Swift Veterans Letter to John Kerry

Tuesday, May 04 2004 @ 10:00 PM PDT

Senator Kerry,

We write from our common heritage as veterans of duty aboard Swift Boats in the Vietnam War. Indeed, you should note that a substantial number of those men who served directly with you during your four month tour in Vietnam have signed this letter.

It is our collective judgment that, upon your return from Vietnam, you grossly and knowingly distorted the conduct of the American soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen of that war (including a betrayal of many of us, without regard for the danger your actions caused us). Further, we believe that you have withheld and/or distorted material facts as to your own conduct in this war.

We believe you continue this conduct today, albeit by changing from an anti-war to a "war hero" status. You now seek to clad yourself in the very medals that you disdainfully threw away in the early years of your political career. In the process, we believe you continue a deception as to your own conduct through such tactics as the disclosure of only carefully screened portions of your military records. Both then and now, we have concluded that you have deceived the public, and in the process have betrayed honorable men, to further your personal political goals.

Your conduct is such as to raise substantive concerns as to your honesty and your ability to serve, as you currently seek, as Commander-in-Chief of the military services.

It is vital that the American public have as much information as possible about candidates for President of the United States. In various ways, you have rightly called upon President Bush to be fully accountable and to provide full disclosure. In the same spirit, now that you are the presumptive nominee of your Party, we believe it is incumbent upon you to make your total military record open to the American people.

Specifically, we the undersigned formally request that you authorize the Department of the Navy to independently release your military records (through your execution of Standard Form 180), complete and unaltered, including your military medical records. Further, we call upon you to correct the misconceptions your campaign seeks to create as to your conduct while in Vietnam. Permit the American public the opportunity to assess your military performance upon the record, and not upon campaign rhetoric.

Senator Kerry, we were there. We know the truth. We have been silent long enough. The stakes are too great, not only for America in general but, most importantly, for those who have followed us into service in Iraq and Afghanistan. We call upon you to provide a full, accurate accounting of your conduct in Vietnam.


