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According to Snopes, John F Kerry's Vietnam career ended with a bang and a whimper:
Kerry was injured yet again on 13 March 1969, in an action for which he was awarded both a Bronze Star and his third Purple Heart. According to Kerry's Bronze Star citation (signed by Admiral Zumwalt himself):
Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry was serving as an Officer-in-Charge of Inshore Patrol Craft 94, one of five boats conducting a Sealords operation in the Bay Hap River. While exiting the river, a mine detonated under another Inshore Patrol Craft and almost simultaneously, another mine detonated wounding Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry in the right arm. In addition, all units began receiving small arms and automatic weapons fire from the river banks. When Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry discovered he had a man overboard, he returned upriver to assist. The man in the water was receiving sniper fire from both banks. Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry directed his gunners to provide suppressing fire, while from an exposed position on the bow, his arm bleeding and in pain and with disregard for his personal safety, he pulled the man aboard. Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry then directed his boat to return to and assist the other damaged boat to safety. Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry's calmness, professionalism and great personal courage under fire were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
According to the Boston Globe, this was the only one of Kerry's three Purple Heart injuries that caused him to miss any days of service:
Kerry had been wounded three times and received three Purple Hearts. Asked about the severity of the wounds, Kerry said that one of them cost him about two days of service, and that the other two did not interrupt his duty. "Walking wounded," as Kerry put it. A shrapnel wound in his left arm gave Kerry pain for years. Kerry declined a request from the Globe to sign a waiver authorizing the release of military documents that are covered under the Privacy Act and that might shed more light on the extent of the treatment Kerry needed as a result of the wounds.
Although there was no hard-and-fast rule, U.S. military procedure generally allowed any serviceman who received three Purple Hearts to request reassignment away from a combat zone, so Kerry talked to Commodore Charles F. Horne, an administrative official and commander of the coastal squadron in which he served. Four days after Kerry took his third hit of shrapnel, Horne forwarded a request on Kerry's behalf to the Navy Bureau of Personnel asking that Kerry be reassigned to "duty as a personal aide in Boston, New York, or Washington, D.C." Soon afterwards Kerry was transferred to Cam Ranh Bay to await further orders, and within a month he had been reassigned as a personal aide and flag lieutenant to Rear Admiral Walter F. Schlech, Jr. with the Military Sea Transportation Service based in Brooklyn, New York.
Kerry served with Admiral Schlech until the end of 1969, when requested an early discharge from the Navy in order to run for a Massachusetts congressional seat. Admiral Schlech approved the request, and on 3 January 1970 Kerry received an honorable discharge, six months early.
If the events actually occurred as described, it seems that Kerry did merit the Bronze Star and Purple Heart awards in this instance.
However, while he certinly had the right to request a transfer from his combat assignment after the third Purple Heart award, it strikes me that he, in essence, abandoned his obligation to his crew and his sworn commitment to serve as a US Navy officer. Maybe I'm wrong, but does anyone know of any other American military officer, at any time, who made a similar request?Posted by 0311 at March 2, 2004 06:00 PM
Or another officer-type (leader material type) who demands that Bush come clean and release ALL records for public scrutiny (scrute, scrute) but refuses -on perfectly 'reasonable' grounds- to release his OWN?
Floppy De Flip, Waffle King of MachahoosetsPosted by Sharps Shooter at March 7, 2004 08:48 AM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(2) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)