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Military Quotes

We would fight not for the political future of a distant city, rather for principles whose destruction would ruin the possibility of peace and security for the peoples of the earth.

-- Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain

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.


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  14956 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   6629 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea On June 25, 1950, the Korean War began. I listened to the news every day and when I heard my old outfit, Baker Company Fifth Marines, was in Korea fighting hard, I decided to re-enlist. Traveling to Kansas City, Missouri, to the Marine recruiting office I hoped to re-up as a sergeant. I was disappointed, for I had been involved in a car wreck and still had some cuts not fully healed.
Note: by PFC Charlie Carmin, 1st Marine Division  17855 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Saint-Leonard, a name that has continually come to mind over the last five decades, is the name of a quaint little village situated in the foothills of the Vosges of Southern France. It was not long after our encounter in this village when I made myself a promise not to be forgotten... a promise that I would keep in the many years to follow. The incident bringing about this promise I have lived with since that day, Nov. 20, 1944. It was a promise made out of both fear and anger, that some day if it be God's will, I will return.
Note: by Fielding D. Tucker  6300 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea It was 15 May 1951 and I was a 1st Lt. assigned to the 12th Sqdn, 18th FBW flying F-51Ds. This was my 44th mission. Assigned as element lead (no. 3) in a flight of four. Flight commander was Capt. AE Rice. His wingman was Lt. Forrest Strange. My wingman was Lt. Luther A. Webb.
Note: by Richard T. Gruber, LtCol (ret), 12th Fighter Bomber Squadron, 18th FBW.  5958 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea The village of Changbong-ni is located in central Korea, below the 38th Parallel and about 7 miles north of Hoengsong. My unit, 0 Battery of the 82nd AAA was armed with M-1 6 half-track vehicles which had a quad-50 turret mounted with four 50 caliber machine guns. The action described below took place on 11-12 February 1951. I was the senior Lieutenant of D Battery.
Note: by Paul G McCoy, 82AAA, D Btry.  9640 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War

Rome Ga Nov 10th 1864

During the last two weeks we have been expecting "marching orders". More than a week since we rec'd orders to prepare for a "long arduous & successful campaign".

Note: by Cornelius C. Platter, 81st Ohio Infantry  21120 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Monday 4th. Sept. 1916. Recalled from Leave. Ordered "out". Felt very 'bucked' with life. Train to Dunfermline, packed a few things and then off to Edinburgh. Terrific crowds at the station to see our train off. Slept on the floor of a third class corridor with a few drunken Canadians, who, I believe, talked to me most of the night without getting a reply. Cheery souls!
Note: by Robert Lindsay Mackay, 11th Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.  5820 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.  6599 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea The flights to our new station at K-2 (Taegu) consumed one day and within several days more the squadron was in full operation. While we unpacked and positioned our main equipment, hundreds of cans of exposed aerial film began to backlog in our holding area.
Note: by Sgt. Jack Morris, 363rd Recon Tech Squadron Korea.   6527 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea In late May, 1950, the 31st Recon Sq. conducted an Operational Readiness Test, flying out of Kadena AFB Okinawa. Immediately upon completion of the ORT, most of the squadron’s RB-29s (eight, as I recall) were flown back to the States, to Tinker AFB, OK, for complete overhaul.
Note: by William F. (Bill) Welch, 31st and 91st SRS.   7059 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Camp Near Yorktown April the 19 1862
My Dear Cousin
I write you afew lines to let you know whare we are, we are on the out post the yankees are shooting at our men constantly tho it is very cildom thay hit eny of them, thay havent shot but one man in our Regiment he was shot thursday,
Note: Company D of the 38th Virginia Infantry in Whitmell.   6038 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I The members of my family - that of Richthofen - have taken no very great part in wars until now. The Richthofens have always lived in the country; indeed, there has scarcely been one of them without a landed estate, and the few who did not live in the country have, as a rule, entered the State service. My grandfather and all my ancestors before him had estates about Breslau and Striegau. Only in the generation of my grandfather it happened that the first Richthofen. his cousin, became a General.
Note: by Captain von Richthofen (The Red Baron)  6124 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I July 18th 1918 Dear Mother, Well there has been great activity in the line of warfare since my last letter. I never realized before that destruction of material things as well as human life could possibly occur in a few hours. Just a few days ago we witnessed the greatest artillery fire, and also its effect, since the war began.
Note: letter by Corp. Roy Bainbridge, 117 Am. Train Co C.  5470 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam My experiences are those from the perspective of a gunship pilot. I flew Cobras with the 235th Aerial Weapons Company (the Delta Devils) out of Can Tho in '68 and '69. The 235th was an all-Cobra company and we gunship drivers were used as hired guns for anyone in the Delta who wanted helicopter gunships to come and shoot up stuff. We nearly always were dispatched as a single light fire team (two Cobras).
Note: by Ira Will McComic  6893 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1779: British General (and territorial Lt. Governor) Henry Hamilton surrenders Fort Sackville in Vincennes Indiana to George Rogers Clark, thereby assisting in the end of the Revolutionary War and in gaining a large territory for America.

1781: American General Nathaniel Greene crosses the Dan River on his way to attack Cornwallis.

1831: The Polish army halts the Russian advance into their country at the Battle of Grochow.

1836: Samuel Colt patents the first revolving cylinder multi-shot firearm.

1861: The Confederate Marine Corps was organized in Richmond, Virginia.

1861: The Saratoga, a member of the U.S. African Squadron, captures the slaver sloop Express.

1862: The U.S. Congress passes the Legal Tender Act, authorizing the use of paper notes to pay the government's bills. This ended the long-standing policy of using only gold or silver in transactions, and it allowed the government to finance the enormously costly war long after its gold and silver reserves were depleted.

1862: Confederate troops abandon Nashville, Tennessee, in the face of Grants advance.

1862: The ironclad Monitor is commissioned at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

1865: General Joseph E. Johnston replaces John Bell Hood as Commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee.