Swift Boat Vets For Truth: Kerry’s Many Lies About His Vietnam Record

After the John Kerry campaign trotted out the lawyers (big surprise there) in an attempt to shut-up the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, they’ve fired back at Kerry with a devastating attack on his record in Vietnam. Here are a few of the key charges the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have made against John Kerry…

On Kerry’s first Purple Heart

…Unmentioned in Kerry’s Tour Of Duty version are the actual surrounding facts. Kerry, Lieutenant William Schachte, USN, and an enlisted man were on the whaler. Seeing movement from an unknown source, the sailors opened fire on the movement. There was no hostile fire. When Kerry’s rifle jammed, he picked up an M-79 grenade launcher and fired a grenade at a nearby object. This sprayed the boat with shrapnel from Kerry’s own grenade, a tiny piece of which embedded in Kerry’s arm.

Kerry managed to keep the tiny fragment embedded until he saw Dr. Louis Letson. Dr. Letson’s affidavit is attached as Exhibit 5. When Letson inquired why Kerry was there, Kerry said that he had been wounded by hostile fire. The accompanying crewmen indicated that Kerry was the new “JFK” and that he had actually wounded himself with an M-79. Letson removed the tiny fragment with tweezers and placed a band aid over the tiny scratch. The tiny fragment removed by Letson appeared to be an M-79 fragment, as described by the personnel accompanying Kerry.

The next morning Kerry showed up at Division Commander Grant Hibbard’s office. Hibbard had already spoken to Schachte and conducted an investigation. Hibbard’s affidavit is attached as Exhibit 11. Hibbard’s investigation revealed that Kerry’s “rose thorn” scratch had been self-inflicted in the absence of hostile fire. Hibbard, therefore, booted Kerry out of his office and denied the Purple Heart.

Some three months later, cf. Exhibit 22, after all personnel actually familiar with the events of December 2, 1969 had left Vietnam, Kerry somehow managed to obtain a Purple Heart for the December 2, 1968 event from an officer with no connection to Coastal Division 14 or knowledge of the December 2, 1968 event or of Commander Hibbard’s prior turn down of the Purple Heart request. …The sole document relied upon by Kerry is a record showing the band aid and tweezers treatment by Dr. Letson recorded by deceased corpsman, Jess Carreon.

There are no witnesses who claim to have seen hostile fire — necessary for a Purple Heart (even a rose thorn Purple Heart) — that day. At least three witnesses, Dr. Letson (who spoke to the participants and removed the M-79 fragment), Lt. Bill Schachte (on the boat), and Cmdr. Grant Hibbard (whose investigation revealed Kerry’s application for a Purple Heart to be fraudulent), are able to testify directly or based upon contemporaneous investigation that Kerry’s first Purple Heart was a fraud. Thus, Lewis Letson’s statement that “I know John Kerry is lying about a first Purple Heart” is conclusively established by the evidence. Like the third Purple Heart, Kerry’s first Purple Heart was essential to his quick trip home.

On Kerry’s third Purple Heart

…Although Kerry’s “minor” bruise could never entitle him to a Purple Heart, Kerry’s reported shrapnel wound to his “buttocks” (although minor according to the treating physician) from an enemy mine would have entitled him to such an award (had he not been lying about its origin).

…KJW identifies the report as Kerry’s. Likewise, Kerry reported his shrapnel wounds to the Navy in an injury report:

“LTJG Kerry suffered shrapnel wounds in his left buttocks and contusions on his right forearm when a mine detonated close aboard PCF-94.”

Exhibit 18. Exhibit 17 likewise identifies Kerry’s “injuries” as contusion right forearm (minor) (i.e., a small bruise) and a shrapnel wound left buttocks

Kerry’s third Purple Heart was his ticket home. It also was much of the basis of his Bronze Star, repeating “his bleeding arm” and shrapnel wound from the mine story. The problem is that his operating report was a total lie since Kerry’s shrapnel wound “in the buttocks” came not from a mine at all as he falsely reported, but at his own hand. Larry Thurlow, an officer on shore with Kerry that day, recounts that Kerry’s shrapnel wound came not from any mine, but from a self-inflicted wound when Kerry (with no enemy to be seen) threw a concussion grenade into a rice pile and stayed too close. See Exhibit 10, ¶ 3. This “brown rice” incident with rice/shrapnel lodged in Kerry from his own grenade is also recounted by James Rassman, a Kerry supporter and “the no man left behind” on page 105 of John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography By The Boston Globe Reporters Who Know Him Best, by Michael Kranish, Brian C. Mooney, and Nina J. Easton (New York: Public Affairs, 2004) (the “Kranish book”). See Exhibit 21.

Most surprisingly, John Kerry himself (while falsely reporting to the Navy and public that he suffered a shrapnel wound from a mine explosion so as to get a third Purple Heart and go home) reflected in his own journal that his buttocks’ wound came, not from any mine but, rather, from a grenade tossed into a rice cache by himself or friendly troops (in the absence of any enemy fire). “I got a piece of small grenade in my @ss from one of the rice bin explosions.” Exhibit 15, Tour, at 313; see also Exhibit 15, Tour, at 317. “Kerry . . . also had the bits of shrapnel and rice extracted from his backside.” See also the sworn statement of participants that there was no hostile fire (Exhibits 6, 7, and 10). It also should be noted that the rice extracted from Kerry’s backside could hardly be the result of an underwater mine, as Kerry claimed in his operating report.

The conclusion is inescapable: that Kerry lied by reporting to the Navy that he had been wounded by shrapnel in his backside from an enemy mine when in reality he negligently wounded himself and then lied about the wound in order to secure a third Purple Heart and a quick trip home.

