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Welcome to the Patriot Files


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.


Navy It was a normal day. I reported to work, started logging into the computer, checking e-mails, taking phone calls, talking with the office about what was going on. Then someone heard about the happenings at the World Trade Center - the first plane. We were able to watch the live video and started hearing the reports. Then we saw the footage of the second aircraft coming into the second tower.
Note: by Lieutenant Commander David Tarantino, MC, USN  10278 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I I remember the first occasion when I was called upon to go over the top. It was during the Somme "do," where our battalion had already been in some nasty business near the Briqueterie and Trones Wood. I heard about the Third Company's experiences in Trones Wood during my recovery from an overdose of rum, and I was new enough a soldier to feel the strain on my heart-strings when I realized that rum stupor had saved me from participation.
Note: by Fred Ball  5638 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I got a very low draft number, so I was sure to be called. Instead of waiting to be called and being put into whatever anybody decided to do for me, I decided to try to guide my own destiny a bit. I enlisted in the Navy out of Floyd Bennet Naval Air Station, which was a reserve air station in Brooklyn, New York....I didn't want to be in the Army because I remembered all the stories and the movies about World War I were about people living in trenches.
Note: by Arnold Spring  5026 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II 27.4.41 A fast trip with a couple of alarms brought us to Suda Bay, Crete. Arrived about noon and had a 3 mile walk to a rest camp. Did not enjoy it. 30.4.41 Today we received permission to send a cable advising "All well". I hope it reaches its destination in double quick time. Many times during the last few weeks we have realised how much the people in N.Z. must have been worrying, particularly on Anzac Day.
Note: by Alan Jackson, 5th Field Regiment  4297 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I It was near the end of the great German bid for victory in April 1918. We left Beuvry and passed the hamlet of Le Fresnoy and crossed the bridge over the La Bassee Canal into the village of Gorre. There we struck a route past the famous Brewery to make for the open fields and the front-line trenches.
Note: by Lance-Corporal Thomas A. Owen  4765 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Soon after arriving in Viet Nam I saw an OV-10 Bronco. It was love at first sight and I was determined to get a ride in one. Luckily my job as an information officer gave me the opportunity. The ALO (Air Liaison Officer, pronounced "aye lo") assigned to the division flew OV-10s so I tracked the unit down.
Note: by Forrest Brandt  5435 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American I am not quite sure where Major Eskridge’s wound is so do not guess at it. V.

Shrewsbury N.J.
July 14, 98
My dear Mrs. Helmick,
I have been sent home with a broken leg to get ready for Puerto Rico. I am not writing this to tell you about myself, but about the rest of the reg’t, which I know will be good news to most of you.
Note: The 10th U.S. Infantry took part in the action at San Juan Hill, on the far west end of the line.  4411 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Navy Friday, 14 September 2001, turned out to be a tough day. We all got to NNMC early in the morning and boarded the buses for the 4-hour ride up to Earl, New Jersey. Eventually, we all got unloaded, checked aboard, got our rooms, unpacked our seabags, and checked into our workstations. Then, within an hour of arriving, there was an announcement that there had been a change in the mission. The hospital ship was going to be used to provide comfort, meaning living spaces, food spaces, and showers for the rescue workers. And except for a very core crew, everybody else was told to pack their seabags to go home.
Note: by Captain Ralph Bally, MCS, USN, USNS Comfort  11706 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam We have been stationed about 5-6 miles off the coast of Vietnam. Our job is to repair the river patrol boats. They would tow, push, shove or sometimes just putt their way out to us for repair. We keep seeing the same patrol boats and repair them, send them back, repair them, send them back.
Note: by Raymond Bruder  5473 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Base Hospital 27, located at Angers, France, received the first official order dated July 14, 1917, to supply Army nurses for this service. Until this time, the Medical Corps attached to hospital trains were caring for the wounded. Through Miss Blanche Rulon, chief nurse of Base Hospital 27, Edna Cooper, Grace O'Donnell and I were detailed to Hospital Train 57.
Note: Helen T. Burrey, reserve nurse, Army Nurse Corps, a graduate of St. Francis Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pa., and a member of the nursing staff of U. S. Army Base Hospital No. 27, was one of the first three nurses to be assigned to hospital trains of The American Expeditionary Forces.   5417 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea On June 10th 1952 I crawled onto a crew bus at K-8 Korea for the ride to the Operations tent for my first mission with my new navigator. Captain Black, another B-26 pilot, was already on board and we discussed his mission status while on the way to the flight line.
Note: by James Willard Braly, 13th Bomb Squadron.  4474 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II March 10, '45 was my sixtieth mission. From now on I'd be eligible for rotation home. It was a happy prospect. What wasn't was a 2,000' ceiling and 5,000' thick cloud cover by no means great weather to be flying combat in. Since I'd joined the 36th Fighter Group on August 1, 1944, a lot of good friends in the Group hadn't made it as far as I had. They'd either been killed or were missing in action.
Note: by 1st. Lt. Philip N. Wright, Jr., 36th Fighter Group, 23rd Fighter Squadron, 9th Air Force  7208 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam It was raining hard again, the monsoon deluge pouring down in sheets. 2d platoon had been out in the field for how many days? Weeks maybe. I had no idea what day it was anymore, but at the last resupply, they'd brought out some Stars and Stripes dated December 21st, so I knew it was somewhere around Christmas.
Note: by James Worth.  4928 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War One of the things you have to watch out for in the field are tracks. Tracks of any kind can put a real damper on your day when they come rolling across your site without warning. To avoid such confrontations we took special care to build deep and well fortified fighting positions when time allowed.
Note: by David Bailey, A Company, 13th Signal Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division  5051 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War The keel of the most famous vessel of modern times was laid in the shipyard of Thomas F. Rowland, at Greenpoint, Brooklyn, in October, 1861, and on the 30th of January, 1862, the novel craft was launched. On the 25th of February she was commissioned and turned over to the Government, and nine days later left New York for Hampton Roads, where, on the 9th of March, occurred the memorable contest with the Virginia.
Note: by Commander S. D. Greene, U.S. Navy  6882 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1813: Marines landed at York, Lake Ontario, with soldiers to burn stores and barracks of the British.

1864: Ulysses S. Grant was named General of Volunteers.

1865: The Navy’s East India Squadron established to operate from Sunda Strait to Japan.

1874: Commissioning of USS Intrepid, first U.S. warship equipped with torpedoes.

1912: The first attempt to launch an airplane by catapult is made at Annapolis.

1917: Third Battle of Ypres begins. British and French attack on 15-mile front in Flanders, take 12 villages and claim 5,000 prisoners.

1918: The 42nd Division (26 states and DC) is ordered to capture Hill 177 in preparation for the Aisne Offensive.

1942: American bombers attack targets on Tulagi and bomb the airfield the Japanese are building on Guadalcanal.

1943: The US 45th Division occupies Santo Stefano. British and Canadian units move toward Regalbuto and Centuripe.

1944: American 1st Army continues to advance. The US 4th Armored Division captures crossings over the Selune River near Pontaubault. The German counterattack on the left flank continues around Tessy and Percy.