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Soldier with Kerry in '68 says he earned first medal
Cleveland Plain Dealer ^ | August 16, 2004 | Bill Sloat

Posted on 08/21/2004 6:27:02 AM PDT by John Jorsett

Trotwood, Ohio - An Ohio factory worker who was with John Kerry on a dangerous night mission 36 years ago in Vietnam said he has no doubt Kerry was grazed in a firefight and deserves his first Purple Heart for a combat injury.

"We were on about a 14-foot boat with an outboard motor. We started out, taking a guess, around 10 p.m. We were sup posed to sneak up and check sampans," said Pat Runyon, a 58-year-old grandfather from Eaton, a small southwestern Ohio town near the Indiana border.

Runyon, an enlisted man who served on Swift boats in Vietnam, was not a regular member of Kerry's crew.

He said in an interview Sunday he somehow was chosen - "Let me tell you, I didn't volunteer" - to go out on the Dec. 2, 1968, mission, called a "skim op" in Navy slang.

The small, flat-bottomed boat - Runyon called it a "skimmer" - carried three men - Kerry in command, Bill Zaledonis on a machine gun and Runyon operating the outboard motor.

Once in place on the river, the three U.S. sailors paddled and drifted. Covered by the darkness, they hid to stop sampans, small vessels common in Southeast Asia. Guerillas used the sampans to smuggle weapons in the Mekong River Delta.

Runyon said Kerry was wounded after one vessel tried to avoid an inspection.

"Lt. Kerry said, 'I'm going to pop a flare, and when I do, I want that engine started,' " Runyon said. But the outboard would not crank. Meanwhile, the sampan's crew steered it to the riverbank, and people started running on the shore. Runyon said shooting broke out.

Somehow, Kerry's weapon stopped firing. Runyon thinks he ran out of ammunition. He said Kerry bent down to pick up another gun and got hit in the arm.

"It wasn't a serious wound," Runyon said, and Kerry was able to start shooting again. When the firefight was over, Runyon said Kerry told him all he felt was a "burning sensation."

Runyon said he remembers the incident clearly because it was the first time he had been in combat. "I hadn't seen any kind of action or anything," he said.

He said Kerry, Zaledonis and himself were the only men aboard. When he got the motor started, they took off. He said the outboard was in bad condition and did not have a handle to steer with. "I had to wrap my arms around it, like hugging it, to turn it," he recalled.

Runyon now works the second shift at a plant that makes auto parts in Eaton. He works in the shipping department.

He is supporting Democratic nominee Kerry for president, but said he is not a Democrat and has never been active in politics. He said he and Kerry met for the first time since that night in 1968 at a rally in Dayton this year.

Runyon said he introduced himself to the Massachusetts senator and Kerry did not remember him. "When I talked to him about that night, he remembered the incident but not my name. He just eased up once he knew I was who I said I was."

Runyon was at a Democratic picnic Sunday in Trotwood, a Dayton suburb, where he told the small gathering of party activists that an anti-Kerry veterans group was smearing the senator with false charges. "It's very poor to try and discredit him after [36] years," Runyon said. "That's very poor."

Runyon said that firefight with Kerry is his brush with fame.

"I saw a nice, quiet guy who knew he was in command and didn't flaunt it. He could make a decision, and he made the right one because we got out of there alive. That's all I can tell you."


TOPICS: News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: kerry; militaryrecord; patrunyon; purplehearts; swiftboatvets
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1 posted on 08/21/2004 6:27:02 AM PDT by John Jorsett
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To: John Jorsett

All Kerry has to do is sign the SF-180 and let the Medical Records speak for the injury.


2 posted on 08/21/2004 6:33:35 AM PDT by tobyhill (The war on terrorism is not for the weak!)
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To: John Jorsett
"I saw a nice, quiet guy who knew he was in command and didn't flaunt it."

LOL! Why does he flaunt it to this day?

3 posted on 08/21/2004 6:34:20 AM PDT by Jet Jaguar (Who would the terrorists vote for?)
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To: John Jorsett

Daschle would say "The timing of this is very curious."


4 posted on 08/21/2004 6:34:24 AM PDT by rebel_yell2
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To: John Jorsett

Amazing. They can't even mention that this entire episode is in dispute by the Commander of the Swift Boats as well Schachte, who says he was there (and letter went on to become Judge Advocate General of the Navy)? Amazing.


5 posted on 08/21/2004 6:35:09 AM PDT by The G Man (Soldiers bled! Kerry fled!)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Darn it! You beat me to it!


6 posted on 08/21/2004 6:35:46 AM PDT by shiva
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Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: Baynative
Hold on, hoss. Kerry says his first medal came by way of an M-79 schrapnel wound sufferred in a daytime mission.

