Did Kerry Himself Write Report On Which Medals Were Based?
By David Freddoso
Posted August 19, 2004
Former Vietnam Swift boat commander Larry Thurlow is rebutting a story on the front-page of this morning’s Washington Post while adamantly reiterating his charge that John Kerry did not come under hostile fire during a March 13, 1969 incident for which Kerry was awarded a Bronze Star and his third Purple Heart.
"Nobody received even a fragment of bullets going through the metal" of the five Swift Boats present for the incident, Thurlow told Human Events today. "Nobody was even ducking for cover."
In a piece headlined, "Records Counter a Critic of Kerry—Fellow Skipper's Citation Refers to Enemy Fire," the Post reported that the citation for the Bronze Star that Thurlow himself received for the 1969 incident contradicts Thurlow's charge that Kerry falsely claimed he came under enemy fire during that incident. The citation, the Post says, praises Thurlow "for providing assistance to a damaged Swift boat 'despite enemy bullets flying about him.'"
Thurlow, however, says his own Bronze Star citation is wrong about "enemy bullets flying," although he did indeed board and prevent from sinking a Swift boat that had been damaged by a mine explosion and whose captain had suffered a concussion. Thurlow stands by an affidavit he signed on July 22, 2004 in which he says of the 1969 incident, "I never heard a shot."
Thurlow told the Post that if coming under enemy fire--rather than rescuing the damaged Swift boat--was the basis for his own Bronze Star award than the award was "fraudulent."
"In terms of receiving hostile fire, it's false," Thurlow told Human Events of his Bronze Star citation.
Why would Thurlow's Bronze Star citation be wrong about "enemy bullets flying"? Former Navy Commander George Elliott, who signed Thurlow's citation, told Human Events he based the claim that there was enemy fire that day on an after-action report that Thurlow and two other officers on the scene believe was written by Kerry. I got the information from the after-action report," said Elliott.
Thurlow and his colleagues have good reason to believe Kerry authored this report because, other than Thurlow, there were only four Swift boat commanders on the scene that day in 1969. One was Kerry. One was Donald Droz, who is now deceased. And the two others were Richard Pees and Jack Chenoweth, who back Thurlow's claim that there was no hostile fire that day.
Thurlow, Chenoweth and Pees all say they did not write the after-action report that said there was hostile fire. All say they believe Kerry wrote it. "Kerry campaign researchers dispute that assertion,” the Post reported this morning, "and there is no convincing documentary evidence to settle the claim."
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth—a group claiming that Kerry has been untruthful about his swift boat service, and to which Pees, Chenoweth and Thurlow belong—called again on Kerry to allow the Navy to independently release all of his military records by signing Standard Form 180, which he has thus far refused to do. A complete examination of his records, they said, could prove who wrote the report on which this commendation was based. It could also verify or falsify some of the Swift Boat Veterans' other claims that Kerry has been dishonest about his service.
Thurlow told Human Events that he will sign a Standard Form 180, allowing his own records to be publicly released.
Click here for a FREE chapter of UNFIT FOR COMMAND. This important chapter charges that Sen. John Kerry's Bronze Star was "earned" based on a seriously erroneous report, a report Kerry's fellow Swift Boat commanders involved in the incident believe was written by Kerry himself.