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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.


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.  11858 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW If I had known what was in store for me on the day I was captured, and the 802 days that followed, I would have continued to fight, even though there was no chance of survival. The damaged weapons carrier slid to a halt, and we piled up against the cab. The noise was deafening and we could have been yelling at each other but I don't remember hearing anything but the noise of the mortar rounds.
Note: by SFC George Matta, Sr.  10140 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Now, the way I recall it seems to be quite a bit different than the “official” version as reported in the “After Action Reports” on record for the early morning of 30 January 1968. Myself being a trooper of E Co.-Recon, 1st Bn./501st Inf., 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division and being a participant in the defense of LZ Jane against the assault upon it in those early morning hours that turned out to be the onset of the 1968 TET Offensive, that is, as perpetrated 1 day early in error by a number of communist forces in I Corps.
Note: by Michael Bradshaw, E Co.-Recon, 1stBn. /501stInf., 101stAbn. Div.
  14685 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II 8/9/44 Mission #1 Flew our 1st mission today, 34 to go. They woke us at 1:50 am. Briefing time 3:00 am. So we knew it was pretty sure to be a long one. Had pineapple juice, fresh egg, hotcakes, sausage, cold cereal, coffee. Target Schmitt ball bearing works, Nurnberg.
Note: by First Lieutenant Andrew K. Norman  9575 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Coast Guard During May 1942, I was a lieutenant assigned as Executive and Engineer Officer of the USS PC-469 at the George Lawley Shipyard in Neponset, Massachusetts. Three other officers were assigned - Lieutenant Commander Richard Morell as the Commanding Officer with Lieutenant (junior grade) Kenneth Potts and Ensign Richard Young as watch officers. Upon arrival, I became very familiar with the PC design since the ship was in the throes of final outfitting and on the building ways - the keel having been laid on 22 October 1941.
Note: by Vice Admiral Thomas R. Sargent, III, USCG   22891 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Somewhere in France, July 23, 1918
Dear Father and Mother:
I have just finished sewing on my first service stripe, the meaning of which, as you probably know, is six months in foreign service. That number "23" still clings to the Twenty-third Engineers, and is a regular epoch marker.
  8981 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I remember when I earned my Purple Heart. We usually were packed up and ready to move out at first light, but for some reason or another we were just getting the order to move out and it was broad daylight. I had just finished packing everything away in my back pack when Charlie opened up on our position with a burst of full auto, AK-47. An early morning wake up call!
Note: by Sarge Lintecum   10139 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  9602 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Thirty years ago I came tumbling out of the sky in my rotary winged aircraft. Struck by fiery rockets that caused a fatal hemorrhaging of vital fluids. Barely able to control her flight I flew to what I hoped was a clear and safe site. On short final she gave up all she had and started the inevitable slip to the right.
Note: by Bill Beardall  8064 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The [heavy cruiser USS] Indianapolis [CA-35] had come to the Navy Yard, Mare Island [in San Francisco Bay] in early May 1945, to get heavy underwater damage repaired from a Kamikaze [Japanese suicide aircraft] hit that she took in [the Battle of] Okinawa on 30 March [1945]. We had more time there than anticipated and knew that we were due back in the forward area at the earliest practicable date.
Note: Recollections of Captain Charles B. McVay, III, USN, Commanding Officer of USS Indianapolis (CA-35).  8697 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Incoming in Saigon, my sleepy brain never really sleeps. My bed is on the first floor, I am instantly awake, I can tell the difference between incoming and outgoing in my sleep. That was definitely incoming. I had just transferred to the 120th Assault Helicopter Company, flying out of helipad Hotel-3 in Saigon from a serious kick ass line outfit, the Blackhawks or 187th Assault Helicopter Company in Tay Ninh, we got rocketed all the time there.
Note: by Wayne R. "Crash" Coe  8875 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I grew up in the small town of Ellis, Kansas during the great depression of the 1930s complete with heat waves, drought and dust storms. We thought such conditions were the norm.I graduated from Ellis High School in May of 1943. I could have loafed around all summer waiting for my draft notice but I asked for immediate induction. My father was furious - thought I was out of my mind.
Note: by Kenneth F. Haas.  8934 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  9338 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II We set off at dawn from our base, West Island, Cocos, in a 356 Squadron Liberator on our flight to Malaya carrying a great load of medical supplies and comforts for PoWs and civilians. With the Japanese surrender, there are no bombs this time. Guns and armament have been stripped from the aircraft to provide more lift, and the cavernous bays which normally house 500 and 1,000-pounders, now contain dozens of large drop-canisters strapped to chutes.
Note: by John Behague, RAF, 99 Squadron  11362 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I flew several of these missions, and we always got secondary explosions and almost never needed the OV10's or snakes to light off the drop. It seemed as if the barrels rupturing and scrapping together created a good fuse and light off. Beyond the Flights mentioned I remember flying a mission in support of the ROK Marines with one CH-53 where we naped Football Island.
Note: by Doug Raupp  8535 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1859: Abolitionist John Brown leads a small group on a raid against an arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia.

1934: The embattled Chinese Communists break through Nationalist enemy lines and begin an epic flight from their encircled headquarters in southwest China.

1940: Benjamin O. Davis becomes the U.S. Armys first African American Brigadier General.

1951: F-86 Sabres shot down nine MiGs and damaged five more in one of the worst aerial defeats inflicted on the Chinese during the war.

1964: The Peoples Republic of China joins the rank of nations with atomic bomb capability, after a successful nuclear test.

1968: In a series of meetings with U.S. Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu insists that North Vietnam assent to three conditions prior to a bombing halt. He said the North Vietnamese had to (1) agree to respect the neutrality of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), (2) stop shelling South Vietnamese cities and towns, and (3) agree to South Vietnamese participation in the Paris talks.

1973: Israeli General Ariel Sharon crosses the Suez Canal and begins to encircle two Egyptian armies.