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Military Quotes

A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed at some indefinite point in the future.

-- General George Patton Jr

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.


Vietnam Once upon a time there was a war, and I was in it. It seems about as far away now as the Civil War, but there it was--The 1960’s--and among things like topless bathing suits, integration and space programs there was an increasingly gnawing ache in the side of the American People called Vietnam.
Note: from EVERYMAN STROLLS THROUGH HELL by James Worth.  6533 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I We left Alexandria in Egypt on the 13th and passed through the Aegean Sea to arrive at the island of LEMNOS on the 16th. We spent several days in the Bay where numerous warships and troopships (French and British) were at anchor. I should guess there were 150 or more ships there including the QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Note: letter by 2/469 S.sgt Robert James Wait, New Zealand Artillery, 1NZEF  4807 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II This is a talk on an action which took place in the North Atlantic on Easter Sunday. I'll give you some background before I go into that part of the story. I will give you a general idea of what we were doing. We were Task Group 21.12 operating as a so-called killer group. Our mission was to sink submarines and we attempted to stay at sea in the areas where the submarines were concentrating.
Note: Recollections of Lieutenant Commander Dudley S. Knox, USNR, on destroyer escort USS Chatelain (DE-149). These actions occured the 9th and 10th of April 1944.   6732 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.   6178 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Somewhere in France, July 23, 1918
Dear Father and Mother:
I have just finished sewing on my first service stripe, the meaning of which, as you probably know, is six months in foreign service. That number "23" still clings to the Twenty-third Engineers, and is a regular epoch marker.
  4691 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  5456 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam At Det 1, we were flying missions that melted into each other and in retrospect, in another theater, would have been considered "medal" material on nearly a daily basis. We on the other hand, only knew we were doing a job to the best of our ability, under often hazardous conditions, with the ultimate goal of always being there and getting our "Brother Warriors" out of trouble safely so they could go home to their loved ones.
Note: by Michael W. Dobson  6758 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I saw her for the first time in 1969. Apparently my Vietnamese was not as good as I thought and the ride I had caught on a Vietnamese UH1D went to Tay Ninh instead of Tan Uyen where I was supposed to go. We had been in the air from Dinh Quan for about 30 minutes when I first saw her head rising out of the mist above the emerald green jungle.
Note: by Don Shacklette  5879 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War Sept. 8, 1781.
I have the honour to inform your Excellency, that the transports with the detachment of troops under my orders anchored on the Long Island Shore on the 5th inst. At two o'clock P.M. about ten leagues from New London; and having made some necessary arrangements, weighed anchor at seven o'clock P.M. and stood for New London with a fair wind. At one o'clock the next morning we arrived off the harbour, when the wind suddenly shifted to the northward, and it was nine o'clock before the transports could beat in.
Note: Sir Henry Clinton was Commander in Chief of British forces in America at this time.  5606 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea For the last four months we were living at a camp in Japan called Camp McNair . It was located at the base of Mt. Fuji. It consisted of 440 twelve-man squad tents and several Quonset buildings as mess halls. The streets were bulldozed into the mountainside. They looked like steps.
Note: by Bill Arnold, 143d FA 40th ID  6968 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American Once through the entrance, as I deemed it wise to keep moving in order not to be taken by surprise when the ships had no headway, and as, at the same time, I did not wish to reach our destination before we had sufficient daylight to show us the position of the Spanish ships, the speed of the squadron was reduced to four knots, while we headed toward the city of Manila.
Note: by Admiral George Dewey  7390 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea This story begins on the Yellow Sea. The Yellow Sea is between Japan and Korea. We are aboard Navy Ship LST 715. An LST is a landing ship tank. It was built in World War II for transporting Army tanks and / or trucks and Howitzers. It has a flat bottom as opposed to other designs of ships.
Note: by Bill Arnold - B Battery 143rd Field Artillery  6929 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam On the night of 20 November 1970 at 2300 hours, five HH-53s and one HH-3 helicopter took off with fifty-six Special Forces Soldiers from Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand. The aircraft would refuel over Laos and enter North Vietnamese airspace from the west. The target of the helo borne assault was the Son Tay Prisoner of War (POW) Camp located 23 miles northwest of the North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. The flight from Udorn to Son Tay was approximately 337 miles one way.
Note: Tom Powell, “Greenleaf” Element  9263 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia, Sharpsburg, MD, September 18, 1862. Mr. President: On the afternoon of the 16th instant the enemy, who, you were informed on that day, was in our front, opened a light fire of artillery upon our line. Early next morning it was renewed in earnest, and large masses of the Federal troops that had crossed the Antietam above our position assembled on our left and threatened to overwhelm us.
Note: by General Robert E. Lee  5255 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  7815 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.