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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 I I will endeavor to give you a fuller account of our experiences whilst landing. I dare say long ere this reaches you, you will have read all about it in the papers, but here is the part I saw and took part in. It was on Sunday, April 25th at 3 a.m., we disembarked from our transport ship, the "Galeka," our kit consisted of an extra change of clothing, 200 rounds of ammunition, as well as plenty of tobacco, the entire lot weighing just on 90 lbs., and with that weight we had to climb down over the side of the ship - per Jacob's ladder, which by the way, is made of rope, - into rowing boats, 50 men in each. We were towed by naval pinnaces as near as possible to the shore, being under very heavy fire made it a very difficult task.
Note: by Pte. H. J. Lynch writing from Victoria Hospital, Alexandria.  7839 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Korea In the summer of 1950, I had just completed electronics school in Memphis, TN. I was ordered to Geiger counter school in San Diego, CA. Upon arrival in San Diego, we noticed a high degree of alert and activity at the base. I soon learned of the Korean War and how it would change my life.
Note: by Ed Buckman, VF-193, USS Princeton Task Force 77  10586 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Gulf War NBC. Nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. These were some of the most thought about things in the blast furnace of Iraq. Not that we did not have other things to think about but the idea of a virus that could live 3-5 days in the desert environment was not something to take lightly.
Note: by David  12487 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I In April 1918 I volunteered to go to France in response to the urgent call for more surgeons. For twenty years I had been in general practice in a suburb, and did a fair amount of surgery among patients and at the local hospitals. I had also had some war experience as one of the surgeons at the British Red Cross Hospital, Netley, in the first six months of the War, but I had no experience of cases fresh from the battlefield, and the surgical technique which had recently been adopted in dealing with them.
Note: by Captain John A. Hayward  13691 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The weather was such that we could see from one end of Vietnam to the other, but the cloud bottoms were about the level of a PRC 25 antenna. It was almost like you could see somebody coming, but all you could see was his body because his head would be in the fog. Not a day to do much troop lifting or resupply flying.
Note: by Harvey Britt, HMM-263, 1963, HMM-262, 1968-69.  9641 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II 8/9/44 Mission #1 Flew our 1st mission today, 34 to go. They woke us at 1:50 am. Briefing time 3:00 am. So we knew it was pretty sure to be a long one. Had pineapple juice, fresh egg, hotcakes, sausage, cold cereal, coffee. Target Schmitt ball bearing works, Nurnberg.
Note: by First Lieutenant Andrew K. Norman  8100 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I June 20, 1918 Fine day, we were pulled out from pier by tug at 8:30 this morning. Steamed slowly out of harbor. We are in a convoy of twelve transports and one battle cruiser "Montana." Ships keep about one half mile apart. All are very much camouflaged. Very crowded boat. Gun crew moved into deck house and I moved to saloon with crew. Good place. Jolly bunch. Four guns mounted on this ship. We were accompanied all day by several destroyers. They turned back at dark.
Note: by Sgt. Norvel P. Clotfelter, 344th MG. Batt; 90th Div.  14091 Reads  Printer-friendly page



POW The serene beauty of the rising sun on February 16, 1944 was disrupted by German heavy artillery barrages. This was the commencement of a large scale offensive. Presently tanks were rapidly advancing on us, followed by infantrymen. The approaching tanks caused me to break out in a cold sweat and I feverishly prayed for God's help. One tank spotted my foxhole and sent a machine gun burst over my head. I then heard an order to come out. Momentarily hesitating, to make peace with my God which bolstered my courage, I vacated my foxhole.
Note: by Pvt. Robert Davis, POW 11605, Stalag VIIB  10517 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam Believe it or not, it was a very cold night on the outskirts of Phan Rang Air Base that Christmas night in 1967. Most of us had been scurrying earlier, prior to Guardmount, to find a jacket or a extra shirt---actually, anything to keep warm. I mean, 68°F was COLD, and we weren't used to it.
Note: by Carl Tripp, 35th SPS, Phan Rang, Vietnam - 1967.  7728 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I The steamer appeared to be close to us and looked colossal. I saw the captain walking on his bridge, a small whistle in his mouth. I saw the crew cleaning the deck forward, and I saw, with surprise and a slight shudder, long rows of wooden partitions right along all decks, from which gleamed the shining black and brown backs of horses.
Note: by Adolf K.G.E. von Spiegel  7989 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II When I got to the hangar, navigators were working around a large table with their topographical maps and plotting charts. Navigators made their own calculations, and then compared results with others. When we had finished we went to the locker room. Dressing up was a long process for the gunners. It was a cold ride in the turrets and gunners wore as much clothing as they could from woollen underwear to electrically heated suits.
Note: by Jerrold Morris, 419 Squadron, RCAF  7140 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  8617 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".
  10686 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam The Short Range Ambush Platoon was organized as a small force whose primary mission was night ambush. SRAP was capable of operating independently without the support of any other elements. I can't speak for the entire platoon, but during my time, to my knowledge SRAP was Ranger led, and ably so. The first group was selected by SFC Jay Holloway from the battalion on an individual basis.
Note: by John Smerdon, 1/50 Infantry  8412 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War March 10, 1863 Newport News, Va Father, I was glad to hear from you. I am well. I hope these few lines will find you the same. I want you to write and let me know when you send me the box. Uncle Sylvester is with [us] now. His health is very good now.
Note: letters by Sidney Spaulding, 9th New Hampshire Regiment.  6869 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1862: Nathan B. Forrest crosses the Tennessee River at Clifton with 2,500 men to raid the communications around Vicksburg, Mississippi.

1862: Union Major General Benjamin F. Butler turns his command over to Nathaniel Banks.

1864: The battle at Nashville begins.

1890: As U.S. Army soldiers attempt to arrest Sitting Bull at his Standing Rock, South Dakota, cabin, shooting breaks out and Lt. Bullhead shoots the great Sioux leader.

1899: In South Africa, the Boars defeat the British at the Battle of Colenso.

1944: The battle for Luzon begins.

1945: MacArthur orders end of Shinto as Japanese state religion.

1950: The F-86 Sabre jets of the U.S. Air Forces 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing flew their first missions of the Korean War.

1950: U.N. forces withdraw south of the 38th parallel. Eighth Army established the Imjin River defense line north of Seoul.

1965: In the first raid on a major North Vietnamese industrial target, U.S. Air Force planes destroy a thermal power plant at Uong Bi, l4 miles north of Haiphong. The plant reportedly supplied about 15 percent of North Vietnam's total electric power production.