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September 14, 2004



Who wrote the after-action report?


Hmmmmmmmm, not newsworthy????????????


Mark Hyman

In his campaign book Massachusetts Senator John Kerry notes there was fine line between actions that merited a court martial or a medal. He reported that medals were given for questionable activities in order to boost morale.

This narrow distinction figures into the controversy that has raged for a several weeks regarding the Silver Star Kerry was awarded for killing a Vietnamese man.

For more than 30 years, Kerry has portrayed a heroic version of a life and death struggle -- of staring down a suspected guerilla who was about to fire upon Kerry's swift boat. It was kill. Or be killed. At least, that's the version Kerry tells.

Eyewitnesses offer a far different account. They allege Kerry shot a wounded teenager retreating from battle.

Kerry has made public, hundreds of pages of official Navy documents to bolster his many claims. Conspicuous by its absence is the official after action report of what actually happened that day. The after action report written by John Kerry, himself.

In an exclusive, The Point has obtained this document from U.S. Navy archives (you can see it here). The pertinent section reads:

"PCF 94 beached in center of ambush in front of small path when Viet Cong sprung up from bunker 10 feet from unit. Man ran with weapon towards hootch. Forward M-60 machine gunner wounded man in leg. Officer-in-charge, LTjg Kerry, jumped ashore and gave pursuit while other units saturated area with fire and beached placing assault parties ashore. Kerry chased VC inland behind hootch and shot him while he fled -- capturing one B-40 rocket launcher with round in chamber."

So there you have it. The official record written by John Kerry supports what the critics have alleged rather than the John Wayne Kerry version the Massachusetts liberal has been telling.

Death is a reality of war. Events occur that are not for the faint of heart. Yet, John Kerry's account of killing what turned out to really be a wounded man while he fled continues Kerry's pattern of lies, exaggerations and embellishments.

Killing a wounded man while he retreated from battle is not an action that most servicemen would brag about. But then again, most servicemen would not return home and attack the very country they were supposed to fight for.

And that's the Point.

Patrick R. Sullivan

The AAR clearly demonstrates that George Elliott is correct NOW. That's not Silver Star worthy action. Kerry must have embellished his part in a verbal report to Elliott after he got back that day.

Now we need Elliott's original medal recommendation.


Issue: Kerry lied.

Non-issue: Kerry shot a fleeing soldier, perhaps a teenager in a loincloth, in the back. Hey, the guy had a rocket launcher, he'd been shooting at Kerry's men, and he wasn't dropping his weapon and surrendering. That's a good day's work.


On the one hand, I agree w/ Crank. Kerry was doing his job, and simply b/c the bad guy's are retreating doesn't mean that you stop shooting. (See "Falaise Gap")

OTOH, here's one for Kerry's defenders and supporters: Was what he did any different, except in scale, from the so-called "Highway of Death" out of Kuwait City? Since so many of them condemned that action (because they were retreating, apparently), are they equally dismayed at their candidate's similar action, in microcosm?


The issue of whether Kerry has "disclosed" or "released" his military record, as I understand it, relates only to his personal, private military record -- personnel evaluations, medical records and things like that which the DoD doesn't release without authorization of the soldier/sailor/etc. or next of kin. My understanding is that Kerry has released everything except some medical records. I don't think an after-action report would be in Kerry's personal military record such that he would have power to withhold it. If someone knows better, please correct me.


Alkali, if Kerry had indeed released his entire personal military file, it should include, for example, the documentation that is essential backup for his first Purple Heart, which by regulation">http://www.usapa.army.mil/pdffiles/r600%5F8%5F22.pdf">regulation (page 23 of the .pdf file; see also pp. 18-19) can only be awarded if specified supporting documents exist:

(i) A Purple Heart processed during wartime should be supported by sworn eyewitness statements or affidavits ...; casualty reports or messages ...; unit and medical journals; and such other documentation as necessary to corroborate the award.

No such documents appear on his website — only the sheet signed by J.C. Carreon regarding the treatment of his trivial arm wound, which is not a casualty report.

At a minimum, his personal military records should include more documentation than has been released on each of his medals. Such right-wing hack publications as the Washington Post and the Boston Globe have acknowledged that they've sought records that should exist in Kerry's personal file, but that he's refused to make available to them by signing a Standard Form 180.

He's stonewalling, my friend. The MSM knows it, and they're letting him get away with it.


I stand by my "non-newsworthiness" as far as the "shot in the back" goes. If I can find the link, we thrashed this out exhaustively a while back. And as I noted, the original Zumwalt Silver Star citation mentions the fleeing soldier; in fact, the Globe asks Kerry about this.

And here is the .pdf file with the first citation for Kerry's Silver Star, provided by Zumwalt - after one quick read, I thought Kerry came off better in the after-action reoprt than in the citation (although I could back-pedal if someone wants to study them).

Alkali - semi-good point! I think that strictly speaking, this particular after-action report is not covered by Kerry's privacy rights, and should have been released previously. That said, it is clearly relevant, and clearly was *not* at Kerry's website.

Which is what I have been whining about for a while.


I should, in fairness, add that (again, as I understand the system second-hand; I lack any personal military background) the just-publicized after-action report that was the subject of Tom's post was found, as I understand it, through the Naval Archives, and Alkali may be right that it perhaps would not have been located or released simply by virtue of the Navy Department processing a Form 180 signed by Kerry.

