If this timeline is correct then one of the Swift boat guys up on stage with Kerry and travelling with him never actually served on his boat.
Thanks to reader Lori in Texas, I think we've just about pieced the record together on David Alston and his supposed service under John Kerry's command. Lori points out a sympathetic article on Del Sandusky, one of the few Swift boat veterans supporting Kerry and one that served on his boat, specifically gives the timing on Kerry's command of PCF-94:
In January 1969, Sandusky's boat, PCF-94, came under attack during one such ambush. Lt. Ted Peck, the officer in charge, and another crewman were seriously wounded. Sandusky had to take command.
The boat was sinking and on fire, but Sandusky steered it back to safety. They counted 155 bullet holes in the boat and found a live enemy rocket in the main cabin. It had come to rest in a sack of potatoes.
For his actions, Sandusky would receive the Bronze Star.
With their officer headed home, the crew of PCF-94 needed a leader. And Lt. j.g. John Kerry, whose crew on PCF-44 had rotated back home, needed men to lead.
"I was sure glad he came along," Sandusky said, "because to be honest, I didn't want to take command."
From Jan. 30 to March 13, 1969, Kerry and the crew of the PCF-94 would conduct 18 missions in the Mekong Delta river system. In that time, Kerry would earn a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and add two Purple Hearts to the one he received earlier.
Bingo! Yachtzee! Alston received his serious wounds in that same exact battle that took Peck out of service. On January 29th, Alston was medevaced out to a hospital with head wounds and no records indicate that he ever returned to the unit. Kerry took command of PCF-94 the next day. Alston never served a day under Kerry's command. In fact, Kerry received a replacement, Fred Short, on 28 February as a replacement for Alston.
Now what does that tell us about Kerry and his Viet Nam narrative?
1. He and Alston conspired to deceive people about Alston's service under Kerry. That conspiracy was intended to give John Kerry cover against exactly the kind of campaign he faces from the other Swiftvets.
2. The "end of January" language on Kerry's website was intentionally vague in order to fuzzy up the timeline and keep Alston's true status a secret. Obviously, Sandusky remembers the dates well enough, and Kerry could easily have gotten them from him if he wanted to be as specific as his other dates on the timeline.
3. The DNC either were saps or actively participated in the conspiracy in order to assist Kerry in his Viet Nam mythology. Otherwise, why would they have allowed David Alston to speak at the convention about his experiences serving with John Kerry on the boat?
4. Kerry's band of brothers have some complicity in this cover-up as well. Those who served on PCF-94 surely remember that Alston never served under Kerry; Sandusky specifically recalls Peck being wounded and removed from command, but he wouldn't remember that Alston left at the same time?
5. One could argue that they served on the same boat, of course, and I look forward to that Clintonian parsing used in Kerry's defense. After holding Alston up as an expert on his leadership, he'll be hard pressed to explain how that expertise came to Alston from a hospital bed miles away from Kerry and his old PCF.
If this gets out to the mainstream media, this story kills Kerry's campaign. This isn't just a guy embellishing his war record -- this is a deliberate and longstanding attempt to mislead and defraud people by creating his own witnesses after the fact. That he could have done such a clumsy job should disqualify him for higher office on that basis alone.
UPDATE: Corrected Sandusky's first name from Dale to Del. Hat tip to Menlo Bob; sorry about that.
UPDATE II: I see that Democratic Underground has linked back to this post with a suggestion that they dig up dirt on one of my readers who did research for this series. If you think all of this makes me happy, you're out of your minds. Having a candidate for the presidency who has apparently falsified large parts of his record and encouraged people to lie to back it up isn't funny, it's scary.
I suggest that instead of attacking people researching records in the public domain, you spend your time encouraging your candidate to do the same thing you demanded of George Bush -- sign the 180 and release all of his military records. You may not believe it, but I'd love to be proved wrong on this point. But until we see the records, all of the evidence at hand tells us that Alston lied, and that means that Kerry and his other band of brothers are complicit in the lie.