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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.

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Coast Guard New Yorkers, it appears, are no different from other city dwellers. The Tamaroa, the Coast Guard cutter that rescued the downed Air National Guard chopper crew during the October 1991 storm on which the hit movie "The Perfect Storm" is based, is here in the city. Yet like most people, New Yorkers are oblivious to such amazing landmarks right where they live.
Note: by William O. Doherty Jr., Friday, September 01, 2000. Doherty served with the Coast Guard's Tamaroa Deck Force from 1967-68.   6641 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Vietnam The nights were accompanied by the throaty drone of these lumbering killers, orbiting over their home base, boresighting their various sensors, tuning up for their moonlight symphony over the jungle trails of Laos. As a fellow pilot, I had worked these same hostile skies with the AC-130 Spectres many nights. I had seen the still smoldering evidence of their effectiveness in harnessing the flood of Communist truck traffic that ran the gauntlet of Laos each night.
Note: by Lt. Col. James F. Humphries, Jr.  5887 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  6250 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II It was the fall of 1944. I was fresh out of USAC basic at Keesler Field and was assigned to B-29 gunnery training at Buckingham Field, Fort Myers, FL As a lot of good "cadets" did then, I chose this instead of "on the line" training. Within the first week at Buck Field, I was fitted with a parachute harness and "invited" to take an orientation ride in a funny-looking B-24.
Note: By Sgt. Joe B. Tillery.  4840 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Spanish American It was suggested to me that I give a talk or write a paper on my experiences last summer, experiences that to me were the most interesting and exciting I suppose I will ever have. As it was left to me to select the method, I have chosen this as the easier, not that I always choose the easier way when I have an alternative, but only when I think it is the better way.
Note: by Bertram Willard Edwards of Chicago, a member of the Naval Reserve, USS OREGON.  6425 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Civil War Sandy Hook, Md Oct. 4th '62 Friend George, I was just now sitting in the tent with the Major, looking at the engravings in a late number of Leslie's Illustrated and I happened to observe the likeness & name of Don Carlos Beull. I remarked that he is the first public man I ever heard of as bearing my name. Upon this he said, "That reminds me that I have a letter for you."
Note: by Don Scott, 11th NH Volunteers  5963 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Vietnam I arrived in Vietnam on Jan. 16, 1966 with the 3rd. Bde. of the 25th. Inf. Div. 1bn. 14th. Inf. We had been on board the U.S.N.S. Walker for 12 days. All of us knew each other and had trained together for months in the jungles of the Big Island of Hawaii.
  7481 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Vietnam Believe it or not, it was a very cold night on the outskirts of Phan Rang Air Base that Christmas night in 1967. Most of us had been scurrying earlier, prior to Guardmount, to find a jacket or a extra shirt---actually, anything to keep warm. I mean, 68°F was COLD, and we weren't used to it.
Note: by Carl Tripp, 35th SPS, Phan Rang, Vietnam - 1967.  5677 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  5629 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Korea I entered active duty with the 47th Infantry Division from Minnesota. At the time I arrived in Korea, I was originally assigned to A Battery 143rd FA as Recon & Survey Officer on August 16, 1952. I was 1st Lt at that time. All of us, except the battery commander and executive officer, pulled tours as forward observer with the Korean infantry units we were supporting at that time.
Note: by William R Hendrickson  7630 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Korea It was January 28, 1951. I had been with my platoon for five days. The platoon leader, Lieutenant Mitchell, called us into his hut and informed us that we would be going on a motorized patrol the next day. He emphasized that it would be dangerous since a patrol had gone into the same region on the 28th without finding the enemy.
Note: by Richard C Fockler, 23rd lnf., C Co.  7558 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Civil War We remained in camp near Chattanooga till about the last of August. The Tennessee river being the line between the two armies the picket lines of each army were posted on the opposite banks of that stream. I remember having been ordered one morning to take my company and post them as pickets on the river bank just below the city.
Note: by Captain W.P. Howell, 25th Alabama, Company I  7225 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Civil War The war had now assumed proportions altogether vaster than had been anticipated by either the North or the South. No man at the North, perhaps no man on either side, had at its beginning a clearer perception of the probable magnitude of the struggle than General W. T. Sherman.
Note: by General John B. Gordon  5425 Reads  Printer-friendly page

War of 1812 His Majesty's late Ship DETROIT, Put In Bay Lake Erie, 12 September 1813 The last Letter I had the Honor of Writing to you dated the 6th Instant, I informed you that unless certain intimation was received of more Seamen being on their way to Amherstburgh, I should be obliged to sail with the Squadron deplorably Manned as it was, to fight the Enemy (who Blockaded the Port) to enable us to get supplies of Provisions and Stores of every Description.
Note: by R.H. Barclay, RN  9609 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Civil War Jan. 24th: I commenced keeping diary in Tom Sandle's book he being gone the Devil knows where. This morning inspection of arms weather cloudy and damp. No camp guards furnished by our Brigadier yesterday we were on pickett had the easiest duty our company ever done.
Note: by Melville Cox Follett  6366 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1760: Major Roger Rogers takes possession of Detroit on behalf of Britain.

1812: The last elements of Napoleon Bonapartes Grand Armee retreats across the Beresina River in Russia.

1863: The Battle of Fort Sanders, Knoxville Tennessee, ends with a Confederate withdrawal.

1939: Soviet planes bomb an airfield at Helsinki, Finland.

1944: The USS Archerfish (SS-311) sinks the Japanese carrier Shinano.

1950: Lieutenant General Walton Walker ordered the Eighth Army to withdraw to new lines in the vicinity of the North Korean capital or Pyongyang. Meanwhile, the 2nd Infantry Division, acting as rearguard for Eighth Army, was struck hard by overwhelming Chinese forces at Kunu-ri.

1950: The French Battalion, known as the Battalion de Coree, joined the U.N. forces in Korea. Most often attached to the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division, the battalion received three U.S. Distinguished Unit Citations for Twin Tunnels, Chipyong-ni and Hongchon.

1952: Making good on his most dramatic presidential campaign promise, newly elected Dwight D. Eisenhower goes to Korea to see whether he can find the key to ending the bitter and frustrating Korean War.

1967: Robert S. McNamara announces that he will resign as Secretary of Defense and will become president of the World Bank.

1968: The Viet Cong High Command orders an all-out attempt to smash the Phoenix program.