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CENTRAL VIEW for Monday, August 30, 2004

by William Hamilton, Ph.D.

Can anyone up there explain this?

If anyone understands why John Kerry decided to make four months and 12 days of his life that took place 35 years ago the central piece of his presidential campaign, please look up the Area Code for Planet Earth and give us a call.

All wars (with the possible exception of World War II) are unpopular. Yet John Kerry has chosen to remind voters of war in which a Democrat president got the U.S. involved (John F. Kennedy), in a war terminally mismanaged by another Democrat president (Lyndon F. Johnson) and a war which Republican President Nixon brought to a successful conclusion with the Paris Peace Accords of 1973. Then defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory when a Democrat-controlled Congress, which had been neutered by the anti-war movement (of which John Kerry was a leader), prevented us in 1975 from honoring our solemn commitment to the South Vietnamese Government to come to its rescue if the North Vietnamese violated the Paris Accords by invading South Vietnam again.

Even worse, Kerry’s photograph is hanging in Ho Chi Minh City’s War Museum Hall of Heroes because the communist North Vietnamese say he helped them defeat the United States and its allies.

Again, if anyone up there understands why Kerry is doing this, please call Planet Earth.

Wait, there’s more. Maybe Kerry didn’t know the vast majority of those pictured in a group photograph of the officers of Swift Boat Coastal Division 11 did not support his presidential bid as he claimed. Well, he sure found out when 254 of his former Swift Boat colleagues, to include all of his former commander officers, formed Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

If Kerry’s brief war record in Vietnam were spotless, then maybe one might understand why he wants to focus on those four months and 12 days rather than key on four years as Mike Dukakis’ lieutenant governor and his 19 years in the U.S. Senate. But Kerry’s brief war record is far from spotless, and that may prove his undoing.

For example, let’s examine the three Purple Hearts for minor scratches which his commanding officers refused to authorize and about which they say they never knew until Kerry surprised them by invoking the little-known Navy Instruction 1300.39 that allowed him to leave Vietnam eight months short of the normal tour.

Here is just one of many problems with Kerry’s military records. At one time, Kerry posted three DD Forms 1300 (Report of Casualty) on his campaign website. By regulation, the typed information on the DD Form 1300 can come from one source and one source alone and that is the Field Medical Card (DD Form 1380) which is filled out by hand by the attending medical corpsman or physician.

That 4” by 8” inch stiff card has space for a brief description of the wound(s) or cause of death and is signed by the attending medical corpsman or physician. By regulation, the Field Medical Card becomes a permanent part of the service member’s official records. Even if the patient is returned to duty, the Field Medical Card is forwarded up the medical chain to the Bureau of Medicine (BUMED) for inclusion in the member’s permanent medical records.

You can see where this is going. What few records Kerry has made available do not reveal the existence of any Field Medical Cards to support his Purple Hearts. If he has some Field Medical Cards stashed away somewhere, he should produce them because, without the supporting Field Medical Cards, those DD Forms 1300 do not mean a thing.

President Bush released his Air Guard drill attendance records for the time Kerry claimed he was AWOL. For 1974, Lt. G.W. Bush needed 50 drill points. He earned 56 points. So, the AWOL allegation proved groundless.

John Kerry needs to be equally forthcoming or the absence of these Field Medical Cards may well haunt him forever.

William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, served two years with the 1st Air Cavalry Division in Vietnam and Cambodia.

©2004. William Hamilton.

©1999-2017. American Press Syndicate.

Dr. Hamilton can be contacted at:
P.O. Box 2001
Granby, CO 80446

Email: william@central-view.com

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