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Thursday, August 26, 2004

Lambert/Lambeau Field: Does Kerry have SwiftVets on the brain?

CBS News' Steve Chaggaris files this campaign report (hat-tip to Jim Geraghty's Kerry Spot):

On Wednesday, Kerry made his third visit to Green Bay, Wis., this year and made it a point to focus on the main thing the city revolves around: football and the Green Bay Packers....

As he was taking questions from the audience, he referred to the legendary Packers stadium, Lambeau Field (which has been called that for 39 years) as "Lambert Field."

If the voters catch wind of that gaffe, it could take Kerry another three visits to Green Bay to make up for it.

So why was Kerry thinking "Lambert" instead of "Lambeau"?  Could it be that while his body was in Wisconsin, his mind was in Eagle Point, Oregon?

Robert E. Lambert doesn’t plan to vote for John Kerry.

But the Eagle Point man challenges claims by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that there was no enemy fire aimed at the five swift boats, including the one commanded by Kerry, on March 13, 1969 on the Bay Hap River in the southern tip of what was then South Vietnam.

Lambert, now 64, was a crew member on swift boat PCF-51 that day. The boat was commanded by Navy Lt. Larry Thurlow, a now-retired officer who questions why Kerry was awarded a Bronze star for bravery and a third Purple Heart for the March 13 incident.

"He and another officer now say we weren’t under fire at that time," Lambert said Wednesday afternoon. "Well, I sure was under the impression we were."

Lambert’s Bronze Star medal citation for the incident praises his courage under fire in the aftermath of a mine explosion that rocked another swift boat on that day 35 years ago.

"Anytime you are blown out of the water like that, they always follow that up with small arms fire," he said.

Thus does the Jackson County (Oregon) Mail Tribune utterly scoop (hat-tip to my commenter "GT" for this link earlier today) their esteemed competition Newsweek, who reported today:

Lambert’s military record shows he retired from the U.S. Navy in 1978. Efforts to trace him have been unsuccessful.

This as part of Newsweek's own rather unsurprising "discovery" (also reported by the Mail Tribune) that Lambert's Bronze Star citation — exactly like Thurlow's and Kerry's — references enemy fire during the Bay Hap River incident in which Kerry rescued Rassmann.  Pardon me while I yawn — that's been assumed by folks actually following this story in the blogosphere for about a week now, and we've moved on to the still unanswered question of who wrote or provided the information for all three citations, and whether that information was or wasn't accurate. 

Blogosphere to Newsweek: If the Navy citations were conclusive, we wouldn't be having any of this discussion, 'cause nobody doubts that Kerry did get the Bronze Star.  You guys are so missing the point, it's almost as pathetic as the LAT, who's still stuck on the "all Kerry's crewmen support him" canard.  And way-to-go blogosphere:  15 Technorati hits at the moment for the link from the Mail Tribune, all bloggers; no relevant hits on Google News for "Lambert 'Eagle Pass.'"

Lambert's name must be added to those of other Swiftees who contend that there was hostile fire of some sort during the general timeframe and general vicinity of Kerry's rescue of Rassmann.  I'm sure Kerry doesn't mind not getting Mr. Lambert's vote, but is damned glad to have his supportive recount of events.

As such things go, Mr. Lambert's version — "Well, I sure was under the impression we were [under fire]" — is considerably less dramatic than Kerry's "about to get a bullet to the head" version.  Mr. Lambert's follow-up comment will lead some to wonder whether he actually has a specific, detailed recollection, or whether he's speculating — genuinely giving an "impression — based on what was usually the case in ambush situations. 

Without meaning to diminish the luster of the Mail Tribune's scoop, I'm left reading this press account, like the recent press accounts of Bill Russell's tale, with the intense, overwhelming desire to examine any of these witnesses thoroughly and competently under oath — not to smear anyone or discredit anyone, but just to find out the exact scope of what these men can actually tell us!  Color me not necessarily skeptical, but just very, very frustrated.

