On this note: Who were the bunch of guys who showed off with him at
the convention and he claimed were his former crewman from Viet-Nam??
I am told that there is another bunch of former swift boat people going
to go to the republican Convention and call Kerry a liar. As the saying
goes, "In politics, the first casualty is the truth". You don't know who
to believe anymore.
There is a book out about it now, I forget the title. The people mentioned
above did not serve on Kerry's boat, but were in the same unit at the same
time. One persion (Elliott?) has already recanted that statements attributed
to him in the book. The author has been around Republican circles for years,
and is sort of an Ann Coulter wannabe. Kim M
"Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John
unit at the same
Many of them were his superior officers and some of the others
were fellow Swift boat commanders.
No, he was misquoted and has since stated as much.
Which doesn't necessarily mean that what he writes isn't factual.
Sometimes 2+2 *does* equal 4 even if John Ashcroft says it.....
Shame on the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush
John Kerry saved my life.
Now his heroism is being questioned.
BY JIM RASSMANN
Tuesday, August 10, 2004 12:01 a.m.
I came to know Lt. John Kerry during the spring of 1969. He and his swift boat
crew assisted in inserting our Special Forces team and our Chinese Nung
soldiers into operational sites in the Cau Mau Peninsula of South Vietnam. I
worked with him on many operations and saw firsthand his leadership, courage
and decision-making ability under fire.
On March 13, 1969, John Kerry's courage and leadership saved my life.
While returning from a SEA LORDS operation along the Bay Hap River, a mine
detonated under another swift boat. Machine-gun fire erupted from both banks of
the river, and a second explosion followed moments later. The second blast blew
me off John's swift boat, PCF-94, throwing me into the river. Fearing that the
other boats would run me over, I swam to the bottom of the river and stayed
there as long as I could hold my breath.
When I surfaced, all the swift boats had left, and I was alone taking fire from
both banks. To avoid the incoming fire, I repeatedly swam under water as long
as I could hold my breath, attempting to make it to the north bank of the
river. I thought I would die right there. The odds were against me avoiding the
incoming fire and, even if I made it out of the river, I thought I'd be
captured and executed. Kerry must have seen me in the water and directed his
driver, Del Sandusky, to turn the boat around. Kerry's boat ran up to me in the
water, bow on, and I was able to climb up a cargo net to the lip of the deck.
But, because I was nearly upside down, I couldn't make it over the edge of the
deck. This left me hanging out in the open, a perfect target. John, already
wounded by the explosion that threw me off his boat, came out onto the bow,
exposing himself to the fire directed at us from the jungle, and pulled me
For his actions that day, I recommended John for the Silver Star, our country's
third highest award for bravery under fire. I learned only this past January
that the Navy awarded John the Bronze Star with Combat V for his valor. The
citation for this award, signed by the Commander of U.S. Naval Forces, Vietnam,
Vice Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, read, "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." To this day I am
grateful to John Kerry for saving my life. And to this day I still believe that
he deserved the Silver Star for his courage.
It has been many years since I served in Vietnam. I returned home, got married,
and spent many years as a deputy sheriff for Los Angeles County. I retired in
1989 as a lieutenant. It has been a long time since I left Vietnam, but I think
often of the men who did not come home with us.
I am neither a politician nor an organizer. I am a retired police officer with
a passion for orchids. Until January of this year, the only public
presentations I made were about my orchid hobby. But in this presidential
election, I had to speak out; I had to tell the American people about John
Kerry, about his wisdom and courage, about his vision and leadership. I would
trust John Kerry with my life, and I would entrust John Kerry with the
well-being of our country.
Nobody asked me to join John's campaign. Why would they? I am a Republican, and
for more than 30 years I have largely voted for Republicans. I volunteered for
his campaign because I have seen John Kerry in the worst of conditions. I know
his character. I've witnessed his bravery and leadership under fire. And I
truly know he will be a great commander in chief.
Now, 35 years after the fact, some Republican-financed Swift Boat Veterans for
Bush are suddenly lying about John Kerry's service in Vietnam; they are calling
him a traitor because he spoke out against the Nixon administration's failed
policies in Vietnam. Some of these Republican-sponsored veterans are the same
ones who spoke out against John at the behest of the Nixon administration in
1971. But this time their attacks are more vicious, their lies cut deep and are
directed not just at John Kerry, but at me and each of his crewmates as well.
This hate-filled ad asserts that I was not under fire; it questions my words
and Navy records. This smear campaign has been launched by people without
decency, people who don't understand the bond of those who serve in combat.
As John McCain noted, the television ad aired by these veterans is "dishonest
and dishonorable." Sen. McCain called on President Bush to condemn the Swift
Boat Veterans for Bush ad. Regrettably, the president has ignored Sen. McCain's
Does this strategy of attacking combat Vietnam veterans sound familiar? In
2000, a similar Republican smear campaign was launched against Sen. McCain. In
fact, the very same communications group, Spaeth Communications, that placed
ads against John McCain in 2000 is involved in these vicious attacks against
John Kerry. Texas Republican donors with close ties to George W. Bush and Karl
Rove crafted this "dishonest and dishonorable" ad. Their new charges are false;
their stories are fabricated, made up by people who did not serve with Kerry in
Vietnam. They insult and defame all of us who served in Vietnam.
But when the noise and fog of their distortions and lies have cleared, a man
who volunteered to serve his country, a man who showed up for duty when his
country called, a man to whom the United States Navy awarded a Silver Star, a
Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts, will stand tall and proud. Ultimately, the
American people will judge these Swift Boat Veterans for Bush and their
accusations. Americans are tired of smear campaigns against those who
volunteered to wear the uniform. Swift Boat Veterans for Bush should hang their
heads in shame.
Mr. Rassmann, a retired lieutenant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's
Department, served with the U.S. Army 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam
** SNIP ** ** SNIP ** ** SNIP ** ** SNIP **
OK. I'm confused. Early in the article Rassmann says he recommended Kerry for a
Silver Star which was downgraded to a Bronze Star with V device. Then, at the
end, he says Kerry had the Silver Star, Bronze Star and the fameous 3 Purple
Hearts. Where did the Silver Star come from if not from the Rassmann incident?
"If an enemy power is bent on conquering you, and proposed to
turn all of his resources to that end, he is at war with you;
and you -- unless you contemplate surrender -- are at war with
him." --Barry Goldwater