Another View Of Kerry's Purple Hearts

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Desertrat, Aug 27, 2004.

  1. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #1
    This articles was printed as a guest column in the WashTimes.

    "Trying to acquire Purple Hearts

    By Martin L. Fackler

    John Kerry has presented his Vietnam record as his major qualification to be president of the United States. It is, therefore, the duty of the American public to scrutinize that record carefully. And it is the duty of candidate John Kerry to facilitate that scrutiny. If all the senator's claims about his four months in Vietnam are factual, it would be to his great advantage to facilitate such scrutiny.

    Before we get to his record in Vietnam, however, we should examine the widespread misconception about how he got to Vietnam. The oft-repeated claim that Mr. Kerry volunteered to go to Vietnam misleads: He apparently volunteered only after the draft deferment he had applied for was turned down — thus allowing him to choose service in the Navy to avoid being drafted into the Army.

    I served as a combat surgeon in DaNang, (U.S. Naval Support Hospital) from Dec. 10, 1967, through Dec. 11, 1968. While there, I evaluated and treated hundreds of severely wounded combatants.

    During my year in DaNang, a few combatants urged me to verify small abrasions as "wounds" so they could get a Purple Heart. Each freely admitted trying to acquire Purple Hearts as rapidly as possible to take advantage of the policy allowing those with three Purple Hearts to apply to leave Vietnam early. I refused them. But some went shopping for another opinion. Unfortunately, we had some antiwar physicians in Vietnam who were happy to become accomplices in these frauds. Most with valid Purple Hearts didn't need to apply to leave Vietnam: The seriousness of their wounds demanded it.

    Lt. John Kerry's collecting three Purple Hearts within 100 days — all for wounds too minor to require hospitalization — recalls the distasteful memories of having to deal with those few miscreants in DaNang. More disturbing is the revelation that crewmen on Mr. Kerry's boat denied they had received any gunfire from shore at the time when Lt. Kerry claimed such gunfire had caused his wound. The doctor who disapproved Lt. Kerry's application for his first Purple Heart for that wound agreed that the tiny metal splinter sticking in the skin of his arm was inconsistent with enemy gunfire from shore. His crewmates claimed that Lt. Kerry, himself, had fired a grenade launcher from the boat striking a rock on the nearby shore — and his wound was from a metal splinter from the grenade that ricocheted back, striking him in the arm.

    Is there any way we can determine who was telling the truth about this first Purple Heart? Yes, there is. The type of wound can reveal much about the weapon that caused it. The tiny sliver of metal and its very superficial penetration is typical of fragments from explosive devices — like grenades. It would not have resulted from the most likely gunfire from shore — small arms rifle fire. The AK 47 rifle, used by the enemy, fires a 30-caliber bullet, which is 50 times or more as heavy as the sliver of metal sticking in Lt. Kerry's skin. Such a bullet would have passed through any part of his body it struck, and certainly no part of it would have remained sticking in his skin.

    In the absence of the medical records that Mr. Kerry apparently declines to make public, the only details we have about his second and third Purple Hearts are that he also based them on wounds too minor to require hospitalization. My reason for refusing to verify insignificant wounds as the basis for a Purple Heart was the regulation covering Purple Heart awards. In Part B, Paragraph 2, of the Army Purple Heart Regulation (600-8-22 of 25 February 1995), we find "the wound for which the award is made must have required treatment by a medical officer."

    Dr. Louis Letson was entirely correct in turning down Lt. Kerry's first Purple Heart — even if the wound had been the result of enemy action. Can there be any doubt that the tiny metal sliver could have been removed easily, and safely, by a Navy corpsman? It certainly did not "require" treatment by a medical officer (an MD).

    Purple Hearts are not supposed to be awarded for self-inflicted wounds, nor for wounds too minor to require treatment by a physician. So where and how did Lt. Kerry eventually obtain a Purple Heart for his first wound? Nobody seems to know. Only his medical records will tell — and the American public needs that information to evaluate candidate Kerry's qualifications and candor.

