John Kerry's Two Bogus Purple Hearts and the 2004 Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Controversy

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Mike Griffith
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Oct 23, 2012
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In 2004, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT), a group consisting of 200-plus Vietnam veterans (some of whom served with Kerry), launched an attack on Kerry's war record, an attack that included TV and newspaper ads. Some of the SBVT attacks were unfair and/or inaccurate, but some of them, especially the attacks on two of Kerry's Purple Hearts, were valid.

By any reasonable, objective standard, two of Kerry's three Purple Hearts were clearly bogus and undeserved.

Kerry's first "wound" was a small cut that required no stitches and was merely cleaned and covered with a band-aid. The vast majority of soldiers serving in Vietnam would have never even bothered going to a medical aid station over such a minor cut, much less argued that they deserved a Purple Heart for it.

Kerry's other dubious "wound" consisted of a bruised arm and some tiny metal fragments and pieces of rice in his buttocks that came from the explosion of a hand grenade that he himself had thrown into a pile of rice.

In his important book War Stories: False Atrocity Tales, Swift Boaters, and Winter Soldiers―What Really Happened in Vietnam, Gary Kulik defends Kerry's three Purple Hearts. Kulik argues that "a wound is a wound, as long as it requires medical treatment," an absurd and insulting argument.

Kulik notes that Kerry received the third Purple Heart for his arm "wound," not for his self-inflicted buttocks wound. But Kulik should know that the medical report on the arm wound proves that it was merely a bruise. It was not even a small cut, just a bruise. Since when does a bruise justify a Purple Heart?

Only a dishonest, self-serving, medal-hunting fraud would have thought they deserved a Purple Heart for a bruised arm. Again, thousands of Vietnam veterans received such minor injuries and never even sought treatment for them, much less believed they deserved a Purple Heart for them.

Kulik makes some valid points about some of the attacks on Kerry's war record made by the SBVT, but he judges the SBVT much more harshly than he judges Kerry. Some of his arguments in defense of Kerry's conduct ignore or dismiss credible contrary evidence. Most of the veterans who served with Kerry and who commented on his conduct described him as a whining, dishonest, self-serving, and unreliable officer.

To his credit, Kulik does acknowledge that Kerry probably lied about being reluctant to leave Vietnam after his third Purple Heart and about not throwing away his medals. He also acknowledges that Kerry's definition of war crimes was erroneous.

And Kulik deserves great credit for raising serious doubts about the atrocity accounts reported by Kerry and other anti-war veterans in the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and in the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam.
 
In 2004, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT), a group consisting of 200-plus Vietnam veterans (some of whom served with Kerry), launched an attack on Kerry's war record, an attack that included TV and newspaper ads. Some of the SBVT attacks were unfair and/or inaccurate, but some of them, especially the attacks on two of Kerry's Purple Hearts, were valid.

By any reasonable, objective standard, two of Kerry's three Purple Hearts were clearly bogus and undeserved.

Kerry's first "wound" was a small cut that required no stitches and was merely cleaned and covered with a band-aid. The vast majority of soldiers serving in Vietnam would have never even bothered going to a medical aid station over such a minor cut, much less argued that they deserved a Purple Heart for it.

Kerry's other dubious "wound" consisted of a bruised arm and some tiny metal fragments and pieces of rice in his buttocks that came from the explosion of a hand grenade that he himself had thrown into a pile of rice.

In his important book War Stories: False Atrocity Tales, Swift Boaters, and Winter Soldiers―What Really Happened in Vietnam, Gary Kulik defends Kerry's three Purple Hearts. Kulik argues that "a wound is a wound, as long as it requires medical treatment," an absurd and insulting argument.

Kulik notes that Kerry received the third Purple Heart for his arm "wound," not for his self-inflicted buttocks wound. But Kulik should know that the medical report on the arm wound proves that it was merely a bruise. It was not even a small cut, just a bruise. Since when does a bruise justify a Purple Heart?

Only a dishonest, self-serving, medal-hunting fraud would have thought they deserved a Purple Heart for a bruised arm. Again, thousands of Vietnam veterans received such minor injuries and never even sought treatment for them, much less believed they deserved a Purple Heart for them.

Kulik makes some valid points about some of the attacks on Kerry's war record made by the SBVT, but he judges the SBVT much more harshly than he judges Kerry. Some of his arguments in defense of Kerry's conduct ignore or dismiss credible contrary evidence. Most of the veterans who served with Kerry and who commented on his conduct described him as a whining, dishonest, self-serving, and unreliable officer.

To his credit, Kulik does acknowledge that Kerry probably lied about being reluctant to leave Vietnam after his third Purple Heart and about not throwing away his medals. He also acknowledges that Kerry's definition of war crimes was erroneous.

And Kulik deserves great credit for raising serious doubts about the atrocity accounts reported by Kerry and other anti-war veterans in the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and in the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam.
Shouldn't your complaints be against the officers who put in for Kerry's Purple Hearts? He can't submit the citations himself, right?
 
