June 1972

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June 17, 1972: Five would-be wiretappers arrested at Watergate Office Complex

The following events occurred in June 1972:

June 1, 1972 (Thursday)[edit]

June 2, 1972 (Friday)[edit]

June 3, 1972 (Saturday)[edit]

  • Sally Priesand became the first American woman to be ordained as a rabbi, as one of 26 Hebrew Union College graduates ordained at the Isaac M. Wise Temple in Cincinnati.[14]

June 4, 1972 (Sunday)[edit]

  • African-American activist Angela Davis was acquitted by an all-white jury in San Jose, California, after a 14-week trial. Davis, formerly a 28-year-old instructor at UCLA, had been charged with conspiracy for murder and kidnapping in a 1970 murder of a judge in Marin County. Jurors, who deliberated over the weekend, said later that they had doubted her guilt throughout the trial.[15]
  • Soviet author Joseph Brodsky was summoned to the Leningrad office of the Ministry of the Interior, where he was told that he was being expelled from U.S.S.R. immediately. He was then put on an Aeroflot flight to Vienna. Brodsky settled in the United States, where he later became the American poet Laureate, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987.[16]
  • The first presidential election held in the Khmer Republic (Cambodia) resulted in a victory for the incumbent, Lon Nol, although counting within the capital of Phnom Penh showed a majority for challenger In Tam. Lon Nol ordered the military to collect and count the poll results from the countryside, where In Tam had had greater support, and was soon declared the winner.[17]
  • Died: Robert Harrill, 79, the "Fort Fisher Hermit"

June 5, 1972 (Monday)[edit]

  • The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, also called the Stockholm Conference, convened in Sweden, with representatives from 113 nations in attendance for the largest international meeting ever held on ecological issues. The twelve-day conference led to the creation of UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme. June 5 is now observed annually by the U.N. as World Environment Day.[18]
  • G. Gordon Liddy spoke with James W. McCord, Jr. about problems with getting anything useful from wiretaps planted more than a week before on the phone of DNC Chairman Larry O'Brien. Liddy recounted later that if the problem were not fixed, McCord's team would get no further money from the Committee to Re-Elect the President, "because the job should have been done correctly the first time". The Watergate burglars were caught after breaking into O'Brien's office again on June 17, 1972.[19]

June 6, 1972 (Tuesday)[edit]

June 7, 1972 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • The U.S. Department of Labor issued the first regulations in America to limit exposure to asbestos. At the time, there were 200,000 workers in the asbestos industry.[23]
  • Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty became the first person to apply for a patent for a genetically engineered living organism, a strain of Pseudomonas bacteria that could consume crude oil. The right to patent a living organism was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1980 in Diamond v. Chakrabarty[24]
  • The 1950s nostalgia musical Grease began the first of 3,388 performances on Broadway, running until April 13, 1980.[25]
  • Phoenix, Arizona sees its longest dry spell on record end at 160 days.
  • Born: Karl Urban, New Zealand actor, in Wellington
  • Died: E. M. Forster, 91, British novelist (A Passage to India)

June 8, 1972 (Thursday)[edit]

  • A South Vietnamese village outside of Trang Bang was bombed with napalm in an errant air strike by the South Vietnamese Army, shortly after 11:30 a.m. Huynh Cong "Nick" Ut took a photograph that became an iconic symbol of the horrors of war. The wirephoto, published on the front pages of newspapers that evening and the next morning,[26] showed children crying in pain from their burns, including a 9-year-old girl, Phan Thị Kim Phúc, who had torn her clothes off after catching fire. Its image would win a Pulitzer Prize.[27]

June 9, 1972 (Friday)[edit]

Rapid City SD wea00703.jpg
  • At 10:45 p.m., the Canyon Lake Dam at Rapid City, South Dakota, gave way under the pressure of a downpour, sending millions of gallons of water through the city. The results of the Black Hills flood were 238 people killed, and 3,057 more injured. More than 5,000 vehicles and 700 homes were destroyed, and the total damages were $165 million.[28]
  • Bruce Springsteen received his big break as he was signed to a ten-record deal by CBS Records.[29]
  • Died: Lt. Col. John Paul Vann, 47; later the subject of book and film A Bright Shining Lie; in a helicopter crash

