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The Patriot Files is a Library of Congress Veterans History Project Founding Partner web site comprised of first hand accounts of military life and combat, primary source material, as well as image, video, and audio resources.

The Patriot Files also supports the largest military usenet archive, military memorial, military website archive, and military news archive online.


Vietnam I was in the first chopper in the assault. Not a comforting thought but, as it turned out lucky for me. Our chopper crossed the treeline and immediately started dropping down in a stomach lurching dive. As we swept across the Lz toward the far end to allow the choppers behind us to land, we started receiving automatic weapons fire from the surrounding treeline.
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World War I Sun Nov 8th 1914 , Blantyre St.,Bishopmill Dear Annie, Just a few lines to let you know that I am always in the land of living & keeping well hoping this will find you all the same at home I got up here friday & going back Tuesday not much time but better than nothing.
Note: letters by James Kay, Regimental Sergeant-Major, No 4 Company of the 16th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force, 3rd Brigade, First Canadian Division.   6199 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea It was 15 May 1951 and I was a 1st Lt. assigned to the 12th Sqdn, 18th FBW flying F-51Ds. This was my 44th mission. Assigned as element lead (no. 3) in a flight of four. Flight commander was Capt. AE Rice. His wingman was Lt. Forrest Strange. My wingman was Lt. Luther A. Webb.
Note: by Richard T. Gruber, LtCol (ret), 12th Fighter Bomber Squadron, 18th FBW.  6364 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I was GPO for the move to Nui Dat, and on arrival I was responsible for deploying the guns in a temporary position on the brigade's south-west perimeter, the first time the bty had been this exposed since Korea, according to our BC, Don Kenning, and we had to look after our own defence.
Note: by Mike Dakin  6975 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Pearl Harbor occurred about six months after I graduated from High School. I believe we all were aware it would change our lives and the things we believed in but none of us knew how much. It placed restraints on our lives. We wanted to keep on working and enjoying our new found freedom of being out of school and yet we were all moved by feelings of duty to the country and many of my friends joined the service.
Note: by William H. Gieske, 172nd Field Artillery Battalion.  7268 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Front, Aug. 9, 1918
Dear Uncle Clem:
I know you must be waiting anxiously for a letter from me and wondering why I have not written before. Ever since July 15, the day of Clem's death, and the opening of the German offensive which we turned into defeat, we have been on the go night and day, and a good share of the time have been used as infantry.
Note: W.A. Thompson, Jr served with the Rainbow Division of Engineers in France.  5621 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War The village of Dover was, and for that matter yet is, what our English cousins would call the shire-town of the county of Stewart, Tennessee. In 1860 it was a village unknown to fame, meager in population, architecturally poor. There was a court-house in the place, and a tavern, remembered now as double-storied, unpainted, and with windows of eight-by-ten glass, which, if the panes may be likened to eyes, were both squint and cataractous.
Note: by General Lew Wallace  8077 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Friday, December 14, 1917
Grand Hotel, Paris, France
Got up at 9 a.m. Went to see if my kodak pictures were finished. They were not. Tried to find the Spad factory until late in afternoon. Did not find it. Every place I was told it was turned out to be the wrong place. Will try again some other day. I have been bitterly disappointed so many times at the Embassy that I dreaded to go there and ask for mail.
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World War II Flying a bombing mission out of Foggia, Italy, off Tortorella US Army Air Field in Italy, during W.W. II, our B-17 caught one hell of a lot of flack. All four engines were still running, but ALL flight instruments failed. We had no airspeed indicator. Since we were returning from the bombing mission in formation, we didn't really need flight instruments except for the approach and landing.
Note: by George Ureke, Lt. Colonel USAF (Ret.).  9195 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II 8/9/44 Mission #1 Flew our 1st mission today, 34 to go. They woke us at 1:50 am. Briefing time 3:00 am. So we knew it was pretty sure to be a long one. Had pineapple juice, fresh egg, hotcakes, sausage, cold cereal, coffee. Target Schmitt ball bearing works, Nurnberg.
Note: by First Lieutenant Andrew K. Norman  7170 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Turmoil and confusion are everywhere. Troops, baggage, and all the litter of war, lumbers up every available space. R.T. Officers are here, there, and everywhere. They sort us out, guide, and lead us to our trains. We file in. Where are we going? No one knows. Where's the 8th? Where's the 7th? Where's the 6th? Where is any regiment?
Note: by Private Alfred Grosch, 8th London  7831 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American When we left our anchorage at Hong Kong for Mirs Bay we passed close to an English army hospital-ship lying in the stream. The patients gathered on the port-side, and, with the doctors and nurses, gave three hearty cheers as we steamed slowly by. It did our hearts good, and from all our ships ringing Yankee voices answered them in kind.
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Vietnam Now, the way I recall it seems to be quite a bit different than the “official” version as reported in the “After Action Reports” on record for the early morning of 30 January 1968. Myself being a trooper of E Co.-Recon, 1st Bn./501st Inf., 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division and being a participant in the defense of LZ Jane against the assault upon it in those early morning hours that turned out to be the onset of the 1968 TET Offensive, that is, as perpetrated 1 day early in error by a number of communist forces in I Corps.
Note: by Michael Bradshaw, E Co.-Recon, 1stBn. /501stInf., 101stAbn. Div.
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Civil War The battle of Bull Run or Manassas was the first, and in many respects the most remarkable, battle of our Civil War. It was a series of surprises—the unexpected happening at almost every moment of its progress. Planned by the Union chieftain with consummate skill, executed for the most part with unquestioned ability, and fought by the Union troops for a time with magnificent courage, it ended at last in their disastrous rout and the official decapitation of their able commander.
Note: by General John B. Gordon  6532 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea March 22, 1952. I was just 22 years old. Dawn found me on the flight deck of the USS Valley Forge in the Sea of Japan, warming up my Skyraider. As a pilot in Fighter Squadron 194, the "Yellow Devils," I was the standby in case one of the 8 planes scheduled for the morning's flight became inoperative.
Note: by Ken Schecter  7063 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1553: The Sadians defeat the last of their enemies and establish themselves as rulers of Morocco.

1739: The Austrians sign the Treaty of Belgrade after having lost the city to the Turks.

1779: The American navy under John Paul Jones, commanding from Bonhomme Richard, defeats and captures the British man-of-war Serapis.

1803: British Major General Sir Arthur Wellesley defeats the Marathas at Assaye, India.

1805: Lieutenant Zebulon Pike pays $2,000 to buy from the Sioux a 9-square-mile tract at the mouth of the Minnesota River that will be used to establish a military post, Fort Snelling.

1863: Lincoln plans to send relief to the beleaguered Union force at Chattanooga.

1864: Confederate and Union forces clash at Mount Jackson, Front Royal and Woodstock in Virginia during the Valley campaign.

1943: Benito Mussolini, deposed dictator of Italy, fashions a new fascist republic—by the leave of his new German masters—which he "rules" from his headquarters in northern Italy.


1945: The first American dies in Vietnam during the fall of Saigon to French forces.

1947: James Forrestal, former Secretary of the Navy, takes office as the first Secretary of Defense.