Does anyone following this slow motion train wreck think John Kerry doesn't have SwiftVets on the brain these days?  "Lambert Field."  I'm sure the ghost of Vince Lombardi got a good chuckle out of that one.

Posted by Beldar at 09:33 PM in Humor, Politics (2006 & earlier), Sports, SwiftVets | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Lambert/Lambeau Field: Does Kerry have SwiftVets on the brain? and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) Polaris made the following comment | Aug 26, 2004 10:05:27 PM | Permalink


Given Lambert's account now and Sandursky's last night, I know think that they might have been some initial hostile fire. Sandursky, however, only stated that there was 2 mintues or so of hostile fire. For PCF-94 to travel 3.2 miles forward and back at top speed would take about 10 minutes or so. Furthmore no one except Kerry remembers a second explosion and no second mine is documented in the command log.

Here is my best guess model/hypothesis. Please debunk...I am after the truth here.

1. A small group (2-3) of VC set a remotely detonated Mine by the Fishing Weir. They detonated it under PCF-3 and then scrambled to get as far way from the bank as possible to avoid being cut to pieces by the 50 cal fire they knew was coming. When running away and firing blind, their fire would have been short lived and ineffective even at point blank range.

2. When the explosion occured, Kerry hit the gas and PCF-94 surged forward. I am inclined to agree with Broadsword that PCF-94 hit some sort of debris and this is what knocked Rasmann overboard.

3. Thurlow jumped in the water to help rescue the crew of PCF-3. Under the circumstances, he might not know if there was enemy fire or not. The other OICs might not have even realized there was enemy fire since they were near 50 cal MGs going off....if the fire was short-lived and ineffecitive.

4. Those away from the 50 cals or not otherwise distracted (Rasmann, Sandursky, Lambert(?)) might have noted the scattered initial fire.

5. By the time Kerry returns there is no more enemy fire (this is collaberated by Sandurky's testimony that there was only 2 minutes or so of enemy fire).

This model explains the following:

1. Why Rasmann, Sandursky, and Lambert all remember enemy fire.

2. It can explain the three bullet holes in Thurlow's boat (although other explainations equally good exist).

3. It explains why the surviving OICs do NOT remember enemy fire.

4. It explains why the damage report and casualty reports are inconsistant with heavy enemy fire.

In short, I think that my proposed model fits the fact best as we currently understand them.

As for Kerry's account, it is increasingly clear that he wrote the after action report. Not only for reasons already mentioned here, but if you read his testimony before the Fulbright commission, he admits to doing this and writing what he wants rather than what happened on a regular basis.

(2) Oscar made the following comment | Aug 26, 2004 11:01:52 PM | Permalink

Who cares?? This whole analysis misses the forest for the trees: does the general run of Kerry medals suggest that he lied in his after action reports? This does not mean that he lied in all of them. I commend to your attention the case of a great American whom Kerry has invoked in this election: Benedict Arnold. BA was the TRUE hero at Ticonderoga, and his actions at several points may have saved the revolution. What he did after that time, because of political ambition, was SOMEWHAT less honorable.

(3) Al made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 12:13:54 AM | Permalink

Polaris, what you described does _not_ sound like grounds for _either_ a BS or a PH for Kerry.

Capturing a runaway boat crewed by unconscious people does...
Lambert was _steering_ while Thurlow was jumping. Their citations both have 'under fire' - but I could still see a BS for both men without the fire.

(4) Polaris made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 12:50:11 AM | Permalink


I agree with you. If you have followed my comments elsewhere, I am no fan of John Kerry (to put it mildly). However, I am trying to be fair and come up with a model that best fits the facts.

You are right. It does not justify either a PH or BS for Kerry.

(5) Warthog made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 5:15:28 AM | Permalink

I can offer a first hand experience that is somewhat similar and may be educational. In 1969 I was a combat engineer attached to a cavalry unit on a S&D in a valley between An Khe and Pleiku. Although we saw evidence of NVA presence during the day sweep there was no contact. At night the unit formed a defensive perimeter. At some time during the night I heard a couple grenade size explosions from the opposite side of the perimeter. Seconds later every machine gun and tank main gun in the perimeter was firing in a mad-minute of defensive fire. The sky glows red with tracers ricocheting in every direction. The noise is deafening. Your adrenilen level is off the charts.

