August 27, 2004

Curiouser and Curiouser
Posted by Dale Franks

Chicago Sun-Times political reporter Thomas Lipscomb has been looking over the military records on Jiohn Kerry's campaign web site. After doing so, he's wondering about something.

The Kerry campaign has repeatedly stated that the official naval records prove the truth of Kerry's assertions about his service.

But the official records on Kerry's Web site only add to the confusion. The DD214 form, an official Defense Department document summarizing Kerry's military career posted on, includes a "Silver Star with combat V."

But according to a U.S. Navy spokesman, "Kerry's record is incorrect. The Navy has never issued a 'combat V' to anyone for a Silver Star."

Naval regulations do not allow for the use of a "combat V" for the Silver Star, the third-highest decoration the Navy awards. None of the other services has ever granted a Silver Star "combat V," either.

That's certainly odd. But that's not all. For a single medal, Kerry seems to have gotten more than the usual number of citations (1) to go with it.

Kerry's Web site also lists two different citations for the Silver Star. One was issued by the commander in chief of the Pacific Command (CINCPAC), Adm. John Hyland. The other, issued by Secretary of the Navy John Lehman during the Reagan administration, contained some revisions and additional language. "By his brave actions, bold initiative, and unwavering devotion to duty, Lieutenant (j.g.) Kerry reflected great credit upon himself... ."

But a third citation exists that appears to be the earliest. And it is not on the Kerry campaign Web site. It was issued by Vice Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, commander of U.S. naval forces in Vietnam. This citation lacks the language in the Hyland citation or that added by the Lehman version, but includes another 170 words in a detailed description of Kerry's attack on a Viet Cong ambush, his killing of an enemy soldier carrying a loaded rocket launcher, as well as military equipment captured and a body count of dead enemy.

Actually, that's not just odd, it's bizarre. Usually, if you lose the citation or certificate, you just request a duplicate from the DoD. They don't get re-written for you.

But, wait, there's more!

Kerry's Web site also carries a DD215 form revising his DD214, issued March 12, 2001, which adds four bronze campaign stars to his Vietnam service medal. The campaign stars are issued for participation in any of the 17 Department of Defense named campaigns that extended from 1962 to the cease-fire in 1973.

However, according to the Navy spokesman, Kerry should only have two campaign stars: one for "Counteroffensive, Phase VI," and one for "Tet69, Counteroffensive."

Now, we shouldn't jump to conclusions here. Peoples' DD214s get screwed up all the time. My DD214 missed my AF Achievement Medal. Not a particularly impressive medal, but, still, I earned it, and my DD214 should show it. So, it may be that way with Kerry.

Experts point out that even the official military records get screwed up. Milavic is trying to get mistakes in his own DD214 file corrected. In his opinion, "these entries are not prima facie evidence of lying or unethical behavior on the part of Kerry or anyone else with screwed-up DD214s."

But, we'd probably know more about this whole deal if we could actually see Kerry's records, which, of course, we cant.

Reporting by the Washington Post's Michael Dobbs points out that although the Kerry campaign insists that it has released Kerry's full military records, the Post was only able to get six pages of records under its Freedom of Information Act request out of the "at least a hundred pages" a Naval Personnel Office spokesman called the "full file."

So, what's in those hundred pages of documents? What kind of goodies might be unearthed? For instance, might we find out what happened with Kerrys discharge from the Navy?

Questions have been raised about President Bush's drill attendance in the reserves, but Bush received his honorable discharge on schedule. Kerry, who should have been discharged from the Navy about the same time -- July 1, 1972 -- wasn't given the discharge he has on his campaign Web site until July 13, 1978. What delayed the discharge for six years? This raises serious questions about Kerry's performance while in the reserves that are far more potentially damaging than those raised against Bush.

Nice to see the mainstream media finally jumping in and asking some questions.

UPDATE (JON): "Wow" is right. Reader "Jumbo" refers us to NRO's Kerry Spot, which has this....

Veterans said yesterday that although they would take offense at someone falsely wearing a "V" combat pin, they couldn't see how this could drive Navy Adm. Jeremy Michael Boorda to suicide.

“Is it wrong? Yes, it is very wrong. Sufficient to question his leadership position? The answer is yes, which he clearly understood,” said Sen. John Kerry, a Navy combat veteran who served in Vietnam.

