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August 27, 2004
Lipscomb: US Navy Disputes Kerry Combat Awards

An old friend of the Northern Alliance, reporter Thomas Lipscomb (who broke the stories of the Phoenix Project shortly after Kerry took control of the primaries), writes in today's Chicago Sun-Times that the US Navy disputes the records that John Kerry insists backs up his combat stories:

In the midst of the controversy between the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth and Kerry campaign representatives about Kerry's service in Vietnam, new questions have arisen. The Kerry campaign has repeatedly stated that the official Naval records prove the truth of Kerry's assertions about his service.

But the official Naval records on Kerry's website only add to the confusion. The DD214 form, an official Department of Defense document summarizing Kerry's military career, posted on, includes a "Silver Star with Combat V." But according to a spokesman for the US Navy, "Kerry's record is incorrect. The Navy has never issued a "Combat V" to anyone for a Silver Star." The Naval Regulations do not allow for the use of a Combat V for the Silver Star, the third highest decoration the Navy awards. None of the other services have ever granted a "Combat V" for the Silver Star either. ...

B. G. Burkett, a Vietnam veteran himself, received the highest award the Army gives to a civilian, the Distinguished Civilian Service Award, for his book STOLEN VALOR. Burkett pored through thousands of military service records uncovering phony claims of awards and fake claims of military service. " I've run across several claims for Silver Stars with Combat Vs, but they were were all in fake records." Burkett recently filed a complaint that led last month to the sentencing of a Navy Captain, Roger D. Edwards, to 115 days in the brig for falsification of his records.

Seeveral of you have written to me today regarding Lipscomb's article, which breaks into the open a number of questions being asked in hushed tones around the blogosphere this past week. It shows that the Kerry campaign's hopes of the story burning itself out has not worked out, and that his full frontal attack on the Swiftvets themselves have only served to sell more papers and draw more viewers. And while the media may favor Kerry over George Bush, they favor money most of all.

It's worth noting, as again several of you have in your e-mails to me, the fact that Admiral Jeremy Boorda took his own life when Newsweek questioned his Combat V award on his Bronze Star. Kerry noted the following at the time of Boorda's suicide (hat tip to Joshua Sharf, who covered this three days ago):

"Is it wrong? Yes, it is very wrong. Sufficient to question his leadership position? The answer is yes, which he clearly understood," said Sen. John Kerry, a Navy combat veteran who served in Vietnam. - Boston Herald, May 18, 1996

"The military is a rigorous culture that places a high premium on battlefield accomplishment," said Sen. John F. Kerry, who received numerous decorations, including a Bronze Star with a "V" pin, as a Navy lieutenant in Vietnam.

"In a sense, there's nothing that says more about your career than when you fought, where you fought and how you fought," Kerry said.

"If you wind up being less than what you're pretending to be, there is a major confrontation with value and self-esteem and your sense of how others view you."

Of Boorda and his apparent violation, Kerry said: "When you are the chief of them all, it has to weigh even more heavily." (Emphasis added) - Boston Globe, May 18, 1996

Be sure to read all of Lipscomb's article -- if you can. I understand the demand was so heavy at the Sun-Times earlier today that the server crashed. Do you think that may signal other mainstream media outlets that interest in this issue is not going away?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 27, 2004 11:05 PM

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