Theodore's World: What Is The Truth About Murtha's Medals

« Flag Burning ~ And It Was Our Flag and Others | Main | President of Greatness ~ Ronald Reagan »

January 21, 2006

What Is The Truth About Murtha's Medals

Murtha’s Mangled Medal Stories
Found here at Media Research Center

by L. Brent Bozell III
January 17, 2006

Since November, the media have carried Rep. John Murtha around on their shoulders like a conquering hero for his opposition to the war in Iraq. They’ve thrown around the words “war hero” like clowns throwing candy at a parade. Murtha was broadcast far and wide attacking Vice President Cheney for his five deferments from Vietnam, suggesting these chicken hawks don’t like any suggestions about how to fight a war.

If Murtha were a Republican accusing a Democrat like this, we know what would happen. The so-called nonpartisan, objective, “mainstream” media would either (a) totally ignore him as an irrelevant, obscure House wacko, or (b) investigate his own military record to see if he earned all the “war hero” talk. And if discrepancies were found, all hell would break loose. And if you don’t believe me, just ask John O’Neill and the Swift Boat Vets for Truth, who underwent first (a) and then (b) when they challenged John Kerry.

But Murtha is a Democrat accusing a Republican. So it fell to the Cybercast News Service, (, which I founded), and reporters Marc Morano and Randy Hall to look into the Murtha military record. What they found were a lot of similarities to the military record of John Kerry.

Like Kerry, Murtha’s medals came for surface wounds that never caused his evacuation from the battlefield, and like Kerry, he attempted to get his medals by political manipulation, in Murtha’s case, through then-Rep. John Saylor. But Saylor’s office felt it was odd for Murtha to seek medals for “superficial lacerations.”

Murtha also told differing stories about when and where he was wounded in action. A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story reported in 2002 that Murtha had facial lacerations. In 1994, the Uniontown (Pa.) Herald-Standard quoted Murtha saying he was “wounded in the arm” for one medal and “my knee was banged up and my arm was banged up when a helicopter was shot down” for the other. Then, Morano and Hall uncovered a June 1, 1967 report in the Johnstown (Pa.) Tribune-Democrat quoting from a letter from Murtha to his wife describing his injuries as being "struck in the ankle" by a "shot that ricocheted off the helicopter."

Since there were so many similarities to Kerry – including the fact that author Morano was also one of the first reporters on the Swift Boat Veterans story – the left predictably threw an ugly fit. It was not long, then, for Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne to load his air-rifle for rhetorical battle. “I underestimated the viciousness of the right wing,” he began.

Even before he gets started, we know where he’s going, don’t we?. Liberals want to insist when they tout a “war hero” making their anti-liberation of Iraq talking points, it’s 100 percent beyond the pale of decency to investigate him. They want the world to know that when a “war hero” acceptable to them disagrees with President Bush, everyone must stop, shut up, and listen like an old E.F. Hutton commercial.

Dionne sounds just like his hero Bill Clinton as he proclaims to be maddened by “the unblushing hypocrisy of the right wing and the way it circulates...personal vilification to abort honest political debate.” As if that weren’t enough, there’s also this: “Moreover, the right has demonstrated that its attitude toward military service is entirely opportunistic.”

Now here is where we should all acknowledge our partisanship – I oppose the Clintons and the Kerrys, and Dionne favors them. But can Dionne honestly state that the left wing (and “objective” smearers like CBS) have not resorted to “personal vilification” on the military record of George W. Bush? Can he honestly ignore that the left has vilified the World War II military service of Bob Dole in 1996 (Robert Ellis in The Nation) and George H. W. Bush in 1992 (Sidney Blumenthal in the New Republic)?

More importantly, how dare anyone on the left accuse any conservative of attitudinal opportunism where military service is involved. Military service didn’t matter a bit to them when Bill Clinton was running, but was vitally important when Kerry was their man in 2004. They felt George W. Bush’s National Guard record was a scandal in 2000, but also didn’t want the media poring over Al Gore’s Vietnam service as a journalist. Four years later, there they were again, poring over Bush’s Vietnam-era service record.

It’s fair to state that on some investigative stories, only conservatives want the tough, thorough report, and on others, only liberals are really jazzed about it. But what about the public interest? A media revering the words “objective,” “nonpartisan,” and “mainstream” would investigate both Republicans and Democrats when politicians start dragging out their war records.

And here is another article on the same topic.............

Murtha's War Hero Status Called Into Question
Found at

Wild Thing's comment..........
Like Kerry, Murtha has made a big political issue out of his Vietnam service. He should sign his form 180 and release his military records. If he were a Republican, the media would be screaming their heads off demanding that he make his records public.
How many times have you heard that Murtha was a "hero" and deserved the SAME time as he is behaving like a traitor and under suspicion by the ethics committee? Murtha has used his war service as his "blood earned right" to criticize the war and the President and the war. There would be only one way to end the questioning.....
Please note that Kerry has still failed to fully release his records, too. Murtha, like Kerry -- ran on his military record..... He made a freaking career of his "military service", his sacrifice recognized by his TWO Purple Hearts........
I don't think it's asking too much.

Murtha is not honorable! Once ANYONE attacks his fellow brother in arms, no matter what his heroics; no matter what his medals, he looses all rights to that brotherhood of men! He is fair game, and if found to be a liar like John Kerry, then he needs to be exposed and forced to prove he earned the medals. Otherwise they have no meaning!

