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Fighting with the Truth - John Kerry's "Combat V" controversy ^ | 9/15/04 | Henry Mark Holzer

Posted on 09/15/2004 12:45:28 AM PDT by kattracks

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and fellow veterans.

I'm pleased to be here this afternoon at the invitation of Ed Dougherty- in the company of my wife and co-author, Erika Holzer.

Given the significance of today's date, there are any number of interesting and relevant topics that I could talk about.

* When international terrorism actually began

* The nature of our enemies.

* Who is to blame for America's unpreparedness.

* The War on Terror.

* The Patriot Act

* Recent Supreme Court decisions on "enemy combatants" and Guantanamo detainees.

But with the presidential election drawing near, I want to discuss three other topics that are related to each other, and related to the book Erika Holzer and I wrote entitled Fake Warriors: Identifying, Exposing and Punishing Those Who Falsify Their Military Service.

At the outset, I want to be clear what I will not be talking about:

* Whether Kerry's Purple Hearts were legitimately earned.

* Whether it was moral of Kerry to leave Vietnam after four months.

* Whether Kerry's Bronze Star with combat "V," re Rassman, was "heroic."

* Whether the story of how Kerry killed the VC was accurate.

* Whether Kerry spent "Christmas in Cambodia."

* Whether Kerry acted "gallantly" during the events of February 28, 1969.

* Whether Kerry is fit to be Commander in Chief of America's armed forces.

Although there is much that has been, and can still be, said about thesetopics, instead, I'm going to make the case (1) that once Kerry had his Silver Star, he played fast and loose with it, (2) that the anti-Bush and/or pro-Kerry media ignored the story because they couldn't discredit it, but (3) despite the media blackout, there is something that average folks like you and I can do about getting the truth out about this subject and about anything else of importance in this free society of ours.

First, since most of you don't know much about me, I want to take a few minutes to credentialize myself.

I received my B.A. degree from New York University, where I studied Russian and political science.

I then served in Korea (1955-56) with military intelligence, holding top-secret security clearance, and was Chief Order of Battle Analyst (Chinese Communist Forces) for Eighth Army.

I received my Juris Doctor degree from New York University School of Law. For about forty-five years, I have practiced in New York City and elsewhere in the United States, specializing in constitutional law and federal appeals.

In addition to my law practice, for over twenty years I was a full-time tenured professor of law at Brooklyn Law School, where I am now Professor Emeritus. My courses included Constitutional Law, First Amendment, and National Security.

I am the author of nearly two hundred articles, essays, and reviews. These days, I regularly publish commentary on current legal and political events at

Five of my out-of-print books are sold by various Internet booksellers.

I am co-author - with my wife, lawyer and novelist Erika Holzer - of "Aid and Comfort": Jane Fonda in North Vietnam, which explores and answers the question of whether Fonda's trip to Hanoi and her activities there constituted treason. I also co-authored, with Erika Holzer, Fake Warriors: Identifying, Exposing, and Punishing Those Who Falsify Their Military Service, published in 2003.

My monograph, Why Not Call It Treason?: Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Today, was published also in 2003.

In order to write Fake Warriors, Erika Holzer and I did exhaustive research into the pervasiveness of the Fake Warrior

phenomenon, its harmful consequences, how impostors do it, why they lie, how to identify and expose them, and how to have them punished.

I mention all this to establish that given my background and the knowledge I derived from researching and writing Fake Warriors, I am qualified to address that issue.

Now to presidential candidate John Kerry.

 *             *             *

On August 20, 2004, FrontPageMagazine published an article by the Holzers entitled "John Kerry's Mysterious Combat "V" and on August 24, 2004 FrontPageMagazine published a companion article entitled "John Kerry's Puzzling Silver Star Citations."

Those articles are the point of departure for my remarks this afternoon.

Kerry was awarded the Silver Star in early March 1969.  According to his published DD 214, he was separated on January 3, 1970.

