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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 I I bade farewell to my right leg, and to my career as a soldier, outside a trench at Gheluvelt, near Ypres, on October 29th, 1914. In the First Battle of Ypres the British were out-numbered by seven to one. On the previous evening we took over trenches, not deep or elaborate ones, from an English regiment.
Note: by Sergeant J. F. Bell, 2nd Gordon Highlanders  10929 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea There I was on the port side of a mighty Destroyer the U.S.S. O'Brien, DD725, sailing into the east coast waters of a place called Korea. Seemed to me the place was pretty hilly. As we got closer I noticed a flash of light. Not long after, another. I asked the nearest Chief I could see what that was all about. His reply was " Count to seven, kinda slow "
Note: by Louis "Digger" O'Dell  7932 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II On 16 February I was in a six-plane flight of Mark 5 Spitfires that encountered about twelve ME 109s in the region between Orvieto and Perugia, about sixty-five miles north of Rome. Our six-plane flight was in line-astern formation, with the planes about fifty feet apart and stepped to the right and down, slightly, so the pilots can easily see the planes ahead of them. I was leading the last two-plane element of the flight, and Bob Confer, a veteran of the North African Campaign was my wingman.
Note: by Robert C. Curtis, 2nd Sq., 52nd Fighter Group  9805 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Before reaching Louvain we bivouacked near a large well-built village, and here we had the wettest and merriest evening in the whole campaign. Some of our battalion water-carriers discovered a wine-cellar in the village. On going into a cellar they noticed a stack of fagots, and guessed that they were put there with a purpose. The fagots were quickly cleared away, and behind them appeared a door.
Note: by Captain Henry Huebner  14918 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Saturday, May 2, 1863 A pleasant day, the Rebs ominously silent. We expected an attack early & vigorous. Soon after …. moved from the field & took up a position on the extreme left of the 11th corps. Commenced an advance ab’t. noon.
Note: by Caspar Tyler of the 141st Pennsylvania Infantry. He witnessed the death of his Cousin Logan Tyler as they were beating off the furious attack of Stonewall Jackson. 141st had the misfortune to be stationed right behind Howard's Corps as they gave away under Jackson's relentless attack.  8165 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American We are out today on the scout on the mountain, about thirty miles from Guantanamo, and probably will not see camp again for about ten days. I have eight men with me, and have made a report of our position and that of the enemy and have sent the same to our captain at Guantanamo.
At present I am under orders of the noted Cuban, General Garcia, and he will give me a guide of ten or twelve Cubans when I return to our camp.
Note: by Marine Sergeant Bloomfield W. Riddle.  8392 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.).  11024 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War General Bragg having evacuated Kentucky, the Federal troops under command of General Rosecrans had been concentrated about Nashville and Bragg's army around Murfreesboro. Only about 25 miles lay between the two armies. So about the last of December Rosecrans advanced on Murfreesboro sufficiently near to offer battle. So on the morning of 31st December we accepted the challenge and at them we went.
Note: by Captain W.P. Howell, 25th Alabama, Company I  9858 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I grew up in the small town of Ellis, Kansas during the great depression of the 1930s complete with heat waves, drought and dust storms. We thought such conditions were the norm.I graduated from Ellis High School in May of 1943. I could have loafed around all summer waiting for my draft notice but I asked for immediate induction. My father was furious - thought I was out of my mind.
Note: by Kenneth F. Haas.  7970 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War On the 18th of Jan. 1863, we found ourselves encamped upon the old battle ground below New Orleans, where Jackson informed John Bull that his visit was neither welcome nor for the good for the people who had left home to avoid him and his mode of government.
Note: by Captain Augustine Thompson, Company G, 28th Maine  8961 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Airforce On September 8, 1958, two B-52 collided about 1,000' above the eastern approach to the runway at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington. The time of the crash was about 1730 hrs (5:30 PM) Pacific Time.

Note: by Richard P. Roberts  17692 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  9438 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The 1/50 finished its participation in the joint Operation Cochise and counterpart ARVN operation in the Soui Ca Valley and moved to AO Walker, An Khe area with the mission of securing QL19 and conducting operations within the AO, securing LZ Schueller, LZ Action, manning Strong Points and bridges along a historic but treacherous road, QL19. QL stands for National Highway in Vietnamese.
Note: by Rigo Ordaz, 1st Bn (Mech), 50th Infantry   12009 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I In the early hours of the morning of March 22nd, 1918, our own front-line troops retired through us. At the time we were occupying a shallow trench forming the support line before Marcoing, in the Cambrai salient, and a little later we also withdrew. Our first halt was on the slope of a hill. We could not see the attackers, but their artillery plastered the hillside with shrapnel, and we were not sorry to get orders to move again.
Note: by Private R. G. Bultitude, 1st Battalion Artists Rifles   8802 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Coast Guard June 1942
Captain Magnusson (if not an enemy in disguise), is the most encouraging piece of equipment on board. The man is a tough, powerful, stubborn-looking Norwegian (so we hear). He is said to have been born and raised in Iceland. We would later learn he owns a fleet of fishing trawlers similar to the Nanok.
Note: by Thaddeus D. Novak, Greenland Patrol, 1942  22299 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1779: Americans under Major Henry Lee take the British garrison at Paulus Hook, New Jersey.

1812: The U.S. Navy frigate Constitution defeats the British frigate Guerri?re in a furious engagement off the coast of Nova Scotia. Witnesses claimed that the British shot merely bounced off the Constitutions sides, as if the ship were made of iron rather than wood leading to her nickname of "Old Ironsides".

1914: The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) lands in France.

1942: A raid on Dieppe, France by British and Canadian commandos is repulsed by the German Army.

1944: In an effort to prevent a communist uprising in Paris, Charles de Gualle begins attacking German forces all around the city.

1950: The United Nations accepted offers of troops from Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Thailand and the Philippines.

1950: South Korean forces recaptured Pohang and Kigye.

1953: The Iranian military, with the support and financial assistance of the United States government, overthrows the government of Premier Mohammed Mosaddeq and reinstates the Shah of Iran.

1965: U.S. forces destroy a Viet Cong stronghold near Van Tuong, in South Vietnam.

1970: Cambodia and the U.S. sign a military aid agreement worth $40 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1971.