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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.


World War I We had a new man at the periscope, on this afternoon in question; I was sitting on the fire step, cleaning my rifle, when he called out to me: 'There's a sort of greenish, yellow cloud rolling along the ground out in front, it's coming ---
Note: By Arthur Empey, an American enlisted in the British Army.
First introduced by the Germans, gas warfare was soon embraced by all the combatants. By the end of the war, one in four of the artillery shells fired on the Western Front contained gas.
  9596 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Iraq When the Iraq War started, I was assigned to a logistics unit at Fort Drum, serving as a battalion operations officer. From as early as September 2002, in light of the new crisis with Saddam, I knew we might deploy. After months of speculation, those deployment orders officially were published in February 2003.
Note: by Captain Andrew DeKever  10708 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Dear Sir:
As I have a little time I thought I would write you a few lines to let the people at home know how I am getting along. I have been over in this country about five months and like it fine. We get plenty to eat these days but have hard time to eat it. Just think, I only weighed one hundred and forty-five pounds when I landed over here, and I was weighed the other day and weighed one hundred and seventy-two pounds.
Note: By August Weinhuff, U. S. S. Emetine, Oct. 13, 1918.  8106 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea In June 1948, when I reached the age of 16, I enlisted in the Iowa National Guard. When I turned 17, I signed on with the United States Army. I took my basic training at Ft Riley, Kansas. In basic, some liked it, some hated it. I didn’t like KP, GI parties or inspections, but I figured the rest was just great. After basic I was sent to Leadership School.
Note: James D Moran served with the 9th Inf Regt/Hq 1 Bn.  9603 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  14797 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II With a friend of mine, a Post Office messenger like myself, I had gone to the Royal Navy Recruiting Office when I was 16 year old to volunteer for the Navy. They took our names then and apologized for the fact that they were not allowed to take us as Boy Seamen at 16 years and that we would have to wait until we were called up at 18 years. They did tell us however if we volunteered just before 18 years the Navy would take us then.
Note: by Eric Mason, Signalman, AS Trawlers HMS Buster and HMS Bay  13981 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War Roxbury July 18 1775 To my Dear wife & Children I Received yours which I Prize next to your Person. The welfare of our family I understand is good. You tell me John is fat & Rugged which I Rejoice to hear & Prize above gold. The Rest of our Children I Donít mention be Cause I Left them well.
Note: by Lt. Samuel Cooper, Second Connecticut Regiment  13426 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam March 4, 1968
Well Mom,
There really is a war going on over here. We made contact in daylight yesterday for the first time since I've been here. You know how they say war is not like the movies show it. Well, they're wrong. It's exactly like the movies.

Note: By Tim Driscoll  8613 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  9513 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War

February the 15th, 1863
Camp In Field, Mo
Dearest One I have the pleaser to write a few lines to you which I hope will come safe to hand and find you all well and injoying good health I have wrote a good many letters to you lateley and have received very few from you that is lately I wrote two a week for three weeks I have got three for the Last four weeks I think that all our Leters don't go through the Health of rigement is very good at present time.

  8809 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Jefferson City Aug 1861 Dear Folks at Home I take this opportunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that I am well at present and hope these few lines will find you all enjoying god Health
Note: by William Hirst Gift  8474 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II On 15 December 1941 I was detached from the U.S. Naval School of Aviation Medicine, Pensacola, Florida, destined to eventually join the crew of USS Yorktown. After a short cruise in USS Hornet and her plane guard USS Noa (DD-343) in the Atlantic, I drove across country by auto to San Diego and served briefly in Aircraft Scouting Force Pacific, Transition Training Squadron.
Note: by LT Joseph P. Pollard, MC, USN, Medical Officer on board USS Yorktown (CV-5)  10624 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea It was July 1951. I was training with the division in Japan on the island of Honshu. The next part of our training was to be a mock invasion on Yokohama Beach. This landing would be exactly like a real invasion. All our vehicles were equipped for land service, but when the orders came down, they were to be retrofitted with snorkels, which would allow them to operate in shallow water such as beaches.
Note: by Bill Arnold, 143d FA 40th ID  10383 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II We were dropped into the channel from the mother ship at about 4:30 in the morning. I was the intelligence sergeant in headquarters company so a few weeks prior to the invasion I was put into a Quonset hut that had triple Concertina wire around it and was under 24 hour guard.
Note: by Herb Epstein, Intelligence Sergeant, Headquarters Company, 5th Ranger Battalion  7592 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea In the summer of 1950, I had just completed electronics school in Memphis, TN. I was ordered to Geiger counter school in San Diego, CA. Upon arrival in San Diego, we noticed a high degree of alert and activity at the base. I soon learned of the Korean War and how it would change my life.
Note: by Ed Buckman, VF-193, USS Princeton Task Force 77  12282 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.