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Old 04-22-2004, 09:24 AM
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Default John Kerry's After-Action Combat Reports

John Kerry's After-Action Combat Reports

Kerry 1969 Vietnam Action
The following is a summary of combat actions of PCF94 from Jan 1 to March 17, 1969 taken from after-action reports and the Coastal Division Eleven Command History on file at the Naval Operational Archives. All locations are near the south end of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.

26 JAN 1969 Ong Doc River
PCFs 94 and 66 escorted troops up the Ong Doc River early in the morning when they were ambushed by gun and rocket fire from approximately 40 men on both sides of the river. Two B-40 rounds hit close to Kerry's boat, while PCF 66 received 2 B-40 rocket hits. Three men on PCF66 were wounded. A junk containing South Vietnamese troops was also sunk, killing 11 South Vietnamese troops. Intelligence reports after the mission indicated that the Viet Cong troops may have planned the ambush in advance.

27 JAN 1969 Cua Lon and Dam Doi Rivers
Five swift boats conducted operations in the Cua Lon and Dam Doi Rivers. The units received hostile fire twice during the operation.

29 JAN 1969 Cua Lon Rivers
Early in the morning seven swift boats embarked on a mission to destroy enemy installations along the Cua Lon River. While Kerry's boat and another (PCF72) were probing a canal along the river, Kerry's boat came under heavy fire and was hit by a B-40 rocket in the cabin area. One member of Kerry's crew -- Forward Gunner David Alston - suffered shrapnel wounds in his head. His injuries were not considered serious and he was sent to the 29th Evac Hospital at Binh Thuy.

12 FEB 1969
Two swiftboats inserted Navy Seals and conducted normal river patrols the night of February 12 and early morning of February 13.

13 FEB 1969
PCF 94 conducted routine Psyops mission.

14 FEB 1969
Two swiftboats inserted seal team and provided protection for mission.

18 FEB 1969 Bay Hap River
Kerry's boat and another swiftboat, PCF72, entered the Bay Hap River in the afternoon carrying Navy Seals. A mine exploded close to PCF72, and a short time later the two boats came under heavy fire. Five B-40 rounds were fired at Kerry's boat, three missed and exploded on the river bank, one passed across the bow and another passed across the boat's stern. A mine exploded about 15 yards in front of Kerry's boat. It was suspected that the Viet Cong had expected the boats to come up the river and planned an ambush.

19 FEB 1969 Bay Hap River
As a follow-up to the mission of 18 February, five swiftboats moved downriver in the morning with a company of South Vietnamese marines to engage troops that took swiftboats under fire the day before. The boats came under fire several times during the day, although damage was limited to "several SA (small arms) holes in superstructure and rigging of PCH 72 and 94."

20 FEB 1969 Dam Doi River
On a patrol of the Dam Doi River with five other swiftboats and helicopter cover, PCF 94 came under intense small arms and rocket fire from three personnel in black pajamas on the bank. Kerry and one member of his crew were wounded. Kerry received shrapnel wounds in his left thigh. The second man, EN2 Eugene Kenneth Thorson suffered shrapnel wounds in his right arm. Both were treated aboard the USCGC Wachusetts and returned to duty. Persons filing reports on this mission were highly critical of the cover provided by the helicopters and noted that the area seemed prosperous and lacked offensive bunkers, and suggested that future operations in the area avoid destruction. Kerry received the Purple Heart for this operation.

25 FEB 1969 Cua Lon River
Early in the morning, four swiftboats, including Kerry's, rendezvoused to conduct operations against Viet Cong targets with cover from helicopters. The party destroyed several boats as well as a suspected Viet Cong meeting hall containing Ho Chi Minh posters and Viet Cong uniforms. Later in the day, the boats encountered heavy fire from rockets and automatic weapons. The boats and helicopters suppressed the enemy fire. When a man was seen running into a bunker, PCF94 beached and an assault party was sent to retrieve him. The landing party was fired on shortly after landing on the beach and pinned down until another boat could reach the area. When the Viet Cong refused to leave the bunker in spite of repeated requests from the Officer in Charge, the bunker was destroyed.

26 FEB 1969 Cua Lon River
On night patrol with two other swiftboats, PCFs 43 and 44, the patrol discovered a double-hulled sampan. Five men on the sampan jumped overboard, but were trapped the boats at the waters edge. They resisted capture and boat crews had to jump off the boat and drag them back on board. After taking the Vietnamese prisoners back to the boats, all three boats began to pull away from shore when a rocket fired from shore exploded near PCFs 43 and 44. The boats returned fire and withdrew with five prisoners. One of the prisoners taken on board was seriously injured with a broken leg. When filing their report, the crews believed that the prisoners avoided capture to delay and facilitate an attack on the boats. After interrogation, it was determined that the prisoners were not military.

