
1842 -- 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 shipping.
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 inquiry.
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 whaling brig.
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.
1853 -- 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 for commerce.
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.
1855 -- Uruguay -- November 25 to 29. United States and European naval forces landed to protect American interests during an attempted revolution in Montevideo.
1856 -- Panama, Republic of New Grenada -- September 19 to 22. U.S. forces landed to protect American interests during an insurrection.
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."
1859 -- 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 Cortina.
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 with natives.
1860 -- Colombia, Bay of Panama -- September 27 to October 8. Naval forces landed to protect American interests during a revolution.
1863 -- Japan -- July 16. The USS Wyoming retaliated against a firing on the American vessel Pembroke at Shimonoseki.
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.
1864 -- 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 Newchwang.
1867 -- Nicaragua. Marines occupied Managua and Leon.
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 vessel.
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.
1868 -- Uruguay -- February 7 and 8, 19 to 26. U.S. forces protected foreign residents and the customhouse during an insurrection at Montevideo.
1868 -- 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.
1870 -- 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.
1873 -- 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.
1876 -- Mexico -- May 18. An American force was landed to police the town of Matamoras temporarily while it was without other government.
1882 -- 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.
1888 -- 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.
1888--89 -- Samoa -- November 14, 1888, to March 20, 1889. U.S. forces were landed to protect American citizens and the consulate during a native civil war.
1889 -- Hawaiian Islands -- July 30 and 31. U.S. forces protected American interests at Honolulu during a revolution.
1890 -- Argentina. A naval party landed to protect U.S. consulate and legation in Buenos Aires.
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 poaching.
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.
1894 -- Brazil -- January. A display of naval force sought to protect American commerce and shipping at Rio de Janeiro during a Brazilian civil war.
1894 -- Nicaragua -- July 6 to August 7. U.S. forces sought to protect American interests at Bluefields following a revolution.
1894-95 -- China. Marines were stationed at Tientsin and penetrated to Peking for protection purposes during the Sino--Japanese War.
1894-95 -- China. A naval vessel was beached and used as a fort at Newchwang for protection of American nationals.
1894-96 -- 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 unrest.
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 Havana.
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.
1899 -- 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. Reyes.
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.
1899--1901 -- Philippine Islands. U.S. forces protected American interests following the war with Spain and conquered the islands by defeating the Filipinos in their war for independence.
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 disturbances.
1902 -- Colombia -- April 16 to 23. U.S. forces protected American lives and property at Bocas del Toro during a civil war.
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.
1903 -- 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 revolutionary activity.
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.
1903 -- Syria -- September 7 to 12. U.S. forces protected the American consulate in Beirut when a local Moslem uprising was feared.
1903-04 -- 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 general.
1904 -- Panama -- November 17 to 24. U.S. forces protected American lives and property at Ancon at the time of a threatened insurrection.
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 Choloma.
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 elsewhere.
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 action.
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.
1912 -- Turkey -- November 18 to December 3. U.S. forces guarded the American legation at Constantinople during a Balkan War.
1912-25 -- 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, 1925.
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.
1913 -- 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 revolution.
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 northern Mexico.
1915-34 -- Haiti -- July 28, 1915, to August 15, 1934. U.S. forces maintained order during a period of chronic and threatened insurrection.
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.
1917-18 -- 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.
1918-20 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.
1919 -- Dalmatia. U.S. forces were landed at Trau at the request of Italian authorities to police order between the Italians and Serbs.
1919 -- Turkey. Marines from the USS Arizona were landed to guard the U.S. Consulate during the Greek occupation of Constantinople.
1919 -- Honduras -- September 8 to 12. A landing force was sent ashore to maintain order in a neutral zone during an attempted revolution.
1920 -- 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 factional hostilities.
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 International Settlement.
1925 -- Honduras -- April 19 to 21. U.S. forces protected foreigners at La Ceiba during a political upheaval.
1925 -- Panama -- October 12 to 23. Strikes and rent riots led to the landing of about 600 American troops to keep order and protect American interests.
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 outlaw leader
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 and Tientsin.
1932 -- China. American forces were landed to protect American interests during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai.
1933 -- Cuba. During a revolution against President Gerardo Machada naval forces demonstrated but no landing was made.
1934 -- 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 Surinam.
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 II.
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 1949.
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.
1950-53 -- Korean War. The United States responded to North Korean invasion of South Korea by going to its assistance, pursuant to United Nations Security Council resolutions.
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 Islands.
1956 -- Egypt. A Marine battalion evacuated U.S. nationals and other persons from Alexandria during the Suez crisis.
1958 -- Lebanon. Marines were landed in Lebanon at the invitation of its government to help protect against threatened insurrection supported from the outside.
1959-60 -- The Caribbean. 2d Marine Ground Task Force was deployed to protect U.S. nationals during the Cuban crisis.
1962 -- 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.
1962 -- 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 Laos.
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.
1967 -- Congo. The United States sent three military transport aircraft with crews to provide the Congo central government with logistical support during a revolt.
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 Vietnamization.
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 3)
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.
1975 -- 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 nearby island.
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.
1976 -- 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 Zaire.
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 97-132.
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 eighteen months.
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 Egypt.
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 troops.
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 for shipping.
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 military option.
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 Zaire.
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 cease-fire resolution.
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 Bosnia-Hercegovina.
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. aricraft.
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.
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. 84 p.
(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 regularly.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|