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.
ROFL!! Now that's a real possibility.
I'm with you on that one. I had no idea that Purple Hearts were something a person requests. I always thought it was an honor bestowed on deserving individuals for service wounds under enemy fire.
We are also told that when contemplating the awarding of the Purple Heart that commanders have key details to consider. This indicates (1) That commanders have discretion upon reflection, and (2) That some evidence is more important than other evidence.
Therefore, one thing commanders should determine is whether or not the injury REQUIRED medical attention. Also, they should consider the implied understanding that the Purple Heart is a serious medal that should not be awarded frivolously.
I believe the opening section of that comment: The Dec. 2, 1968 mission... are my words. The part that came from Brinkley's book is this: "a half-assed action that hardly qualified as combat."
I've used these two paragraphs in several other postings here on FR. I think when I cut and pasted it for the reply in this thread, I put the quotes in the wrong place and it looked as if Brinkley had actually made the opening part of that sentence. Sorry.
BINGO, It takes a lot of nerve to request a Purple Heart for an injury such as a minor flesh wound. I am in no position to condemn Kerry for doing so, but I think it's fair to question why he would insist on campaigning on his Vietnam Service
LOL. I'm fine with the gardening but I'm dangerous inside, at least I am to myself. Last week I was cleaning out closets, getting things together for a church yard sale. Got on a step ladder poking around in a hall closet, came down the steps carefully but with my arms piled high, the cleaning lady had placed a basket beside the ladder, I forgot I'd asked her to do that. I stepped in the basket, and weaved, stumbled, staggered down the hallway, finally came to a halt when the basket slide into a rug. I went down on one knee. LOL. It was hilarous I'm sure but you couldn't prove it my looking at my poor knee. Its still bruised.
Does this mean we can't call him "Lead Butt"???
Paranoia, or guilt. He knew we'd find out.
Kerry was forefront in attempting to slander an entire generation of soldiers.
The moral equivalency argument was merely his attempt to drag us all down with him.
It's obvious to me he hasn't changed. Consider that before you pay a dime for his dance.
Sorry if I'm way off base, but the comments from 'familyofman' makes me feel like he/she was in those secret anti-war meetings.
The SS is awarded by a certain level commander. I do not know what specific level of command was required to award the SS, but I would speculate that Adm Z had that authority.
By Thomas Lipscomb
The New York Sun | March 1, 2004
Senator Kerry recently wrote a letter to President Bush complaining, You and your campaign have initiated a widespread attack on my service in Vietnam, my decision to speak out to end that war, and warning, I will not sit back and allow my patriotism to be challenged.
In the absence of any evidence from Mr. Kerry of an attack from the Bush campaign, Mr. Kerry seems to have originated his own doctrine of pre-emption. How valid are his concerns?
No one denies Mr. Kerrys four bemedaled months in Swiftboats or his seven-months service as an electrical officer on board the USS Gridley, during its cruises back and forth to California, or even his months as an admirals aide in Brooklyn, before he was able get out of the Navy six months early to run for office.
Taking a look at Mr. Kerrys much-promoted Vietnam service, his military record was, indeed, remarkable in many ways. Last week, the former assistant secretary of defense and Fletcher School of Diplomacy professor, W. Scott Thompson, recalled a conversation with the late Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr. that clearly had a slightly different take on Mr. Kerrys recollection of their discussions:
[T]he fabled and distinguished chief of naval operations,Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, told me 30 years ago when he was still CNO that during his own command of U.S. naval forces in Vietnam, just prior to his anointment as CNO, young Kerry had created great problems for him and the other top brass,by killing so many non-combatant civilians and going after other non-military targets.We had virtually to straitjacket him to keep him under control, the admiral said. Bud Zumwalt got it right when he assessed Kerry as having large ambitions but promised that his career in Vietnam would haunt him if he were ever on the national stage. And this statement was made despite the fact Zumwalt had personally pinned a Silver Star on Mr. Kerry.
Mr. Kerry was assigned to Swiftboat 44 on December 1, 1968. Within 24 hours, he had his first Purple Heart. Mr. Kerry accumulated three Purple Hearts in four months with not even a day of duty lost from wounds, according to his training officer. Its a pity one cannot read his Purple Heart medical treatment reports which have been withheld from the public. The only person preventing their release is Mr. Kerry.
By his own admission during those four months, Mr. Kerry continually kept ramming his Swiftboat onto an enemy-held shore on assorted occasions alone and with a few men, killing civilians and even a wounded enemy soldier. One can begin to appreciate Zumwalts problem with Mr. Kerry as commander of an unarmored craft dependent upon speed of maneuver to keep it and its crew from being shot to pieces.
