August 13, 2004

Kerry's Cambodia nonsense refuted
Posted by McQ

I love all the spin that's been going on about the Christmas in Cambodia story. He was there, he wasn't there, it was night and confusing, 3 crewmembers claim they were never in Cambodia, it wasn't Christmas it was January, it was a secret mission.

Puuuleeezzze!

Lets get a couple of facts straight. And this is technical, but oh so important.

Anyone recall the designation of John Kerry's unit when the "Christmas in Cambodia" alleged event took place? Coastal Division 13. Note the designation carefully ... they patroled the coast of Viet Nam. That was their mission. And they also patrolled the rivers of VN as they flowed out on the coast. The Rassmann incident took place on the Song Be Da river which is a few miles long and flows into the ocean.

Now, lets review an excerpt from "Unfit for Command's" chapter three:

Coastal Division 13’s patrol areas extended to Sa Dec, about fifty-five miles from the Cambodian border. Areas closer than fifty-five miles to the Cambodian border in the area of the Mekong River were patrolled by PBRs, a small river patrol craft, and not by Swift Boats. Preventing border crossings was considered so important at the time that an LCU (a large, mechanized landing craft) and several PBRs were stationed to ensure that no one could cross the border. A large sign at the border prohibited entry. Tom Anderson, Commander of River Division 531, who was in charge of the PBRs, confirmed that there were no Swifts anywhere in the area and that they would have been stopped had they appeared
.

Nothing new here except the importance of what? The designation of the unit commanded by Tom Anderson. River Division 531. Is it beginning to dawn on you that perhaps Kerry's unit did the coast and the river divisions did the interior rivers and their patrol areas met somewhere toward the coast?

So look at your hand. The Cambodian border is at the knuckles of your fingers. Kerry and boys patrolled the fingertips down to the first joint. The river divisions patrolled from the first joint to the knuckles. Why in the world would Kerry be in another unit's patrol area? Why would Kerry be at the knuckles?

Simple answer ... he wouldn't. They wouldn't stand for it. And if he was authorized to do so, they'd know about it, from top to bottom in both the river division and the coastal division. IOW, the coastal division would have been ordered to send a boat into Cambodia on a mission (the boat would not have been designated, but left up to the commander to task the one he wanted to go) and the river divison would have been notified so it could effect coordination of the coastal divison boat's passage through its patrol area and ensure it wasn't fired up by the PBRs on patrol.

That is how the military works. You don't go wandering into another units patrol area unless you have a death wish. Which brings us to this additional excerpt from "Unfit for Command":

All the living commanders in Kerry’s chain of command—Joe Streuhli (Commander of CosDiv 13), George Elliott (Commander of CosDiv 11), Adrian Lonsdale (Captain, USCG and Commander, Coastal Surveillance Center at An Thoi), Rear Admiral Roy Hoffmann (Commander, Coastal Surveillance Force Vietnam, CTF 115), and Rear Admiral Art Price (Commander of River Patrol Force, CTF 116)—deny that Kerry was ever ordered to Cambodia. They indicate that Kerry would have been seriously disciplined or court-martialed had he gone there. At least three of the five crewmen on Kerry’s PCF 44 boat—Bill Zaldonis, Steven Hatch, and Steve Gardner—deny that they or their boat were ever in Cambodia. The remaining two crewmen declined to be interviewed for this book.

Do you understand the point now? CosDiv13 was never tasked with a Cambodian mission by CTF 115 and CTF 116, which was the command organization for all the river patrol forces was never tasked to coordinate the passage of a Swift boat from CosDiv13 on a mission to Cambodia.

So while those who don't understand how this would all happen if true continue to pontificate as to how it might have happened, I'll just flatly tell you that if it were true, there'd be a record and a memory of the taskings (even if the gist of the mission might be classified). There are certainly no such memories among those who would have had to effect the assignment of a PCF and coordinate its passage of any such taskings.

As for the new tact which says "oh, it was a secret mission", I say again, Bravo Sierra.

