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If we cannot secure our needs for survival on the basis of law and justice, then we must be ready to secure them with army in our hands.

-- Mihaly Karolyi

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 II Many stories of World War II combat missions in B-17s over Europe have been written. Rarely did any of these tell much about the planning, briefing, organization of the formations, form up and what happened after the planes returned to their bases. This mission was chosen to document for the casual readers to profile a typical combat mission in those days.
Note: by Marshall B. Shore, Lt. Colonel, USAF  7443 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  7500 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II September 25, 1943 was an unforgettable day. It was the day I received my notice to appear at the county court house in Hyattsville, Maryland for my induction into the army. And from there the other inductees and I were taken by bus to Fort Meade, Maryland where we were given uniforms and clothing.
  7813 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea On the 14 November 1952, the Commonwealth Div's sector was moved sideways to the west, one battalion position. The 1st Bn, The Black Watch relieved the 7th US Marines on the infamous Hook feature. The Marine Commanding Officer who was totally disillusioned with the position's vulnerability gave the Scots 24 hours before being pushed off. Four nights later at 2100hrs 18 November, the Chinese struck. The Black Watch held with the assistance of the New Zealand gunners.
Note: by Bruce Matthews, 16th Field Regiment  10540 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  7545 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War This is a little bit of my recollection of our adventure to a far and exotic land. Once upon a time, wait a minute, let me try this another way. I was a Marine Sergeant stationed at Camp Pendleton when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August of 1990. At the time I was a student at the 1st Marine Division's Scout Sniper School. My unit 2nd Battalion 5th Marines took about a week to recall their troops from various schools and temporary duties.
  11578 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American I was just closing a letter to my family when I felt the crash of the explosion. It was a bursting, rending, and crashing sound, or roar of immense volume, largely metallic in character. It was succeeed by a metallic sound - probably of falling debris - a trembling and lurching motion of the vessel, then an impression of subsidence, attended by an eclipse of the electirc lights and intense darkness within the cabin.
Note: recounted by Captain Charles D. Sigsbee, USS MAINE, Commanding Officer.  11730 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Camp Lincoln Keokuk Iowa
October the 24th 1862
To Miss Hannah. M. Cone
Dear Miss
I will Inform you that I am well at this time & that our Co. is all well Except two or three Persons our Mess is all well at the Present & I hope that when this Reaches you that it may find you & Friends well.
Note: by Newton Robert Scott, Private, Company A, of the 36th Infantry, Iowa Volunteers  12847 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam A starry night in January 1968, found me on a westbound Trailways Bus somewhere in the Nevada desert. My transistor radio was playing "Hey Jude", and my destination was Vietnam. The first time I had ever heard of Vietnam was in 1965. I was assigned to the 396th Truck Company located at Panzer Karserne in Boeblingen, Germany. Our CO would call us together periodically and brief us about this place called Vietnam.
Note: by Fred Probst, 566th Transportation Company  16083 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War I, with about five hundred other prisoners of war, arrived at Elmira about the first of August, 1864, after a confinement of forty five days at Point Lookout. I spent the first day in a thorough examination of my new abode, and its advantages as a home until fortune would release me from its durance. It contained several acres of ground, enclosed by a plank fence about fourteen feet high; some three feet from the top on the outside ran a narrow footway, or parapet, of plank, supported by braces.
Note: by Sergeant G. W. D. Porter, 44th Tenn. Infantry Regiment, CSA  7120 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 His Majesty's late Ship DETROIT, Put In Bay Lake Erie, 12 September 1813 The last Letter I had the Honor of Writing to you dated the 6th Instant, I informed you that unless certain intimation was received of more Seamen being on their way to Amherstburgh, I should be obliged to sail with the Squadron deplorably Manned as it was, to fight the Enemy (who Blockaded the Port) to enable us to get supplies of Provisions and Stores of every Description.
Note: by R.H. Barclay, RN  11939 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Iraq It was 3:00 A.M.. Although the sun’s rays had retreated hours before, its hot breath refused to dissipate from the steppes of Kuwait’s Ad Dibdibah plain. The heat attacked us from all sides. Airborne sandy powder hung above us and dimmed lights as if in a London fog.
Note: by Richard L. Klingler, MD LTC MC USAR, U.S. Army 310th MP Battalion  8615 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The Navy provided the waterborne transportation and close support for the 2nd Brigade of the 9th Infantry. The parameters of our operations were dictated by the decidedly wet terrain. The wet version of the Army's APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) or "track" was the Navy's ATC (Armored Troop Carrier) or "Tango".
Note: by Tom Hain.  9190 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  8797 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  11499 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1587: In France, Huguenot Henri de Navarre routs Duke de Joyeuses larger Catholic force at Coutras.

1709: Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy take Mons in the Netherlands.

1805: Austrian general Karl Mac surrenders to Napoleons army at the battle of Ulm.

1870: The Summer Palace in Beijing, China, is burnt to the ground by a Franco-British expeditionary force.

1940: German troops reach the approaches to Moscow.

1944: After advancing island by island across the Pacific Ocean, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur wades ashore onto the Philippine island of Leyte, fulfilling his promise to return to the area he was forced to flee in 1942.

1950: In the first airborne operation of the war, 2,860 paratroopers of the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team jumped between Sukchon and Sunchon, 25 miles north of Pyongyang. Far East Air Force C-119s and C-47s transported the assault force and F-80 and F-51 fighters provided air cover.

1952: The destroyer escort Lewis was hit by shore fire off the West Coast of Korea. Seven sailors were killed and one wounded.

1964: Relations between Cambodia, South Vietnam, and the United States reach a low point as Cambodia becomes a sanctuary for Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces.

480: Greeks defeat the Persians in a naval battle at Salamis.