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 Press Release -- May 4, 2004   
 Author: 
 Dated:  Thursday, July 01 2004 @ 07:35 PM PDT
 Viewed:  9692 times  
SWIFT BOAT VETERANS FOR TRUTH FORMS ORGANIZATION

Goals are to restore honor of Vietnam vets; Rebut John Kerry’s unanswered lies; Bring the truth about Kerry’s service to the public

(May 4-Washington, D.C.) Today, a group of Swift Boat veterans from the unit in which Senator John Kerry served announced the formation of an organization, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. The organization has been formed in order to bring the truth about Kerry to the American people. The organization intends to discuss Kerry’s war crimes charges, Kerry’s record and to request that Kerry authorize the Department of Defense to release the originals and the complete files relating to his military service and medical military records.

The group released a historic letter expressing the overwhelming opposition of those who served with Kerry or in his unit to his misrepresentation of his record and the unit’s record. The letter is signed by Swift Boat veterans at all levels and from the entire political spectrum; the entire chain of command during the period Kerry served in Vietnam; veterans who participated in the engagements resulting in his medals; and the majority of officers who served with him in Coastal Division 11, the unit in which he spent most of his four month tour of duty. Public circulation of the letter began one week ago and collected hundreds of signatures. The signers already make up a majority of the Swift Vets whose addresses can be found. The complete record of signers and comments will be posted on Swiftvets.com.

Rear Admiral Roy Hoffmann, USN (retired), Commander of Coastal Surveillance Force Vietnam (Commander Task Force 115) and chair of the group said, “I signed this letter because I do not believe John Kerry is fit to be the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States. This is not a political issue. It is a matter of his judgment, truthfulness, reliability, loyalty and trust - all absolute tenets of command.”

“We don’t understand why Kerry would make the centerpiece of his campaign an exaggerated account of his four month service in Vietnam 33 years ago, but since he is, we believe the American public is entitled to the truth about his service and about his charges about war crimes and atrocities,” explained John O’Neill, a Swift Boat veteran who took charge of Kerry’s boat a few months after Kerry’s departure and who debated Kerry in 1971.

The Swift Boat Vets for Truth include the entire chain of command above Kerry: Lt. Commander Grant Hibbard, Lt. Commander Elliott, Captain Charles Plumly, Captain Adrian Lonsdale USCG (retired) and Rear Admiral Hoffmann (retired), as well as enlisted men, officers, men who served with Mr. Kerry, men who served in the same group of Swift boats and men intimately familiar with the operations and conduct of Swift boat operations during the war. The group also includes James Zumwalt, Lt. Colonel, U.S.M.C. (retired), representing his father, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, and brother, Lt. Elmo Zumwalt III, both deceased.

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is a Special Purpose Political Action Committee.

Chairman, Rear Admiral Roy Hoffmann (retired)
Treasurer, Weymouth “Wey” Symmes
PO Box 26184
Alexandria, VA 22313
SwiftVets.com

WHAT IS A SWIFT BOAT?

A Swift Boat is a 22-ton heavily armed, 50-foot, shallow draft aluminum patrol craft similar to the utility boats servicing oil platforms and other offshore facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. These boats are known also by the U. S. Navy designation as PCF or Patrol Craft-Fast.

First introduced into the war in Vietnam in 1966, they are driven by two powerful diesel engines. The boat was armed with paired 50-caliber, aircraft type, ring-mounted machineguns forward over the pilothouse, another 50-caliber machinegun mounted in piggyback fashion over an 81-millimeter mortar that is fixed to the afterdeck, and an M-60 light machinegun most often mounted on the sampson post at the bow in front of the pilothouse. The post has a mounting plate, which can also accommodate a Mark 19 forty-millimeter, rapid-fire grenade launcher.

These boats also carried an assortment of other lethal weapons. Fragmentation hand grenades were not permitted on the boats. Concussion grenades were plentiful as a deterrent to swimmers who might try to attack a boat.

The crew usually consisted of five enlisted personnel led by one officer-in-charge. This officer was normally an Ensign or a Lieutenant Junior Grade, 23 to 27 years old. All were volunteers and almost all of them developed a fierce love for their boats.

For all of its deadly weaponry and ordinance, Swift Boats were not armored except around the small magazine located on the centerline under the deck of the main cabin. The skin of a Swift could easily be penetrated by small arms fire and the enemy version of the rocket-propelled grenade could blow out the insides of any Swift Boat while killing or maiming its crew.




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