CTF 116 was charged with the patrolling of the interior rivers of Vietnam to include where they bordered Cambodia. Among the assets CTF 116 had at its disposal should a "secret mission" to deliver a CIA agent into Cambodia really be necessary were these:

SEAL Teams 1 and 2

Strike Assault Boat Squadron - 20 (STABRON-20)

Underwater Demolition Team - 12 (UDT-12)
Underwater Demolition Team - 13 (UDT-13)
Underwater Demolition Team - 21 (UDT-21)
Underwater Demolition Team - 27 (UDT-27)

Now, you tell me boys and girls, with those assets available to the unit who's most familiar with the waterways going into Cambodia, why in the world would someone pick PCF 44 and John Kerry and crew, who were totally unfamiliar with the territory, and have them deliver the agent?

You're right ... they wouldn't.

Conclusion: Kerry's Cambodia excursion, which ever version he's on today, is nothing more than a figment of his imagination and never happened.

UPDATE:
Rusty at Mypetjawa has a map up which gives you some context on distances and locations. Sa Dec is the furthers extent from the coast that CosDiv13 patrolled. After that, from Sa Dec to the border, it belonged to River Division 531. You'll note the distance is a little over 50 miles from Sa Dec to the Cambodian border.

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Comments

It was a secret mission

If this was the case then why is he talking about it at all?

Posted by: Jeff the Baptist at August 13, 2004 11:02 AM

Very good!!!!!

Notice now he's saying that he was near Cambodia. 50 miles is near? I checked a map and realize that Vietnam is only 100 miles across in the South, where Sa Dec is! That's literally halfway across the country.

Shameless plug alert: I posted the map here.

Posted by: Rusty Shackleford at August 13, 2004 11:07 AM

Oh.My.God. The current holder of the prestigious Iraqi Information Minister Chair of History, the esteemed Mr. Douglas Brinkley, now says, "No, no, NO! It was JANUARY, 1969 (by which time Steve Gardener had left Kerry's boat and wasn't there to, um, like, see anything), when Black Ops Kerry put his barge up into Cambodia. See, it was, um, LUNAR NEW YEAR that the ARVNs and VC and NVA and Khmer Rouge and Amalekites were celebrating by firing off all the tracers, or shooting at Kerry, or whatever. Yeah, THAT'S the ticket. Sheesh. You guys. Nothing to see here. Move along."

Terrible mistake. Kerry (thanks, Brink!) has drawn a hard line at absolutely having dropped operators in Cambodia. Something tells me it doesn't matter what time period his campaign decides to go with, someone who was there will out the truth. It's like watching an increasingly obviously guilty criminal defendant adjust his testimony to take advantage of what he thinks are gaps in the prosecution's case, but he has to guess when he makes it up because he's not sure how much the prosecution knows...and the prosecution knows it all.

If this weren't so much fun, it would almost move me to pity for the sap.

Posted by: John Earnest at August 13, 2004 02:09 PM

Can you clarify something for me? Did Kerry serve as part of a Sealords Operation in January 1969? Found at Democratic Veteran

"The next FITREP from a different reporting senior (whose name is illegible) but was signed concurrently by LCDR Elliott says:"

"LTJG Kerry was assigned to this division for only a short time but during that time exhibited all the traits desired of an officer in a combat environment. He frequently exhibited a high sense of imagination and judgement in planning operations against the enemy in the Mekong Delta. Involved in several enemy initiated fire fights, including an ambush during the Christmas truce, he effectively suppressed enemy fire and is unofficially credited with 20 enemy killed in action. Though relatively new to the PCF he is thoroughly knowledgeable of all aspects of his boat and PCF operations. He was instrumental in planning of highly successful Sea Lords Operations. He was cited for his performance during action against the enemy by Commander Task Force in his message 080807Z Jan 69."

Robert Shirley's site pcf45.com gives a pretty interesting history of the Sealords.

Posted by: layla at August 13, 2004 03:19 PM

Yes ... Sea Lords was an ongoing operation which started in Oct of '68 till Dec of '70. All of the riverine and coastal units participated.

You need to go here to understand the significance of Kerry's FITREPS.

Thanks for the link ... great site.

Posted by: McQ at August 13, 2004 03:34 PM

Another logical question: Why would a "secret operation" choose Kerry to take them into Cambodia, when he would have been in Vietnam for a whole 6 weeks at the time? Call me crazy, but I'd think the "secret mission" people would prefer someone with a bit more than 6 weeks experience to help them out.

