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April 22, 2004


Chris Lawrence

At least in the Air Force, there's a distinction among active-duty officers between those with "regular" and "reserve" commissions. In general, those who go to the academies receive regular commissions, while those who enter the military via ROTC receive reserve commissions (hence the name "Reserve Officers' Training Corps"), with very few exceptions. Reserve officers serving in active-duty positions are part of the "active reserve."

In practice, the distinction doesn't mean very much, but some laws draw a distinction between the active reserve and regular officers, and the distinction is an easy way for the military to ensure that service academy graduates get some preference for assignments and promotions.

So Kerry clearly was part of the "active reserve," then received a waiver of his full active service commitment (and thus went into the Naval Reserve until 1978).


I'm crushed that my earlier (February) post didn't generate this discussion:


" Comparing Bush's record (or lack thereof) in the Reserves to Kerry's active duty record (whoever wrote it) is a bit unfair.

And unnecessary. Kerry, after all, also served in the Reserves after taking his discharge from active service. While the Vietnam war was still going on "

Patrick R. Sullivan

Seems that Kerry was AWOL, during a time of active hostilities. While Bush wasn't AWOL when there was a glut of pilots due to the Vietnamization of the war.


Apparently, not much is required of a person on inactive status, so AWOL is, presumably, meant as a joke.

However, the Kerry folks ought to be able to deliver a consistent bedtime story, or I shall sleep fitfully..



Intelligent, mature and rich in educational background and experience, Ens Kerry is one of the finest young officers I have ever met and without question one of the most promising.


Lt. Bush has not been observed at this unit during the period of report.


Charlie (Colorado)

Willie, get your facts straight: "has not been observed" means "reviewing officer hasn't had enough contact to make a report".

"Didn't show up" is spelled "poor performance due to inadequate attendance."

Joanne Jacobs

One of Kerry's commanding officers also used "not observed" in his fitness report, because the officer hadn't had a chance to see enough of Kerry to evaluate him properly.

Joanne Jacobs

Here's the "not observed" link.

"For the most part, Mr. Hibbard wrote, Mr. Kerry was under his command for too short a time to evaluate him fully. Of 16 categories for rating, including professional knowledge, moral courage and loyalty, Mr. Hibbard checked "not observed" in 12. Mr. Hibbard gave Mr. Kerry the highest rating of "one of the top few" in three categories — initiative, cooperation and personal behavior. He gave Mr. Kerry the second-best rating, "above the majority," in military bearing."

Jon H

Joanne, the two cases appear to be quite different.

Hibbard *was* able to observe Kerry in ways demonstrating 4 of the 16 categories that were rated. That means he *was there*, but wasn't observed doing things relevant to the other 12 categories.

Bush wasn't observed *at all*, in any way.

For the two to be equivalent, Bush's report would have said something like he wasn't observed flying, but was observed reviewing flight logs. But he wasn't observed AT ALL.


Jon H: Based on my experience in the service, I'm willing to bet you large amounts that if Bush were in Alambama his rating officer in Texas would have "not observed" him at all. Hence, the entirely clear statement of "not observed." In Kerry's case, the rating officer simply checked as "not observed" those things that he had, indeed, "not observed." Does all the English language give you this much trouble? Are you still trying to decide what the meaning of _is_ is?


Sorry, Jon, "not observed" means that the evaluator hasn't observed; it may be that the evaluator has just been transfered in and hasn't seen people. It says nothing about being absent. Both parties could have been where and when they should, it's just that the evaluator hasn't observed the evaluatee. Why -- if important -- would be specified; since it's not specified, it's not important.


So the defence of Bush is that he had an utterly unremarkable carreer that went un-noticed by his comanding officers. Meanwhile, Kerry gets glowing recommendations as well as 5 medals for his service.
Which one of this men is more worthy of respect you ask?
Don't rush me I'm still making my mind up.
Say, how small of a shrapnel wound did Kerry suffer for his first Purple Heart again?

Brian C.

Frankly, all this stuff about John Kerry's time in the service doesn't mean all that much to me. IMHO, what he did after coming back means a great deal more.

Bush may not have been the model of a military hero, but at least he didn't stab them in the back.


From these comments, it strikes me that no one in the Kerry campaign is familiar with the military and/or his service. In the press release that Minuteman quotes from above they state that he "served from 1966 through 1970 rising to the rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade," when in fact he rose to the rank of Lieutenant, which is rank above that of Lt. jg. Yes, naval ranks can be confusing to laymen, but they're not to people familiar with such things. And yes, these are details, but that's what military records are full of. Additionally, his service in the military was in the U.S. Navy Reserve, including his active duty service in Vietnam, and he volunteered only in the sense that his draft board turned down his request for a deferral, otherwise the Army would've taken him. None of this is a slam at his service, but if the Kerry campaign can't even get basic details about his service correct, it needlessly raises questions that they otherwise wouldn't have to spend time on. Especially so, when he assured Tim Russert that all his military records were available, when they weren't. Is there a reason for him to be less than forthcoming?

Patrick R. Sullivan

From Bush's evaluation in May 1971:

"Lt Bush is a natural leader....Lt Bush has outstanding growth potential and should be promoted well ahead of his contemporaries. STRENGTHS: Lt Bush's main strengths are his eagerness to participate in the unit's activities and his ability to work harmoniously with others."