As I' sure all of you know, the combat "V" is not authorized for the Silver Star.  You know also that the reason the law does not authorize it is because the Silver Star is for "gallantry," and it would be redundant in the extreme to overlay gallantry with "heroism."

Accordingly, in conjunction with Kerry's Silver Star, the combat "V" does not appear in his records at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.

It does not appear in any of his three (yes, three!) citations for his one Silver Star.

It does not appear in any publicity during his entire public career.

It does not appear in any photos of him wearing his ribbons.

It does not appear anywhere on his official campaign website.

Except in one place- on his DD 214. It  reads: "SILVER STAR WITH COMBAT 'V'."

Digest that for a moment, and ask yourselves what are the logical possibilities.

Either the "combat 'V'" was placed on Kerry's DD 214 at the time it was originally prepared and signed by Kerry in 1970, or it was not.  There are no other possibilities.

If it was typed onto his DD 214 in 1970, Kerry has allowed the unauthorized and illegal false statement to remain there for some 35 years, and then allowed it to have been posted on his presidential campaign website.

On the other hand, if the combat "V" was not put there in 1970, when and how did it get there?-since, presumably, it is Kerry himself, who has had the original DD 214 in his possession for some 35 years.

Either way-if the combat "V" was on Kerry's DD 214 from the beginning, or not-the candidate is on the horns of a dilemma that even his well-practiced spin doctors cannot escape.

Either the man who wants to be President of the United States didn't know that his own DD 214 was false-even though in the early 2000s he had a DD 215 correct another entry-or he did know, but was content to let the lie remain there.

Just last week, Kerry impaled himself on one horn of his dilemma: it was, his spokesman said, a "typo."  Erika Holzer and I reported this in our September 3, 2004, FrontPageMagazine article entitled "The 34-year old typo."  But so far, Kerry has not explained why he left the "typo" there for 34 years.

But there's more.

In our "Kerry's Puzzling Silver Star Citations" article, Erika and I addressed another significant problem with Kerry's Silver Star.

As many of you here today learned the hard way, when a medal is recommended, attached to that recommendation is a "proposed citation."

Here's where it gets puzzling.  Lieutenant (junior grade) John Kerry's award for the Silver Star has not one citation, but three-an unheard of number for a single award.

Let me take you through those three undated citations.

Citation 1 reads, with parts irrelevant to the points I'm making now omitted, but including some background for context, as follows:

" * * * . . . Patrol Craft Fast 23 and 94 moved upstream to investigate an area from which gunshots were coming. Arriving at the area, Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY's craft received a B-40 rocket close aboard. Once again Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY ordered his units to charge the enemy positions and summoned Patrol Craft Fast 43 to the area to provide additional firepower. Patrol Craft Fast 94 then beached in the center of the enemy positions and an enemy soldier sprang up from his position not ten feet from Patrol Craft Fast 94 and fled. Without hesitation Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY leaped ashore, pursued the man behind a hootch and killed him, capturing a B-40 rocket launcher with a round in the chamber. Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY then led an assault party and conducted a sweep of the area while the Patrol Craft Fast continued to provide fire support. After the enemy had been completely routed, all personnel returned to the Patrol Craft Fast to withdraw from the area." * * * (Emphasis added).

This citation was signed by then-three star admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Commander of United States Forces in the Vietnam theater.  Zumwalt did not sign Kerry's citation in the admiral's own name.  He signed it: "For the President" [of the United States].  Pretty serious business.

Citation 2, issued sometime within the next two years, again with irrelevancies omitted but context remaining, reads as follows:

* * * On a request from U.S. Army advisors on shore, Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY ordered PCF's 94 and 23 further up river to suppress enemy sniper fire.  After proceeding approximately eight hundred yards, the boats were again taken under fire from a heavily foliated area and a B-40 rocket exploded close aboard PCF 94.  With utter disregard for his own safety and the enemy rockets, he again ordered a charge on the enemy, beached his own boat only ten feet from the VC rocket position, and personally led a landing party ashore in pursuit of the enemy.  Upon sweeping the area, an immediate search uncovered an enemy rest and supply area which was destroyed." * * * (Emphasis added).

