I read with interest your article by the Prowler concerning Kerry’s multiple silver star citations. I have been raising this issue with the media and my Congressional representatives for months. Here are my observations:
Did he or didn’t he? After reviewing Kerry’s service records, as released by him, I find it hard to believe the media have not picked up on the John Lehman connection. It should set off all kinds of alarm bells, especially considering the recent flap over whether he threw his medals away or not.
A very curious question arises over Kerry’s multiple Silver (3) and Bronze (2) star citations. Two of the five were signed by John Lehman who was Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan Administration 5 Feb 1981 - 10 Apr 1987. There are three Silver Star citations supplied by Kerry. One was signed by ADM Zumwalt, one by ADM Hyland, and one by Secretary Lehman. The Bronze Star citations were signed by Zumwalt and Lehman.
Specifically, Zumwalt: ADM Zumwalt served as Commander, US Naval Forces Vietnam from Sep 1968-May 1970. The Silver Star citation is more than likely the original citation taken from the award submission. Normally, as part of the nomination form, the nominator must provide a synopsis of the award (citation) that can fit on a single page suitable for framing with the certificate. Zumwalt’s citation covered two pages. I suspect that Zumwalt forwarded the award to CINCPAC, ADM Hyland, for the final signature, including the citation. It is worth noting that the requirement to go to CINCPAC applied only to the Silver Star, hence only the Zumwalt and Lehman citations for the Bronze Star, i.e., Zumwalt as the final approving authority and Lehman for the replacement/reissue.
Hyland: CINCPAC probably edited the Zumwalt Silver Star citation to make it fit on to one page and to clean it up a bit to fit the existing format. I do find it odd that Zumwalt’s citation is on letterhead paper. Usually the suggested citation language is submitted on the award recommendation form itself. ADM Hyland was CINCPAC 30 Nov 1967 - 05 Dec 1970.
Lehman: Except for the last sentence, the Silver Star citation is the same as Hyland’s. What makes this curious is that Secretary Lehman signed the citation at least over 12 and up to 18 years after the events occurred. Kerry served in Vietnam from November 1968 to April 1969. I doubt, in any event, that the final approval authority for Silver Stars had to go to SECNAV for approval. We also have photographic evidence that Kerry had the Silver Star medal pinned on in 1969. Kerry also acknowledges that he received them. My take is that Kerry requested replacement medals and due to the fact that Kerry was no longer an active duty service member, administrative requirements mandated that SECNAV’s office had to approve the issue of the replacements once it was verified from official records that Kerry had actually earned them. It is odd that they could not have just given Kerry copies of the original citations and I am at a loss for the reason to change the last sentence of the Silver Star citation, even if it is boilerplate language. Why not go with the original like what was done for the Bronze Star?
The bottom line is that Kerry probably did throw away his medals and then requested replacements in the 1980s. Someone needs to raise this issue with Kerry, i.e., why did Secretary Lehman sign duplicate Bronze and Silver Star citations at least 12 years after you left Vietnam? Kerry needs to release all of his military records including the nomination forms, which will give us the chronology and the approval chain of command.
Kerry’s reaction on “Good Morning America” fits his MO. He wants it both ways. When he discovered that throwing away your medals was politically a negative, he came up with the story about his ribbons and someone else’s medals. Kerry realized that he couldn’t walk away from the story entirely, especially since he has the medals displayed prominently in his office. However, the fly in the ointment is that we now have the citations, released by him, signed by Lehman. If he indeed requested replacement medals, he has a real problem, i.e., he was telling the truth initially, lied in the 80s, and is lying now.
Kerry is frozen in a time warp when it comes to his service in Vietnam. His preoccupation with his medals borders on being an obsession. If you check Kerry’s released military records, you will notice that Kerry amended his DD214 with a DD215. Among other things, Kerry burnishes his Vietnam Service medal by adding four bronze service stars to reflect various campaigns. This was done in March 2001!!! Why anyone would go through that effort to make some meaningless changes is beyond me. Hundreds of thousands of veterans, including myself, could do it, but beyond self-gratification and ego, what is the point?
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