The Republicans will rue ever making John Kerry's war record an issue. Kerry has released all his records, and it's all gold
Throughout his four years of active duty, Kerry's superiors gave him glowing evaluations, citing his maturity, intelligence and immaculate appearance. He was recommended for early promotion, and when he left the Navy in 1970 to run for Congress, his commanding officer said it was the Navy's loss.
The lowest marks Kerry earned were the equivalent of average -- in military bearing, reliability and initiative. But narrative comments from his commanding officers said he was diplomatic, charismatic, decisive and well-liked by his men.
"Intelligent, mature and rich in educational background and experience, Ens Kerry is one of the finest young officers I have ever met and without question one of the most promising," wrote Capt. Allen Slifer, Kerry's supervisor aboard the USS Gridley, where he served his first tour in Vietnam but was far removed from combat as an electrical officer.
And lest his combat courage be questioned (and the other side is really, really trying do so), there's this little story from his records:
On Feb. 28, 1969, Kerry's craft and two other boats came under heavy fire from the riverbanks. Kerry ordered his units to turn into the ambush and sent men ashore to charge the enemy. According to the records, an enemy soldier holding a loaded rocket launcher sprang up within 10 feet of Kerry's boat and fled. Kerry leapt ashore, ran down the man and killed him.
Kerry and his men chased or killed all the enemy soldiers in the area, captured enemy weapons and then returned to the boat only to come under fire from the opposite bank as they began to pull away. Kerry again beached his boat and led a party ashore to pursue the enemy, and they successfully silenced the shooting. Later, the boats were again under fire, but Kerry initiated a heavy response that killed 10 Viet Cong and wounded another with no casualties to his own men.
So let's recap what we've learned today.
Kerry volunteered to command a river boat in Vietnam. (Link is a PDF)
Bush, on the other hand, explicitly checked the box "Do not volunteer for overseas" on his application for active duty.
And while Kerry was literally chasing down Viet Cong in the jungle, Bush was playing all-day pool volleyball with "ambitious secretaries".
Update: Here's a side-by-side comparison of Kerry's Vietnam request and Bush's chickenshit "do not volunteer for overseas" document.
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