How about that!? Kerry is due for a fourth Purple Heart he didn't even put in for!!!! </Knee_Padder_mode>

9 posted on 08/21/2004 6:42:56 AM PDT by VadeRetro
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To: John Jorsett
In the book "Unfit for Command" Runyon gives two versions of Kerry's injury during this December 2, 1968 incident. On page 35, Runyon says "I can't say for sure that we got return fire or how Kerry got nicked. I coudn't say one way or the other. I know he did get nicked, a scrape on the arm." Then in a separate conversation, Runyon related that he never knew Kerry was wounded.

Kerry's band o' brothers can't keep their stories straight.

10 posted on 08/21/2004 6:43:15 AM PDT by itsinthebag
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To: Baynative

That's what I was wondering about too. The records ought to be easily checked. The application for the Purple Heart contains the circumstances under which the applicant was wounded. The fact that this story was published on Aug 16th and hasn't been noted elsewhere makes me suspect that it doesn't hold up under scrutiny, or Kerry'd be shouting it from the rooftops about now.


11 posted on 08/21/2004 6:43:42 AM PDT by John Jorsett
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To: John Jorsett
More spin. If there was hostile fire, why wasn't an after action report filed? Where is the casualty report?

Given the source, the SBVFT need to respond to this. Runyon is listed on page 35 of Unfit for Command. Runyon's testimony runs counter to what ADM Schachte says. He was the OIC on board the skimmer.

12 posted on 08/21/2004 6:44:24 AM PDT by kabar
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To: Baynative
Another brand new story that even Lurch hasn't told yet!

Hugh Hewitt has taken to calling him Senator Sybil. Very apt, I think.

13 posted on 08/21/2004 6:45:05 AM PDT by John Jorsett
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To: John Jorsett
Help me with Navy jargon. Was Kerry ever in command of a boat. Or am I straining the minutia?
14 posted on 08/21/2004 6:47:23 AM PDT by OldEagle (Haven't been wrong since 1947, but some are still hoping!)
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To: Baynative
Hold on, hoss. Kerry says his first medal came by way of an M-79 schrapnel wound sufferred in a daytime mission.,/i>

Could you please state the source for that. It was at night according to all reports I have ever read.

15 posted on 08/21/2004 6:47:56 AM PDT by kabar
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To: John Jorsett
This story sounds a bit hokey. The more I hear about Johnny's bumbling escapades on the water it reminds me of the late JFK and his bumbling mistakes on PT 109. JFK's fellow commanders thought he was an incompetent boat skipper.
16 posted on 08/21/2004 6:49:53 AM PDT by jetson (throne)
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To: OldEagle

Yes, he was "in command" of the swiftboat he was in.


17 posted on 08/21/2004 6:50:10 AM PDT by John Jorsett
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To: John Jorsett
I really wonder if that was Kerry he was with. Kerry didn't remember him. I would think Kerry would know exactly who he was with if he had "earned" a purple heart. Wouldn't the names of the witnesses be on the citation?
18 posted on 08/21/2004 6:51:50 AM PDT by P-Marlowe
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To: John Jorsett

But Kerry's diary disputes this story. I suspect another paid supporter.


19 posted on 08/21/2004 6:53:46 AM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (Conspiracy Guy, PBWD, Secretary of Humor and Tomfoolery)
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To: P-Marlowe

Wouldn't this be seared in his memory?


20 posted on 08/21/2004 6:56:06 AM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (Conspiracy Guy, PBWD, Secretary of Humor and Tomfoolery)
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To: John Jorsett

The 58 year-old grandfather quoted in the story apparently has Alzheimer's and has no clue what the heck he is talking about. Kerry has NEVER claimed that he earned his 1st PH on a night exercise in a 14 foot boat. He has (so far, at least) consistently maintained that he was on his Swift Boat and fired a grenade at rocks on the opposing shore, allegedly returning fire at enemy troops (a story that has never been confirmed by anyone else who was there).

The wound was so minor, the Dr. who treated him THE NEXT DAY only felt it needed nothing more than a band-aid and a lollypop. Even the treating physician recognized the piece of shrapnel as coming from an American grenade, NOT an enemy weapon.

However, if Kerry like this story better, he could always change his story - especially since he won't release his records which he knows don't support his lies.


21 posted on 08/21/2004 6:58:01 AM PDT by DustyMoment (Repeal CFR NOW!!)
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To: John Jorsett
Kerry's weapon stopped firing. Runyon thinks he ran out of ammunition. He said Kerry bent down to pick up another gun and got hit in the arm.

"It wasn't a serious wound," Runyon said, and Kerry was able to start shooting again. When the firefight was over, Runyon said Kerry told him all he felt was a "burning sensation."

Isn't this the wound that Kerry inflicted on himself by shooting a grenade against a rock on shore?

22 posted on 08/21/2004 6:59:54 AM PDT by harrycarey
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To: John Jorsett
Somehow, Kerry's weapon stopped firing.

