More of This, Please
“I fought under that flag and I saw that flag draped over the coffins of friends,” Kerry said. “I’m tired of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney and a bunch of people who went out of their way to avoid the chance to serve when they had the chance.”
The Purple Heart is awarded to soldiers who are wounded or killed by enemy forces. The Silver Star is awarded for gallantry in action, and the Bronze Star is for heroic achievement [Kerry has three Purple Hearts, one Silver Star, and one Bronze Star].
Kerry received the Bronze Star for his actions after being wounded by the mine, which led to the third Purple Heart. According to his citation, one of Kerry’s boatmates was thrown overboard and Kerry pulled him to safety with “his arm bleeding and in pain and with disregard for his personal safety.”
There’s apparently some questions about his first injury (after three Purple Hearts you have the option to go home). Specifically, a former CO questions the severity of his first injury (the second and third are well-documented). From the Washington Times:
Mr. Kerry’s commanding officer in Vietnam, Grant Hibbard, recently questioned the severity of the wound that led to Mr. Kerry’s Purple Heart, saying the injury was so minor that it could have resulted from a fingernail scratch and questioning whether Mr. Kerry’s crew had even come under enemy fire that day.
Given that at the time, Kerry was just a regular guy (unlike, say Bush and even Gore), it seems pretty unlikely that he’d be able to finagle an unmerited Purple Heart, so I doubt there’s anything to this.
Impressively, the same Washington Times story also points out a bit of Republican hypocrisy:
When questions arose earlier this year about Mr. Bush’s National Guard duty during the Vietnam War, Bush supporters deflected criticism by saying that Democrats were concerned about something that happened “30 years ago” and that what was most important was Mr. Bush’s performance in office as commander in chief.
UPDATE: Kerry’s service records now online — I can’t vouch for the completeness, but there’s a lot there. Let’s see, on Sunday Kerry said he’d release the records; less than 72 hours later he does so. Pretty good, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for those who were demanding the records to give him credit. And speaking of military records, aren’t large chunks of the President’s military history still unknown?
UPDATE: Just took a quick look at the Bronze Star and Silver Star citations. Impressive stuff. Kerry just might have a litttle Brer Rabbit in him, and the Republicans were kind enough to toss him right into the briar patch.