Skip to comments.Statement By Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Member Larry Thurlow (response to today's WP article)
Posted on 08/19/2004 1:18:05 PM PDT by Paul_B
For Immediate Release August 19, 2004
Statement By Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Member Larry Thurlow
I am convinced that the language used in my citation for a Bronze Star was language taken directly from John Kerry's report which falsely described the action on the Bay Hap River as action that saw small arms fire and automatic weapons fire from both banks of the river.
To this day, I can say without a doubt in my mind, along with other accounts from my shipmates-there was no hostile enemy fire directed at my boat or at any of the five boats operating on the river that day.
I submitted no paperwork for a medal nor did I file an after action report describing the incident. To my knowledge, John Kerry was the only officer who filed a report describing his version of the incidents that occurred on the river that day.
It was not until I had left the Navy-approximately three months after I left the service-that I was notified that I was to receive a citation for my actions on that day.
I believed then as I believe now that I received my Bronze Star for my efforts to rescue the injured crewmen from swift boat number three and to conduct damage control to prevent that boat from sinking. My boat and several other swift boats went to the aid of our fellow swift boat sailors whose craft was adrift and taking on water. We provided immediate rescue and damage control to prevent boat three from sinking and to offer immediate protection and comfort to the injured crew.
After the mine exploded, leaving swift boat three dead in the water, John Kerry's boat, which was on the opposite side of the river, fled the scene. US Army Special Forces officer Jim Rassmann, who was on Kerry's boat at the time, fell off the boat and into the water. Kerry's boat returned several minutes later-under no hail of enemy gunfire-to retrieve Rassmann from the river only seconds before another boat was going to pick him up.
Kerry campaign spokespersons have conflicting accounts of this incident-the latest one being that Kerry's boat did leave but only briefly and returned under withering enemy fire to rescue Mr. Rassmann. However, none of the other boats on the river that day reported enemy fire nor was anyone wounded by small arms action. The only damage on that day was done to boat three-a result of the underwater mine. None of the other swift boats received damage from enemy gunfire.
And in a new development, Kerry campaign officials are now finally acknowledging that while Kerry's boat left the scene, none of the other boats on the river ever left the damaged swift boat. This is a direct contradiction to previous accounts made by Jim Rassmann in the Oregonian newspaper and a direct contradiction to the "No Man Left Behind" theme during the Democratic National Convention.
These ever changing accounts of the Bay Hap River incident by Kerry campaign officials leave me asking one question. If no one ever left the scene of the Bay Hap River incident, how could anyone be left behind?
Most likely Rassman "The Remington Ranger",(That is what military clerks called themselves),is the one that actually wrote and typed the citations. See below.
VIETNAM SPECIAL FORCES/ AND SPECIAL OPERATIONS OTHER VIETNAM VETERANS EX-POWS-KIA/MIA FAMILIES AND FRIENDS AND THE VIETNAMESE COMMUNITY AGAINST KERRY
A CQ reader who wishes to remain anonymous sent this over to me this morning. The reader claims that he had Special Forces experience in Viet Nam and has this to say about Rassman:
There are a lot of angles to the Kerry saga. I doubt anyone gets to every question, but some are compelling to me. The question that goes begging today is why was Rassman there at all?
I don't believe SF will take an official position on this, so I'll post what I have heard. I have never bad mouthed fellow SFers before, but I do have these comments from some sources I trust.
Rassman was reportedly the Asst S-1, which means he was the assistant admininistrative officer. Not exactly a key sought after job for an SF officer LOL. In fact I don't recall knowing of any official Asst S-1 officer slots in the field. Jobs like that are created to keep idiots off the teams.
He was supposedly in charge of awards and decorations (A&D) in a field unit. SF didn't issue many, so it was hardly a taxing assignment. The man doing that job at SF HQ RVN was a Sergeant. Giving it to an officer in a field unit as a primary duty is beyond unusual.
He was probably AWOL when he was with Kerry. At best someone may have said, OK go, just to get him out of the way.
My comments and speculation.
If Rassman was an A&D clerk, his knowledge of how to get awards approved was probably very interesting to Kerry. Since reports indicate he wrote the citation for Kerry's SS, I believe this speculation is well-founded.
And how does an SF LT fall out of a 50' boat? I have been through days and weeks of small boat training and drills, we never had anyone fall out.
Rassman says he was under fire. Anytime anyone was shooting within 50 yds of me I always assumed I was the target until I could prove otherwise. Rassman could not do that while in the drink. I will take the word of the other boat crews that there was no enemy fire at all. They had the best view to assess the situation. My mind keeps going back to Rassman's A&D job. He knew if there was no enemy fire there would be no award citations.