It is, apparently, no longer sufficient to question one's leadership based on potentially inappropriate medals. I don't recall, precisely, what day that change went into effect, but John Kerry says it's all different now, and John Kerry is an honorable man.

One more question. If John Kerry believes this....

“In a sense, there's nothing that says more about your career than when you fought, where you fought and how you fought,” Kerry said.

“If you wind up being less than what you’re pretending to be, there is a major confrontation with value and self-esteem and your sense of how others view you.”

...then why won't he release his records, so we can know about this thing that "says more about [his] career" than anything else? Why has Kerry suddenly gotten gun-shy about his Vietnam-era resume?

And, more to the point, why did John Kerry say that Bush "owes America an explanation about whether or not he showed up for duty in the National Guard. Prove it. That's what we ought to have."....and, yet, John Kerry--principled man that he is--refuses to do more than a very limited, selective release of his own records? And why is the left side of the 'sphere so suddenly quiet about that whole "release the record" thing?

Of course, those are rhetorical questions.

The fact is, while each side blathers about "the principle of the thing", there's still an election to be won, and principles don't win the Electoral College. The shots fired are for advantage, not principle.



Curiouser and Curiouser?

No, That's Another Blog

Trying to confuse me, now?

Posted by: Bithead at August 27, 2004 06:48 PM

"Lies, all, the Swifties hacked my web site, um...what we meant to say was "I got a Silver Star for combat see" they just misunderstood what I said, um...well, um...Bush is a poop head and stole the election!"

I can imagine the turmoil going on right now and the fast and furious web searches to refute Lipscomb's claim.

Here's a fun link they'll find really fast!

Now there's another site that's going to claim there's an Army guy who has it...
and some others

And it IS supposed to be all service....
But here's what the Regs say for the Marines:

5401. STARS
1. Placement of Stars

a. On suspension ribbons of large/miniature medals, stars are placed with one ray of each star pointing up. If one star is authorized, it will be centered on the suspension ribbon. For more than one star, they will be evenly spaced in a vertical line at the center of the suspension ribbon with the senior star uppermost.

b. On ribbon bars, stars are placed with one ray of each star pointing up. If one star is authorized, it will be centered on the ribbon bar. For more than one star, they will be evenly spaced in a horizontal line on the ribbon bar, except when multiple star attachments are worn. Silver star(s) worn with a bronze or gold star(s) will be worn as stated above, except the first bronze or gold star is placed to the wearer's left of the silver star(s) with additional stars alternating to the right of the silver star and so on.

c. When stars are worn with other devices such as the bronze letter "V," paragraph 5402 applies

"3. Silver Stars. A silver star is worn on suspension ribbons of large/ miniature medals and on ribbon bars in lieu of five gold stars, or in lieu of five bronze stars, except for strike/flight awards of the Air Medal (see paragraphs 5402.4 and 5402.5). The 5/16-inch silver star will replace five 5/16-inch gold stars. The 3/16-inch silver star will replace the five 3/16-inch bronze stars. The silver star worn on suspension ribbons of miniature medals will be 1/8 inch in diameter."


1. Manner of Wearing. A letter device is worn centered on the ribbon. These devices are block letters 1/4 inch high for suspension ribbons of large medals or ribbon bars, and 1/8 inch high for suspension ribbons of miniature medals.

2. Bronze Letter "V" (Combat Distinguishing Device)

a. The bronze letter "V" may be authorized for wear on the following combat decorations if the award is approved for acts or services involving direct participation in combat operations:

(1) Legion of Merit

(2) Distinguished Flying Cross

(3) Bronze Star Medal

(4) Air Medal

(5) Joint Service Commendation Medal

(6) Navy Commendation Medal

(7) Navy Achievement Medal

b. The approved bronze letter "V" is gold in color. Black or darkened devices may continue to be worn until the individual's awards require remounting, at which time the appropriate gold-colored "V" will be worn.

(Hmmmm, drat, an important award seems to be missing here, well, ignore that and charge on!!!! defend defend defend!)

Now if you read carefully, you can see there's an "exchange" system, by which 5 (that's right kids, 5!) Bronze Stars can be replaced by a single Silver Star when WORN on the uniform. You CAN wear a V if you get it authorized for one of your Bronze stars, AND you manage to earn 4 more Bronzes on your uniform that converts to a silver, and a "V" is allowed.

