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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Scripps Howard News Service > Some Vietnam vets come out against Kerry


WASHINGTON -- Some of John Kerry's Vietnam War compatriots are questioning the circumstances of how Kerry was awarded one of the three Purple Hearts he received in 1968.
The Kerry campaign responded it has been 35 years since the medals were awarded and no one raised the issue before Kerry got involved in the race for the White House.
Grant Hibbard, a U.S. Navy lieutenant commander and Kerry's direct supervisor for three months in 1968 and 1969 when Kerry commanded a five-man, 50-foot swift boat, said he never approved of the Purple Heart award for the wound Kerry received Dec. 6, 1968.
'He informed me of a wound,' Hibbard said. But Hibbard said the wound he saw on Kerry's arm was so minor, 'I basically said forget it, or words like that.'
Hibbard said that although as Kerry's superior he was the person who would initiate such an award, he only learned Kerry received the award sometime after he left Vietnam. The award for the December action was stamped approved Feb. 28, 1969, under the signature of Donald Still, chief staff officer for the U.S. Naval Support Systems in Saigon, who has since died."

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