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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 More lives were lost in one exercise practicing for D-Day than during the invasion of Utah Beach on 6 June 1944. That rehearsal was called "Exercise Tiger." Planning for the greatest amphibious operation in history required many such exercises, each designed to test the readiness of plans for the invasion of Normandy and the efficiency of the troops. Duck, Fox, Muskrat, Beaver, and Trousers preceded Tiger, and Fabius followed. Each was larger than the last, and the later ones used live ammunition.
Note: by LT Eugene E. Eckstam, MC, USNR,a medical officer on USS LST-507  9787 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  6630 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW On April 20, 1945 the Russians were firing artillery into and around the prison forced labor camp near Juderbog, Germany, where I was confined with a number of the privates and PFC’s. The attack including blowing down one of the fences of the compound. As a result, we decided to escape the prison encampment and work our way back to the American lines, which we accomplished in five days, walking cross-country across Germany.
Note: by Pendleton Woods  7266 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Coast Guard Since 1878, a group of people have left the shelter of land and rammed small boats into the angry sea with a single purpose: to save others from drowning. These rescuers have known full well they could die in the attempt. Over the years Americans have not given this group much thought. Yet the crews of the U.S. Coast Guard's small boat rescue stations Continue to push into gale-swept waters, asking only to help those "in peril on the sea."
Note: by Dennis L. Noble  11428 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.  5436 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Soon after arriving in Viet Nam I saw an OV-10 Bronco. It was love at first sight and I was determined to get a ride in one. Luckily my job as an information officer gave me the opportunity. The ALO (Air Liaison Officer, pronounced "aye lo") assigned to the division flew OV-10s so I tracked the unit down.
Note: by Forrest Brandt  6539 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam From an altitude of thirty thousand feet, it's hard to determine where the blue of the Pacific meets the blue of the sky. Consequently, my sense of direction had diminished greatly since leaving the military base at Oakland, more than twenty hours earlier. Not that I really cared which direction I was traveling, I knew the destination well enough, but the disorientation only added to the sick feeling in my gut.
Note: by James F. McColloch, 9th Infantry Division  8903 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II 21 April 1941
Today the sun is shining and Jerry Bombers have left us alone for a couple of hours. So will try and give a little more detail of events since we went into action. We evacuated our original position, overlooking Salonika. on the 9th. Hated leaving, but there was definitely the fear of being surrounded. So E troop remained behind to harrass and fight a rear-guard action.
Note: by Alan Jackson, 5th Field Regiment  5575 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I I remember the first occasion when I was called upon to go over the top. It was during the Somme "do," where our battalion had already been in some nasty business near the Briqueterie and Trones Wood. I heard about the Third Company's experiences in Trones Wood during my recovery from an overdose of rum, and I was new enough a soldier to feel the strain on my heart-strings when I realized that rum stupor had saved me from participation.
Note: by Fred Ball  6702 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I was 16 years old when war broke out. We heard that Hitler had invaded Poland, and at 11 o'clock on Sunday morning, Sept. 3rd, the Prime Minister, Mr. Neville Chamberlin, broadcasted to the nation that England was now at war with Germany.
  6875 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  8900 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Jan. 24th: I commenced keeping diary in Tom Sandle's book he being gone the Devil knows where. This morning inspection of arms weather cloudy and damp. No camp guards furnished by our Brigadier yesterday we were on pickett had the easiest duty our company ever done.
Note: by Melville Cox Follett  6787 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea It was 15 May 1951 and I was a 1st Lt. assigned to the 12th Sqdn, 18th FBW flying F-51Ds. This was my 44th mission. Assigned as element lead (no. 3) in a flight of four. Flight commander was Capt. AE Rice. His wingman was Lt. Forrest Strange. My wingman was Lt. Luther A. Webb.
Note: by Richard T. Gruber, LtCol (ret), 12th Fighter Bomber Squadron, 18th FBW.  5792 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I In the early hours of the morning of March 22nd, 1918, our own front-line troops retired through us. At the time we were occupying a shallow trench forming the support line before Marcoing, in the Cambrai salient, and a little later we also withdrew. Our first halt was on the slope of a hill. We could not see the attackers, but their artillery plastered the hillside with shrapnel, and we were not sorry to get orders to move again.
Note: by Private R. G. Bultitude, 1st Battalion Artists Rifles   6597 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I

1st. May. To Arras for money.

2nd. to 4th. Sunday rides around the area. New officers have arrived, including Willie Haldane who played in the school rugger team with me.

Note: by Robert Lindsay Mackay, 11th Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.  6727 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1789: Congress votes to create a U.S. Army.

1862: Union General Jefferson C. Davis mortally wounds his commanding officer, General William Nelson, in Louisville, Kentucky. Davis had been upset by a reprimand handed down by Nelson.

1864: Union General Ulysses S. Grant tries to break the stalemate around Richmond and Petersburg, 25 miles south of Richmond, by attacking two points along the defenses of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The assault against Richmond, called the Battle of New Market Heights, and the assault against Petersburg, known as the Battle of Poplar Springs Church (Peebles Farm), both failed.

1915: Russians repulse Austrian attacks in the Uzsok Pass.

1915: The Germans bombard Reims and Dunkirk.

1916: German gas attacks at Hulluch and Wulverghem fail.

1917: The British occupy German trenches south of Oppy, east of Vimy Ridge.

1918: The French regain Locre.

1918: The Germans launch heavy bombardment between Meteren and Voormezeele followed by violent infantry attacks by thirteen Divisions. Three British divisions repulse every attack.

1939: Germany and the Soviet Union agree to divide control of occupied Poland roughly along the Bug River—the Germans taking everything west, the Soviets taking everything east.