1. If most of Kerry's fellow Swift veterans don't support him, then who were all those guys with him at the Democratic Convention? They made it appear that Kerry has the complete support of his "Band of Brothers" from Vietnam.
John Kerry has been able to convince about 13 men who served on Swift boats in the Mekong Delta to support him, 7 or 8 of whom were at various times crew members on his own 6-man boat. Those are the men the Kerry campaign so prominently featured at the Democratic Convention. The photograph we have posted at SwiftVets.com shows Kerry with 19 of his fellow Swift boat OICs (Officers In Charge) in Coastal Division 11. Four OICs were not present for the photograph. Only three of his 23 fellow OICs from Coastal Division 11 support John Kerry.
Overall, more than 250 Swift boat veterans are on the record questioning Kerry's fitness to serve as Commander-in-Chief. That list includes his entire chain of command -- every single officer Kerry served under in Vietnam. The Kerry game plan is to ignore all this and pretend that the 13 veterans his campaign jets around the country and puts up in 5-star hotels really represent the truth about his short, controversial combat tour.
The Swift boats fought in groups, so the other OICs who fought alongside Kerry know him well and can accurately describe what he did and did not do. In many cases Kerry's fellow OICs had a better perspective than his own crew members, since the latter had no way to determine whether he was following orders and how well he worked with his peers.
2. 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 today. These boats were known by the U. S. Navy designation PCF, short for Patrol Craft-Fast.
A Swift Boat 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.
3. Why do you want Senator John Kerry to release his entire military records?
We want Senator Kerry to tell the truth about his conduct in Vietnam to the American public. We were there. We know that there are many critical facts that Americans need to know -– facts that have not been disclosed. Releasing the complete set of Kerry's service records will provide some insight into that conduct.
4. Aren’t you nothing more than Republican loyalists who happen to be veterans?
No. Among us are Democrats, Republicans and Independents. We are acting solely as Vietnam veterans who served in Swift Boats.
5. Vietnam was a long time ago. Why does it matter today?
Senator John Kerry himself made his Vietnam service a centerpiece for his campaign for the Presidency, so questions about his service are germane. Senator Kerry’s biographer described Kerry’s total Vietnam experience as a “three-decade-long tour of duty,” so questions about his entire “tour of duty” are germane. And in his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry stated that his fellow Vietnam veterans were guilty of widespread atrocities, so questions about the veracity of those charges are germane.
6. How can I join Swift Boat Veterans for Truth?
The organization consists of, and is limited to, former military officers and enlisted men who served in Vietnam on U.S. Navy Swift Boats or in affiliated commands. Veterans can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on joining or adding their names to the list of signatures to a letter to Senator Kerry demanding full disclosure of his military records.
7. Where can I view the press conference you conducted in May 2004?
We have posted extensive excerpts and a link to C-SPAN's streaming video of the press conference on our web site. If you do not have internet access, C-SPAN has aired the press conference a number of times and you may be able to view it there or obtain a copy of the tape.
8. How can I make a donation?
You can contribute online or you can send a check to:
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth
c/o Weymouth Symmes, Treasurer
PO Box 26184
Alexandria, VA 22313
Note: Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Inc., is a 527 advocacy organization and contributions are not tax deductible.
9. Hasn’t Senator Kerry already released his records?
No, Senator Kerry has disclosed only a selected portion of his records. Specifically, Senator Kerry has not disclosed the records leading to the award of the three purple hearts, the Silver Star and the Bronze Star. There are also missing performance evaluations (called “Fitness Reports”) for certain periods of his service as a Navy officer. We call upon Senator Kerry to authorize the complete release of his military records by filing a simple two-page Form 180.
10. Why are you not demanding that President Bush release his records?
It is our understanding that President Bush has released his records. If there are additional facts about his conduct in the military that should be disclosed, then we hope and trust that servicemen who had served with him will come forward as we have.
11. As a non-veteran, what can I do to help your organization?
As a non-veteran supporter you can make donations, and make your friends and family aware of our goals and this web site. We also encourage you to communicate directly with us if you are associated with groups or businesses that want to hear our views.
12. How can I get a copy of the letter that you sent to Senator Kerry?
Our letter to Senator Kerry is available on our web site, SwiftVets.com.