Unless you saw green tracers or an NVA firing there is no way you would ever know for sure if there was enemy fire. It was too loud during the mad-minute to hear an AK-47. People fired off rounds in the direction of "wounded" tree branches that broke with an audible crack for several minutes after the mad-minute. Was there enemy fire? I didn't hear any but I wouldn't call anybody a liar who said they did. I never even resolved the source of the two grenade size explosions. Some guys thought they were NVA 50mm mortar rounds. Others thought somebody on one the tracks had fired an M-79 grenade launcher. There were no casualties. It wasn't that big a deal and the whole next morning discussion didn't last two minutes.

I have no clue how it was written up, but if I learned today that some lieutenant had earned a Bronze Star from that particular incident I would say that he gamed it. Is this incident exactly analagous to Kerry's? No. But if there were a real firefight on the river that day the enemy fire would have lasted for longer than the equivalent of the Swifties mad-minute and everybody would have known it.

(6) GT made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 7:06:42 AM | Permalink

Actually Polaris what happened is that little green men in Mars used laser rays to control the events.

(7) Polaris made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 7:54:09 AM | Permalink


No need to be snide. The forensic evidence simply doesn't back Kerry's recollection of events, and as more information is getting out, it is becoming more and more clear that Kerry has a problem with the truth.

You seem to forget that most of the people involved do NOT believe Kerry.....or perhaps the GOP used mind control lasers on them too.

(8) ShadowSpawn made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 8:15:52 AM | Permalink

Don't forget that the airport at St. Louis (STL) is called Lambert Field.
Maybe Kerry just has difficulty keeping track of the difference between Wisconsin and Missouri, and the difference between a major football stadium and an international airport?

(9) Beldar made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 8:27:20 AM | Permalink

Kerry was, and may still be, a licensed private pilot. So the airport theory isn't entirely implausible. The thought pattern might have gone, "Here am I, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Did I bring my lucky hat with me? Hmmm, lucky hat, lucky hat. Lucky ... Lindberg! Yeah, Lucky Lindberg. Taking off in the Spirit of St. Louis, that's something that's seared — seared! — in my memory, when he took off from Lambert Field ...."

But I'm thinking it was more like, "Damn those SwiftVets! Don't they know who I am? They just can't stand to see me rising in America's understanding that I know how to fight a better, smarter war on terror! If only my chums at Newsweek could find that other guy who got a Bronze Star, that'd fix 'em. How can a huge newsmagazine like Newsweek not be able to find that Lambert guy? — oh, oh, they've stopped clapping, time for me to talk, where the hell am I this time?"

Yeah, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

(10) GT made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 8:35:12 AM | Permalink

Little green men makes as much sense as that crap you posted.

hey, if we are just going to make up stuff let's be creative!

(11) GT made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 8:38:20 AM | Permalink

Oh and Polaris, try to keep the basic facts right, will you?

You may not know what physical evidence is but I'm sure you can add.

There are MORE pro Kerry eyewitnesses than anti Kerry, OK?

On the 1st PH its 3 vs 1.

On the BS there are no antiKerry witnesses AFAIK.

On the SS there are 4 anti Kerry witnesses and at least 5 and maybe 7 pro Kerry witnesses.

(12) GT made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 8:42:02 AM | Permalink

Actually the BS refers to SS and vice versa.

(13) Charlie (Colorado) made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 8:48:30 AM | Permalink

Actually the BS refers to SS....

I'll say.

If the Swifts were under heavy fire for even 2 minutes, resulting in no bullet wounds and three count'em three bullet holes in a boat, the VC/NVA were exhibiting marksmanship comparable to bad guys on an episode of A Team.

