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Military Documents Cast Doubt on Kerry Critic's Version of Combat, Published Report Says
The Associated Press
Published: Aug 19, 2004
WASHINGTON (AP) - Military records appear to contradict claims by a vocal critic of Sen. John Kerry that the Democratic presidential candidate lied about coming under gunfire during a mission in Vietnam, according to The Washington Post.
The newly obtained records of Larry Thurlow show that he, like Kerry, won a Bronze Star for the same engagement and that Thurlow's citation said he came under "constant small arms fire," the newspaper reported Thursday.
Thurlow, also like Kerry, commanded a Navy Swift boat during the war. Thurlow swore in an affidavit last month that Kerry was "not under fire" when he rescued Lt. James Rassmann from the Bay Hap River.
Thurlow's records, obtained by the Post under the Freedom of Information Act, include references to "enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire" directed at all five boats in the flotilla that day. In his Bronze Star citation, Thurlow is praised for helping a damaged Swift boat "despite enemy bullets flying about him."
Thurlow is a leading member of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a public advocacy group of Vietnam veterans who have aired a television advertisement attacking Kerry's war record.
Kerry has described how his boat came under fire from the river banks after a mine explosion disabled another U.S. Swift boat. Kerry and members of his crew say the firing continued as Kerry leaned over to fish out Rassman, who was blown overboard in another explosion.
Thurlow described Kerry's Bronze Star citation as "totally fabricated," saying "I never heard a shot."
Thurlow, a registered Republican, said he is angry with Kerry for his antiwar activities after his return to the United States, especially his claim that U.S. troops committed war crimes with the knowledge of their officers up the chain of command.
Thurlow told the Post that he got the award for helping to rescue the boat that was mined.
"This casts doubt on anybody's awards," he said. "It is sickening and disgusting."
He said he believed his award would be fraudulent if it was based on coming under enemy fire.
"We weren't under fire," he insisted.
Thurlow said he lost his Bronze Star citation more than 20 years ago. He said he would not authorize release of his military records because he feared the Kerry campaign would discredit him.
Members of Kerry's crew have said Kerry is telling the truth. Rassman said he has vivid memories of enemies firing at him from both banks.
Originally posted by FredT
This issue did not pop up because of the election, he in fact debated Kerry on these issues in 1971 on the Dick Cavet Show. I have not been able to find more proof on this but, this is what he said.....
Originally posted by slank
The interview, after reading basically the whole thing is over the way the Vietnam war should have wound down. It doesn't have any real questions about anyone's service record.
Originally posted by Phoenix
I find it damning that our most liberal members are staying away from and seemingly avoiding posts that have "hard" evidence of Kerry's lies even when the posts start with information that should have been positive for the Kerry position.
Nobody anywhere has refuted point by point all of the assertions of the 60 veterans that served with Kerry in CD-11, not to mention the total number of Swift Boat Vets that are against Kerry (254)
Originally posted by slank
Excuse me? Kerry HAS a war record to question. GW Bush was a deserter.
Nobody anywhere has refuted point by point all of the assertions of the 60 veterans that served with Kerry in CD-11, not to mention the total number of Swift Boat Vets that are against Kerry (254) How many does Kerry have for him 7 - 9? The Majority seems to believe Kerry is a fraud whom are we to believe the nine or the two hundred and fifty four?