June 10, 1972 (Saturday)[edit]

Acting Governor Jordan
  • Barbara Jordan, President Pro Tempore of the Texas State Senate, was sworn in as Acting Governor of Texas for one day as Governor Preston Smith and Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes were absent, becoming the first African-American woman in history to serve as a state Governor.[30]

June 11, 1972 (Sunday)[edit]

  • Deep Throat, perhaps the most famous pornographic film of all time, made its debut, at the World Theatre in Manhattan. Made for $25,000 the film returned more than $600,000,000 worldwide.[31]

June 12, 1972 (Monday)[edit]

  • American Airlines Flight 96 made an emergency landing after an improperly closed cargo door was blown off at 12,500 feet, shortly after the DC-10 took off from Detroit for a flight to Buffalo. Captain Bryce McCormick struggled with failing flight controls to land the jet, and the 67 people on board, at Cleveland. A similar accident in 1974 on Turkish Airlines Flight 981, all 346 people on board were killed after the cargo door fell off.[32][33]

June 13, 1972 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • Captain Nikolay Grigoryevich Petrov, a GRU secret agent stationed at the Soviet Embassy in Indonesia, defected by surrendering to the American naval attache in Jakarta. Petrov, who had stolen the equivalent of $900 from his supervisor and then panicked, was given the call sign "Houdini" and relocated to the United States, where he supplied detailed information about GRU activities to the CIA. Against the advice of the agency, he returned to the U.S.S.R. in the late 1970s, and was never heard from again.[34]
  • Died:

June 14, 1972 (Wednesday)[edit]

June 15, 1972 (Thursday)[edit]

  • Dougal Robertson, his wife, three children, and a family friend, were sailing on their yacht Lucette, when the boat was attacked and sunk by orca whales. The six survived 38 days adrift in the Pacific Ocean, then on an inflatable liferaft, then on a dinghy. Robertson wrote about the experience in a book, Survive the Savage Sea, later made into a 1991 film.[37]
  • Ulrike Meinhof, the other half of the Baader-Meinhof Gang, was arrested in a teacher's apartment in Langenhagen, West Germany, along with her partner in crime, Gerhard Müller.[38]
  • Cathay Pacific Flight 700Z crashed shortly after takeoff from Bangkok bound to Hong Kong, killing all 81 persons on board.[39]
  • Born: Andy Pettitte, American MLB pitcher, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

June 16, 1972 (Friday)[edit]

  • The United States Federal Communications Commission issued its "Open Skies" decision, clearing the way for private companies to operate their own ground systems for use of orbiting communications satellites, so long as they obtained FCC approval, and complied with FCC rules, which included offering their transmissions to a wide range of customers. The decision opened the door for the first cable networks to offer their own programming to paying customers.[40]
  • The Stockholm Declaration was adopted unanimously by the 112 nations participating in the first international conference on the environment. The United Nations General Assembly later approved the declaration by its Resolution 2994, by a vote of 112–0 with ten abstentions.[41]
  • A rockfall, inside a mile-long railway tunnel near Soissons, France, led to the collision and derailment of two passenger trains, killing 107 people. At 8:50 p.m., six carloads of passengers were traveling from Paris to Laon, and after entering the tunnel, ran into a pile of rock and concrete. Minutes later, as survivors lay in the wreckage, a second train came into the tunnel, from the opposite direction, with its own three carloads of passengers, colliding with the rubble and the first train. There were 90 persons who survived their injuries.[42]

June 17, 1972 (Saturday)[edit]

June 18, 1972 (Sunday)[edit]

June 19, 1972 (Monday)[edit]