    The highly unlikely occurrence of being wounded three times within 100 days, in the very beginning of a tour of duty, and all three wounds being so minor that none required hospitalization, would seem sufficient cause for further investigation.Addingthe inconsistencies surrounding Lt. Kerry's first Purple Heart should make mandatory a thorough scrutiny of his medical records by someone highly qualified to interpret military medical records, and familiar with the regulations on the qualifications for the Purple Heart Medal, to determine if the wounds for which Lt. Kerry was awarded the Purple Heart Medal were serious enough to "require" treatment by a medical officer, as called for by the Purple Heart regulation.

    Mr. Kerry has made his Vietnam War record the centerpiece of his campaign. This demands a thorough objective evaluation of his medical records to determine if the three Purple Hearts that allowed him to leave Vietnam after only four months of duty were justified. This evaluation needs to be done before the election."

    Dr. Martin L. Fackler served as a combat surgeon in Vietman in 1968. A fellow of both the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, he also is an author, expert witness and lecturer on wound ballistics and surgery, and former director of the Wound Ballistics Laboratory at Presidio.

    End...

    "The doctor who disapproved Lt. Kerry's application for his first Purple Heart for that wound agreed that the tiny metal splinter sticking in the skin of his arm was inconsistent with enemy gunfire from shore."

    I was castigated for commenting in this forum that I'd had worse injuries and kept right on with whatever work I'd been doing. Yeah, well...

    I'm not gonna belabor the issue. Others have brought it up, and I've not joined in any supporting or bashing of anybody. I just find it interesting to see a rather dry and objective commentary from somebody who was there and who has a pretty good reputation for knowing what he's talking about.

    My father got a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart in 1944. I didn't even know about it until after his death in 2003. Not everybody goes shouting and blathering about what they did in a war.

    'Rat
     
  2. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #2
    Not to belabour the point, but are you calling Kerry a lying coward?

    And where was the very brave, noble and courageous George W. Bush during this time?

    Wouldn't it behoove Bush to facilitate many investigations such as 9/11, Valerie Plame, and just who met with the Energy Task Force in the same way this article that you agree with calls for Kerry to facilitate the investigation into his war record?

    And why do you care so much about what happened 30 years ago? I thought you were more concerned with the here and now.

    I expect this kind of character assination crap from Sly/Vol, but not from you.
     
  3. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #3
    arghhh not another thread about purple hearts argh...
    hey come one even _i_ got 2 medals ..one for being there and one for standing around completly bored, looking over fields ...
    the same with my father and my uncles (including 1 for helping with preparing the ski-jumping arena at the winter olypics in innsbruck)

    i guess if i would go through the old stuff i could make a few kilos out of medals for nothing....

    medals are givin' to soldiers on every possible occasion.period.
     
  4. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

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    #4
    I'm not sure I understand how Bush's location during that time is relevant to this doctor's claims that Kerry's wound(s) were "inconsistent with enemy gunfire from shore". If you could somehow prove that Bush was in fact working as a fry cook in Butte Montana during the Vietnam War, would that change the circumstances -- whatever they may be -- of how Kerry acquired his medals?
     
  5. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #5
    'Rat,

    There are no records that Louis Letson ever treated Kerry. Letson had never said a word about this wound over the past 30+ years and suddenly he pops up to say he remembers this supposedly superficial wound. Gimme a break, 'Rat! You know more about dirty politics than to swallow this crap whole.

    As to your father, as far as I know, he never ran for President. There is a long history, of which Kerry is no exception, of Presidential candidates running on their war records. If one believes everything they say then one would be rather naive. If one believes everything that is put out by front groups financed to do a campaign's dirty work, then one qualifies as a village idiot.
     
  6. Leo Hubbard macrumors newbie

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    #6
    You assume the only answer if the story is correct and complete is that Kerry is a coward. Sorry but everyone would be terrified of being over there, dealing with that crap and nobody would be blamed for not wanting to be there, including Kerry.
     
  7. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #7
    It's official, this campaign season has me feeling depressed. Even people whom I otherwise respect (if not often agree) seem prepared to gulp the Kool-Aid.

    How very sad. :(
     
  8. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    #8
    On the upside it's reached a point where data is so easily researched that the whole tactic is becoming transparently pointless and obviously mean spirited.
     
