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US military operations in the 20th and 21st centuries

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This is a timeline of United States military operations. From 1776 to 2008, there have been hundreds of instances of the deployment of United States military forces abroad and domestically. The list through 1975 is based on information from the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs (now known as the Committee on Foreign Affairs). Dates show the years in which U.S. military units participated. The bolded items are the U.S. wars most often considered to be major conflicts by historians and the general public. Note that instances where the U.S. gave aid alone, with no military personnel involvement, are excluded. A list of covert US operations is given below, and shown in full in the articles Cold War covert overthrow of governments by the US and post-Cold War covert regime change by the US.

Extraterritorial and major domestic deployments

Portions of this list are from the Congressional Research Service report RL30172.[1]


1900 – China. May 24 to September 28. Boxer Rebellion 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.[1]

1901 – Colombia (State of Panama). November 20 to December 4. Panamanian Revolution US forces protected American property on the Isthmus and kept transit lines open during serious revolutionary disturbances.[1]

1902 – Colombia. - April 16 to 23. US forces protected American lives and property at Bocas del Toro during a civil war.[1]

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.[1]

1903 – Honduras. March 23 to 30 or 31. US forces protected the American consulate and the steamship wharf at Puerto Cortes during a period of revolutionary activity.[1]

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.[1]

1903 – Syria. September 7 to 12. US forces protected the American consulate in Beirut when a local Moslem uprising was feared.[1]

1903-04 – Abyssinia (Ethiopia). Twenty-five marines were sent to Abyssinia to protect the US Consul General while he negotiated a treaty.[1]

1903-14 – Panama. US 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.[1]

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.[1]

1904 – Tangier, Morocco. "We want either Ion Perdicaris|Perdicaris alive or Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli|Raisuli dead." A squadron demonstrated to force release of a kidnapped American. Marines were landed to protect the consul general.[1]

1904 – Panama. November 17 to 24. U.S forces protected American lives and property at Ancon at the time of a threatened insurrection.[1]

1904-05 -- Korea. - January 5, 1904, to November 11, 1905. A guard of Marines was sent to protect the American legation in Seoul during the Russo-Japanese War.[1]

1906-09 -- Cuba. - September 1906 to January 23, 1909. US forces sought to protect interests and re-establish a government after revolutionary activity.[1]

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 Cortes, San Pedro Sula, Laguna and Choloma.[1]

1910 -- Nicaragua. - May 19 to September 4, 1910. Occupation of Nicaragua US forces protected American interests at Bluefields.[1]


1911 -- Honduras. - January 26. American naval detachments were landed to protect American lives and interests during a civil war in Honduras.[1]

1911 -- China. As the Tongmenghui-led Xinhai 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. Marines were deployed in November to guard the cable stations at Shanghai; landing forces were sent for protection in Nanking, Chinkiang, Taku and elsewhere.[1]

1912 -- Honduras. A small force landed to prevent seizure by the government of an American-owned railroad at Puerto Cortes. The forces were withdrawn after the United States disapproved the action.[1]

1912 -- Panama. Troops, on request of both political parties, supervised elections outside the Panama Canal Zone.[1]

1912 -- Cuba, June 5 to August 5. U.S. forces protected American interests in the Provinces of Cuba|province of Oriente and in Havana.[1]

1912 -- China. - August 24 to 26, on Kentucky Island, and August 26 to 30 at Camp Nicholson. US forces protected Americans and American interests during the Xinhai Revolution.[1]

1912 -- Turkey. - November 18 to December 3. U.S. forces guarded the American legation at Constantinople during the First Balkan War[1]

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.[1]

1912-41 -- China. The disorders which began with the overthrow of the dynasty during Kuomintang rebellion in 1912, which were redirected by the invasion of China by Japan, led to demonstrations and landing parties for the protection of US 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.[1]

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.[1]

1914 -- Haiti. - January 29 to February 9, February 20 to 21, October 19. Intermittently US naval forces protected American nationals in a time of rioting and revolution.[1] The specific order from the Secretary of the Navy to the invasion commander, Admiral William Deville Bundy, was to "protect American and foreign" interests.

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.[1]

1914-17 -- Mexico. Tampico Affair led to United States occupation of Veracruz, 1914|Occupation of Veracruz, Mexico. Undeclared Mexican--American hostilities followed the Tampico Affair and Villa's raids . Also Pancho Villa Expedition) -- an abortive military operation conducted by the United States Army against the military forces of Francisco "Pancho" Villa from 1916 to 1917 and included capture of Veracruz, Veracruz|Vera Cruz. On March 19, 1915 on orders from President Woodrow Wilson, and with tacit consent by Venustiano Carranza General John J. Pershing led an invasion force of 10,000 men into Mexico to capture Villa.[1]

1915-34 -- Haiti. - July 28, 1915, to August 15, 1934. United States occupation of Haiti (1915-1934)|United States occupation of Haiti 1915-1934 US forces maintained order during a period of chronic political instability.[1] During the initial entrance into Haiti, the specific order from the Secretary of the Navy to the invasion commander, Admiral William Deville Bundy, was to "protect American and foreign" interests.

1916 -- China. American forces landed to quell a riot taking place on American property in Nanking.[1]

1916-24 -- Dominican Republic. - May 1916 to September 1924. Occupation of the Dominican Republic American naval forces maintained order during a period of chronic and threatened insurrection.[1]

1917 -- China. American troops were landed at Chongqing (named Chungking in Imperial times) to protect American lives during a political crisis.[1]

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 Unrestricted submarine warfare (February 1917)#Unrestricted submarine warfare resumed in February 1917|Germany's submarine warfare against neutral shipping.[1]

1917-22 -- Cuba. US forces protected American interests during insurrection and subsequent unsettled conditions. Most of the United States armed forces left Cuba by August 1919, but two companies remained at Camaguey until February 1922.[1]

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 six times in 1919. In August 1918 American and Mexican troops fought at Nogales, The Battle of Ambros Nogales. The incident began when German spies plotted an attack with Mexican soldiers on Nogales Arizona. The fighting began when a Mexican officer shot and killed a U.S. soldier on American soil. A full scale battle then ensued, ending with a Mexican surrender.[1]

1918-20 -- Panama. US forces were used for police duty according to treaty stipulations, at Chiriqui, during election disturbances and subsequent unrest.[1]

1918-20 -- Soviet Union. 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. [1] For details, see the American Expeditionary Force Siberia and the American Expeditionary Force North Russia.

1919 -- Dalmatia (Croatia). US forces were landed at Trau at the request of Italian authorities to police order between the Italians and Serbs.[1]

1919 -- Turkey. Marines from the USS Arizona were landed to guard the US Consulate during the Greek occupation of Constantinople.[1]

1919 -- Honduras. - September 8 to 12. A landing force was sent ashore to maintain order in a neutral zone during an attempted revolution.[1]


1920 -- China. - March 14. A landing force was sent ashore for a few hours to protect lives during a disturbance at Kiukiang.[1]

1920 -- Guatemala. - April 9 to 27. US 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.[1]

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.[1]

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.