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June 09, 2005



When asked if she had a copy of Kerry's SF 180, the Globe's Managing Editor Mary Jane Wilkinson said, "I haven't seen it, and I don't know if anyone here has."

1. Isn't the Form 180 itself part of the record, and therefore would presumably have been released to the Globe if the "complete" record was released?

2. Michael Kranish states, in his article: "On May 20, Kerry signed a document called Standard Form 180, authorizing the Navy to send an 'undeleted' copy of his 'complete military service record and medical record' to the Globe." If the Globe doesn't have the actual Form 180, as signed by Kerry, how does Kranish know that the Form 180 authorizes the Navy to send him a "complete military service record and medical record"? That's a direct quote, presumably straight from the Form 180, no? Was he just told by Kerry people that's what the Form 180 says, and he forgot to attribute the quotation to them?


You're not turning a little "Ahab-ish" on this topic, one hopes.

Or just on a quixotic adventure?

Melville or Cervantes?


The Kid

Per the instructions on the SF 180, the completed form should have gone to the National Personnel Records Center (Military Personnel Records) in St. Louis. (You can download the form here.) The addresses are on page 2 of the form (page 3 of the file).

Al is correct – if the paper did not see the form, it would not know what was requested, or if an “undeleted” Report of Separation was in fact requested per Section II, item #1. The deleted version has sensitive info withheld. The undeleted is described as follows:

This normally will be a copy of the full separation document including such sensitive items as the character of separation, authority for separation, reason for separation, reenlistment eligibility code, separation (SPD/SPN) code, and dates of time lost.

Note that the individual may narrowly (or broadly) define what is to be released in Section II, item #2.

Call me Ishmael


LOTS more at Mickey. Basically, Kerry is controling the release of docs.


TM: This whole business is starting to remind me of the Clintonian exercise of deny, delay, provide a response, change the subject, and then demand that we move on because the issue has been addressed.

Some thought it politically skillful.

Others ponder "what would have been" were Clinton to have immediately come clean, take a short-term hit in the polls, and let a forgiving public move on at their own pace, rather than be lectured to do so.

Even at this short distance, it appears Clinton's flaws will be a major component of his legacy. Kerry seems headed in the same direction. Inexplicable.


Under the Freedom of Information Act and persuant legal rulings, FOIA requests must be handled in the order they are received. The law stipulates tight turn around times (4 or 6 weeks), but bowing to reality, courts have said that a good-faith effort by the government is enough. And letting WaPo or other people with clout skip in line is illegal.


Well, maybe it was a slow summer, or maybe the WaPo was eerily prescient, but the Swift Boat story came to life in August, and they had their FOIA answer in time for a story on Aug 22.


One collateral consequence: next time Kerry gripes about the media, ask him why it is that he trusts the Globe and the LAT more than the rest of the media, such that he has granted them special, preferential access. I mean, he is basically, with his actions, signalling which media organs he thinks are in the bag for him.



You know what? The more Kerry squirms out of releasing his records, the more curious I am.

I really have to wonder at what kind of dirt there is in there. It really has to be something enormously substantial. If, by some incredible circumstance, there really isn't anything in his records, and he actually has an explanation for all the discrepencies, then he's an even bigger idiot that all of us think he is.

The Kid

Crank –

Good point – Kerry was obviously (hopefully?) looking for dogs that won’t bark.

Courtesy of Kausfiles, we learn from Independent Sources that the LA Times - how shall we put this? – overlooked Kerry’s academic record. They had the records, but used much of the piece to beat on the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

In a follow-up article Independent Sources rubs the left coast non-pointer’s nose in its droppings by citing several sources who announced before the election that they were voting for Lurch because he was so much more the intellectual, making the case that it was the press that heralded the tall one as the cerebral candidate. Why did the New Yorker go through all the effort to illegally obtain and publish Bush’s Yale transcript, and not do the same for Kerry’s? Or did they in fact obtain Kerry’s transcript and not find it newsworthy because his academic average was a point lower than Bush’s?

