Our posts on John Kerry have elicited many grateful and supportive responses from Vietnam War vets. We have no standing of any kind to do anything but honor Kerry for his distinguished war service. I think we differ with Kerry nowadays on the justice of the war, the honor of the American cause, the respect due the men who served and the nature of their service. To our knowledge, Kerry has never apologized for his utterly disgusting defamation of all echelons of the American military in the war.
This evening we received an interesting message on the subject of Kerry and the war. The writer has provided identifying information that allows us to authenticate his own service, although he has asked us to withhold his name and other identifying information. Our reader writes:
I’ve been reading your blog regularly for some months now, and appreciate it for a number of reasons. I grew up in St. Paul, on Selby Avenue (early to mid-50’s), then West St. Paul. Graduated from Sibley High School in ’63, and went on to the University of Minnesota (’63-’66). In May ’66, I quit the U and enlisted in the infantry because I wanted to go to Vietnam.
I joined the 9th Infantry Division at Ft. Riley, KS, which had been newly activated, and which was to train as a unit, then deploy to Vietnam. I became a rifle squad leader in the 4th battalion, 47th Infantry, and we deployed to Vietnam in Jan ’67. My battalion was a part of the Mobile Riverine force in the Mekong Delta. We were the first American units in the Delta, and 1967 was a year of hard fighting down there. I was very lucky. I finished my 1-year tour with the 9th Division, then extended my tour and went to the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) at II Field force HQ, which was a bit north of Saigon, at Long Binh.
I extended my tour two more times, spending 16 months there in the TOC, as an Operations NCO. My 3-year enlistment was over in May ’69, and I came home to St. Paul. I had spent 28 months in Vietnam. I had earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Bronze Star w/”V” Device w/2 Oak Leaf Clusters, two Air Medals, a Purple Heart (for a very slight wound), an Army Commendation Medal, and the Vietnamese Cross For Gallantry (awarded quite liberally by the gov’t of SVN). The Mobile Riverine Force had earned a Presidential Unit Citation for its 1967 campaigns.
I relate all of the above to establish my credentials as a critic of John F. Kerry (hereinafter referred to as “that Prick”). I know a little about how the award system worked in Vietnam. If you did something worthy of an award, it first had to be brought to the attention of your commander, who would then check with witnesses, and so on, and decide (in accordance with the governing Army regulation, AR 672-something) what the action merited.
If everything was confirmed and approved, an officer (normally the original witness) would write the citation describing the action. All of this was then forwarded to whatever command level was required by the AR to approve that particular award. A Silver Star requires something quite extraordinary in the infantry. I cannot be sure, but I don’t recall ANY Silver Stars awarded in ’67 to any soldier in the MRF, and that’s a full year of fighting by 3 entire infantry battalions.
Now comes before us that Prick.
That Prick spent a 6-month tour on a small warship off the coast of Vietnam, which service undoubtedly required him occasionally to miss a full night’s sleep in his air-conditioned cabin. This “tour” doesn’t even count. He spent some time Stateside, no doubt basking in his “veteran” status among pallid ensigns, then took a deep breath and returned to Vietnam. This time, he wangled his way onto a Swift Boat, which from a grunt’s point of view is pretty cushy duty. It is entirely possible that that Prick actually fired a weapon sometime between Dec ’67, and Mar ’68, since he has made references to dead civilians of both sexes and all ages during this period. During this same period, that Prick received 3 fragment wounds from RPG’s which missed him and his boat. All 3 of these were band-aid wounds (same as mine).
In Mar ’68, a lone VC fired an RPG at that Prick’s boat, resulting in another miss. One of the crewmen answered this with about 50 rounds from a twin-mount 50 cal MG, wounding the VC, who jumped out of sight. That Prick beached the boat (dumb dumb dumb) where the VC had been, jumped ashore, found the wounded VC, killed him, and returned to the boat with the offending RPG launcher. For this “action,” an infantry PFC wouldn’t have gotten so much as a pat on the back, but that Prick ended up with a Silver Star! How could this have come about? Well, remember…the commander has to recommend the award. That Prick WAS the commander in this little incident. Do you think…? Is it possible…? That Prick was in command of 4 or 5 enlisted sailors, and chances are, none of them was much good at writing up an award recommendation, soooo…
With his Silver Star pinned on his spotless Navy whites, that Prick immediately requested reassignment under the official (or maybe unofficial) “three Purple Hearts” rule, which allowed anyone so grievously damaged to return to the US early. So ended a grueling stay of almost 4 months of combat heroism.
I have always been proud of my Vietnam service. I spent a total of 14 years as an infantry NCO, served in Germany, and a number of post here in the US. The young men I was lucky enough to lead and serve with in 1967 (almost all of them draftees) were GOLD. We who survived remain close to each other to this day.
Now, everywhere I turn, I see and hear journalists who constantly refer to that Prick’s “chestful of medals,” and “heroism in Vietnam.” I am insulted, disgusted, deeply offended by all of this. I speak for no one but myself, but I expect that there are plenty of other Vietnam veterans who feel as I do. And I won’t even get started on his shameless behavior with the VVAW, when he claimed to speak for us, and announced to the world that we were all cold-blooded war criminals.
From my point of view, John F. Kerry is a charlatan and a whore. The mere thought that he MIGHT end up in the White House is appalling, and truly frightening.