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Military Quotes

Once we have a war there is only one thing to do. It must be won. For defeat brings worse things than any that can ever happen in war.

-- Ernest Miller Hemmingway

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 One more time I realize there is that pesky flashlight in my face, and I hear the invitation for breakfast at five and briefing at six. I lay there dragging my eyes open and getting my thoughts together, little did I know how the reality of this fateful day would end. This will be mission number four. I wonder what hellish target is on that map in the Briefing Room? We've been to Cologne, Bremen, Kassel and flew as a Spare yesterday. If nothing else we are surely learning the geography of Germany.
Note: by Wally Hoffman  7751 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  9226 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The Naval Combat Demolition Units were charged with the responsibility of clearing sixteen 50 yard gaps on the beaches assigned to that force. They worked in conjunction with the Army engineers who were charged with the responsibility of clearing the shoreward obstacles.
Note: by Lieutenant Commander Joseph H. Gibbons, Commanding Officer of U.S. Navy Combat Demolitions Units in Force 'O'.  9130 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam One night in late '67 at Marine Quang Tri Forward, I was assigned to generator watch. It is very boring to watch a 500kw Buddha generator generate. We had to keep one generator on-line, because the air strip was finished; and we might need the airfield lighting in an emergency. To ease the boredom, I had been watching a praying mantis approach some unremembered insect so slowly. The motion was almost imperceptible.
Note: by Mike Howard  7568 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Every day we wandered aimlessly through the dense, green, vegetated, treacherous terrain. Men became lost, absorbed, into the greenness that nature built long ago. The same greenness that Charlie used so well to conceal his roads, bases, weapons, and supplies. The dark forests that seemed to offer up a war with mosquitoes, leeches, physical and emotional exhaustion, and the endless search. Frustrations of living, coping, and the lack of sleep. So tired you don't give a shit anymore. Face the danger, press on. Prison life at hard labor couldn't be this bad. Nevertheless, prison is life and out here, there are no guarantees of any such thing.
Note: by Tom Hays   7753 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Army December 21st., 1915: Good-bye France, you have given me some sleepless nights, and many a hard day's work. I very much regret leaving you for foreign parts, but some day I shall return to you and go over all the ground again; no doubt it will recall many sad recollections.
Note: diary of Lt. Edwin Evan Jones.  12017 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War August 2, 1990
Iraq invades Kuwait
August 18-30, 1990
A couple of dozen of the unit fly to Camp Shelby, Mississippi to support Exercise Vulcan Knight. We fly to Gulfport, then bus to Camp Shelby. My first thought upon seeing the place is that it's Beetle Bailey's Camp Swampy, incarnate. The concrete block billets are not air conditioned. It pushes 100 during the day but is actually easier to take than the evenings.
Note: by Steven Dutch, 432nd Civil Affairs Company  19293 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War

Rome Ga Nov 10th 1864

During the last two weeks we have been expecting "marching orders". More than a week since we rec'd orders to prepare for a "long arduous & successful campaign".

Note: by Cornelius C. Platter, 81st Ohio Infantry  24029 Reads  Printer-friendly page



War of 1812 I was born in Pittsford, Otsego County, New York, on the 24th of September 1799. I am the son of Joseph Hanks, whose father's name was William, who lived in the green mountains of Vermont, and whose progenitors emigrated from Holland. My mother's maiden name was Anna Frary and her descent is traced to "the pilgrims".
  11294 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War POST-WAR Support of the 3rd Armor Division
7 March 1991
Today we moved again, transferred to the control of the 3rd Armored Division. The 26 mile trip back to the Iraqi/Kuwait border took less than three hours. We put our tents up in record time.
Note: by Brian Ginn  12369 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War The war was assuming large proportions, and I began to see that the rebellion could not be put down without my help. George had served his time of enlistment, and was at home. Sam was only 18, and was needed at home, but for the fear that we might be drafted and sent to different parts of the country, our parents preferred that we all go together so we could all help each other. It was hard to leave them without help, but they could rent the place or hire some help. Hester was with them and was 9 years old, big enough to run on errands and be of some help at home.
Note: by John Marshall Alley  12327 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.  8800 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  10363 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW On or about the 6th of March 1944 we crashed our B-17, on fire, on the way to Berlin. I became a POW and I made up my mind that I would have to try to escape. After traveling by boxcar for several days we arrived at Dulag Luft at Frankfort. We went through a very intense interrogation for a few days and then another trip by boxcar to Stalag Luft I at Barth, Germany. That was a trip no one will ever forget. I am certain all Ex-POW’s will agree. I still dream about those boxcars.
Note: by 2nd Lt. Herbert Markle  18143 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  10967 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.