August 24, 2004
I was a Navy lieutenant serving on a river patrol boat in Vietnam two months after John Kerry was a Navy lieutenant serving on a swift boat in Vietnam. I am very disappointed in the recent controversy surrounding Kerry's service.
Those of us who patrolled the rivers and canals in Vietnam knew the risks. For every Navy Seal killed there, five river patrol crewmen died. The casualty rate in the river patrol forces averaged nearly 60 percent. No one volunteered for this duty in order to fill in his political resume or to obtain a photo-op. No one volunteered for this duty to serve less than honorably.
It is very difficult to reconstruct a firefight immediately afterward. Now we are trying to analyze one that took place 35 years ago. I find it ironic our last two presidents deliberately avoided military service in Vietnam. Now we have a presidential candidate who did serve in combat and we are debating how honorably. John Kerry served ''on the river.'' That alone has earned my respect.
The Vietnam War was divisive enough. Thirty-five years later, those of us who served there should not continue this divisiveness. Many Americans at the time did not salute the war or those who fought it. Maybe now it is time to salute one who was there.
Joseph T. Petro
Bush is a wanker who has destroyed our nation's morale, economy, and reputation. We can defeat him in November. VOTE!