Don Bendell

He is a legend in his own mind, Master Spy and Top Secret mission specialist John F. Kerry. It was Christmas, 1968, and sneaking along that wide brown river in his 50 foot long, 14 foot high Swiftboat, with US Navy boldly printed on the side, face painted in camouflage, Super 8mm camera in one hand, M-16 in the other, Commando LTJG John Forbes Kerry knew he would not be detected entering Cambodia. It mattered not that all other Top Secret forays into foreign countries by American military was always conducted using "sterilized" weapons, equipment, even aircraft. Even matchbooks did not have the words "Made in the USA" on them. It mattered not that all Top Secret missions then were conducted by US Army Special Forces, US Navy SEALs, a few US Marine Corps Force Recon, and primarily the 1st Tactical Air Wing and other USAF personnel; as this was John F. Kerry. He would be President someday, as he told everyone back then. He would have home movies of all this, and just in case they did not work out, he would restage events, and pretend like he was doing it.

Unlike pretender Kerry, just before Christmas of 1968, as a green beret first lieutenant, the same equivalent rank as Kerry, I led a squad of 10 Jeh Montagnards and a 4thID arty forward observer, on a patrol down a jungle road in the Plei Trap Valley, built by the North Vietnamese Army to infiltrate tanks, trucks, and troops into Vietnam from the Ho Chi Minh Trail. We got gassed by the enemy with CS gas. Near the border of Cambodia, we captured a Soviet 2000 kilo truck, which was Chinooked out to be placed on the lawn in front of the 4th Infantry Division headquarters in Pleiku. I was not allowed to, but went across the border anyway, still searching and taking pictures. We discovered a regimental-sized camouflaged headquarters, bridges built literally a few inches under the rushing water of jungle streams, so they would be invisible to aircraft when the stream was muddy, a frequent happening. Overhead, I had two American Cobra pilots flying and covering my skinny little tail. A few miles east at my company perimeter, my boss, now retired Colonel Joe Dietrich of Tampa Florida, but then a captain, was relaying orders from 4th Division headquarters for me to get my butt out of Cambodia, now. I was only in Cambodia because I kept developing "convenient" radio trouble when getting orders to return, as I was desperately searching for reported American POW's waiting in bamboo cages to be transported up the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Cobra pilots were getting chewed out, too, but God bless them, they developed radio problems, as well, just to protect my Yards and me. We were working OPCON, under operational control, of the 4th ID, and I had broken the rules. Consequently, Joe got his butt chewed out thoroughly when our operation returned, because I had crossed the border.

My point being: There were specific Top Secret units assigned to do cross-border excursions, and they were always executed in a very clandestine manner, such as sterile helicopter insertion, HALO or even HALO/SCUBA infiltration, or even "sneaky peteing it on foot, but never, ever in a US Navy Swift Boat, 50 feet long with the name US Navy printed on it.

But John F. Kerry has stated and written that he has that mission "seared into memory," and even stated as such on the floor of the United States Senate. It is in the Congressional Record. John Kerry ain't Martin Sheen in Coppola's epic, but he sure is an actor. How do I know for sure? Every veteran of any war reading this can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing on Christmas Day. That is never a day in war that we make a mistake about. I hope none of us ever do.

Perhaps John Kerry should try the stage. You see, George W. Bush IS our President; John Kerry would only be acting as one. Come to think of it, maybe acting should really be his chosen profession. He sure has fooled a lot of people so far.

Liberty Isn't Canceled
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