About John Kerry
A brief account of John Kerry is included because of his Presidential campaign, during which Kerry's claims to have been a hero of the Vietnam war, in spite of the vitriol with which he attacked ordinary Americans who served far longer, with far more suffering and far less reward, became issues. |
In maximizing his appearance as a Vietnam combat hero, and then capitalizing on that appearance to become a widely publicized Vietnam protester, Kerry is only acting true to his character: Throughout his public life Kerry has dramatically reversed his stated opinions whenever it was politically convenient to do so.
Kerry's combat record cannot be derided by anyone who hasn't done at least as much, but it pales when compared with the deeds and suffering of many other Vietnam veterans who received lesser or no awards. Review the After Action Reports for the battles of Dak To, or Hamburger Hill, for example.
Examined in detail, the actions which brought Kerry's impressive citations for his Silver Star and Purple Hearts during his brief tour of duty don't qualify him to speak for ... or pass judgment on ... others who served far longer, under far more arduous and dangerous conditions, men who regarded their sacrifices as partial payment for their American citizenship.
Kerry is only one of those who tried to diminish the accomplishments of our Vietnam veterans, and the unity of our Nation, but his continuing political ambitions make it reasonable to describe some of his other public actions in 1. Voted Against the Gulf War, which he now says he Favored.
2. Voted For the Iraq war, which he now says he Opposed.
3. Voted Against the $87 billion for troop support and Iraqi reconstruction, while now saying he Favors troop support and Iraqi reconstruction.
4. Voted For No Child Left Behind, which he now Attacks incessantly.
5. Voted For NAFTA, and now rails Against the unfairness of free trade.
6. Voted For the Patriot Act, which he now Condemns as an assault on civil liberties.
7. Blasts "Benedict Arnold CEOs [who] send American jobs overseas," but never mentions Kerry's wife's connection to a Foods empire which is notorious in that category.
8. Relentlessly voted against Defense programs vital to our National Security.
(The only times Kerry has been consistent. )
One could go on, and on, but the above should be enough to justify suggesting that Kerry's Turnabout on Vietnam is just another instance of his penchant to take whatever political position he considers expedient.
But, who really is John Kerry? Maybe Kerry himself doesn't know since, when denouncing anyone who stands in his way ... as at the mall or convenience store or running for Prez ... he is most often quoted as thundering
My AO was the Delta, along the Mekong...Vinh Long, Can Tho, over to RocGia on the peninsula. Swift boats were just that: swift. they interdicted suspected marine conveyance (read: sampans, junks, small craft), shook them down, stayed away from combat in order to continue doing their job.
Kerry's actions are not only unbelievable, his awards were made on his OWN recommendation as "CO" of a combat unit. I've seen the scratch on his upper arm...have a bigger one from smallpox vaccination myself, and you do too, I bet.
In the Navy, as you know, we didn't hand out medals for doing what you're supposed to do, and were slow to admonish stupid behavior like jumping off his boat to kill a dead man...no wonder he anguished over the bad things done in combat; he did one himself, to no purpose other than to write himself up as incredibly gallant.
The silver star is awarded to any member of the United States Armed Forces who, while serving in any capacity, distinguished themselves by gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States, or while serving with friendly forces against an opposing armed enemy force.
Gallant: risking your boat, your crew, shooting a dying Cong?
Bronze star: while serving in any capacity with the armed forces of the United States on or after December 7, 1941, shall distinguish himself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service.
Kerry pulled a crewman back aboard who had fallen out of the goddam boat even nearly mortally wounded with a scratch on his upper arm that could be covered with a small BandAid. I always thought it was a skipper's job to take care of his men, up to and including reaching over and pulling them back aboard, without writing yourself up for medals!
Sent: Monday, February 23, 2004 4:34 PM
Subject: Sen. Kerry
The message below was sent to me from an old college roommate who spent more than a little time in Viet Nam. Interesting reading.
There are now a plethora of e-mails addressing Sen. Kerry. So many that I have decided to not forward most of them; however, this one has the ring of authenticity and seems worthy of your time irrespective of your politics. It was forwarded to me by a friend from my Viet Nam days, a USNA grad and RADM (ret). Despite the disclaimer at the beginning, my friend and I would agree with the writer's opinions regarding operations and swift boat tactics.
