Aviation pioneer Olga E. Custodio was born in San Juan in 1953. She was admitted into the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Officer Candidate School and then accepted as a candidate for training as a USAF pilot. Custodio subsequently entered the Flight Screening Pilot Officer Training School in 1980. After completion of this flight screening, Custodio... Continue Reading →

The first section of France’s first high-speed rail line officially began operations. The LGV Sud-Est was being built as a transit link between Paris and Lyon, and the inaugural festivities for the new line included a special train running on the completed segment between Lyon and the commune of Montchanin. As the train sped north... Continue Reading →

John Daniel “Danny” Olivas became the first U.S.-born man of Mexican descent to travel to space. (Rodolfo Neri Vela, who was part of a NASA Space Shuttle mission in 1985, had been born in Mexico; Ellen Ochoa, whose first spaceflight took place in 1993, was the first U.S.-born person of Mexican descent to make it... Continue Reading →

Sampo, a pioneering icebreaker that the British manufacturer Armstrong-Whitworth (AW) had just built for the Finnish government, left the AW shipyard in northeastern England for her second sea trial. The first sea trial for Sampo took place about a month earlier and quickly ended in failure when the new vessel’s bow propeller shaft malfunctioned. Sampo’s... Continue Reading →

Federico Peña made history when President Bill Clinton appointed him U.S. secretary of transportation. This appointment made Peña the first Hispanic-American to serve in that role. Peña was born in Laredo, Texas, in 1947. He eventually settled in Colorado, serving in the state’s House of Representatives from 1979 to 1983 and as mayor of Denver... Continue Reading →

More than four months after first being opened to vehicular and pedestrian traffic, a new major bridge in Thailand was dedicated. Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej (also known as Rama IX), who reigned from 1946 to 2016, presided over the ceremony. The event took place on the birth anniversary of his deceased brother and immediate predecessor... Continue Reading →

In 1928, former U.S. Naval Academy midshipman Henry Garcia received a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) commission. In doing so, Puerto Rican-born Garcia made history by becoming that military branch’s first officially recognized minority officer. A decade later, he achieved another milestone when he was made the captain of the patrol boat USCG Morris. This assignment... Continue Reading →

Airline transport pilot and certified flight instructor Wang Zheng (also known as Julie Wang) became the first Asian woman to circumnavigate the Earth in an airplane, and the first Chinese woman to fly solo around the world, when she returned to the Texas town of Addison in the Dallas area 33 days after starting her... Continue Reading →

After the U.S. entry into World War II, a number of women of Puerto Rican descent – living both in Puerto Rico and on the mainland – answered the call to serve on the home front in the global fight against the Axis powers. These women, often facing hardships such as racial discrimination while working... Continue Reading →

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