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Library of Congress

Military Quotes

Be convinced that to be happy means to be free and that to be free means to be brave. Therefore do not take lightly the perils of war.

-- Thucydides

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.


Korea On my 87th mission, I flew a reconnaissance mission deep into North Korea. My primary target was an area of troop emplacements just north of the front lines and consisted of a requirement to photograph the area with vertical camera coverage in what is known as "mosaic photography".
Note: by Norman E. Duquette, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF  7416 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I On Sunday, May 21st, 1916, the battalion was in camp Camblain-l'Abbe, behind Vimy Ridge. Recent spells in the line had been quiet, the weather was warm and sunny, and everyone was in good spirits. I was on camp-cleaning fatigue, but, the camp being in a good condition, there was nothing to do beyond picking up an odd piece of paper or two.
Note: by Frank Wilfrid Watts, 15th Battalion, The London Regt.  5550 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II One more time I realize there is that pesky flashlight in my face, and I hear the invitation for breakfast at five and briefing at six. I lay there dragging my eyes open and getting my thoughts together, little did I know how the reality of this fateful day would end. This will be mission number four. I wonder what hellish target is on that map in the Briefing Room? We've been to Cologne, Bremen, Kassel and flew as a Spare yesterday. If nothing else we are surely learning the geography of Germany.
Note: by Wally Hoffman  6279 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea The flights to our new station at K-2 (Taegu) consumed one day and within several days more the squadron was in full operation. While we unpacked and positioned our main equipment, hundreds of cans of exposed aerial film began to backlog in our holding area.
Note: by Sgt. Jack Morris, 363rd Recon Tech Squadron Korea.   6932 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  10725 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I was a 1stLt. copilot in HMH463, and had only been in-country for a month at the time. I was assigned to the flight schedule for the nape drop, and was very excited to be going on one. I had heard about them, but this was going to be the biggest. Charlie Ridge was our target. The NVA there were in tight, and didn't want to move. Attempts to clear the area with fixed wing bombs had failed. Marines were taking heavy casualties.
Note: by Skip Burns  6388 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II 1/3/43 German radio reported attack on Casablanca the night after we left the area. The supply convoy of 35 ships was probably packed like sardines in the harbor. No dope on damage. Could have been murderous. Apparently we picked the right time to get out of there. Excitement galore today.
  6280 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW Of course it had to come, Hitler had been seizing all the smaller states and threatening others. So when he marched on Poland it was the last straw, for Britain had warned him that we would not stand idly by, but would go to the aid of Poland. It was the 3rd September 1939, and I was digging air-raid shelters when I heard that we were at war with Germany; and it was only the day before, that I had received my calling up papers, so it looked as though I would be in for some excitement.
Note: by Private W.C. LAW, ( 5186223 ), 2 Gloucester Regt.  9873 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Of all those who made up our platoon, Michael Robert Shapard, or "Shap" as he was called, was to become my closest friend. From the time I had joined the unit at Ft. Hood, it was Shap I had been instantly drawn to, likely because it was he who had made me feel truly welcome at the time of my awkward infusion into the Platoon. Having under gone training with my new unit's sister battalion the 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry, I wouldn't report into the 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry until after the standard 2 week deployment leave.
Note: by William Moore, B Company, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry  9037 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Camp Lincoln Keokuk Iowa
October the 24th 1862
To Miss Hannah. M. Cone
Dear Miss
I will Inform you that I am well at this time & that our Co. is all well Except two or three Persons our Mess is all well at the Present & I hope that when this Reaches you that it may find you & Friends well.
Note: by Newton Robert Scott, Private, Company A, of the 36th Infantry, Iowa Volunteers  12050 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I June 27, 1917 I have decided to keep a diary myself as I hear rumored today that all the letters that I spent so much time writing on the boat have gone down on the Lorraine. If it is so, I'm sure disgusted at myself for wasting so much time writing them as the people at home will never know how much I tried to write to them.
Note: by Thomas Edward Shirley  8805 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War Roxbury July 18 1775 To my Dear wife & Children I Received yours which I Prize next to your Person. The welfare of our family I understand is good. You tell me John is fat & Rugged which I Rejoice to hear & Prize above gold. The Rest of our Children I Donít mention be Cause I Left them well.
Note: by Lt. Samuel Cooper, Second Connecticut Regiment  10641 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  21924 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American When we left our anchorage at Hong Kong for Mirs Bay we passed close to an English army hospital-ship lying in the stream. The patients gathered on the port-side, and, with the doctors and nurses, gave three hearty cheers as we steamed slowly by. It did our hearts good, and from all our ships ringing Yankee voices answered them in kind.
  6618 Reads  Printer-friendly page



I can't remember a time before being a military brat. When I was born, my father was working as a Navy recruiter at the University of Illinois. I was the only one of my sisters to be born in a non-military hospital. My sister was born at Chanute AFB (now closed). Shortly after she was born, we moved to Hawaii.
Note: by Wendy Jeffries  5527 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1775: The Continental Congress authorizes the building of 13 frigates, mounting 24-36 guns.

1812: The last remnants of Napoleon Bonapartes Grand Arme? reach the safety of Kovno, Poland, after the failed Russian campaign. Napoleons costly retreat from Moscow.

1814: General Andrew Jackson announces martial law in New Orleans, Louisiana, as British troops disembark at Lake Borne, 40 miles east of the city.

1862: Confederate General Robert E. Lees Army of Northern Virginia repulses a series of attacks by General Ambrose Burnsides Army of the Potomac at Fredericksburg, Virginia. The defeat was one of the most decisive loses for the Union army.

1937: The Japanese army occupies Nanking, China.

1940: Adolf Hitler issues preparations for Operation Martita, the German invasion of Greece.

1941: British forces launch an offensive in Libya.

1951: U.S. Air Force pilot George A. Davis, flying a F-86 Sabre jet out of the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, was credited with four aerial victories against MiG-15s, the largest number of kills by a single pilot in one day during the war. These victories made Davis the first "double ace" of the Korean War.

1974: North Vietnamese General Tran Van Tra orders 7th Division and the newly formed 3rd Division to attack Phuoc Long Province, north of Saigon.

2003: U.S. forces capture former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in a crawl space beneath a house near his hometown of Tikrit, eight months after the fall of Baghdad.