Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
John Kerry’s campaign website for his re-election bid to be the junior U.S. senator from Massachusetts boasts of his Vietnam war record as a decorated hero, despite the discoveries about his career made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the 2004 presidential election.
In the second paragraph of the “About John Kerry” section of the website, Kerry asserts he served two tours of duty in Vietnam.
This counts as his “first tour of duty in Vietnam” his service on the guided-missile frigate USS Gridley following his completion of 16 weeks of officer candidate school at the U.S. Naval Training Center in Newport, Rhode Island, on December 16, 1966.
He was on the Gridley from June 1967 to June 1968.
But it was Feb. 9, 1968, when the Gridley set sail for Western Pacific deployment where the guided-missile frigate performed guard duty for airplanes operating in the China Sea and the Gulf of Tonkin.
Specifically, Kerry’s tour of duty on the Gridley would be described as service on a deep fleet ocean vessel, involving no combat.
From June 1967 to November 1967, the Gridley operated along the California coast, and on Jan. 2, 1968, it set sail for Australia and then returned to Long Beach, Calif., on June 8.
The Gridley operated in the Western Pacific, but was “in a fighting zone” arguably only for a time far off the coast of Vietnam, and then only for less than five weeks while Kerry was aboard.
Kerry’s “second tour of duty” in Vietnam began on Nov. 17, 1968, when he arrived in Vietnam and reported for duty to Coastal Squadron One, Coastal Division 14, at Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam.
Kerry arrived in New York four months later, having completed his “second one-year tour.”
Douglas Brinkley, whose 2004 campaign biography of Kerry was titled “Tour of Duty,” not “Tours of Duty,” admitted on page 87 of the book that Kerry never faced any real combat danger aboard the Gridley.
“Every day that the Gridley patrolled the Gulf of Tonkin an enemy attack was remotely possible,” Brinkley wrote.
In the same paragraph Brinkley quotes Kerry saying of his duty in the Tonkin Gulf that, “Our job was to provide a source of reassurance to the pilots should they crash on takeoff or landing and to lend support of any kind – anti-submarine and anti-air – to the flattop.”
WND can find no documentation that North Vietnam ever mobilized a submarine during the Vietnam War.
WND also can find no documentation that any U.S. aircraft carrier operating off the shore of Vietnam ever was attacked by a North Vietnamese aircraft during the Vietnam War.
Also on page 87 of “Tour of Duty,” Brinkley describes Kerry’s most dangerous duties while the Gridley was supporting the Kitty Hawk in the Gulf of Tonkin as shuttling sailors and provisions between the Gridley and the aircraft carrier on a small, motorized boat.
Despite repeated requests, Kerry has yet to sign his Standard Form 180 that would allow the public access to his formal military records.
On June 7, 2005, the Boston Globe reported Kerry signed Standard Form 180 but with the limitation that his full military and medical records were to be released to the generally supportive Boston Globe only, not to the general public.