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In remarks to cheering firefighters, Kerry said, "More than 30 years ago I learned an important lesson. When you're under attack the best thing to do is turn your boat into the attack. That's what I intend to do today."
In reality, Kerry's boat was on the right side of the river when a mine went off on the opposite side, under PCF-3. The boats crewman were thrown into the water. The officers of PCF-3 were injured and suffered concussions. A Viet Cong sypathizer in an adjoining bunker had touched off the mine. Besides the mine exploding under PCF-3, there was no other hostile fire and there was no other mines, according to Chenoweth, Odell, Pease and Thurlow.
The boats had begun firing after the mine exploded, but they ceased after a short time because of the lack of hostile fire.
Despite the absence of hostile fire, Kerry fled the scene. The remaining PCFs,in accord with standard doctrine, stood to defend PCF-3 and its crewman in the water. Kerry disappeared several hundred yards away, returning only when it was clear that there was no return fire.
Thurlow told the Post that he got the award for helping to rescue the boat that was mined. He said he believed his own award would be fraudulent if it was based on coming under enemy fire.
He speculated that Kerry could have been the source of at least some of the language used in the citation.
Kerry's false after action report, prepared to justify his medals,
reports "5000 meters" - about two and a half miles - of heavy fire, about the same distance of a Civil War battlefield. Not a shot of this fire was heard by Chenoweth, Thurlow, Odell, or Pease. Kerry's false after-action report ignore's Chenoweth's heroic action in rescueing the PCF-3 survivors and Thurlows action in saving PCF-3, while highlighting his own routine pickup of Rassman and PCF-94's minor role in saving PCF-3.
Larry Thurlow, an experienced, genuine hero and PCF veteran, commanded the boat behind Kerry on March 13, 1969. Thurlow was on the shore with Kerry and a group of Nung soldiers that morning of March 13, 1969. Thurlow recalls that Kerry had that morning wounded himself in the buttocks with a grenade that he had set off too close to a stock of rice he was trying to destroy......................
Very probably, the incident Rassman describes that resulted in Kerry's self inflicted wound is the very wound that Kerry used to claim his final Purple Heart. Indeed, Kerry's report for that day mentions the rice he destroyed. He dishonestly transferred the time and cause of the injury to coincide with the PCF action later in the day and claimed that the cause of the injury was the mine exploding during the action.
Statement By Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Member Larry Thurlow
I am convinced that the language used in my citation for a Bronze Star was
language taken directly from John Kerry's report which falsely described the
action on the Bay Hap River as action that saw small arms fire and automatic
weapons fire from both banks of the river.
To this day, I can say without a doubt in my mind, along with other accounts
from my shipmates-there was no hostile enemy fire directed at my boat or at
any of the five boats operating on the river that day.
I submitted no paperwork for a medal nor did I file an after action report
describing the incident. To my knowledge, John Kerry was the only officer
who filed a report describing his version of the incidents that occurred on
the river that day. ..........................
.............................Kerry campaign spokespersons have conflicting accounts of this incident-the
latest one being that Kerry's boat did leave but only briefly and returned
under withering enemy fire to rescue Mr. Rassmann. However, none of the
other boats on the river that day reported enemy fire nor was anyone wounded
by small arms action. The only damage on that day was done to boat three-a
result of the underwater mine. None of the other swift boats received damage
from enemy gunfire.
And in a new development, Kerry campaign officials are now finally
acknowledging that while Kerry's boat left the scene, none of the other
boats on the river ever left the damaged swift boat. This is a direct
contradiction to previous accounts made by Jim Rassmann in the Oregonian
newspaper and a direct contradiction to the "No Man Left Behind" theme
during the Democratic National Convention.
These ever changing accounts of the Bay Hap River incident by Kerry campaign
officials leave me asking one question. If no one ever left the scene of the
Bay Hap River incident, how could anyone be left behind?