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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.


Revolutionary War Headquarters, Cambridge, August 20, 1775

Dear Sir: Since my last of the 15th Inst. I have been favoured with yours of the 6th.--I am much concerned to find the Supplies ordered have been so much delayed. By this Time, I hope, Colonel McDougall, whose Zeal is unquestionable, has joined you with every Thing necessary for prosecuting your Plan.
  7444 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam It began with a bit of a buzz over the mortaring the night before and the normal scuttle butt as information slowly emerged as to damage and casualties. Willie and I where a bit hung over we had a party in our tent the night before when the mess closed, and had a few over the prescribed 2 cans per day (so did the company HQ radio ops who where with us).
Note: by Murray Broomhall, Delta Company 6 RAR  9333 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam On June 6, 1967, the *very* large ammo dump at LZ English cooked off. It took several hours, blowing up one pallet load at a time of a weeks' supply of every class of ammo for the whole 1st Cav Division. We waited it out in a bunker, listening to huge explosions and listening to vast things hurtling through the night air overhead. When we figured it had maybe finally stopped, about 0800 hrs., we stood uncertainly outside our bunker, considering what to do next: survey the damage to tents and vehicles? (Luckily, no casualties in my outfit) Make breakfast, maybe? Then we heard a 2.75" rocket sputtering along the ground like a crazy firework, only nobody could spot it.
Note: by Ted Gittinger   7736 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam We had a new guy in our mortar platoon I will call Joe C. He was a Chicano from East L. A. He was friendly, and fun loving but liked to take chances. In the world of mortars, one of the top rules, is not to have a round in each hand while firing a mortar tube. It is nearly impossible to keep track of where the round in the barrel is.
Note: by Larry Nuckolls, 81MM + 4.2", B Co., 2/22 (M) 25TH INF DIV., 1970.  7156 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I After nine months in France, I joined the East Lancs. at Gugunci, travelling overland from Cherbourg to Taranto, thence by steamer to Itea, and finally by motor and rail across wild Greece to Salonika. On disembarking at Dudulah, an enemy aeroplane greeted us with its heavy drone, but proceeded on its way to bomb an ammunition dump some distance away.
Note: by Private N. C. Powell, 3/5th East Lancs. Regt.  8082 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW The serene beauty of the rising sun on February 16, 1944 was disrupted by German heavy artillery barrages. This was the commencement of a large scale offensive. Presently tanks were rapidly advancing on us, followed by infantrymen. The approaching tanks caused me to break out in a cold sweat and I feverishly prayed for God's help. One tank spotted my foxhole and sent a machine gun burst over my head. I then heard an order to come out. Momentarily hesitating, to make peace with my God which bolstered my courage, I vacated my foxhole.
Note: by Pvt. Robert Davis, POW 11605, Stalag VIIB  10252 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I In writing this, my object is to try and give some idea of my experiences in France and Belgium. Well, I land at Boulogne on February 2nd 1917. It was then bitter cold and snowing, and went on to St Martinís Camp for the night and then my first real experience of hardship commenced.
Note: by Charles H Rooke, 1/5 Border Regiment  14150 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I A fellow named Kendall and I palled up the day after he joined our company. We were in a sugar factory at the time, where we were to spend the night before going into the line. I had found two planks and trestles, and thought, in my ignorance, to make a bed where the rats would not disturb me, and while I surveyed the available floor space the slinking form of a large rat, just discernible in the dimming light, made me turn sharply round.
Note: by Private David Phillips, 23rd County of London Regiment  9739 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam First of all, let me say that Tony White was a first class doctor and man. When the 5th Battalion went to Vietnam on its first tour; the average Company Medic was ill trained and poorly equipped, especially by American standards. The training received at the School of Army Health was very basic, and involved more about how to work in a hospital ward than how to treat casualties.
Note: by Ron Nichols, Medic, B Coy. 5 RAR  7684 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I had just had breakfast and was looking out a porthole in sick bay when someone said, "What the hell are all those planes doing up there on a Sunday? " Someone else said, "It must be those crazy Marines. They'd be the only ones out maneuvering on a Sunday." When I looked up in the sky I saw five or six planes starting their descent. Then when the first bombs dropped on the hangers at Ford Island, I thought, "Those guys are missing us by a mile." Inasmuch as practice bombing was a daily occurrence to us, it was not too unusual for planes to drop bombs, but the time and place were quite out of line.
Note: by Pharmacist's Mate Second Class Lee Soucy, USS UTAH  16430 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War NBC. Nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. These were some of the most thought about things in the blast furnace of Iraq. Not that we did not have other things to think about but the idea of a virus that could live 3-5 days in the desert environment was not something to take lightly.
Note: by David  12167 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I In November 1915 I was one of those accepted by Colonel Lord Feversham to be enlisted in the Yeoman Rifles being formed at Helmsley Park. In January 1916 the battalion was transferred to Aldershot, where we became fit for our great adventure. Runners were asked for, and I volunteered for the job.
Note: by Corporal Robert William Iley, 41st Battalion Machine Gun Corps   6786 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II September 16 I remember crossing the Siegfried line with it's dragon teeth. We had seen pictures of this defensive system for years and now we saw it first hand. With the return of our men from the Red Ball Express we are now back in business. I don't remember details of all the areas we were in when we arrived in Germany. I recall one position shortly after we were in on the outskirts of Aachen. We had an antiaircraft unit of two half-tracks with us. One vehicle had quad fifties in a cockpit like arrangement and the other was a thirty seven mm. with a pair of fifties.
Note: by William H. Gieske, 172nd Field Artillery Battalion.  10881 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II It became known as the "Spearhead Division and I joined it, the Third Armored Division, at Camp Polk, Louisiana in early 1942, less than a year after it was formed. This account is of me telling of my day on the "Spearhead", how I got there, what happened, and how it ended.
Note: by Ray Reeder, 3rd Armored Division, 33rd Armored Regiment, Recon Company  17040 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Little did I know that within an hour I would be beginning the second half of my WestPac cruise, albeit in a new squadron. My name is Bill Angus and I was a B/N with VMA (aw) 224 embarked aboard the Coral Sea.
Note: By Captain Bill Angus (retired) VMA (AW) 242 Carrier Air Wing 15 USS Coral SeaCVA 43   8108 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1914: In the Alsace-Lorraine area between France and Germany, the German Army captures St. Mihiel.

1915: Bulgaria mobilizes troops on the Serbian border.

1916: Sherif of Mecca reports he has forced Taif (60 miles south-east of Mecca) to surrender.

1917: German attacks north of Bezonvaux, Fosses and Chaume Woods, Verdun (north-east), are repulsed.

1918: French and British troops cooperate attacking St. Quentin sector. Good progress is made in spite of strong resistance around hamlets of Salency (Noyon) and Gricourt.



1929: The first flight using only instruments is completed by U.S. Army pilot James Doolittle.

1941: The Japanese consul in Hawaii is instructed to divide Pearl Harbor into five zones and calculate the number of battleships in each zone—and report the findings back to Japan.


1950: In the south, Eighth Armys 1st Cavalry Division took Sangju and Oksan. On the Inchon/Seoul front, the 7th Infantry Division entered Osan on a drive to link up with Eighth Army forces advancing from the south.

1950: Paratroopers of the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team, arrived at Kimpo Air Base from Japan. This 4000-man RCT was detached from the 11th Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., for service in Korea.

1960: The first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise (CVAN-65), is launched.