I don't believe it translates to being able to claim you won a Silver Star though and doesn't equate to a Silver with Valor ( and so far it doesn't appear to be approved in the regs I've stumbled across...but never mind that! Defend defend defend!)

Now the Army - despite seemingly having awarded one of these (at least the HEADLINE says they did, we haven't actually seen the citation and we know writers DO make mistakes?) makes a note in

Table 3-1 Page 32 - as a foot note that the
V for valor is awarded to Bronze Star holders, but doesn't make any mention of that for Silver star holders (gee, sounds like it's almost consistent with the Navy/Marine Reg don't it?)

(Ya know I hate to crap on the guy who allegedly got a "V" with his Silver Star, but the regs ARE the regs...and here they is...)

On Page 49, section 6-5 one finds the following:
6–5. “V” device
The “V” device is a bronze block letter, V, 1/4-inch high with serifs
at the top of the members. It is worn to denote participation in acts
of heroism involving conflict with an armed enemy. It was originally
worn only on the suspension and service ribbons of the Bronze
Star Medal to denote an award made for heroism (valor). Effective
29 February 1964, the “V” device was also authorized for wear on
the Air Medal and Army Commendation Medal for heroic acts or
valorous deeds not warranting awards of the Distinguished Flying
Cross or the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device. Effective 25 June
1963, the “V” device was authorized additionally for wear on the
Joint Service Commendation Medal when the award is for acts of
valor (heroism) during participation in combat operations. In the
case of multiple “V” devices for the same award, only one “V”
device is worn on the service ribbons.

(Well, darn it, STILL no mention of the Silver Star being awarded with a "V" for Valor,
who the heck writes these rules, and don't they know Kerry GOT one of these! )

And here's another misguided site that points out, by not including it, that the V isn't awarded with the silver star

Well then, maybe Kerry was thinking about after he became President and got his 4th Version of the Silver Star award. Ya know the one where he didn't just pop a VC running away (that was the 1st version of the Silver Star), this is the one where he cleared out a Regular NVA battalion with a .50 under each arm and a bowie knife gripped between his teeth.

See, now THAT would be an act of Valor. Mowing down a fleeing VC carrying a rocket launcher just doesn't measure up to, oh, I don't know, something like standing on the back of a flaming Sherman tank and holding off a mess of Germans with the turret MG.

Posted by: looker at August 27, 2004 07:59 PM

Clarification - 5 bronze stars = 1 silver are
SERVICE stars.

Not the same thing as the Bronze star and Silver Star.

Posted by: looker at August 27, 2004 08:32 PM

And as truth overruns anyone who cares to try and defend that "V" for Valor on the Silver star, the final burst...

We give you the Navy Regs -

A search for VALOR (heroism) pertaining to (devices/attachments) and the medals it may be awarded for reveals:

Distinguished Flying Cross - Pages 16 & 17
Bronze Star Medal - Pages 18 & 19
Air Medal - Pages 21-24
Navy and Marine Commendation Medal - Pages 25 & 26.

Dammit, if I'd received a Silver Star, I'd for damn sure know whether or not I REALLY got a "V" for Valor with it. But then, after modifying the award three times, maybe I'd have forgotten.

The really cool thing is, if you don't go the to REGs, and you just look at the (various) Navy sites for the medals, it doesn't tell you which awards the "V" for Valor may be attached to. It just says you can get a "V" for Valor.

I think someone needs to hire new researchers and fact checkers maybe....

Posted by: looker at August 27, 2004 08:58 PM


Kerry on Mike Boorda's apparently unauthorized use of "V" device (the admiral who took his own life rather than suffer the humiliation of having his medal hustle publicly revealed): "'Is it wrong? Yes, it is very wrong. Sufficient to question his leadership position? The answer is yes, which he clearly understood,' said Sen. John Kerry, a Navy combat veteran who served in Vietnam."

I'm reminded of Robert Burns, who I poorly quote:
Oh what a gift the gi'tie gi'e us;
to see ourselves as other see us.

The man is blind to himself.

Posted by: Jumbo at August 27, 2004 09:03 PM

Because I'm not particularly vicious enough to suggest Kerry follow Boorda's path, I'll settle for hearing him admit we ought to be questioning his leadership ability (position) at this point.