The really great news is that we now know for sure what the LA Times is good for and why their readership has declined: fewer people are getting puppies.


Perversely, Kerry is dragging this whole shameful mess into fuller view with his machinations. What an expression of guilt! Perhaps the upshot will be therapeutic.

Cecil Turner

"However, I take exception to this: ["hundred pages" excerpt]"

The "100 pages" does not appear to be supportable. A less commonly cited article from Judicial Watch has a much more defensible claim that there are 31 unreleased pages:

In a subsequent e-mail to Mr. Farrell, Mr. German wrote, “We have withheld thirty-one (31) pages of documents from the responsive military personnel service record as we were not provided a release authorization.”



Kudos for the Indpendent Sources lead. I'm still laughing. I always thought thar was something funny about the way that the LA Times edited details.

Whilst on the subject, did you see Howard Dean's job performance review as given by Independent Sources? (
Something tells me that the Times won't be printing that or anything similar.

richard mcenroe

Does Kerry think he can keep this up through the primaries? Once Hillary's Rottweilers get into the act?

Appalled Moderate

There once was a vet named John
Whose high office hopes are gone
"Those swift vets", said he
"Got nothin on me
Hey, come back, I got medals in Nam"

Sorry. Somehow, I can't find the high seriousness necessary for this topic...

Cecil Turner

There once was a tall, dour veteran
Who thought candidacy was great fun.
He said: "Why the vapors,
"O'er some dumb ol papers?"
"A 180? I swear that I signed one!"

Hillary! says "Son of a gun,"
Can't he see, I am The One?"
Cuz she knows he'd be cool,
and not act the fool,
Unless he was going to run.

Les Nessman

Is it possible to make this process longer and more painful than Kerry has made it? I don't think so.

Just release ALL the records to the public.....and that's all you have to do.

Is there something difficult about that? Why is this taking so long?

Ari Tai

re: ground truth.

Perhaps we should try a different path. Bleg for an interested lawyer-vet and have them go talk to the Navy and DoD records people and see if its possible and what procedures are required to order the release of "all his records" while withholding some old embarrassment, perhaps a night in the brig for being drunk and disorderly, or some (slightly) embarrassing medical detail. Where the scenario posed is "this person wants to release an edited record to a potential employer, without disclosing the fact that the records are incomplete."


Forbes, you are correct -- there couldn't be a better analogy than the one with clinton. 60% of the country thinks we are headed in the wrong direction, but whether a few pages are missing from a former presidential candidates miitary record are the most important matter of the day. I really hope something is there for the sake of the right-wing blog -- not that I think any of them would blink, if absolutely nothing was there.

Been busy in reality. but I'm pretty convinced now, even if Kerry had released it during the election -- it owuldn't have mattered at all. Not at all.


So Jor, nothing in there to refute the Swifties? That would have changed the election results.



"I really hope something is there for the sake of the right-wing blog -- not that I think any of them would blink, if absolutely nothing was there."

Considering Kerry's extreme reluctance to open those files, I have every reason to believe that all sorts of damning evidence is in there.

Then there's Kerry himself. I have every confidence in Kerry being .... well ... Kerry.

Cecil Turner

Even on a slow news day, this is more a matter of idle curiosity than anything else. I also have to admit I thought it pretty much a non-issue when it first came up, but with Kerry's strange reaction, I'm starting to get intrigued.

For a bunch of reasons, the discharge thing doesn't seem very likely. Neither does hiding grades or some minor incident (e.g., a letter of reprimand) make much sense--the cure is worse than the disease. Looking through his fitreps, the only obvious hole is the first Purple Heart, which is never mentioned (but could be an oversight).

