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Retired Admirial Breaks Silence - Says Kerry Lied

Another person on the boat with Kerry calls him a lair.

Swift boat interview
Robert Novak

 NEW YORK -- Retired Rear Adm. William L. Schachte Jr. said Thursday in his first on-the-record interview about the Swift boat veterans dispute that "I was absolutely in the skimmer" in the early morning on Dec. 2, 1968, when Lt. (j.g.) John Kerry was involved in an incident which led to his first Purple Heart.

"Kerry nicked himself with a M-79 (grenade launcher)," Schachte said in a telephone interview from his home in Charleston, S.C. He said, "Kerry requested a Purple Heart."

 Schachte, who also was then a lieutenant junior grade, said he was in command of the small Boston whaler or skimmer, with Kerry aboard in his first combat mission in the Vietnam War. The third crew member was an enlisted man whose name Schachte did not remember.

 Two enlisted men who appeared at the podium with Sen. Kerry at the Democratic National Convention in Boston have asserted that they were alone in the small boat with Kerry, with no other officer present. Schachte said it "was not possible" for Kerry to have gone out alone so soon after joining the Swift boat command in late November of 1968.

Kerry supporters say that no critics of the Democratic presidential candidate ever were aboard a boat with him in combat. Washington lawyer Lanny Davis has contended that Schachte was not aboard the Boston whaler, and the statement in "Unfit for Command" that he was aboard undermines that critical book's credibility.

 Schachte until now has refused to speak out publicly on this question and agreed to give only two interviews. One was a television interview with Lisa Myers of NBC News. The second was a print interview with me.

 Schachte described the use of the skimmer operating very close to shore as a technique that he personally designed to flush enemy forces on the banks of Mekong River so that the larger Swift boats could move in. At about 3 a.m. on Dec. 2, Schachte said, the skimmer -- code-named "Batman" -- fired a hand-held flare. He said that after Kerry's M-16 rifle jammed, the new officer picked up the M-79 and "I heard a 'thunk.' There was no fire from the enemy," he said.

 Patrick Runyon and William Zaladonis are the two enlisted men who said they were aboard the skimmer and did not know Schachte. However, two other former officers interviewed Thursday confirmed that Schachte was the originator of the technique and always was aboard the Boston whaler for these missions.

 Grant Hibbard, who as a lieutenant commander was Schachte's superior officer, confirmed that Schachte always went on these skimmer missions and "I don't think he (Kerry) was alone" on his first assignment. Hibbard said he had told Kerry to "forget it" when he asked for a Purple Heart.

 Ted Peck, another Swift boat commander, said, "I remember Bill (Schachte) telling me it didn't happen" -- that is, Kerry getting an enemy-inflicted wound. He said it would be "impossible" for Kerry to have been in the skimmer without Schachte.

  "I was astonished by Kerry's version" (in his book, "Tour of Duty") of what happened Dec. 2, Schachte said Thursday. When asked to support the Kerry critics in the Swift boat controversy, Schachte said, "I didn't want to get involved." But he said he gradually began to change his mind when he saw his own involvement and credibility challenged, starting with Lanny Davis on CNN's "Crossfire" Aug. 12

A Rear Adm. who was actually on the boat with Kerry coming out against him can't be good for Kerry. We now have 2 Veterans who have served with Kerry speak against him.

The evidence Kerry himself requested and received Purple Hearts he was not eligible for, then used them to sneak out of Vietnam is mounting. Of course, Kerry could just put all this to bed if he just released his records.

snarkfest below the fold

As someone who watched the Aug 12 "Crossfire" and was ready to throw the remote thru the T.V. at Lanny Davis, I on a personal level, think this is is hysterical. Kerry's spinmiesters were so out of control they brought more damage on themselves.


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Comments (13)

Kerry's advisors to Kerry:<... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Kerry's advisors to Kerry:
"A hit! A palpable hit!"

Kerry's advisors to general public:
"'Tis but a scratch."

J.


"'Tis but a scratch."\... (Below threshold)
Jumbo:

"'Tis but a scratch."\

heh
Team Kerry reminds me as well of Dan Aykroyd's old SNL skit about Julia Child's gushing "little nick".

At least Kerry even WENT to... (Below threshold)
Susan:

At least Kerry even WENT to Vietnam. Better than hiding out in the National Guard and not actually showing up for duty. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones...

Susan, tell that to the tho... (Below threshold)
jen:

Susan, tell that to the thousands of National Guard today who are hiding out in Afghanistan and Iraq. At any time, President Bush's unit could have gotten the call to go to Vietnam. He was a fighter pilot and if his unit had been sent, he would have seen action. You need to give that argument a rest, because it's a slap in the face to all who served honorably in the National Guard back then and do serve today.

Typical Kerryista response ... (Below threshold)

Typical Kerryista response to the truth about their candidate: "Uh, well, er, well, uh -- Bush went AWOL!" Followed by the sound of little feet running home to Mommy.

McGehee,Can you na... (Below threshold)
Bob:

McGehee,

Can you name anyone who says they remember serving with Bush? Hmm, neither can I. AWOL coward.

Not running home to mommy, so take your best shot, jackass.

Byron York has a good <a hr... (Below threshold)
Robespierre the Incorruptible:

Byron York has a good column on why the AWOL argument is bogus.