Shouldn't your complaints be against the officers who put in for Kerry's Purple Hearts? He can't submit the citations himself, right?
I cannot stand John Kerry but since I was NCOIC of awards and decorations at one of the branches in D.C. for my last year of service I could not understand why everyone went after him since I know damn very well all you needed for all decorations was either your commander or high ranking officer that really liked you. I questioned many citations with the Colonel that was above me and he would always shrug and say, just work it up. He did say once that one particular person was a trusted aide to a Lt. General.
 
In 2004, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT), a group consisting of 200-plus Vietnam veterans (some of whom served with Kerry), launched an attack on Kerry's war record, an attack that included TV and newspaper ads. Some of the SBVT attacks were unfair and/or inaccurate, but some of them, especially the attacks on two of Kerry's Purple Hearts, were valid.

By any reasonable, objective standard, two of Kerry's three Purple Hearts were clearly bogus and undeserved.

Kerry's first "wound" was a small cut that required no stitches and was merely cleaned and covered with a band-aid. The vast majority of soldiers serving in Vietnam would have never even bothered going to a medical aid station over such a minor cut, much less argued that they deserved a Purple Heart for it.

Kerry's other dubious "wound" consisted of a bruised arm and some tiny metal fragments and pieces of rice in his buttocks that came from the explosion of a hand grenade that he himself had thrown into a pile of rice.

In his important book War Stories: False Atrocity Tales, Swift Boaters, and Winter Soldiers―What Really Happened in Vietnam, Gary Kulik defends Kerry's three Purple Hearts. Kulik argues that "a wound is a wound, as long as it requires medical treatment," an absurd and insulting argument.

Kulik notes that Kerry received the third Purple Heart for his arm "wound," not for his self-inflicted buttocks wound. But Kulik should know that the medical report on the arm wound proves that it was merely a bruise. It was not even a small cut, just a bruise. Since when does a bruise justify a Purple Heart?

Only a dishonest, self-serving, medal-hunting fraud would have thought they deserved a Purple Heart for a bruised arm. Again, thousands of Vietnam veterans received such minor injuries and never even sought treatment for them, much less believed they deserved a Purple Heart for them.

Kulik makes some valid points about some of the attacks on Kerry's war record made by the SBVT, but he judges the SBVT much more harshly than he judges Kerry. Some of his arguments in defense of Kerry's conduct ignore or dismiss credible contrary evidence. Most of the veterans who served with Kerry and who commented on his conduct described him as a whining, dishonest, self-serving, and unreliable officer.

To his credit, Kulik does acknowledge that Kerry probably lied about being reluctant to leave Vietnam after his third Purple Heart and about not throwing away his medals. He also acknowledges that Kerry's definition of war crimes was erroneous.

And Kulik deserves great credit for raising serious doubts about the atrocity accounts reported by Kerry and other anti-war veterans in the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and in the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam.

There was a term used for people in war like Kerry. He was the master of a swift boat, would go right up to the bank firing the 50 cal and then grab an M-16 and charge what was left over. He only lasted 4 months and won 3 Purple Hears and a Silver Star. When he received the Silver Star, they shipped him back to the States because he was a Bullet Magnet. I don't know of anyone with 3 Purples that didn't also receive at least a Bronze and sent home right after that.

I would never have voted for him for President for the same reasons that he was sent home from the MeKong. He's a bit crazy when it comes to putting his butt in harms way.

So you MAGAts can stop this right now.
 
Shouldn't your complaints be against the officers who put in for Kerry's Purple Hearts? He can't submit the citations himself, right?
I take it you've never served in the military. You should read the full story of how Kerry got those Purple Hearts in John O'Neill's book Unfit for Command. Kerry lobbied for his Purple Hearts. In my 21 years in the Army, I saw a number of soldiers lobby for awards, sometimes for valid reasons.

And, BTW, O'Neill was a Democrat who voted for Humphrey in the 1968 election.
John Kerry is an American hero. Something few Republicans can claim.
You have no objectivity. No "hero" would lobby for or accept a Purple Heart for a bruised arm and for a tiny cut that didn't even need stitches.
There was a term used for people in war like Kerry. He was the master of a swift boat, would go right up to the bank firing the 50 cal and then grab an M-16 and charge what was left over.

Actually, he would not do that. He usually avoided enemy contact. Read Unfit for Command. And/or watch this presentation by John E. O'Neill: LINK.

He only lasted 4 months and won 3 Purple Hears and a Silver Star. When he received the Silver Star, they shipped him back to the States because he was a Bullet Magnet. I don't know of anyone with 3 Purples that didn't also receive at least a Bronze and sent home right after that.
He was not shipped home after his third Purple Heart. He requested to be sent home within days of getting his third Purple Heart, a fact that led even Gary Kulik to conclude that Kerry lied when he said he agonized about whether he should stay or go home after his final Purple Heart.
 