Vanished is the enemy soldier of Citation 1, springing up from ten feet away, carrying a rocket launcher, turning, running behind a hut, and being shot by Kerry.  Indeed, in Citation 2's version, there were no enemy soldiers jumping out of spider holes.  Most important, gone is any implication that the aspiring presidential candidate shot an unarmed enemy soldier in the back.

This citation was signed by then-four star admiral John J. Hyland, Commander of all U.S. Naval Forces in the Pacific.  Hyland did not sign Kerry's citation in the admiral's own name.  He signed it: "For the President" [of the United States].  Again, pretty serious business.

Citation 3, virtually identical to Citation 2, was signed by, and in the name of, its author: Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, who served between 1981 and 1987.

This time, instead of language being edited out, glorifying language was added: "By his brave action, bold initiative, and unwavering devotion to duty . . . ."

Recently, as a result of our "three citations" article, former Secretary of the Navy Lehman has disclaimed any knowledge of Citation 3, denied signing it, and hazarded a guess that his "signature" on the citation was "written" by a machine.

Which brings me to the second of the three points I want to make.


*             *

Our two articles-and the many serious questions they raised-had huge exposure.  FrontPageMagazine alone receives hundreds of thousands of visits weekly, and readers forward articles to others, who in turn forward on and on, virtually endlessly via the Internet.

Yet despite this huge exposure, the Left media had ignored both stories. Hardly surprising.

But so had most of the Right!

With the exception of a few radio shows (all local, except Gordon Liddy), and despite scores of press releases and near-begging by some of us, there had been a total blackout by the conservative media, print, radio and TV.  In the question period later, please don't ask me why.

Should widespread dissemination of the combat "V and the "three citations" stories have raised for the American electorate crucial questions concerning Kerry's methods and his character?

You're damn right.

Yet the media had not even halfheartedly asked any of the many serious question we had raised.

Until something dramatic happened.

Something that arms individuals like us with a weapon so powerful that all the king's horses and all the king's men can no longer bury the truth.

And this brings me to my third point.

 *          *          *

Slowly-quietly at first, and then louder and louder until the drumbeat became impossible to ignore-the Internet came to life.  Housewives sent our articles to friends, students sent our articles to their parents, veterans sent our articles to their comrades.  People like you and me sent our articles to other people like you and me.

And on it went.  Until the sound of righteous indignation finally reached the ears of a few talk show hosts, one or two columnists, and, an organization named Judicial Watch-who demanded that the Navy investigate Kerry's medals.

And Judicial Watch's has now enlarged its demand to include the gist of our two articles: Kerry's DD 214's Combat "V" and his three citations.

As we meet here today on this somber anniversary, the Navy has already characterized Kerry's Silver Star "V" as "inappropriate."  Fox News, on the last night of the Republican National Convention, ran a brief story about Kerry's Combat "V," his three citations, and the Navy investigation.

More is coming, and when it arrives, we will have seen a dramatic example of what powerfully motivated free speech can accomplish in the face of great odds.

We will have seen the Internet used as a powerful instrument of truth.

I implore you: take advantage of the Internet-the greatest tool for truth-telling since Guttenberg invented movable type.

You have been warriors.

You can be again.

You must be again.

Duty to our country again calls upon you to fight.

But this time not with M-1s or M-16s, but with something more powerful.

You must arm yourselves with the truth-and use the Internet to spread it far and wide across this country and around the world.

Our very existence is at stake-as all of us learned the hard way, three years ago today.

Thank you.

TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: combatv; kerry; militaryrecord

1 posted on 09/15/2004 12:45:28 AM PDT by kattracks
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To: kattracks

I still don't understand why Kerry made his Viet Nam service the centerpiece of his campaign. Timed-released info is going to pop up until election day.

