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Library of Congress

Military Quotes

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.

-- General George Patton Jr

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 My experiences are those from the perspective of a gunship pilot. I flew Cobras with the 235th Aerial Weapons Company (the Delta Devils) out of Can Tho in '68 and '69. The 235th was an all-Cobra company and we gunship drivers were used as hired guns for anyone in the Delta who wanted helicopter gunships to come and shoot up stuff. We nearly always were dispatched as a single light fire team (two Cobras).
Note: by Ira Will McComic  8143 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I We had a new man at the periscope, on this afternoon in question; I was sitting on the fire step, cleaning my rifle, when he called out to me: 'There's a sort of greenish, yellow cloud rolling along the ground out in front, it's coming ---
Note: By Arthur Empey, an American enlisted in the British Army.
First introduced by the Germans, gas warfare was soon embraced by all the combatants. By the end of the war, one in four of the artillery shells fired on the Western Front contained gas.
  7476 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  9601 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Front, Aug. 9, 1918
Dear Uncle Clem:
I know you must be waiting anxiously for a letter from me and wondering why I have not written before. Ever since July 15, the day of Clem's death, and the opening of the German offensive which we turned into defeat, we have been on the go night and day, and a good share of the time have been used as infantry.
Note: W.A. Thompson, Jr served with the Rainbow Division of Engineers in France.  6126 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War Headquarters District of West Tennessee, Pittsburg, TN April 9, 1862. Captain: It becomes my duty again to report another battle fought between two great armies, one contending for the maintenance of the best government ever devised, the other for its destruction. It is pleasant to record the success of the army contending for the former principle.
Note: by Major General U.S. Grant  9550 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Our class went on draft leave at Christmas 1939, then to Pompey barracks, HMS Victory in Queen Street. We messed in the barracks but slept at Aggie Weston's in Commercial Rd. Aggies was two buildings separated by a side street but joined on the second or third floor by an enclosed bridge. We used to cross that bridge to our individual cabins. A petty officer and leading seaman were in charge of us.
Note: by Bert Ward  9989 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam

QuiNhon Airfield Security Detachment
It was around 0100, 2 February, 1968 and the Sergeant came to the door of the billets screaming that order. It meant that Little John, that's me was to go to tower number 2 about 500 yards from the billets and there was the banging all around the airfield. Weren't the gooks celebrating their New Years?

Note: by Sp4 Little John, QuiNhon Airfield Security Detachment  5623 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam 20 Oct 68
Dear everybody,
Well it's another rainy day in Vietnam. When they say its been known to rain 40 days and nights you can believe it.

Today I had to fill sandbags and build a bunker where a mortar round came in last night. No big worry. It was at least 300 yards away. That's for really!
  6571 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Civil War In 1861, when the war clouds obscured the sky I was a boy of 17, living in Tennessee. In common with all the boys of my age, whether living north or south I had the military spirit and at the first opportunity placed my name upon the rolls as a soldier, volunteering to fight for my native state. On the 21st day of May, 1861, I enlisted in company B, 16th Tennessee Infantry, under Col. Jno. H. Savage, and was sent to Estil Springs, on the N. C. & St. L. railroad, where we stayed a few days, and then went to Camp Trousdale, north of Nashville on the Louisville & Nashville railroad, near the Kentucky line.
Note: by Robert C. Carden, Company B, 16th Tennessee Infantry  16886 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Many stories of World War II combat missions in B-17s over Europe have been written. Rarely did any of these tell much about the planning, briefing, organization of the formations, form up and what happened after the planes returned to their bases. This mission was chosen to document for the casual readers to profile a typical combat mission in those days.
Note: by Marshall B. Shore, Lt. Colonel, USAF  7237 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Spanish American SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of that part of the squadron under your command which came under my observation during the engagement with the Spanish fleet on July 3, 1898. At 9.35 a. m. Admiral Cervera, with the Infanta Maria Teresa, Viscaya, Oquendo, Cristobal Colon, and two torpedo boat destroyers, came out of the harbor of Santiago de Cuba in column at distance and attempted to escape to the westward.
Note: account written July 6, 1898.  6287 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  16715 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  8413 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I was GPO for the move to Nui Dat, and on arrival I was responsible for deploying the guns in a temporary position on the brigade's south-west perimeter, the first time the bty had been this exposed since Korea, according to our BC, Don Kenning, and we had to look after our own defence.
Note: by Mike Dakin  7495 Reads  Printer-friendly page



Vietnam I was lucky enough to be stationed at a field hospital in Qui Nhon for a couple of months. QN was known by many to be an unofficial in-country R&R center. The town was pretty large, had quite a few GI's, and set right on the beach. Inland was a rather large mountain range that was the home of one of the many ROK divisions that were in-country at that time. In other words, a pretty nice place to be.
Note: By Jim Calbreath   6383 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1807: British officers of the H.M.S. Leopard boarded the U.S.S. Chesapeake after she had set sail for the Mediterranean, and demanded the right to search the ship for deserters.

1813: A British force attempted to take Craney Island, the fort there was one of the key defenses to Norfolk's inner harbor and was home to the frigate "Constellation".

1864: Union forces attempt to capture a railroad that had been supplying Petersburg from the south and extend their lines to the Appomattox River.

1864: U.S.S. Lexington, Acting Ensign Henry Booby, withstood a surprise Confederate strike on White River Station, Arkansas, and forced the attacking Confederate troops to withdraw.


1865: The Confederate raider Shenandoah fires the last shot of the Civil War in the Bering Strait.

1898: Admiral Sampson begins amphibious landing near Santiago, Cuba. Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt and Col. Leonard Wood led the Rough Riders, a volunteer cavalry regiment, onto the beach at Daiquiri in the Spanish American War.


1941: During Operation Barbarossa over 3 million German troops invade Russia in three parallel offensives, in what is the most powerful invasion force in history. Nineteen panzer divisions, 3,000 tanks, 2,500 aircraft, and 7,000 artillery pieces pour across a thousand-mile front as Hitler goes to war on a second front.

1942: A Japanese submarine shelled Fort Stevens, Oregon, at the mouth of the Columbia River.

1944: President Roosevelt signed the GI Bill of Rights, authorizing a broad package of benefits for World War II veterans.

1944: After a preparatory air raid on Cherbourg, in which over 1000 tons of bombs are dropped, the divisions of the US 7th Corps (part of US 1st Army) begin assaulting the city of Cherbourg. There is heavy German resistance.