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Military Quotes

It is the unconquerable nature of man and not the nature of the weapon he uses that ensures victory.

-- General George Patton Jr

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.


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   7680 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea On June 25, 1950, the Korean War began. I listened to the news every day and when I heard my old outfit, Baker Company Fifth Marines, was in Korea fighting hard, I decided to re-enlist. Traveling to Kansas City, Missouri, to the Marine recruiting office I hoped to re-up as a sergeant. I was disappointed, for I had been involved in a car wreck and still had some cuts not fully healed.
Note: by PFC Charlie Carmin, 1st Marine Division  18712 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  7042 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Fitchburg, Sept. 17, 1919. The first experience of a soldier is camp life. O! the sweet memories of departed days, how they rise up before us; the ups and downs, the drills, the dress parades, skirmish, rally by fours, guard against infantry, guard against cavalry, the barracks, the bunks, the rations-how they stare us in the face as we look back to the first few days we were in camp in the town of Groton, near the Peterboro and Shirley Railroad, at a place called Camp Stevens.
Note: by Joel A. Stratton, Captain of Company C, Fifty-third Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, 1862-1863.  9595 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Airforce As I sometimes did, when the information for the next day's mission was slow in coming in, I would not call my driver but just get in my car and drive myself around the perimeter track, stopping now and then to talk to the men working on the planes. Of course, everything was blacked out. To drive we used a mere slit of light from the car's headlights to see the road.
Note: by Joseph A. Moller, Commanding Officer, 390th Bomb Group  7585 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The Short Range Ambush Platoon was organized as a small force whose primary mission was night ambush. SRAP was capable of operating independently without the support of any other elements. I can't speak for the entire platoon, but during my time, to my knowledge SRAP was Ranger led, and ably so. The first group was selected by SFC Jay Holloway from the battalion on an individual basis.
Note: by John Smerdon, 1/50 Infantry  7854 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Take five dumb bombs, one dumb A6 (non-system), one dumb target, and one dumb way to fight a war. Add a large portion of luck. What's the result? An averted disaster. But leaving a crew who will be able to fly another day and an Intruder still around to fly in harms way.
Note: By Captain Bill Kretschmar (retired), VMA (AW) 533 MAG 12, 1st MAW, Chu Lai, RVN, September, 1967 I Corps, South Vietnam   6636 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War After ten o'clock at night, on the 2nd of April, 1862, while in my office as adjutant-general of the Confederate army assembled at Corinth, a telegram was brought to me from General Cheatham, commanding an outpost on our left flank at Bethel, on the Mobile and Ohio railway, some twenty odd miles northward of Corinth. General Cheatham had addressed it to General Polk, his corps commander, informing him that a Federal division, under General Lew Wallace, had been manoeuvring in his proximity during the day.
Note: by Thomas Jordan  9201 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I had just had breakfast and was looking out a porthole in sick bay when someone said, "What the hell are all those planes doing up there on a Sunday? " Someone else said, "It must be those crazy Marines. They'd be the only ones out maneuvering on a Sunday." When I looked up in the sky I saw five or six planes starting their descent. Then when the first bombs dropped on the hangers at Ford Island, I thought, "Those guys are missing us by a mile." Inasmuch as practice bombing was a daily occurrence to us, it was not too unusual for planes to drop bombs, but the time and place were quite out of line.
Note: by Pharmacist's Mate Second Class Lee Soucy, USS UTAH  15851 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 Detroit, 4 August 1812
Sir-I take the earliest opportunity to acquaint your excellence of the surrender of Michillimackinac, under my command to His Britannic majesty's forces under the command of Captain Charles Roberts, on the 17th ult-the particulars of which are as follows:
Note: by Lieutenant Porter Hanks to Brigadier-General Hull.  8884 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II On September 29, 1943, Task Force 58, which included the USS Lexington CV-16, headed West towards Wake Island. On board the Lexington was Carrier Air Group Sixteen, which included VF-16, VT-16 and VB-16. I, Paul Bonilla AOM 2/c USNR, at the age of 22, was attached to VB-16 which flew SBD-5 Douglas Dauntless dive bombers which had a crew of two, a pilot and a radioman-gunner.
Note: by Paul T. Bonilla  7690 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War Teaogo, Sept. 30, 1779. Sir: -- In mine of the 30th ultimo to His Excellency George Washington, and by him transmitted to Congress, I gave an account of the victory obtained by this army over the enemy at Newtown, on the 29th August. I now do myself the honor to inform Congress of the progress of this army, and the most material occurrences which have since taken place.
Note: by Gen. John Sullivan  7216 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War

Bell Plains, Va.
Jan 9th, 1863
Dear Father and Sister,
I embrace another opertunity of adressing you again. I received your letter last week, it found me well. I soppose you have herd that the 19th was in the battle of Fredricksburg, we was in Franklins Left grand division, Doubleers Division, Merideths Brigade.

  5789 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Dearest Folks:
Still out thank Heaven, hope we get a good long rest, we need it. We have had many wonderful things said about us, by the Great General, by the Conventions of Mayors of the French towns we saved and by statesmen. Our own colonel, a distinguished soldier, said after our magnificent fight for nearly forty days, to command the ninth was the greatest honor he ever expected to have.
  5607 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Iraq I write this right now in my journal several hundred miles inside of Iraq. At the crack of dawn this morning we left Kuwait to enter Iraq, where we will be doing combat operations for the next calendar year. This will be my first and hopefully last combat deployment. Crossing the Kuwaiti/Iraqi border this morning was an experience; it was like crossing the DMZ or something.
Note: by Spc. Colby Buzzell, 11B, US Army  8786 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1815: USS Constitution, under Captain Charles Stewart, captures HMS Cyane and sloop-of-war Levant.

1861: The Confederacy Department of Navy is formed.

1864: In the largest battle fought in Florida during the Civil War, a Confederate force under General Joseph Finegan decisively defeats an army commanded by General Truman Seymour. The victory kept the Confederates in control of Florida's interior for the rest of the war.

1865: Following the evacuation of Fort Anderson, Rear Admiral Porter's gunboats steamed seven miles up the Cape Fear River to the Big Island shallows and the piling obstructions and engaged Fort Strong's five guns.

1941: The U.S. sent war planes to the Pacific. General George C. Kenney pioneered aerial warfare strategy and tactics in the Pacific theater.

1942: Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment of Japanese Americans on the West Coast.

1942: Japanese drive off a carrier based task force led by the American aircraft carrier Lexington which attempts to attack Rabaul.

1943: British and American units hold the German attack on Sbiba.

1944: American carrier aircraft from Task Group 58.1 (Admiral Reeves) attack Japanese targets in Jaluit Atoll. The fighting on Eniwetok continues. The nearby island of Parry is shelled by US naval forces.

1944: A ferry carrying a stock of heavy water on the first stage of a journey from the Ryukan hydroelectric plant to laboratories in Germany is sunk and her cargo lost in attack by Norwegian resistance fighters.