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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  9539 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The [heavy cruiser USS] Indianapolis [CA-35] had come to the Navy Yard, Mare Island [in San Francisco Bay] in early May 1945, to get heavy underwater damage repaired from a Kamikaze [Japanese suicide aircraft] hit that she took in [the Battle of] Okinawa on 30 March [1945]. We had more time there than anticipated and knew that we were due back in the forward area at the earliest practicable date.
Note: Recollections of Captain Charles B. McVay, III, USN, Commanding Officer of USS Indianapolis (CA-35).  8155 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II With a friend of mine, a Post Office messenger like myself, I had gone to the Royal Navy Recruiting Office when I was 16 year old to volunteer for the Navy. They took our names then and apologized for the fact that they were not allowed to take us as Boy Seamen at 16 years and that we would have to wait until we were called up at 18 years. They did tell us however if we volunteered just before 18 years the Navy would take us then.
Note: by Eric Mason, Signalman, AS Trawlers HMS Buster and HMS Bay  13224 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   7958 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I July 20, 1918
My own beloved wife
I do not know how to start this letter. The circumstances are different from any under which I ever wrote before. I am not to post it but will leave it in my pocket, if anything happens to me someone will perhaps post it.
Note: by Company Sergeant-Major James Milne.  7682 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW If I had known what was in store for me on the day I was captured, and the 802 days that followed, I would have continued to fight, even though there was no chance of survival. The damaged weapons carrier slid to a halt, and we piled up against the cab. The noise was deafening and we could have been yelling at each other but I don't remember hearing anything but the noise of the mortar rounds.
Note: by SFC George Matta, Sr.  9597 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Saturday, May 2, 1863 A pleasant day, the Rebs ominously silent. We expected an attack early & vigorous. Soon after …. moved from the field & took up a position on the extreme left of the 11th corps. Commenced an advance ab’t. noon.
Note: by Caspar Tyler of the 141st Pennsylvania Infantry. He witnessed the death of his Cousin Logan Tyler as they were beating off the furious attack of Stonewall Jackson. 141st had the misfortune to be stationed right behind Howard's Corps as they gave away under Jackson's relentless attack.  8390 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.
  8711 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Incoming in Saigon, my sleepy brain never really sleeps. My bed is on the first floor, I am instantly awake, I can tell the difference between incoming and outgoing in my sleep. That was definitely incoming. I had just transferred to the 120th Assault Helicopter Company, flying out of helipad Hotel-3 in Saigon from a serious kick ass line outfit, the Blackhawks or 187th Assault Helicopter Company in Tay Ninh, we got rocketed all the time there.
Note: by Wayne R. "Crash" Coe  8415 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II March 11, 1945. We are at fleet anchorage after returning from Iwo Jima, and Japanese areas. 2000 hours. I had just been relieved from watch in Rdo1, which is our main radio room in the Island structure, and had started walking aft on the flight deck. My rack, and also my GQ battle station, was Rdo#3. Radio 3 was a small emergency transmitter room on the Gallery deck, just under the flight deck, starboard side above the fan tail.
Note: by V.J.Verdolini RM2/c, U.S. Navy  10726 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War There are few things connected with the operations against Fort Donelson so relieved of uncertainty as this: that when General Grant at Fort Henry became fixed in the resolution to undertake the movement, his primary object was the capture of the force to which the post was intrusted. To effect their complete environment, he relied upon Flag-Officer Foote, whose astonishing success at Fort Henry justified the extreme of confidence.
Note: by General Lew Wallace  9440 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam It was November 1st, 1963, and the pot had been stirring. The feelings against the Diem government were running higher and higher by the day. There were the pro-Diem faction and the anti-Diem faction. It was the Catholics versus the Buddhists. Diem and his family were Catholic and the Buddhist monks were stirring up trouble. You could just sense the tension in Saigon as it was building. You knew something was about to happen.
Note: by Lieutenant Commander Bobbi Hovis, Nurse Corps  17695 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  24474 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea There I was on the port side of a mighty Destroyer the U.S.S. O'Brien, DD725, sailing into the east coast waters of a place called Korea. Seemed to me the place was pretty hilly. As we got closer I noticed a flash of light. Not long after, another. I asked the nearest Chief I could see what that was all about. His reply was " Count to seven, kinda slow "
Note: by Louis "Digger" O'Dell  8182 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War After ten o'clock at night, on the 2nd of April, 1862, while in my office as adjutant-general of the Confederate army assembled at Corinth, a telegram was brought to me from General Cheatham, commanding an outpost on our left flank at Bethel, on the Mobile and Ohio railway, some twenty odd miles northward of Corinth. General Cheatham had addressed it to General Polk, his corps commander, informing him that a Federal division, under General Lew Wallace, had been manoeuvring in his proximity during the day.
Note: by Thomas Jordan  10969 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1775: As troubles with Great Britain increase, colonists in Massachusetts vote to buy military equipment for 15,000 men.

1862: Confederate troops under General Henry Hopkins Sibley attack Union troops commanded by Colonel Edward R. S. Canby near Fort Craig in New Mexico Territory. The first major engagement of the war in the far West, the battle produces heavy casualties but no decisive result.

1916: The battle of Verdun begins with an unprecedented German artillery barrage of the French lines.

1944: Hideki Tojo, prime minister of Japan, grabs even more power as he takes over as army chief of staff, a position that gives him direct control of the Japanese military.

1951: The U. S. Eighth Army launches Operation Killer, a counterattack to push Chinese forces north of the Han River in Korea.

1951: After a two-month detachment to the ROK Army, the 1st ROK Marine Regiment rejoined the U.S. 1st Marine Division.

1953: An intermittent battle of more than nine hours on T-Bone Hill ultimately forced the U.N. troops to withdraw from this outpost.