Skip to comments.Navy Launches Formal Kerry Medal Probe
Posted on 09/03/2004 8:06:41 AM PDT by kattracks
The United States Navy has launched an official investigation into John Kerry's Vietnam War decorations, saying, "it's the responsibility of all personnel to correct errors in official records."
In a launching a formal probe, the Navy was responding to a referral from the Pentagon's inspector general's office - based on a complaint filed by the Washington-based legal watchdog group Judicial Watch, Fox News reported Friday. In a letter to Judicial Watch, the inspector general's office said: "Concerning our allegations of violations of Uniform Code of Military Justice, we have the responsibility to . . . 'report suspected or alleged violations.' We have informed the secretary of the Navy of the allegations."
Former Navy Secretary John Lehman, who has challenged the authenticity of his signature on one of Kerry's war decorations, told Fox that Navy records needed to be "thoroughly researched and the facts established."
Most questions about Kerry's combat record appear to be based on processing errors, Navy sources told the news network.
However, even if the errors were based on inadvertent mistakes, any corrections would force the top Democrat to acknowledge that citations touting his heroism that have been posted to his Web site for months were false - a development that could have devastating political consequences.
"Even if it was the Navy's fault," one source following the story told NewsMax, "surely Sen. Kerry knew the citations were wrong. Why did it take a formal Navy probe for him to correct records he had to know were fraudulent?"
Kerry received five medals during his four months in combat in Vietnam, including a Silver Star with a "Combat V" designation. A Navy source confirmed last week, however, that in the entire history of the Navy, no Silver Star has ever been awarded with "Combat V."
Kerry campaign spokesman Michael Meehan suggested that the Navy probe was a waste of time and money.
"The facts are clear, the Navy awarded John Kerry the Silver Star, a Bronze Star with a Combat V and three Purple Hearts. It is waste of taxpayer's dollars and the Pentagon's time, especially during wartime, to investigate a 35-year-old Navy clerical error," Meehan said in statement.
In 1996, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jeremy Boorda committed suicide after he was accused of wearing medals he hadn't earned.
At the time, Kerry told the Boston Herald that the error was "sufficient to question his leadership position."
"If you wind up being less than what you're pretending to be, there is a major confrontation with value, self-esteem and your sense of how others view you," Kerry told the Boston Globe.
Kerry may follow Clinton to the Hospital before this is all over....
A clerical error is ALMOST a non-issue - remember, Kerry's camps has appealed to "the official Navy records" as infallible authority of truth.
If the medal paperwork is screwy, then that defense is necessarily weakened.
What I find really odd is the three separate citations, each with different wording and different signatures... usually if you lose your citation, you write the Navy and get a new COPY. It's not normal procedure to get an entirely new citation written up, with dolled up language.
Lehman says he never saw the one with his name on it, and didn't write the text.
His home town paper..
Thanks for the ping!
My point is that he and his spokesmen and advocates will have to abandon any appeal to the infallibility of the official Naval Record. Especially since he has allowed errors to go uncorrected, and will not release the unredacted records for independent review.
I'm waiting for debka's take on the story....
As they should. Get to the bottom of this...
...fat's in the fire, now. ;^)
From your link, TGYC. This excerpt bears posting here:
On the night of December 2-3, we conducted one of these operations, and Lt. (jg) Kerry accompanied me. Our call sign for that operation was "Batman." I have no independent recollection of the identity of the enlisted man, who was operating the outboard motor. Sometime during the early morning hours, I thought I detected some movement inland. At the time we were so close to land that we could hear water lapping on the shoreline. I fired a hand-held flare, and upon it bursting and illuminating the surrounding area, I thought I saw movement. I immediately opened fire with my M-60. It jammed after a brief burst. Lt. (jg) Kerry also opened fire with his M-16 on automatic, firing in the direction of my tracers. His weapon also jammed. As I was trying to clear my weapon, I heard the distinctive sound of the M-79 being fired and turned to see Lt. (jg) Kerry holding the M-79 from which he had just launched a round. We received no return fire of any kind nor were there any muzzle flashes from the beach. I directed the outboard motor operator to clear the area.
Upon returning to base, I informed my commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Grant Hibbard, of the events, informing him of the details of the operation and that we had received no enemy fire. I did not file an "after action" report, as one was only required when there was hostile fire. Soon thereafter, Lt. (jg) Kerry requested that he be put in for a Purple Heart as a result of a small piece of shrapnel removed from his arm that he attributed to the just-completed mission. I advised Lt. Cmdr. Hibbard that I could not support the request because there was no hostile fire. The shrapnel must have been a fragment from the M-79 that struck Lt. (jg) Kerry, because he had fired the M-79 too close to our boat. Lt. Cmdr. Hibbard denied Lt. (jg) Kerry's request. Lt. (jg) Kerry detached our division a few days later to be reassigned to another division. I departed Vietnam approximately three weeks later, and Lt. Cmdr. Hibbard followed shortly thereafter. It was not until years later that I was surprised to learn that Lt. (jg) Kerry had been awarded a Purple Heart for this night.
I did not see Lt. (jg) Kerry in person again for almost 20 years. Sometime in 1988, while I was on Capitol Hill, I ran into him in the basement of the Russell Senate Office Building. I was at that time a Rear Admiral and in uniform. He was about 20 paces away, waiting to catch the underground subway. In a fairly loud voice I called out to him, "Hey, John." He turned, looked at me, came over and said, "Batman!" We exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes, agreed to have lunch sometime in the future, and parted ways. We have not been together since that day.
In March of this year, I was contacted by one of my former swift boat colleagues concerning Douglas Brinkley¹s book about Senator Kerry, "Tour of Duty." I told him that I had not read it. He faxed me a copy of the pages relating to the action on the night of December 2-3, 1968. I was astonished by Senator Kerry¹s rendition of the facts of that night. Notably, Lt. (jg) Kerry had himself in charge of the operation, and I was not mentioned at all. He also claimed that he was wounded by hostile fire.
None of this is accurate. I know, because I was not only in the boat, but I was in command of the mission. He was never more than several feet away from me at anytime during the operation that night. It is inconceivable that any commanding officer would put an officer in training, who had been in country only a couple of weeks, in charge of such an ambush operation. Had there been enemy action that night, there would have been an after action report filed, which I would have been responsible for filing.
I have avoided talking to media about this issue for months. But, because of the recent media attention, I felt I had to step up to recount my personal experiences concerning this incident.
Rubbing hands together in glee . . .
But also thinking . . . can Kerry still withdraw from the race, and if so, can anyone . . . (hmmmmm, Hillary, perhaps?) step in? Or is that not going to happen?