On This Day, October 25th
1. 1944: First Kamikaze mission of the war
The term Kamikaze is normally associated with a form of suicide attacks by Japanese military aviators during WWII. While some say this tactic had been used prior, most reports indicate that the first official Kamikaze mission took place on this date in 1944. It was during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philipines that the first Kamikaze force which consisted of 24 pilots who had volunteered. In Japanese military culture, it is a great honor to be a Kamikaze. By the end of the battle, more than 5,000 Kamikaze pilots lost during the 3 day battle of the gulf. It was effective to some degree as they did manage to sink 34 ships.
2. 1931: George Washington Bridge opened for traffic
It was on this date in 1931 that the George Washington Bridge opened for traffic after it had been dedicated the previous day. Taking nearly four years to complete, the George Washington Bridge, often referred to as the GWB, or GW, was the longest main bridge span in the world at the time until the Golden Gate opened in 1937. The entire GWB spanned a total of 4,760 feet, with the main span being nearly 3,500 of that. Within its first year of operation, it was expected to carry over 8 million vehicles and at least 1.5 million pedestrians. The total cost for the project was estimated to be around $75 million when construction began, but according to some reports it finished under budget at just $58 million.
3. 2000: Russian military transport plane crashed
A Russian military transport plane carrying 83 passengers including crew was en route from an airport near Moscow to the Batumi Airport in Georgia when suddenly things took a turn for the worse. According to reports, it was raining and the low clouds had brought visibility to a minimum as pilots started their decent towards the Batumi airport. The normal approach angle for that particular airport was to come in from the west, but due to the weather, the pilots opted to come in from the northeast instead, with hopes of avoiding the brunt of the storm. However, that angle required crossing over the top of Mt. Mtirala which stands 5,000 feet tall. A combination of the weather, potential bad decisions and a navigational error caused the pilots to misjudge the approach and the plane apparently spams Hedin to the side of the mountain followed by a massive explosion leaving no survivors.