I was in the Delta shortly after he left. I know that area well. I know the operations he was involved in well. I know the tactics and the doctrine used. I know the equipment. Although I was attached to CTF-116 (PBRs) I spent a fair amount of time with CTF-115 (swift boats), Kerry's command.
Here are my problems and suspicions:
(1) Kerry was in-country less than four months and collected a Bronze Star, a Silver Star and three purple hearts. I never heard of anybody with any outfit I worked with (including SEAL One, the Sea Wolves, Riverines and the River Patrol Force) collecting that much hardware so fast, and for such pedestrian actions. The Swifts did a commendable job. But that duty wasn't the worst you could draw. They operated only along the coast and in the major rivers (Bassac and Mekong). The rough stuff in the hot areas was mainly handled by the smaller, faster PBRs.
(2) Three Purple Hearts but no limp. All injuries so minor that no time lost from duty. Amazing luck. Or he was putting himself in for medals every time he bumped his head on the wheel house hatch? Combat on the boats was almost always at close range. You didn't have minor wounds. At least not often. Not three times in a row. Then he used the three purple hearts to request a trip home eight months before the end of his tour. Fishy.
(3) The details of the event for which he was given the Silver Star make no sense at all. Supposedly, a B-40 was fired at the boat and missed. Charlie jumps up with the launcher in his hand, the bow gunner knocks him down with the twin 50, Kerry beaches the boat, jumps off, shoots Charlie, and retrieves the launcher. If true, he did everything wrong.
(a) Standard procedure when you took rocket fire was to put your stern to the action and go balls to the wall. A B-40 has the ballistic integrity of a Frisbee after about 25 yards, so you put 50 yards or so between you and the beach and begin raking it with your 50's.
(b) Did you ever see anybody get knocked down with a .50 caliber round and get up? The guy was dead or dying. The rocket launcher was empty. There was no reason to go after him (except if you knew he was no danger to you just flopping around in the dust during his last few seconds on earth, and you wanted some derring do in your after-action report). And we didn't shoot wounded people. We had rules against that, too.
(c) Kerry got off the boat. This was a major breach of standing procedures. Nobody on a boat crew ever got off a boat in a hot area. EVER! The reason was simple. If you had somebody on the beach your boat was defenseless. It couldn't run and it couldn't return fire. It was stupid and it put his crew in danger. He should have been relieved and reprimanded. I never heard of any boat crewman ever leaving a boat during or after a firefight. Something is fishy.
Here we have a JFK wannabe (the guy Halsey wanted to court martial for carelessly losing his boat and getting a couple people killed by running across the bow of a Jap destroyer) who is hardly in Vietnam long enough to get good tan, collects medals faster than Audie Murphy in a job where lots of medals weren't common, gets sent home eight months early, requests separation from active duty a few months after that so he can run for Congress, finds out war heroes don't sell well in Massachusetts in 1970 so reinvents himself as Jane Fonda, throws his ribbons in the dirt with the cameras running to jump start his political career, gets Stillborn Pell to invite him to address Congress and Bobby Kennedy's speechwriter to do the heavy lifting, winds up in the Senate himself a few years later, votes against every major defense bill, says the CIA is irrelevant after the Wall came down, votes against the Gulf War, a big mistake since that turned out well, decides not to make the same mistake twice so votes for invading Iraq, but oops, that didn't turn out so well so he now says he really didn't mean for Bush to go to war when he voted to allow him to go to war.
I'm real glad you or I never had this guy covering our flanks in Vietnam. I sure don't want him as Commander in Chief.
Source: Thomas Lipscomb: the founder of Times Books, publisher of Admiral Zumwalt's best-selling book "On Watch"
Publication:The New York Sun; Date:Feb 27, 2004; Section:Editorial & Opinion; Page:8
Senator Kerry recently wrote a letter to President Bush complaining, "You and your campaign have initiated a widespread attack on my service in Vietnam, my decision to speak out to end that war," and warning, "I will not sit back and allow my patriotism to be challenged."
