I've come across an interesting National Review Article this morning, Kerry’s Brief Brotherhood
, by NR collumnist Byron York. The article addresses a recent internet rumour that that David Alston, one of the "band of brothers" who served on board Kerry's Swift Boat, did not actually serve with Kerry at all. Apparently Alston has made extensive public statements about his time with Kerry, but his time actual time with Kerry is currently undergoing some tough scrutiny. Byron York writes:
[I]t appears that while Alston was in fact on board PCF-94 when Kerry was in command, his total time of service under Kerry was quite brief — perhaps as little as seven days. According to records of Kerry's service posted on his campaign's website, it appears the two men were in actual combat together on two of those days.
Well, as far as I am concerned, a single day's service with Kerry, especially a day of combat, puts that rumour to rest, right? I mean this guy is certainly qualified to speak about those two days he served with Kerry, is't he? Well... the article continues:
Whatever the exact dates, Hurley confirmed that Alston was not on board PCF-94 on February 28, 1969, the day Kerry earned a Silver Star for an engagement in which he beached his Swift Boat and chased down and killed a Viet Cong guerilla armed with a rocket launcher.
In light of the timeline and interviews with the participants, it seems likely that Alston's time with Kerry was at most two weeks, and, if Short's recollection is correct, as little as one week. Given that, it is possible that some of Alston's public statements might have left audiences with the impression that he and Kerry were together for a longer period of time.
... Alston has on at least one occasion seemed to give the impression that he was present for Kerry's Silver Star-winning actions on February 28. "I know when John Kerry told [crew member Del Sandusky] to beach that damn boat, this was a brand-new ball game," Alston told ABC's Nightline on June 22. "We wasn't running. We took it to Charlie."
For his part, Kerry has sometimes left the impression that he was present when Alston was wounded. Paying tribute to Alston's service during a speech before a South Carolina veterans' group in May 2002, Kerry said, according to an account in The New Republic, "He [Alston] sat up in a turret above my head in the pilot house — firing twin fifty-calibers to suppress enemy fire from ambushes. We were extremely exposed — always shot at first.... On one occasion in an ambush his turret was riddled with almost one hundred bullets penetrating the aluminum skin. This gunman kept firing even though he was wounded — one bullet going through his helmet, grazing his head and another hitting his arm...."
That description sounds precisely like the incident on January 29, 1969 in which Alston was wounded. But Lt. Peck, and not Kerry, was in command of PCF-94 that day.
Hrm... So they are telling first hand stories about incidents they had not personally witnissed... caught in another lie, it seems. The article concludes:
According to a report in the Boston Globe, the Kerry campaign website has in the past listed Kerry as being the skipper of PCF-94 at the time of Alston's wounding. When Kerry's military records were first posted on the site, according to the Globe, "the campaign summarize[d] action that took place on Jan. 29, 1969, this way: 'While Kerry's boat and another (PCF-72) were probing a canal along the river, Kerry's boat came under heavy fire and was hit by a B-40 rocket in the cabin area. One member of Kerry's crew Forward Gunner David Alston suffered shrapnel wounds in his head....'" The campaign website also listed two other incidents that took place prior to January 29 as having occurred under Kerry's leadership.
Peck, who would later sign a letter to Kerry written by the anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, protested. "Those are definitely mine," he told the Globe. "There is no doubt about it." The campaign later removed the January 29 reference from the website.
Ah yes, caught in a lie, and they just take it down as if it had never been there. These guys have been rewriting and revising Kerry's past for months now. Never once have the printed a retraction or an appology for LYING to America, they just take it down as if it had never been there at all.
So to sum things up. Alston served with Kerry, but not as much as he may have allowed people to believe, and Kerry lied about time spent with Alston. I can't say I am all that much surprised.