Friday, January 05, 2007

More on Purple Hearts!

Senator John Kerry is a true American hero.

And I am sick and tired of those who lurk and attack American heros. Avoiding the important issues that face America. Issues like raising the minimum wage, dealing with global warming, supporting stem cell research to save disease, protecting religious liberty in America, and getting us out of Iraq. The Swift Boaters wear blinders, unable to see what is important in America today. They do not find it problematic that their candidate in 2000 and 2004 was a draft-dodger who used family influence to get into the Texas Air National Guard and then failed even to complete his obligations. They are more concerned about the depth of Senator Kerry's injury when he earned his first purple heart. Was it a gash or just a deep scratch?

This is from the USA Today and comes from another decorated Vietnam War veteran. You don't have to take my opinion on this, read his.
"The meaning of a Purple Heart
By David H. Hackworth
The patrol boat slipped quietly up the canal until the eerie silence was suddenly shattered by enemy automatic-weapon fire from both heavily vegetated riverbanks. The U.S. Navy crew instantly responded with a barrage of machine-gun, mortar and grenade-launcher fire while I looked for cover.

But I was in South Vietnam's Mekong Delta, stuck on the deck of the ultimate moving target, and there was no place to hide. The only protection I had from the singing slugs was my paper-thin U.S. Army jungle-fatigue jacket.

Soon, U.S. Navy helicopter gunships were hosing down the Viet Cong, who were dug in no more than 100 yards from us. Then we continued our surreal surf upstream through the miasma of cordite and smoke.

A Navy petty officer asked, "How's it going, colonel?"

"I gotta tell you, chief, this isn't my bag," I responded.

"What just happened is pretty much standard down here, sir," he replied. "Welcome to the Brown Water Navy."

This Apocalypse Now-type vignette took place in 1970, when I was running the advisory side of the 44th Special Zone. Along with primarily U.S. Army Special Forces and South Vietnamese Ranger units, a number of Brown Water naval units also fell under my control. Our combined job was to cut off the movement of communist troops and supplies out of Cambodia.

Staying close to troops

Since it was always my standard drill as a commander to stay in close touch with what was going down, I spent a lot of time in the boonies with the troops under my control. But during that year, I did the small-boat thing only twice. Why? Because as an infantry grunt, I simply didn't like the odds. And since those hair-raising trips, my steel pot has always been off to those sailors.

Now a number of war veterans have picked the campaign-stumping season to question the first Purple Heart that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry received during his four months as a small-boat skipper — where one day out on Vietnam's rivers and canals was a lifetime, and four months had to have been an eternity.

That Purple Heart was one of three awarded to Kerry. (He also won Silver and Bronze stars.) His critics — who incidentally never served under Kerry on his swift boat — are saying his particular wound wasn't serious enough to warrant the award.

But the Pentagon regulation governing the Purple Heart reads: "A wound which necessitates treatment by a medical officer and which is received in action with an enemy."

So — minor or major — a wound is a wound.

Does that fact cheapen the value of the medal? During the ongoing conflict in Iraq, several U.S. military grunts have complained to me that while their bravery has gone generally unrecognized, the awards system has been unfairly tipped in favor of officers. In fact, I've written about an Army general who put himself in for a Silver Star merely for being in Iraq. And an Air Force bomber crew received the Distinguished Flying Cross for dropping a bomb from 30,000 feet onto a home where Saddam Hussein was believed to be hiding.

More recently, plans to award Bronze Stars to the Army's 800th Military Police Brigade were dropped after a report by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba and photographs were released about prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.

The awards system has always been fraught with abuse, but for anyone who has ever served in combat, the difference between earning a Purple Heart and death is, indeed, very slim.

Former Navy doctor Louis Letson clearly recalls treating Kerry and removing a small piece of metal from his arm with forceps, bandaging that wound and returning him to duty. And when Kerry was hit, he was certainly engaged with the enemy and in harm's way.

In fact, if the fragment Letson removed had been slightly larger and struck the lieutenant between the eyes, Kerry's award would no longer be a current-events issue — since he'd be planted in Arlington National Cemetery instead of campaigning to be the next occupant of the Oval Office nearby.

Medals were prized

Reports say Kerry was an aloof, gung-ho, super-ambitious, young stud whose eye was already on the White House and whose role model was Navy war hero Jack Kennedy. Like a lot of soldiers and sailors who valiantly served in Vietnam, he was eager to come home, but probably just as eager to scoop up the golden gongs that came his way. It's also worth noting that medals for officers were especially prized as magic steppingstones that could help propel the recipients onward and upward.

Under the circumstances, it wouldn't have made sense for Kerry to ask his commander to rescind the automatic orders for a Purple Heart — our country's first decoration. (It was instituted in 1782 and awarded originally only for bravery in combat. Subsequently, it was changed to honor our wounded and dead.)

On an earlier tour in Vietnam, one of my gallant soldiers, a draftee named Don Wallace, picked up seven Purple Hearts in less than a year without ever being hospitalized. Most of "Ole Magnet Butt's" wounds were easily patched up by "Doc" Holley, our battalion surgeon. But any one of them could have shut off his lights forever.