None of this would have happened if he would have stayed on-message -- sticking to the Demo platform.

Now he's playing damage control and in the process, the festering gaps in Big Media coverage are becoming harder to ignore.

The anti-Bush vote will not be sufficient for the Demos to carry the election.

2 posted on 09/15/2004 12:52:37 AM PDT by walford (
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To: kattracks


3 posted on 09/15/2004 1:07:49 AM PDT by loboinok (Gun control is hitting what you aim at!)
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To: kattracks

Are the Doubting Thomases on FR finally starting to believe my predictions from a month ago that Kerry's campaign will be DOA by the end of this month?

4 posted on 09/15/2004 2:06:54 AM PDT by counterpunch (The CouNTeRPuNcH Collection -
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To: walford
I still don't understand why Kerry made his Viet Nam service the centerpiece of his campaign. Timed-released info is going to pop up until election day.

Maybe there is a God and he just couldn't let Kerry win...

5 posted on 09/15/2004 2:09:32 AM PDT by rolling_stone
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To: rolling_stone
More like a witch who wanting to be the man in 2008 whispered the magic word "Foster" in John "Hanoi" Kerrys ear.
6 posted on 09/15/2004 2:29:41 AM PDT by ASA Vet (Tourette's syndrome is just a $&#$*!% excuse for poor *%$#** language skills.)
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To: kattracks

Excellent, and I wonder how the internal US Navy investigation is coming along?

7 posted on 09/15/2004 2:35:06 AM PDT by leadpenny
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To: leadpenny

I'd have a seizure if the Navy took back some of his medals. THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!

8 posted on 09/15/2004 3:32:03 AM PDT by gunnygail (Founding member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. (I operate the minigun, more fun):.)
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To: walford
"I still don't understand why Kerry made his Viet Nam service the centerpiece of his campaign."

It simple, really. That was all he had.

That was the only 4 months in the bastard's entire life, where he came close to being a man that could stand scrutiny... Not close scrutiny, but closer that ANY other part of his disgusting public life...

How much of America would be impressed by his time as Lt. Gov. of Massatwoshits, under the idiot Dukakis?.

How much of America would be impressed by his lack luster career in the Senate --- as the MOST leftist member, further left than even Ted "the swimmer" Kennedy?.

He can't run on his performance as the useful communist idiot that was a leader of Vietnam Veterans against the war -- nor could he be proud of his book, nor could he be proud of the Winter Soldier fiasco -- where most "vets" were liars and never served in Vietnam....

He couldn't run on being a self made man -- he's a two time gigolo -- living off the money that other men earned....

He couldn't run on his treacherous meeting with the Vietnamese communists in Paris -- while we were still at war, and in conflict with our laws... While good men were dying -- Kerry was working WITH and for the communist enemy...

He couldn't run on his good looks, or his orator skills, or his false "Irish blood" outside of Massatwoshits - nope....Poor bastard had only one thing......

4 months in Vietnam - that he screwed up by "playing the system", heaping unearned praise on himself - and ultimately betraying his fellow warriors and the nation - ALL to further a political career that WE together have an opportunity to destroy -- because NOW - he running on a national level and out of Massatwoshits...

Semper Fi

9 posted on 09/15/2004 3:35:29 AM PDT by river rat (You may turn the other cheek...But I prefer to look into my enemy's vacant dead eyes.)
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To: gunnygail
THAT, will never happen..

The Navy will NOT embarrass a sitting Senator..
The blow back would be disastrous - for decades..

When it comes to dealing with Congress - the Military has NO BALLS..

Semper Fi
10 posted on 09/15/2004 3:38:07 AM PDT by river rat (You may turn the other cheek...But I prefer to look into my enemy's vacant dead eyes.)
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To: gunnygail; river rat

I don't think it is out of the question. My memory is a little fuzzy on this but during Vietnam a General Officer had a DFC pulled based on a whistle-blowing Awards & Decoration Clerk.