Daniel Aguilar, OSC, USNR-R
Pat Alexander
Roy Alexander*
Kenneth J. Andrews, Lt.*
Arturo Arias, QM2, USN (Ret.)
Daniel V. Armstrong, BM2*
Douglas Armstrong, Capt., USN (Ret.)
Harry Ball, Cdr., USN (Ret.)
Ray Lewis Ballew*
Sonny Barber, USN (Ret.)
John Bare
Alexander Bass*
George "M." Bates*
Richard Beers*
Paul L. Bennett, Cdr., USN*
Edward J. “Lord Mort” Bergin, Capt., USNR (Ret.)*
Henry “Buddy” Berman, QM2*
Herb Blume, Lt.
Barry Bogart, EN2*
Bob Bolger Cdr., USN* (Ret.)
M.T. Boone*
Benny Booth
David Borden*
Carl Bowman
Vern Boyd*
David M. Bradley, LCdr.*
Robert Bradley, Lt. USNR - inactive
Robert “Friar Tuck” Brant, Cdr. USN (Ret.)*
Kenneth Briggs*
Carlyle J. Brown, EN2*
Donald Brown, RD3
Kenneth "Buck" Buchholz, GMM3*
Michael C. Burton
Tom Burton
Joe Cahill, Jr., Lt.*
Jack L. Carlson, Lt., USNR*
James Carter
Billy Carwile, EN3*
Virgil Chambers, RD3
Jack Chenoweth, Capt., USNR, (Ret.)*
William Colgan, RD3*
Bill Collins*
Daniel K. Corbett, Lt., USNR*
James M. Corrigan, QM3*
Terry Cosstello, Capt., USN (Ret.)*
Tom Costarino
Toi Dang, GM3
John H. Davis, Lt.*
William K. Daybert,Cdr.*
James Deal*
Richard Dodson, Capt., USN (Ret.)
John Dooley, Cdr., USN (Ret.)*
Dale Duffield, CWO USN (Ret.)*
Robert G. Elder, Lt.*
George M. Elliott, Capt. USNR (Ret.)*
Bill Eshelman
Claude Farmer, Cdr., USNR (Ret.)
Michael Fasold
William Ferris, Capt., USNR (Ret.)
Wallace Benjamin Foreman, QM1, USN (Ret.)*
William T. Ferris, Capt. USNR (Ret.)*
James Foster, GMG1, USN (Ret.)
William E. Franke, Lt.jg*
Robert L. Franson, BMCS (SW)*
Alfred J. French, III, Capt., JAGC, USNR (Ret.)*
Paul F. Fulcomer, RD3*
Ray Fuller, GMG3*
Steve Fulton, Cdr., USN (Ret.)*
Mike Gann, Capt., USNR (Ret.)*
Steve Gardner*
Bill Garlow*
Les Garrett*
Tony Gisclair, BOSN2*
Robert Gnau, QM2*
Donald Goldberg*
Morton Golde, Cdr. USN (Ret.)*
Kenneth Golden*
Gerald L. Good, Lt. USN*
Roy Graham
John C. Graves*
Charles E. Green, ENCM, USN (Ret.)*
Dennis L. Green, GMG*
H.C. Griffin, Jr., Lt. USNR*
I.B.S. (Boyd) Groves, Jr.*
Charles R. Grutzius, Capt. USNR (Ret.)*
F.L. Skip "Mustang Sally" Gunther, Lt. USN*
Louis Hahn ETCM (SW) USN (Ret.)
Bill Halpin, Lt. USNR (Ret.)*
Don C. Hammer, Lt.*
Rock Harmon*
Keith C. Harris, RD2*
Stewart M. Harris, Lt., USN*
Stirlin Harris, BM2*
Gene Hart, RD3*
Bob Hastings*
Curt Hatler*
John Hecker, RD3*
Chuck Herman, RD3*
Raul Herrera*
Tom Herritage*
Grant "Skip" Hibbard*
Bill Hickey
Rocky Hildreth*
Gary Hite
Jim Hoffmann, RD3
Roy Hoffmann, Adm., USN (Ret.)*
William P. Holden, Capt., USN (Ret.)*
Wayland Holloway, Lt. USNR*
Duane Holman, QM2
Robert Hooke, Lt.*
Bill Hoole
Andy Horne*
John Howell*
Warren Hudson*
Charles W. Hunt, EN3*
Robert Hunt*
Gail E. "Ike" Ikerd, Cdr. (Ret.)*
Bert Jeffries, QM3
Richard Jenkins
John Paul Jones, QM3*
Tom Jones*
Eddie Kajioka ENCS, USN (Ret.)*
John L. Kipp, Cdr., USN (Ret.)*
Thomas H. Klemash*
Kenneth Knipple, EN1*
Robert Koger, QM2*
Mike Kovanen, RD3*
Bob Kreyer, GMG2*
Jack K. Lane, GMG3*
William T. Langham*
William Lannom*
Alan Lapat
Joseph R. Lavoie, II CWO2 (BOSN), USN (Ret.)*
Louis Letson, LCdr., USN (Ret.)*
Jim Madden, RD3*
William S. Mann, Jr., Lt.jg*
Jim Marohn, GMG3*
Douglas Martin, Lt. USNR*
Tom Mason, Lt.*
Donald Matras, EN2 (Ret.)*
Thomas Mason, Lt.*
Louis Masterson*
Donald Matras, EN3
Richard McFarland, Lt. USNR*
Kenneth B. McGhee*
James McNeal, ENC*
Errol Meleander, Cdr., USN (Ret.)*
Jack Merkley, Lt.*
James M. Miller*
John Miller, ENC (Ret.)
Martin Miller, ENC (Ret.)*
Marc Milligan, GMG2*
Benjamin A. Montoya, QM3*
Edward Morgan, Capt. USN*
Edgar (Ed) M. Morrill, Jr.*
Tom Morrill, EN3*
Wayne H. Moser*
Kurt Moss, Lt. J.G.*
Frank Mueller*
Marc Milligan, GMG2*
Ed Mundy*
Van Odell, GMG1
Richard Olsen, Lt.*
Richard O'Mara, RD2, USN
John O'Neill, Lt., USN, (Ret.)*
Albert Owens*
Tedd Peck, Capt. USNR (Ret.)*
Richard Pees, Lt., USNR
James Penkert, ENC
Thomas Petersik
Robert Phalen, GMG2*
Charles Plumley*
Joseph L. Ponder, GMG-2, USN (Ret.)*
Chuck Rabel*
Bob Reller
Steve Renfro, RD3, USN (Ret.)
Don Renshaw, EN2, USN PCF 93
Frank Rockwell
Bill Rogers, Lt.*
Patrick Sage GMG3*
Gary W. Sallee, BM2*
Burke Salsi, RD2
Joe Sandoval, GMG3*
Jimmy W. Sanford, RD3*
Robert Scattergood*
Jim Schneider, EN2*
Clair J. (Pete) Schrodt, Capt. USN (Ret.)*
Jack Shamley*
Patrick Sheedy, Cdr., USN (Ret.)*
Paul Shepherd, QM2*
Robert B. Shirley, Lt.jg*
William Shumadine*
Stanley G. Simonson, GMG2*
John Singleton, ENC
Darryl Skuce, GMG2*
John J. Skura*
Gerald H. Smith*
Bob Smith, GMG2
Gerald Smith
Roy Smith*
B. Tony Snesko BM2*
Mike Solhaug*
Jack Spratt, LCDR*
David R. Stefferud, Capt., USN (Ret.)*
James Steffes*
Fred E. Stith, USN (Ret.)*
Lawrence Stoneberg, Lt. USN (Ret.)*
Weymouth Symmes, RDM*
Tony Taylor
W.P. "Sonny" Taylor*
Dewey Thedford
James P. Thomas*
Eldon Thompson, Lt.jg*
Larry Thurlow, Lt.jg
Joseph Timmons, RD3, USN
Charles R. Tinstman, ENC*
Gary E. Townsend*
William F. Trainer*
Mark Tuft, Capt., USN (Ret.)
Michael Turley, BM2*
Chris J. Vedborg, RD3*
Jeffrey M. Wainscott, Lt.jg*
David Wallace*
Greg Ward, EN2*
Larry J. “Waz” Wasikowski, Cdr. U.S. Naval Reserve*
Pete Webster*
Steven Weekley, GMG, QM3*
George Wendell, En1, USN (Ret.)
Bruce Wentworth, Lt., USNR
George H. White, II*
R. Shelton White, Lt.*
Gary K. Whittington, EN3*
James D. Wiggins*
Tom Wilkins
Thomas A. Withey, Lt.*
Bernard Wolff*
Thomas W. Wright, Cdr., USN (Ret.)*
John Wyatt, GMG*
John Yeoman, Lt.*

