May 31, 1928 Australian aviator Charles Kingsford Smith departed Oakland, California, in a Fokker F.VIIb/3m trimotor monoplane for the first trans-Pacific flight. The others on board the plane, which was named the Southern Cross, were Charles Ulm, organizing manager of the flight and co-pilot; Harry Lyon, navigator; and James Warner, radio operator. Over the next... Continue Reading →

NASA astronaut Daniel M. Tani was born in 1961 in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania. Less than two decades earlier, his parents Rose and Henry N. Tani and their oldest son had been forced to relocate from their California farm to internment camps for Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans during World War II. As one minister noted during... Continue Reading →

May 29, 1933 Daniel O’Leary, a world champion pedestrian athlete, died in Los Angeles at the age of 91. “O’Leary’s heels were his fame while the rest of the world took to wheels,” stated an Associated Press account the following day. “Many of the marks he set for long distance walking still stand as a challenge... Continue Reading →

In 2014, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Captain Joseph M. Vojvodich became the USCG’s first Asian-American flag officer when he was promoted to rear admiral. (A flag officer is a commissioned officer who is senior enough to be entitled to fly a flag to mark the position from which he or she exercises command.) Vojvodich (pronounced... Continue Reading →

May 24, 1862 The second and current version of Westminster Bridge in London was opened. This structure, spanning the River Thames, replaced the original bridge that had made its debut in the mid-18th century and was closed in 1846 (and subsequently demolished) due to deterioration. The opening of the new road-and-foot-traffic bridge took place on the... Continue Reading →

Aviation pioneer Arthur Chin was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1913 to a mother with a Peruvian background and a Chinese father of Taishanese origin. Arthur Chin developed a strong interest in human flight at an early age. When he was 18, he took lessons at the Al Greenwood flying school in Portland. In 1933,... Continue Reading →

May 22, 1920 The final day of the National Ship by Truck-Good Roads Week in the United States took place. The week had been coordinated by the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company as part of its ongoing and ambitious efforts to promote the short-haul shipping benefits of trucks and – in a priority shared by... Continue Reading →

When she was sworn in as the 18th U.S. secretary of transportation in January 2017, Elaine L. Chao became the first Asian-American woman and the first Chinese-American to hold that position. (During her tenure as U.S. secretary of labor from 2001 to 2009, she was the first-ever person in both of those categories to be... Continue Reading →

May 20, 1899 The first known official speeding infraction in the United States involving a “horseless carriage” took place in New York City. Jacob German was driving an electric taxi for the Electric Vehicle Company when city policeman John Schuessler – riding a bicycle at the time -- caught up with him. Schuessler had observed German speeding... Continue Reading →

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