This entire operation smells bad to me. Kerry was in command he gets credit for everything his unit did and everything it failed to do. The Swiftvets are getting heavy pressure and questioning. I would like to see a reporter question Rassman in detail.
To me, the Bronze Star story is really the least of Kerry's problems. However, if the official after-action reports ever come out from the other teams there that day, it may prove rather embarrassing for Rassman, regardless of how many times he can say Spaeth Communications and John McCain in a 1500-word essay. And that's really the crux of the matter: we need to see the entire file on John Kerry to determine who's telling the truth. Is it John Kerry and a handful of people, or over 200 combat veterans who were also there and saw him in action?
Until John Kerry releases his complete military records, the credibility of the Swiftvets will continue to grow. As long as Kerry keeps answering their well-documented allegations with nothing but intimidation tactics, his credibility will be completely suspect. Jim Rassman cannot save John Kerry from himself.
Posted by Captain Ed at 09:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/
I have been saying this for months and have sent my observations to the media, Congress, SBVFT, and others. Namely, I provide the following:
Did he or didn't he? After reviewing Kerry's service records, as released by him, I find it hard to believe the media have not picked up on the John Lehman connection. It should set off all kinds of alarm bells, especially considering the recent flap over whether he threw his medals away or not.
A very curious question arises over Kerry's multiple Silver (3) and Bronze (2) star citations. Two of the five were signed by John Lehman who was Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan Administration 5 Feb 1981 - 10 Apr 1987. There are three Silver Star citations supplied by Kerry. One was signed by ADM Zumwalt, one by ADM Hyland, and one by Secretary Lehman. The Bronze Star citations were signed by Zumwalt and Lehman. Specifically,
Zumwalt: ADM Zumwalt served as Commander, US Naval Forces Vietnam from Sep 1968-May 1970. The Silver Star citation is more than likely the original citation taken from the award submission. Normally, as part of the nomination form, the nominator must provide a synopsis of the award (citation) that can fit on a single page suitable for framing with the certificate. Zumwalt's citation covered two pages. I suspect that Zumwalt forwarded the award to CINCPAC, ADM Hyland, for the final signature, including the citation. It is worth noting that the requirement to go to CINCPAC applied only to the Silver Star, hence only the Zumwalt and Lehman citations for the Bronze Star, i.e., Zumwalt as the final approving authority and Lehman for the replacement/reissue.
Hyland: CINCPAC probably edited the Zumwalt Silver Star citation to make it fit on to one page and to clean it up a bit to fit the existing format. ADM Hyland was CINCPAC 30 Nov 1967 - 05 Dec 1970
Lehman: Except for the last sentence, the Silver Star citation is the same as Hyland's. What makes this curious is that Secretary Lehman signed the citation at least over 12 and up to 18 years after the events occurred. Kerry served in Vietnam from November 1968 to April 1969. I doubt, in any event, that the final approval authority for Silver Stars had to go to SECNAV for approval. We also have photographic evidence that Kerry had the Silver Star medal pinned on in 1969. Kerry also acknowledges that he received them. My take is that Kerry requested replacement medals and due to the fact that Kerry was no longer an active duty service member, administrative requirements mandated that SECNAV's office had to approve the issue of the replacements once it was verified from official records that Kerry had actually earned them.
The bottom line is that Kerry probably did throw away his medals and then requested replacements in the 1980s. Someone needs to raise this issue with Kerry, i.e., why did Secretary Lehman sign duplicate Bronze and Silver Star citations at least 12 years after you left Vietnam? Kerry needs to release all of his military records including the nomination forms, which will give us the chronology and the approval chain of command.
Kerry's reaction on Good Morning America fits his MO. He wants it both ways. When he discovered that throwing away your medals was politically a negative, he came up with the story about his ribbons and someone else's medals. Kerry realized that he couldn't walk away from the story entirely, especially since he has the medals displayed prominently in his office. However, the fly in the ointment is that we now have the citations, released by him, signed by Lehman. If he indeed requested replacement medals, he has a real problem, i.e., he was telling the truth initially, lied in the 80s, and is lying now.
I recognize that confronting Kerry on his military service is fraught with problems politically, but I believe there are plenty of inconsistencies that need to be made public. His antiwar activities and associations (Fonda, Ramsey Clark, the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, et. al) also need to be exposed fully. The fact that Kerry was a member of the inactive Naval Reserves (1970-2) subject to involuntary recall and could meet with the Communist Vietnamese in Paris (per his sworn Congressional testimony) while our forces were engaged in hostilities is disgraceful. In fact it has recently been learned that Kerry met twice with the Communists in Paris.
