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Military Quotes

In the long run luck is given only to the efficient.

-- Helmuth von Moltke

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  9020 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  18253 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II More lives were lost in one exercise practicing for D-Day than during the invasion of Utah Beach on 6 June 1944. That rehearsal was called "Exercise Tiger." Planning for the greatest amphibious operation in history required many such exercises, each designed to test the readiness of plans for the invasion of Normandy and the efficiency of the troops. Duck, Fox, Muskrat, Beaver, and Trousers preceded Tiger, and Fabius followed. Each was larger than the last, and the later ones used live ammunition.
Note: by LT Eugene E. Eckstam, MC, USNR,a medical officer on USS LST-507  10835 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW Of course it had to come, Hitler had been seizing all the smaller states and threatening others. So when he marched on Poland it was the last straw, for Britain had warned him that we would not stand idly by, but would go to the aid of Poland. It was the 3rd September 1939, and I was digging air-raid shelters when I heard that we were at war with Germany; and it was only the day before, that I had received my calling up papers, so it looked as though I would be in for some excitement.
Note: by Private W.C. LAW, ( 5186223 ), 2 Gloucester Regt.  10372 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War One of the things you have to watch out for in the field are tracks. Tracks of any kind can put a real damper on your day when they come rolling across your site without warning. To avoid such confrontations we took special care to build deep and well fortified fighting positions when time allowed.
Note: by David Bailey, A Company, 13th Signal Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division  6962 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Navy It was a normal day. I reported to work, started logging into the computer, checking e-mails, taking phone calls, talking with the office about what was going on. Then someone heard about the happenings at the World Trade Center - the first plane. We were able to watch the live video and started hearing the reports. Then we saw the footage of the second aircraft coming into the second tower.
Note: by Lieutenant Commander David Tarantino, MC, USN  13009 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 Sandwich, in Upper Canada, 13 July 1812 Sir-from the 5th July inst. the day of the arrival of the army at Detroit, the whole was employed in strengthening the fortifications for the security of the town, and preparing boats for the passage of the river. About one hundred regulars of the British army, and, from the best accounts I have been able to obtain, six hundred Canadian militia with artillery, were in possession of the opposite bank, and fortifying directly opposite the town; seven or eight hundred Indians were likewise attached to this corps.
Note: by Brigadier-General Hull, USA, letter to The Secretary Of War  8335 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Pearl Harbor occurred about six months after I graduated from High School. I believe we all were aware it would change our lives and the things we believed in but none of us knew how much. It placed restraints on our lives. We wanted to keep on working and enjoying our new found freedom of being out of school and yet we were all moved by feelings of duty to the country and many of my friends joined the service.
Note: by William H. Gieske, 172nd Field Artillery Battalion.  8091 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American It was suggested to me that I give a talk or write a paper on my experiences last summer, experiences that to me were the most interesting and exciting I suppose I will ever have. As it was left to me to select the method, I have chosen this as the easier, not that I always choose the easier way when I have an alternative, but only when I think it is the better way.
Note: by Bertram Willard Edwards of Chicago, a member of the Naval Reserve, USS OREGON.  8187 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam In January of 1967, I was the gunner on 868, Lt. Wallace the AC, and WO Leach the pilot; my regular crew chief, Don Cline, was on R&R, so the head of the crew chiefs was flying crew chief for us. The 129th was making a company move from Dong Ba Thin to somewhere in the south, with the ships fully loaded with all our personal gear.
Note: by Max Whittington, 129th AHC  10176 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  15033 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I In April 1918 I volunteered to go to France in response to the urgent call for more surgeons. For twenty years I had been in general practice in a suburb, and did a fair amount of surgery among patients and at the local hospitals. I had also had some war experience as one of the surgeons at the British Red Cross Hospital, Netley, in the first six months of the War, but I had no experience of cases fresh from the battlefield, and the surgical technique which had recently been adopted in dealing with them.
Note: by Captain John A. Hayward  13395 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Army It is [a] matter of too great notoriety to need any proofs that the arrival of his Majesty's troops in Boston was extremely obnoxious to its inhabitants. They have ever used all means in their power to weaken the regiments, and to bring them into contempt by promoting and aiding desertions, and with impunity, even where there has been the clearest evidence of the fact, and by grossly and falsely propagating untruths concerning them.
Note: by Captain Thomas Preston, 13 march 1770.  9064 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Monday, 8 December.
Report made by Capt. B. d. Godbold, Commanding "D" Battery F.D.R. 0700 two officers, Capt. Godbold, F.B.D. and Lt. Grealy with enlisted men moved to the battery position by truck as ordered. In addition to his duties as battery commander, Capt. Godbold acted as Peale Island Strong Point Commander. 0730 Battery reported manned and realy, to Island Commander, C.P. Director, height finder, power plant. 3 guns manned, 4 gun directors, power plants, and 02 sandbagged prior to occupation of position.
Note: by Captain B. D. Godbold USMC, Battery D, 1st Defense Battalion
  12259 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam It was November 1st, 1963, and the pot had been stirring. The feelings against the Diem government were running higher and higher by the day. There were the pro-Diem faction and the anti-Diem faction. It was the Catholics versus the Buddhists. Diem and his family were Catholic and the Buddhist monks were stirring up trouble. You could just sense the tension in Saigon as it was building. You knew something was about to happen.
Note: by Lieutenant Commander Bobbi Hovis, Nurse Corps  16036 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1780: American troops are badly defeated by the British at the Battle of Camden, South Carolina.

1812: American General William Hull surrenders Detroit without resistance to a smaller British force under General Issac Brock.

1861: Union and Confederate forces clash near Fredericktown and Kirkville, Missouri.

1863: Union General William S. Rosecrans moves his army south from Tullahoma, Tennessee to attack Confederate forces in Chattanooga.

1914: Liege, Belgium, falls to the German army.

1914: Austrian troops capture Shabatz, but Serbian troops check the Austrian advance between Loznitsa and Shabats.

1915: The Russian army is withdrawn to the Brest-Osovyets-Kovna line.

1915: Russians troops enter Van.

1915: Cumberland coast towns are shelled by German submarines.

1916: French troops take a system of German trenches near Belloy-en-Santerre on a front of 1,300 yards, capturing 1,300 prisoners.