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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.


Airforce Late November 1963, the day president Kennedy died, was the day on which I was going around John Adams high school in South Bend getting signatures allowing me to leave early in my senior year to join the Air Force. Vietnam was seldom mentioned on television in those days, but by then had already become what it eventually became. I was 17, fed up with school, seeking serious work for my country of whatever kind they might see fit to give.
Note: by Michael S. Bell, 3346th Consol. Maint. Sq., Air Training Command  11865 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Friday, December 14, 1917
Grand Hotel, Paris, France
Got up at 9 a.m. Went to see if my kodak pictures were finished. They were not. Tried to find the Spad factory until late in afternoon. Did not find it. Every place I was told it was turned out to be the wrong place. Will try again some other day. I have been bitterly disappointed so many times at the Embassy that I dreaded to go there and ask for mail.
  8670 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   9572 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I 15/8/14. War declared on August 4th. 1914, so went to depot and enlisted. Told them I had my parent's consent, so was passed to go into camp the following week. I then thought it was time I told Father and Mother. Father was very angry, and had me rejected, as I was only 19 years old. Also he thought I was not strong enough, having a weak shoulder. I waited until September 25th. 1915, and then enlisted again. Being of age, I did not need any consent, and all my pals were going way, so I signed on for duration, and four months after. - I got through the medical test O.K. and was told to report at Sturt St. on 2nd. October 1915.
Note: by Kenneth Sydney Day  14763 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American

Santiago De Cuba

July 18, 1898

Dear Parents,

Received your welcome letter and was so glad to find all well. I am in the best of health, but my God, how the men around me suffer! There are 30 to 40 in the Company sick. It is the fever, and I thank God every day that He has spared me so far. He has heard your prayers, my dear Mama. As I have no paper, I will give you a brief sketch of what has happened on the Island and go into details some other time.

  7242 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I was flying a UH-1 D for the 187th Assault Helicopter Company, the Blackhawks out of Tay Ninh, Vietnam in 1967. Sleep never comes easy in Vietnam, the artillery shoots H&I (harassment and interdiction) fire all night, every time one of the 8 inch guns went off, a small amount of the dust, collected from the dry season would fall off the tent roof and drift to the floor. It was the monsoon season and the cool rain had put me right to sleep.
Note: by Wayne R. "Crash" Coe, Hotel-3 Blackhawk 54, 187th Assault Helicopter Company, 67-8.  9900 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I The members of my family - that of Richthofen - have taken no very great part in wars until now. The Richthofens have always lived in the country; indeed, there has scarcely been one of them without a landed estate, and the few who did not live in the country have, as a rule, entered the State service. My grandfather and all my ancestors before him had estates about Breslau and Striegau. Only in the generation of my grandfather it happened that the first Richthofen. his cousin, became a General.
Note: by Captain von Richthofen (The Red Baron)  8179 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 Sir,
I have the honour to inform you, for the information of the Lords commissioners of the Admiralty, that on the 3rd instant, I sailed with his Majesty`s squadron under my command, from this port. to co-operate with our army at the head of the Lake, and annoy the enemy by intercepting all supplies going to the army, and thereby oblige his squadron to come out for its protection.
Note: H.M.S Wolfe, at Kingston, Upper Canada, 29 June, 1813.  8338 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War On the 5th day of April 1862, the army had marching orders and we took up the line of march toward the Tennessee River. Late in the evening we arrived within less than a mile of the enemy camp and put in line of battle where we remained all night with orders for the men to lie on their arms and while it was quite cool weather, fires were all extinguished at nightfall.
Note: by Captain W.P. Howell, 25th Alabama, Company I  11850 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam At Det 1, we were flying missions that melted into each other and in retrospect, in another theater, would have been considered "medal" material on nearly a daily basis. We on the other hand, only knew we were doing a job to the best of our ability, under often hazardous conditions, with the ultimate goal of always being there and getting our "Brother Warriors" out of trouble safely so they could go home to their loved ones.
Note: by Michael W. Dobson  9691 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Army December 21st., 1915: Good-bye France, you have given me some sleepless nights, and many a hard day's work. I very much regret leaving you for foreign parts, but some day I shall return to you and go over all the ground again; no doubt it will recall many sad recollections.
Note: diary of Lt. Edwin Evan Jones.  12375 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War SIR,
I HAVE made several attempts to inform your excellency, that the French West-India fleet, under Monsieur de Grasse, entered the capes the 29th ult. I could not exactly learn the number; they report twenty-five or twenty-six sail of the line.
Note: York town, in Virginia, 8th Sept. 1781  9186 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Saint-Leonard, a name that has continually come to mind over the last five decades, is the name of a quaint little village situated in the foothills of the Vosges of Southern France. It was not long after our encounter in this village when I made myself a promise not to be forgotten... a promise that I would keep in the many years to follow. The incident bringing about this promise I have lived with since that day, Nov. 20, 1944. It was a promise made out of both fear and anger, that some day if it be God's will, I will return.
Note: by Fielding D. Tucker  8716 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  8898 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I was a medic attached to 2nd platoon, C Battery, of the 225th during my entire tour of duty in Europe. When we were in the field, there was half of C Battery (117 men) that I would visit in their positions on a daily basis. I was their primary health-care provider. I would travel on a three-quarter-ton truck that carried rations and water to each searchlight/radar section every day to make my rounds. From June 1944 to December 1945 we moved from Omaha beach in France to Neubiberg in Germany. During this entire time, I never treated someone who was wounded by the enemy. This was a good thing.
Note: by Robert J. King  9871 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1738: English parliament declares war on Spain.

1800: The USS Essex becomes first U.S. Navy vessel to pass the Cape of Good Hope.

1814: The HMS Phoebe and Cherub capture the USS Essex off Valparaiso, Chile.

1854: Britain and France declare war on Russia.

1862: Union forces stop the Confederate invasion of New Mexico territory when they turn the Rebels back at Glorieta Pass.

1864: A group of Copperheads attack Federal soldiers in Charleston, Illinois. Five are killed and twenty wounded.

1917: The Womens Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) is founded, Great Britains first official service women.

1939: The Spanish Civil War ends as Madrid falls to Francisco Franco.

1941: Andrew Browne Cunningham, Admiral of the British Fleet, commands the British Royal Navys destruction of three major Italian battleships and two destroyers in the Battle of Cape Matapan in the Mediterranean.

1942: A British ship, the HMS Capbeltown, a Lend-Lease American destroyer, which was specifically rammed into a German occupied dry-dock in France, explodes, knocking the area out of action for the German battleship Tirpitz.