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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.


Vietnam The tropical night was noisy with insects buzzing and other animals adding to the overall hum typical of Vietnam. The air was suffocating humid, and ground fog was obscuring the perimeter of the big engineer compound in The Central Highlands. It was the winter monsoon and the sky covered by low heavy clouds -- ideal conditions for an enemy attack.
Note: by SP/4 Lawrence Pichulo  9577 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II A week or so before the December 31, 1943, mission, my crew, the Mendelsohn crew, was breaking apart. Our navigator, Bill Borellis, was promoted to the exalted position of 91st Bomb Group navigator; our bombardier, Harold Fox, (later to be killed in action over Hamburg) had applied for special training as a navigator and was leaving the crew, and the pilot, Stuart Mendelsohn, had been designated, but not yet officially installed, as the new operations officer of the 324th squadron. And I had just been checked out as first pilot and was about to take over what remained of our original crew.
Note: by Verne Woods, 91st BG  17525 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War I am at present at the Soldiers Rest Home, Bangor, Me. In the Year 1865.
I enlisted July 19th 1862 in the town of Hampden, Penobscot County, State of Maine. I was then 19 years of age and consequently a minor. My parents, being loyal people, they gave their consent to my enlisting. I enlisted in Co. F, 18th Regt Maine Vol. Infantry and we were rendevouzed at the County Fair Grounds near Bangor City.
Note: Private Amos E. Hardy Enlisted July 19th 1862 in Co F.   9011 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II On 15 December 1941 I was detached from the U.S. Naval School of Aviation Medicine, Pensacola, Florida, destined to eventually join the crew of USS Yorktown. After a short cruise in USS Hornet and her plane guard USS Noa (DD-343) in the Atlantic, I drove across country by auto to San Diego and served briefly in Aircraft Scouting Force Pacific, Transition Training Squadron.
Note: by LT Joseph P. Pollard, MC, USN, Medical Officer on board USS Yorktown (CV-5)  10625 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Shortly after joining up we saw this notice on the notice-board looking for volunteers for a "suicide mission." Some brilliant officer had come up with the idea that he would like to form a unit that would go behind the enemy lines at night and blow up the German's tanks while they slept. Imagine that!
Note: by Ronald Arthur Tee, 56th Reconnaissance Regiment, 78th "Battleaxe" Division of the British 1st. Army, 1941-1946.
  7597 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War 1775 January. - At the precise period when my medical studies and education are completed, under the patronage of Dr. Abner Hersey of Barnstable, and I am contemplating the commencement of a new career in life, I find our country about to be involved in all the horrors of a civil war. A series of arbitrary and oppressive measures, on the part of the mother-country, has long been advancing to that awful crisis, when an appeal to the power of the sword becomes inevitable.
Note: by James Thacher, M.D., Surgeon in the American Army  21317 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Friday, December 14, 1917
Grand Hotel, Paris, France
Got up at 9 a.m. Went to see if my kodak pictures were finished. They were not. Tried to find the Spad factory until late in afternoon. Did not find it. Every place I was told it was turned out to be the wrong place. Will try again some other day. I have been bitterly disappointed so many times at the Embassy that I dreaded to go there and ask for mail.
  9214 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  7445 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  24836 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  8770 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  15253 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American

Santiago De Cuba

July 18, 1898

Dear Parents,

Received your welcome letter and was so glad to find all well. I am in the best of health, but my God, how the men around me suffer! There are 30 to 40 in the Company sick. It is the fever, and I thank God every day that He has spared me so far. He has heard your prayers, my dear Mama. As I have no paper, I will give you a brief sketch of what has happened on the Island and go into details some other time.

  7774 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War The mission began as it should, with prayer. Members of our unit and our family and friends assembled at the drill hall on 17th Street in Paducah, Kentucky for a prayer service. It was a time to think about the mission that lay before us the hazards that would be endured. We prayed for the strength to carry out this important mission, as well as for a quick and safe return home.
Note: by Brian Ginn  14707 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I We had a new man at the periscope, on this afternoon in question; I was sitting on the fire step, cleaning my rifle, when he called out to me: 'There's a sort of greenish, yellow cloud rolling along the ground out in front, it's coming ---
Note: By Arthur Empey, an American enlisted in the British Army.
First introduced by the Germans, gas warfare was soon embraced by all the combatants. By the end of the war, one in four of the artillery shells fired on the Western Front contained gas.
  9599 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Now, the way I recall it seems to be quite a bit different than the “official” version as reported in the “After Action Reports” on record for the early morning of 30 January 1968. Myself being a trooper of E Co.-Recon, 1st Bn./501st Inf., 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division and being a participant in the defense of LZ Jane against the assault upon it in those early morning hours that turned out to be the onset of the 1968 TET Offensive, that is, as perpetrated 1 day early in error by a number of communist forces in I Corps.
Note: by Michael Bradshaw, E Co.-Recon, 1stBn. /501stInf., 101stAbn. Div.
  14771 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1813: British forces under Henry Proctor defeat a U.S. contingent planning an attack on Fort Detroit.

1824: A British force is wiped out by an Asante army under Osei Bonsu on the African Gold Coast. This is the first defeat for a colonial power.

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1879: Eighty-two British soldiers hold off attacks by 4,000 Zulu warriors at the Battle of Rorkes Drift in South Africa.

1879: Pursuing American soldiers badly beat Cheyenne Chief Dull Knife and his people as they make a desperate bid for freedom. In doing so, the soldiers effectively crushed the so-called Dull Knife Outbreak.

1905: Russian troops fire on civilians beginning Bloody Sunday in St. Petersburg.

1939: A Nazi order erases the old officer caste, tying the army directly to the Party.

1941: British and Commonwealth forces enter the port at Tobruk, in Libya, and tens of thousands of Italian occupiers are taken prisoner.

1943: Axis forces pull out of Tripoli for Tunisia, destroying bases as they leave.

1944: U.S. troops under Major General John P. Lucas make an amphibious landing behind German lines at Anzio, Italy, just south of Rome.