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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.


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  13591 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea There I was on the port side of a mighty Destroyer the U.S.S. O'Brien, DD725, sailing into the east coast waters of a place called Korea. Seemed to me the place was pretty hilly. As we got closer I noticed a flash of light. Not long after, another. I asked the nearest Chief I could see what that was all about. His reply was " Count to seven, kinda slow "
Note: by Louis "Digger" O'Dell  7594 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I The visit of an English squadron for the Kiel Week in June, 1914, seemed to indicate a desire to give visible expression to the, fact that the political situation had eased. Although we could not suppress a certain feeling of doubt as to the sincerity of their intentions, everyone on our side displayed the greatest readiness to receive the foreign guests with hospitality and comradeship.
Note: by Admiral Reinhard Scheer, Commander German High Seas Fleet  23118 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Before reaching Louvain we bivouacked near a large well-built village, and here we had the wettest and merriest evening in the whole campaign. Some of our battalion water-carriers discovered a wine-cellar in the village. On going into a cellar they noticed a stack of fagots, and guessed that they were put there with a purpose. The fagots were quickly cleared away, and behind them appeared a door.
Note: by Captain Henry Huebner  14493 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Coast Guard June 1942
Captain Magnusson (if not an enemy in disguise), is the most encouraging piece of equipment on board. The man is a tough, powerful, stubborn-looking Norwegian (so we hear). He is said to have been born and raised in Iceland. We would later learn he owns a fleet of fishing trawlers similar to the Nanok.
Note: by Thaddeus D. Novak, Greenland Patrol, 1942  21713 Reads  Printer-friendly page



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.).  10548 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam One night in late '67 at Marine Quang Tri Forward, I was assigned to generator watch. It is very boring to watch a 500kw Buddha generator generate. We had to keep one generator on-line, because the air strip was finished; and we might need the airfield lighting in an emergency. To ease the boredom, I had been watching a praying mantis approach some unremembered insect so slowly. The motion was almost imperceptible.
Note: by Mike Howard  7239 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 I was born in Pittsford, Otsego County, New York, on the 24th of September 1799. I am the son of Joseph Hanks, whose father's name was William, who lived in the green mountains of Vermont, and whose progenitors emigrated from Holland. My mother's maiden name was Anna Frary and her descent is traced to "the pilgrims".
  10900 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam From an altitude of thirty thousand feet, it's hard to determine where the blue of the Pacific meets the blue of the sky. Consequently, my sense of direction had diminished greatly since leaving the military base at Oakland, more than twenty hours earlier. Not that I really cared which direction I was traveling, I knew the destination well enough, but the disorientation only added to the sick feeling in my gut.
Note: by James F. McColloch, 9th Infantry Division  10808 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War The war was assuming large proportions, and I began to see that the rebellion could not be put down without my help. George had served his time of enlistment, and was at home. Sam was only 18, and was needed at home, but for the fear that we might be drafted and sent to different parts of the country, our parents preferred that we all go together so we could all help each other. It was hard to leave them without help, but they could rent the place or hire some help. Hester was with them and was 9 years old, big enough to run on errands and be of some help at home.
Note: by John Marshall Alley  11895 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I 4th. - 6th. Nov. Very busy time. Had splendid row with C.O. in which he got it rather hotly from me, for all that he could say at the end was that I was not to teach him his business. If he had had any gumption he would have sent me back to my company.
Note: by Robert Lindsay Mackay, 11th Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.  8900 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I was a medic attached to 2nd platoon, C Battery, of the 225th during my entire tour of duty in Europe. When we were in the field, there was half of C Battery (117 men) that I would visit in their positions on a daily basis. I was their primary health-care provider. I would travel on a three-quarter-ton truck that carried rations and water to each searchlight/radar section every day to make my rounds. From June 1944 to December 1945 we moved from Omaha beach in France to Neubiberg in Germany. During this entire time, I never treated someone who was wounded by the enemy. This was a good thing.
Note: by Robert J. King  9107 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Airforce Late November 1963, the day president Kennedy died, was the day on which I was going around John Adams high school in South Bend getting signatures allowing me to leave early in my senior year to join the Air Force. Vietnam was seldom mentioned on television in those days, but by then had already become what it eventually became. I was 17, fed up with school, seeking serious work for my country of whatever kind they might see fit to give.
Note: by Michael S. Bell, 3346th Consol. Maint. Sq., Air Training Command  11110 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  7301 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 Detroit, 4 August 1812
Sir-I take the earliest opportunity to acquaint your excellence of the surrender of Michillimackinac, under my command to His Britannic majesty's forces under the command of Captain Charles Roberts, on the 17th ult-the particulars of which are as follows:
Note: by Lieutenant Porter Hanks to Brigadier-General Hull.  10044 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1778: Baron von Steuben joins the Continental Army at Valley Forge.

1836: The Alamo is besieged by Santa Anna.

1847: Forces led by Zachary Taylor defeat the Mexicans at the Battle of Buena Vista.

1942: A Japanese submarine shells an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California, the first Axis bombs to hit American soil.

1944: American bombers strike the Marianas Islands bases, only 1,300 miles from Tokyo.

1945: Eisenhower opens a large offensive in the Rhineland.

1945: During the Battle for Iwo Jima, U.S. Marines from the 3rd Platoon, E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Division take the crest of Mount Suribachi, the islands highest peak and most strategic position, and raise the U.S. flag.

1951: The first B-29 mission using the more accurate MPQ-2 radar bombed a highway bridge seven miles northeast of Seoul.

1967: American troops begin the largest offensive of the war, near the Cambodian border.

1971: Operation Lam Son 719, the South Vietnamese advance into Laos, grinds to a halt.