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The nation that will insist on drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to have its fighting done by fools and its thinking done by cowards.

-- Sir William Francis Butler

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.


Spanish American I was just closing a letter to my family when I felt the crash of the explosion. It was a bursting, rending, and crashing sound, or roar of immense volume, largely metallic in character. It was succeeed by a metallic sound - probably of falling debris - a trembling and lurching motion of the vessel, then an impression of subsidence, attended by an eclipse of the electirc lights and intense darkness within the cabin.
Note: recounted by Captain Charles D. Sigsbee, USS MAINE, Commanding Officer.  11930 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II March 10, '45 was my sixtieth mission. From now on I'd be eligible for rotation home. It was a happy prospect. What wasn't was a 2,000' ceiling and 5,000' thick cloud cover by no means great weather to be flying combat in. Since I'd joined the 36th Fighter Group on August 1, 1944, a lot of good friends in the Group hadn't made it as far as I had. They'd either been killed or were missing in action.
Note: by 1st. Lt. Philip N. Wright, Jr., 36th Fighter Group, 23rd Fighter Squadron, 9th Air Force  9910 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea The village of Changbong-ni is located in central Korea, below the 38th Parallel and about 7 miles north of Hoengsong. My unit, 0 Battery of the 82nd AAA was armed with M-1 6 half-track vehicles which had a quad-50 turret mounted with four 50 caliber machine guns. The action described below took place on 11-12 February 1951. I was the senior Lieutenant of D Battery.
Note: by Paul G McCoy, 82AAA, D Btry.  11418 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American USS New York, 3 July 1898 Sir-I have the honor to make the following report upon the battle with and the destruction of the Spanish squadron, commanded by Admiral Cervera, off Santiago de Cuba, on Sunday, July 3, 1898. The enemy's vessels came out of the harbor between 9.35 and 10 AM, the head of the column appearing around Cay Smith at 9.31, and emerging from the channel five or six minutes later.
Note: by Admiral Sampson, USN  7813 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.
  7896 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam My tour as a Helicopter crew chief in South Vietnam was not one to be remembered by anyone other than myself, certainly not a tour that made me a hero in anyone’s eyes nor my own eyes. It was an interesting experience, one marked by extreme excitement at times and one also marked by extreme boredom and tedious monotony.
Note: by Frank Drinkwine, 187th AHC Tay Ninh RVN 9-70 9-71  18744 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The 103rd Infantry (Cactus) Division left Camp Howze, Texas during the last half of September 1944. I, Hallet K. Brown, known as H. K., was a member of the 410th Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion (Company D). Company D, a heavy weapons company, consisted of one mortar (80 mm) and two machine gun (.30 caliber) platoons. I was the first gunner, responsible for carrying the tripod and firing the gun, of the Eighth Squad (8 members), Second Section, Second Platoon.
Note: by Hallet K. Brown  18073 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Second day home.

Spent the day visiting family friends and relatives (including in-laws, shudder ). They made me feel pretty welcome (lots of WW2 vets). Glad to see me -- thanked me for my service, etc.
Note: by Craig E. Thompson   6393 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam It has been 36 years since the tet offensive of 1968 broke out. However each year since then I remember my first time under fire, and what a mess I made of it. I arrived in country in September 1967, I was an 11B primary MOS. In Cam Ranh Bay I received orders for a military intelligence unit.
Note: by Robert Ryan, 525th Military Intelligence Group  15477 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Our cavalry brigade arrived in Peronne in November 1917, after a long trek up from billets. We had had a fairly easy time during the summer of that year. For a few months we had been dismounted and had been up at Vimy Ridge doing all sorts of work: digging reserve trenches, reinforcing communication trenches and digging new ones - in fact, doing real navvy work, which, on the whole, was enjoyable, as far as anything could be enjoyable in France during the War. The weather was good, rations were plentiful, though the water had a wicked taste.
Note: by Private Chris Knight, 6th Dragoon Guards, Carabineers  13137 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Delville Wood is a name, even now, full of sadness and the suppressed agony of thousands who had to make its acquaintance. Probably nearly as many men remained in it as came out of it whole, and no one fortunate to escape from this hell can think of it without recalling hours of suffering and the names of many good comrades now no more.
Note: by Captain S. J. Worsley  8500 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I July 20, 1918
My own beloved wife
I do not know how to start this letter. The circumstances are different from any under which I ever wrote before. I am not to post it but will leave it in my pocket, if anything happens to me someone will perhaps post it.
Note: by Company Sergeant-Major James Milne.  6962 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Before reaching Louvain we bivouacked near a large well-built village, and here we had the wettest and merriest evening in the whole campaign. Some of our battalion water-carriers discovered a wine-cellar in the village. On going into a cellar they noticed a stack of fagots, and guessed that they were put there with a purpose. The fagots were quickly cleared away, and behind them appeared a door.
Note: by Captain Henry Huebner  14258 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American U.S.S. "Oregon" San Francisco Cal. March 19th 1898 Weighed anchor at 4.45 .m. and got under way passing between Angel island and Alcatraz. Almost every whistle in the city and every ship on the bay saluted us as we headed for the Golden Gate at a 14 knot clip, even the little government tug "Gen McDowell" added her mite from the wharf at Alcatraz while the military prisoners on the "Rock" waved their hats and we could feel that they were cheering although too far off to be heard.
  8398 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II From her launching in 1942 the Pringle was assigned to convoy duty with the Atlantic Fleet. In late 1943 after a grueling year in the North Atlantic providing antisubmarine protection for supply ships carrying war material to England and Russia the Pringle was assigned to the Pacific Fleet for duty that would lead to her demise.
Note: by Sonarman 1st Class Jack Gebhardt, USN, USS Pringle  20673 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1562: The French Wars of Religion between the Huguenots and the Catholics begins with the Battle of Dreux.

1793: French troops recapture Toulon from the British.

1862: Confederate General Nathan B. Forrest begins tearing up the railroads in Union generals Grant and Rosecrans rear, causing considerable delays in the movement of Union supplies.

1941: In a major shake-up of the military high command, Adolf Hitler assumes the position of commander in chief of the German army.

1941: Japanese land on Hong Kong and clash with British troops.

1942: The British advance 40 miles into Burma in a drive to oust the Japanese from the colony.

1944: During the Battle of the Bulge, American troops begin pulling back from the twin Belgian cities of Krinkelt and Rocherath in front of the advancing German Army.

1950: The carrier USS Bataan, commanded by Captain T. N. Neale, arrived on station in Korean waters.

1950: The North Atlantic Council names General Dwight D. Eisenhower as supreme commander of Western European defense forces.

1964: Another bloodless coup topples the government in Saigon.