By Tedd Peck
Many years ago I was taught to not believe everything that is written in the newspaper. In checking out your biography I noticed this epiphany happened within a few months of your birth. To doubt what I read in a newspaper was a sobering thought to a naïve teenager of yesteryear. Today, so many years later I am shocked by the gullibility of most Americans when it comes to listening to the endless political/tabloid babble show lineup that have replaced some newsprint media. The propaganda delivery system has changed in the world but those words of caution, fortunately, still apply.
Joseph Goebbels, the Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda in Nazi Germany was a true master of the art of misinformation, and by some not so remote chance could be your poster boy and inspiration for spewing propaganda filled with half truths aimed to persuade and control public discourse and perception. After all, perception trumps reality every time. Joseph once said, “If you tell a lie, tell a big one.” He reasoned the public was incapable of thinking that their governmental organizations would intentionally delude the citizens in order to obtain their intended outcome. History documents what Goebbels “big lie” did to our world, therefore, the lessons from his transgressions should never be forgotten. Your commentaries, concerning the Bush Administration, indicate that you are not one to be duped into believing the propaganda that comes from the federal agencies, their “big lie” so to speak.
If you are capable of discerning the difference between truth and fiction why is it that you intentionally defame a group of men that you know little about or, for what its worth, any individual member up close and personal? I am a Swift Boat veteran and I know from whence I speak. You sir, do not! I have first hand knowledge that trumps hearsay, consisting of propaganda handed to you or crafted by you to promote an agenda. The intent of this open letter is to help you see more clearly how far off base you are when it comes to reporting the truth based in fact as opposed to fiction, when it pertains to the military service of my former band of brothers. Although you are truly a showman your repeated references to the Swift Boat group as liars clearly demonstrates your ignorance of the facts, your bias and intent to pervert the truth, or all of the above.
John Kerry is a deceptive man who long ago set out to relive the life of a truly charismatic politician. His big shortcoming was his own lack of charisma. Imitation is a form of flattery but it is hardly a substitute for the real deal. I met Kerry almost forty years ago come this November. Although it was an inauspicious occasion in my life, or so I thought, Kerry’s actions of four decades ago will be with me until my last days on this side of the sod. Unfortunately for Kerry and hopefully fortunate for me my last day will be two or three decades hence.
During a segment on your July 1, 2008, show regarding General Wesley Clark, McCain and Obama, you gratuitously commented about a non attack on McCain and how “…he fields a former swiftboater in his defense, part of the group that actually attacked, denigrated, lied about, John Kerry’s service…” Great rhetoric but that’s about all. My first hand knowledge of what happened in Viet Nam may shatter your belief in Kerry’s heroism that was fabricated, while you were riding your bicycle and collecting baseball cards. For you to accuse me and my fellow combatants of lying about this great imitator is laughable because your impressions of Kerry’s military service are probably derived from Kerry’s staff. A group that was as clueless as you regarding the truth of the matter.
Although, I knew since Thanksgiving 1968 that Kerry was fixated on the Presidency, it wasn’t until late April 2004 that I fully realized the brazenness of his obsession. It was at this time Michael Cranish of the Boston Globe called me and informed me that Kerry’s campaign website contained transcripts of messages and reports pertaining to two combat actions that sandwiched your tenth birthday, January 27, 1969. I immediately logged onto Kerry.com as Cranish helped me navigate the site. What I read astonished me. There for the world to see, Kerry placed himself on my boat – Patrol Craft Fast (PCF) 94 during a bloody Viet Cong ambush on the Song Ong Doc (river). All the while Kerry was approximately 150 miles away safely working on his memoirs so he could have his fictional biography written by Douglas Brinkley some thirty-five years into the future. On your birthday, which fell on a Monday that year, I rested and prayed that my boat and crew would make it through the war in one piece.
