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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 In order to comply with the directive to maintain a low profile during the upcoming Tet celebration, our mechanized infantry battalion had been ordered to set up in a position off Highway 15, the major road leading to the port city of Vung Tau. All offensive operations were also put on hold during this ceasefire period. And although few of us understood the significance of the Tet celebration in the Vietnamese culture, we were looking forward to some slack time. But such was not to be!
Note: by 1LT Brice H. Barnes, HHC, 2-47th Inf (Mech), 9th Inf Div  17680 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea Dear Mom: Well, I suppose you wonder where I am, and where I have been. I will start at the beginning. We left for Korea the 1st of July. We were the first regiment to hit there and fight. The North Koreans had about ten divisions to our one regiment. About all we could do was hit them and back up and they would get us surrounded all the time.
Note: letter from PFC Donald Luedtke, U.S. Army 24th Division.  8582 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War General Bragg having evacuated Kentucky, the Federal troops under command of General Rosecrans had been concentrated about Nashville and Bragg's army around Murfreesboro. Only about 25 miles lay between the two armies. So about the last of December Rosecrans advanced on Murfreesboro sufficiently near to offer battle. So on the morning of 31st December we accepted the challenge and at them we went.
Note: by Captain W.P. Howell, 25th Alabama, Company I  10240 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Coast Guard During May 1942, I was a lieutenant assigned as Executive and Engineer Officer of the USS PC-469 at the George Lawley Shipyard in Neponset, Massachusetts. Three other officers were assigned - Lieutenant Commander Richard Morell as the Commanding Officer with Lieutenant (junior grade) Kenneth Potts and Ensign Richard Young as watch officers. Upon arrival, I became very familiar with the PC design since the ship was in the throes of final outfitting and on the building ways - the keel having been laid on 22 October 1941.
Note: by Vice Admiral Thomas R. Sargent, III, USCG   22478 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Helena Arks
July 6th.. 1863
Dear Parents
I will Inform you with Pleasure that I am well at the Present & I Hope that when this Reaches you that it May find you all well I Had a light chill yesterday But I feel all O. K. to day.
Note: by Newton Robert Scott, Private, Company A, of the 36th Infantry, Iowa Volunteers.  7216 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW If I had known what was in store for me on the day I was captured, and the 802 days that followed, I would have continued to fight, even though there was no chance of survival. The damaged weapons carrier slid to a halt, and we piled up against the cab. The noise was deafening and we could have been yelling at each other but I don't remember hearing anything but the noise of the mortar rounds.
Note: by SFC George Matta, Sr.  9763 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The year was 1967. We frequently received incoming RPG or mortars rounds at Cu Chi, RVN. The siren would go off, we would suddenly hear the 'plump - plump' of mortars or the flittering noise of the RPGs followed by their exposion and we would charge off to hit the bunkers.
Note: by Don Patrick  7372 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam In January of 1967, I was the gunner on 868, Lt. Wallace the AC, and WO Leach the pilot; my regular crew chief, Don Cline, was on R&R, so the head of the crew chiefs was flying crew chief for us. The 129th was making a company move from Dong Ba Thin to somewhere in the south, with the ships fully loaded with all our personal gear.
Note: by Max Whittington, 129th AHC  11784 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  8342 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.  9862 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.  8341 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American I was just closing a letter to my family when I felt the crash of the explosion. It was a bursting, rending, and crashing sound, or roar of immense volume, largely metallic in character. It was succeeed by a metallic sound - probably of falling debris - a trembling and lurching motion of the vessel, then an impression of subsidence, attended by an eclipse of the electirc lights and intense darkness within the cabin.
Note: recounted by Captain Charles D. Sigsbee, USS MAINE, Commanding Officer.  13319 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II On 15 December 1941 I was detached from the U.S. Naval School of Aviation Medicine, Pensacola, Florida, destined to eventually join the crew of USS Yorktown. After a short cruise in USS Hornet and her plane guard USS Noa (DD-343) in the Atlantic, I drove across country by auto to San Diego and served briefly in Aircraft Scouting Force Pacific, Transition Training Squadron.
Note: by LT Joseph P. Pollard, MC, USN, Medical Officer on board USS Yorktown (CV-5)  10235 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I flew several of these missions, and we always got secondary explosions and almost never needed the OV10's or snakes to light off the drop. It seemed as if the barrels rupturing and scrapping together created a good fuse and light off. Beyond the Flights mentioned I remember flying a mission in support of the ROK Marines with one CH-53 where we naped Football Island.
Note: by Doug Raupp  8129 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam A couple of hours before sunset, any commander worth his salt got very serious about first, selecting and second, preparing a place for his outfit to spend the night. Nobody from higher headquarters was going to do this for you; battalion staffs and commanders were in fire bases, protected by other companies out of prepared bunkers, complete with wire, mines, defensive artillery fires already plotted, ready access to armed helicopters should the need arise, and so on.
Note: by Richard Guthrie, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry  11412 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1587: In France, Huguenot Henri de Navarre routs Duke de Joyeuses larger Catholic force at Coutras.

1709: Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy take Mons in the Netherlands.

1805: Austrian general Karl Mac surrenders to Napoleons army at the battle of Ulm.

1870: The Summer Palace in Beijing, China, is burnt to the ground by a Franco-British expeditionary force.

1940: German troops reach the approaches to Moscow.

1944: After advancing island by island across the Pacific Ocean, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur wades ashore onto the Philippine island of Leyte, fulfilling his promise to return to the area he was forced to flee in 1942.

1950: In the first airborne operation of the war, 2,860 paratroopers of the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team jumped between Sukchon and Sunchon, 25 miles north of Pyongyang. Far East Air Force C-119s and C-47s transported the assault force and F-80 and F-51 fighters provided air cover.

1952: The destroyer escort Lewis was hit by shore fire off the West Coast of Korea. Seven sailors were killed and one wounded.

1964: Relations between Cambodia, South Vietnam, and the United States reach a low point as Cambodia becomes a sanctuary for Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces.

480: Greeks defeat the Persians in a naval battle at Salamis.