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Elliott and Kerry
From Michael Kranish's April 22, 2004, Boston Globe article "Navy records detail Kerry Vietnam duty":
- "One document said Kerry was 'unofficially credited with 20 enemy killed in action' in December 1968 while he commanded a naval 'swift boat' near Cambodia. Kerry's unit was involved in an ambush and fighting that broke out at the time of a shaky 'Christmas truce.'
- "But both of the commanding officers who signed that fitness report said in telephone interviews yesterday that they do not recall an event at that time in which 20 enemy were killed. Kerry himself has never publicly claimed to have killed such a high number of enemy combatants. Campaign spokesman Michael Meehan said, 'Senator Kerry recalls killing one enemy face to face. He does not dispute the fitness reports. He was the skipper of a craft that killed many enemy.' The one enemy Kerry recalled killing was the Viet Cong that he killed in a separate event for which he received the Silver Star."
- "After leaving [Coast Division 14], Kerry went on to command six-man swift boats. One of the evaluations from that period says that Kerry, in an event during what was supposed to be Christmas truce, 'effectively suppressed enemy fire and is unofficially credited with 20 enemy killed in action.' The report was signed by two of Kerry's commanders: George Elliott and Joseph W. Streuli. But both said in telephone interviews yesterday that they did not recall the fighting.
- "'That number is so high I just don't recall anyone coming back and saying we got 20 of the enemy,' Elliott said, adding that the timing of the fighting meant it would have happened when Streuli oversaw Kerry. Streuli, however, said, 'I just don't remember it.'"
- "Kerry, in interviews with the Globe, has not claimed to have been responsible for 20 enemy dead. The Globe has previously described the event, quoting a Kerry crewmate who said the crewmate had killed an old man in the crossfire and citing reports that two South Vietnamese allies were wounded or killed and a machine-gun nest manned by a dozen Viet Cong was silenced. Kerry provided the Globe last year with a lengthy diary entry about the event. It describes the firefight, but it does not mention 20 enemy being killed."
Kranish's article also cites:
- "'In a combat environment often requiring independent, decisive action LTJG Kerry was unsurpassed,' wrote one of Kerry's commanding officers, Lieutenant Commander George Elliott. 'He constantly reviewed tactics and lessons learned in river operations and applied his experience at every opportunity. . . . LTJG Kerry emerges as the acknowledged leader in his peer group. His bearing and appearance are above reproach.'"
According to "Be Honest," ideamouth.com, 2004:
- "Captain George Elliot, who served in Vietnam at the same time Kerry did, condemns Kerry now for touting his service in a war that Kerry later protested. ... But Elliot and other critics of today, praised him for going after the enemy. Here's what he said. 'In a combat environment often requiring independent, decisive action LTJG Kerry was unsurpassed. He constantly reviewed tactics and lessons learned in river operations and applied his experience at every opportunity. On one occasion while in tactical command of a three boat operation his units were taken under fire from ambush. LTJG Kerry rapidly assessed the situation and ordered his units to turn directly into the ambush. This decision resulted in routing the attackers with several enemy KIA. LTJG Kerry emerges as the acknowledged leader in his peer group. His bearing and appearance are above reproach. He has of his own volition learned the Vietnamese language and is instrumental in the successful Vietnamese training program.' That's a report of officer fitness from 1969 by George Elliott."
- The Smoking Gun website provides images of Elliott's 1969 award recommendation and officer evaluation, in which he praised Kerry as a model soldier.