Those Who Knew Him When

Things to remember when John Kerry parades his war record at the Democratic convention:

  • “We resent very deeply the false war crimes charges he made coming back from Vietnam in 1971 and repeated in the book Tour of Duty. We think those cast an aspersion on all those living and dead, from our unit and other units in Vietnam. We think that he knew he was lying when he made the charges, and we think that they’re unsupportable.”
    — John O’Neill, spokesman, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth
  • “I do not believe John Kerry is fit to be Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the United States. This is not a political issue. It is a matter of his judgment, truthfulness, reliability, loyalty and trust — all absolute tenets of command.”
    — Rear Admiral Roy Hoffmann, USN (retired), chairman, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth
  • “During Lt.(jg) Kerry’s tour, he was under my command for two or three specific operations, before his rapid exit. … Kerry would be described as devious, self-absorbing, manipulative, disdain for authority, disruptive, but the most common phrase that you’d hear is ‘requires constant supervision.'”
    — Captain Charles Plumly, USN (retired)
  • “My daughters and my wife have read portions of the book ‘Tour of Duty.’ They wanted to know if I took part in the atrocities described. I do not believe the things that are described happened. Let me give you an example. In Brinkley’s book, on pages 170 to 171, about something called the ‘Bo De massacre’ on November 24th of 1968… In Kerry’s description of the engagement, first he claimed there were 17 servicemen that were wounded. Three of us were wounded. I was the first…”
    — Joseph Ponder
  • “While in Cam Rahn Bay, he trained on several 24-hour indoctrination missions, and one special skimmer operation with my most senior and trusted Lieutenant. The briefing from some members of that crew the morning after revealed that they had not received any enemy fire, and yet Lt.(jg) Kerry informed me of a wound — he showed me a scratch on his arm and a piece of shrapnel in his hand that appeared to be from one of our own M-79s. It was later reported to me that Lt.(jg) Kerry had fired an M-79, and it had exploded off the adjacent shoreline. I do not recall being advised of any medical treatment, and probably said something like ‘Forget it.’ He later received a Purple Heart for that scratch, and I have no information as to how or whom.”
    — Commander Grant Hibbard, USN (retired)
  • “Now when I went there right after Tet, I was restricted in my movements. I couldn’t go much of anyplace because the Vietcong controlled most of the area. When I left, I could go anywhere I wanted, just about. Commerce was booming, the buses were running, trucks were going, the waterways were filled with sampans with goods going to market, but yet in Kerry’s biography he says that our operations were a complete failure. He also mentions a formal conference with me, to try to get more air cover and so on. That conference never happened…”
    — Captain Adrian Lonsdale, USCG (retired)
  • “I never saw, heard of, or participated in any Swift boat crews killing cattle, poisoning crops, or raping and killing civilians as charged by John Kerry, both in his book and in public statements. …I signed this letter because I feel that he used Swift boat sailors to proclaim his antiwar statements after the war, and now he uses the same Swift boat sailors to support his claims of being a war hero. He cannot have it both ways, and we are here to ask for full disclosure of the proof of his claims.”
    — James Steffes

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