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Library of Congress

Military Quotes

Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

-- John F. Kennedy

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 Ask anybody who served in Vietnam about rats and they tell you all about the size and ferociousness of the rodents. Rats were difficult at best to control and almost impossible to eradicate. One of the keys to successful rat control was keeping your area policed and trash removed.
Note: by Stephen C. Gillis  7396 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American [Letterhead: New York and Cuba Mail Steamship Company]

On Board: S.S. City of Washington

[Havana], February 16, 1898

Dearest,

I sent you two cablegrams last night telling you of my safety, and before they both reached you before the morning papers, and that you were spared the agony of suspense and uncertainty.
Note: written the day after the USS MAINE was lost  7594 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I grew up in the small town of Ellis, Kansas during the great depression of the 1930s complete with heat waves, drought and dust storms. We thought such conditions were the norm.I graduated from Ellis High School in May of 1943. I could have loafed around all summer waiting for my draft notice but I asked for immediate induction. My father was furious - thought I was out of my mind.
Note: by Kenneth F. Haas.  6019 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I 1915 AUSTRALIA
BROADMEADOWS -- AT SEA
March 17 Left MILDURA for BROADMEADOWS camp. Was in P1 Coy. for 5 weeks thence in signallers of the newly formed 24th Bn. Spent Easter at Wrays GEELONG.
Note: by Thomas Reginald Part, H.Q.D. 24th Bn. 6th Inf. Bn. 2nd Div., AIF  20690 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II May 6, Austria

Dear Dad,
Being in such a jubilant mood I must drop a few lines. Today I got you a Luger. Yes man! And it's a honey! The only regret I have is I didn't personally relieve a Kraut of it as I did a pair of binoculars a few days ago.
  5787 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam

QuiNhon Airfield Security Detachment
It was around 0100, 2 February, 1968 and the Sergeant came to the door of the billets screaming that order. It meant that Little John, that's me was to go to tower number 2 about 500 yards from the billets and there was the banging all around the airfield. Weren't the gooks celebrating their New Years?

Note: by Sp4 Little John, QuiNhon Airfield Security Detachment  5170 Reads  Printer-friendly page



I can't remember a time before being a military brat. When I was born, my father was working as a Navy recruiter at the University of Illinois. I was the only one of my sisters to be born in a non-military hospital. My sister was born at Chanute AFB (now closed). Shortly after she was born, we moved to Hawaii.
Note: by Wendy Jeffries  5383 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Dear Sister
I just received your letter of Nov. 27, and as I have time I will anser immeidatly. I have been on the front twice and as Joe Nugent wrote home and told his people I suppose I may as well tell you. He is in the 314 Inf. which is in the same Div. that I am in the 79th.
  6531 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Navy Sometime in the spring of 1969, a U.S. plane was shot down by North Korea. We responded by sending an amazing armada of Naval vessels to "show them our shit." I remember waking at sunrise and going out on deck after having joined up with the task force sometime during the night. We were totally surrounded by ships of all shapes and sizes: cruisers, carriers, destroyers, tankers, supply ships, and the battleship New Jersey. I was on a destroyer and felt dwarfed by the firepower around us.
Note: by John Paul Rossie  7158 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam In May 1969, I was transferred from 229th Aviation Unit to HHC 1st Bn. 8th Cav. Upon arrival at the 8th Cav, I met a friend, named Preston Taylor. We had completed our Advanced Individual Training together at Fort Sam Houston to become Medics. Preston had just arrived in South Vietnam from the States.
Note: by John D. Dennison.  6661 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Memarandum of Events of Basil H Messler's term in the U.S. Ser Arrved in Davenport on the 27th day of February. Put up at the Penn. House and took Dinner and then I went to Lieut Walthams Recruiting office and made out My Inlistment papers in Dupicates and then got permistion of a furlow and was examined by Dr Church and pass examination Then got the Agt, to excep them and got an order to go to Camp McClelands. But did not go that evening went to the theater and then returned to the Hotell and took room No 69 in co. with Sergts Grooms & Allsop.
Note: by Basil H. Messler, Mississippi Marine Brigade  13731 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Take five dumb bombs, one dumb A6 (non-system), one dumb target, and one dumb way to fight a war. Add a large portion of luck. What's the result? An averted disaster. But leaving a crew who will be able to fly another day and an Intruder still around to fly in harms way.
Note: By Captain Bill Kretschmar (retired), VMA (AW) 533 MAG 12, 1st MAW, Chu Lai, RVN, September, 1967 I Corps, South Vietnam   6400 Reads  Printer-friendly page



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  6459 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.  5773 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  9364 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1779: An amphibious expedition is conducted against the British in Penobscot Bay, ME.

1814: British and American forces fight each other to a standoff at Lundys Lane, Canada.

1861: The Crittenden-Johnson Resolution passes, declaring that the war is being waged for the reunion of the states and not to interfere with the institutions of the South, namely slavery.

1894: Japanese forces sink the British steamer Kowshing which was bringing Chinese reinforcements to Korea.

1915: The French occupy Lomie in Cameroons, while the Germans retreat.

1918: the Allies take Villemontoire, Oulchy-le-Chateau, and the southern half of the Forest of Fere.

1943: Benito Mussolini, fascist dictator of Italy, is voted out of power by his own Grand Council and arrested.

1943: The USS Harmon (DE-72) is launched, the first U.S. Navy ship named for an African-American.

1944: Allied forces begin the breakthrough of German lines in Normandy.

1950: The independent U.S. 29th Infantry Regimental Combat Team was committed to action near Chinju. The North Koreans ambushed its 3rd Battalion at Hadong, killing 313 and capturing 100.