Besides Kerry hasn't got a high sense for 'losing his honor' to consider that path anyway. But now I'm just being mean.

All anyone should need to know about this clown is that the People's Republic of Massachusetts thinks he's a good Senator. That in and of itself ought to be enough, which is why California and New York will vote for him, no matter what, anyway.
(Born, raised, and FORMER member of the Bay State that I am....)

Posted by: Looker at August 27, 2004 09:13 PM

I've got some observations from Kerry's book on when he was awarded a medal that includes the Combat V and when he apparently wasn't: link

Posted by: stevesturm at August 27, 2004 10:40 PM

Some quick comments.

The service stars referred to above are the same as "oak leaf clusters" I received during my time in the Air Force. They represent multiple awards of a particular decoration or ribbon. A silver service star or oak leaf cluster represents five awards of the decoration. Don't confuse that with the Silver Star decoration, which is altogether different.

That said, how about multiple citations for the same decoration. Johnny boy has three separate citations associated with his Silver Star award. Why would there be a new citation for this? What error or injustice in the award of the Silver Star occurred that would lead to this change?

I have a possible explanation. If Frank Burns...I mean Johnny Kerry, of course, tried to have his decoration upgraded, a new citation for such an award would have to be written. Notice the language differences between the first and second citation. The second (and the third version) are more "flowery" and cast a more 'heroic' tone on Kerry's actions. I suspect that Fra...Johnny tried to get his Silver Star upgraded to a Navy Cross. If so, such documentation would be in his military records, which have not been completely released. If this is the case, well you can draw your own conclusions on his suitability for command.

Posted by: Bill M at August 27, 2004 10:55 PM

OK, far be it for me to defend Kerry, but this is just a tempest in a teapot. Kerry won a Bronze Star with "V" device. He also won a Silver Star.

Clerk sits down to fill out Kerry's DD214. Somewhere he gets interrupted and distracted. Looks down, see's "star". Thinking the award is the Bronze Star from his record, he adds "with combat "V" device". That could be the story as much as any someone else can imagine.

The point here is the Silver Star is legitimate whether you agree it is deserved or not. So it is IRRELEVANT whether someone appended "with combat "V" on is 214. It doesn't matter. If the award were fradulent, then you'd have a smoking gun and a case. But in this case its more of a water pistol.

Posted by: McQ at August 27, 2004 11:07 PM

As IsraelGate explodes (and right on the eve of the RNC - nice), this blog seems somehow irrelevant.

It's almost kind of nerdy, in a pathetic kind of way.

Meanwhile, over at the Washington DC branch of the Likud, Bush and Co. are panicking now that their true party affiliation has been exposed.

Posted by: mkultra at August 27, 2004 11:33 PM

Mkultra: ...this blog seems somehow irrelevant.
It's almost kind of nerdy, in a pathetic kind of way.

Well, don't let the door knob catch you in the ass on the way out, old buddy.

Posted by: McQ at August 27, 2004 11:39 PM

that important thing with stuff like this is to wait till it settles. Then you can figure out wht the real story is.

"The investigation involves a single individual at D.O.D. at the desk officer level, who was not in a position to have significant influence over U.S. policy," the statement continued. "Nor could a foreign power be in a position to influence U.S. policy through this individual. To the best of D.O.D.'s knowledge, the investigation does not target any other D.O.D. individuals.''

I have been waiting to say this.

"I question the timing"

a shorter MK Ultra "JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS!"

Posted by: capt joe at August 28, 2004 12:51 AM

His web site has it correctly:

Lt. John Kerry's leadership, courage, and sacrifice earned him a Silver Star, the Navy's fifth highest medal, a Bronze Star with Combat V, and three Purple Hearts, awarded for wounds received in combat. John Kerry was awarded a Bronze Star for rescuing a Green Beret, who had gone overboard during a mission. According to his Bronze Star citation, "Lt. Kerry directed his gunners to provide suppressing fire, while from an exposed position on the bow, his arm bleeding and in pain, with disregard for his personal safety, he pulled the man aboard. Lt. Kerry's calmness, professionalism, and great personal courage under fire were in keeping with the highest traditions of the US Naval Service."

