Not a Swift Boat liar
From Wednesday’s San Diego Union:
The legitimacy of John Kerry’s Bronze Star has been established by both the Green Beret soldier who was blown off Kerry’s boat into the water and now by the gunner for PCF 43 who confirms that all units were receiving enemy fire following the mining of PCF 3. Even the Officer in Tactical Command (OTC) for that mission received a Bronze Star for aiding the stricken boat while taking enemy fire although he now wants to deny what his own citation affirms.
The legitimacy of Kerry’s Silver Star was confirmed over this past weekend by Bill Rood, who was skipper of PCF 23 and present with Kerry during the events which earned him that medal. Rood has come forward because the actions of this embittered group are degrading the service and accomplishments of all of us who served on Swift Boats in Vietnam.
The group is motivated by its members’ enduring anger at John Kerry’s anti-war activities and by the treatment of Task Force 115 Commander, Capt. Roy Hoffman, in the book “Tour of Duty.” Their memories are clouded by their emotional attachment to their anger. I can tell you that in 1969 at An Thoi, John Kerry did not have the reputation that their book claims he had.
This group asked for my signature on their “open letter” because I also commanded a Swift Boat in Vietnam in 1969 and served alongside many of them and John Kerry. I refused. I knew that what they were doing would only degrade the heroic actions of all Swift Boat veterans. You cannot challenge the process by which one person received recognition without making everyone else’s medals and awards suspect as well.
Many people who served on Swifts performed many acts of heroism and courage but were never recognized for it because no one took the time necessary to submit an award recommendation for them. Over the years these men have shared vicariously in the honors given to select, fortunate individuals. Now with the relentless mudslinging from the Swift Vets for Truth, we are all sharing in the shame that they are bringing on our community. I would prefer that they spend their energy and their money promoting the positive attributes of their candidate rather than trying to settle a 35-year-old score.
War does change a person and apparently not always for the better. These men are bitter and will likely remain so until their deaths. But that will not make them right.