Skip to comments.Military Records: Bush v. Kerry
Posted on 08/01/2004 8:07:26 AM PDT by BulletBobCo
It has been indicated by Democratic talking heads that the Vietnam military record comparison will come up again during the campaign. From open sources and my own experiences, I have developed the following comparison of the military records of President Bush and John "Fonda" Kerry.
As an aviator, a former Guardsman, a two tour Vietnam Veteran, and a Retired Army officer, I would like to know more about Senator Kerry's record. All I know is what he and his supporters say, and what is on his web site, which is incomplete. Unless he opens both his military and FBI files, all I can believe is what I know from open sources on the net, which are reflected in my comments below.
The Bush Record:
Issue: "Jumping" 500 other applicants for the TX National guard. While there may have been 500 on waiting lists, how many were willing to take more than two years out of their lives to go on active duty to undergo training on a sophisticated aircraft (F-102). There was one big exception to abusive use of the Guard to avoid the draft, and that was for those who wanted to fly, as pilots or crewmembers. Because of the training required, signing up for this duty meant up to 2+ years of active duty for training alone, plus a high probability of mobilization.
Bush's service: The mission of the 147th Fighter Group and its subordinate 111th FIS, Texas ANG, and the airplane it possessed, the F-102, was air defense. It was focused on defending the continental United States from Soviet nuclear bombers. LT. Bush did "strip alerts" in support of this mission.
Excusal from unit: 111th records of 1970-72 and any other ANG squadron indicate pilots excused for career obligations and conflicts. The Bush excusal in 1972 was further facilitated by a change in the unit's mission, from an operational fighter squadron to a training squadron with a new airplane, the F-101. Lt. Bush was advised he did not have the experience to train as an instructor in the F-101. Additionally, The US drawdown in Vietnam due to "Vietnamization" which began in 1970 returned many more experienced pilots competing for a limited number of seats. This resulted in a March 1972 DOD policy for all services which stated that pilots not in an authorized flying position were prohibited from flying. As I was in the TRADOC aviation division at this time, I remember this well.
As for abandoning his assignment, this is untrue. Lt. Bush was excused for a period to take employment in Florida for a congressman and later in Alabama for a Senate campaign. Excusals for employment were common then and are now in the Air Guard, as pilots frequently are in career transitions, and most commanders are flexible in letting their charges take care of career affairs. I had one such period in 1961, when my career took me away from my unit. I was placed on inactive status, and performed additional drills when I returned to have a good year.
Issue: Bush "barely" had a good year in 1973. A good year is a good year. This is a gratuitous criticism. He made up any drills needed at the end of his year.
Flight physical: Lt. Bush did not disobey lawful orders to report for a physical, as none would be given. Pilots are scheduled for their annual flight physicals in their birth month during that month's weekend drill assembly the only time the clinic is open. In the Reserves, it is not uncommon to miss this deadline by a month or so for a variety of reasons. Since Lt Bush was in a prohibitive flying status, and probably realized that his flying days were over, it is conceivable that a physical was not considered a "blue chip" item. The result would have been an administrative action "grounding" him from flying status until he completed a physical. Many active duty pilots in a prohibited status routinely miss annual flight physicals. Also, the formal drug testing program was not instituted by the Air Force until the 1980s and is done randomly by lot, not as a special part of a flight physical, when one easily could abstain from drug use because of its date certain.
In short, Lt. Bush's service was more than honorable -- it was noble and courageous in light of what he might have been called upon to do -- "scramble" to intercept an incoming bomber with fighter escort.
Kerry: On the other hand...
We don't know much about Kerry's record, do we? Unlike the president, he has not made his entire file public; we only have his word and that of his supporters as to his "war hero" status. He should be called upon to open both his military records and his FBI file.
As a battalion adjutant in Vietnam, and the senior awards and decoration officer in the battalion, I know a bit about how awards evolve.
Kerry's Purple Hearts (PH): 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. (The Boston Globe June 6, 2003).
Quote from the criteria for award of the Purple Heart:
"...the wound for which the award is made must have required treatment by a medical officer and records of medical treatment for wounds or injuries received in action must have been made a matter of official record."
Who treated Lt. Kerry's wounds, and who made them a matter of record? According to Dr. Louis Letson, who treated Kerrys first "wound" in December 1968, he treated the "wound" with a Band-Aid. Dr. Letson further states that some of Kerry s crew confided to him that they had not received any fire that night, but that the "wound" was probably the result of a fragment ricocheting from a mortar round that Kerry had fired when it struck some rocks. Dr. Letson further related that Kerry had told them "he would be the next JFK from Massachusetts.
For a PH to be awarded, it has to be a matter of record that the injury was the "result of hostile action" (IRHA). On two occasions resulting from hostile action ( 1, lacerations resulting from a helicopter being forced down by hostile fire and 2, a piece of Plexiglas in my neck from a bullet penetrating the helicopter), I was treated in a field medic environment, and the wound was not recorded. I could have done so, but declined. On the third occasion, I was wounded along with several others in a mortar attack and taken to a field hospital where my medical records were annotated with IRHA. I only discovered that I was awarded the PH when I received the orders for it.