27 FEB 1969 Bay Hap River
On an evening patrol with two other swiftboats, PCFs 23 and 43, about 26 miles south of Ca Mu, the patrol took heavy fire, including five rockets. Three rockets narrowly missed Kerry's boat, and exploded on the opposite bank. Another rocket exploded near PCF 94, and the fifth exploded near PCF 23, wounding a crewmember on that boat. The boats suppressed the fire and withdrew. During the battle, a sailor on Kerry's boat, Crewmember/Trainee Michael J. Givens was shot in the upper right arm. Givens injuries were not serious and he was sent to the 79th field hospital in Can Tho.

28 FEB 1969 Bay Hap River
Three PCFs were traveling up the Bay Hap River with 70 South Vietnamese Militia investigating an area where the boats were ambushed the previous night. During the patrol, the boats came under heavy fore from the shore. Kerry, serving as the Officer in Tactical Command of the mission, ordered the units to turn toward the fire and beach. As the boats approached shore, more than 20 Viet Cong troops stood up and ran. They were quickly overrun when the Marines troops reached the shore. While the Militia searched the area, PCFs 23 and 94 left to investigate another site where an Army advisor reported gunshots. Returning from the site, a B-40 rocket exploded close to PCF94, blowing out one of the windows. Kerry again ordered the units to turn into the fire and charge the ambush site. PCF 94 landed in the center of ambush and a man jumped up holding a B-40 rocket launcher and started to run. The forward M-60 gunner on PCF94 wounded him in the leg as Kerry jumped off the boat and chased him inland behind a hooch and shot him. Marines swept the area, and received fire from snipers and small arms that was suppressed with the assistance of mortars and gunfire from the swiftboats. The landing parties found vast stores of rice, ammunition and clothing. The boats were fired on one additional time as they were heading back down the river. The site of the second ambush was believed to be a major Viet Cong supply point. Kerry received the Silver Star for this operation.

1 MAR 1969 Bay Hap River
Four Swiftboats conducted operation "U-HAUL," which involved towing fuel bladders up the Bay Hap River to Cai Nuoc. The units received light fire during the operation.

10 MAR 1969 Cua Lon River
Four swiftboats, including PCF94, carried troops and surveyed an area where other boats were ambushed two days earlier. No incidents occurred.

11 MAR 1969 Cua Lon River
Three swiftboats cleared the Cua Lon River of barricades. The mission received no hostile fire and no casualties were reported.

12 MAR 1969 Cua Lon River
Four swiftboats proceeded up Cau Lon with 20 troops on board. The boats encountered hostile small arms fire, which was suppressed. A short time later, two or three mines detonated and the boats came under heavy automatic weapons fire from both banks. Unable to suppress the fire, the boats moved south to extract the troops and called in air support. After the area received artillery and air strikes, the boats returned and inserted the troops, who observed, but could not capture 9 Vet Cong troops. One female was captured, taken to the USS Washtenaw and later returned.

13 MAR 1969 Bay Hap River; Dong Cung Canal
Four swiftboats were engaged in moving Mobile Strike Force troops on the Bay Hap River and the Dong Cung Canal. Moving down the river in the afternoon following a day of heavy fighting, a mine detonated underneath PCF 3, lifting it 2-3 feet out of the water and, at the same time, a second mine detonated near PCF94, wounding Kerry ad knocking an Army advisor on PCF94 into the water. Meanwhile the boats began receiving heavy fire from both sides of the river. Kerry, who had received shrapnel wounds and hurt his right arm, directed his gunners to provide suppressing fire while he pulled the Army advisor back into his boat. PCF 94 then returned to aid PCF 3 and towed the boat down the river to safety. Kerry received the Bronze Star for this action.
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Old 04-22-2004, 09:29 AM
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Default Copies of original Documents

click this link to download copies of the original documents
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Old 04-22-2004, 10:43 AM
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Gimpy Gimpy is offline
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Default David

Thank you very much for posting these "after-action" reports.

I hope these will forever put to rest the scurilous and outrageous charges that Kerry was guilty of shooting and killing so-called "unarmed civilans".

It reflects an honorable and heroic service to his country that we should all acknowledge and be humble enough to say "thank you" for your sevice to this country!



"I ain't no fortunate son"--CCR

"We have shared the incommunicable experience of war..........We have felt - we still feel - the passion of life to its top.........In our youth our hearts were touched with fire"

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
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Old 04-28-2004, 05:51 AM
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colmurph colmurph is offline
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Interesting how the beginning actions got in his after action reports. Kerry was not assigned to the boat until 29 jan, 1968 AFTER the original skipper was wounded in an action on the 29th of January. Kerry's first Purple Heart citation is for a date WHEN HE WAS NOT ON THE BOAT.
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