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Library of Congress

Military Quotes

There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell.

-- General William T. Sherman

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.


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 Captain von Richthofen (The Red Baron)  6834 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  18145 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam As soon as the Freedom Bird began to lose altitude the noise level on the craft began to rise. Idle conversation tended to either stop completely or to take on a more intense quality. From one end of the plane to the other the word spread with the speed of magic. We're coming into McChord.
Note: By Jim Calbreath   6664 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea Dear Mom: Well, I suppose you wonder where I am, and where I have been. I will start at the beginning. We left for Korea the 1st of July. We were the first regiment to hit there and fight. The North Koreans had about ten divisions to our one regiment. About all we could do was hit them and back up and they would get us surrounded all the time.
Note: letter from PFC Donald Luedtke, U.S. Army 24th Division.  7020 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Between Charlie and the jungle, things had been pretty hard on us. We were very short-handed. My squad was down to three men, counting myself. Yes, just me and two other guys. Our company had encountered a major trail that was extremely, heavily traveled. We called in on the field radio to report this major trail and were told to wait to be joined by the Tiger Force. (a hard core, elite, special fighting unit of the 101st Airborne).
Note: by Sarge Lintecum  7187 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Memarandum of Events of Basil H Messler's term in the U.S. Ser Arrved in Davenport on the 27th day of February. Put up at the Penn. House and took Dinner and then I went to Lieut Walthams Recruiting office and made out My Inlistment papers in Dupicates and then got permistion of a furlow and was examined by Dr Church and pass examination Then got the Agt, to excep them and got an order to go to Camp McClelands. But did not go that evening went to the theater and then returned to the Hotell and took room No 69 in co. with Sergts Grooms & Allsop.
Note: by Basil H. Messler, Mississippi Marine Brigade  14795 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II 8/9/44 Mission #1 Flew our 1st mission today, 34 to go. They woke us at 1:50 am. Briefing time 3:00 am. So we knew it was pretty sure to be a long one. Had pineapple juice, fresh egg, hotcakes, sausage, cold cereal, coffee. Target Schmitt ball bearing works, Nurnberg.
Note: by First Lieutenant Andrew K. Norman  7646 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I was a medic attached to 2nd platoon, C Battery, of the 225th during my entire tour of duty in Europe. When we were in the field, there was half of C Battery (117 men) that I would visit in their positions on a daily basis. I was their primary health-care provider. I would travel on a three-quarter-ton truck that carried rations and water to each searchlight/radar section every day to make my rounds. From June 1944 to December 1945 we moved from Omaha beach in France to Neubiberg in Germany. During this entire time, I never treated someone who was wounded by the enemy. This was a good thing.
Note: by Robert J. King  8440 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I As the War had to be, I shall always be glad I was able to play even a negligible part in it, or I should never have known with such certainty the madness of it. During training I was aware only of the glamour of War. I prepared myself for it with enthusiasm, and bayoneted and clubbed the stuffed sacks representing the enemy with a sort of exalted ferocity. I was as jealous of my regiment as I used to be of my school.
Note: by Private Harold Saunders  9511 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.
  5978 Reads  Printer-friendly page



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  6497 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  8878 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Enlisted in regular army April 24th 1917. Left Jackson barricks for Brownsville Texas in the same month, arrive at Gettysburg the latter part of June, and was from 4th transferred to 59th Infantry when it was organized in July. I was Mess Sgt, made Sept. 24 1917 arrived in Charlotte N.C. in Nov 8th 1917. And was transferred to 12 M. G. Bn in Nov 1917.
Note: Diary of Henry J. Tudury, Sgt. CO B. 59 INF 4 Div, DSC-PH.
  7046 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  6675 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Any officers (former or present) that would challenge the contention that relying on "Sarge" was a smart thing to do? I was an NCO during my tour of RVN and occasionally served as platoon sergeant so naturally I agree with the above. Amazed that OCS, ROTC, West Point didn't drive it into the heads of young lieutenants to "listen to experience."
Note: by Craig E. Thompson   6169 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1807: British officers of the H.M.S. Leopard boarded the U.S.S. Chesapeake after she had set sail for the Mediterranean, and demanded the right to search the ship for deserters.

1813: A British force attempted to take Craney Island, the fort there was one of the key defenses to Norfolk's inner harbor and was home to the frigate "Constellation".

1864: Union forces attempt to capture a railroad that had been supplying Petersburg from the south and extend their lines to the Appomattox River.

1864: U.S.S. Lexington, Acting Ensign Henry Booby, withstood a surprise Confederate strike on White River Station, Arkansas, and forced the attacking Confederate troops to withdraw.


1865: The Confederate raider Shenandoah fires the last shot of the Civil War in the Bering Strait.

1898: Admiral Sampson begins amphibious landing near Santiago, Cuba. Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt and Col. Leonard Wood led the Rough Riders, a volunteer cavalry regiment, onto the beach at Daiquiri in the Spanish American War.


1941: During Operation Barbarossa over 3 million German troops invade Russia in three parallel offensives, in what is the most powerful invasion force in history. Nineteen panzer divisions, 3,000 tanks, 2,500 aircraft, and 7,000 artillery pieces pour across a thousand-mile front as Hitler goes to war on a second front.

1942: A Japanese submarine shelled Fort Stevens, Oregon, at the mouth of the Columbia River.

1944: President Roosevelt signed the GI Bill of Rights, authorizing a broad package of benefits for World War II veterans.

1944: After a preparatory air raid on Cherbourg, in which over 1000 tons of bombs are dropped, the divisions of the US 7th Corps (part of US 1st Army) begin assaulting the city of Cherbourg. There is heavy German resistance.