Skip to comments.Kerry campaign provides military records
Posted on 04/20/2004 5:48:11 PM PDT by kattracks
WASHINGTON (AP) Amid questions about his military records, John Kerry's campaign on Tuesday provided documentation of Vietnam War injuries that included shrapnel wounds to his arms, legs and buttocks that earned him three Purple Hearts.
Kerry spokesman Michael Meehan said the campaign was in the process of compiling the rest of Kerry's naval record and planned to begin posting it on Kerry's Web site by day's end. Kerry said all his military records are available to the public during an appearance Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Meehan said the Massachusetts senator and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee requested a copy of his record from the Navy last month and received roughly 150 pages last week.
Conservatives, talk radio and some newspapers editorials have questioned whether Kerry was deserving of the three Purple Hearts, fueling questions about his Navy service from 1966 to 1970 and the seriousness of his injuries.
He served two tours of duty, four months on the USS Gridley frigate off Vietnam's shore and nearly five months as a swiftboat commander in the Mekong Delta. He volunteered for the second tour and earned all his medals during the second stint.
Meehan gave The Associated Press 13 pages that included documentation for the Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. The Boston Globe obtained some of the records last year for an extensive series on Kerry.
The documents also included declassified reports that briefly explain the injuries that led to Kerry's Purple Heart awards. They show Kerry had shrapnel wounds in his left thigh after his boat came under intense fire on Feb. 20, 1969, and he suffered shrapnel wounds in his left buttock and contusions on his right forearm when a mine detonated close to his boat on March 13, 1969.
The campaign could not locate a similar report for Kerry's original Purple Heart. As evidence that Kerry was wounded, Meehan showed The Associated Press a "Sick Call Treatment Record" from Kerry's personal files that included a brief written note dated Dec. 3, 1968, and stamped from the naval support facility at Cam Ranh Bay.
"Shrapnel in left arm above elbow. Shrapnel removed and appl bacitracin dressing. Ret to Duty," it said. The note is followed by a signature that appears to say "JCCarreon" and some illegible letters that Meehan said probably designate the medical official's rank.
Meehan said the campaign would allow a reporter to see the record at the campaign's headquarters, but not take a copy. He said it would not be made available to the public because Kerry considers it a private medical record.
Documentation for the second two injuries show that Kerry was deemed to be in good condition and returned to active duty after treatment. The documentation does not describe the severity of the injuries. A third Purple Heart meant Kerry could be reassigned out of Vietnam, and a document dated March 17, 1969, said Kerry requested duty as a personal aid in Boston, New York or the Washington, D.C., area.
Meehan said although Kerry could have asked to stay in Vietnam, it was the Navy's decision to request that he be reassigned. Kerry left the country in early April 1969.
Ken Mehlman, President Bush's campaign manager, accused Kerry's campaign of waffling on the release of his military records, saying the campaign's position on Tuesday to release the records in "due diligence" is contrary to Kerry's comments on "Meet the Press" that the records would be made public immediately.
"Senator Kerry's record of nondisclosure and his flip-flop on this issue should concern voters," Mehlman said.
Meehan responded, "Senator Kerry's record on the military is one we are running on, not running from. We are happy to compare Senator Kerry's record of service to anybody in the Bush campaign who has or has not served."
Bush was in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War, but did not serve in combat. Bush released hundreds of pages of his Vietnam-era military records in February to counter Democrats' suggestions that he shirked his duty in the Texas Air National Guard.
The White House said the documents comprise his entire military record. The records did not provide evidence that Bush was in Alabama during a period when Democrats have questioned whether he reported for service.
Kerry on Friday questioned Republicans who avoided the war and now criticize him on national security, but he didn't mention Bush.
"I fought under that flag and I saw that flag draped over the coffins of friends," Kerry said. "I'm tired of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney and a bunch of people who went out of their way to avoid the chance to serve when they had the chance."
The Purple Heart is awarded to soldiers who are wounded or killed by enemy forces. The Silver Star is awarded for gallantry in action, and the Bronze Star is for heroic achievement.
Kerry received the Bronze Star for his actions after being wounded by the mine, which led to the third Purple Heart. According to his citation, one of Kerry's boatmates was thrown overboard and Kerry pulled him to safety with "his arm bleeding and in pain and with disregard for his personal safety." Kerry and the man, retired Los Angeles police officer Jim Rassmann, had an emotional public reunion in January, two days before Kerry would win the Iowa caucuses.
On the Net:
Facsimiles of Kerry's Purple Heart citations are available at:
Facsimiles of Kerry's bronze and silver star citations are available at:
Facsimiles of reports describing Kerry's wounds are available at:
No, he has not visited Walter Reed, nor has he visited Bethesda Naval Hospital. At least not that I know of. Many prominant Senators have been to Iraq, John Kerry has not!
John Kerry is all Leather and Chains, No Harley Davidson
Adm Zumwalt takes the credit for the SS. I believe it was in 1996 Kerrry was running for reelection and some of his former commanders, including Adm Z came to his campaign and stood shoulder to shoulder w/Kerry. Adm Z is quoted by the press at this time as saying (I am going from memory here) he would have put Kerry in for the Navy Cross, but that would have required Dept of Navy approval and would have taken too long, so he gave him the SS.
What is potentially interesting is that Adm Z, after he retired, had a consulting business in DC that specialized in contracts with Viet Nam. Recall, that JF'n had been the key Senator to allow the POW issue to be stuffed and then Clinton allowed normal trade with VN. Kerry's family company quicly received received a contract w/VN valued at or near 1 billion dollars.
One wonders what sweetheart deal Kerry might have arranged for Adm Z's consulting company to account for Z's flip flopping on his characterization of the young Naval officer JF'n.
Did you read about his records? This is a huge win for us.
He claims to have been a hero that practically fought the Vietnam war by himself, and his records show he got three boo boos and left the military to run for politics! He required nothing but a band aid, and used those "injuries" to get out early! He's still hiding the rest. Imagine what's in those if these we were the best so they were sent out first!
In my opinion, this is great news for our side. He's been caught lying through his teeth!
"The Dec. 2, 1968, mission behind what he has claimed to be his first Purple Heart was "a half-assed action that hardly qualified as combat." Indeed. Kerry was stationed with Coastal Division 14 at Cam Ranh Bay. At that time he piloted a small foam-filled boat, known as a Boston Whaler, with two enlisted men in the darkness of early morning. The intent, apparently, was to patrol an area that was known for contraband trafficking, but it was an undocumented mission. Upon approaching the objective point, the crew noticed a sampan crossing the river. As it pulled to shore, Kerry and his little team opened fire, destroying the boat and whatever its cargo might have been."
An undocumented mission sorta sounds like the 3 men just took off in the night, ran across a little trouble, enough to scare them so they opened fire. As mass55th pointed out... "There's never been a report that the smugglers fired on Kerry's group, yet he pursued (relentlessly) a Purple Heart for what was obviously a non-combat incident."
Whaaaaa! When you can't argue back with facts, cry victim!!!
But a Silver star has to be voted on and approved by all the big wigs. One person can't just give him the star. That's not how it's suppose to work. You're not suppose to be able to just buy one. Sheesh!
We've got to get the press to ask boo boo botox how he got that star. It could be fun!
To Gore's favor, he at least did not request any papercut PH's during his short stay in 'Nam. And I'm sure he bruised his fingers and broke a few nails pounding away on that typewriter.
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