by John Hawkins | August 18, 2004 9:59 pm
The Swift Boat Vets for Truth story first got traction on talk radio and in the blogosphere, but now the story is spreading to the mainstream media and John Kerry is taking a beating.
In fact, the Washington Times has posted a very convincing piece from Swift Boat Vets for Truth John O’Neill and Jerome Corsi that seems to conclusively show that John Kerry lied to get his first Purple Heart. Here are the highlights…
At the time of this incident, Kerry was an officer in command (OinC) under training. He was aboard the skimmer using the call sign “Robin” on the operation; Schachte, using the call sign “Batman,” also was on the skimmer.
After Kerry’s M-16 jammed, Kerry picked up an M-79 grenade launcher and fired a grenade too close, causing a tiny piece of shrapnel (one to two centimeters) to barely stick in his arm. Schachte berated Kerry for almost putting someone’s eye out.
There was no hostile fire of any kind, nor did Kerry on the way back mention to OinC Mike Voss, who commanded the PCF that towed the skimmer, that he was wounded.
There was no report of hostile fire that day (as would be required), nor do the records at Cam Ranh Bay reveal such hostile fire. No other records reflect hostile fire. There is no casualty report, as would have been required had there actually been a casualty.
To the surprise of both Schachte and the treating doctor, Louis Letson, Kerry managed to keep the tiny hanging fragment barely embedded in his arm until he arrived at sick bay miles away. Kerry was examined by Letson, who never has forgotten the experience and related it to his Democratic county chairman early in the 2004 primary campaign.
Letson, observing Kerry’s unimpressive scratch, asked in surprise, “Why are you here?” Kerry answered, “I’ve been wounded by hostile fire.” Accompanying crewmen told Letson that Kerry had wounded himself. Letson used tweezers to remove the tiny fragment, which he identified as shrapnel like that from an M-79 (not from a rifle bullet), and put a small bandage on Kerry’s arm.
The following morning, Kerry appeared at the office of Cmdr. Hibbard and applied for the Purple Heart. Hibbard turned down the award.
…Hibbard: …This was 36 years ago; it really didn’t seem all that important at the time. Here was this lieutenant, junior grade, who was saying, “I got wounded,” and everybody else, the crew that were present were saying, “We didn’t get any fire. We don’t know how he got the scratch.”
Kerry showed me the scratch on his arm. I hadn’t been informed that he had any medical treatment. The scratch didn’t look like much to me; I’ve seen worse injuries from a rose thorn.
…Q: How did Kerry get a Purple Heart from the incident, then?
Hibbard: I don’t know. It beats me. I know I didn’t recommend him for a Purple Heart. Kerry probably wrote up the paperwork and recommended himself, that’s all I can figure out. If it ever came across my desk, I don’t have any recollection of it. Kerry didn’t get my signature. I said “no way” and told him to get out of my office.
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…Kerry somehow “gamed the system” nearly three months later to obtain the Purple Heart that Hibbard had denied. How he obtained the award is unknown, since his continued refusal to execute Standard Form 180 means that whatever other documents exist are known only to Kerry, the Department of Defense and God.
Only a treatment record reflecting a scratch and a certificate signed three months later have been produced. There is no “after-action” hostile fire or casualty report. This is because there was no hostile fire, casualty, or action on this “most frightening night” of Kerry’s Vietnam experience.
(The doctor who treated Kerry) Letson agreed with Hibbard, in a statement the doctor gave us in April, that Kerry’s injury was minor and probably self-inflicted:
…”According to Kerry, they had been engaged in a firefight, receiving small arms fire from on shore. He said that his injury resulted from this enemy action.
“The story he told was different from what his crewmen had to say about that night. Some of his crew confided that they did not receive any fire from shore, but that Kerry had fired a grenade round at close range to the shore. The crewman who related this story thought that the injury was from a fragment of the grenade shell that had ricocheted back from the rocks. That seemed to fit the injury I treated.
“What I saw was a small piece of metal sticking very superficially in the skin of Kerry’s arm. The metal fragment measured about one centimeter in length and was about two or three millimeters in diameter. It certainly did not look like a round from a rifle,” Letson continued.
“I simply removed the piece of metal by lifting it out of the skin with forceps. I doubt that it penetrated more than three or four millimeters. It did not require probing to find it, nor did it require any anesthesia to remove it. It did not require any sutures to close the wound. The wound was covered with a Band-Aid. No other injuries were reported and I do not recall that there was any injury to the boat.
“I remember that Jess Carreon [Letson’s corpsman, now dead] was present at the time, and he, in fact, made the entry into Lieutenant Kerry’s medical record.”
Interestingly enough, John Kerry’s own biography, ‘Tour Of Duty’, has a passage in it that backs up Corsi and O’Neill’s contention that John Kerry is lying about how he got his first Purple Heart. Keep in mind that the entry you’re about to read is from Dec 11th, 1968, 9 days after Kerry claims that he took “enemy fire” that led to his first Purple Heart….
“They pulled away from the pier at Cat Lo with spirits high, feeling satisfied with the way things were going for them. They had no lust for battle, but they also were not afraid. Kerry wrote in his notebook, ‘A cocky feeling of invincibility accompanied us up the Long Tau shipping channel because we hadn’t been shot at yet, and Americans at war who haven’t been shot at are allowed to be cocky.”
Come on folks, John Kerry obviously lied to get his first Purple Heart. To believe otherwise, is to belive that…
— John Kerry’s doctor was lying
— John Kerry’s commander was lying
— John Kerry’s own biography was wrong
Moreover, keep in mind that if John Kerry’s lied about his first Purple Heart — and that looks highly likely at this point — it didn’t just enable him to get a medal he didn’t deserve, it allowed him to get out of the line of fire in Vietnam 243 DAYS EARLY. Then, just to add insult to injury, it looks as if Kerry used a medal that he didn’t deserve as a stepping stone to fame and fortune in the anti-war movement and in politics. If that is the case, John Kerry is “Unfit to Command”.
These are serious and VERY CREDIBLE charges, especially in light of the fact that John Kerry has already been caught lying about spending Christmas of 1968 in Cambodia, and they should be treated as such.
That means stonewalling and smear attacks on people making the charges aren’t going to cut it. John Kerry should comment publicly on what really happened that day, release his FULL military records, explain why his biography says he hadn’t taken any fire, and he should also talk about his meetings with Hibbard and Letson. It looks bad for Kerry at this point, so if he has an explanation, he should go ahead and offer it up…
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