We have received lots of messages with questions about the purple hearts that John Kerry was awarded in Vietnam. The third purple heart was his ticket home, six months early. Today’s Boston Globe has a good story on the subject: “Kerry faces questions over purple heart.” This is interesting:
A review by the Globe of Kerry’s war record in preparation for a forthcoming book, “John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography,” found that the young Navy officer acted heroically under fire, in one case saving the life of an Army lieutenant. But the examination also found that Kerry’s commanding officer at the time questioned Kerry’s first Purple Heart, which he earned for a wound received just two weeks after arriving in Vietnam.
“He had a little scratch on his forearm, and he was holding a piece of shrapnel,” recalled Kerry’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Grant Hibbard. “People in the office were saying, `I don’t think we got any fire,’ and there is a guy holding a little piece of shrapnel in his palm.” Hibbard said he couldn’t be certain whether Kerry actually came under fire on Dec. 2, 1968, the date in questionand that is why he said he asked Kerry questions about the matter.
But Kerry persisted and, to his own “chagrin,” Hibbard said, he dropped the matter. “I do remember some questions, some correspondence about it,” Hibbard said. “I finally said, `OK, if that’s what happened . . . do whatever you want.’ After that, I don’t know what happened. Obviously, he got it, I don’t know how.”
Kerry declined to talk to the Globe about the issue during the preparation of the Kerry biography. But his press secretary, Michael Meehan, noted that the Navy concluded that Kerry deserved the Purple Heart.