There are a variety of people who are working very hard to locate and analyze military records like this one. There are probably two dozen long-running threads reflecting these efforts over on the discussion forums of the SwiftVets' website. Usually the ball is being advanced by folks with military backgrounds and expertise to interpret what are otherwise almost indecipherable documents.

I think it's absolutely fair to say that Kerry has not released all of the documents regarding his military record to which he would have access via Form 180, and also absolutely fair to say that not all of the relevant records regarding Kerry's military record have been located and extracted from the government's archives. I'm just not sure that this particular document is one that Kerry can be blamed for not having turned over sooner, because I don't know whether it's something he had, or could have gotten, through a Form 180 specifying himself as the authorized recipient.

Finally, there's hot debate going on over on the SwiftVets' forum over whether Kerry was or wasn't the author of the just-discovered documents. The last time I checked, the emerging consensus was that on this one, he probably wasn't.


(And if I recall correctly, the most plausible speculation was that this after-action report was instead written by Rood.)


You preach to the choir (who loves the tune), but to every jibe you hurl at Kerry over his record, I say: let's have full disclosure on BOTH sides. Is it possible that Bush is secretly a decorated war veteran and will emerge a national hero?



Sorry for the disjoined seriatim comments. Tom, I agree entirely, and I think the SwiftVets also agree, that the "shot in the back" allegation, as such, is inconsequential. Shooting the guy — front, back, sideways, upside-down, wounded or not — was Kerry's or any soldier's/sailor's duty so long as he was a threat. The SwiftVets' point has never been that doing so was a "war crime" or dishonorable; but rather that the fact that chasing down and killing one wounded, fleeing enemy, rather than Kerry leading an assault team against numerically superior forces in the face of overwhelming fire, is not the stuff of which Silver Stars should be awarded.


Issue: Kerry lied

Issue: The SwiftVet account is vindicated including their contention that Kerry wrote the Spot.

Open to Debate: Whether dispatching a lone, fleeing, wounded combatant is worthy of a Silver Star.

Stipulated: The Left's hypocrisy as to their opposite position if a similar situation involved a policeman or any non-Donk military personnel.


Isn't the question here---This after action report agrees with the Zumwalt signed citation for the silver star---but the rewritten 2nd and 3rd silver star citations (signed by Hyland and Lehman) differ in detail..so the question is why?


"And maybe someone could take heart from this and dig up the after-action reports for March 18-19 1969"

Something has been bothering me for the last month and maybe there are answers somewhere, but I haven't found it. Why are the after-action reports Kerry's? There were, at times 4 other swiftboat commanders, not to mention up to 25 others on some of these missions. I can't believe they are Kerry's to 180 Form, but not anyone else. Are these just in Kerry's service file? I doubt it, but if in his file why not also the other boat commanders' files. If so, or if they are in a 'joint file' or a 'division file' couldn't anyone from the division at the time request or 180 them.

On the other hand, could it be based who was OiC of the mission? Would it then be possible that Kerry has all his out there and the others can be released when other OiC's 180 them?

I would think it should have been easy to get the CAAR's for the first few weeks Kerry, say Nov and early Dec. He was a rookie and others were in charge.

Kerry's approval for release of his medical records are the only I can understand.

Greg F

"And maybe someone could take heart from this and dig up the after-action reports for March 18-19 1969"

I think you mean the 13th. There are some documents at The Virtual Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University that I haven’t seen referenced by anybody. The search page is here

Since it is not possible to link to the documents directly (the interface is awkward) this is what I did. Entered ‘Swift boat’ as a search term, this yielded a bunch of documents including “U. S. Naval Forces, Vietnam: Monthly Historical Summary, March 1969”. (Document #13120215001a)

The document contains the following:

Market Time Raider Campaign (pg 17-18 pdf)

River incursions by the Third and Fourth Coastal Zone “Swift” boats continued to strike at enemy base areas along rivers and canals of IV Corps open to the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea. Overall, enemy opposition was generally light as hostile fire was encountered on only 13 of more than 50 operations carried out.

(pdf page 19)
The Qua Lon River was the scene of another raid that encountered hostile fire on the 12th. PCF’s 94 and 23 took MSF troops up river to WQ 110 728 where they were landed without incident and began moving to the west. At the same time PCF’s 51 and 43 stood by to provide cover.

Notice these 4 boats listed here were all involved in the bronze star incident the following day, which incidentally, is not mentioned in this report. There is a March 13th incident mentioned but it involves different boats and seems minor by comparison. It is late I don't have time to go through and count all 'hostile fire' incidents listed in the report. If all 13 'hostile fire' incidents are accounted for in the report we may have something. Perhaps there is some other nuggets of information there that may be of some use also.

Greg F

From the “The Virtual Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University” United States Naval Forces, Vietnam Monthly Historical Summaries February 1969.

(pg. 16 pdf)
At month’s end preparations were underway for basing a SEAL platoon a Cai Nuoc as a particularly significant operation took place on the 28th. …

On the morning of the 28th PCF’s 23, 43 and 94 again entered the river ….

As the action moved up river PFC’s 23 and 43 followed and again came under hostile fire. Again the enemy positions were charged with PCF 93 (typo? Should be 94) joining in the action. With the RF/PF’s already ashore this time PCF crewmen went ashore in pursuit of the enemy. During this phase of the action one Viet Cong was killed and his still loaded rocket launcher captured.

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