Kerry and the Swift Boats
Walt P.
Kerry and the Swift Boats
Sat Feb 21 19:15:43 2004

Kerry and the Swift Boats

I know nothing about "Swift Boat" tactics so I can't judge the veracity
of this letter. Maybe a more knowledgeable classmate can shine some
light on this. It was forwarded to me by a high school classmate, USNA
grad ('59) and Rear Admiral (Ret.)

Walt P.

----- Original Message -----

I was in the Delta shortly after he left. I know that area well. I
know the operations he was involved in well. I know the tactics and the
doctrine used. I know the equipment. Although I was attached to
CTF-116 (PBRs) I spent a fair amount of time with CTF-115 (swift
boats), Kerry's command.

Here are my problems and suspicions:

(1) Kerry was in-country less than four months and collected, a Bronze
Star, a Silver Star and three purple hearts. I never heard of anybody
with any outfit I worked with (including SEAL One, the Sea Wolves,
Riverines and the River Patrol Force) collecting that much hardware so
fast, and for such pedestrian actions. The Swifts did a commendable job.
But that duty wasn't the worst you could draw. They operated only
along the coast and in the major rivers (Bassac and Mekong). The rough
stuff in the hot areas was mainly handled by the smaller, faster PBRs.

(2) Three Purple Hearts but no limp. All injuries so minor that no
time lost from duty. Amazing luck. Or he was putting himself in for
medals every time he bumped his head on the wheel house hatch? Combat
on the boats was almost always at close range. You didn't have minor
wounds. At least not often. Not three times in a row. Then he used
the three purple hearts to request a trip home eight months before the
end of his tour. Fishy.

(3) The details of the event for which he was given the Silver Star
make no sense at all. Supposedly, a B-40 was fired at the boat and
missed. Charlie jumps up with the launcher in his hand, the bow gunner
knocks him down with the twin .50, Kerry beaches the boat, jumps off,
shoots Charlie, and retreives the launcher. If true, he did everything
(a) Standard procedure when you took rocket fire was to put your
stern to the action and go balls to the wall. A B-40 has the ballistic
integrity of a frisbie after about 25 yards, so you put 50 yards or so
between you and the beach and begin raking it with your .50's.
(b) Did you ever see anybody get knocked down with a .50 caliber
round and get up? The guy was dead or dying. The rocket launcher was
empty. There was no reason to go after him (except if you knew he was
no danger to you just flopping around in the dust during his last few
seconds on earth, and you wanted some derring do in your after-action
report). And we didn't shoot wounded people. We had rules against that,
(c) Kerry got off the boat. This was a major breach of standing
procedures. Nobody on a boat crew ever got off a boat in a hot area.
EVER! The reason was simple. If you had somebody on the beach your
boat was defenseless. It coudn't run and it couldn' t return fire. It
was stupid and it put his crew in danger. He should have been relieved
and reprimanded. I never heard of any boat crewman ever leaving a boat
during or after a firefight.

Something is fishy.

Here we have a JFK wannabe (the guy Halsey wanted to court martial for
carelessly losing his boat and getting a couple people killed by running
across the bow of a Jap destroyer) who is hardly in Vietnam long enough
to get good tan, collects medals faster than Audie Murphy in a job where
lots of medals weren't common, gets sent home eight months early,
requests separation from active duty a few months after that so he can
run for Congress, finds out war heros don't sell well in Massachsetts in
1970 so reinvents himself as Jane Fonda, throws his ribbons in the dirt
with the cameras running to jump start his political career, gets
Stillborn Pell to invite him to address Congress and Bobby Kennedy's
speechwriter to do the heavy lifting, winds up in the Senate himself a
few years later, votes against every major defense bill, says the CIA is
irrelevant after the Wall came down, votes against the Gulf War, a big
mistake since that turned out well, decides not to make the same mistake
twice so votes for invading Iraq, but oops, that didn't turn out so well
so he now says he really didn't mean for Bush to go to war when he voted
to allow him to go to war.

I'm real glad you or I never had this guy covering out flanks in
Vietnam. I sure don't want him as Commander in Chief. I hope that
somebody from CTF-115 shows up with some facts challenging Kerry's
Vietnam record. I know in my gut it's wildy inflated. And fishy.

Keep smiling,


U.S.S. Garrett Country (Lst 786) PBR SUPPORT -

Main Page -02/21/04

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