Kerry’s Silver Star exaggeration

John Kerry’s web site includes a copy of his DD-214 (his discharge form), on which we find an award called a “Silver Star with combat V.” The trouble is, there’s no such thing. Also, there are three versions of Kerry’s citation, which is bizarre (to put it mildly).
This from a man who criticized Admiral Boorda for possibly wearing a V without authorization. Watch the spin on this, because an honorable veteran would profusely apologize and instantly correct the error with a DD-215 … as Kerry did when his DD-214 omitted 4 bronze stars on his Vietnam Service Medal.
The clock’s ticking, John.

UPDATE: Here, I’ll help you find it, John.
UPDATE 2: Worse still, former Navy Secretary John Lehman denies signing the most recent of the three versions of the citation. The citation on Kerry’s web site has Lehman’s signature, and might have been signed with an autopen (which is no problem by itself). But this appears to be more than a case of authorized autopen use.

“It is a total mystery to me. I never saw it. I never signed it. I never approved it. And the additional language it contains was not written by me,” he said.

Doctored records? If so, there’s no way he’ll survive the political damage.
Hat tip: Captain’s Quarters

  1. Kerry should be called on the carpet for this one and promptly correct it. Interestingly enough though, I was able to locate at least six other vets that were awarded Silver Stars with V devices just doing a search through old news articles in the last 10 minutes.
    I imagine that part of this lies with Kerry’s ego and his wanting that (V) to stand out and the other part I would attribute to the memo issued by DOA during the outbreak of the Vietnam war which changed the awards which a V device may be attached to. The other vets that I was able to locate probably have no idea that they have anything wrong in their file.

  2. Nice work, deadscot. Can you post the links here, please? They’re definitely relevant.

  3. Here’s a link to a .mil site which briefly states the new awards status of a V device for a JCOM effective 1963. Without seeing the full text of that memo I can only speculate.
    Veteran’s Medals
    If you want individual vets names please email me and I’ll dig them back up. I don’t think they need to be brought up here.
    What does Kerry have to gain by keeping this error in his records? It serves no benefit and it I would be very surprised if it hasn’t been pointed out to him before. That would lead me to believe that it was an original error and Kerry chose to let it stand to serve his ego.

  4. Thanks, but I don’t need their names if you can tell me how they came to have Silver Stars with V’s. Were they clerical errors, exaggerations, some of both? Most importantly, do you know if these six vets corrected their records later (as in “within 35 years”)?

  5. Good question and I’m not entirely sure. My guess is that they were a combination of clerical errors and a misunderstanding of the regulations. I actually have an appointment with a VA coordinator for health benefits tomorrow and have made a note to ask him about this. I’m sure they’ll have more insight that I ever will.
    As far as correcting the Vets correcting the error. I highly doubt it, unless some sort of message was sent it they probably wouldn’t even be aware of it until these recent high profile events, and even then, if their getting on in years they probably aren’t all that concerned about it. I’ll let you know what I find out.

  6. Fresh back from the Texas Veteran’s Affairs Center and none too happy. If you thought a wait at the DMV was bad, you haven’t seen anything yet. Anyways, I did ask about the errors on Vet’s DD-214 and was informed that they see this sort of thing fairly often. Drivers badges, marksmanship awards, foreign awards with no foreign service, etc… They informed that their policy is to inform the veteran of any discrepancy as they are encountered but there is no enforcement to correct the document if it doesn’t change the veteran’s eligibility status. Believe me, these people have enough to do without correcting paperwork for posterity purposes.
    I would hope that any vet with integrity would take the tame to submit a DD-215 if informed there was a typo or inconsistency on his paperwork. So, bottom line is that it’s rather common-place and for the most part goes uncorrected. The lady next to me even showed my a DD-214 with a JCAM award on it. Thank goodness she knows how to score it since there’s no such thing.

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