  9. Leo Hubbard macrumors newbie

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    #9
    http://www.suntimes.com/output/novak/cst-nws-novak27.html
    :eek:
     
  10. Leo Hubbard macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2004
    #10
    truthfully I don't know what a combat V is, but it sounds like another Kerry lie to me.

    But a third citation exists that appears to be the earliest. And it is not on the Kerry campaign Web site. It was issued by Vice Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, commander of U.S. naval forces in Vietnam. This citation lacks the language in the Hyland citation or that added by the Lehman version, but includes another 170 words in a detailed description of Kerry's attack on a Viet Cong ambush, his killing of an enemy soldier carrying a loaded rocket launcher, as well as military equipment captured and a body count of dead enemy.

    Maj. Anthony Milavic, a retired Marine Vietnam veteran, calls the issuance of three citations for the same medal "bizarre." Milavic hosts Milinet, an Internet forum popular with the military community that is intended "to provide a forum in military/political affairs."

    Normally in the case of a lost citation, Milavec points out, the awardee simply asked for a copy to be sent to him from his service personnel records office where it remains on file. "I have never heard of multi-citations from three different people for the same medal award," he said. Nor has Burkett: "It is even stranger to have three different descriptions of the awardee's conduct in the citations for the same award."

    So far, there are also two varying citations for Kerry's Bronze Star, one by Zumwalt and the other by Lehman as secretary of the Navy, both posted on johnkerry.com.

    Kerry's Web site also carries a DD215 form revising his DD214, issued March 12, 2001, which adds four bronze campaign stars to his Vietnam service medal. The campaign stars are issued for participation in any of the 17 Department of Defense named campaigns that extended from 1962 to the cease-fire in 1973.

    However, according to the Navy spokesman, Kerry should only have two campaign stars: one for "Counteroffensive, Phase VI," and one for "Tet69, Counteroffensive."
    [/quote]
    http://www.suntimes.com/output/elect/cst-nws-lips27.html
    here's what really interest me.
     
  11. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #11
    Thanks for trying to reassure me.
     
  12. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    #12
    It's much more reassuring if you have Leo on Ignore. ;)
     
  13. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #13
    As I do. But what I find depressing is when people I've never been tempted to ignore start quoting from the same crackpot canon as those I've been ignoring all along.
     
  14. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #14
    so let me get that straight

    "... said that after Kerry's M-16 rifle jammed, the new officer picked up the M-79 and, "I heard a 'thunk.' There was no fire from the enemy' he said. ..."

    so after kerry's rifle jammed ...which mean that he was firing before it jammed..because other wise it's pretty obviously not possible (perhaps that is possible for US assault rifles..i don't know if that is a feature)

    so if there were no 'enemy fire' why was he shooting with his M16 in the first place ? ...

    it's called 'no enemy _fire_ around'... never 'no enemy forces around'..

    and the whole flare thing implies to me that it was night... (i doubt they would use them for signals when they are sitting in boats with radios)

    there are so many assumption made in this thing that it is not funny anymore... just from that thing you posted i can pick out things which don't rhyme together...


    and it's funny how many can recall 'cleary' what happened that certain day 35 years ago... _i_ have problems recalling the names of my 20 comrades with whom i've gone through all the 8 months of my service ...not even starting to talk about officers and seargents...and that was 2 years ago
     
  15. mypantsaretight macrumors newbie

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    #15
    When you question the validity of the medals earned by ONE veteran, you necessarily question the validity of all medals earned by ALL veterans. This is a dishonorable discussion.

    m
     
  16. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    #16
    Zealotry is a disease of the mind. It's tenacious and it kills the conscience soon after exhausting rational thought. We're dealing with a Plague instigated by a pair of mental bioterrorists.
     
  17. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #17
    True story. How any veteran could bring themselves to question the awarding of decorations to any other veteran is beyond my comprehension.
     
  18. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #18
    Sayhey, you're correct. My father never got into any politics. But the opening sentence of Dr. Fackler's article states, "John Kerry has presented his Vietnam record as his major qualification to be president of the United States."

    Is this, generally, inaccurate?

