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You can always tell an old soldier by the inside of his holsters and cartridge boxes. The young men carry pistols and cartridges; the old ones, grub.

-- George Bernard Shaw

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 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  8143 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.  12993 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I February 15, 1918 -- Left guns at 12 noon for wagon lines. Got a change of tunic and pants.

February 16, 1918 -- Started away on leave from Neun Le Mines. Fritz was shelling station. Had to beat it to Bethune Road down in boxcars and caught the leave train. Arrived in Balounge about nine p.m. Slept in the fish market all night.
  10203 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War 1775, August 25.-Embark'd on board Cap't Jacksons sloop at 5 oclock in the afternoon (who had on board Col'o Clinton, Mr. Drake sutler & Cap't Nicholson with his company. We sail'd in company with Cap't North, Van Shaack, & Gale each with men on board. In the evening Van Shaack & Gale got aground on Esopus meadows.
Note: by Major Henry Livingston, Third New York Continental Line  11332 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II March 11, 1945. We are at fleet anchorage after returning from Iwo Jima, and Japanese areas. 2000 hours. I had just been relieved from watch in Rdo1, which is our main radio room in the Island structure, and had started walking aft on the flight deck. My rack, and also my GQ battle station, was Rdo#3. Radio 3 was a small emergency transmitter room on the Gallery deck, just under the flight deck, starboard side above the fan tail.
Note: by V.J.Verdolini RM2/c, U.S. Navy  11380 Reads  Printer-friendly page



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  13780 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 Great Britain London Downing Street, Sept. 27 I have the honor to communicate to your Lordship, that on the night of the 24th instant, after defeating the army of the United States that day, the troops under my command entered and took possession of the city of Washington. It was determined between Sir A. Cochrane and myself, to disembark the army at the village of Nenedict, on the right bank of the Patuxeut, with the intention of Co-operating with Rear-admiral Cockburn, in an attack upon a flotilla of the enemy's gun boats, under of the command of Com. Barney.
Note: by Major General Robert Ross  11419 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.
  9278 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The 103rd Infantry (Cactus) Division left Camp Howze, Texas during the last half of September 1944. I, Hallet K. Brown, known as H. K., was a member of the 410th Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion (Company D). Company D, a heavy weapons company, consisted of one mortar (80 mm) and two machine gun (.30 caliber) platoons. I was the first gunner, responsible for carrying the tripod and firing the gun, of the Eighth Squad (8 members), Second Section, Second Platoon.
Note: by Hallet K. Brown  21228 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War At the breaking out of the war I was a resident of the quiet but patriotic town of Groveland. Sumter had been fired upon and all was excitement. I could not work, and on the 18th of April, 1861, walked to Haverhill with my elder brother and Mark Kimball. We went to the armory of the Hale Guards, who were making active preparations to march, and I returned home that night resolved to go with them if possible. The next day we walked to Haverhill again, and I at once interviewed Captain Messer, but was informed that the company was more than full, so I could not go with it.
Note: by Captain John G. B. Adams, 19th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers  30197 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I was a member of the 29th Infantry Division, in M Company, 3rd Battalion of the 116th Infantry Regiment. I was inducted into the Army June 16, 1943, at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., and was discharged on Oct. 23, 1945, at Camp Atterbury, Ind. I was second gunner on the .30-caliber water-cooled Browning machine gun through most of combat when I moved up to squad leader.
Note: by John D. Hinton  10420 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Base Hospital 27, located at Angers, France, received the first official order dated July 14, 1917, to supply Army nurses for this service. Until this time, the Medical Corps attached to hospital trains were caring for the wounded. Through Miss Blanche Rulon, chief nurse of Base Hospital 27, Edna Cooper, Grace O'Donnell and I were detailed to Hospital Train 57.
Note: Helen T. Burrey, reserve nurse, Army Nurse Corps, a graduate of St. Francis Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pa., and a member of the nursing staff of U. S. Army Base Hospital No. 27, was one of the first three nurses to be assigned to hospital trains of The American Expeditionary Forces.   9316 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The plane touched down at Bien Hoa in the mid-afternoon sun. The realization of where I was came to me with mixed emotions of wonder, excitement, apprehension and fear. I had volunteered for this, I told myself, so there's no use in questioning the decision now. You better suck it up and accept whatever happens.
Note: by Steve Nirk  10820 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Flying a bombing mission out of Foggia, Italy, off Tortorella US Army Air Field in Italy, during W.W. II, our B-17 caught one hell of a lot of flack. All four engines were still running, but ALL flight instruments failed. We had no airspeed indicator. Since we were returning from the bombing mission in formation, we didn't really need flight instruments except for the approach and landing.
Note: by George Ureke, Lt. Colonel USAF (Ret.).  11923 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam It seems like yesterday that I was graduating from the Infantry Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Just a year earlier my friend Don and I were walking down the street checking out girls and cars like we did everyday after junior college classes.
Note: by Tim Lickness   9250 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1865: General William T. Sherman begins a march through the Carolinas.

1940: Hitler cancels an attack in the West due to bad weather and the capture of German attack plans in Belgium.

1942: Japans advance into Burma begins.

1944: The U.S. First and Third armies link up at Houffalize, effectively ending the Battle of the Bulge.

1944: Eisenhower assumes supreme command of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe.

1945: Adolf Hitler takes to his underground bunker, where he remains for 105 days until he commits suicide.

1952: Knowing the requirements of the Korean war firsthand, General Earle E. Partridge, former Fifth Air Force Commander, put the full resources of the USAF Air Research and Development Command into searching for ways to increase the performance of the F-86 Sabre during this period. This top-priority effort led to the improved wing design "F" model that entered service with the 51st Wing in August 1952. The aircrafts operating altitude increased to 52,000 feet and its maximum speed went to Mach 1.05. In addition, the F-86F could make tighter turns at high altitudes.

1964: President Johnson approves Oplan 34A, operations to be conducted by South Vietnamese forces supported by the United States to gather intelligence and conduct sabotage to destabilize the North Vietnamese regime.

1969: An agreement is reached in Paris for the opening of expanded peace talks. It was agreed that representatives of the United States, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and the National Liberation Front would sit at a circular table without nameplates, flags or markings.

1990: In the wake of vicious fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in Azerbaijan, the Soviet government sends in 11,000 troops to quell the conflict.