Kerry is frozen in a time warp when it comes to his service in Vietnam. His preoccupation with his medals borders on being an obsession. If you check Kerry's released military records, you will notice that Kerry amended his DD214 with a DD215. Among other things, Kerry burnishes his Vietnam Service medal by adding four bronze service stars to reflect various campaigns. This was done in March 2001!!! Why anyone would go through that effort to make some meaningless changes is beyond me. Hundreds of thousands of veterans, including myself, could do it, but beyond self-gratification and ego, what is the point?
23 posted on 08/19/2004 7:25:31 AM EDT by kabar [ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 |
Talk about legs, this story is going to go all ten rounds.
On the same subject, take a look at my latest commentary on my college-mate (sadly) John Kerry. This has already been published once on the Internet. It will be on ChronWatch tomorrow. It will be in print on Wednesday.
If you haven't already joined the anti-CFR effort, please click here.
Plus, after stating that the Kerry campaign won't be spending money in August, they are now running commercials where the Swifties have been running.
Very interesting, indeed. Thanks.
Wow. This insight needs to get out. There are too many loose ends. How to build public awareness? Thanks.
"If he indeed requested replacement medals, he has a real problem, i.e., he was telling the truth initially, lied in the 80s, and is lying now"
With all due respect, when has lying ever been a problem for the Democrats?
You're right about what the dynamics of the confrontation imply. The key is to keep the story from dying, until more questions are asked and the outcry for the release of his records becomes irresistable.
Rassmann himself has given about five DIFFERENT versions of his "rescue" story. He was on Kerry's boat. He was on the boat behind Kerry. He was looking for enemy and the mine explosion under Boat 3 blew him into the water. He was sitting on the back of Kerry's boat eating a chocolate chip cookie and relaxing, and Kerry's sudden spinning of the boat to turn tail and flee flung him off the back of the boat into the water. He saw Kerry's boat in the water, swam to it, grabbed the net and climbed up, but didn't have the strength to pull his body over the lip of the boat, and that's when Kerry saw him, grabbed his hand and hoisted him over the lip. He looked up and saw Kerry's boat coming to get him and Kerry reaching down into the water to rescue him. Dang, if Rassmann himself can't keep the story straight, how can WE be expected to???
If he and Kerry were in cahoots to submit the phony paperwork, then certainly he has a reason to continue supporting Kerry. They're still scratching each other's back.
The navy could release the maintenance records of all the Swift Boats on that day and we could know if there were any small arms fire or not.
It's funny how people deceive themselves.
Kerry supporters want so badly to dismiss the SBVTs as Bush-sponsored liars on a campaign of character assassination, but anyone who has any real-world experience should be able to tell the difference between prevarication, waffling and story-swapping versus the sincere, straight-forward, no-nonsense recounting of events as witnessed by a man so secure in his honesty that he recites his facts in the face of massive legal liability should he be proven slanderous.
Thurlow stands to be ruined if he's lying. His story doesn't waver. His facts don't change. His memories (seared or otherwise) remain consistent.
Kerry stands to be ruined if Turlow is telling the truth. His story changes, or is retold through surrogates. His memories shift or blur, and the records which would exonerate (or damn) him remain shrouded in mystery.
I know who I'd buy a used car from...
The Wapo story smells. They say they used FOIA to get Thurlows records? Can I get anyone's records via FOIA? Hard to believe. If Thurlow didn't authorize the release the FOIA is no good. If he did auth. the FOIA is needless, it seems.
> Larry Thurlow
> "I am convinced that the language used in my
> citation for a Bronze Star ..."
I haven't read all the threads on this, but do we know why
Thurlow got surprised by this?
I can understand that he might never have read the full
report of the action, since it wasn't that significant
from his point of view.
Did the condensed copy of of the citation, given to him
when the star was presented, omit the "hostile fire"?
Why can they get Thurlow's records so fast but nobody can get Kerry's records? Liberal media sucks.
You're absolutely right about the character indications. We owe a lot to these VN vets, who now fight another war against the establishment. May it be a healing for them. This time I'm on their side.
"Funny" how everything to do with Kerry is shrouded in a fog. It becomes practically impossible to get down to the simple truth, even if the issue is one so obvious as to whether he threw his medals over a fence. At some point reasonable persons will conclude that, lacking now convincing evidence otherwise, the man is suppressing the truth and manipulating opinion for his own ambitions.
What IS it with these Massachusetts politicians and water and not being able to get the story straight after acting inappropriately?
The more kerry dodges and weaves, trying to repair his story, the more air time this gets for refutations. Gotta love that. And, of course, most obviously, the more kerry is exposed as a cold-blooded, military-loathing, power-hungry liar.
Look at his actions AGAINST the Swiftees now, look at them in 1971, look at how selfishly he conducted himself in 'nam, and imagine "Hail to the Chief" playing for ... him.
God bless the Swiftees.
However, after this kerry debacle, that might change as the dems seem even to need cover for their "heroism." sigh
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