    Fackler then claims, " It is, therefore, the duty of the American public to scrutinize that record carefully."

    If the first sentence is correct, is, then, this question wrong?

    Up until now I've generally spoken very briefly to my views on the economic policies (or lack) of either candidate, along with some other issues. I've avoided entering the "So's your old man!" bushwah about Dubya's doings during that era. I've not bashed Kerry; certainly nowhere nearly as negatively as the professional Bush-baiters.

    Fackler seems to be known for his integrity as well as his knowledge. But, what the heck. I'll defer to all the NamVets here...

    'Rat
     
  19. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #19
    For the love of flapjacks...

    Who cares about Purple Hearts?

    The REAL issue is 4 words and a comma: Bronze Star, Silver Star

    Let the fascists start disputing that.. ready.. set... GO!
     
  20. macsrus macrumors 6502

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    #20
    SADLY.... The reason is.... there are many veterans whose awards of bronze or silver stars totaly cheapen the same awards that others have received.... There is and always has been a lot of duplicity during the awarding of medals(in many cases)especially when it comes to awarding medals to officers... I have seen this personally in my own Military career...
    I am not making a judgment here on Kerry, or others... I am only speaking to your question...
    My answer to it would be... Since my first statement is sadly true maybe some of those SBVT's think about how they might have acquired their own medals and are assuming Kerry got his the same way.
     
  21. mypantsaretight macrumors newbie

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    #21
    This first statement is accurate, John Kerry has presented his Vietnam service as a major qualification for his candidacy. However it a colossally disingenuous leap to go from that statement to the consideration of the question.

    It is a legitimate question to ask "Was John Kerry an effective commander in Vietnam?" It is a legitimate question to ask "Is service in the military a positive qualification for any presidential candidate?" It is a legitimate question to ask "Do John Kerry's remarks about the war when he returned make him more or less qualified?" These and similar questions are a means by which an interested party might evaluate John Kerry's service in an honorable way.

    It is wholly illegitimate to question the degree of his wounds or the justifications for his combat medals. If a person questions them, they are ipso facto questioning the system which awarded them. And in doing that, the person is directly calling into question EVERY medal awarded by that system. It is disgraceful and dishonorable to question the combat medals of any veteran, regardless of their politics.

    Step back and ask yourself this. Can a member of the military wear decorations for awards they were not awarded? Why not? If you're not in the military find someone who is and ask them what their opinion would be of a fellow soldier who wore combat medals they were not awarded. You'll find that it is an incredibly bad thing in the minds of most servicemen and women. Then ask why, and in asking why you will find yourself coming back to the issues at the core of this disgusting smear.

    Dr. Fackler's statements are dishonorable, as are those of any person who questions the meritorious service of any decorated combat veteran.

    m
     
  22. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #22
    This is baloney on toast with extra mayo. I'd offer a detailed response, but I think mypantsaretight has spoken my feelings already.
     
  23. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #23
    Didn't Hackworth confront a high-ranking officer about some undeserved awards he was wearing, and didn't said high-ranking officer then swallow a bullet rather than face being exposed for his lies?

    Anyhoo... as others have said, questioning the awarding of a medal to one soldier is tantamount to questioning all medals awarded under that system. It's disgraceful at best. (Note that questioning whether someone is wearing medals they never were awarded is different from questioning whether someone's medals were deserved.) And really, does it matter a whole hell of a lot whether Kerry should have 2 or 3 purple hearts? Aren't there some issues of importance besides the Vietnam War to discuss this election season?
     
  24. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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  25. mypantsaretight macrumors newbie

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    #25
    My apologies. My use of that example was merely meant to underscore the importance of the issue rather than to draw a direct parallel. To my ears much of the questioning of Kerry's citations rings very close to the "they were never awarded" type of accusation.

    It just really irritates me to hear anyone question a veterans record as such. I completely disagree with the U.S. governments motivations behind the Vietnam war, but I would never question the honor or integrity of the service of any combat veteran of the era. They ALL (rich/poor/republican/democrat/whatever) put their lives on the line. End of the story from my perspective.

    But again, my apologies if my comparison was poorly composed.

    m
     

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