We're very literally talking about "marksmen" who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.

(14) Patrick R. Sullivan made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 8:58:08 AM | Permalink

Wow, GT, you've got it bad...and that ain't good:

"On the BS there are no antiKerry witnesses AFAIK."

You don't know Larry Thurlow? Jack Chenowith? Richard Pees? Van Odell? John O'Neill says he's got 10 people from that day who will testify there was no fire.

Btw, the person on Kerry's boat who would have had the best view of any enemy fire that day would have been the guy on the twin 50s atop the pilot house (14' high). Either Fred Short or David Alston, and neither of them have come forward to testify about it. Odd, no?

(15) GT made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 9:00:57 AM | Permalink

Patrick, come on you can do better than that.

I corrected it in the next post.

Yes, O'Neill has produced 4 witnesses and Kerry has at least 5 and maybe 8.

And of course Kerry has all the documents on his side that keep growing and growing.

(16) ed made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 9:51:57 AM | Permalink


"Either Fred Short or David Alston, and neither of them have come forward to testify about it. Odd, no?"

That is curious isn't it?

Short hasn't turned up, perhaps is unwilling to get involved.

Alston has disappeared.

Very curious.

(17) GTH made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 10:00:31 AM | Permalink

Ok folks --- this is not brain surgery. ALL of the "official" accounts were written 35 or so years ago. AT THAT TIME --- do you really believe that 5 boatloads of naval men would have falsified the numerous "official naval records" of this incident? If so, what was there motive? Why would Thurlow's commendation support the facts as stated by Kerry? Why would Lambert have been the witness to those facts on Thurlow's commendation? Why would Lmabert's commendation of that day support Kerry's account? Why would George Elliot have signed both those commendations if there was not supporting evidence and witnesses to the fact? Why would the naval maintenance records of the boats involved support the account?

There is WAY to much evidence form 35 years ago - when there was no motive to lie - which supports Kerry's account. Thurlow even contradicts his own statements of the account from 35 years ago.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck --- it's a duck and in this case it's a bold-faced LIE.

(18) YouGottaBeKidding made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 10:10:10 AM | Permalink


Why would all the "official" documents support Kerry??? BECAUSE HE WROTE THEM!!!! And Elliott trusted him.

You're ignoring the fact that no one was wounded by bullets and that there weren't bullet holes in all the boats. Those boats were there for an hour and a half. As someone earlier in this thread pointed out, if there were enemy fire and only three bullet holes (which likely came from an earlier indicent), the enemy were really bad shots.

(19) leaddog2 made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 11:52:19 AM | Permalink

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This is the TOTAL TRUTH about Hanoi John Kerry as told by POW's who suffered the Hell that resulted from his lies. Send it to every Military Veteran and every DECENT American you know.

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(20) Al made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 11:54:47 AM | Permalink

GT keeps reporting "All the records support Kerry" as dogma. Please remember the damage report for PCF94 and all 4 of the other boats. That's five reports, with a total of three bullet holes after running the reported "5000 meters of heavy small arms and assault weapon fire" gauntlet.

We also don't have the 'Personnel Casualty Report', which would be the basis for the Purple Heart on that day, so we can't say if it supports 'hit by rice' or 'shot'.

(21) Todd made the following comment | Aug 27, 2004 1:50:40 PM | Permalink

I find the whole coverage of this particular incident very interesting. The media keep digging up these reports, which may have been based upon one primary source, and concluding that the case is closed and Kerry has been vindicated.

But, as pointed out in one of the above comments, unless the VC were the worst shots in the history of the world, it seems much more likely that Chenoweth, Pees, Thurlow and Odell are right and that the boats weren't under fire. 3 bullet holes in one boat (explained by Thurlow as sniper shots from the previous day, which may also not be accurate) and no bullet wounds or other damage to the ships which are being strafed by automatic weapons fire? C'mon. So it seems to me that, thus far, the evidence favors the Swift Vets, not Kerry.

