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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.


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  8441 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II We set off at dawn from our base, West Island, Cocos, in a 356 Squadron Liberator on our flight to Malaya carrying a great load of medical supplies and comforts for PoWs and civilians. With the Japanese surrender, there are no bombs this time. Guns and armament have been stripped from the aircraft to provide more lift, and the cavernous bays which normally house 500 and 1,000-pounders, now contain dozens of large drop-canisters strapped to chutes.
Note: by John Behague, RAF, 99 Squadron  9587 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 Sir,
I have the honour to inform you, for the information of the Lords commissioners of the Admiralty, that on the 3rd instant, I sailed with his Majesty`s squadron under my command, from this port. to co-operate with our army at the head of the Lake, and annoy the enemy by intercepting all supplies going to the army, and thereby oblige his squadron to come out for its protection.
Note: H.M.S Wolfe, at Kingston, Upper Canada, 29 June, 1813.  7093 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam On June 6, 1967, the *very* large ammo dump at LZ English cooked off. It took several hours, blowing up one pallet load at a time of a weeks' supply of every class of ammo for the whole 1st Cav Division. We waited it out in a bunker, listening to huge explosions and listening to vast things hurtling through the night air overhead. When we figured it had maybe finally stopped, about 0800 hrs., we stood uncertainly outside our bunker, considering what to do next: survey the damage to tents and vehicles? (Luckily, no casualties in my outfit) Make breakfast, maybe? Then we heard a 2.75" rocket sputtering along the ground like a crazy firework, only nobody could spot it.
Note: by Ted Gittinger   7525 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  9772 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  8403 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by this ship in the action of yesterday during and following the sortie of Admiral Cervera’s squadron. The ship had started at 8.50 for the army landing at Siboney, the commander in chief having an appointment with the general commanding the army.
Note: account written July 4, 1898.  6267 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  7767 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea I was born in Aalborg, Denmark on April 8, 1922 and immigrated to America with my mother and two older brothers Kaj and Poul in 1924. My father, Niels Christian, had come to America the previous year in 1923. After a two week sea and train journey through Ellis Island and Canada, we finally arrived in Chicago where we settled in a Danish neighborhood in the Humboldt Park area. Our family suffered greatly during the depression years but with the help of the Danish community we survived.
Note: by Erik Larsen, Battalion Surgeon, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Regimental Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division  16702 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The year was 1967. We frequently received incoming RPG or mortars rounds at Cu Chi, RVN. The siren would go off, we would suddenly hear the 'plump - plump' of mortars or the flittering noise of the RPGs followed by their exposion and we would charge off to hit the bunkers.
Note: by Don Patrick  6182 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  10356 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Once upon a time there was a war, and I was in it. It seems about as far away now as the Civil War, but there it was--The 1960’s--and among things like topless bathing suits, integration and space programs there was an increasingly gnawing ache in the side of the American People called Vietnam.
Note: from EVERYMAN STROLLS THROUGH HELL by James Worth.  8873 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I 15/8/14. War declared on August 4th. 1914, so went to depot and enlisted. Told them I had my parent's consent, so was passed to go into camp the following week. I then thought it was time I told Father and Mother. Father was very angry, and had me rejected, as I was only 19 years old. Also he thought I was not strong enough, having a weak shoulder. I waited until September 25th. 1915, and then enlisted again. Being of age, I did not need any consent, and all my pals were going way, so I signed on for duration, and four months after. - I got through the medical test O.K. and was told to report at Sturt St. on 2nd. October 1915.
Note: by Kenneth Sydney Day  13475 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The night is so dark you can hold your hand in front of your eyes and can't see it. We have relaxed somewhat. Templeton is fast asleep. I learn later that he can sleep standing up. It was years later that I realized that was his way of escape from all around him.
  7611 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea For the last four months we were living at a camp in Japan called Camp McNair . It was located at the base of Mt. Fuji. It consisted of 440 twelve-man squad tents and several Quonset buildings as mess halls. The streets were bulldozed into the mountainside. They looked like steps.
Note: by Bill Arnold, 143d FA 40th ID  9280 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1778: British troops evacuate Philadelphia.

1812: The U.S. declares war on Great Britain for impressment of sailors and interference with commerce.


1815: At Waterloo in Belgium, Napoleon Bonaparte suffers defeat at the hands of the Duke of Wellington, bringing an end to the Napoleonic era of European history.

1863: After repeated acts of insubordination, General Ulysses S. Grant relieves General John McClernand during the siege of Vicksburg.

1864: Union war hero Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is severely wounded at Petersburg, Virginia, while leading an attack on a Confederate position.

1918: Allied forces on the Western Front begin their largest counter-attack yet against the German army.

1942: The first African-American officer, Bernard W. Robinson, is commissioned in the Naval Reserve.

1945: Organized Japanese resistance ends on the island of Mindanao.

1951: General Vo Nguyen Giap ends his Red River Campaign against the French in Indochina.

1953: ROK President Syngman Rhee ordered ROK guards to release 25,000 North Korean prisoners who did not wish to be repatriated. This unilateral action by Rhee threatened to derail armistice negotiations.