I am a little confused about it being the "fifth highest" medal but am too tired to hunt it down.
Ah well, squirt, squirt, squirt.
I still ain't votin for him (ya think?)

Posted by: looker at August 28, 2004 03:19 AM

WRT "Israelgate" - wha happens if they find out the guy was a mole, and wha happens if we find out he was there when Clinton Administration was in office. Will it become another unidentified "Sandy Berger" blip on the radar
as far as the Media is concerned?

Posted by: looker at August 28, 2004 03:29 AM

I'm with you, McQ. It's not really an issue.

The only issue, to my mind, is why he won't release his records, as he has insisted on in the past.

Posted by: Jon Henke at August 28, 2004 06:48 AM

And more confusion - here I thought Bush was controlled by the Saudi's not the Israeli's.

So... now some mid level flak... at the Pentagon is the one really determining our policys at the behest of Jerusalem...

Maybe the Saudi's and the Israeli's are really working together, yeah, that's it. To, um, keep the Palistinians down and prevent the spread of Wahabism throughout the world and elminate Saddam Hussein, a failed previous experiment by the Saudi/Israeli's.

Bush is the Masada Candidate!

But further wait, isn't Bush controlled by Haliburton and Cheney?

What is it like to see vast
right wing/jewish/arab/big corporate
conspiracy's everywhere? When you see them, are they pink?

Posted by: looker at August 28, 2004 06:54 AM

McQ - wait a minute again - seriously

The Bronze Star citation is ALSO signed by Lehman.

Where's the friggin ORIGINAL for this one, because Lehman sure as hell didn't issue it!
Lehman was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and served until 1987.

I don't want to search through the Nav Regs again, but I think the "statue of limitations" on medal claims is what, 3, 5 years? I'll say it's 5 for the sake of argument - putting the cap at 1974. Unless there was some 'injustice' done, and then I think you can get it updated forever.

Must be nice, just keep upgrading them medals.

All things considered are you still sure he's entitled to wear that "V" for Valor on his uniform?

Posted by: Looker at August 28, 2004 07:15 AM

And now for the ritual of "I eat dirt....yum yum".

The original is there - Zumwalt approved it.

"yum....yum....pass the compost....".

Posted by: looker at August 28, 2004 07:20 AM

They added "and complete dedication to duty reflected great credit upon himself".

Well, that and they turned the (junior grade)'s to (jg) all over the place.

I still eat dirt.

Did he get that "complete dedication to duty" thing added as a result of his Senate Testimony about Ghengis Khan or what?

And if you give up your medals symbolically, why go and have the citations re-issued 10 years later? Does that mean the Navy was sorta, giving them back to him?

And why did someone issue a DD215 in 2001 (yeah, I SEE the correction, but why did he get 2 more service stars...was that for being in the Senate Campaign...?)

Posted by: looker at August 28, 2004 08:05 AM

mkultra -- I did post on it last night, right as the first reports were coming out. But that should not be grounds for dorpping all other discussion.

Posted by: ThePrecinctChair at August 28, 2004 09:40 AM

Lehman has no idea where the new language in the '80s Silver Star citation came from.

Now it gets very interesting...

Posted by: HH at August 28, 2004 10:50 AM

Interesting thing about Lehman's statement, eh?

The Zumwalt original WAS a little too specific, AND a little less glorius than the subsequent versions. I thought the part about "charging into the center" of a position that seems to have only had one guy in it was not exactly a statement of glory.

I still don't get it though...why bother screwing with them?

And you can't blame the clerk who filed the DD215 for deciding that the extra two service stars needed to get added, though I think McQ is most probably right with his theory of how the "V" got on the Silver Star (drat it all...).

And it's NOT like the Navy 10-11 years (or in the case of the service stars, @30 years) later just decided to go through the closed files and give everyone an 'upgrade' to their medals one day.
Why torque with them? Who has the authority to request they BE torqued? This has all the earmarks of a Vast Massachusetts Senatorial Conspiracy.

Interesting - at 12:49 Central time the PDF for Kerry's Silver star is "not responding" on his web site. Actually, looks like none of the PDF's are responding.
Most likely suddenly taking hits today from renewed interest.

Posted by: looker at August 28, 2004 01:03 PM

like the dog that didn't bark, something else is missing from this spy story link

Posted by: steve at August 28, 2004 03:43 PM