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Thursday, September 23, 2004

Van Odell debates Del Sandusky re Kerry's Bronze Star

Unfortunately, it's pretty rare to hear any of the Swiftee eyewitnesses from Kerry's Bronze Star action — the Rassmann rescue on the Bay Hap River after Dick Pees' PCF 3 was hit by a command-detonated mine on March 13, 1969 — debate each other one-on-one.  But here's a link (hat-tip PrestoPundit) to a talk radio program that's worth listening to,  despite Florida radio station WTWB-AM 1570 host Lynne Breidenbach's failure to get the participants' names right, her failure to ask the follow-up questions I would have loved to have asked, and her preference for talking about Kerry's post-war activism instead of the events on 13Mar69.

Sandusky and Odell were both there — Sandusky as the helmsman aboard Kerry's PCF 94, Odell as the twin .50-caliber gunner atop Jack Chenowith's PCF 23.  Sandusky continued to insists that there was incoming enemy fire; Odell continued to insist that there wasn't.  To support his claim that there was incoming enemy fire, Sandusky referred to records showing damage to PCF 94; Odell pointed out that those records referred to damage which PCF 94 had sustained on the previous day, and that PCF 94 actually ended up being the boat that towed the striken PCF 3 to safety.   Sandusky pointed to Larry Thurlow's Bronze Star citation that refers to enemy fire; Odell explained that Thurlow has insisted that his citation language wasn't written by him and that he's stated that if his own Bronze Star depended on being under enemy fire, he didn't deserve that medal.  And as always, Sandusky had no explanation for how the Swift Boats could have survived the supposed "5000 meters" of heavy enemy fire from both banks without any of the boats or their crew being hit during the hour-plus time it took to rescue and medevac out PCF 3's injured crew and rig it for towing to safety.  Odell said he saw Kerry as he was being transferred from his own boat to another for evacuation for medical treatment, and saw no blood on his uniform.

Odell mentioned that yet another eyewitness, Bob Hornberger (probably "Robert Eugene Hornberger," whom Swiftboats.net lists as a GMG2 on PCF 3), has recently stated that there was no incoming enemy fire.  Mr. Hornberger was the subject of an August 7, 2004, article in the Augusta Chronicle entitled "Veteran Questions Kerry's War-Hero Credentials," which includes this paragraph:

Again, Hornberger has no first-hand knowledge of Kerry's war actions. But he does question reports about them. Pulling someone from the water? "We all did that. I was pulled from the water. I pulled men from the water. I didn't get a medal for it."

I suspect that Mr. Hornberger does indeed have first-hand knowledge of the events on 13Mar69, although I'm unsure whether Mr. Odell was correct in the radio show in placing him aboard LTJG Droz' PCF 43.  Does anyone have a link to any more information about Mr. Hornberger?

Posted by Beldar at 09:00 PM in SwiftVets | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Van Odell debates Del Sandusky re Kerry's Bronze Star and sent a trackback ping are listed here:

» BELDAR from PRESTOPUNDIT -- "It's a team sport, baby!"

Tracked on Sep 24, 2004 10:57:31 AM

» Van Odell Debates Del Sandusky from Patterico's Pontifications

Tracked on Sep 24, 2004 11:46:10 PM


(1) recon made the following comment | Sep 23, 2004 9:16:33 PM | Permalink

With Alston thoroughly discredited, I believe it's certainly worth the effort to progressively chew through the 'Band of Brothers' on Kerry's campaign payroll and see what, if anything, is left in the way of defense. I suspect very little can withstand any scrutiny.

Sandsuky appears ripe for the picking.

(2) ncoic6 made the following comment | Sep 24, 2004 7:44:35 AM | Permalink


In the interview, Sandusky said that none of the swiftees off of Kerry's PCF 94 and 44 were interviewed by the SBVT, with the exception of Gardner.

Is that accurate. And if so, have efforts been made to do so - in a non-confrontational manner?

(3) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 24, 2004 8:57:10 AM | Permalink

Ncoic6, my understanding — entirely second- or third-hand, of course — is that the SwiftVets employed a private investigator earlier this summer in an effort to gather information from all Swiftees who might have personal knowledge of Kerry's service. The Kerry campaign has complained that the investigator then forwarded proposed affidavits, based on those interviews, that were unfair or inaccurate. Unfit for Command asserts (at page 78) that "[o]ne of Kerry's crewmen, in a 2002 email that he disowned after meeting with Kerry, questioned [Kerry's second] Purple Heart and indicated that it was for a negligently self-inflicted M-79 grenade round like the [first] one occurring at Cam Ranh Bay." So I think it's probably fair to assume that efforts were made, but of themselves those efforts became controversial and/or unproductive.

(4) keypusher made the following comment | Sep 24, 2004 12:58:50 PM | Permalink

Curious quote from Douglas Brinkley in the 9/24 New York Times re the Swift Boats:

"Every American now knows that there's something really screwy about George Bush and the National Guard, and they know that John Kerry was not the war hero we thought he was," said Douglas Brinkley, the historian and author of a friendly biography of Mr. Kerry's war years, acknowledging that Mr. Kerry's opponents had succeeded in raising questions about his service.


(5) Bains made the following comment | Sep 25, 2004 2:18:16 AM | Permalink

A question I'd ask, seeing as its pretty much a given that Kerry's 94 boat temporarily left the scene (of the 3 boat) is at which boats was the fire directed? And did those on the 94 see any fire directed at the other boats while they were first proceeding downstream, when they were returning to pick up Rassmann, or when they re-conviened with the rest of the strike force?

It is quite possible that while the 94 was doing its (5km) downstream trek, it was sniped upon - after all, it was an single boat, rapidly departing a zone of conflict.

(6) Pat Curley made the following comment | Sep 25, 2004 11:29:09 AM | Permalink

It is my understanding that the Swiftees interviewed (perhaps through a private investigator) two of Kerry's "Band of Brothers" who specifically disavowed the Christmas in Cambodia story: Zaladonis and Hatch. I seem to recall that they had affadavits from them, but after that the Kerry campaign clamped down on any contact with the Swift boat supporters.

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