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Military Quotes

A general is just as good or just as bad as the troops under his command make him.

-- General Douglas MacArthur

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 After our repairs were completed, we were supposed to go on our post-repair trial run. But instead, on July 15th, we were ordered to go to San Francisco to take on some cargo. I was amazed to notice that there was a quiet, almost dead Navy Yard. We tied up at the dock there and two big trucks came alongside. The big crate on one truck was put in the port hanger.
Note: by CAPT Lewis L. Haynes, senior medical officer on board ship.  9585 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW The date was the 25th of March 1945 and the target was the underground oil facilities at Buchen, Germany (about 6 miles east of Hamburg). The 448th could have easily stood down this day. Yesterday's costly mission took a toll of eight B--24's that were lost to ground fire when we dropped supplies to 40,000 British paratroopers that had just crossed the Rhine River at Wesel, Germany.
Note: by Charles W. "Chuck" Blaney.  9302 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Any other time, the scenery would be described as beautiful. The perfectly aligned rows of rubber trees in the Michelin Rubber Planation appeared as a giant formal garden of some English Lord's Manor. The towering trees rose thirty feet or more; and as they reached for the sun, they created a strange environment under their carpet of leaves. Occasionally you would see underbrush, but for the most part, just well maintained rubber trees yielding their thick, dirty, milk-gravy sap which seemed to crawl as it moved from the tap into the container.
Note: by Edward J. Domaleski Jr., 25th Infantry Division  9632 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I was flying for the 108th Arty Group based out of Dong Ha, the northernmost aviation unit in Vietnam. When I first got there we had a mixture of OH-23G's and OH-6A's. We were the last unit in combat to fly the OH-23's and flew them until we converted over to the OH-58A's in November or December of 1969.
Note: by James White, 108th Arty Group, Dong Ha  13932 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I got a very low draft number, so I was sure to be called. Instead of waiting to be called and being put into whatever anybody decided to do for me, I decided to try to guide my own destiny a bit. I enlisted in the Navy out of Floyd Bennet Naval Air Station, which was a reserve air station in Brooklyn, New York....I didn't want to be in the Army because I remembered all the stories and the movies about World War I were about people living in trenches.
Note: by Arnold Spring  8375 Reads  Printer-friendly page



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  12055 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  12081 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I We had been marching since 2.30 a.m. and about 11.15 a.m. an order was passed down for "A" Company (my company) to deploy to the right and dig in on the south bank of a railway cutting. We deployed and started digging in, but as the soil was mostly chalk, we were able to make only shallow holes.
Note: by Corporal Bernard John Denore, 1st Royal Berks Regt., 6th Brigade, 2nd Division, I Army Corps  8019 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam A couple of hours before sunset, any commander worth his salt got very serious about first, selecting and second, preparing a place for his outfit to spend the night. Nobody from higher headquarters was going to do this for you; battalion staffs and commanders were in fire bases, protected by other companies out of prepared bunkers, complete with wire, mines, defensive artillery fires already plotted, ready access to armed helicopters should the need arise, and so on.
Note: by Richard Guthrie, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 50th Infantry  11508 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812

May the 27th 1813
Fort Stephens Lore Sandusky
Affectionate Companion I received your letter this morning of the 23rd instent Which gave me a grate deal of satisfaction to hear that you are well and that Wilson is a good boy. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to hear that the corn is planted and that you expect it will be tended for I did not look for that to be done

Note: by John Hollyday  11223 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I On April 30, 1918 I was drafted in the service of the U. S. Army and sent to Camp Dix N. J. For further use. We had a fine trip passing over the Erie R.R. To Binghamton (NY) where I saw Mrs. Oxford and Helen who were the last people I saw who I was any way acquainted with for nearly a year. From Binghamton to Stroudsburg (PA) over the DL & W RR stopping for half an hour at Scranton (PA) where we replenished our stock of joy water we stopped only for perhaps fifteen minutes at Stroudsburg where we owned the town during that stay.
Note: by Pvt. Robert L. Dwight, 148th Infantry, 37th Division.  10683 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW In February 1944 I was a U.S. Air Corps pilot flying a B-24 bomber over Germany when antiaircraft fire hit our tail section and we lost all controls. We bailed out and on landing I found myself in a field in occupied Holland, just across the border from Germany. We were surrounded by villagers asking for chocolate and cigarettes.
Note: by Clair Cline  11838 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The Laffey was built in Bath, Maine and was commissioned in Boston, Massachusetts, at the Navy Yard on February 8th, 1944. After a brief shakedown period, the ship participated in the Normandy Invasion in June 1944, after which she took part in the Cherbourg bombardment on June 25th, 1944 and suffered an eight-inch hit which fortunately did not explode.
Note: by Commander Frederick Julian Becton, USN, Commanding Officer of the destroyer USS Laffey (DD-724).  8645 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam During the month of November and the first part of December 1967 there were many indications that the enemy ws building up forces in preparation for the coming Tet Offensive in the Bong Son plains of Binh Din Province. Their major targets would be U.S. and ARVN forces and the major district capitals. Aerial reconnaissance forces of the 1st Cavalry Divisions had found many indications of this to include an enourmous Russian Ship to Shore radio on the beach.
Note: by Rigo Ordaz, 1st Bn (Mech), 50th Infantry   14107 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Revolutionary War CARLISLE, May 1st, 1781.-
The Pennsylvania Line, after the revolt and discharge of the men, last winter, were reduced to six regiments; the officers ordered to different towns within the State to recruit. An appomtment of ensign in the 7th had been obtained for me in August last; the 7th and 4th were incorporated, and under command of Lt.Col. Comt. William Butler, rendezvoused at this place-companies now about half full.
  11461 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1916: The Russians force the Turkish 3rd Army back to Erzurum.

1942: General MacArthur repels the Japanese in Bataan.

1943: The deportation of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto to the concentration camp at Treblinka is resumed-but not without much bloodshed and resistance along the way.

1945: The German Army launches its second attempt to relieve the besieged city of Budapest from the advancing Red Army.

1950: Peoples Republic of China formally recognizes the communist Democratic Republic of Vietnam and agrees to furnish it military assistance.

1951: China rejected the U.N. cease-fire proposal as the Eighth Army re-entered Wonju without opposition.

1953: U.S. Navy carrier aircraft hit targets at Wonsan, Songjin, Hungnam and Changyon on the North Korea's east coast while surface elements fired on Sinchon and Kosong targets.

1953: The U.S. Coast Guards were dispatched from Sangley Point to save the crew of a Navy Lockheed P2V reconnaissance plane. They landed in 12-foot seas, risking their own crew to save their Navy counterparts. The Coast Guard fished 11 survivors from the wrecked plane. Tragically the Coast Guards port engine failed during take off, slamming the plane back into the cold waters of the South China Sea. Seven of the rescued Navy fliers survived this second crash; however, most of the Coast Guard crew was lost.

1962: The United States begins spraying foliage with herbicides in South Vietnam, in order to reveal the whereabouts of Vietcong guerrillas.

1985: For the first time since joining the World Court in 1946, the United States walks out of a case. The case that caused the dramatic walkout concerned U.S. paramilitary activities against the Nicaraguan government.