June 20, 1972 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • From 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 pm, on their first day back at the White House after the Watergate break-in, President Nixon and Chief of Staff Haldeman met at the Oval Office. When the tape recording of their conversation was subpoenaed later by a special prosecutor, it was found that 18½ minutes of the tape had been erased.[49]
  • The Tallahatchie Bridge mentioned in Billie Gentry's "Ode to Billie Joe" collapsed after having burned. The fire was attributed to vandalism.
  • Died: Howard Johnson, 75, founder of Howard Johnson's hotel chain

June 21, 1972 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • The world record for highest altitude in a helicopter (40,814 ft or 12,440 m) was set by Jean Boulet in an Aerospatiale SA-315 Lama. Boulet said that "that flight also wound up being the longest autoration in history because the turbine died as soon as I reduced power."[50]
  • Born: Irene van Dyk, South African netball star, and (with 72 appearances for the South African team and 145 for New Zealand) the most capped player of all time; in Vereeniging

June 22, 1972 (Thursday)[edit]

  • MCI (Microwave Communications, Inc.), which would successfully fight the monopoly held by AT&T on American telephone service, went public, offering 40 percent (3.3 million) of its shares for sale at ten dollars per share. The offering sold out immediately, and MCI's valuation was over $120,000,000.[51]
  • The 1,000,000th Ford Thunderbird was produced, rolling off of an assembly line in Los Angeles. The car was first produced in 1955.[52]
  • Phoenix, Arizona records its wettest June day on record, with 1.37 inches of rain falling at the airport. This surpassed the previous wettest June day in the city's history, with 0.92 inches falling on June 12, 1955.
  • Died: Vladimir Durković, 34, a former footballer for the Yugoslavian national team, and an active player for the FC Sion team in Switzerland's league, was shot and killed by a policeman in Sion.

June 23, 1972 (Friday)[edit]

Nixon Oval Office meeting with H.R. Haldeman "Smoking Gun" Conversation June 23, 1972 Full Transcript
  • U.S. President Richard Nixon and his Chief of Staff, H. R. Haldeman, had three conversations, where the President directed that the FBI should be told to stop further investigation of the Watergate burglary. All Oval Office conversations were recorded by a voice-activated system, and when the transcript of the "smoking gun" tape was released on August 5, 1974, Nixon would resign at the end of the week.[53]
  • The Omnibus Education Bill, providing, for the first time, direct federal aid to private and public colleges and universities, was signed into law by President Nixon. Title IX of the law said in part, "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance". Those words fueled the growth of women's college sports, as the schools had to provide athletic programs for women as well as for men. As federal school funding expanded, so did opportunities for girls at the primary and secondary school level.[54][55]
  • Hurricane Agnes had been downgraded to a tropical storm after reaching Florida on June 19, but combined with existing storm systems in the northeast U.S. to produce record-breaking rainfalls and floods. Ultimately, 118 people died, and 370,000 were left homeless. Five states—New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Florida—were declared disaster areas.[56]
  • Born: Zinedine Zidane, French footballer, in Marseille

June 24, 1972 (Saturday)[edit]

  • Helen Reddy's song I Am Woman entered the Billboard Top 100 at No. 99, but dropped back out after three weeks. In September, it re-entered at No. 87, then made a gradual climb, hitting No. 1 on December 9.[57]
  • Skyjacker Martin Joseph McNally hijacked American Airlines Flight 119 as it flew from St. Louis to Tulsa. At St. Louis, he received a suitcase with $502,200 ransom money and parachutes, but the jetliner was rammed by a car that crashed through an airport fence and raced down the runway.[58] Moving to another plane, he then made plans to bail out with the suitcase, but needed instructions on how to parachute safely. The $502,200 suitcase was swept out of McNally's hands by the airstream left by the jet. Having lost his money, McNally safely reached the ground, and was arrested near Detroit on June 28.[59]

June 25, 1972 (Sunday)[edit]

  • Guerrillas in the Armed Commanders of Guerrero began ambushes of the Mexican Army, killing ten soldiers and wounding two others.[60]
  • Died: Jan Matulka, 81, American painter

