Kerry and the UCMJ update


I wrote the UCMJ piece before I managed to get my hands on a copy of Unfit For Duty. It addresses much of what I brought up on pp 161—65:
What John Kerry Does Not Want You to Know about His Naval Reserve Status

Early in the 2004 campaign, Kerry presented his Navy service record with a convenient gap. The year 1971 was presented as if John Kerry had no military obligation at this time. The year was important because 1971 was the time of many important VVAW protest activities. Early in 2004, the following language describing Kerry's military service appeared on Kerry's campaign website, By June 2004, this paragraph had been removed:

John Kerry is a Decorated Combat Veteran of the Vietnam War: Kerry volunteered for the United States Navy after college and served from 1966 through 1970 rising to the rank of Lieutenant, Jr Grade. Afterwards, Kerry continued his military service e United States Naval Reserves from 1972 though 1978.

The year 1971 is left out of the description. This omission was desceptive.

In response to a request by Senator Kerry, the Department of the leased a letter detailing the missing period. In a letter dated , 1986, the Navy listed the following:

18 Feb 1966: Enlisted as an OCSA (E—2), USNR (inactive)

19 Aug 1966: Commenced Active Duty as an OCIU2 (E—5)

15 Dec 1966: Honorably Discharged as an OCIU2 to accept commission in United States Naval Reserve

16 Dec 1966: Accepted Commission, Ensign, United States 1 Reserve, continued active duty

16 Jun 1968: Date of Rank as Lieutenant (Junior Grade) (0—2), States Naval Reserve

1 Jan 1970: Date of Rank as Lieutenant (0—3), United States 1 Reserve

3 Jan 1970: Released from Active Duty, transferred to the Naval ve (inactive)

1 July 1972: Transferred to the Standby Reserve (inactive)

16 Feb 1978: Honorably Discharged from the United States I Reserve as a Lieutenant (0.3)

This record makes it clear that John Kerry was always in the Naval Reserves while he served in the military. He enlisted in the Naval Reserves and was initially inactive. He commenced his active duty in August 1966 and was commissioned as an ensign, again in the U.S. Naval Reserves, in December 1966. John Kerry enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserves, and he never left the U.S. Naval Reserves.

The letter dated January 2, 1970, releasing John Kerry from active duty and transferring him to inactive duty in the Naval Reserve stated in paragraph six:

You are advised that your release from active duty does not terminate your status as a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve. On the day following the effective date of your release from active duty as specified in paragraph 3 of this endorsement, you will assume the status of a member of the Naval Reserve on inactive duty. While on inactive duty you are subject to involuntary recall to active duty to the extent authorized by federal statute.

There is an important distinction between being in the Naval Reserves on inactive duty and being in the Standby Reserves on inactive duty. Standby Reserve status would permit a person to argue that he was a civilian for all intents and purposes. A person in the Naval Reserves is still considered in the Navy; inactive duty means that the individual or the unit to which that individual has been assigned has not been called up for active duty. Again, note the similarity: John Kerry, when he entered the Navy on February 18, 1966, entered the Naval Reserves on inactive duty. He did not commence active duty until August 19, 1966.

As a member of the Naval Reserves, Kerry would have held a Naval Reserve identification card; he would have received Navy pay; and he would have had continuing, though minimal, obligations to report to official Navy requests for training and to respond to any inquiries advanced to him. In 1971, John Kerry was still in the ven though his status was Naval Reserves, inactive duty.

To put Kerry's antiwar activities in context, we must remember that he was a member of the Naval Reserves until July 1972, when he was placed on Standby Naval Reserve. Kerry's antiwar activities included:

Meeting with the enemy in Paris and coordinating ongoing meet­ings with various members of the VVAW, both in Paris and Hanoi, to arrange the release of American POWs to the VVAW. These meetings also provided aid and support to the North Vietnamese Communists in the form of radio broadcasts and other indoctrina­tion methods aimed at encouraging U.S. soldiers in the field to lay down their arms and desert the military.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the United States was implementing a military policy in Vietnam that caused American soldiers to commit war crimes and atrocities, and that this criminal military policy extended up the entire chain of command.

Giving a press conference in Washington, D.C., in which he advo­cated a Vietnamese Communist peace proposal that would have called for a complete withdrawal of the United States military and an abandonment of the government of South Vietnam, in other words, a surrender on enemy terms, followed by the payment of war damage reparations by the United States to the Vietnamese Communists.

Continuing his representation of the VVAW even after he was aware that various VVAW leaders had falsified their credentials and were not in fact Vietnam veterans.

Telling many slanderous and otherwise damaging lies in numerous public speeches, the effect of which was to malign the purpose and morality of the United States service personnel in the field in Vietnam, fighting and dying as he spoke.

Allowing his speeches and testimony to be used by the enemy in their propaganda efforts, including but not limited to the replaying of these speeches and testimony to the American POWs being held in captivity by our enemies.

What is clear from the record is that Kerry lied or otherwise misrepresented his continued service in the Naval Reserves so as to give the impression that he was not affiliated in any way with the U.S. military when he engaged in his radical protest activities. The truth is that Kerry was still in the military when he protested against his own brothers in arms. This raises the additional concern that Kerry's antiwar activities may well have been in direct violation of the obligations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which prohibit him from making adverse charges against his chain of command or statements against his country, especially in time of war.

Posted by Steve Gilbert  8 26 04