On Kerry’s Bronze Star

As recounted in the attached affidavits of three on-scene participants (and verified by many others present) Kerry’s operating report, Bronze Star story, and subsequent “no man left behind” story are a total hoax on the Navy and the nation. As recounted in the affidavits of Van Odell (Exhibit 6), Jack Chenoweth (Exhibit 7), and Larry Thurlow (Exhibit 10) (and verified by every other officer present and many others), a mine went off under PCF 3 — some yards from Kerry’s boat. The force of the explosion disabled PCF 3 and knocked several sailors, dazed, into the water. All boats, except one, closed to rescue the sailors and defend the disabled boat. That boat — Kerry’s boat — fled the scene. After a short period, it was evident to all on the scene that there was no additional hostile fire. Thurlow began the daring rescue of disabled PCF 3, while Chenoweth began to pluck dazed survivors of PCF 3 from the water. Midway through the process, after it was apparent that there was no hostile fire, Kerry finally returned, picking up Rassman who was only a few yards from Chenoweth’s boat which was also going to pick Rassman up. Each of the affiants (and many other Swiftees on the scene that day) are certain that Kerry has wholly lied about the incident. Consider this: How could the disabled PCF abandon the scene of the mine? Why did Kerry have to “return” to the scene?

…Clearly, Van Odell is right when he says, “John Kerry lied to get his Bronze Star . . . I know. I was there. I saw what happened.” As Jack Chenoweth swore, “his account of what happened and what actually happened are the difference between night and day.” Most poignantly, Larry Thurlow, whose brave actions saved the PCF 3 boat that day after Kerry fled, has the right to say, “When the chips were down, you could not count on John Kerry.”

On Cambodia

If there is a consistent[1] repeated story by John Kerry about his Vietnam experience, it is his story about how he and his boat spent Christmas Eve and Christmas of 1968 illegally present in Cambodia and, listening to President Nixon’s contrary assurances, developed “a deep mistrust of U.S. government pronouncements.” See Exhibit 24, Kranish book, p. 84. The point of his story was that his government and his commanders were lying about Kerry’s presence in Cambodia on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. During a critical debate on the floor of the United States Senate on March 27, 1986, Senator John Kerry said:

Mr. President, I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. I remember what it was like to be shot at by Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge and Cambodians, and have the President of the United States telling the American people that I was not there; the troops were not in Cambodia.

I have that memory which is seared — seared — in me . . . .

Exhibit 25, Congressional Record – Senate of March 27, 1986, page 3594.

By way of further example, Kerry wrote an article for the Boston Herald on October 14, 1979:

“I remember spending Christmas Eve of 1968 five miles across the Cambodian border being shot at by our South Vietnamese allies who were drunk and celebrating Christmas. The absurdity of almost killed by our own allies in a country in which President Nixon claimed there were no American troops was very real.”

…The story is a total preposterous fabrication by Kerry. Exhibit 8 is an affidavit by the Commander of the Swift boats in Vietnam, Admiral Roy Hoffmann, stating that Kerry’s claim to be in Cambodia for Christmas Eve and Christmas of 1968 is a total lie. If necessary, similar affidavits are available from the entire chain of command. In reality, Kerry was at Sa Dec — easily locatable on any map more than fifty miles from Cambodia. Kerry himself inadvertently admits that he was in Sa Dec for Christmas Eve and Christmas and not in Cambodia, as he had stated for so many years on the Senate Floor, in the newspapers, and elsewhere. Exhibit 27, Tour, pp. 213-219. Sa Dec is hardly “close” to the Cambodian border. In reality, far from being ordered secretly to Cambodia, Kerry spent a pleasant night at Sa Dec with “visions of sugar plums” dancing in his head. Exhibit 27, p. 219. At Sa Dec where the Swift boat patrol area ended, there were many miles of other boats (PBR’s) leading to the Cambodian border. There were also gunboats on the border to prevent any crossing. If Kerry tried to get through, he would have been arrested. Obviously, Kerry has hardly been honest about his service in Vietnam.

Folks, these are men who treated Kerry for wounds, fought beside him in other boats, & that were in his line of command. They’re also veterans who went to Vietnam and risked their lives, just like John Kerry.

Furthermore, their accounts sound VERY credible and it’s quite easy to understand why they came forward.

Imagine how you’d feel if you served with a guy in a combat situation and you didn’t really think much of him.

Then, a few months later, he turns up stateside, waving around a bunch of medals you don’t think he earned, and telling the entire world that people like YOU are war criminals.

Then, fast forward to 2004 and here’s this same guy running as a combination of Sgt. York, Patton, & John Paul Jones. Put another way, as Captain George Elliott, USN (retired) from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth said…

“In 1971, ’72, for almost 18 months, (John Kerry) stood before the television audiences and claimed that the 500,000 men and women in Vietnam, and in combat, were all villains — there were no heroes. In 2004, one hero from the Vietnam War has appeared, running for President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief. It just galls one to think about it.”

If you were in their position, if you knew John Kerry was lying through his teeth and was using those lies as the basis of his presidential campaign, wouldn’t you step forward and try to let people know the truth?

*** Update #1***: Remember that memory that was “seared” into John Kerry? According to Fox News reporter, Carl Cameron,The Swift Boat Vets for Truth have already caught Kerry in a lie. He just reported that the Kerry campaign is now saying John Kerry WAS NOT in Cambodia in 1968.

If John Kerry lied about being in Cambodia, what other parts of his military record is he lying about? I can’t wait to see how this plays out…

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