Navy instruction, titled 1300.39, says that a Naval officer who requires hospitalization on two separate occasions, or who receives three wounds "regardless of the nature of the wounds," can ask a superior officer to request a reassignment. The instruction makes clear the reassignment is not automatic. It says that the reassignment "will be determined after consideration of his physical classification for duty and on an individual basis." Because Kerry's wounds were not considered serious, his reassignment appears to have been made on an individual basis. Moreover, the instruction makes clear that Kerry could have asked that any reassignment be waived. The bottom line is that Kerry could have remained but he chose to seek an early transfer.
Bottom line: How did those PH get recorded and awarded? (Can you say, "Get out of Dodge"?)
Kerry's Silver Star action: While Senator Kerry has not made the official citation available, research by folks who claim to know give the following version of the action:
When Kerry's Patrol Craft Fast 94 received a B-40 rocket shot from shore, he hot-dogged his craft beaching it in the center of the enemy position. To his surprise, an enemy soldier sprang up from a hole not ten feet from Patrol Craft 94 and fled.
The boat's machine gunner hit and wounded the fleeing Viet Cong as he darted behind a hootch. The twin .50s gunner fired at the Viet Cong. He said he "laid 50 rounds" into the hootch before Kerry leaped from the boat and dashed in to administer a "coup de grace" to the wounded Viet Cong. Kerry returned with the B-40 rocket and launcher.
First, any one hit by a .50 caliber round is not likely to be a threat. According to my understanding of the Rules of War, killing a wounded enemy is a war crime. Also, how did the recommendation make it up the chain of command? My suspicion is that Kerry put himself in for it. In any case, from my experience, this action is not only NOT worthy of a Silver Star, but is more appropriate to a court-martial. IMHO, it was nothing more than his attempt to turn Patrol Craft 94 into his personal "PT-109" for future political capital, as alluded to by his crew to Dr. Letson.
In any case, Kerry's post-war activity is to be condemned as it put soldiers in combat at further risk, lengthened the war, and subverted US objectives in the Vietnam Conflict. After returning home, he quit the Navy early and changed the color of his politics to become a leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Kerry wasted no time organizing opposition in the United States against the efforts of his former buddies still ducking communist bullets back in Vietnam, cementing his liberal credentials for future political pursuits.
Kerry participated in the so-called Winter Soldier Investigation where his fellow protesters accused his fellow GIs of war crimes. (For the record, the chain of command punished any and all atrocities severely, contradictory to Kerry's assertions).
Kerry's later betrayal of American prisoners of war, his blatant disrespect for the families of our missing in action, Vietnam veterans, his continued lack of support for our soldiers in the War on Terror, his support for communist Vietnam and his waffling over the issue of use of force in Iraq proves he is a self promoting candidate who cannot be relied on to protect the best interests of the United States.
In fact, as a two-tour veteran of Vietnam and a retired Army officer, I consider him to be a traitor. He wiped out any "attaboys" he may have had from his Naval service by all the "aw shits" since.
Besides, the only military record we should be considering is the outstanding performance of President Bush as our Commander-in-Chief.
Chuck Hoskinson LTC, USArmy, Retired RVN 66-67, 70-71 CT ARNG 60-63 Army Aviator/Mideast FAO Awarded LM, DFC, BSM/2OLC, PH, AM"V", + numerous awards for meritorious service
Our F&B media will take care of disseminating this information. They just could not find it theirselves.
Very interesting post, thank you for posting it. I hope all FReepers read it.
WOW thanks! I am KEEPING THIS ONE!
Let's not forget Bush's almost 3 years experience as a wartime Commander-in-Chief vs zero days for Kerry.
I've been posting this on "other forums"
Distribute this post to everybody who wonders
about President Bush
and his service during Vietnam.
George W Bush's military record vs John Kerry's military record
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...Nevertheless, we have established that the F-102 was serving in combat in Vietnam at the time Bush
enlisted to become an F-102 pilot. In fact, pilots from the 147th FIG of the Texas ANG were
routinely rotated to Vietnam for combat duty under a program called "Palace Alert" from 1968 to 1970.
Palace Alert was an Air Force program that sent qualified F-102 pilots from the ANG to bases in Europe
or southeast Asia for periods of three to six months for frontline duty.
Fred Bradley, a friend of Bush's who was also serving in the Texas ANG, reported that he and Bush
inquired about participating in the Palace Alert program. However, the two were told by a superior,
MAJ Maurice Udell, that they were not yet qualified since they were still in training
and did not have the 500 hours of flight experience required. Furthermore, ANG veteran
COL William Campenni, who was a fellow pilot in the 111th FIS at the time,
told the Washington Times that Palace Alert was winding down and not accepting new applicants....