June 26, 1972 (Monday)[edit]

  • Ecuador started a new era as an exporter of petroleum, as the first oil began flowing from the fields of Sucumbíos Province, through the 312-mile Trans-Ecuadorean Pipe Line, to the port of Balao.[61]
  • Boxer Roberto Durán defeated WBA lightweight champion Ken Buchanan in a fight at New York's Madison Square Garden, beginning a 17-year reign in boxing at the levels of lightweight (1972–79), welterweight (1980), junior middleweight (1983) and middleweight (1989).[62]
  • The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle jet fighter was introduced, at the McDonnell Douglas factory in St. Louis.[63]
  • A 19-year-old woman in Pennsylvania became the last American to be sentenced to death prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that the death penalty was unconstitutional. A week earlier, Marilyn Dobrolenski of Toledo, Ohio, had pleaded guilty of the January 5th murder of two Delaware State Police troopers, Ronald Carey and David C. Yarrington, without seeking a plea bargain of any sort. Four days later, the U.S. Supreme Court would issue its decision in Furman v. Georgia, and on June 29, 1973, she would be sentenced to two consecutive life terms.[64]

June 27, 1972 (Tuesday)[edit]

Atari Official 2012 Logo.svg

June 28, 1972 (Wednesday)[edit]

June 29, 1972 (Thursday)[edit]

The 1972 court

June 30, 1972 (Friday)[edit]

  • For the first time, a leap second was observed. The National Bureau of Standards in Boulder, Colorado, stopped the clock at 23:59:59 GMT (4:59 pm local time), adding 23:59:60 before moving over to 0h 0m 0s.[72]
 1972-06-30 23.59.57
 1972-06-30 23.59.58
 1972-06-30 23.59.59
 1972-06-30 23.59.60 <-- leap second
 1972-07-01 00.00.00
 1972-07-01 00.00.01
 1972-07-01 00.00.02
  • Forward Pass won the 1968 Kentucky Derby, more than four years after the horse race had been run, when Kentucky's highest court denied a petition for a rehearing of its April 28 decision. Dancer's Image had finished first on May 4, 1968, but was then disqualified, for the drug Butazolidin, by Churchill Downs. The decision upheld by the state racing commission, reversed by a circuit court in 1970, then restored by the Court of Appeals. The Derby purse of $122,600 was then released to the owners of the horse that crossed the line second, Forward Pass.[73]