Posted by: Chris at August 13, 2004 03:39 PM

Layla,

The fitrep credits Kerry with being "...instrumental in planning of..." SEALORDS. That suggests staff work rather than participation in the operations themselves.

A look at pcf45.com does give a good summary history of the SEALORDS campaign. From this summary it seems that all SEALORD phases and ops were carried out in Vietnam until:

"...the culmination of the SEALORDS campaign was inclusion of US and Vietnamese naval forces in the incursion into Cambodia to finally take the interdiction efforts of the allies directly to the source of the movement of arms, material and troops into the southern areas of Vietnam. The total Cambodian operation was authorized by President Nixon and carried out starting in May of 1970."

As far as can be ascertained from this summary of SEALORD, no incursions of US Naval forces into Cambodia occurred until May of '70. From Kerry's website this would indicate he'd been out of Vietnam for more than a year and was released from active duty in Mar. '70.

Posted by: Knucklehead at August 13, 2004 03:46 PM

The fitness report cited above says: "LTJG Kerry ..... frequently exhibited a high sense of imagination...."

Frequently, indeed. Practice, practice, practice.

Posted by: P. Nutgallery at August 13, 2004 03:57 PM

We could also notice that the river division was equipped with a different kind of boat (PBRs) than the coastal division (SWIFTs). It is probable that the SWIFTs were unfit for the narrower and shallower waters patrolled by the coastal division. Perhaps to the point that a SWIFT was physically unable to reach these waters.

Posted by: JFM at August 13, 2004 03:58 PM

"Oh my goodness, what was I THINKING about? I WAS on a PBR and not a Swift when I went into Cambodia! In Decem...Janu...MAY, 19... , er ...70! Secret! Secret enlistment extension! My lands, I do believe I'd forget my head if it wasn't seared onto my shoulders! Lordy mercy me! Okay, satisfied now?"

Posted by: John Earnest at August 13, 2004 04:34 PM

I was on Admiral Zumwalt's staff in Saigon 4/68-9/68. Operation Sealord was the Admiral's idea. It was the Navy's contribution to the overall counter-offensive against the Viet Cong after their '68 Tet Offensive. The Navy had three major Task Forces in Vietnam. TF 115 (coastal patrol), TF 116 (riverine patrol) and TF 117 (river assault forces.) Under the plan, TF 116 would move inland into previously unpatrolled areas. TF 117 was spread thinner, and TF 115 was moved up the rivers to patrol areas vacated by TF 116. By the time that Sealord kicked off, I had transferred out to TF 116 aboard the YRBM-18 (a mobile PBR support base.) We were moved up to the so-called Parrot's Beak area that was on the Cambodian border. The first few weeks up there our forces recovered literally hundreds of tons of enemy ordinance that had just been stored in plain sight on the riverbanks, as no american forces had ever been up there.

Posted by: Bill at August 13, 2004 11:25 PM

JFM -- "It is probable that the SWIFTs were unfit for the narrower and shallower waters patrolled by the coastal division. Perhaps to the point that a SWIFT was physically unable to reach these waters."

The PBR (Patrol Boat, Riverine) was a smaller, shallower draft, fiberglass boat than the aluminum Swift boat. It is more suitable for such a mission, especially since it used a water jet, instead of propellors. Losing a propellor to underwater obstacles could ruin a combat commander's whole day. I also believe they were faster than Swift boats. I used to work for the Naval Ship R&D Center in the late '60s. We did some propulsion efficiency testing on various manufacturers' waterjets for the PBR, including a full scale trial of the jets on the Severn River across from the Naval Academy. Now that was fun! That sucker could scoot. By the way, the jet the boat builder originally supplied with the boat was, in fact, the best choice.

