posted on Sep, 13 2004 @ 11:35 PM
Personally, I'm proud of John Kerry for stepping forward to expose what was really going on in Vietnam at that time. I served in Vietnam with the 1st
Marine Air Wing, Marine Air Group 36 from June 1967 to July 1968, a period that included the Tet Offensive. My brother served with me at the same time
with the 12th Marines (Artillery) in I Corps. This included 25 days of an intended 30 day period of duty at Gio Linh, truncated by 5 days because of
the heavy casualties his unit had sustained there, viz: 27 killed and 83 wounded out of a 120 man battery. Vietnam, like Iraq was an illegal, immoral
war and where this country failed was in not trying and executing war criminals for instigating it under false pretexts and then protracting it for
personal financial gain. In Viet Nam the sister company of Halliburton Services, Brown and Root was awarded lucrative contracts too numerous to
mention. Many were nothing but white elephants. At the time, Lady Bird Johnson was alleged to own 51 per cent of the stock in Brown and Root. Anyone
who served in Vietnam, providing you were mentally alert, can rember all the RMK-BRJ [Roberts, Morris and Knutson, Brown Root and Jones] constructions
camps and projects that were never ending....albeit at the expense of American Taxpayers and the outrageous and unnecessary sacrifice of innocent
lives, Vietnamese as well as American.
In defense of John Kerry, and as a revelation of what was actually was going on let me share this: One personal aside should be of special interest to
residents of Westminster, Colorado.
On January 31 1968 I was a Gun fire team leader over supernumeries at the 3 o'clock position at Phu Bai. Approximately a mile or so away to my half
left, Abel Larry Kavanaugh of Westminster Colorado [albeight unknown to me at that time] was fighting for his life at the 10:00 o'clock position.
(North is always "Zero" or "360" degrees on a perimeter).
Three days later, as a courier for MAG-36, I was in a six-by heading up highway one to the Citadel in Hue City 12 miles away. Enroute we passed
through a Marine Unit that was sweeping through the rice paddies and jungles toward Hue. One of my friends had just rotated back to Montana from 1st
Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment ["One-One"]. I asked the driver to slow down, as he did, I asked a Marine that we were passing by, if his outfit was
"One-One".He replied, "No, we relieved them last month this is "Gulf"". Two-One". This is Marine parlance for Company "G" [Gulf Company],
Second Battalion First Marine Regiment. Later, I would learn that Kavanaugh was separated from his unit "G-2-1" that very evening [3Feb68] and spent
what certainly had to have been two horrifying days and nights in the jungle before being captured two days later 5Februayr1968 and taken to a prison
camp in North Viet Nam. He remained incarcerated until 17March1973. Immediately upon being released he and seven other enlisted men were accused of
collaborating with the enemy by one Colonel (USAF) Ted Guy from San Antonio, Texas. With his 6 year daughter at his side, a child whom he had only
gotten to see for a brief two week period before he went to Vietnam, he took his life on June 25, 1973. Kavanaugh, and I'm sure it's the same one
came into my unit in Okinawa on November 1, 1966 [reporting unit code 29018] and left for
Vietnam with his best friend Carlisle two days after I did, on May 29, 1967.
All three of us had extened our tours and volunteered to fight in Vietnam for what we believed to be, at that time, a Great and Noble cause.I later
heard but have never seen documented proof that Carlisle was killed the same day Kavanaugh was separated from his unit when US Air Force pilots
dropped their bombs too short and hit friendly positions by mistake. For what it's worth, Out of a company of 528 men, Kavanaugh was one of the top
10. There wasn't a cowardly bone in his body. I'd have no qualms at all of walking up to some of the trash I've seen slouching around in American
uniforms and spitting in their faces. In Vietnam a lot of fine Americans and even supporters from other countries who believed in what we have been
told lost there lives because some of this same "cool scum" I'm alluding to were afraid the (ultimate victims) would be snitches or
whistle-blowers. Many of the so called victims of "sniper-fire" had powder burns on the back of their heads.On March 3 1968, we had a helicopter
shot down and thought one of our most popular and well liked pilots had been killed. His name was Bruce Archer. That same day Marine Major General R.
E. Cushman Junior, later Commandant of the Marine Corps, but then the Commanding General of I Corps, had to send a letter out to all Marine units
directing Commanders to ensure that the personal effects of slain Marines were sent back to their next of kin and loved ones...Why?
Because some of what was sent to Vietnam, especially rear echelon types were stripping the cadavers of their own slain countryman. This included but
was not limited to stealing rings, watches, money, stereos, and anything else of value. This was Americans doing this to their own slain American
Many serving in the military at that time were given the option of going to prison for very serious crimes or being allowed to enter the military!
Some even got to pick their own Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) with the assistance of their lawyers! Some of these same people are still in and
have advanced in rank.
Those of us who enlisted or were drafted took "pot luck". Back to Lieutenant Archer, whom we thought had been killed...Body Not Recovered on Sunday
3March1968. A week later on 10March1968, we sat stunned listening to a Hanoi Hannah Broadcast and hearing the same Lieutenant Archer denouncing
everything and everyone American for abandoning him in a field of fire. We remained sympathetic to Lieutenant Archer because those of us familiar with
his capture were aware that when his chopper was shot down, the head of the pilot, a Major was severed when it went through the plexiglass. The
headless torso fell against the unconscious Lieutenant Archer who was understandably covered in blood. When the gunner and crew chief jettisioned the
hatches to rescue them, with automatic fire coming fom a tree line, they concluded that both men had been killed (understandably) and hurried for the
As an enlisted man, Kavanaugh was fortunate to have been spared. Most enlisted men were summarily executed instead of being taken "North" to
the prison camps and Hanoi. Some of these executions of enlisted crew members were rendered with the victims having their hands and feet chopped off
with machetes and then being turned loose to suffer and die.
Kavanaugh was a Lance Corporal pay grade e-3 making $103.00 a month plus $65.00 hostile fire pay when he was captured.
I wonder what Colonel Ted Guy of San Antonio was making and how many more benefits he and his family had enjoyed, did enjoy and continue to enjoy
including his three daughters. A Colonel at that time probably made about $3,000.00 a month or more.
I didn't want any charges brought against Lieutenant Archer for his comments nor do I now. I'll be the first if I can to say that he was and
[hopefully if he's still living] is a fine man. But not one charge was brought against any officer, instead eight enlisted men, lucky to have been
spared in the first place because of their low rank, were singled out by one officer of unknown and questionable judgment. Not one officer spoke in
Getting back to the Kerry issue, my apologies for getting off the beaten track. As a Vietnam Veteran and as a veteran who has had the pleasure to have
met and served under Colonel Bobby Bagley, the Commander of the Hanoi Hilton POW compound for seven years and whom I personally like and respect and I
don't have any idea who he or anyone else here supports and I personally do not care. I'm supporting John Kerry I'm proud that he stepped forward
when he did to expose the crimes and corruption that he did. Anything but that strutting gutless buffoon we now have in the White House. Oliver North
can shove it.