11 posted on 09/15/2004 3:44:08 AM PDT by leadpenny
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To: leadpenny

The Navy budget, officer promotion approval lists and much more, are at the "consent and approval" of Congress.

It ain't gonna happen, that they strip a decoration from Kerry..

Semper Fi
12 posted on 09/15/2004 4:00:35 AM PDT by river rat (You may turn the other cheek...But I prefer to look into my enemy's vacant dead eyes.)
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To: river rat

They may not take it away from Kerry but there is no way everything is on the up and up with the three citations. Kerry was a sitting senator when all this "tinkering" went on. Either all of the back-up paperwork regarding the requests for changes to the citation is readily available in the Navy Archives, or, Kerry was doing something 'under the table' with someone on the inside. I can't imagine that a request for a change, from a US Senator, to a decades old SS citation would have been handled as a routine matter.

The findings of the investigation will be interesting.

13 posted on 09/15/2004 4:09:02 AM PDT by leadpenny
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To: leadpenny
Don't hold your breath...

If ANYTHING comes will be after the election, and it will be quite subtle and non accusatory...

At worst -- an E4 made a clerical error on his DD214...

Kerry will SLIDE on everything related to the Navy's presentation of his decorations...with the NAVY..

BUT, the situation will cost him plenty with voters aware of his freaking dishonesty in pursuing and accepting them..

On this, I would bet granny's rum bearing cow...

Semper Fi

14 posted on 09/15/2004 4:17:55 AM PDT by river rat (You may turn the other cheek...But I prefer to look into my enemy's vacant dead eyes.)
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To: kattracks

The pen (Keyboard) is still mightier than the sword!

15 posted on 09/15/2004 4:21:51 AM PDT by roaddog727 (The marginal propensity to save is 1 minus the marginal propensity to consume.)
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To: kattracks


16 posted on 09/15/2004 4:26:29 AM PDT by The Mayor ("A life lived for God will count for eternity.")
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To: river rat

Lehman has already said he doesn't remember it. If the investigation shows that Lehman's signature was used in an underhanded way - look out.

17 posted on 09/15/2004 4:27:38 AM PDT by leadpenny
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To: kattracks
Why the 1st Purple Heart is Bogus

1. Kerry claims to have been the Officer in Charge for the 1st Purple Heart mission, with two other enlisted men in the boat
2. Kerry claims that there was hostile fire
3. Whenever there is hostile fire, the Officer in Charge must write up an after-action report
4. Where is this report? So far no one has seen it. The Kerry campaign has said that they have release all Kerry's records.

Bottom line...
No report = No hostile fire = Bogus 1st Purple Heart

For more research see
18 posted on 09/15/2004 4:40:43 AM PDT by igoramus987
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To: leadpenny

I agree it appears there has been some tinkering with kerry's citations.

Is it possible Lehmann was in on this? I seem to remember him being rather harsh in his comments on GHW Bush and GWB.

19 posted on 09/15/2004 5:15:44 AM PDT by astounded
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To: river rat
At worst -- an E4 made a clerical error on his DD214...

I recall when I was leaving Active Duty Navy - my DD214 was being typed up by some "E4 clerk" ... and the clerk asked me what to put on the DD214 for awards, decorations, schools, etc.

That clerk was transcribing what I told him.

I could have embellished my record ... but would that have made it the responsibility of the E4 clerk? Would it count as a transcription error?

The reality is that the individual is responsible for the accuracy of his own DD214. The individual is asked to "proof read it" before he signs it. His signature attests to the accuracy of the information. Now... there can be minor errors - such as computations of days of service ... BUT - the "start date" - date that the indivdiual joined the service should be validated by the member, and the discharge date should be validated by the individual ....and all awards, decorations, schools, etc., should be correct, or the service member should immediately request corrections to the document rather than signing it.

Kerry lied ... then and now.

R/ Mike

20 posted on 09/15/2004 6:57:20 AM PDT by Vineyard
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