Jerry Sullivan, another trooper in the same "Hardcore Battalion," was wounded just once. He spent five years in hospitals and still lives in agony.

Whose Purple Hearts were more deserved? Should Wallace have measured his hits and turned down Purple Hearts for his smaller wounds? I don't think so.

But I do think that Kerry's Purple Heart wouldn't be considered problematic if he weren't a presidential candidate. The grousers, to a man, seem to be simply passing on secondhand bilge that they ought to stow in their sea bags and lay off.

The Purple Heart deserves less petty quantifying and more respect.

No one should play politics with any warrior's wounds.

David H. Hackworth, a retired U.S. Army colonel, is a King Features syndicated columnist and author of the recent best seller about Vietnam, Steel My Soldiers' Hearts. He was awarded eight Purple Hearts during 26 years as a soldier."
Thank you Senator Kerry for your service to America!

America needs your leadership at the helm.

There will always be those who will throw mud and smear patriots that challenge the staus quo. But your voice is needed in America!

Keep on Coming John! We have got your back!

Bob

9 Comments:

Anonymous democrafty said...

Good find! It means so much to all of us in the Kerryverse when veterans defend his honors.

But then, it all makes sense. When you doubt the validity of JK's military honors, you insult everyone who has ever served. It's nice to see servicepeople standing together instead of swiftboating eachother.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

"And I am sick and tired of those who lurk and attack American heros"

I didn't attack any American heroes, I attacked Kerry! Oh wait a minute, you consider Kerry a military hero? Why? What did he do?

"Issues like raising the minimum wage"

Who benefits from raising the minimum wage? Part time school kids that's who. It certainly doesn't benefit the poor because they already make more than the minimum wage.

"dealing with global warming"

What a laugh! There is NO scientific proof that global warming exists.

"protecting religious liberty in America"

Protection of religious liberty from you liberals!

"getting us out of Iraq"

So the radical muslims can gain control of the Middle East oil flow?

"The Swift Boaters wear blinders"

They do? Want to explain this?

"They do not find it problematic that their candidate in 2000 and 2004 was a draft-dodger"

Why because he joined the Guard to avoid being drafted into the Army? I joined the Navy Reserve in 1965 to avoid being drafter into the Army. Am I a draft dodger?

"failed even to complete his obligations"

When Kerry and I completed our active duty neither one of us completed our obligations, nobody did back then!

"Was it a gash or just a deep scratch"

Dr Letson said he saw worse scratches from a rose bush!

"you insult everyone who has ever served"

No you don't. Do I insult myself? All my friends who served back then feel the same way abouts Kerry's service. Are we insulting each other?

7:06 PM  
Anonymous rjb0507 said...

Another person that will come out soon is identified on www.thefreedomcause.com. Check a citizen candidate and then pass the word to others.

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael -

You have your Swift Boat Liars talking points mixed up. It wasn't Letson who made the comment about the rose bush thorn, it was Grant Hibbard, 35 years after the fact.

Louis Letson was the doctor who, in the unlikely event he actually did treat Kerry in Vietnam, was so ethically challenged that he violated medical canons and Navy regulations by breaching doctor-patient confidentiality. Some guy.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Anonymous, you libs keep referring to the Swift Boaters as liars but you won't tell us what those lies are. And about Letson violating doctor patient confidentiality his name wasn't even on the medical document that day, it was signed by Petty Officer Carreon, who was NOT a medical officer. The wound was so minor that it didn't require a doctor's treatment.

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael -

Well, as the Swift Boat Liars' lies are too numerous to list on a single page, I will simply point out the bad information that you repeat here. Or feel free to do some research yourself, over at websites like the SBVT and "John Kerry Military Service Controversy" articles Wikipedia or "Truth and Unfit for Command."

So now you say that contrary to his claim, Louis Letson didn't treat Kerry? As a matter of fact, I agree with you. But the SBV"t" liars have put him forth as the voice of truth in the matter ... so are you concluding that they as well as Letson are lying? Very well.

By the way, wounds treated by medical corpsmen certainly do qualify for PHs. Just look at the casualty reports for Robert Hildreth and two others for itty bitty shrapnel wounds treated by a corpsman on Feb. 20, 1969. They all received PHs for those wounds.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

"But the SBV"t" liars have put him forth as the voice of truth in the matter ... so are you concluding that they as well as Letson are lying?

No, Letson was present at sick bay that morning and witnessed Kerry's scratch. He removed the object that was in Kerry's arm and turned him over to Carreon to clean the scratch, apply the bandaid and fill out and sign the report.

"Well, as the Swift Boat Liars' lies are too numerous to list on a single page"

Well just list some of them?

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In other words, Letson claims to have treated Kerry. If true (doubtful), he is bound by doctor-patient confidentiality, as well as Navy regulations, regardless of who signed the documentation.

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

List "some of" the SBV"t" lies? Sorry, Bob is doing a good enough job of that - as are you in your own little way. I've already recommended several articles and websites for you to check out. Have fun.

5:45 PM  

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