Amid questions about one of John Kerry’s combat “V” decorations, unearthed remarks by the senator eight years ago reveal he judged an admiral’s allegedly false awards as a serious offense that disqualified him from leadership.
After the suicide of Adm. Mike Boorda in 1996, National Review columnist Kate O’Beirne notes Kerry gave his response to two Boston papers.
“In a sense, there’s nothing that says more about your career than when you fought, where you fought and how you fought,” Kerry told the Boston Herald.
“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.”
At that time, a left-leaning news service had raised questions about Boorda’s combat “V” clip, which is awarded for valor under fire. The doubt was over whether Boorda’s two tours in Vietnam aboard combat ships qualified him for the awards. The Washington Post reported Boorda’s right to wear the clips apparently was supported by a Navy manual, but hours before he was scheduled to address the issue with Newsweek reporters, he shot himself.
The Herald described Kerry as among the veterans who said although they would take offense at someone falsely wearing the “V” pin, they couldn’t see how it would drive Boorda to suicide.
“Is it wrong? Yes, it is very wrong. Sufficient to question his leadership position? The answer is yes, which he clearly understood,” Kerry told the Herald.
Kerry also spoke with the Boston Globe.
“The military is a rigorous culture that places a high premium on battlefield accomplishment,” he told the paper.
Of Boorda and his apparent violation, Kerry said: “When you are the chief of them all, it has to weigh even more heavily.”
As WorldNetDaily reported, two researchers contend Kerry’s Silver Star has an unauthorized “V” for valor which “makes it facially false and at variance with official government records.” That’s because Silver Stars are given for gallantry and never are accompanied with a combat “V,” which would be redundant. But Kerry’s DD 214, or “Report of Transfer and Separation,” displayed on his website, shows the “V.”
A U.S. Navy spokesman told the Chicago Sun-Times, “Kerry’s record is incorrect. The Navy has never issued a combat ‘V’ to anyone for a Silver Star.”
The allegations about Kerry’s war record come amid a campaign by aSwift Boat Veterans for Truth, an independent “soft-money” group that has produced a New York Times best-seller, “Unfit for Command”, endorsed by 254 men who served with Kerry in the Mekong Delta during his abbreviated tour from November 1968 to March 1969.