Cecil Turner

The other interesting thing in the Sun story was this half-quote from LCDR Hernandez:

However, the Navy spokesman, Commander Hernandez, said the latest release does include the papers from St. Louis. "It's the whole record," he said.
It's not clear whether he's saying the entire record was released, or just that the pertinent release came from the full record. In any event, without looking at the 180 or full access to the record, it's impossible to tell.


Kim, and Ed -- initially I agreed with you. There must be something there if he won't open it up. But let's get real, Instapundit, Powerline, etc. would just find something else to get riled up on. This happened 30 some years ago -- and he won several medals of honor -- or at least one. Do you really think Glenn Reynolds or HindRockect were going to change their vote or even alter their opinions if he released his 180? Give me a break.

Cecil Turner

"But let's get real, Instapundit, Powerline, etc. would just find something else to get riled up on."

I suspect at least part of the reason they think it newsworthy is because it illustrates how blogs can give a story legs even if the MSM is trying to bury it. At this point the loser's military record is hardly riveting.

"This happened 30 some years ago -- and he won several medals of honor -- or at least one."

It certainly would have been old news if he hadn't made it the central theme of his campaign.

BTW, a Medal of Honor (CMOH) is a very big deal (there have been three since Vietnam, all posthumous). Next in line comes the Navy Cross (or DSC, or other service equivalents) . . . a Silver Star is the third tier, a Bronze Star is fourth. Kerry has one Silver Star, and one Bronze Star. (Former Senator Bob Kerrey has a CMOH, which causes some confusion.)


Cecil, I agree with MSM spin on it. I'm not even sure any more if bloggers just use that to get more power for themself, or to push forward their preferred (right or left) agendas.

Regarding Kerry's central war theme -- let's make an apples to apples comparison. In 2000 -- one of Bush's themes was that he was the MBA president. And on a cursory glance that was pretty much true -- he had an MBA, worked in the private sector, etc. etc. However, if you looked at his performance in the private sector -- it was pretty abysmal. I don't really recall this getting nearly the attention Kerry's war record received by the MSM. And Kerry had what are normally considered honoroable medals for military service (btw, thanks for the correction). In comparison, after your first job, nobody cares where you got your MBA from. Business is about putting up or shutting up. If Bush's MBA from Harvard didn't translate into results, than the MBA doesnt mean squat.

Cecil Turner

"I agree with MSM spin on it."

Hardly surprising, as it fits your political views. For those of us who disagree, the tendency to "spike" stories is less attractive. I also suspect that's one of the main drivers behind new media (and focusing on stories that show their muscle is understandable).

"one of Bush's themes was that he was the MBA president."

ISTM the "MBA President" meme was less about the election than an attempt afterward to describe his management style (e.g., I missed the "reporting for finals" speech). In any event, the story died for lack of interest.

"And Kerry had what are normally considered honoroable medals for military service (btw, thanks for the correction)."

They certainly are honorable (and you're welcome). They aren't, however, into "Sacred Cow" territory, which a CMOH arguably would be. Taken as a whole, his record is also certainly honorable . . . which makes the convoluted machinations to hide what must be some little piece of it baffling.


Cecil, I meant I agreed with the reason you were saying right wing bloggers are covering this story soo much. (i.e. covering msm spin, more so than merits of actual story).

The MBA thing wasn't important this past year, but in 2000 I think it was critical. Just as Kerry was using the war hero image to sell himself as not soft on terror -- Bush used his MBA and private industry experience to sell the fact that he could "get the job done". He might not be the most eloquent speaker -- but he had the credentials (MBA from harvard) and work experience in industry -- to do the job. He needed it to combat the "he's an idiot meme". Of course if you take a more than cursory look at his work experience, its hard to make the case for a successful executive.

Cecil Turner

"I meant I agreed with the reason you were saying right wing bloggers are covering this story soo much."

Sorry, shoulda figured that's what you meant.


Bush's MBA is helping him CEO the world.

Pugsley Debrute

Sheeple! ,the true release of any and all military records will not EVER be released by John Skerry. Never! Shillery would just love it.

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