Okay, Bob, here's my shot.... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Okay, Bob, here's my shot. The York column has several people named. William Campenni, Bob Harmon, John Calhoun.
So there are some names. You are doing a pretty good job of attempting to slime someone who, I suspect, you've never met.
I have some news for you, Bob, the military doesn't pass out Honorable Discharges by accident. There are some pretty strict rules about it.
So, tell us, Bob, what are your credentials for judging a man's courage? Where did you serve?
Are you sliming a man who has done you no harm for political reasons or to make us all think that you can pee standing up?
Another little question, nobody was talking about Bush, they were talking about what happened on a little boat in Southeast Asia. Bush wasn't there. Having nothing to say about what may or may not have happened on that boat, you have to change the subject, Bob. Speaking of cowardly, that ain't exactly a profile in courage now, is it?
Over nine million men served in uniform during the Southeast Asian War Games, Bob, only about three million of us served in and around the war. Six million cowards, right, Bob? Tell that to their faces, you might just find out that an old dawg still has a few teeth.
Let me tell you about the Millitary, Bob,you sign the dotted line in ANY Branch, including the Guard and Reserve, they own you. You go where you're sent and you do what you're told. You might get lucky and get embassy duty in Stockholm with all those big-hootered blondes, you might get Viet Nam, or now, the sandbox.
Bush got lucky, the Air Farce put him in a bird that they didn't need in Viet Nam. Good for him, if he had been put in a different bird you'd have to talk about something else.
I remember some National Guard aircrew over there. Some of those cowards were landing unarmed C-130s under fire at Khe Sanh, Bob. Most of the time they just rolled the cargo out the back door and took off again without ever stopping. Sometimes, though, there were wounded waiting for evac, those cowards, Bob, stopped those airplanes and sat on the runways, being shot at, while the wounded were loaded. Then they took off, still under fire.
I know this, Bob, because I was over there. A bud of mine, we went through Boot Camp and ITR together, then were assigned to different outfits, was one of those wounded evacuated by National Guard cowards, Bob. He might also take exception.
There's one thing you've told us about yourself, Bob. You sure don't know much about the Armed Services because nobody that's ever worn Uncle's suit would spout your ignorant crap. If you'd ever served you'd know that even politically connected people have to suit up and show up or they don't get an Honorable. They might get an Unsuitability or maybe even a General Discharge, more likely a Big Chicken Dinner, but not an Honorable. You wouldn't know anything about that, that honor stuff. Maybe you ought to shut your hole until you learn. Try the Texas Air Guard, maybe they can teach you.

"Retired Admiral Brea... (Below threshold)
Raven:

"Retired Admiral Breaks Silence"?

He wasn't silent before this, having been quoted to the same effect in the SBVT book Unfit to Command.

Paul apparently counts Schachte twice, mistaking him for a new "witness":

"Another person on the boat with Kerry calls him a liar"?

Uh, Paul, this is the same person earlier cited as being in the boat with Kerry.   (Unless you mean the earlier "witness" was Steve Gardner, who wasn't in the boat on that mission.)

The problem with counting Schachte as "another person on the boat with Kerry" is this:   Kerry, Runyon, and Zaladonis all insist they were the only three men in that boat.  [click for three articles via Google News]

Bob says 'Bring it on!' </p... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Bob says 'Bring it on!'

Peter brings it on, in triplicate.

Bob now thinks 'Please make it stop!'


Kinda reminds me of a certain French-looking fellow...

Raven for future reference,... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Raven for future reference, links to media matters are as bad as when you linked to yourself. they have no concept of reality.

Now as to your second link. It did have 3 entries. One was media maters telling the same tired lies. The other two both said (if you read them) that there were conflicting reports.

Nice try raven. Next time you might try giving me a link that actually proves something.

Paul writes,links... (Below threshold)
Raven:

Paul writes,
links to media matters are as bad as when you linked to yourself. they have no concept of reality.

Don't you say the same about anyone who points out falsehoods from the SBVT?

But you don't have to take their word for it.   The sources they cite are linked in the text.

(They also archived the SBVT's own webpage contradicting Schachte's account, before it got revised.   Their comments are here.)

Further on, Paul writes,
... The other two both said (if you read them) that there were conflicting reports.

They certainly both conflicted with Schachte's version:

Boston Globe 08/20/04:

So what do William Zaladonis and Patrick Runyon, the two men who were on the skimmer with Kerry at the time, say?

"Myself, Pat Runyon, and John Kerry," says Zaladonis, the engineman on Kerry's first swift boat, "we were the only ones in the skimmer."

"There definitely was not a fourth," says Runyon.

Sarasota Herald-Tribune 08/20/04 (reprint from New York Times):

But the two other men who acknowledged that they had been with Mr. Kerry, Bill Zaladonis and Mr. Runyon, say they cannot recall a third crew member. "Me and Bill aren't the smartest, but we can count to three," Mr. Runyon said in an interview. And even Dr. Letson said he had not recalled Mr. Schachte until he had a conversation with another veteran earlier this year and received a subsequent phone call from Mr. Schachte himself.

Mr. Schachte did not return a telephone call, and a spokesman for the group said he would not comment.

Incidentally, the SBVT also lied about how many veterans actually signed that anti-Kerry letter: some of the veterans listed never agreed to let their names be attached.

<a href="http://office.gela... (Below threshold)



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