Posted by: Carl at August 14, 2004 08:48 PM

From Kerry's Fitness Report of 28 Jan 1969 (page 24 of this PDF):

LTJG Kerry was assigned to this division for only a short time but during that time exhibited all the traits desired of an officer in a combat environment. He frequently exhibited a high sense of imagination and judgement in planning operations against the enemy in the Mekong Delta. Involved in several enemy initiated fire fights, including an ambush during the Christmas truce, he effectively suppressed enemy fire and is unofficially credited with 20 enemy killed in action. Though relatively new to the PCF he is thoroughly knowledgeable of all aspects of his boat and PCF operations. He was instrumental in planning of highly successful Sea Lords Operations. He was cited for his performance during action against the enemy by Commander Task Force in his message 080807Z Jan 69.
Note that "performance during action" doesn't sound like his only participation was "planning".

Now to add that "Sea Lords Operations" involved incursions into Cambodia.

As to whether it's implausible that a SWIFT boat might go into Cambodia and drop someone off there, note: "The fellow on the right was a freelance journalist and photographer that had caught a ride into Cambodia on a US Swift Boat. He asked to be dropped off on the shore to proceed on his own. It is hoped that he found what he was looking for and survived to tell about it."

Sure doesn't sound like that was a "physical impossibility", as Steve Gardner claimed.

In fact, the Navy said Swift boats were involved in those Cambodian incursions:

An acronym for "Southeast Asia Lake, Ocean, River, Delta Strategy", SEALORDS started on October 18, 1968 when a Navy Swift boat (PCF) reconnoitered the entrance to the Cua Lon River on the Gulf of Thailand side of the Ca Mau Penisula. Following this mission, Swift boat crewmen conducted a series of incursions along the southern rivers and canals upsetting base camps and cutting Viet Cong supply and communication lines.
So Gardner simply lied about it being a "physical impossibility" for a Swift boat to enter Cambodian waters.

Yet it was on the basis of Gardner's (now disproved) claim that Kerry was called a liar.

Since the Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Vietnam said Swift boats were going into Cambodia starting in October 1968, and Kerry's Fitness Report says he was "instrumental" in that operation, it seems Kerry's story does have some official corroboration. But his accusers are now proved liars.

Kerry was based at Sa Dec. This was a base for Navy river boats patrolling the Cambodian border and conducting incursions — in fact, it was later made the headquarters of Swift Boat Coastal Division 13 because of its advantageous position.

That is, it wasn't the Swift boats' "northernmost patrol area", but the place they went from to do patrols and incursions, and returned to afterwards.

The Fitness Report refers to "an ambush during the Christmas truce", which indicates that the attack happened in the field, on a mission or patrol, not "an attack on the base". So this had to have been at least toward Cambodia from Sa Dec, since missions & patrols from Sa Dec went either along or across the Cambodian border. In fact, Kerry's contemporaneous journal entry of that Christmas firefight refers to going back toward Sa Dec after the incident. If Sa Dec had been his "northernmost patrol area" and not his base, he'd have been going away from Sa Dec at the end of his patrol.

Posted by: Raven at August 15, 2004 01:18 AM

Any comments on today's article in the Seattle Times: Kerry's Cambodia account challenged by ex-commander By Scott Canon

"Swift Boat crews regularly operated along the Cambodian border from Ha Tien on the Gulf of Thailand to the rivers of the Mekong south and west of Saigon," Michael Meehan, a senior adviser in the Kerry campaign, said Friday. "Boats often received fire from enemy taking sanctuary across the border. Kerry's was not the only United States riverboat to respond, inadvertently or responsibly, across the border."

"Many times he was on or near the Cambodian border and on one occasion crossed into Cambodia at the request of members of a special operations group operating out of Ha Tien" on the Gulf of Thailand, Meehan said in his statement.

Posted by: Layla at August 15, 2004 03:13 PM

Layla:

Irrelevant. We're talking about Christmas in Cambodia, not incursions around the penninsula. His crew says they were in the Mekong, not on the sea border.

The Mekong enters at a 90 degree angle. It doesn't wander around along between the two countries. You're either in there or you're not. And you're certainly not in there if you're 55 miles away as your crewmates claim.

Secondly, if there were an incident in which Kerry went into Cambodia to support a SO team there'd be at least a spot report. The Navy, as all services, is anal about that sort of thing. It would also probably show up in a consolidated division report. To my knowledge there aren't any reports, or at least none have been produced at this time, which supports the contention. But that's another Kerry contention for another time.