In the absence of any evidence from Mr. Kerry of an attack from the Bush campaign, Mr. Kerry seems to have originated his own doctrine of "pre-emption." How valid are his concerns?
No one denies Mr. Kerry's four bemedaled months in "Swiftboats" or his seven-months' service as an electrical officer on board the USS Gridley, during its cruises back and forth to California, or even his months as an admiral's aide in Brooklyn, before he was able get out of the Navy six months early to run for office.
Taking a look at Mr. Kerry's much-promoted Vietnam service, his military record was, indeed, remarkable in many ways. Last week, the former assistant secretary of defense and Fletcher School of Diplomacy professor,W. Scott Thompson, recalled a conversation with the late Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr. that clearly had a slightly different take on Mr. Kerry's recollection of their discussions:
"[T]he fabled and distinguished chief of naval operations,Admiral Elmo Zumwalt,told me (30 years ago when he was still CNO) that during his own command of U.S. naval forces in Vietnam,just prior to his anointment as CNO, young Kerry had created great problems for him and the other top brass, by killing so many non-combatant civilians and going after other non-military targets. 'We had virtually to straitjacket him to keep him under control,' the admiral said. Bud' Zumwalt got it right when he assessed Kerry as having large ambitions but promised that his career in Vietnam would haunt him if he were ever on the national stage." And this statement was made despite the fact Zumwalt had personally pinned a Silver Star on Mr. Kerry.
Mr. Kerry was assigned to Swiftboat 44 on December 1, 1968. Within 24 hours, he had his first Purple Heart. Mr. Kerry accumulated three Purple Hearts in four months with not even a day of duty lost from wounds, according to his training officer. It's a pity one cannot read his Purple Heart medical treatment reports which have been withheld from the public. The only person preventing their release is Mr. Kerry.
By his own admission during those four months, Mr. Kerry continually kept ramming his Swiftboat onto an enemy-held shore on assorted occasions alone and with a few men, killing civilians and even a wounded enemy soldier. One can begin to appreciate Zumwalt's problem with Mr. Kerry as commander of an unarmored craft dependent upon speed of maneuver to keep it and its crew from being shot to pieces.
Mr. Kerry now refers to those civilian deaths as "accidents of war." And within four days of his third Purple Heart, Mr. Kerry applied to take advantage of a technicality which allowed him to request immediate transfer to a stateside post.
Once back in the States, Mr. Kerry joined "the struggle for our veterans," as he called it last week in Atlanta, by joining a scruffy organization called the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. The VVAW's executive director, Al Hubbard, supposedly a former Air Force captain wounded in Vietnam, quickly appointed Mr. Kerry to the executive committee.
Mr. Kerry participated with the VVAW at agitprop rallies such as Valley Forge and the "Winter Soldier" guerrilla theater atrocity trials in Detroit, finally testifying in April 1971 before the Senate as an authority on the war crimes his fellow American servicemen had committed in Vietnam.
Outside of his own "accidents of war," there is no evidence that Mr. Kerry had then or has now the least idea what may or may not have been the realities of ground combat. However, he had no problem reeling off for the Senate a series of unproven, secondhand allegations that would have been perfectly at home at the Nuremberg trials indicting his fellow veterans.
Mr. Kerry stated there were "war crimes committed in Southeast Asia...not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-today basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do." Then Mr. Kerry got specific:
They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam...we are more guilty than any other body of violations of those Geneva Conventions; in the use of free-fire zones, harassment interdiction fire, search-and-destroy missions,the bombings,the torture of prisoners, all accepted policy by many units in South Vietnam.
In other words, My Lai was just another day in the life of the Vietnam War.
This wasn't a one-time occasion. The VVAW had been peddling this line from the day Mr. Kerry joined them and had been publishing charges like this for the previous two years. Mr. Kerry repeated them on "Meet the Press" with Al Hubbard, who was found to be a total fraud and who never served in Vietnam, much less was wounded. However, Mr. Kerry has never renounced the charges he made.
