John Kerry military service controversy

John Kerry Military Service Controversy

John Kerry military service controversy

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During John Kerry's candidacy in the 2004 U.S. presidential campaign, a political issue that gained widespread public attention was Kerry's Vietnam war record. In television advertisements and a book called Unfit for Command, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT), a 527 group later known as the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, questioned details of his military service record and circumstances relating to the award of his combat medals.


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Several members of SBVT served in the same unit as Kerry and one, Stephen Gardner, served on the same boat. A number of Kerry's later SBVT critics claimed to have been present on accompanying Swift Boats, at some of the salient events of Kerry's enemy engagements in Vietnam.

Other SBVT members included two of Kerry's former commanding officers, Grant Hibbard and George Elliott. Hibbard and Elliott have alleged, respectively, that Kerry's first Purple Heart and Silver Star were undeserved. In addition, members of SBVT have questioned the merit of Kerry's other medals and his truthfulness in testimony about the war. None of these allegations were made until the 2004 presidential campaign.

Defenders of John Kerry's service record, including nearly all of his former crewmates, have stated that SBVT's accusations are false.

Allegations and evidence

First Purple Heart

Some SBVT members have questioned...
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