I take it you've never served in the military. You should read the full story of how Kerry got those Purple Hearts in John O'Neill's book Unfit for Command. Kerry lobbied for his Purple Hearts. In my 21 years in the Army, I saw a number of soldiers lobby for awards, sometimes for valid reasons.

And, BTW, O'Neill was a Democrat who voted for Humphrey in the 1968 election.

You have no objectivity. No "hero" would lobby for or accept a Purple Heart for a bruised arm and for a tiny cut that didn't even need stitches.


Actually, he would not do that. He usually avoided enemy contact. Read Unfit for Command. And/or watch this presentation by John E. O'Neill: LINK.


He was not shipped home after his third Purple Heart. He requested to be sent home within days of getting his third Purple Heart, a fact that led even Gary Kulik to conclude that Kerry lied when he said he agonized about whether he should stay or go home after his final Purple Heart.

You read those that are politically striking. Not necessarily the truth. I was in SEA then and the real story was spread. What you get is someone trying to kill off Kerry's political life. The Truth did that just as well.
 
Kerry was the commander and had the sole responsibility for recommending awards. Every other Swift Boat commander was an honorable officer but Kerry was a politician at heart. Ir took three Hearts to get out of Vietnam and Kerry was determined to get to that point even if it took some literary skill.
 
And how many wounds did the MAGA cult's saviour sustain in fighting for his country? Whether the wounds were superficial or not, Kerry deserves them far more than Trump would.
 
And how many wounds did the MAGA cult's saviour sustain in fighting for his country? Whether the wounds were superficial or not, Kerry deserves them far more than Trump would.
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You got it bad, dude.
 
Kerry was the commander and had the sole responsibility for recommending awards. Every other Swift Boat commander was an honorable officer but Kerry was a politician at heart. Ir took three Hearts to get out of Vietnam and Kerry was determined to get to that point even if it took some literary skill.

No arguement there. But that doesn't change the fact that it's a modern way of handling 3 purple heart recipients. 3, you get either a Bronze of a Silver (Kerry got a silver) and it's a desk job or out for you.
 
Kerry was a liar, coward and a traitor to his country. Nowadays he is a piece of traitorous shit.

Some of the best money I ever spent in my life was in 2004 when I contributed to the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth.

They were the ones that played a major roles in defeating the asshole and they are American heroes.

Bush was a RINO and he should have never invaded Iraq, Not that good of a President but compared to Kerry he was a saint.
 
No arguement there. But that doesn't change the fact that it's a modern way of handling 3 purple heart recipients. 3, you get either a Bronze of a Silver (Kerry got a silver) and it's a desk job or out for you.
Kerry's literary skills turned the (murder?) of an unarmed VC into a Silver star. It's nothing new for democrats. Future democrat politician LBJ recommended himself for a Star in WW2 for sitting in a plane.
 
Kerry's literary skills turned the (murder?) of an unarmed VC into a Silver star. It's nothing new for democrats. Future democrat politician LBJ recommended himself for a Star in WW2 for sitting in a plane.

This is about Kerry, not LBJ otherwise I get to dig up all the republicans that did the same thing.
 
No arguement there. But that doesn't change the fact that it's a modern way of handling 3 purple heart recipients. 3, you get either a Bronze of a Silver (Kerry got a silver) and it's a desk job or out for you.
Wrong. Kerry had the option to stay. It was not automatic. You had to request to leave. If you asked to leave and you had three Purple Hearts, then you were allowed to leave--but, again, you had to request it.

Look, no decent, honorable officer would have lobbied for or accepted a Purple Heart for a bruised arm and a Purple Heart for a small cut that did not even require stitches. Anyone who can't admit this is not being objective and credible.

And I repeat the fact that John E. O'Neill, the leader of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, was a Democrat who voted for Humphrey in the 1968 election.
 
Wrong. Kerry had the option to stay. It was not automatic. You had to request to leave. If you asked to leave and you had three Purple Hearts, then you were allowed to leave--but, again, you had to request it.

Look, no decent, honorable officer would have lobbied for or accepted a Purple Heart for a bruised arm and a Purple Heart for a small cut that did not even require stitches. Anyone who can't admit this is not being objective and credible.

And I repeat the fact that John E. O'Neill, the leader of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, was a Democrat who voted for Humphrey in the 1968 election.

You are trying to remake history again. Been there, done that. Our Nickle Pilots reached that level very quickly. And they didn't have a choice. It got so bad for Nickle Pilots that they were trying to use cargo and bomber pilots to replace them.
BTW, the majority of the Hanoi Hilton Officers were nickel pilots. And they weren't offered a choice. Get 3 Purples, receive either a Bronze or a greater award and be offered a desk job in the states. Or they could elect to be discharged. They weren't offered the plan to keep flying.

I only am aware of one person that claimed to have received 5 purple hearts with no higher awards. And he claimed to continue to be a Green Beret Lt. Col.. He was an Internet Hero that was operating fake valor. He disappeared right after that became a felony. If everyone that claimed to be a 101st really was, well, you should get the idea.
 

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