Letters to the Editor
Recent letters by James Foster and Betty Dawson criticized John Kerry’s service record. This Web site, http://www.snopes.com/politics/kerry/service.asp, has the public details. The bronze medal citation describes how Mr. Kerry, bleeding from a wound to the arm, turned his boat around to rescue a crew member who had been blown overboard. Under fire, Mr. Kerry took an exposed position in the bow of the boat and pulled the crewman to safety.
Under Operation Sealord, swift boats were charged with patrolling the narrow waterways of the Mekong Delta to draw fire and smoke out the enemy. Mr. Kerry, far from being the incompetent commander Mr. Foster suggests, was following orders in one of the most dangerous naval operations of the Vietnam War.
Another charge leveled is that Mr. Kerry did not serve his full tour of duty in Vietnam. This is true. However, it was common practice at the time for anyone who had earned three purple hearts to apply for and receive a transfer. Mr. Kerry returned to a U.S. military post.
Finally, about the photo referenced by Betty Dawson, to suggest Mr. Kerry was in league with Ms. Fonda is flat out character assassination.
Mr. Foster recommended looking at Mr. Kerry’s service record. It appears he (and Betty Dawson) did not take this advice.
Editor’s Note: The photo above was a hoax, as we referenced in yesterday’s newspaper editorial.
As a former Marine Corps fighter pilot aware of the necessity of adequate training, I wish to take strong objection to your editorial of March 5 on National Guard training flights. It appears that you have already forgotten that since Sept. 11 we are in a war on terrorism, our most major conflict since World War II.
This is not a war where we send several thousand troops to far off lands to keep the terrorists from our shores and we go about our lives as usual. This is a war involving the entire country.
The guard is increasingly being called on to fight this war and we must send our helicopters into battle with the best training and equipment this country can provide. To send helicopters into battle without the best-trained crews and the best equipment available would be a travesty.
As a retired forester, I can say from experience that helicopter flights are not going to ruin national forest lands as you proclaim. The soil and vegetation will not be impacted. Once the helicopter noise is past, nothing has changed. Provision can be made for winter habitat and calving.
The guard should have all the terrain they need for training that is legally available. That includes Red Table Mountain and Deep Creek. To lose a helicopter in Afghanistan, due to inadequate training opportunities so some of us could take a hike without hearing the engine noise of a helicopter would be a great injustice.
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