Ex Officio (other military):

Ross Barker, Capt. USN (Ret.)
Joe Cantrell, Lt.jg, USNR
Allan Clapp, ETR3, USN
George Clatterbuck, CMSgt. USAF, Ret.
Tony DeLuna
David Desiderio, Cdr., USCG (Ret.)
Verne DeWitt, MR1
Jim Fitzgerald
Monte Gluck
Don Higgins
Larry Hobson
Robert Johnson
Walter Jones, USMC
Adrian Lonsdale, Capt., USCG (Ret.)
David P. Marion, CPT Infantry, US Army*
Larry Meyer*
Benjamin A. Montoya, QM3*
Denny O'Brien
Cordelia Ogrinz, in memory of her brother Alexander J. Ogrinz, III, Lt.*
Rex Rectanus, VADM, USN (Ret.)*
Skip Ridley*
Jennings Rogerson II, Capt. USMC* (Ret.)
John Slagle, Special agent, USBP (Ret.)
Patrick Stevenson, Army Special Forces (Ret.)
Emmett Tidd, Vice Admiral, USN, (Ret.)*
Leslie "Butch" Vorphal, RD3, USN PCF 3
Steve Watts, Army
Dennis D. Willess, EN3, Army Infantry*
Raymond Wroten, SSgt., USMC (Ret.)
James M. Zumwalt in memory of Elmo Zumwalt, Sr. and Elmo Zumwalt, Jr, his father and brother*


* = signed original letter, presented May 4, 2004