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Library of Congress

Military Quotes

Though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

-- Sun Tzu


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).  6766 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War This is a little bit of my recollection of our adventure to a far and exotic land. Once upon a time, wait a minute, let me try this another way. I was a Marine Sergeant stationed at Camp Pendleton when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August of 1990. At the time I was a student at the 1st Marine Division's Scout Sniper School. My unit 2nd Battalion 5th Marines took about a week to recall their troops from various schools and temporary duties.
  10471 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   6444 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812

United States Brig Enterprise

Portland,

September 1813

Sir, In consequence of the unfortunate death of Lieutenant Commandant William Burrows, late commander of this vessel, it devolves on me to acquaint you with the result of our cruize, after sailing from Portsmouth on the 1st instant.

Note: by Edward R. McCall, Senior Officer  9532 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The nights were accompanied by the throaty drone of these lumbering killers, orbiting over their home base, boresighting their various sensors, tuning up for their moonlight symphony over the jungle trails of Laos. As a fellow pilot, I had worked these same hostile skies with the AC-130 Spectres many nights. I had seen the still smoldering evidence of their effectiveness in harnessing the flood of Communist truck traffic that ran the gauntlet of Laos each night.
Note: by Lt. Col. James F. Humphries, Jr.  7023 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War

Pleasant Valley

October 7, 64

Dear sister

I am yet alive but I have been very sick for the last two weeks with the fever and ague but it is broke on me and I am getting quite smart

Note: by Private Miles B. Hodges, Company A, 22nd New York Volunteer Cavalry  7125 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  17344 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I

The members of my family - that of Richthofen - have taken no very great part in wars until now. The Richthofens have always lived in the country; indeed, there has scarcely been one of them without a landed estate, and the few who did not live in the country have, as a rule, entered the State service. My grandfather and all my ancestors before him had estates about Breslau and Striegau. Only in the generation of my grandfather it happened that the first Richthofen. his cousin, became a General.

Note: by Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (The Red Baron)  7871 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam It was November of 1968. We were in an area we called the Oregon Trail. Not sure where it was other than it was in II Corps. It was mountainous terrain -- not like the dimples sometimes called mountains in the Eastern U.S. Steep slopes, high cliffs, waterfalls, few valleys but many brush-filled ravines. More like the mountains of the Pacific Northwest -- different vegetation of course.
Note: by Craig E. Thompson   6758 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War We remained in camp near Chattanooga till about the last of August. The Tennessee river being the line between the two armies the picket lines of each army were posted on the opposite banks of that stream. I remember having been ordered one morning to take my company and post them as pickets on the river bank just below the city.
Note: by Captain W.P. Howell, 25th Alabama, Company I  8089 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Coast Guard During May 1942, I was a lieutenant assigned as Executive and Engineer Officer of the USS PC-469 at the George Lawley Shipyard in Neponset, Massachusetts. Three other officers were assigned - Lieutenant Commander Richard Morell as the Commanding Officer with Lieutenant (junior grade) Kenneth Potts and Ensign Richard Young as watch officers. Upon arrival, I became very familiar with the PC design since the ship was in the throes of final outfitting and on the building ways - the keel having been laid on 22 October 1941.
Note: by Vice Admiral Thomas R. Sargent, III, USCG   19123 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.
  7131 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea Korea
April 27th
Hello All,

Haven't had much time to write as we have been on the move pretty much lately. We had pushed up twelve miles north of the 38th parallel. Got hit up there by the gooks about four days ago. I guess our lines held pretty strong, but the ROK's caved in on our right flank and the army pulled out on our left.
  6639 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea In the summer of 1950, I had just completed electronics school in Memphis, TN. I was ordered to Geiger counter school in San Diego, CA. Upon arrival in San Diego, we noticed a high degree of alert and activity at the base. I soon learned of the Korean War and how it would change my life.
Note: by Ed Buckman, VF-193, USS Princeton Task Force 77  9420 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 Sir,
I have the honour to inform you, for the information of the Lords commissioners of the Admiralty, that on the 3rd instant, I sailed with his Majesty`s squadron under my command, from this port. to co-operate with our army at the head of the Lake, and annoy the enemy by intercepting all supplies going to the army, and thereby oblige his squadron to come out for its protection.
Note: H.M.S Wolfe, at Kingston, Upper Canada, 29 June, 1813.  6684 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1944: Representatives from the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and China meet in the Dumbarton Oaks estate at Georgetown, Washington, D.C., to formulate the formal principles of an organization that will provide collective security on a worldwide basis-an organization that will become the United Nations.