August 21, 2004
THIS KERRY SERVICE TIMELINE from the Associated Press in the Boston Globe says Kerry was honorably discharged in 1970, and then joined the anti-war movement:
January 1970: Kerry requests discharge. He is honorably discharged, and later joins Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
But that's wrong:
Kerry was transfered to the Naval Reserves in 1970, and Honorably Discharged in 1978. There was no two year service gap, despite the impression given by his press releases.
But not all of his press releases. In fact, it's made quite clear in this July release from the Kerry campaign:
Kerry volunteered for the United States Navy after college and served from 1966 through 1970 rising to the rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade. Afterwards, Kerry continued his military service in the United States Naval Reserves through 1978.
(Same here, too: "John Kerry Enlisted in the U.S. Navy; November 1968 through March 1969, Served in Vietnam; 1970-1978, Served in U.S. Navy Reserves.") In other words, when Kerry was protesting the war and holding private meetings with North Vietnamese and Viet Cong representatives in Paris, he was still a Naval officer in the reserves. The folks at AP and the Globe might not think that matters, but they ought to report this so that people can make up their own minds -- and they ought to get it right. Especially when the correct information is right on the Kerry website, and when their fellow journalists are accusing blogs of sloppiness. . . .
UPDATE: Reader Larry Ferguson emails: "Maybe the official US Navy document on John Kerry's website listing Kerry's service dates in the Navy (including the reserve) does not rise to Tom Oliphant's level of verification for use in journalism."
ANOTHER UPDATE: A military perspective on this stuff, at The Mudville Gazette.