I won't say its not true, but I won't agree it happened until we see proof in the form of some such report that it did, in fact, happen.

From "Unfit to Command", Chapter 3 concerning THAT border crossing:

Preventing border crossings was considered so important at the time that an LCU (a large, mechanized landing craft) and several PBRs were stationed to ensure that no one could cross the border. A large sign at the border prohibited entry. Tom Anderson, Commander of River Division 531, who was in charge of the PBRs, confirmed that there were no Swifts anywhere in the area and that they would have been stopped had they appeared.

So on its face, its a "no-go". You can't 'get there' from the Mekong without going through the LCU and several PBRs. The commander of that divison at the time says there were NO incursions that night by anyone, much less a swift boat.

Now, where they go to try and salvage this is beyond me, but we'll cross that bridge when they throw it up there. Its a bit like Raven's comment. Gee, that's all nice, but we're talking about "Christmas in Cambodia" and that is a very specific event.

Stay on point.

Posted by: McQ at August 15, 2004 03:57 PM

Raven says,

"Kerry was based at Sa Dec". Er, no he wasn't. He was with Coastal Division 13,based in Cam Ranh Bay. In 1969 the northernmost patrol area of a Swift boat based in Cam Rahn Bay, was Sa Dec.

(Sa Dec).."was a base for Navy river boats patrolling the Cambodian border and conducting incursions" That may have been correct but since Kerry commanded a Swift Boat and not a river boat (perhaps you haven't grasped the difference) going beyond Sa Dec was not within his "patrol area".

Since the move to Sa Dec by Coastal Div.13 did not take place until Mar 6, 1970, it is disingenous of you to say "That is, it wasn't the Swift boats' "northernmost patrol area","

In 1968/69 it was!!!

Posted by: markmacg at August 15, 2004 07:01 PM

My apologies for not staying on point. It's acknowledged that Mr. Kerry was not in Cambodia on Christmas Eve. I'm curious as to whether he was ever in Cambodia or if he simply gathered information for an article on Sealords which he subsequently attempted to publish as described in his debate with John O'Neil on the Dick Cavett show in 1971 (C-Span.org). I'm beginning to wonder if he was deliberately shipped home since his fellow officers surmised he would compromise the mission - stopping the flow of weapons coming across the Cambodian border. His subsequent role as a publicity hound when he returned to the US suggests that those who prodded him to go home made the right call.

Here's another interesting web site: http://www.rivervet.com/summ1268.htm
MRF Summary Report - December 1968

1. While inserting an Army intelligence gathering Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) at a position 3 miles southwest of My Tho, units of RAD 91 received B-40 rocket and A/W fire. ATC 91-8 received three B-40 rocket hits, one forward and two below the waterline. One U.S. Army soldier was killed, eight were wounded and seven Navy crewmen were wounded.

2. On an Operation GIANT SLINGSHOT mission on 24 December, two ASPB's enroute to a preplanned ambush site with 1st Air Cavalry elements on board, came under fire at a position 7 miles south of Kiep Hoa on the Vam Co Dong River. During the attack, the boat captain of A-91-5, BM2 Wallace GOING, USN, was killed. Another crewman was wounded. There was only light damage to the ASPB's.

3. On 27 December at 2105H, a patrol in support of Operations SEA LORDS and consisting of one ASPB, three PBR's and one ATC was proceeding south on the Rach Gia - Long Xuyen Canal when the patrol was attacked at a position 3 miles northeast of Rach Gia. One sailor was killed and three others were wounded as the ATC received three B-40 rocket hits. Fire was returned as the patrol withdrew to the south. Two "Seawolf" LHFT were scrambled and placed strikes on the suspected enemy positions.

Another site from the Navy which has an interesting map of the rivers and canals.
http://www.history.navy.mil/seairland/chap4.htm

Did Kerry take on the memories of what he knew to be happening as his own experiences?

Posted by: layla at August 16, 2004 07:44 AM

Layla: Its entirely possible. As BG Burkett noted in "Stolen Valor", one of the first indications of a "fraudulent veteran" is when you start hearing about "secret missions". Kerry, or at least his spokespeople, have now said it wasn't December, but instead January. Conveniently, Steve Gardner was no longer on his boat in January.

