Another Kerry whopper?

By WND Staff

WASHINGTON – Speaking at a Martin Luther King Day celebration last year, presidential candidate John F. Kerry told a Virginia audience that he remembered hearing the tragic news of the assassination while serving in Vietnam – though he did not begin his four-month tour of duty for at least seven months after the shooting.


Chicago Sun-Times from April 5, 1968

“I remember well April 1968, I was serving in Vietnam, a place of violence,” Kerry told the assembled, according to a report by Fox News Channel’s Brit Hume. “When the news reports brought home to me and my crewmates the violence back home and the tragic news that one of the bullets flying that terrible spring took the life of Dr. King.”

The date of King’s assassination was April 4, 1968. However, Kerry was not yet serving in Vietnam, but aboard the Navy frigate USS Gridley. According to Kerry’s campaign website it was not until Nov. 17, 1968, that he reported for duty in Vietnam.

In March of this year, Kerry authored a column in the New York Times that alluded to his recollections of King’s death.

“Nineteen-sixty-eight was a year unlike any other I have known,” he wrote. “I was 24 years old, a newly minted naval officer in a convoy headed for the Gulf of Tonkin.”

He mentioned learning of the death in Vietnam of a friend, the surprise election results from New Hampshire that resulted in Lyndon Johnson’s decision not to seek re-election as president. He mentioned in that column that he was off the coast of Vietnam at the time.

“Weeks later we heard of the death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., assassinated while campaigning for justice in America,” he wrote. “We knew that cities across the country had exploded in riots and much of Washington itself was in flames. There was war all around us and war at home.”

Kerry has often referred to his yearlong tour of duty on the USS Gridley as his first tour of Vietnam, even though the frigate only approached the coast in the Gulf of Tonkin.

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