Swift Boat Veterans to Kerry: Stop using our faces in your ad

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have contacted John Kerry, telling him to cease using a photo taken in 1969 in his ad campaign. This article from CNSNews.com gives the details.

Their comments are clear:

'"The signers of today's letter object to the use of their photographs in conjunction with the Kerry campaign because they believe that not only is Kerry unfit to serve as the commander-in-chief of the United States, but by using their images, the campaign suggests that these men endorse the senator," said a press release issued by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.'

Their website is here.

My father was on a destroyer servicing CTF-115's and CTF-116's during that period. Like many vets, he questions many of the stories Kerry tells of his exploits while in-country. For example, with only four months of service on a CTF-115 (swift boat), Kerry collected a Bronze Star, a Silver Star, and three purple hearts. Men who were there say that this is virtually unheard of. Swift boats operated only along the coast, and in the major rivers like the Bassac and Mekong. Really rough stuff was handled by the CTF-116's (PBRs).

Another issue vets will voice is that he has "three Purple Hearts, but no limp". Combat on the boats was usually at close range. Men do not take minor wounds from that. Was someone putting himself in for a medal every time he hit hs head or stubbed his toe?

Next -- and this is a major point among my father and his friends -- the details surrounding the award of the Silver Star make little sense. Supposedly, a B-40 was fired at the boat, but missed. The enemy jumped up with his launcher in-hand, the bow gunner knocked him down with the twin .50 cal, and Kerry supposedly beached the boat, jumped off, shot the enemy, retrieving the launcher in the process. Here are the problems with that:
1. B-40s had next to no ballistic integrity after something like 25 yards, so standard procedure was to back way off, out of range, and pepper the beach with your .50 cal guns.
2. Most people do not get up after getting hit with a .50 caliber round at close range. Period. The end.
3. If the gunner knocked the enemy down with the .50 cal. gun, then why did Kerry get out to shoot him? We have rules against shooting wounded, you know.
4. Um, Kerry disembarked. This is a major breach of SOP. If you had someone on the beach, your boat was vulnerable. It could neither run nor return fire. So, by disembarking, Kerry endangered his own men.

That's the conversation regarding Kerry's service the vets of my acquaintance have when they're sitting around watching the Presidential race. And yes, there are a few vets delivering testimonials in Kerry's favor.

However, there are many others, like Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who want people to know that there's more to the story.

posted by Linda on June 2, 2004 11:56 PM

I don't like it much, but I have to agree with Jon Henke over at Q&O about Kerry's military decorations. The military approved them, so he earned them. Many times in battle someone will screw up and find themselves in a position where heroism is needed to avoid death. I'm not saying Kerry is a hero, I'm saying that sometimes medals get awarded to people who do stupid things.

Posted by: Ted at June 7, 2004 12:20 PM

Yes, medals do get awarded to people form stupid things, they also get awarded for political reasons. For example the Silver Star that LBJ got during WWII. As I recall reading in one of his biographies, LBJ, a USN reserve officer was awarded the Silver Star for action that occured on a Army Air Corps mission in which the bomber he was flying in was fired upon by Japanese fighters. LBJ, who was an observer (and a congressman) was awarded the Silver Star, the air corps officers involved received Distinguished Flying Crosses DFC (a medal junior in rank to the Silver Star) and the enlisted crewman received the Air Medal (junior in rank to the DFC). How does an observer rate the 3rd highest medal for valor? As regards Kerry, my problems are regarding his stating he observed atrocities and not reporting them to his superiors which was his sworn duty. If we can't trust him to keep faith with his oath of office in the military, how can we expect him to do so with any of his promises? kind of like Bill Clinton's promise to reduce taxes when he ran the first time. Anyone can promise anything but if they haven't kept their word in the past why should we belive them now.

Posted by: mwilso at August 6, 2004 05:28 AM