It'z News to Me

The news of the day...and my own peculiar take on it...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

After Action Report Written By Rood - Not Kerry

Since the uncovering of the Silver Star After Action Report, I've been trying (along with other bloggers who have contacted me) to verify the accompanying commentary's assertion that it was written by John Kerry.

It turns out that this is likely not the case...

One of my sharp-eyed commenters, Warren Wetmore, alerted me to a comment on Captain's Quarters, by NavyChief which said that the After Action Report was not, in fact, written by John Kerry but by Bill Rood instead.

I followed up by contacting NavyChief and asking him to elaborate on his comment and provide detail. Rather than interpret his words and possibly get the details wrong, I have posted below (with his permission), the contents of his response:

//////////////LTjg Rood's SILVER STAR Report//////////

You may want to print these for ease at explanation

Documents you need:

281225Z FEB 69 MTSR 28/1/

271545Z FEB 69 MTSR 27/1/CTE


Chicago Tribune's "This is what I saw that day"

**Also in left hand column: (1) William Rood's Bronze Star Citation, (2) The After Action Report (which is not an After-Action report -- it is a BRAVO ZULU message).

***Items not yet posted: 28 FEB - 7 MAR Box Score Reports

****Additionally, if you wish -- Kerry's Silver Star citations (plural) and UFC.

Today's report, 281225Z FEB 69

- First thing to note is the ZNY CCCCC ZYO RHMCSAA line. ZNY is a Z code meaning "do not transmit less than classification" followed by CCCCC = Confidential. ZYO code is "message originated from mobile units" This means one of the swift boats generated this message, which was very cumbersome and time consuming. Normally they would wait until they returned to An Thoi or a Coast Guard Cutter before releasing a message. This message was sent to USS KRISHNA (An Thoi) from a swift boat and the KRISHNA sent this message out.

- Message is from CTE *see: ORGANIZATION BREAKOUT

- Normally Officer in Tactical Control (OTC) submits the report for the group, however not always the case as with 13 MAR 69 incident. You must also look at the MTSR line.

- MTSR line: 28/1/ (Date/report number/author of report). In this case, LTjg Kerry was the OTC, his number should be /1. This indicates the second boat in this unit designated /2 for this mission authored the report.

Note that paragraphs in the formatted message 1-4 are missing in this report. para (1) would be the OTC of the mission, para (2) would be the coordinates of the mission, para (3) would be the time of the mission, and para (4) would be the units involved in the mission. This report begins with the para (5) SEALORDS 270. I'm not sure why the mission was numbered "270". This is out of sequence with the other SEALORDS missions but it is important to understand later in COMNAVFORV's message.

Extremely important is in para (6) ..."ambused previous night, (MY 271545Z) ..." **Here is where you know that Kerry didn't author this report. Kerry was not the OTC for the 27 FEB mission, Rood was the OTC, thus he refers "his" message of the previous night's action in this report. Read further: ...OTC called for all units to turn into fire and beach". Again, we know Kerry was the OTC for 28 FEB. The style of writing here is very different from Kerry's. The author uses Vietnamese in the report: "CHIEU HOI (to make surrender) the snipers". Kerry never uses such phrases in his reports.

271545Z FEB 69 MTSR

This was the previous night's action written by the OTC of that mission.

- MTSR 27/1/CTE

- Same boats as 28 FEB action: PCFs 23, 43, and 94. Rood, Droz, and Kerry.


Note the referenced message VADM Zumwalt is writing a BRAVO ZULU for: under SEA LORDS 270, A. 281130Z FEB 69 **This is the message Kerry sent, 55 minutes before Rood's message went out.

Note the text: "The devastating effects of SEA LORDS 270 reported by Ref A in which PCF teamed with..." Again, Zumwalt is praising them for what was reported in the 281130Z FEB 69 message. This message has not been found yet. We don't know what Kerry wrote. What we see is what Rood wrote. Rood's report doesn't mention GDA and enemy KIA or WIA -- this came from Kerry's report. But VADM Zumwalt mentions it: 10 KIA, 3 CIA (captured in action), 12 tons of enemy rice, 30 Sampans, 15 structures and 7 bunkers... WOW! This doesn't sound anything like what Rood wrote. Kerry's report must have been full of embellishments and "single handedly winning the war". Which is also proof that Kerry didn't write the 281225Z FEB report -- it didn't have enough "victory stuff" in it.

Now you can read Rood's article and look at this report (281225Z FEB 69) with understanding. Zumwalt was very impressed with what Kerry said happened, thus the quick SILVER STAR. This seemed to happened over and over again where the hero of the story was LTjg John Forbes Kerry.


In the 28 FEB - 7 MAR Box Score Reports - Captain Hoffman awards Kerry's boat group the "LATCH" award for the week. Again, more greasing of the skids for Kerry's quick SILVER STAR. However, in his BRAVO ZULU message on the SEALORDS 270 operation, Captain Hoffman makes clear that they were lucky because the RF/PF troops were there to prevent them from "falling into a compromising position". In other words, "you're lucky no one was injured for your stupid stunt". However, since VADM Zumwalt had received Kerry's "victory stuff" report, Hoffman was not at liberty to slam the "Admiral's boy".

(Emphasis added by me to highlight the most relevant parts.)


From what I can see here, his reasoning is sound, and it looks like there is yet another After Action Report which is still out there. We also have a precise document which can be identified as not included:

"...under SEA LORDS 270, A. 281130Z FEB 69 **This is the message Kerry sent, 55 minutes before Rood's message went out..."

This report needs to be released and compared with what Rood wrote both in his report and in his column on the subject, and questions should be asked about discrepancies between the two - especially given that Rood's report is much closer to the Swift Vets' version of events than it is to John Kerry's.