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  2. ^ J. Smith and André Moncourt, The Red Army Faction: a documentary history. (PM Press, 2009), pp169–171
  3. ^ Shigeru Oda, The International Law of the Ocean Development (Sijthoff, 1975), p464
  4. ^ Phebe Marr, The Modern History of Iraq (Westview Press, 2004), pp159–161
  5. ^ "Pablo Picasso: Painting against Time", by Werner Spies
  6. ^ Kim Isaac Eisler, Revenge of the Pequots: How a Small Native American Tribe Created the World's Most Profitable Casino (University of Nebraska Press, 2001), p74
  7. ^ "Big 4 Sign Berlin Accord", Stars and Stripes, June 4, 1972, p1
  8. ^ Vernon Valentine Palmer, Mixed Jurisdictions Worldwide: The Third Legal Family (Cambridge University Press, 2012) p641
  9. ^ "Cameroon", in Heads of States and Governments Since 1945, by Harris M. Lentz (Routledge, 2014) p140
  10. ^ "Lodge, Robert Alfred". PowNetwork. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  11. ^ Maurice, Lindsey (March 9, 2010). "'Legends of Aerospace' Visit 'The Rock'". 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs. Archived from the original on October 6, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  12. ^ a b c Steve Ritchie (Mar 24, 2011). Brig. Gen. Steve Ritchie and the Rescue of Roger Locher (video). Eustis, Florida. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  13. ^ Frisbee, John L. (March 1992). "Valor: A Good Thought to Sleep On". 75 (3). AirforceMagazine.com. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  14. ^ "1st U.S. Woman Rabbi Ordained", Oakland Tribune, June 4, 1972, p38
  15. ^ "Angela Davis Is Acquitted", Des Moines Register, June 5, 1972, p1
  16. ^ Helen Benedict, Portraits in Print: A Collection of Profiles and the Stories Behind Them (Columbia University Press, 1991), p48
  17. ^ Punnee Soonthornpoct, From Freedom to Hell: A History of Foreign Intervention in Cambodian Politics and Wars (Vantage Press, 2005), p216
  18. ^ Michael G. Schechter, United Nations Global Conferences (Routledge, 2005), pp24–25.
  19. ^ G. Gordon Liddy, Will, the Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy (St. Martin's, 1980), p323
  20. ^ Rhodesiana Archives;
  21. ^ "McGovern Wins California primary and 274 delegates", Oakland Tribune, June 7, 1972, p1
  22. ^ Mark H. Clark, et al., Magnetic Recording: The First 100 years (IEEE Press, 1999), p304
  23. ^ Melvin A.9 Benarde Our Precarious Habitat (Norton 1973), p317
  24. ^ Owning the genome: a moral analysis of DNA patenting By David B. Resnik (State University of New York Press, 2004), pp52–53
  25. ^ Ken Bloom, The Routledge Guide to Broadway (CRC Press, 2007), p38
  26. ^ "South Vietnamese Drop Napalm on Own Troops", New York Times, June 9, 1972, p1; "Misplaced Napalm Hits Viet Civilians", Pasadena Star-News, June 8, 1972, p1
  27. ^ Denise Chong, The Girl in the Picture: The Story of Kim Phuc, the Photograph, and the Vietnam War (Penguin Books, 2001)
  28. ^ "Rapid City Flood of 1972" Archived 2012-02-10 at the Wayback Machine., Rapid City Public Library archive
  29. ^ Dave Marsh, Bruce Springsteen: Two Hearts: The Definitive Biography, 1972–2003 (Routledge, 2004), p55
  30. ^ "Governor-For-Day First Black Woman In That Office In Any State", Galveston (Tex.) Daily News, June 11, 1972, p2-A
  31. ^ The X-list: The National Society of Film Critics' Movies That Turn Us On (Da Capo, 2005), pp 76–78
  32. ^ "67 Escape in Plane Accident", Oakland Tribune, June 13, 1972, p1
  33. ^ http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/shows/air-disasters/behind-closed-doors/802/138555
  34. ^ Ken Conboy, INTEL: Inside Indonesia's Intelligence Service (Equinox, 2004), pp 97–102
  35. ^ "E.P.A. Boss Bans U.S. Use of DDT", Oakland Tribune, June 14, 1972, p1
  36. ^ "Many Feared Dead in Air Crash", Oakland Tribune, June 14, 1972, p1; airdisaster.com
  37. ^ Dougal Robertson, Survive the Savage Sea (Sheridan House, 1973)
  38. ^ Stephen E Atkins, Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups (Greenwood Press, 2004), p198
  39. ^ "81 Perish In Vietnam Air Crash", Oakland Tribune, June 15, 1972, p1
