Thomas Lipscomb writes a fascinating article about his clever piece of detective work which demonstrates that John Kerry wrote the after-action report that led to his Bronze Star for an engagement that almost all witnesses claim never involved enemy fire. Lipscomb uncovered a 35-year-old operations order which narrows down the source of the story Kerry denies inventing:A faded 35-year-old operations order recovered from the Naval Historical Center in Washington bears directly on the ongoing dispute between Sen. John Kerry and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth about who wrote the key after-action report that ended Kerry's service in Vietnam. The report appears in the official Navy records and is posted on Kerry's presidential campaign Web site.
The report details Kerry's participation in a naval operation on the Bay Hap River on March 13, 1969, in such glowing terms that he was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for pulling Special Forces officer James Rassmann out of the water while under heavy enemy fire. This third Purple Heart allowed Kerry to cut short his Vietnam tour after only four months.
Lipscomb reviews the action in the report and how it clashes with the memory of everyone except Rassmann and Kerry's crew. It talks about three miles of sustained enemy fire on both banks, something that Roy Hoffman says not only didn't occur that day, but never occurred under his command in Viet Nam. Larry Thurlow, who commanded the task force that day, insists that had they been met with that kind of withering enemy fire, he would have called in air support.