Kerry also took credit for my next and last action on January 29, 1969 when my boat PCF 94 joined a seven boat flotilla operating in close waters of the Ca Mau peninsula. Within an hours time two of our boats came under enemy fire. Within seconds of that skirmish I was ordered to take PCF 94 up a canal near the village of Nam Can. The boat proceeded about 100 yards up the canal when all hell broke loose. The boat was hit hundreds of times with 30 caliber machine gun fire and took at least one B40 rocket in the main cabin, setting it ablaze. I am rusty on the details because I took three of those bullets and went into shock. Kerry took credit for the action and in a foot note he mentioned one of the crew was seriously wounded. How nice of the man to mention me on his website. I confirmed to Cranish that Kerry was not within 200 miles of this action and in fact I was the skipper of that boat and was indeed seriously wounded. Cranish and Rush Limbaugh did the rest. Cranish called the Kerry campaign and relayed my sentiments to the Senator but was informed by his staff that the website would not be amended. On Friday April 26, 2004 Cranish’s story came out in the Globe and Limbaugh mentioned Kerry taking credit for my action and before you could say “How’s your Uncle Bob” Kerry’s staff removed my history from the website. Talk about getting your life back…
I have saved the best for last. Kerry states he received three Purple Hearts and was sent home in March 1969. Let me set you straight on one of his “I’m a hero” escapades. Kerry states he went on a skimmer operation on December 2, 1968, while operating out of Cam Ranh Bay. I was there during this time frame and I can assure you Kerry’s story is nonsense. Read his account of this mission in the book, “Tour of Duty.” He is void of details such as, names of crew members and location of mission. Yet he tells Tim Russert on his April 18, 2004 edition of “Meet the Press” that this was the scariest night of his life. More importantly there was no mandatory after action report filed substantiating his action. I was on patrol the night of 2 December and can attest that there was no radio chatter, usual during enemy skirmishes. In addition, the sea state I experienced prevented Boston Whaler type boat operations due to the threat of floundering. Division 14, replete with a small officer complement was not the place to be if you wanted to keep your heroics from your fellow officers. Some how Kerry manages to keep this act of bravery from all of us. In fact it was so secret that when I led a similar skimmer operation on December 4, 1968, there was no mention of any enemy activity or fire fight taking place on the morning of December 3, 1968. Not one word of a fellow officer being wounded. Hmmmm?
His real skimmer operation took place a week earlier on November 25, 1968. He was with the Division Operations Officer and one enlisted man. This action was mentioned many times on the internet and it is humorous. Kerry fires his M79 grenade launcher close aboard. A tiny, needle sized, piece of shrapnel ricocheted back and hit Kerry in the left arm just above the elbow. The Lieutenant in charge, realizing there was no enemy at the end of his tracer rounds, heads back to base and tells the division skipper, Grant Hibbard that there was no enemy return fire. No enemy, no need to fill out an after action report, no report equates to no medal for Kerry. Kerry requests a Purple Heart and is turned down because at the time enemy fire was a prerequisite for the medal. I asked Kerry to show me the wound but he refused. I wonder why Keith. The day before Thanksgiving Kerry is telling Hibbard that if he is not awarded the medal he will write his congress critter. Looks like Kerry needed that Purple Heart and he was bull doggedly determined to get it. I wanted to give him cause for a Purple Heart because his begging was undignified and definitely unbecoming an officer. Not unlike his lying in the Fulbright commission hearings about atrocities. How would he know? Kerry wasn’t in country long enough to witness anything, let alone atrocities.
I led Kerry out of Cam Ranh Bay on a reassignment to An Thoi, a division in a forward area on December 6, 1968. He was ordered and I volunteered to go in the place of a friend, Don Droz, whose wife was expecting a child in a few months. Kerry’s phony memoirs even commented on how Droz’s wife came in handy as a wedge of sympathy to shanghai me into taking his assignment after plying me with whiskey. The only sot that night was Kerry since he was not privy to my conversation with Don Droz. Could his memoirs be based in fantasy, with the sole intent of self aggrandizement? You bet, Keith.
The truth of the matter is, division wanted to rid themselves of an untested rookie with no patrol experience. He was expendable! His antics regarding the Purple Heart, Congressional letter and self-inflicted scratch just made it expeditious to send him packing. Kerry mentions in his memoirs that at the time of the assignment he did not have a boat or crew. Voila! That little discrepancy was rectified in minutes. John is part French so he’ll know what that means.
Before departing Cam Ranh Bay I warned Kerry to come no closer than 1000 yards of my boat or I’d give him what he was craving for. I can attest to the fact that Kerry did not have a Purple Heart citation when we got underway that evening. How did he get it? This is the million dollar question and the obvious reason why Kerry won’t release his Standard Form 180 to the public. Would the truth hidden in those records make you and all other liberal hacks eat your words? In fact I would love to have Kerry sue me but that will never happen because then the facts that he is keeping from the public would be exposed in discovery.
As long as Kerry has his adoring media sycophants covering his proverbial six, good men will be impugned and Kerry’s lies of heroic proportions will flourish. Wake up and smell the coffee Keith. I’ve known a lot of officers and enlisted men during my military career and the most conniving, duplicitous, egotistical one among them was John F. Kerry. Please make your apologies public. It is the least you can do for us who served our country in a time of need while you were in the prepuberal stage of your young life.