From Bush's evaluation in May 1972:

"Lt Bush is an exceptional fighter interceptor pilot and officer....His conduct and professional approach to the mission were certainly exemplary and apparent to observers. His skills as an interceptor pilot enabled him to complete all his intercept missions during [a Canadian mission] with ease."

Jim Smith

There still remains the question of who wrote the reports. Naval sources have said that it was common for junior officers to write their own fit/eval reports. There have been many former Navy officers who have stated that it was also common for the CO to sign these reports without verifying the details.

One item of note is what was not included in the reports. I have not read or heard of any mention of promotion. If Kerry was so highly thought of, why no suggestion of promoting him? There may be some protocol that accounts for this. If so, could some Naval personnel please respond to this point.

Kerry's CO at the time of his first purple heart questioned the seriousness of the wound. This is where the "fingernail scratch" terminology arose.

In any case, I am having serious doubts about Kerry and his campaign staff. This is basically pretty easy stuff to get right. Look how fast the blogs got the right dates. Considering how he has critized Bush's inaccuracies I would expect better from him. The best negative campaign ads against Kerry are being run by his own staff.

Peter UK

"Kerry gets glowing recommendations as well as 5 medals for his service." In just a few months,this guy has a better track record than Admiral Lord Nelson,how could they let him go?
Kerry seems to have had better treatment than the young black kid from Harlem or the white country boy from Arkansas.There will be a lot of those who would be still alive if they could have served for only four months.


Go to www.wintersoldier.com where there is a great
deal of information on the "lost years" of his
service. The point they work on is what he did
while doing his anti-war work.

There is still some, in fact it seems there is
quite a lot of bitterness felt by the vets who
learned about what he was doing.

I believe the attitude the Americans had about
the Vietnam vets came from the liberal media at
that time simply telling the world about the
work of Jane and her group, day in and day out
doing the same thing just as today they do it
to the president.

However, there is a change now, we have Fox, Rush,
Tony Snow, and more conservative media. The
internet is the place to go learn about the
Vietnam war and Kerry's behavior as we will not
see it in or on the main media. As in NYT and WP.




Kerry seems to have had better treatment than the young black kid from Harlem or the white country boy from Arkansas.There will be a lot of those who would be still alive if they could have served for only four months.

At least one of those would be dead as a door nail right now if Kerry hadn't served at all.
And a whole lot more of them would still be alive if they had gotten positions in the Texas Air National Gaurd.
Peope in glass houses and all that.


I request duty in Vietnam. My billet preference is "Swift" boats with a second choice of Patrol Officer in PHR Squadron. ...

I consider the opportunity to serve in Vietnam an extremely important part of being in the armed forces and believe that my request is in the best interests of the Navy.

Ensign John Kerry
10 February, 1968

I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes.

George W. Bush
February, 1990


Presidential Buttocks

John Kerry suffered multiple sharpnel wounds to his buttocks when an enemy mine detonated near his swift boat. Despite the wounds and intense sniper fire from both riverbanks, Kerry rescued a fellow soldier who had fallen overboard and earned a Bronze Star for his valor.
George Bush developed a hemorrhoid while flying a Texas Air National Guard jet to protect the shores of South Padre Island.
Is there any doubt about whose buttocks should be in the Oval Office on January 21, 2005?

The confusion is spreading. David Halbfinger has a front pager-on the Saturday Times covering Kerry's anti-war days. We eagerly await the reaction of the anti-Kerry crowd to see how they feel about the points Mr. Halbfinger chose to emphasize or ignore, but we are focused obsessively on this:

A few months later, Mr. Kerry, **freshly out of the service**, ran in an antiwar caucus in Concord, Mass., that was convened to pick a primary challenger to a hawkish incumbent congressman....

Two weeks later, he married Julia Thorne, and on a trip to Europe with his new bride, Mr. Kerry, the 26-year-old **ex-lieutenant** took a taxicab from Paris to a suburban villa. The son of a diplomat, Mr. Kerry had managed to arrange a private meeting with North Vietnamese and Vietcong emissaries to the peace talks.

Not true, of course - he was in the Reserve, although freshely out of ACTIVE service, and of course he was still a Lieutenant.

Peter UK

You don't want buttocks in the White House ,you want a President.You've had buttocks, they were incapable of staying in their pants.

FrontPage magazine_com A Vet Questions John Kerry's Military Service by FrontPage Magazine.htm


You don't want buttocks in the White House ,you want a President.You've had buttocks, they were incapable of staying in their pants.

Sadly, neither candidate is without buttocks. Sure, we can all hope for the perfect day when a buttocksless president swears the oath of office. But until those halcion days are here, if we must settle for buttocks in the WhiteHouse, they should be heroic, hemroid-free buttocks.

Peter UK

Whilst the buttocks were obviusly facing the enemy in true heroic fashion, the owner evidently was not.It is poor leadership to send your buttocks where you won't go yourself.
If you must vote for a pair of buttocks surely the Nation has a right to judge them for themselves.Let these buttocks stop hiding their light under a bushell and stand proud before the Nation.


I just looked at Kerry's and am somewhat confused. He enlisted in Feb 18 1966 into the Navy reserve Inactive,as e-2 (seaman apprentice). 5 Months later he starts active duty as an e-5 (2nd class petty officer). 4 Months after that he is an OCS commissioned ensign. From a seaman apprentice resevist to ensign in less than a year? Is that possible?

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