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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.


Vietnam In May of 1967, and as a young Marine PFC aboard the USS Okinawa (LPH-3), attached to the 1st Bn. 3rd Marines, RLT 26, I was already years older than my chronological number of 19. Our Battalion had been using this ship as a Combat Assault Base since we left Khe Shan in late February.
Note: As remembered by PFC Joseph C. Connelly, Alpha Co., Ist Bn 3rd Marines.  7021 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American Once through the entrance, as I deemed it wise to keep moving in order not to be taken by surprise when the ships had no headway, and as, at the same time, I did not wish to reach our destination before we had sufficient daylight to show us the position of the Spanish ships, the speed of the squadron was reduced to four knots, while we headed toward the city of Manila.
Note: by Admiral George Dewey  9703 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"  8866 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
  11976 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 His Majesty's late Ship DETROIT, Put In Bay Lake Erie, 12 September 1813 The last Letter I had the Honor of Writing to you dated the 6th Instant, I informed you that unless certain intimation was received of more Seamen being on their way to Amherstburgh, I should be obliged to sail with the Squadron deplorably Manned as it was, to fight the Enemy (who Blockaded the Port) to enable us to get supplies of Provisions and Stores of every Description.
Note: by R.H. Barclay, RN  11448 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  12802 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Navy Friday, 14 September 2001, turned out to be a tough day. We all got to NNMC early in the morning and boarded the buses for the 4-hour ride up to Earl, New Jersey. Eventually, we all got unloaded, checked aboard, got our rooms, unpacked our seabags, and checked into our workstations. Then, within an hour of arriving, there was an announcement that there had been a change in the mission. The hospital ship was going to be used to provide comfort, meaning living spaces, food spaces, and showers for the rescue workers. And except for a very core crew, everybody else was told to pack their seabags to go home.
Note: by Captain Ralph Bally, MCS, USN, USNS Comfort  14520 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  8145 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Coast Guard Since 1878, a group of people have left the shelter of land and rammed small boats into the angry sea with a single purpose: to save others from drowning. These rescuers have known full well they could die in the attempt. Over the years Americans have not given this group much thought. Yet the crews of the U.S. Coast Guard's small boat rescue stations Continue to push into gale-swept waters, asking only to help those "in peril on the sea."
Note: by Dennis L. Noble  12983 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I In November 1915 I was one of those accepted by Colonel Lord Feversham to be enlisted in the Yeoman Rifles being formed at Helmsley Park. In January 1916 the battalion was transferred to Aldershot, where we became fit for our great adventure. Runners were asked for, and I volunteered for the job.
Note: by Corporal Robert William Iley, 41st Battalion Machine Gun Corps   6556 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The nights were accompanied by the throaty drone of these lumbering killers, orbiting over their home base, boresighting their various sensors, tuning up for their moonlight symphony over the jungle trails of Laos. As a fellow pilot, I had worked these same hostile skies with the AC-130 Spectres many nights. I had seen the still smoldering evidence of their effectiveness in harnessing the flood of Communist truck traffic that ran the gauntlet of Laos each night.
Note: by Lt. Col. James F. Humphries, Jr.  7587 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.
  7843 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I May 20th 1917. Enlisted
June 3rd 1917. Arrived Ft. Thomas Kentucky. Sworn in service.
June 22nd 1917. Arrived Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. 1st class private. Co G 46 Indiana #17
September 6th 1917. Arrived Camp Sherman Ohio. 322 FA. Supply Co #11. Made corporal. Made sergeant. RO # 33. Oct 14-18
Note: by Sergeant Ross A. Buchman, Supply Company, 322 Field Artillery, AEF  9691 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea The flights to our new station at K-2 (Taegu) consumed one day and within several days more the squadron was in full operation. While we unpacked and positioned our main equipment, hundreds of cans of exposed aerial film began to backlog in our holding area.
Note: by Sgt. Jack Morris, 363rd Recon Tech Squadron Korea.   7173 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I think it is safe to say that everyone's first impression upon arriving in country to Vietnam was unique to that individual. It would be dependent on a persons' expectations and what his life experiences were subsequent to arrival, as-well-as, the time and place you came in country. Even so, I expect that some common chords are shared in each.
Note: by Roland Kunkel   8759 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1865: Confederate General Joseph Johnston officially surrenders his army to General William T. Sherman at Durham Station, North Carolina.

1865: John Wilkes Booth is killed when Union soldiers track him down to a Virginia farm 12 days after he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

1865: Joseph E. Johnston surrenders the Army of Tennessee to Sherman.

1937: The ancient Basque town of Guernica in northern Spain is bombed by German planes.

1952: Armistice negotiations are resumed.

1971: The U.S. command in Saigon announces that the U.S. force level in Vietnam is 281,400 men, the lowest since July 1966.

1972: President Nixon, despite the ongoing communist offensive, announces that another 20,000 U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Vietnam in May and June, reducing authorized troop strength to 49,000.