Kerry’s Combat “V”
Of all the campaign stories that should go away but won’t, this one may take the cake:
The 34-Year Old “Typo” (Henry Mark Holzer and Erika Holzer, FrontPage).
The presence of the combat “V” with Kerry’s Silver Star on his DD 214 raises two extremely disquieting questions. How did the unauthorized “V” get there, and why has Kerry allowed it to remain?
The first question should not be taken lightly because we are talking about possible federal crimes. We are talking about the possibility of a forged official document. We are talking, as well, about Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001 [snipped quote].
Was the combat “V” added by a sloppy clerk or a yeoman’s typo thirty years ago? Was someone pressured or persuaded to add it? If Kerry had nothing to do with the gratuitously added combat “V,” why didn’t he have his DD 214 corrected when he was separated from the Navy?
Which gives rise to the second disturbing question: If Kerry was not a party to the unauthorized “V,” why, for all these years, has he allowed his DD 214 to remain uncorrected and to repose on his website?
(Hat tip: Michelle Malkin)
There is no such thing as a combat “V” on a Silver Star. The Silver Star is awarded for valor and only for valor. Adding a “V” device to it would be redundant. (There is no “V” device for the Medal of Honor, either.) So far as I’m aware, the only medals for which one can get a “V” device are the Bronze Star (which is awarded for meritorious service, meritorious achievement, or valor) and the Army/Navy Commendation Medal (often awarded although seldom for valor).
Obviously this was some sort of clerical error. Not only is there no way Kerry could have plausibly doctored his DD 214 but there would be no reason in the world to add a “V” to his Silver Star, which pretty well stands on its own merits. There’s really no reason that Kerry would have thought to try to have this record corrected, either.
Military records are screwed up more often than they’re right, to be honest. They’re prepared and maintained by a huge bureaucracy and getting things fixed is more trouble than it’s worth. My own Bronze Star award certificate (meritorious achievement, not valor) has the wrong name on it. It reads “Harvey H. Joyner, Jr.” rather than “James H. Joyner, Jr.” But by the time it got to me, VIIth Corps had ceased to exist and getting a new one wasn’t worth the trouble since my DD 214, which has my correct name, has the award on it. There are all manner of major errors in other parts of my records but, once I left active duty, it was never worth the aggravation of dealing with the Powers that Be to fix them.
Update: I will note that it’s rather odd that his DD 215 (the form that corrects errors or adds things to the DD 214) from March 2001 doesn’t correct this oversight. But, again, there would be no advantage to Kerry in having people think that he’d received a “V” on his Silver Star.
Update (9/5): Apparently, the Navy is going to launch a formal investigation based on a Judicial Watch action. See N.Z. Bear, Beldar, Steve Verdon, and Hindrocket. I’m a bit puzzled. Furthermore, given that President Bush is both Commander-in-Chief and Kerry’s rival for an ongoing race, the appearance of “command influence” could not be more awkward.
Update (9/6): Michael Demmons has more on Judicial Watch, which he defends against the charge that it’s a right wing organization.