The point of this discussion is that the military record of George W. Bush deserves a fair treatment.
Bush has been criticized for avoiding service in Vietnam, though the evidence proves that
the Texas Air National Guard and its F-102 pilots where serving in Vietnam while Bush was in training.
Bush has been criticized for using his family influence to obtain his assignment,
but the evidence shows that he successfully completed every aspect of the more than
two years of training required of him.
Bush has been criticized for pursuing a safe and plush position as a fighter pilot,
but the evidence indicates the F-102 was a demanding aircraft whose pilots regularly risked their lives.
Bush has also been criticized for deserting the Guard before his enlistment was complete,
but the evidence shows he was honorably discharged eight months early because his position
was being phased out...
While it is not our goal to compare and contrast the records of the candidates on this subject,
the fact that the questioner cites John Kerry's military service makes us feel it necessary to comment.
It is interesting to note that there are just as many, if not more,
irregularities in Kerry's military record as there are in Bush's.
Kerry can certainly be praised for some of the actions he performed while in the line of duty,
but his record does contain some troubling portions as well.
Not the least of these is his involvement in the controversial group
Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) while he was still an active-duty member of the US Navy.
Kerry's testimony before Congress as VVAW spokesman in 1971,
during which he accused soldiers serving in Vietnam of being war criminals,
was found to be based on largely falsifed information as documented by Wikipedia.
The Boston Globe has also reported on troubling accusations regarding the circumstances
surrounding Kerry's medals, particularly his first two purple hearts awarded for
minor injuries that may even have been self-inflicted.
John Kerry's record
DD 214 shows 17 Feb 72 terminal date of Reserve Obligation for John Kerry
Kerry's anti war activities were doing this period!
What is Senator John Kerry's relationship to VVAW?
Since Vietnam Veterans Against the War's inception in 1967, tens of thousands of vets, GIs and supporters have participated in and supported the actions of VVAW. One of those members in the early 1970s was John Kerry. Kerry was appointed to the VVAW Executive Committee to assist in preparing Dewey Canyon III, VVAW's limited incursion into the land of Congress in 1971 (Nicosia, 98-99). Kerry made his greatest contribution to the anti-war movement and to VVAW in his speech to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on April 23, 1971 (Brinkley, 371-373: Hunt, 109-110; Nicosia, 136-138; Wells, 495).
Content of the speech is found at:
By 1972, John Kerry had moved on from VVAW (Brinkley, 406: Hunt, 127-128; Nicosia, 211).
John Kerry's service in Vietnam lasted 4 months and 12 days, beginning in November 1968 when he reported to Cam Rahn Bay for a month of training. His abbreviated combat tour ended shortly after he requested a transfer out of Vietnam on March 17, 1969, citing Navy instruction 1300.39 permitting personnel with three Purple Hearts to request reassignment. So far as we are able to determine, Kerry was the only Swift sailor ever to leave Vietnam without completing the standard one-year tour of duty, other than those who were seriously wounded or killed.
The instruction, titled 1300.39, says that a Naval officer who requires hospitalization on two separate occasions, or who receives three wounds "regardless of the nature of the wounds," can ask a superior officer to request a reassignment. The instruction makes clear the reassignment is not automatic.
It says that the reassignment "will be determined after consideration of his physical classification for duty and on an individual basis." Because Kerry's wounds were not considered serious, his reassignment appears to have been made on an individual basis. Moreover, the instruction makes clear that Kerry could have asked that any reassignment be waived.
The bottom line is that Kerry could have remained but he chose to seek an early transfer. He met with Horne, who agreed to forward the request, which Horne said probably ensured final approval. The Navy could not say how many other officers or sailors got a similar early release from combat, but it was unusual for anyone to have three Purple Hearts.
"So far as we are able to determine, Kerry was the only Swift sailor
ever to leave Vietnam without completing the standard one-year tour of duty,
other than those who were seriously wounded or killed."
I've seen this information but I still want to thankyou for posting it. More people need to read it. I was in the U.S. Air Force and I was in Naha AFB Okinawa in 1970. There were some F-102's there and I saw them be stripped of engines and other parts and their airframes being cut up for scrap. President Bush didn't avoid anything as the RATS would have us believe. The very fact that he strapped the F-102 on had him in more danger than most people ever expirence no matter where they are. Mrs. Bush is lucky she still has him just because of that. Thanks again and We have got to make sure that Hanoi john does not become the Commander in Chief of the Best of the Best, our wonderful people in uniform.
Great Post, I'll pass it on
....vs zero days for Kerry.....
Yes but..... Kerry served 120 days in Vietnam. On many of these days his service consisted of reinacting for the camera his previous days. His actual service- the reinactment time is thus around only 90 days.
He's a 90 day wonder!!
Wonder what he really did??
Thanks for the ping!
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