Saturday, August 21, 2004
Given the weekend revelations forthcoming from William Rood (see below) ...
It's seeming more possible, beyond plausible and even likely probable, IMO, that, wittingly or unwittingly, there was indeed medal gaming going on amongst any number of Kerry's "band of brothers" (granted only a few served with him for much if any time). That need not have involved everybody or anybody in particular. For example, Rood himself may not have perceived alterior motives in discussing the planning for the mission with Kerry. Stephen Gardner, though not present that day, we know, has been forthcoming about Kerry's other prior episodes.
One of the crew, Fred Short, who later ("re-discovered" in Arkansas during political campaign) became close to Kerry, had only just arrived that day, then serving a mere two weeks time with Kerry as a secondary replacement for David Alston (who'd been injured the day before Kerry even took over the boat at the beginning of the month, despite suggestions from the Kerry campaign that he was present on this and / or other occasions).
Set aside any number of tempting riches or personal wealth which could be bestowed by John Kerry (or Theresa, his wife or the recipients of all their secret contributions) or any other promises of other future rewards such a unique bond might yield enticing favors & special treatment from a potential Kerry administration.
Even more compelling, in a couple different ways, earned or not, expected or not, each of these men themselves shared in the bounty (Rood himself was awarded a bronze star in this action) based on the same bogus After Action reports filed by Kerry (and / or others). Only the SwiftVets have expressed justifiably righteous anger about such possible circumstance & said they'd feel any of their medals were tainted if in any way influenced by John Kerry's duplicitous delusions in his fraudulent reporting.
Each of these men would now stand to face a similar yet contradictory kind of predicament to that which each of the SwiftVets forcefully contend on their behalf by demanding John Kerry account for his wrongful characterizations of them as war criminals. Then they, Kerry's "band of brothers", might be questioned by their children, friends, strangers and family, or perceivably seen as contributory frauds or, worse, further tainted by Kerry, possibly even outright phonies.
Naw, can't be any motivations there ... or could there?
Brinkley notes "In addition to Kerry's Silver Star PCF-94's performance on February 28 also earned Bronze Stars for Tommy Belodeau and Mike Medeiros and Navy Commendation Medals with Combat V Devices for Del Sandusky, Fred Short, and Gene Thorson."
From Rood's article we now know he was awarded a bronze citation as well. The implications of that are significant because they indicate, clearly, the After Action report (which Kerry won't release) must have given the majority of credit to himself becuase he - above all the others - got the silver medal!
According to Unfit for Command, page 82:
What actually occurred was quite different. According to Kerry's crewman Michael Medeiros, Kerry had an agreement with him to turn the boat in and onto the beach if fired upon. Each of the three boats involved in the operation was involved in the agreement. Larry Lee, a crewman and gunner, recalls the agreement as Medeiros recounts it and further recalls a prior discussion of probable medals for those participating. Bronze Stars for selected landers were contemplated and Navy commendations for others. Some crewmen dispute this, but none deny that the landing had been calculated the night before.
According to Doug Reese, a pro-Kerry Army veteran, and many others, what happened that day differs from the retelling in the citation. Far from being alone, the boats were loaded with many soldiers commanded by Reese and two other advisors. When fired at, Reese's boat - not Kerry's - was the first to beach in the ambush zone. Then Reese and other troops and advisors (not Kerry) disembarked, killing a number of Viet Cong and capturing a number of weapons. None of the participants from Reese's boat received any Silver Stars. Indeed, most, if not all, of the non-PCF troops received no medals for this action. Doug Reese, who advised the South Vietnamese who were the first group ashore and who killed most of the Viet Cong, received a well-deserved Army Commendation Medal - a much lower medal than the Silver Star. After the first boat beached, Kerry's boat moved slightly downstream and was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade in its aft cabin
Admiral Roy Hoffmann, who sent a Bravo Zulu (meaning "good work") to Kerry upon learning of the incident, was very surprised to discover in 2004 what had actually occurred. Hoffmann had been told that Kerry had spontaneously beached next to the bunker and almost single-handedly routed a bunkered force of Viet Cong. He was shocked to find out that Kerry had beached his boat second in a preplanned operation, and that he had killed a single, wounded teenage foe as he fled.
Since we now know Kerry went back (several times and possibly even illegally in some cases) and had his citations reworked, it's interesting one copy contains the following:
"While transiting the Bay Hap River en route to an insertion point along the Dong Cung River, these craft with thirty Regional/Popular Force personnel embarked in each unit" and Kerry is definitely highlighted as "The Officer in Tactical Command, Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY."
Arriving at the area, Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY's craft received a B-40 rocket close aboard. Once again Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY ordered his units to charge the enemy positions and summoned Patrol Craft Fast 43 to the area to provide additional firepower. Patrol Craft Fast 94 then beached in the center of the enemy positions and an enemy soldier sprang up from his position not ten feet from Patrol Craft Fast 94 and fled. Without hesitation Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY leaped ashore, pursued the man behind a hootch and killed him, capturing a B-40 rocket launcher with a round in the chamber. Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY then led an assault party and conducted a sweep of the area while the Patrol Craft Fast continued to provide fire support. After the enemy had been completely routed, all personnel returned to the Patrol Craft Fast to withdraw from the area. While backing off the beach, these units again came under a hail of fire, this time from the opposite river bank. Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY immediately coordinated the firepower of his units and supressed the enemy fire. Later, after disembarking personnel, and while exiting from the Bay Hap River, the Patrol Craft Fast were again under fire. Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY immediately maneuvered his craft through several strafing runs which completely silenced the enemy. As a result of this operation, ten Viet Cong were killed and one wounded with no friendly casualties.