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August 27, 2004

Another indication of Purple Heart problems for Kerry.

When I was a JROTC cadet 1977-1980, our chief advisor was Lieutenant Colonel Whitham; when I was in college, our ROTC commander was Lieutenant Colonel Shine. [I didn't stay with the college ROTC. Big mistake.]

LTC Whitham was a veteran of Korea, where he led a tank platoon, and where he earned two Silver Stars for gallantry in action. Being an Armor officer, he didn't see action in Vietnam. Rather, he faced down the Soviets across the German frontier during the darkest years of the Cold War. After he retired from active duty, he went into the school system to teach JROTC cadets, and later continued to serve his country in ROTC programs at the college level. He died in 2002.

LTC Shine (who later retired as a full Colonel), his two brothers, and his sister all served in Vietnam. One brother was killed, the other was MIA, and he was himself severely wounded. As I recall, he couldn't completely straighten his arm - the scars looked pretty rough. He was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action. After retiring from active duty, he headed an academy for ten years, and now (if my sources are right) leads "history tours" of Europe.

I have met very few men as fine as these two. They are two of my personal heroes, and even as a snotty teenager, I was awed by their presence, and humbled by the fact that they would take the time to try to teach me. Neither spoke much at all about their combat experiences, and neither ever talked about their courage. Their character wasn't something they put on like a suit; it was the essence of their being.

By contrast, we now see John Kerry. He did earn some medals in Vietnam, as he is fond of reminding us all. But as is becoming clearer, he didn't quite earn them all. It looks very much like he manipulated the system to get himself an early out from service in Vietnam. From what I've seen, heard and read, I'm sure that if the first Purple Heart had been denied (the second time he put himself in for it) he'd have found another way to leave early.

He himself looks more and more like an empty suit — the character he wears, and the lack of any character underneath.

(Via Michelle Malkin)

Posted by Russ at 03:27 PM, August 27, 2004 in Politics

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I know close friends who fought in world war one, world war two, Korea war, Vietnam war, ETC. They always told the story but never once mention about medals.

Posted by: Ralph A Lombness at August 29, 2004 03:30 AM