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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 We set off at dawn from our base, West Island, Cocos, in a 356 Squadron Liberator on our flight to Malaya carrying a great load of medical supplies and comforts for PoWs and civilians. With the Japanese surrender, there are no bombs this time. Guns and armament have been stripped from the aircraft to provide more lift, and the cavernous bays which normally house 500 and 1,000-pounders, now contain dozens of large drop-canisters strapped to chutes.
Note: by John Behague, RAF, 99 Squadron  11933 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea I spent only a short time in Korea but my Korean service stands as an important part of my life. I well remember there were times near sunrise when my crew on the west coast and another crew from the 17th Bb Gp on the east coast were the northernmost Americans and stood symbolically alone between Communism and Democracy.
Note: by Charles Hinton  11669 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Dear Sister
I just received your letter of Nov. 27, and as I have time I will anser immeidatly. I have been on the front twice and as Joe Nugent wrote home and told his people I suppose I may as well tell you. He is in the 314 Inf. which is in the same Div. that I am in the 79th.
  9715 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The 1/50 finished its participation in the joint Operation Cochise and counterpart ARVN operation in the Soui Ca Valley and moved to AO Walker, An Khe area with the mission of securing QL19 and conducting operations within the AO, securing LZ Schueller, LZ Action, manning Strong Points and bridges along a historic but treacherous road, QL19. QL stands for National Highway in Vietnamese.
Note: by Rigo Ordaz, 1st Bn (Mech), 50th Infantry   13501 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.
  15274 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War May 3, 1864 Passed off quietly with nothing to disturb the monotony of camp life until after dark when we received orders to pack up and to be ready to march at a moment's notice. We had been expecting marching orders for the last two weeks so that we were not surprised to hear the orders to pack up sung out.
Note: by Clinton Hogue, Company G of the Iron Brigade's Indiana 19th Regiment  13636 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War The village of Dover was, and for that matter yet is, what our English cousins would call the shire-town of the county of Stewart, Tennessee. In 1860 it was a village unknown to fame, meager in population, architecturally poor. There was a court-house in the place, and a tavern, remembered now as double-storied, unpainted, and with windows of eight-by-ten glass, which, if the panes may be likened to eyes, were both squint and cataractous.
Note: by General Lew Wallace  10661 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The Naval Combat Demolition Units were charged with the responsibility of clearing sixteen 50- yard gaps on the beaches assigned to that force. They worked in conjunction with the Army engineers who were charged with the responsibility of clearing the shoreward obstacles.
Note: by Lieutenant Commander Joseph H. Gibbons, USNR, CO of U.S. Navy Combat Demolitions Units in Force "O"  11613 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812

May the 27th 1813
Fort Stephens Lore Sandusky
Affectionate Companion I received your letter this morning of the 23rd instent Which gave me a grate deal of satisfaction to hear that you are well and that Wilson is a good boy. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to hear that the corn is planted and that you expect it will be tended for I did not look for that to be done

Note: by John Hollyday  12078 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II With a friend of mine, a Post Office messenger like myself, I had gone to the Royal Navy Recruiting Office when I was 16 year old to volunteer for the Navy. They took our names then and apologized for the fact that they were not allowed to take us as Boy Seamen at 16 years and that we would have to wait until we were called up at 18 years. They did tell us however if we volunteered just before 18 years the Navy would take us then.
Note: by Eric Mason, Signalman, AS Trawlers HMS Buster and HMS Bay  14639 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  11761 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam One night in late '67 at Marine Quang Tri Forward, I was assigned to generator watch. It is very boring to watch a 500kw Buddha generator generate. We had to keep one generator on-line, because the air strip was finished; and we might need the airfield lighting in an emergency. To ease the boredom, I had been watching a praying mantis approach some unremembered insect so slowly. The motion was almost imperceptible.
Note: by Mike Howard  8743 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II This is a talk on an action which took place in the North Atlantic on Easter Sunday. I'll give you some background before I go into that part of the story. I will give you a general idea of what we were doing. We were Task Group 21.12 operating as a so-called killer group. Our mission was to sink submarines and we attempted to stay at sea in the areas where the submarines were concentrating.
Note: Recollections of Lieutenant Commander Dudley S. Knox, USNR, on destroyer escort USS Chatelain (DE-149). These actions occured the 9th and 10th of April 1944.   14544 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American I am not quite sure where Major Eskridge’s wound is so do not guess at it. V.

Shrewsbury N.J.
July 14, 98
My dear Mrs. Helmick,
I have been sent home with a broken leg to get ready for Puerto Rico. I am not writing this to tell you about myself, but about the rest of the reg’t, which I know will be good news to most of you.
Note: The 10th U.S. Infantry took part in the action at San Juan Hill, on the far west end of the line.  9140 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I 4th. - 6th. Nov. Very busy time. Had splendid row with C.O. in which he got it rather hotly from me, for all that he could say at the end was that I was not to teach him his business. If he had had any gumption he would have sent me back to my company.
Note: by Robert Lindsay Mackay, 11th Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.  10648 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1704: 50 French soldiers and 200 Indian allies attack Deerfield Massachusetts , killing 50 and taking 111 prisoners.

1836: General Edmund Gaines, and 1,100 soldiers have been engaged in a battle with a force of 1,500 Seminoles, under Chief Osceola, since February 27. The Americans built a stockade on the 27th. The Seminoles mount a major attack on the stockade. Many men are wounded on both sides during the attack. The fighting continues until March 6, 1836.

1856: Hostilities in Russo-Turkish war cease.

1864: Union Grig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick splits his forces at the Rapidan River ordering Col. Ulric Dahlgren to lead 500 men his men to Goochland Court House, while the remainder followed Kilpatrick in his raid on Richmond.

1864: Lt. William B. Cushing leads a landing party from the USS Monticello to Smithville, NC, in an attempt to capture Confederate Brig. Gen. Louis Hebert, only to discover that Hebert and his men had already moved on Wilmington.

1940: 45 U boats are sunk this month (170,000 tons).

1944: US forces catch Japanese troops off-guard and easily take control of the Admiralty Islands in Papua New Guinea.

1952: Brigadier General Francis T. Dodd, the newly-appointed commandant for POW camp Koje-do, was warned that many of the compounds might be controlled by the violent leadership of Communists or anti-Communist groups. He was told this subversive control was extremely dangerous and could result in further embarrassment to the United Nations Command. Leaders were worried that rioting in the camps would undermine armistice negotiations.

1964: President Lyndon B. Johnson reveals the U.S. secretly developed the Lockheed A-11 jet fighter.

1972: South Korea pulls 11,000 troops out of Vietnam as part of its program to withdraw all of its 48,000 troops from the country.