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September 13, 2004
Silver Star Spot Report Surfaces

The spot report for John Kerry's Silver Star action has resurfaced at Bandit's Hideout, and it affirms the story told by the Swiftvets while contradicting the later two versions of his citation. Bandit, who has done yeoman work on Kerry's Viet Nam narrative, has posted scans of the two-page document from

Fox News reports that this spot-action report was written by Kerry himself, ironically, since it supports the Swiftvet version of events for the engagement. I've transcribed the relevant portion here:

...While troops conducted sweep, PCF 94 and 23 movefauimkiver [sic] towards area from which Army advisor reported gunshots. PCF 43 remained at original ambush site to provide support for troops. PCF 94 and 23 proceeded to VQ 984831 and then turned to return to PCF 43 location. At VQ 984830 a B-40 rocket exploded in water close aboard PCF 94 blowing out window frame. Both units received heavy small arms fire and OTC aga [sic] called units to turn into fire and charge ambush site. PCF 43 was [redact] and moved immediately to assist. PCF 94 beached in center of ambush in front of small path when VC sprung [sic] up from bunker 10 feet from unit. Man ran with weapon towards hootch. Forward M-60 gunner wounded man in leg. OinC [Kerry] jumped ashore and gave pursuit while other units saturated area with fire and beached placing assault parties ashore. OinC of PCF 94 chased VC inland behind hootch and shot him while he fled capturing one B-40 rocket launcher with round in chamber. ... [description of other units' actions]

While PCF 43 provide [sic] mortar support, PCF 94 and 23 assault parties reconned to VQ 985835 where 3 VC where [sic] observed running from them out of firing range. Assault party could not five pursuit [sic] due to proximity of mortar rounds passing overhead.

Compare this narrative, written immediately after the action, with that given in the Hyland citation. The latter describes conditions that are non-existent in the spot report. For instance, the "numerically superior forces" description doesn't gibe with the information on the first page, which states that each PCF had 30 RFPF troops aboard. They disembarked at VQ984831 and PCF 43 stayed with them while 94 and 23 went upriver and returned to an adjacent spot (VQ984830) where they were ambushed. The only count of VC given were the one man Kerry killed, 3 KIA from an earlier ambush (which the 90 RFPF handled), and two VC who ran off out of firing range after Kerry ran behind the hootch.

This report also contradicts Kerry's contention that the VC was uninjured when he jumped off the boat and chased him down. The report makes clear that the forward gunner shot him with the M-60 in the leg before Kerry jumped out of the PCF. Despite his earlier denial, Kerry did run behind the hootch to kill the VC, out of sight of his crew.

In the Lehman citation, the dead VC behind the hootch disappears completely, although the "numerically superior forces" reappear, even though the only numbers given hardly match the contingents of the three PCFs in the area, let alone the RFPFs ashore in the adjacent area.

When you look at the action on the spot report, it reflects well on the young Lieutenant Kerry. Although it's difficult to see how this action should have resulted in a Silver Star, it would seem a commendation of some sort would be appropriate. It's all of the exaggeration, lies, and paperwork alterations after the fact that calls Kerry's character into serious question.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 13, 2004 9:38 PM

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