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Library of Congress

Military Quotes

Do not interfere with an army that is returning home. When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.

-- Sun Tzu

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 II I landed about twenty-five feet from a road and before I could get my rifle assembled, I heard a motorcycle approaching. I remained still as I did not have time to assemble my rifle, and watched two German soldiers pass by. After they passed and I had my rifle together I found other paratroopers and our equipment bundle and set off for the bridge over the Merderet River.
Note: by Marcus Heim  10301 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Helena Arks
July 6th.. 1863
Dear Parents
I will Inform you with Pleasure that I am well at the Present & I Hope that when this Reaches you that it May find you all well I Had a light chill yesterday But I feel all O. K. to day.
Note: by Newton Robert Scott, Private, Company A, of the 36th Infantry, Iowa Volunteers.  7222 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I The visit of an English squadron for the Kiel Week in June, 1914, seemed to indicate a desire to give visible expression to the fact that the political situation had eased. Although we could not suppress a certain feeling of doubt as to the sincerity of their intentions, everyone on our side displayed the greatest readiness to receive the foreign guests with hospitality and comradeship.
Note: by Admiral Reinhard Scheer  13132 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea I was born in Aalborg, Denmark on April 8, 1922 and immigrated to America with my mother and two older brothers Kaj and Poul in 1924. My father, Niels Christian, had come to America the previous year in 1923. After a two week sea and train journey through Ellis Island and Canada, we finally arrived in Chicago where we settled in a Danish neighborhood in the Humboldt Park area. Our family suffered greatly during the depression years but with the help of the Danish community we survived.
Note: by Erik Larsen, Battalion Surgeon, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Regimental Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division  18347 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Base Hospital 27, located at Angers, France, received the first official order dated July 14, 1917, to supply Army nurses for this service. Until this time, the Medical Corps attached to hospital trains were caring for the wounded. Through Miss Blanche Rulon, chief nurse of Base Hospital 27, Edna Cooper, Grace O'Donnell and I were detailed to Hospital Train 57.
Note: Helen T. Burrey, reserve nurse, Army Nurse Corps, a graduate of St. Francis Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pa., and a member of the nursing staff of U. S. Army Base Hospital No. 27, was one of the first three nurses to be assigned to hospital trains of The American Expeditionary Forces.   8891 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  20486 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Over the years I have put most of the bad memories of Nam to the back of my mind and tried to forget them. Occasionally, one will come back. Any other time I would start out by saying Once Upon a Time or No Shit Man as I would make up a bullshit war story. But, this time I am going to start out by saying, to the best of my recollection the following did happen.
Note: by Larry Weisbarth, A 1/502nd Airborne Infantry, 67-68   9657 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam On the night of 20 November 1970 at 2300 hours, five HH-53s and one HH-3 helicopter took off with fifty-six Special Forces Soldiers from Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand. The aircraft would refuel over Laos and enter North Vietnamese airspace from the west. The target of the helo borne assault was the Son Tay Prisoner of War (POW) Camp located 23 miles northwest of the North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. The flight from Udorn to Son Tay was approximately 337 miles one way.
Note: Tom Powell, “Greenleaf” Element  16586 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam 1967, LZ English, near Bong Son, about fifty meters inside the perimeter.

I woke up often at night over there, even after I learned to sleep through outgoing H&I fire. So I had searched for a watch with a generously luminous dial which would let me check the time in the dark. Why is it that when we wake up at night the first thing we want to know is, what time is it?
Note: by Ted Gittinger   17173 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 Captain von Richthofen (The Red Baron)  8387 Reads  Printer-friendly page



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  9036 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War At the beginning of the war, the army and navy were mostly employed in protecting the loyal people who resided on the borders of the disaffected states and in reconciling those whose sympathies were opposed. But the defeat at Manassas and other reverses convinced the Government of the serious nature of the contest, and of the necessity of more vigorous and extensive preparations for war.
Note: by Admiral Henry Walke  11745 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Front, Aug. 9, 1918
Dear Uncle Clem:
I know you must be waiting anxiously for a letter from me and wondering why I have not written before. Ever since July 15, the day of Clem's death, and the opening of the German offensive which we turned into defeat, we have been on the go night and day, and a good share of the time have been used as infantry.
Note: W.A. Thompson, Jr served with the Rainbow Division of Engineers in France.  7759 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I July 11, 1918
Left Camp Custer
July 21, 1918
Left Camp Mills Sunday morning, 4 o'clock, for depot. Took ferry boat up Hudson River to pier. Stayed in New York harbor until Monday morning 9 o'clock. Sailed with a fleet of 16 boats, some torpedo boats and a lot of submarine chasers. Saw 3 observation balloons out in the ocean anchored on ships. Had calm weather for 5 days - got a little stormy then. Was awful sick the entire trip.
Note: by Paul Rademacher  9987 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The Navy provided the waterborne transportation and close support for the 2nd Brigade of the 9th Infantry. The parameters of our operations were dictated by the decidedly wet terrain. The wet version of the Army's APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) or "track" was the Navy's ATC (Armored Troop Carrier) or "Tango".
Note: by Tom Hain.  10294 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1876: Federal troops are sent to South Carolina.


1898: Marine Barracks are established at Naval Station, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

1917: The Bainsizza Plateau is evacuated. The Germans claim 60,000 prisoners and 500 guns.

1922: The first landing aboard an underway carrier, the USS Langley, takes place off Cape Henry, VA.

1942: The last U.S. carrier manufactured before America's entry into World War II, the Hornet, is damaged so extensively by Japanese war planes in the Battle of Santa Cruz that it must be abandoned.


1942: The Battle of the Santa Cruz Island gives U.S pilots control of the skies above Guadalcanal.

1950: The U.S. 1st Marine Division, under X Corps, landed at Wonsan.

1950: The ROK 1st and 6th ROK Infantry Divisions captured the first Chinese prisoners of the Korean War. The prisoners reported that the units of the Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) 40th and 56th Army had crossed into Korea in the past two weeks. The ROK 6th Infantry Division reached the Yalu River at Chosan.

1955: Ngo Dinh Diem declares that pursuant to the wishes of the South Vietnamese people, as evidenced in a national referendum a few days before, the Republic of Vietnam is now in existence and that he will serve as the nations first president.

1972: Henry Kissinger declares "Peace is at hand" in Vietnam.