Thomas Lipscomb, writing in the NY Sun (subscription required) has been sleuthing, and finds another instance of the Swift Boat Vets being verified. The After Action Report of March 13, 1969, which was the basis for John Kerry's Bronze Star, was almost certainly written by John Kerry:
It was written by someone designated "TE 22.214.171.124/1." ..."TE" for example refers to a "task element," which is defined by the numbers to the right that shows the command structure over the task element in action. "194" is Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, commander of U.S. naval forces in Vietnam; "5" is Admiral Roy Hoffman's Swift boat command; "4" is Commander Adrian Lonsdale's command; the last "4" is Captain George Elliot's Swift boat base at An Thoi, where the boats on this mission were based. And the final "/1" indicates someone other than the commander of the mission. If the report had been submitted by the mission commander, in this case Larry Thurlow, according to the operations order, it would have begun with a "C" for commander of the Task Element, and the sender would have been "CTE 126.96.36.199."
According to a Navy communications expert, Troy Jenkins, who has examined the message traffic, the report in question was sent from the USCGC Spencer, Commander Lonsdale's command ship, at 11:20 that night. Only three of the officers on the mission that day were on the Spencer: John Kerry, Dick Pease, and Donald Droz. Droz took the wounded from the mine explosion to be examined and treated at the Spencer, including the third officer, the severely wounded Dick Pease. Since the Spencer had no helipad for the evacuation of the wounded, Mr. Droz then had to return to the USS Washtenaw County, an LST stationed about 25 nautical miles away, for medevac, leaving only Mr. Kerry aboard the Spencer at the time the message was sent at 11:20 that night.
.... Mr. Kerry had no duties other than reporting to the sick bay, where according to his doctor recently he was seen at 7 that night. And he spent the night on the Spencer.
Thanks to the scrivener for the tip.
Friday, October 01, 2004
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