GIANT SLINGSHOT was a TF-116 operation which took place near the "Parrot's Beak" NW of Saigon. There were no Swift Boats involved. But it will be interesting, should they do it, to see how they describe the supposed "action" in which Kerry, et. al. claim to have been a part of which ended up taking them into Cambodia. Again, keep in mind that there is absolutely no reason to call on an unknown swift boat skipper to ferry CIA or other SO assets into Cambodia (an area in which he'd never worked and with which he was unfamiliar) when TF-116 (the Riverine Command) had operational control of both the SEAL teams and assault boat assets and knew the area intimately. It makes absolutely no operational sense to do something like that, so it will be interesting to see, if they continue to make the claim he went into Cambodia, how they frame the missions.

Posted by: McQ at August 16, 2004 08:05 AM

markmacg writes:

In 1969 the northernmost patrol area of a Swift boat based in Cam Rahn Bay, was Sa Dec.

Yet Kerry's contemporaneous journal entry refers to going upriver from Sa Dec to start his patrol, and returning to Sa Dec afterward to make his report.

By the way, why is it that, in all this time, 35 years that Kerry's talked about Christmas in Cambodia, no-one bothered to contradict him until now, during the campaign?

Admiral Zumwalt only died in 2000. Why wasn't he brought forward to contradict Kerry, long before this? Why did the SBVT wait until he was dead to claim that no Swift Boat (including Kerry's) could have crossed into Cambodia - at least, before the 1970 operations when they did so in numbers? Or have I just answered my own question?

Admiral Elmo Zumwalt II and his son (III) wrote a shared autobiography - My Father, My Son - in which they discuss III's Cambodian incursions in 1969.

III says, "I knew other U.S. boats had ventured into before so I wasn't the first one to do it. It was one of the best ways to stage an ambush because the enemy didn't expect us there."

II says: "... at the operating level we realized it was done with some frequency both by our boats and aviators."

The passages are quoted here at a bit more length.

Posted by: Raven at August 22, 2004 04:42 AM

News from the Web:

Swift Boat Writer [John O'Neill] Lied on Cambodia Claim (AP)

Who is Steve Gardner?   Swift Boat Vet "eyewitness" was not present for events leading to Kerry's medals or Purple Hearts   ... "Yet in repeated media appearances, conservative hosts have presented Gardner as an eyewitness to key Kerry events. And in at least two interviews, Gardner has falsely claimed that he was present for the incidents leading to Kerry's receipt of awards." ...

Kerry and the swift boat snipers   "So far, Kerry's critics appear far more inconsistent in their stories than Kerry. Not only do their accounts contradict military records, they often contradict the critics' own previous statements. As more witnesses come forward, Kerry's version of the handful of events in question gets more backing."

Swiftboat Crewman: Kerry Boat Took Fire (AP)
Retired Chief Petty Officer Robert E. Lambert joins in supporting Kerry's version of events

Swift boat memories: Eagle Point vet who was there backs Kerry's assertion that bullets were flying the day he won two medals on a river in Vietnam (Jackson County [Oregon] Mail Tribune)

Ads anger Colorado vet: Telluride man says he saw Kerry rescue soldier from river (Rocky Mountain News) "Retired Navy lieutenant Jim Russell, 60, backed up Kerry's version of an incident more than 35 years ago."

Navy records appear to support Kerry's version (MSNBC)
Swift Boats came under fire, task force reported

Kerry-Loathing Swift Boaters Sinking Facts (NY Observer)

Assault on Kerry Dishonors G.O.P. (NY Observer)

These Charges Are False ... It's one thing for the presidential campaign to get nasty but quite another for it to engage in fabrication. (LA Times) "No informed person can seriously believe that Kerry fabricated evidence to win his military medals in Vietnam. His main accuser has been exposed as having said the opposite at the time, 35 years ago. Kerry is backed by almost all those who witnessed the events in question, as well as by documentation. His accusers have no evidence except their own dubious word. ... These charges against John Kerry are false."

And finally,

Bush Dismisses Idea That Kerry Lied on Vietnam (NY Times)

Posted by: Raven at August 27, 2004 11:07 AM

Raven: Be nice if you listed all the stories which contradict these, but then that wouldn't work for you would it?

