Steve Gardner served on a Vietnam swift boat crew with John Kerry. He was the only member of the 12 man crew who spoke against Kerry, thus becoming a key figure in the most fascinating and, I believe, significant story of this year’s election.
Unfortunately, as the Chicago Sun-Times reports, Gardner seems to have paid a heavy price for contradicting the official line on Kerry’s Vietnam service. According to Gardner, shortly after he told his story to local radio stations and a local paper, he received a call from John Hurley, the veterans organizer for Kerry’s campaign (and probably the least effective person ever to advocate a position on cable news). Gardner says that Hurley threatened him, stating “you better watch your step; we can look into your finances.” Next Gardner heard from Douglas Brinkley author of Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War (arguably the most counter-productive campaign biography ever published). According to Gardner, Brinkley claimed he was “fact-checking” his book, which already was in print. In fact, Brinkley used the call to create an article critical of Gardner. Gardner says that Brinkley called him again, warning him to expect some calls.
Twenty-four hours later, Gardner’s employer, Millennium Information Services, informed him via email that his posiiton with the company was being eliminated and that his services were no longer required. Gardner says that he has since seen the company advertising for his old position.
Gardner, the father of three, now is broke and unemployed. Nonetheless, he says he’d speak against Kerry all over again because “I couldn’t ever see [Kerry] as commander in chief — not after what I saw in Vietnam, not after the lies I heard him tell about what he says he did and what he says others did.”
UPDATE by BIG TRUNK: We have written the author of the Sun-Times story asking how contributions might be directed to Gardner.
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