O'Reilly Factor sub host challenged Swift Boat Vet on failing to question his own Bronze Star citation


On August 19, The Washington Post published an article titled "Records Counter a Critic of Kerry," reporting that anti-Kerry Swift Boat Veterans for Truth member Larry Thurlow's Bronze Star citation directly contradicts Thurlow's current accusation that Senator John Kerry (D-MA) is lying in claiming that his boat came under enemy fire during the mission that resulted in Kerry receiving a Bronze Star. (Kerry's claim has been confirmed by Kerry's former crewmate Jim Rassmann's firsthand account, as well as by Kerry's Bronze Star citation.) During a phone interview on FOX News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor, substitute host John Kasich (host of another FOX News Channel show, Heartland with John Kasich) challenged Thurlow to explain why he did not question the contents of his own Bronze Star citation when it was issued 35 years ago.

From the August 19 edition of FOX News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor:

KASICH: Mr. Thurlow, The Washington Post reports today that along with your heroic act, there also was enemy fire that you had to endure, something different than what you said and obviously means that Senator Kerry was under some enemy fire. How do you respond to this contradiction?

THURLOW: Well, it's a contradiction on the report, but here's where the contradiction comes from. The fact is that on that particular day the operation report, the after action report was written by John Kerry. And it describes what happened to his boat.

My citation was written ten days after the fact. A gentleman named Michael Dodd, who came on with this information, called me yesterday and he read my citation to me. I haven't seen a copy of my citation for over 30 years, but it says in there that twice I was under two different times in the report that I was under intense enemy fire during the operation on the 3 boat. The fact of the matter is we received no fire on that day from the enemy on the bank.


KASICH: Now when you saw that [your Bronze Star] citation and it said in there that you were under enemy fire, at that point in time did you say, "Hey wait, you got this all wrong. I wasn't under any enemy fire"? Or did you just sort of ignore that?

THURLOW: Well, I just took it home, put it away, and kind of ignored the whole thing. But the truth of the matter is...

KASICH: Well, then, don't you think at that time -- listen, Larry, these are very serious charges. Don't you think...

THURLOW: Yes, they are. Extremely serious.

KASICH: ... don't you think at that point you should have said, "Well, wait a minute, this never happened this way"? Now James Rassmann, who has said that Kerry saved his life, he says there was enemy fire. So why should we believe you and not Rassmann, whose life he claims was saved by John Kerry?

THURLOW: Well, he did pick Jim Rassmann up out of the water, because I was there. I witnessed it. But here's the difference. We were not under enemy fire. And that part of my citation where it says we are comes from John Kerry's after action report.

KASICH: Right. But Larry, here's what I'm driving at. You know, if I got a citation that said I saved somebody at FOX News when something was happening and it wasn't that way, I don't know, maybe I would attempt to correct the record. But let's move on from that for a second and get to the heart of this.

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, 2004 Elections
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