  40. ^ Wernher von Braun, "What the New Domestic Communications Satellites Will Do For You", Popular Science magazine (June 1973), p70
  41. ^ Prue Taylor, An Ecological Approach to International Law: Responding to Challenges of Climate Change (Routledge, 1998), p74.
  42. ^ Edgar A Haine, Railroad Wrecks (Cornwall Books, 1993), pp157–158
  43. ^ "5 Held in Plot to Bug Democrats' Office Here", Washington Post, June 18, 1972, p1
  44. ^ "118 Die in British Jet Disaster", Nevada State Journal (Reno), June 19, 1972, p1
  45. ^ "Libertarians Name Candidate", San Antonio Light, June 19, 1972, p7-C
  46. ^ William G Staples, Encyclopedia of Privacy, Vol. 1 (Greenwood Press 2006), p350; Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, All the President's Men (Simon & Schuster), p258
  47. ^ Robert F. Burk, Much More Than a Game: Players, Owners, & American Baseball Since 1921J (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2001), p181
  48. ^ "21 Lines Idled By Pilot Strike", Oakland Tribune, June 19, 1972, p1; David J. Walsh, On Different Planes: An Organizational Analysis of Cooperation and Conflict Among Airline Unions (ILR Press, 1994)
  49. ^ "Another Tape Found Faulty, Sirica Is Told", Washington Post, November 22, 1973
  50. ^ Jean Boulet, in Rotor & Wing International Magazine, 1991, quoted in R. Randall Padfield, Learning to Fly HelicoptersU (McGraw-Hill Professional, 1992), p151
  51. ^ Christopher H. Sterling, et al., Shaping American Telecommunications: A History of Technology, Policy, and Economics (Routledge, 2006), p141
  52. ^ Mike Mueller, Thunderbird Milestones (MBI Publishing, 1999), p59
  53. ^ Thomas J. Craughwell and M. William Phelps, Failures of the Presidents: From the Whiskey Rebellion and War of 1812 to the Bay of Pigs and War in Iraq (Fair Winds Press, 2008), pp223–227
  54. ^ Brian L. Porto, A New Season: Using Title IX to Reform College Sports (Praeger, 2003), p139
  55. ^ "Nixon Signs Education Bill, But Reluctantly", San Antonio Express and News, June 24, 1972, p6-A
  56. ^ "110 Dead in Worst U.S. Flood – 370,000 Homeless In 5 States", San Antonio Light, June 25, 1972, p1; James F. Miskel, Disaster Response and Homeland Security: What Works, What Doesn't (Praeger Security International, 2006), pp58–62
  57. ^ The Billboard book of number 1 hits By Fred Bronson, p324
  58. ^ "Car Rams Hijacked Jet, Halts Ransom Getaway", Oakland Tribune, June 24, 1972, p1
  59. ^ Jay Robert Nash, The Great Pictorial History of World Crime (Scarecrow Press, 2004), p753
  60. ^ Donald Hodges and Ross Gandy,Mexico Under Siege: Popular Resistance to Presidential Despotism (Zed Books, 2002), p128
  61. ^ Allen Gerlach, Indians, Oil, and Politics: A Recent History of Ecuador (Scholarly Resources 2003), p33
  62. ^ "Duran, Roberto", in Encyclopedia of Latino popular culture in the United States (Greenwood Press, 2004), pp22–23
  63. ^ Steve Davies and Doug Dildy, F-15 Eagle Engaged: The World's Most Successful Jet Fighter (Oxford Osprey 2007), p37
  64. ^ "Cop-Killer Sentenced To Two Life Terms", Hagerstown (MD) Daily Mail, July 2, 1973, p7
  65. ^ Heather Chaplin and Aaron Ruby, Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in the Global Videogame Industry (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2005), pp51–53
  66. ^ Dane S Claussen, Sex, Religion, Media (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), p48
  67. ^ Scott Surgent, The Complete Historical and Statistical Reference to the World Hockey Association, 1972–1979 (Xaler Press, 1995), pp5–6
  68. ^ N. Jayapalan, Foreign Policy of India (Atlantic Publishers and Distributors, 2001), pp273–274
  69. ^ "U.S. Supreme Court Kills Death Penalty", Oakland Tribune, June 29, 1972, p1
  70. ^ Dave Von Drehle, Among the Lowest of the Dead: The Culture of Capital Punishment (University of Michigan Press, 2006), pp149–151
  71. ^ Rebecca Stefoff, Furman v. Georgia: Debating the Death Penalty (Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2008)
  72. ^ "The Riddle of the Leap Second", by Arthur Fisher, Popular Science (Mar 1973), p110
  73. ^ John McEvoy, Great Horse Racing Mysteries: True Tales From the Track (Eclipse Press, 2003), p123