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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 Berlin, or Big "B", as we called it, was a target that no one wanted to go to and a target that everyone wanted to go to. It seemed that everyone wanted to participate in a raid on Berlin because bombing big "B" was really striking at the heart of Nazi power and it was, in a way, retribution for the bombing of London, Rotterdam and other major cities.
Note: by A. Willard Reese, 1st Lt, 751st Sqdn, 457th Bmb Grp, 8th AF  9400 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II May 6, Austria

Dear Dad,
Being in such a jubilant mood I must drop a few lines. Today I got you a Luger. Yes man! And it's a honey! The only regret I have is I didn't personally relieve a Kraut of it as I did a pair of binoculars a few days ago.
  7169 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  11110 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  8601 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  7373 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 US Ship United States, at Sea, 30 October 1812 I have the honour to inform you, that on the 25th instant, being in the latitude 29, N. longitude 29 30, W. we fell in with, and, after an action of an hour and a half, captured his Britannic Majesty's ship MACEDONIAN, commanded by captain John Carden, and mounting 49 carriage guns (the odd gun shifting.) She is a frigate of the largest class, two years old, four months out of dock, and reputed one of the best sailors in the British service.
Note: by Captain Stephen Decatur, USN  9914 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War May 3, 1864 Passed off quietly with nothing to disturb the monotony of camp life until after dark when we received orders to pack up and to be ready to march at a moment's notice. We had been expecting marching orders for the last two weeks so that we were not surprised to hear the orders to pack up sung out.
Note: by Clinton Hogue, Company G of the Iron Brigade's Indiana 19th Regiment  12010 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea On June 10th 1952 I crawled onto a crew bus at K-8 Korea for the ride to the Operations tent for my first mission with my new navigator. Captain Black, another B-26 pilot, was already on board and we discussed his mission status while on the way to the flight line.
Note: by James Willard Braly, 13th Bomb Squadron.  7125 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American

Manila, June 8, 1899
Messers Horton, Bassett, Bell and Roberson:
Dear Friends and Comrades:
Your kind combination favor, after having been badly mutilated and miscarried, reached us late last month at San Fernando; a most welcome missive we assure you; and if we could receive more such evidences of good will and friendship from our Anthoney friends, the terrors of war would lose much of its terror.

  6784 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  12610 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 Great Britain London Downing Street, Sept. 27 I have the honor to communicate to your Lordship, that on the night of the 24th instant, after defeating the army of the United States that day, the troops under my command entered and took possession of the city of Washington. It was determined between Sir A. Cochrane and myself, to disembark the army at the village of Nenedict, on the right bank of the Patuxeut, with the intention of Co-operating with Rear-admiral Cockburn, in an attack upon a flotilla of the enemy's gun boats, under of the command of Com. Barney.
Note: by Major General Robert Ross  10290 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea The flights to our new station at K-2 (Taegu) consumed one day and within several days more the squadron was in full operation. While we unpacked and positioned our main equipment, hundreds of cans of exposed aerial film began to backlog in our holding area.
Note: by Sgt. Jack Morris, 363rd Recon Tech Squadron Korea.   7837 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   8395 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam We had a new guy in our mortar platoon I will call Joe C. He was a Chicano from East L. A. He was friendly, and fun loving but liked to take chances. In the world of mortars, one of the top rules, is not to have a round in each hand while firing a mortar tube. It is nearly impossible to keep track of where the round in the barrel is.
Note: by Larry Nuckolls, 81MM + 4.2", B Co., 2/22 (M) 25TH INF DIV., 1970.  7556 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 Sandwich, in Upper Canada, 13 July 1812 Sir-from the 5th July inst. the day of the arrival of the army at Detroit, the whole was employed in strengthening the fortifications for the security of the town, and preparing boats for the passage of the river. About one hundred regulars of the British army, and, from the best accounts I have been able to obtain, six hundred Canadian militia with artillery, were in possession of the opposite bank, and fortifying directly opposite the town; seven or eight hundred Indians were likewise attached to this corps.
Note: by Brigadier-General Hull, USA, letter to The Secretary Of War  8864 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1778: Baron von Steuben joins the Continental Army at Valley Forge.

1836: The Alamo is besieged by Santa Anna.

1847: Forces led by Zachary Taylor defeat the Mexicans at the Battle of Buena Vista.

1942: A Japanese submarine shells an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California, the first Axis bombs to hit American soil.

1944: American bombers strike the Marianas Islands bases, only 1,300 miles from Tokyo.

1945: Eisenhower opens a large offensive in the Rhineland.

1945: During the Battle for Iwo Jima, U.S. Marines from the 3rd Platoon, E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Division take the crest of Mount Suribachi, the islands highest peak and most strategic position, and raise the U.S. flag.

1951: The first B-29 mission using the more accurate MPQ-2 radar bombed a highway bridge seven miles northeast of Seoul.

1967: American troops begin the largest offensive of the war, near the Cambodian border.

1971: Operation Lam Son 719, the South Vietnamese advance into Laos, grinds to a halt.