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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.


World War II March 10, '45 was my sixtieth mission. From now on I'd be eligible for rotation home. It was a happy prospect. What wasn't was a 2,000' ceiling and 5,000' thick cloud cover by no means great weather to be flying combat in. Since I'd joined the 36th Fighter Group on August 1, 1944, a lot of good friends in the Group hadn't made it as far as I had. They'd either been killed or were missing in action.
Note: by 1st. Lt. Philip N. Wright, Jr., 36th Fighter Group, 23rd Fighter Squadron, 9th Air Force  8444 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  6876 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II On September 29, 1943, Task Force 58, which included the USS Lexington CV-16, headed West towards Wake Island. On board the Lexington was Carrier Air Group Sixteen, which included VF-16, VT-16 and VB-16. I, Paul Bonilla AOM 2/c USNR, at the age of 22, was attached to VB-16 which flew SBD-5 Douglas Dauntless dive bombers which had a crew of two, a pilot and a radioman-gunner.
Note: by Paul T. Bonilla  7207 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I

December 25, 1917: In this book I shall try to tell the important things which happen while I am in the U. S. Army today is Christmas I have had good time have received lots of presents mostly eatables saw a good wild west show would have liked to have been at home today well I suppose that is all except one thing if anything should happen to me please mail this book to mrs Ola Cruzan 1120 Tenny Ave Kansas City Kansas or to Miss Faye M Butler 54 East 32nd St Kansas City Missouri United States of America

Edgar

Note: by Bugler Benjamin Edgar Cruzan, Battery F, 341st Field Artillery, 89th Division, 3rd Army AEF  10483 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II September 16 I remember crossing the Siegfried line with it's dragon teeth. We had seen pictures of this defensive system for years and now we saw it first hand. With the return of our men from the Red Ball Express we are now back in business. I don't remember details of all the areas we were in when we arrived in Germany. I recall one position shortly after we were in on the outskirts of Aachen. We had an antiaircraft unit of two half-tracks with us. One vehicle had quad fifties in a cockpit like arrangement and the other was a thirty seven mm. with a pair of fifties.
Note: by William H. Gieske, 172nd Field Artillery Battalion.  9701 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I France 16th June 1917.
Dear Mother & Father,
Please forgive me for making such a wide gap since I last wrote for truly it has been impossible. Since my last letter of the 2nd, our division has been through the fire and is now resting, resting as victors and as men who have done their bit. I feel at a loss to give an account of myself and of events generally during the past two weeks, for such a poor pen as mine cannot compass the tremendous events the awe-inspiring sights and the terrible ordeals which we have seen and gone through.
Note: by Len Newton, Sapper, 3rd Division Signal Coy, A.I.F.  6295 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam In the summer of 1970 I was flying near Football Island and observed an Army CH47 helicopter rolling barrels of what appeared to be fuel off the ramp and then igniting them. It looked like they were trying to burn the grass in the area. On return I thought about what I had seen and came up with the idea of doing something similar.
Note: by Charlie Block  5734 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The helicopter's jet engines strained, with the Huey B's blades slicing through the air, making the familiar sounding "chop, chop, chop," as the bird made a sharp turn. We were sitting on our helmets to protect against rounds coming through the floor of the aircraft.
Note: by Ted McCormick, B Co., 1/327th Inf, 101st ABN Division  6824 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I The steamer appeared to be close to us and looked colossal. I saw the captain walking on his bridge, a small whistle in his mouth. I saw the crew cleaning the deck forward, and I saw, with surprise and a slight shudder, long rows of wooden partitions right along all decks, from which gleamed the shining black and brown backs of horses.
Note: by Adolf K.G.E. von Spiegel  6641 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by this ship in the action of yesterday during and following the sortie of Admiral Cervera’s squadron. The ship had started at 8.50 for the army landing at Siboney, the commander in chief having an appointment with the general commanding the army.
Note: account written July 4, 1898.  5634 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American I am not quite sure where Major Eskridge’s wound is so do not guess at it. V.

Shrewsbury N.J.
July 14, 98
My dear Mrs. Helmick,
I have been sent home with a broken leg to get ready for Puerto Rico. I am not writing this to tell you about myself, but about the rest of the reg’t, which I know will be good news to most of you.
Note: The 10th U.S. Infantry took part in the action at San Juan Hill, on the far west end of the line.  5638 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 I was born in Pittsford, Otsego County, New York, on the 24th of September 1799. I am the son of Joseph Hanks, whose father's name was William, who lived in the green mountains of Vermont, and whose progenitors emigrated from Holland. My mother's maiden name was Anna Frary and her descent is traced to "the pilgrims".
  9000 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  6301 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  6282 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  8398 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1815: USS Constitution, under Captain Charles Stewart, captures HMS Cyane and sloop-of-war Levant.

1861: The Confederacy Department of Navy is formed.

1864: In the largest battle fought in Florida during the Civil War, a Confederate force under General Joseph Finegan decisively defeats an army commanded by General Truman Seymour. The victory kept the Confederates in control of Florida's interior for the rest of the war.

1865: Following the evacuation of Fort Anderson, Rear Admiral Porter's gunboats steamed seven miles up the Cape Fear River to the Big Island shallows and the piling obstructions and engaged Fort Strong's five guns.

1941: The U.S. sent war planes to the Pacific. General George C. Kenney pioneered aerial warfare strategy and tactics in the Pacific theater.

1942: Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment of Japanese Americans on the West Coast.

1942: Japanese drive off a carrier based task force led by the American aircraft carrier Lexington which attempts to attack Rabaul.

1943: British and American units hold the German attack on Sbiba.

1944: American carrier aircraft from Task Group 58.1 (Admiral Reeves) attack Japanese targets in Jaluit Atoll. The fighting on Eniwetok continues. The nearby island of Parry is shelled by US naval forces.

1944: A ferry carrying a stock of heavy water on the first stage of a journey from the Ryukan hydroelectric plant to laboratories in Germany is sunk and her cargo lost in attack by Norwegian resistance fighters.