Was he contemplating the atrocities he was about to commit?

23 posted on 08/21/2004 7:00:30 AM PDT by raybbr (My 1.4 cents - It used to be 2 cents, but after taxes - you get the idea.)
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Comment #24 Removed by Moderator

To: OldEagle
"Help me with Navy jargon. Was Kerry ever in command of a boat. Or am I straining the minutia?"

According to this article:

Kerry's War Journal Contradicts Medal Claim

The Dec. 2nd incident took place on board a smaller craft called a Boston Whaler. Remember, the only thing the Kerry campaign claims they could find about the first Purple Heart was a medical treatment sheet which described him being treated on Dec. 3rd with Bacitracin and a bandaid.

Kerry's campaign claims no after action report could be found on this incident. How convenient. But it's the actual journal entry of having not yet been under any enemy fire dated Dec. 11th that proves Kerry more than likely wounded himself with his own actions.

25 posted on 08/21/2004 7:08:08 AM PDT by mass55th ( “Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.”)
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To: DustyMoment
The 58 year-old grandfather quoted in the story apparently has Alzheimer's and has no clue what the heck he is talking about. Kerry has NEVER claimed that he earned his 1st PH on a night exercise in a 14 foot boat. He has (so far, at least) consistently maintained that he was on his Swift Boat and fired a grenade at rocks on the opposing shore, allegedly returning fire at enemy troops (a story that has never been confirmed by anyone else who was there).

You are wrong. Kerry claimed and received a PH for the actions that night onboard the Boston Whaler or skimmer. The date on his PH is December 2, 1968 for wounds received in action. The Swift Boat towed the skimmer into the area and towed it back after the training mission was over. Kerry's acount is contained in Tour of Duty and quoted in Unfit for Command pp 31-34.

26 posted on 08/21/2004 7:08:14 AM PDT by kabar
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To: P-Marlowe
Wouldn't the names of the witnesses be on the citation?

No. IF supporting documentation were required for the award, and witness statements were part of that, then that is were other names might be identified.

27 posted on 08/21/2004 7:09:14 AM PDT by There's millions of'em (The election will be the last Kerry after action report.)
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To: itsinthebag

Ive been wondering why the boston whaler was towed back after this "training mission"


28 posted on 08/21/2004 7:12:57 AM PDT by mylife (The roar of the masses could be farts)
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To: Baynative

There are plenty of inconsistencies about the first PH. Besides the fact there was no casualty report and no after action report, no one knows who approved the first PH. It was approved on February 28, 1969 almost three months later and after Kerry had been transferred from Coastal Division 14 to Coastal Division 11. It is no wonder that Kerry doesn't want to release his records.


29 posted on 08/21/2004 7:16:37 AM PDT by kabar
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To: mylife
Ive been wondering why the boston whaler was towed back after this "training mission"

It has to do with range and speed and how far the base was from the operating area.

30 posted on 08/21/2004 7:18:19 AM PDT by kabar
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To: John Jorsett; Travis McGee; Squantos; sneakypete; Chapita

It was a dark and stormy night, there I was out of bullets, just my old Boy Scout pocketknife....

Finish this story after I get back with another couple of six packs.


31 posted on 08/21/2004 7:21:13 AM PDT by razorback-bert
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Comment #32 Removed by Moderator

To: itsinthebag
He said he and Kerry met for the first time since that night in 1968 at a rally in Dayton this year.

He obviously left off this part:

"At which time Kerry's campaign briefed me on the story I was to tell the press and handed me the payoff check".

33 posted on 08/21/2004 7:22:36 AM PDT by TheBattman (http://www.swiftvets.com/)
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To: kabar

Too bad that on Dec. 11, 1968, he wrote in his diary that "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."

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=40006


The fact that this has been written up in the far-left counterpunch.org website (in an article amusingly titled "Hail, the Conquering War Criminal Comes") only makes the irony even sweeter.

Qwinn


34 posted on 08/21/2004 7:26:54 AM PDT by Qwinn2
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To: kabar
"It was approved on February 28, 1969 almost three months later and after Kerry had been transferred from Coastal Division 14 to Coastal Division 11."

Kerry couldn' t take no for an answer on the first Purple Heart. He waited until the timing was right to pursue it until he finally got it. Kerry never could follow orders or procedures. He was arrogant and rash. His behavior reminds me of the convicts I used to have to deal with. They'd ask you for something and you'd tell them "NO!" But then they'd continue asking other supervisors for it until they found one weak enough to give in to them. That's the same type of manipulation that kids play between their parents.

The First PH was finally issued on February 20, 1969. The second PH incident occurred on February 20, 1969 and the third on March 13, 1969. So in essence, Kerry actually got his 3 Purple Hearts within a 20 day period. Amazing huh? Even Audie Murphy couldn't claim that.

