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Library of Congress

Military Quotes

When you put on a uniform there are certain inhibitions that you accept.

-- General Dwight D. Eisenhower

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 I remember when I earned my Purple Heart. We usually were packed up and ready to move out at first light, but for some reason or another we were just getting the order to move out and it was broad daylight. I had just finished packing everything away in my back pack when Charlie opened up on our position with a burst of full auto, AK-47. An early morning wake up call!
Note: by Sarge Lintecum   9460 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW In July of 1944, two of my roommates and myself were asked to join in a tunnel digging project. It seems that the Germans had been seen digging up a seismic type sensor at the fence-line outside of Barracks 6, West Compound and hauling it off for repair. Such sensors were buried all along the perimeter fences and wired into the German “Abwehr” or Security Office in the Vorlager. Thus the Germans were aware of tunnel attempts almost as soon as they were begun.
Note: by Maj. Gen. Luther H. Richmond (USAF Ret.), POW at Stalag Luft I, Barth, Germany  9646 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The tropical night was noisy with insects buzzing and other animals adding to the overall hum typical of Vietnam. The air was suffocating humid, and ground fog was obscuring the perimeter of the big engineer compound in The Central Highlands. It was the winter monsoon and the sky covered by low heavy clouds -- ideal conditions for an enemy attack.
Note: by SP/4 Lawrence Pichulo  8892 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War The mission began as it should, with prayer. Members of our unit and our family and friends assembled at the drill hall on 17th Street in Paducah, Kentucky for a prayer service. It was a time to think about the mission that lay before us the hazards that would be endured. We prayed for the strength to carry out this important mission, as well as for a quick and safe return home.
Note: by Brian Ginn  13834 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I France 16th June 1917.
Dear Mother & Father,
Please forgive me for making such a wide gap since I last wrote for truly it has been impossible. Since my last letter of the 2nd, our division has been through the fire and is now resting, resting as victors and as men who have done their bit. I feel at a loss to give an account of myself and of events generally during the past two weeks, for such a poor pen as mine cannot compass the tremendous events the awe-inspiring sights and the terrible ordeals which we have seen and gone through.
Note: by Len Newton, Sapper, 3rd Division Signal Coy, A.I.F.  8583 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II June 6, 1944
Several planes have passed over us, C-47's Which too - Paratroop's in. As far as you can see there are L.S.Ts. & L.C. Vs. Two Planes were shot down, Unidentified. Lot of A.A. fire ahead. Everything has been quiet for past two hours Searchlights on Beach at 045.
Note: by Seaman 3rd Class George A. Wehrle, aboard the heavy cruiser USS TUSCALOOSA  9191 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I was on a S&D with the RFs. We were moving along a heavily vegetated canal with open rice paddies to our flanks. The VC were waiting for us and we got into a sharp firefight. It was head-on and we could not maneuver against them because of the paddies. To our front, a small finger of vegetation stuck out from Charlie's positions, so we decided to assault it in an attempt to flank them.
Note: by Don Steiner  9307 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Our cavalry brigade arrived in Peronne in November 1917, after a long trek up from billets. We had had a fairly easy time during the summer of that year. For a few months we had been dismounted and had been up at Vimy Ridge doing all sorts of work: digging reserve trenches, reinforcing communication trenches and digging new ones - in fact, doing real navvy work, which, on the whole, was enjoyable, as far as anything could be enjoyable in France during the War. The weather was good, rations were plentiful, though the water had a wicked taste.
Note: by Private Chris Knight, 6th Dragoon Guards, Carabineers  13965 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Ask anybody who served in Vietnam about rats and they tell you all about the size and ferociousness of the rodents. Rats were difficult at best to control and almost impossible to eradicate. One of the keys to successful rat control was keeping your area policed and trash removed.
Note: by Stephen C. Gillis  9444 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  9388 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I don’t know if those of you that were in Viet Nam during the war remember the custom of poc time. If you remember, this will be a refresher. If you never heard of poc time, well it’s time you learn about this Vietnamese tradition. What follows are my observations based on my brief time in country.
Note: by Robert D. Pryor, Detachment A-344, 5th Special Forces Group (ABN) First Special Forces.  9751 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam A cakewalk! That's what Captain K said it was going to be. Just a two day cakewalk through some islands in the rice paddies. All we had to do was link up with the Marines in Hue. Just load up on ammo, take extra grenades, and don't take too many C's because you're not going to be gone that long.
Note: by Lt. Paul Becker, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry, First Cavalry Division  7909 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 "Sir, In my hasty dispatch of the 22nd Instant I was unable to detail the operations of that dayŚ I now have the honour to acquaint you, for the information of His Excellency The Commander of The Forces, that, immediately on his departure from this post on that morning, I commenced my arrangement for the demonstration he had authorized me to make,
Note: by Lt. Col. George MacDonell.  8742 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I had just had breakfast and was looking out a porthole in sick bay when someone said, "What the hell are all those planes doing up there on a Sunday? " Someone else said, "It must be those crazy Marines. They'd be the only ones out maneuvering on a Sunday." When I looked up in the sky I saw five or six planes starting their descent. Then when the first bombs dropped on the hangers at Ford Island, I thought, "Those guys are missing us by a mile." Inasmuch as practice bombing was a daily occurrence to us, it was not too unusual for planes to drop bombs, but the time and place were quite out of line.
Note: by Pharmacist's Mate Second Class Lee Soucy, USS UTAH  17925 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).  8318 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1862: The Union Army of the Potomac occupies Fredericksburg, Virginia, as General Ambrose Burnside continues to execute his plan to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond.

1863: Union gunboats Restless, Bloomer and Caroline enter St. Andrews Bay, Fla., and begin bombardment of both Confederate quarters and saltworks.

1933: Paraguay captures 11,000 Bolivians in the war over Chaco.

1941: The United States declares war on Italy and Germany.

1941: Adolf Hitler declares war on the United States, bringing America, which had been neutral, into the European conflict.

1945: A Boeing B-29 Superfortress shatters all records by crossing the United States in five hours and 27 minutes.

1950: The 1st Marine Division completed its breakout from the Chosin/Changjin Reservoir entrapment and began its march to join the rest of X Corps at Hungnam.

1955: Israel raids Syrian positions on the Sea of Galilee.

1961: The ferry carrier, USNS Core, arrives in Saigon with the first U.S. helicopter unit. This contingent included 33 Vertol H-21C Shawnee helicopters and 400 air and ground crewmen to operate and maintain them. Their assignment was to airlift South Vietnamese Army troops into combat.

1969: Paratroopers from the U.S. Third Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, depart from Vietnam.