This Day in U.S. Naval History – December 21
1861 - Congress authorizes the Medal of Honor, the Nation's highest award, for Naval personnel.
1943 - USS Grayling (SS-208) sinks fourth Japanese ship since 18 December.
1951 - First helicopter landing aboard a hospital ship, USS Consolation.
1968 - Launch of Apollo 8 with Captain James A. Lovell, Jr. as Command Module Pilot. During the mission Lovell was one of the first two people to see the far side of the moon. The mission lasted 6 days and 3 hours, and included 10 moon orbits. Recovery was by HS-4 helicopters from USS Yorktown (CVS-10).
(Source: Navy News Service)