35 posted on 08/21/2004 7:36:00 AM PDT by mass55th ( “Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.”)
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To: Baynative
The report that confused me was an AAR that stated Kerry wounded himself on a 'training mission' in which no enemy was encountered.

I am not familiar with that AAR. I assume you are talking about an official report. Do you know where I can find it?

36 posted on 08/21/2004 7:37:52 AM PDT by kabar
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To: razorback-bert
"It was a dark and stormy night, there I was out of bullets, just my old Boy Scout pocketknife...."

...a night that is seared, seared in my mind and one that will live in infamy.

Your turn...

37 posted on 08/21/2004 7:38:04 AM PDT by mass55th ( “Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.”)
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To: John Jorsett

Thats a tough call....when you are in combat or any emergency life threatening situation with someone...and you feel they saved your life...

Its difficult for you to condemn the person who you feel saved your life or join in condemnation of that person regardless of what others 'say' he did...

cognitive dissonance

Let the man have his say and his opinon of Kerry he earned it....

There is a preponderance of evidence and credible wittnesses to hoist Kerry on his own petard...

Kerry's problem is with the truth...his lying on his reports...falsifiying US Navy documents...

Lying to congress....betraying the POWs and their familes....consorting with the enemy...

Like father like son...


38 posted on 08/21/2004 7:38:26 AM PDT by joesnuffy (Moderate Islam Is For Dilettantes)
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To: mass55th

Slight correction. The first PH was issued on February 28 according to the letter from COMNAVSUPPACT Saigon


39 posted on 08/21/2004 7:39:43 AM PDT by kabar
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To: kabar
"Slight correction. The first PH was issued on February 28 according to the letter from COMNAVSUPPACT Saigon"

You're right, slight typo there. I was going to type 28th and must have had 20th on my brain while I was doing it. I can only claim senility.

40 posted on 08/21/2004 7:41:17 AM PDT by mass55th ( “Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.”)
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To: kabar

Senility sets in again. I wanted to also ask: when you look at the fact that the 3 Purple Hearts were received within a 20 day period, and that Kerry had actually been denied the first Purple Heart, but pursued it after he left the Division, why aren't more questions being raised about this timeline? I'm wondering if the award of these 3 PH's in such a short timespan isn't worth mention in the Guiness World Records book.


41 posted on 08/21/2004 7:44:58 AM PDT by mass55th ( “Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.”)
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To: mass55th

I might add that the so called injuries justifying the three PHs occurred on December 2 (approved Feb 28), Feb 20 (approved March 5), and March 13 (approved April 17). What is interesting that Kerry requested to leave on March 17 and left Vietnam on March 26 before the third award was even approved on April 17.


42 posted on 08/21/2004 7:45:55 AM PDT by kabar
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Comment #43 Removed by Moderator

To: kabar
"What is interesting that Kerry requested to leave on March 17 and left Vietnam on March 26 before the third award was even approved on April 17."

Boy, he couldn't wait to get his a$$ out of 'Nam could he? Chicken $hit that he is.

44 posted on 08/21/2004 7:49:08 AM PDT by mass55th ( “Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.”)
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To: mass55th
I have qualify this. I read this on the Internet a few months ago and have no backing other than what I remember reading.

The Doctor or medic that treated this wound stated that Kerry worked hard to keep the splinter in his arm and track me down so it would not fall out in it's own.

I remember reading this. I have no idea if it is accurate.
45 posted on 08/21/2004 7:49:14 AM PDT by Jet Jaguar (Who would the terrorists vote for?)
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Comment #46 Removed by Moderator

To: mass55th

Re the twenty days: I think you are mixing up the dates when the "injuries" occurred with the dates awarded. Although the first PH was approved on Feb 28, the PH is for injuries occurred on Dec 2.


47 posted on 08/21/2004 7:50:00 AM PDT by kabar
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To: mass55th
Boy, he couldn't wait to get his a$$ out of 'Nam could he? Chicken $hit that he is.

Exactly right. O'Neill makes that point. Kerry told Brinkley that it was an agonizing decision for him to decide to leave his shipmates behind and after two weeks, he decided to leave because he could be more effective in stopping the war being in the US. The only problem is that Kerry was "wounded" on March 13 and a request was sent to BUPERS on March 17 for him to be reassigned based on 3 PHs. Kerry must have put his request to leave almost immediately to have the command in Saigon request his transfer just four days later. The guy is a fraud and maybe nuts.

48 posted on 08/21/2004 7:56:37 AM PDT by kabar
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To: kabar

I had suspected it was because it was just a goofy training mission


49 posted on 08/21/2004 7:56:45 AM PDT by mylife (The roar of the masses could be farts)
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To: Baynative

OK. Thanks. Normally, an AAR is only filed after enemy action or a major event.


50 posted on 08/21/2004 8:02:06 AM PDT by kabar
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