Recently, his fellow VVAW supporter, Jane Fonda, has tried to minimize a potentially damaging picture of him a few rows behind her at the three-day VVAW Valley Forge rally in September 1970. And many members of the press fell for the line that it was accidental or coincidental, including Fox's Chris Wallace and ABC's Tim Russert.
However, there were only eight or nine speakers that day, including Donald Sutherland, Mark Lane, Bella Abzug, and Ms. Fonda. And far from being a casual audience member, Mr. Kerry, an executive committee member, not Ms. Fonda, was the lead speaker.
Ms. Fonda had been funding VVAW events since before Mr. Kerry joined its executive committee. At Valley Forge, Ms. Fonda said: "My Lai was not an isolated incident but rather a way of life for many of our military."
Their appearance together in that picture may be a lot of things, but it was not a coincidence.
Mr. Kerry has already confessed his complicity in killing civilians as "accidents of war." However, he has offered a classic Nuremberg defense that this was not only a commonplace occurrence throughout the Vietnam War, but he was carrying out a policy "with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command."
His commander of naval operations in Vietnam, who specifically designed the mission that Mr. Kerry and the other Swiftboat commanders executed, Admiral Zumwalt, clearly disagreed. An examination of the truth behind this disagreement is not an attack on Mr. Kerry. It is a matter of vital historical interest.
Saturday, March 13, 2004 5:29 PM
Subject: John Kerry
Writes Hal Cranmer:
I would like to add my two cents about my John Kerry experience. During my career as an Air Force pilot, I spent two years flying a small twin-engine prop plane around the Pacific from my base in Okinawa, Japan. On one trip we had to fly Senator Kerry, his congressional aide, and a Navy Captain (Vietnam, A-4 fighter pilot) who was also in Kerry's party to various locations in Vietnam and Cambodia as part of the MIA/POW talks.
When I met him, he was wearing a shirt with a picture of his sailboat ! on it. I told him I had a small 27' sailboat in Okinawa, he remarked 'Oh I never sail on anything less than 135 feet'. I laughed to myself and realized this guy was no sailor.
When we first flew him into Phnom Penh, he went to the back of the airplane and grabbed the pizza that was put aside for the crew and passed it around to his staff. He was never offered any pizza because they were supposed to have lunch with the Cambodian government once we landed. The pizza would have been our only meal that day. He just never cared to ask.
Then when we picked him up in Cambodia, he was an hour late getting to the airport. We could not start the engines and therefore the air conditioning until he arrived. Phnom Penh at that time was over 100 degrees with 95% humidity and we were basically sitting in a greenhouse behind the cockpit windows. When he finally did arrive, we were wringing out our clothes from the perspiration. He walks out of the air conditioned car, into the airplane and asks us 'Could you guys get the air conditioning running, I'm a little warm." The other pilot had to physically restrain me from going back there and picking a fight.
Then we took him into Noi Bai airfield in Hanoi. After we picked him up the next day (he stayed the night in Vietnam, we stayed in Bangkok) we taxied out, ran up the engines for takeoff, and noticed that our prop rpm was vibrating all over the place. We taxied off to the side to look at it, but there was a good possibility that there was an engine malfunction and the engine may fail if we took off with it. Well, Mr. Senator sticks his head up in the cockpit and says 'this plane WILL take - off, I have a press conference in Bangkok in three hours!" (Maybe this is an indication of how he will run the FAA). We ran the engines again, and did not have the problem, so we took off and made it back.
During the flight, he told everyone how he had taken a Cessna (a small General aviation plane) up with a fighter pilot, and the fighter pilot remarked that Kerry was one of the best pilots he had ever seen. I don't know about other pilots out there, but it's hard to imagine a little, single-engine prop plane pilot being able to show the 'right stuff'.
After Kerry left the plane, the Navy Captain came up to us, apologized and said basically that he knows Kerry is a jerk and that we should be glad we don't have to deal with him every day....
Or will we?
WE HAD BETTER GET OUT AND VOTE!!
Causes of the Korean Tragedy ... Failure of Leadership, Intelligence and Preparation
The Foundations of Freedom are the Courage of Ordinary People and Quality of our Arms
- A VETERAN's