"The first was John O'Neill, a Nixon White House ally who had famously debated Kerry over the Vietnam War on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1971. The second was Roy Hoffmann, one of Kerry's former commanding officers..."
"Rear admiral Roy F. Hoffmann...The Admiral received the Purple Heart Medal for wounds he received during that enemy action...RADM Hoffmann was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for exceptionally meritorious service against the Viet Cong enemy, the Silver Star Medal and three Bronze Star Medals for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while Commander Task Force 115... RADM Hoffmann was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of the second Meritorious Service Medal... In addition to the personal decorations referred to about, RADM Hoffmann wears the Legion of Merit with gold star in lieu of second award, Navy Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation and Vietnamese Navy Distinguished Service Order Second Class Medal. His Campaign and Service medals are: American Campaign, China Service, Navy Occupation (Japan), World War II Victory, National Defense with one star, Korean Service with seven stars, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, United Nations, Vietnam Service with four stars, Vietnam Campaign, and Navy Expeditionary (Cuba)..."
"John O'Neill served as a Swift boat commander in Vietnam during 1969 and 1970...Mr. O'Neill was graduated from the United States Naval Academy with honors in 1967..."
***...."The campaign collectively underestimated the effect of the swift boats. It was a collective mistake," recalled Michael Whouley, a longtime Kerry operative. "I think the candidate was probably the most concerned about it. It pissed him off, people attacking his Vietnam service.".........An angry Kerry summoned longtime friend Thomas J. Vallely, a Bostonian and Silver Star recipient, and told him to "find me Billy Rood." William B. Rood had been present during the action that garnered Kerry the Silver Star the swift boat foes were now calling into question. Rood, an editor at the Chicago Tribune, had refused to speak publicly about the action. He took Kerry's call, though he didn't tell the senator what he planned to do.....***