Mr. Kerry now refers to those civilian deaths as accidents of war.And within four days of his third Purple Heart, Mr. Kerry applied to take advantage of a technicality which allowed him to request immediate transfer to a stateside post.
Once back in the States, Mr. Kerry joined the struggle for our veterans, as he called it last week in Atlanta, by joining a scruffy organization called the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. The VVAWs executive director, Al Hubbard, supposedly a former Air Force captain wounded in Vietnam, quickly appointed Mr. Kerry to the executive committee.
Mr. Kerry participated with the VVAW at agitprop rallies such as Valley Forge and the Winter Soldier guerrilla theater atrocity trials in Detroit, finally testifying in April 1971 before the Senate as an authority on the war crimes his fellow American servicemen had committed in Vietnam.
Outside of his own accidents of war, there is no evidence that Mr. Kerry had then or has now the least idea what may or may not have been the realities of ground combat. However, he had no problem reeling off for the Senate a series of unproven, secondhand allegations that would have been perfectly at home at the Nuremberg trials indicting his fellow veterans.
Mr. Kerry stated there were war crimes committed in Southeast Asia...not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-today basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do. Then Mr. Kerry got specific:
They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam...we are more guilty than any other body of violations of those Geneva Conventions; in the use of free-fire zones, harassment interdiction fire, search-and-destroy missions, the bombings, the torture of prisoners, all accepted policy by many units in South Vietnam.
In other words, My Lai was just another day in the life of the Vietnam War.
This wasnt a one-time occasion. The VVAW had been peddling this line from the day Mr. Kerry joined them and had been publishing charges like this for the previous two years. Mr. Kerry repeated them on Meet the Press with Al Hubbard, who was found to be a total fraud and who never served in Vietnam, much less was wounded. However, Mr. Kerry has never renounced the charges he made.
Recently, his fellow VVAW supporter, Jane Fonda, has tried to minimize a potentially damaging picture of him a few rows behind her at the three-day VVAW Valley Forge rally in September 1970. And many members of the press fell for the line that it was accidental or coincidental, including Foxs Chris Wallace and ABCs Tim Russert.
However, there were only eight or nine speakers that day, including Donald Sutherland, Mark Lane, Bella Abzug, and Ms. Fonda. And far from being a casual audience member, Mr. Kerry, an executive committee member, not Ms. Fonda, was the lead speaker. Ms. Fonda had been funding VVAW events since before Mr. Kerry joined its executive committee. At Valley Forge, Ms. Fonda said: My Lai was not an isolated incident but rather a way of life for many of our military.
Their appearance together in that picture may be a lot of things, but it was not a coincidence.
Mr. Kerry has already confessed his complicity in killing civilians as accidents of war. However, he has offered a classic Nuremberg defense that this was not only a commonplace occurrence throughout the Vietnam War, but he was carrying out a policy with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.
His commander of naval operations in Vietnam, who specifically designed the mission that Mr. Kerry and the other Swiftboat commanders executed, Admiral Zumwalt, clearly disagreed. An examination of the truth behind this disagreement is not an attack on Mr. Kerry. It is a matter of vital historical interest.
Yes, quite right. But I believe that referenced conversation took place some years prior to 1996. Hence my interest in what happened to cause Adm Z to change his characterization.
Did I forget anything?
Reese recalls the Feb. 28 battle essentially as Kerry has recounted it: a brief, fierce firefight with guerrillas protecting a munitions depot. "I remember John later expressing embarrassment" that he had received the Silver Star within a week of the action, an unusually brief interlude, Reese said.
From what I read on Vets Against Kerry, he'd need to be voted that star by quite a few of the upper commanders. They too want to know who voted and who signed off. One man couldn't do it alone. They wanted the names.
I would say, based on the criteria, a bruise suffered as a direct result of enemy action, qualifies one for the Purple Heart.
Read Section b. (2) again.
"A physical lesion is not required, however, the wound for which the award is made must have required treatment by a medical officer...."
In the Navy, a "medical officer" is defined as an M.D. or a D.O. I was a Navy medical officer. My Navy Corpsmen were not "medical officers".
In other words, a Purple Heart is awarded for a wound serious enough to require treatment by a "Doctor" and is not awarded for every cut, scrape or bruise seen at Sick Call by a Navy Corpsman or an Army Medic.
The vast majority of bruises do not "require treament" by an M.D. With most children, a bruise only requires Mommy to kiss it and make it better.
John F. Kerry (right) in central Vietnam in 1994 to observe efforts to account for US MIAs.
What an *SS!
Something sure smells, doesn't it? Once we get all the records, maybe we'll know the real story about our "hero."
Wait until the press picks apart what we already read. So far, FOX is discussing how people get purple hearts for a bruise, and how Kerry's injuries were minimal. It's a start!