13. What exactly has Kerry lied about?
Senator Kerry misrepresented his own actions and those of his fellow officers and men. We believe that some of that misrepresentation resulted in him receiving medals to which he was not entitled. While many people might think that is immaterial, it is a matter of great importance to military personnel and veterans. As our chairman, Rear Admiral Roy Hoffman, U.S. Navy (Ret.), has said, “This is not a political issue. It is a matter of his judgment, truthfulness, reliability, loyalty and trust -- all absolute tenets of command.”
It is a matter of public record that John Kerry lied before Congress when he falsely portrayed his fellow service personnel in Vietnam as rapists and baby killers. John Kerry claimed that American troops were guilty of “crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command,” and that we “personally raped” and otherwise brutalized innocent civilians. Kerry specifically accused Swift boat personnel of “showing the flag and firing at sampans and villages along the banks” and “butchering a lot of innocent people.” None of that is true.
We believe Senator Kerry’s irresponsible accusations damaged the U.S. war effort. Whether his testimony was designed to advance a political or personal agenda, we do believe that testimony endangered our prisoners of war, dishonored those injured and killed in action and did irreparable harm to the reputation of servicemen who served honorably in Vietnam only to return home to unwarranted ridicule and abuse.
Drawing on the credibility of a tour of duty in Vietnam, however abbreviated, John Kerry shaped a false, slanderous image of U.S. military personnel as violent, vicious and brutal. U.S. military personnel, Senator Kerry told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, are collectively “a monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence.” That is untrue. As with military men and women today, U.S. military personnel in Vietnam went out of their way to safeguard innocent life, often taking casualties themselves rather than putting civilians at risk.
Having lied to the world about his former comrades, it is our view that Senator Kerry is unfit to command our sons and daughters as Commander-in-Chief.
14. Are you claiming that there were no atrocities committed in Vietnam whatsoever?
No. We base our position on statements made by Vietnam veterans -– many of whom served in the same Swift Boat units as the Senator and many who served at the same time. Our position is based on the testimony of eyewitnesses who were in a position to have seen or been informed about war crimes. None of these veterans witnessed or were informed of any of the crimes Senator Kerry has accused them of committing. Military personnel who witness crimes and atrocities have an absolute duty to report them to their superiors. Senator Kerry did not report a single instance of criminal behavior. If he had indeed witnessed the atrocities about which he testified to Congress, he should have reported them.
15. How common was it for a person to receive medals at the rate and number that Senator Kerry did?
Winning three Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star and the Silver Star in four months is rare. We have received letters from countless veterans outlining serious injuries -- far more serious than any Kerry sustained –- who said they did not seek a Purple Heart, because they did not feel it was warranted by the minor nature of their wound. In any case, the Senator’s full disclosure of his military records will shed light on the truth.
16. How can you demand that Senator Kerry release his records when you refuse to release your own?
We are not candidates to be Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Services. We are acting on principle -– namely the principle that the public has the right to know the details of Senator Kerry’s service. We believe that as a candidate for Commander-in-Chief, Senator Kerry has an obligation to disclose those records.
17. Are you working or involved in any way with the Bush/Cheney campaign or any other Republican organization?
Absolutely not. Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is a non-partisan organization. As part of our mission, we believe it is incumbent on ALL presidential candidates to be totally honest and forthcoming regarding personal background and policy information that would help the voting public make an informed decision when choosing the next president of the United States.
The organization was created, organized and funded by swift boat veterans who joined together to defend a common cause. Swift Boat Veterans for Truth accepts donations from individuals and groups as a 527 organization.
18. What else can I do to help?
E-mail this information and the quotes from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth from the initial press conference to as many people as you can. Ask them to e-mail it to their friends. With few exceptions, the mainstream media is trying to ignore our story. We need the help of every American to prompt Senator Kerry to disclose what he did and did not do in Vietnam, and the importance of all this to our country.
If Senator Kerry’s claims about his military service are true, then he has no reason to further delay fully disclosing his records since the missing documents will support those claims.
But in fact his claims are not true. We were there. We saw what did and did not happen, and we intend to set the record straight.