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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 On arrival in Vietnam in 1966, the 5th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, (5RAR) found the enemy moving freely throughout Phuoc Tuy Province during the night. The Viet-Cong and NVA were not used to being attacked during the dark hours, as the Americans' basically fought during daylight hours.
Note: by Bob Cavill, 5th Battalion RAR, SVN 1966 - 67  12892 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II September 16 I remember crossing the Siegfried line with it's dragon teeth. We had seen pictures of this defensive system for years and now we saw it first hand. With the return of our men from the Red Ball Express we are now back in business. I don't remember details of all the areas we were in when we arrived in Germany. I recall one position shortly after we were in on the outskirts of Aachen. We had an antiaircraft unit of two half-tracks with us. One vehicle had quad fifties in a cockpit like arrangement and the other was a thirty seven mm. with a pair of fifties.
Note: by William H. Gieske, 172nd Field Artillery Battalion.  11951 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea It was sometime in March 1950, when my Brother, Spencer Walter (Walt) Welsh announced to the family that he was going to join the Army, As he was only 17 years old and did not have a profession decided for himself and jobs in York, Pennsylvania were few and far between, he said he wanted to better himself.
Note: by Jay Welsh  8727 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  15882 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam 20 Oct 68
Dear everybody,
Well it's another rainy day in Vietnam. When they say its been known to rain 40 days and nights you can believe it.

Today I had to fill sandbags and build a bunker where a mortar round came in last night. No big worry. It was at least 300 yards away. That's for really!
  7692 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I was drafted 3 weeks after graduating from high school and went in the Army in September of 1966. After basic training at Fort Campbell and AIT at Fort Polk, I was sent to Vietnam in March of 1967 with an 11B10 light weapons infantry MOS. My first three weeks in-country were spent in a security platoon on the Bien Hoa air base perimeter.
Note: by Andrew R. Ansenberger, 368th Transportation Company   14870 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam True story (lots of them about). Was attached to Hq 1/13 near Division HQ at DaNang. LZ overlooked Dai La pass. To the right (northern side) were a bunch of OP's overlooking the area. I had Sgt of the guard one night and our Lt was sitting with me on top of a bunker taking in the evening / morning air. Beautiful clear night - sweating like a dog. About 1 or 2 in the morning a series of about 3 or 4 'flashes' up near the top of the hill.
Note: By Scott Mason   8054 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War General Bragg having evacuated Kentucky, the Federal troops under command of General Rosecrans had been concentrated about Nashville and Bragg's army around Murfreesboro. Only about 25 miles lay between the two armies. So about the last of December Rosecrans advanced on Murfreesboro sufficiently near to offer battle. So on the morning of 31st December we accepted the challenge and at them we went.
Note: by Captain W.P. Howell, 25th Alabama, Company I  10022 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War

Pleasant Valley

October 7, 64

Dear sister

I am yet alive but I have been very sick for the last two weeks with the fever and ague but it is broke on me and I am getting quite smart

Note: by Private Miles B. Hodges, Company A, 22nd New York Volunteer Cavalry  9002 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I As the War had to be, I shall always be glad I was able to play even a negligible part in it, or I should never have known with such certainty the madness of it. During training I was aware only of the glamour of War. I prepared myself for it with enthusiasm, and bayoneted and clubbed the stuffed sacks representing the enemy with a sort of exalted ferocity. I was as jealous of my regiment as I used to be of my school.
Note: by Private Harold Saunders  11129 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War Sept. 8, 1781.
I have the honour to inform your Excellency, that the transports with the detachment of troops under my orders anchored on the Long Island Shore on the 5th inst. At two o'clock P.M. about ten leagues from New London; and having made some necessary arrangements, weighed anchor at seven o'clock P.M. and stood for New London with a fair wind. At one o'clock the next morning we arrived off the harbour, when the wind suddenly shifted to the northward, and it was nine o'clock before the transports could beat in.
Note: Sir Henry Clinton was Commander in Chief of British forces in America at this time.  9422 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  8784 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Dear Sister
I just received your letter of Nov. 27, and as I have time I will anser immeidatly. I have been on the front twice and as Joe Nugent wrote home and told his people I suppose I may as well tell you. He is in the 314 Inf. which is in the same Div. that I am in the 79th.
  8598 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War As you will notice there are portions of the letter marked with "_?_" which indicates an unreadable word or phrase.

From the time I joined the Army till after the Battle of Bridgewater which took place on the 25th day of July 1814, just before the Falls of Niagara and through which I was mysteriously preserved, when to __?__ over nothing but death was inevitable. I will begin by Comm__? narative at that funeral immediately after that battle from what is __?__ in the eastern allies, Supposed to arrive from the __?__ of the particles of fluids and the facility with which they slid over each other it is infered that they have. We proceeded up the river to Fort Erie which is directly __(across?)__ from Buffalo on the Canadian Shore and stand some 20 or 30 rods __?__ the lake which I think __?__ __?__ on the 1st of August this __?__ surrendered to our men on the 3rd of the preceding month, and contained in its enclosure about 1/4 of an acre of ground prepared for a short __?__ with a large stone building two stories high.
  8589 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea March 22, 1952. I was just 22 years old. Dawn found me on the flight deck of the USS Valley Forge in the Sea of Japan, warming up my Skyraider. As a pilot in Fighter Squadron 194, the "Yellow Devils," I was the standby in case one of the 8 planes scheduled for the morning's flight became inoperative.
Note: by Ken Schecter  9258 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1862: The Union Army of the Potomac occupies Fredericksburg, Virginia, as General Ambrose Burnside continues to execute his plan to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond.

1863: Union gunboats Restless, Bloomer and Caroline enter St. Andrews Bay, Fla., and begin bombardment of both Confederate quarters and saltworks.

1933: Paraguay captures 11,000 Bolivians in the war over Chaco.

1941: The United States declares war on Italy and Germany.

1941: Adolf Hitler declares war on the United States, bringing America, which had been neutral, into the European conflict.

1945: A Boeing B-29 Superfortress shatters all records by crossing the United States in five hours and 27 minutes.

1950: The 1st Marine Division completed its breakout from the Chosin/Changjin Reservoir entrapment and began its march to join the rest of X Corps at Hungnam.

1955: Israel raids Syrian positions on the Sea of Galilee.

1961: The ferry carrier, USNS Core, arrives in Saigon with the first U.S. helicopter unit. This contingent included 33 Vertol H-21C Shawnee helicopters and 400 air and ground crewmen to operate and maintain them. Their assignment was to airlift South Vietnamese Army troops into combat.

1969: Paratroopers from the U.S. Third Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, depart from Vietnam.