The mainstream media have been rather shameful in their desire to find in favor of Kerry. Over at MSNBC, for example, there is a Q and A on Kerry's third purple heart which doesn't even address that purple heart but just recites the canard that all the documentary evidence (which was based on eyewitnesses) supports Kerry, but that the Swift Vets don't have any documentary evidence in their favor when, in fact, they have the same kind of evidence, eyewitnesses, as well as physical evidence in their favor (the absence of damage to the boats), something that Kerry doesn't have in his favor.

I'm trying to be fair about the issue, but thus far it looks to me as if not a single claim of the Swift Vets has been debunked. Disputed, yes, but not debunked. And two of their claims have been validated (Cambodia and the first Purple Heart) by the Kerry Campaign's own admissions.

In any event, I still believe the worst is yet to come for Kerry. When the Swift Vets start putting out ads on the "The New Soldier" and Al Hubbard, he's really going to have some explaining to do.

(22) Richard Henricks made the following comment | Sep 1, 2004 5:11:08 AM | Permalink

I'm glad someone noted that enemy tracers are green, not red.

I'd appreciate it greatly if some or all would spend a small amount of time reading at these two links:



To me, it seems as though Kerry is stating that he received "enemy fire" in the form of red tracers, which could mean a number of things:

- He experience yet another near-fratricide incident.

- The enemy was in possession of U.S. weapons and/or ammunition.

- He never saw enemy fire, because enemy tracers are green. He may have seen lots of training fire (every fifth round is a red tracer for non-NVG night fire) and/or he may have himself fired at seen or unseen enemy with red tracers (thus he knew the color).

The item of interest that actually caused bells and whistles to go off in my head was the wording on one of his Bronze Star Medal certificates/orders.

Anyone may correct me if I'm wrong, but the "V" device that is attached to a Bronze Star denotes valor. I.e., a Bronze Star "with Combat V" is incorrect terminology simply because the military Awards regulation changes when we go on war-footing: You *can't* receive a Bronze Star of any variety unless you do something in a combat zone (the term "Combat V" is moot); you *can* receive a Bronze Star for meritorious non-heroic service during combat (I was awarded one after Desert Shield/Storm and did nothing other than show up at a turkey shoot to receive it); and you *can* receive a Bronze Star with a "V" device for valor.

Thanks for listening,

Rich Henricks
Wuerzburg, Germany

(23) vickijo davenport made the following comment | Sep 18, 2004 12:11:10 AM | Permalink

I am so ashamed to be conected to anyone in Wis to stoop this low as to even get involved with this crap. I love my PACKERS, but this is really low. Like mr bush has never ever mispoke or said anything about wmd, give me a break. But to use the Packers or Lambeau, is a real low even for a republican. I am from Wis, living in N.C. and I really ashamed of all of the state of Wis. Shame shame shame. To use the Packers this way is a kick in the teeth for all Americans, especially when we are suppose to go to the Super Bowl. A big kick in the brat to you. Are you ready to send your children to fight a war that is a very close reminder to vietnam?? Mark my words, a vote for bushie is just that. Are you ready???

(24) Ben Roethlisburger fan made the following comment | Oct 13, 2004 3:16:49 PM | Permalink

Forget about all of these Vietnam references. Although interesting, they have nothing to do with the slip. Let me explain. John Kerry did not have Robert E. Lambert (Swift Boat Veteran) on the brain, nor was he subconsciously thinking about the St. Louis airport; Lambert Field.

He mistakingly identified "LAMBEAU Field" as "LAMBERT Field", but it was not some obscure reference from left-field as some would suggest. It was, afterall, a completely understandable football reference.

Kerry, as husband of Theresa HEINZ-KERRY, has spent a considerable time in Western Pennsylvania. This part-time home of the Kerrys' is home to the PITTSBURGH STEELERS, HEINZ Field, and home of arguably the greatest middle-linebacker to ever play the game; JACK LAMBERT.

It comes as no surprise that someone who has spent time in the city of champions, a.k.a., the 'burgh, could have made this error.

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