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August 20, 2004
The Magic PCF?

The Bandit at Talking Issues points out yet another inconsistency in Kerry's Viet Nam narrative, this one more subtle but just as perplexing. In the Bronze Star story, Kerry's PCF-94 patrolled the waterway with four other PCFs om 13 March, including PCF-3, which hit a mine and sustained crippling damage, throwing Special Ops officer Jim Rassmann overboard. According to the Kerry story, he commanded 94 to retrieve Rassmann under enemy fire and then towed 3 out of harm's way. Kerry won a Bronze Star and his third Purple Heart for this engagement.

However, take a look at the official damage assessment for PCF-94, filed on 14 March:

BRAVO: ... 2. PCF not capable of executing Market Time Patrol. ...

DELTA: Two stbd and one port main cabin windows blown out. VRC-46 radio and all remote units pilot house inop. AC wiring shorted out. Onan generator inop. Steerage control after helm inop. Stbd bilge pump broken. Screws curled and chipped. Radar gear box frozen. Main engines experienced RPM drop.

The report shows no mention of who filed the damage assessment, although my assumption would be that the OinC of the boat (Kerry) would either have to have filed it or approved it. Here's what Kerry's website has to say about the end of the incident:

Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry directed his gunners to provide suppressing fire, while from an exposed position on the bow, his arm bleeding and in pain and with disregard for his safety, he pulled the man aboard. Lieutenant (junior grade) Kerry then directed his boat to return and assist the other damaged boat to safety.

I'm no sailor, but how does a boat that has curled screws, engines power diminished, no AC power or generator on line, and no radio communication manage to get back to Rassman to pull him out of the water, and how does such a boat tow another back to harbor? It seems especially odd when you consider that the other three boats on the scene had no such damage to their crafts and could easily have towed PCF-3 back themselves.

There may be an innocent explanation for this, but it certainly appears that Kerry either claims to have towed the boat back when he didn't -- and other accounts back him up -- or he filed a false damage assessment, one that looks like what you'd expect for PCF-3 instead. Bandit got this originally from the Kerry campaign, and has this to say:

Since this was released by Sen. Kerry (and undoubtedly he reviewed what was being released for approval), why didn't he elect to correct this obvious error? We know he claimed in the past that his boat had struck a mine (see above Congressional Record) providing an possible explanation for his "arm bleeding and in pain" as he pulled Jim Rassmann from a river as detailed in his Bronze Star citation.

It certainly looks like this is the leftover loose thread from a previous lie that the media has allowed Kerry to escape.

UPDATE: Did anyone else catch what escaped me this morning when I wrote this -- what's missing from this report?

Bullet holes in the hull.

Regardless of whether this damage was sustained by PCF-94 or PCF-3, a boat with this kind of maneuverability problems should have been peppered with bullets if it sat in the middle of a crossfire.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 20, 2004 6:50 AM

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