More on Purple Hearts!
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 HeartThank you Senator Kerry for your service to America!
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."
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!