"No informed person can seriously believe that Kerry fabricated evidence to win his military medals in Vietnam. His main accuser has been exposed as having said the opposite at the time, 35 years ago. Kerry is backed by almost all those who witnessed the events in question, as well as by documentation. His accusers have no evidence except their own dubious word. ... These charges against John Kerry are false."

No informed person can NOT seriously believe that Kerry fabricated evidence to win hi military medals in Vietnam.

His first and third Purple Hearts have all but been proven to have been fradulent as there was no hostile fire. That would also take the Bronze Star with a "V" out of the "earned" category as well.

His version is NOT backed by most of the witnesses either. In fact, his version is backed by the minority, most of whom were on his boat, while the majority were on the other 4 boats.

So, sorry ... that statment is nonsense. Its all out there if you take the time to find it and read it.

Posted by: McQ at August 31, 2004 02:45 PM

The question i would like to ask is are we all bent out of shape with something that happened 35 years ago? It may be a lot more important to look at what has happened in Iraq with the prisoner abuse case.

Posted by: Hugh Clark at August 31, 2004 11:49 PM

The question i would like to ask is are we all bent out of shape with something that happened 35 years ago? It may be a lot more important to look at what has happened in Iraq with the prisoner abuse case.

Posted by: Hugh Clark at August 31, 2004 11:56 PM

McQ, if you had bothered to read the articles listed, they include first-person confirmations that Kerry's Bronze Star with Combat V was indeed for valor under enemy fire.   That's from people who were actually there, unlike Steve Gardner and John O'Neill.   In fact, the only one who was there and denies this is Thurlow — whose own Bronze Star with Combat V for that same event also mentions enemy fire.

As to the rest of the SBVT "witnesses", the ones who were not there, what kind of "witness" is that?

Posted by: Raven at September 4, 2004 11:12 AM

Actually Raven there are many who were there who deny any hostile firing took place. In fact last week another crewman from PCF 3 denied there was any hostile fire.

Interestingly enough you want to base it all on one side or the others statements. The fact that speaks much more loudly than statements is not one of the boats among them nor any of their crews received a single bullet hole or wound despite staying on station for 90 minutes to rescue the 3 boat.

That's the most damning evidence of all and evidence that is blithly ignored by folks like you.

Posted by: McQ at September 4, 2004 11:22 AM

I keep wondering why Hoffman and Elliott are so insistent that no one went into Cambodia when Zumwalt III and others clearly did. Even O'Neill used the word "in" and though it depends on what the meaning of the word "in" is...sounds like a contradiction. Schacte apparently is someone who went into International Law--can't tell if he had anything to do with that while in Vietnam or if that is later. But might they not be all covering that they knew international law was violated since they are so determined to maintain that the Vietnam war was "good". That fundamentally is the basis of their anger with Kerry, that he labeled the war morally bankrupt, and labeled Johnson/Nixon as liars--most of us have come to believe that, but O'Neill still seems a tad too loyal to the discredited Nixon. The rest of us don't really care about incursions into Cambodia (specially after 35 years), but apparently they really do. So I ask myself why they feel a need to cover something up that clearly happened--Zumwalt says they didn't really seriously consider courtmartialing his son for the Cambodia action that got him a bronze star (implication--courtmartial could have been appropriate.) In Kerry's diary he says something about sending a radio missive about being the most "inland Market time" unit and that "courtmartial" would be an appropriate response. What can that even mean unless he violated international boundaries? I read somewhere on the web that the navy even had maps with the Cambodia border purposely misplaced to cover the 20 kilometers they were authorized to enter by the navy (not Congress). However, militarily it just plain made sense to cross into this area since the VC were able to store supplies, launch attacks, and generally make a mess of things just by being across a border. I'm suspicious of Hoffman's veracity on this...

Posted by: Joan at September 6, 2004 12:56 AM

This whole thing could be put to rest by Kerry himself. We are arguing these fine points because he will not now come forth and give a definitive answer. Lied or not, there or not, the fact he will not address the question tells me he is hiding something or he is spineless. I happen to beleive he is both.

Posted by: Dave at September 6, 2004 12:54 PM