Skip to comments.Admiral speaks out, disputes Kerry's account of 1st wound
Posted on 08/27/2004 2:43:43 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
NEW YORK -- Retired Rear Adm. William L. Schachte Jr. said Thursday in his first on-the-record interview about the swift boat veterans dispute that "I was absolutely in the skimmer" in the early morning on Dec. 2, 1968, when Lt. (j.g.) John Kerry was involved in an incident that led to his first Purple Heart.
"Kerry nicked himself with a M-79 [grenade launcher]," Schachte said in a telephone interview from his home in Charleston, S.C. He said, "Kerry requested a Purple Heart."
Schachte, also a lieutenant junior grade, said he was in command of the small boat called a Boston whaler or skimmer, with Kerry aboard in his first combat mission in the Vietnam War. The third crew member was an enlisted man, whose name Schachte did not remember.
Two enlisted men who appeared at the podium with Kerry at the Democratic National Convention in Boston have asserted that they were alone in the small boat with Kerry, with no other officer present. Schachte said it "was not possible" for Kerry to have gone out alone so soon after joining the swift boat command in late November 1968.
Kerry supporters said no critics of the Democratic presidential nominee ever were aboard a boat with him in combat. Washington lawyer Lanny Davis has contended that Schachte was not aboard the Boston whaler and says the statement that Schachte was aboard in Unfit for Command undermines that critical book's credibility.
Schachte until now has refused to speak out publicly on this question and agreed to give only two interviews. One was a television interview with Lisa Meyers of NBC News, for broadcast Thursday night. The second was a print interview with me, for publication today.
Schachte described the use of the skimmer operating very close to shore as a technique that he personally designed to flush enemy forces on the banks of the Mekong River so that the larger swift boats could move in. Around 3 a.m. on Dec. 2, Schachte said, the skimmer -- code-named "Batman" -- fired a hand-held flare. He said that after Kerry's M-16 rifle jammed, the new officer picked up the M-79 and, "I heard a 'thunk.' There was no fire from the enemy," he said.
Patrick Runyon and William Zaladonis are the two enlisted men who said they were aboard the skimmer and did not know Schachte. However, two other former officers interviewed Thursday confirmed that Schachte was the originator of the technique and always was aboard the Boston whaler for these missions.
Grant Hibbard, who as a lieutenant commander was Schachte's superior officer, confirmed that Schachte always went on these skimmer missions and said, "I don't think he [Kerry] was alone" on his first assignment. Hibbard said he had told Kerry to "forget it" when he asked for a Purple Heart.
Ted Peck, another swift boat commander, said, "I remember Bill [Schachte] telling me it didn't happen" -- that is, Kerry getting an enemy-inflicted wound. He said it would be "impossible" for Kerry to have been in the skimmer without Schachte.
"I was astonished by Kerry's version" [in his book Tour of Duty] of what happened Dec. 2, Schachte said Thursday. When asked to support the Kerry critics in the swift boat controversy, Schachte said, "I didn't want to get involved." But he said he gradually began to change his mind when he saw his own involvement and credibility challenged, starting with Davis on CNN's "Crossfire" on Aug. 12.
The next time he saw Kerry after the first Purple Heart incident, Schachte said, was "about 20 years" later on the U.S. Senate subway in the basement of the Russell Senate Office Building. "I called, 'Hey, John.' He replied, 'Batman.' I was absolutely amazed by his memory." He said they "talked about having lunch" but never did it.
Schachte said he never has been contacted by or talked to anybody in the Bush-Cheney campaign or any Republican organization. He said he has been a political independent who votes for candidates of both parties.
Of course Kerry remembered the man who could turn a purple heart black.
It's big and the MSM can only try to change the subject.
Doesn't Kerry's own dang diary dispute Kerry's account of enemy fire for pete's sake?
Even his fellow comrades in the Vietnam Veterans Against the War figured out he was a phony.
On October 10, 1971, the first source advised that Kerry's speech was received by local VVAW supporters as a clear indication that Kerry is an opportunist with political aspirations.
Therefore, the source advised, support has been withdrawn from the New York City office in general and John Kerry in particular.
If you think that is amazing, just listen to his "seared" memories of Cambodia !
Doesn't wash does it? If his memory is that good, there is no way his Cambodia story is a "mistaken recollection"
He is just a BALD FACED LIAR !
We're bringing it on for him. Here's an alternate link to the article in case the main URL is jammed: http://www.orthodoxnet.com/news/Admiral_Disputes_Kerry_2004-08-26.php
bump TO SUPPORT THE NEW SWIFT VETS AD AND GEORGE BUSH... http://swift2.he.net/~swift2/gardner2.mpg
He claimed the Cambodia incident was SEARED, I repeat SEARED in his memory. Kerry is an obvious Pathological LIAR. If this is the best the Democats have to offer the country, it speaks volumes of the ethical decay and corruption in this failed party.
OMG - ROTFL
Of course it does. But the diary didn't serve with Kerry, so it's lying.
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