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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 Thirty years ago I came tumbling out of the sky in my rotary winged aircraft. Struck by fiery rockets that caused a fatal hemorrhaging of vital fluids. Barely able to control her flight I flew to what I hoped was a clear and safe site. On short final she gave up all she had and started the inevitable slip to the right.
Note: by Bill Beardall  4553 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.  4416 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam On arrival in Vietnam in 1966, the 5th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, (5RAR) found the enemy moving freely throughout Phuoc Tuy Province during the night. The Viet-Cong and NVA were not used to being attacked during the dark hours, as the Americans' basically fought during daylight hours.
Note: by Bob Cavill, 5th Battalion RAR, SVN 1966 - 67  7206 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   4972 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I have a good idea why the sergeant from Kentucky raised his rifle to shoot the two women who were walking to market along the Tra Bong road that day.
Note: By Tom Dier   4519 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War The keel of the most famous vessel of modern times was laid in the shipyard of Thomas F. Rowland, at Greenpoint, Brooklyn, in October, 1861, and on the 30th of January, 1862, the novel craft was launched. On the 25th of February she was commissioned and turned over to the Government, and nine days later left New York for Hampton Roads, where, on the 9th of March, occurred the memorable contest with the Virginia.
Note: by Commander S. D. Greene, U.S. Navy  6887 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I It was Thursday evening, April 22nd, 1915. In a meadow off the Poperinghe-Ypres road, the men of the Queen Victoria Rifles were taking their ease. We had just fought our first big action in the fight for Hill 60. We had had a gruelling time, and had left many of our comrades on its slopes. We survivors were utterly spent and weary; but we felt in good heart, for only an hour ago we had been personally congratulated by Sir John French, also the Army Commander, General Smith-Dorrien.
Note: by Anthony R. Hossack, Queen Victoria Rifles  5596 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea On the 14 November 1952, the Commonwealth Div's sector was moved sideways to the west, one battalion position. The 1st Bn, The Black Watch relieved the 7th US Marines on the infamous Hook feature. The Marine Commanding Officer who was totally disillusioned with the position's vulnerability gave the Scots 24 hours before being pushed off. Four nights later at 2100hrs 18 November, the Chinese struck. The Black Watch held with the assistance of the New Zealand gunners.
Note: by Bruce Matthews, 16th Field Regiment  7088 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW I shall never forget the morning of March 28th, 1918, when I watched our trenches and the familiar landmarks disappear under the intense bombardment of hundreds of minenwerfers - those earthquakes in miniature. I watched and waited in a state of mental numbness or apathy, and at last the bit reserved for me hit me in the head. When I took a further interest in matters I was a prisoner.
Note: by Rifleman Victor Denham, London Rifle Brigade  10931 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War Neversunk, 4 July 1778 General Clinton's dispatches will acquaint you of an action on the 28th June, of which our Battalion bore the principal part. Lee, acquainted with the temper of our present Commander, laid a snare which perfectly succeeded. The hook was undisguised with a bait, but the impetuosity of Clinton swallowed it.... The Grenadiers were ordered to march to the heights of which the Rebels were already possessed; such a march I may never again experience.
Note: by Lieutenant Hale  5849 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The Short Range Ambush Platoon was organized as a small force whose primary mission was night ambush. SRAP was capable of operating independently without the support of any other elements. I can't speak for the entire platoon, but during my time, to my knowledge SRAP was Ranger led, and ably so. The first group was selected by SFC Jay Holloway from the battalion on an individual basis.
Note: by John Smerdon, 1/50 Infantry  6176 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I We are stubbornly trying to force the Turks up out of the ground, but they stick in well. Once we get them on the run, they seem to think we will progress quickly. The only thing I wish is that I was able to say I was in the landing at Gaba Tepe on April 25th.
Note: A letter by Corporal Alf. Birkhill, who is now at Anzac, pays warm tribute after seeing the heroic Australians who scaled the heights at Gaba Tepo.   4496 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam In the early morning darkness of 6 May, the NVA retaliated with an intensive rocket and mortar barrage, followed by a massive 95th Regiment pincer grand assault against 2 sides of the base an hour later. LZ Carolyn's garrison was reduced by the absence of several line companies on patrol, and the withering defensive fires of the battalion's COMPANY C and E were unable to prevent the onrushing battalions from storming through the wire and into the LZ from both directions.
Note: by Tom Lane  5417 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Pearl Harbor occurred about six months after I graduated from High School. I believe we all were aware it would change our lives and the things we believed in but none of us knew how much. It placed restraints on our lives. We wanted to keep on working and enjoying our new found freedom of being out of school and yet we were all moved by feelings of duty to the country and many of my friends joined the service.
Note: by William H. Gieske, 172nd Field Artillery Battalion.  5513 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  5350 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1781: The English army under Lord Cornwallis occupied Yorktown, Virginia.

1801: The American schooner Enterprise captured the Barbary cruiser Tripoli.

1861: Captain John Baylor claims most of the territories of Arizona and New Mexico for the Confederacy after he routs a Union force at Fort Fillmore in southern New Mexico.

1863: Confederate steamer Chesterfield, landing troops and ammunition at Cumming's Point, Morris Island, Charleston harbor, was taken under fire by a Union gunboat.

1864: Union General Ulysses S. Grant appoints General Philip Sheridan commander of the Army of the Shenandoah. Within a few months, Sheridan drove a Confederate force from the Shenandoah Valley and destroyed nearly all possible sources of Rebel supplies, helping to seal the fate of the Confederacy.

1914: Four days after Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Germany and Russia declare war against each other, France orders a general mobilization, and the first German army units cross into Luxembourg in preparation for the German invasion of France.

1941: The Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo plane made its first flight.

1942: Ensign Henry C. White, while flying a J4F Widgeon plane, sank U-166 as it approaches the Mississippi River, the first U-boat sunk by the U.S. Coast Guard.

1943: Operation Tidal Wave: The American Eighth Air Force began staging a series of heavy bomber air raids against the oil fields and refineries around Ploesti.

1943: A Japanese destroyer rams an American PT (patrol torpedo) boat, No. 109, slicing it in two.