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I feel that retired generals should never miss an opportunity to remain silent concerning matters for which they are no longer responsible.

-- General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

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 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  6087 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Coast Guard Hurricanes get names and hype, but for old-fashioned natural violence it's hard to beat a classic First District northeaster-like the one that raked New England on Halloween week, mauling Coast Guard assets and writing new chapters in the history of search and rescue.
Note: by Rick Booth  10645 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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.   7085 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Korea It was sometime in March 1950, when my Brother, Spencer Walter (Walt) Welsh announced to the family that he was going to join the Army, As he was only 17 years old and did not have a profession decided for himself and jobs in York, Pennsylvania were few and far between, he said he wanted to better himself.
Note: by Jay Welsh  6192 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Revolutionary War Headquarters, Cambridge, August 20, 1775

Dear Sir: Since my last of the 15th Inst. I have been favoured with yours of the 6th.--I am much concerned to find the Supplies ordered have been so much delayed. By this Time, I hope, Colonel McDougall, whose Zeal is unquestionable, has joined you with every Thing necessary for prosecuting your Plan.
  6115 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I ON May 31st, 1916, the Grand Fleet and the High Sea Fleet fought the action which has become known as the Battle of Jutland. The despatch describing the battle, as published some weeks later, was not quite in its original form as written by me. After a conference held at the Admiralty, early in June, modifications were made : some of them because it was considered that certain passages might convey useful information to the enemy, and others because it was thought to be undesirable to draw attention to certain features of British design.
Note: by Admiral John Rushworth Jellicoe  6672 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II The morning of December 7, 1941 was typical of any Sunday morning aboard the battleship USS CALIFORNIA. My billet for meals was the Marines' casemate #8(an armored enclosure for a gun) located port side midship, just where the forecastle breaks and a ladder leads down to the quarter-deck.
Note: by John H. McGoran  6718 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II July 18 (1944) Came in to Bostrem Bay early this morning. - I am now on another L.C.I. the 228, waiting to be stationed on L.C.I. 226 which is not in Bay yet. These are the older type L.C.I. They have all seen plenty of action. This is our home base all amphib called "Alixhaven" "Madang" the hardest fought Jap air field is only a few miles away.These bases were captured from Japs about four months ago.
Note: by Arden Lee Hunt, signalman, LCI 226  12841 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II When I got to the hangar, navigators were working around a large table with their topographical maps and plotting charts. Navigators made their own calculations, and then compared results with others. When we had finished we went to the locker room. Dressing up was a long process for the gunners. It was a cold ride in the turrets and gunners wore as much clothing as they could from woollen underwear to electrically heated suits.
Note: by Jerrold Morris, 419 Squadron, RCAF  6022 Reads  Printer-friendly page

POW Of course it had to come, Hitler had been seizing all the smaller states and threatening others. So when he marched on Poland it was the last straw, for Britain had warned him that we would not stand idly by, but would go to the aid of Poland. It was the 3rd September 1939, and I was digging air-raid shelters when I heard that we were at war with Germany; and it was only the day before, that I had received my calling up papers, so it looked as though I would be in for some excitement.
Note: by Private W.C. LAW, ( 5186223 ), 2 Gloucester Regt.  9166 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Spanish American The most serious loss that I and the regiment could have suffered befell just before we charged. Bucky O'Neill was strolling up and down in front of his men, smoking his cigarette, for he was inveterately addicted to the habit. He had a theory that an officer ought never to take cover - a theory which was, of course, wrong, though in a volunteer organization the officers should certainly expose themselves very fully, simply for the effect on the men; our regimental toast on the transport running, " The officers; may the war last until each is killed, wounded, or promoted."
Note: by Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Rough Riders,(1st United States Volunteer Infantry).  5516 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I Friday, December 14, 1917
Grand Hotel, Paris, France
Got up at 9 a.m. Went to see if my kodak pictures were finished. They were not. Tried to find the Spad factory until late in afternoon. Did not find it. Every place I was told it was turned out to be the wrong place. Will try again some other day. I have been bitterly disappointed so many times at the Embassy that I dreaded to go there and ask for mail.
  6749 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  6394 Reads  Printer-friendly page

Vietnam The weather was such that we could see from one end of Vietnam to the other, but the cloud bottoms were about the level of a PRC 25 antenna. It was almost like you could see somebody coming, but all you could see was his body because his head would be in the fog. Not a day to do much troop lifting or resupply flying.
Note: by Harvey Britt, HMM-263, 1963, HMM-262, 1968-69.  7864 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II April 29, 1945

Dear Mom,
This is the beginning of that long letter I promised you many moons ago. Today's Sunday and for the first time in the same period of time I've been to church--if you call the grassy section of a pig pen a church.
  5069 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1415: During the Hundred Years War between England and France, Henry V, the young king of England, leads his forces to victory at the Battle of Agincourt in northern France.

1854: During the Crimean War, a brigade of British light infantry is destroyed by Russian artillery as they charge down a narrow corridor in full view of the Russians.

1861: Signaling an important shift in the history of naval warfare, the keel of the Union ironclad Monitor is laid at Greenpoint, Long Island.

1916: German pilot Rudolf von Eschwege shoots down his first enemy plane, a Nieuport 12 of the Royal Naval Air Service over Bulgaria.

1940: German troops capture Kharkov and launch a new drive toward Moscow.

1944: during the Battle of the Leyte Gulf, the Japanese deploy kamikaze ("divine wind") suicide bombers against American warships for the first time.

1950: Chinese Communist Forces launch their first-phase offensive across the Yalu River into North Korea.

1952: The 7th Infantry Division battled the Chinese near Kumwha and suffered 2,000 casualties during the Battle of Sniper Ridge.

1958: The last U.S. troops leave Beirut.

1972: The White House orders a suspension of bombing above the 20th parallel.