A May 12, 2002, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article reported that "Marine Corps casualty records show that Murtha was injured in 'hostile' actions near Danang, Vietnam, on March 22, 1967 and May 7, 1967. In the first incident, his right cheek was lacerated, and in the second he was lacerated above his left eye. Neither injury required evacuation."
Yet on Murtha's web site he claims he received all his Vietnam decorations in 1966 Helluva combat intel his medals before he was wounded????

If we do nothing and say nothing as some want to do, Muthra gets re-elected almost unopposed for the next two years Muthra gets to continue to destroy the moral of our troops from the floor of the house. Murtha expects us to respect his "present" based on his "past" (as did Kerry). Besides, if he is one of the people questioning others' ethics, then his should be open for scrutiny as well. We have 160,000 troops over in Iraq that Murfa has made every hour more dangerous for them. Then there is the message of weakness and division that Iran and our other enemies hear. Murfa's military service allows him to stake out the high moral ground and shriek his unamerican BS! If he misrepresented his service record he needs to be knocked off the hill.

It will be interesting to see where this goes.

If Col Murtha wanted to quash this, he could release the records.

As President Reagan said, "Trust, but verify".

Posted by Wild Thing at January 21, 2006 12:27 AM


I talked to a lot of swiftboat guys and they never
liked Kerry he needs to explain to me how he got his medals I really would like to see the after action reports on Kerry and also on Murtha

Posted by: Robert at January 21, 2006 01:36 AM

I've had mixed feelings about this issue from the very beginning. As a VN vet, I can say a lot about medal inflation in that war, and the ease with which medals for (degrees of) meritorious service were distributed. Rank also had a lot to do with the kind of award, and this tipped me off in the beginning with Murtha.

He's been described as an Intelligence Officer in some places, and in others that "he led a company in Vietnam", which means absolutely nothing. Murtha has two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star, and the Bronze Star is informative in itself. More on that below.

One could be grievously injured like Max Cleland (in part due to carelessness), or break a bone running from hostile fire and receive a Purple Heart. Both are combat injuries. Stars are another matter. Bronze Stars are awarded for meritorious service, and if they carry a "V-Device", the meritorious service includes valorous conduct.

It's my experience that OFFICERS who were wounded in combat, and were worthy of awards for merit, usually received a Silver Star, where valor was assumed. Silvers Stars do not have V-Devices. If Murtha was wounded in combat, it's likely that he would have a Silver Star, although he might have a Bronze too. Since he doesn't have a Silver, I have doubts about the entire set of hardware.

The pivot point of this question is whether Murtha's Bronze has a V-Device, because it would have an accompanying citation which would normally describe the operation and his behavior in it. This isn't a "medical record", as far as I know, and should be public knowledge.

I take no pleasure in disparaging Murtha, even knowing what I know about him. My problem starts with his opportunistic pacifism, but he's exploiting his service in Vietnam, and all of us had enough of that.

Posted by: Rhod at January 21, 2006 08:48 AM

Hi Robert, if a person has nothing to hide then proving something that can easily be proven should not be a problem. It's not as though the information was destroyed in a fire or something. I just don't understand why the question should be such a difficult one to answer from either of them.

Thank you so much for commenting.

Posted by: Wild Thing at January 21, 2006 10:39 AM

Hi Rhod, what you said.................
"I take no pleasure in disparaging Murtha, even knowing what I know about him. My problem starts with his opportunistic pacifism,
but he's exploiting his service in Vietnam, and all of us had enough of that."...............

I agree, Murtha and Kerry have used their service in Vietnam like an ad to give them credibility which is fine if it is for real. But to do it and not back it up is wrong and unfair to those of you that are for real.

When they speak out against this country as Kerry did after coming back from Nam. When Murtha speaks as he does about our troops, attacking them and then hugging up to the vile Code Pink...............well then he is fair game and he put himself in that position no one else did. How easy it would be if all he said from his service was true and Kerry too.

If it were me and I was doing and saying things like they are, I would just say ............."here is the proof, read it and weep Republicans now let me get on with dissing the troops and get out of my way." Their not proving things is what will cause over time people to see them as what they are as it did about Kerry in the last election.

Thank you so much for your comment Rhod.

Posted by: Wild Thing at January 21, 2006 10:48 AM

Excellent post and comments Wild Thing.

I know there is a lot of inflation on giving of medals. When I was active duty, it was customary to award a medal to an individual when they departed for another assignment or seperated from the military. More than once I had to justify to our Squadron Executive Officer why I was refusing to forward a recommendation for a medal on a departing or separating individual. Even with a file full of reprehends and counseling letters for substandard performance, I had to convince them the person didn’t deserve a medal. They were given out like candy.

I know of instances where senior people got Bronze Stars for an overseas bombing campaign but they NEVER left their stateside base; worked 8 – 12 hours and home every night with the family. To me, that cheapens the medals for those who truly deserve them.

Posted by: BobF at January 21, 2006 01:10 PM


I'm glad you said it. Bronze Stars were dispensed without reason; they were also usually given to E-5 and above, where an Army Commendation Medal (in the case of the Army) was given to E-4 and below for the same kind of service.

Bronze Stars to officers for warzone service were almost guaranteed, whether the officer was combat arms or not. That's why the possession of two Purples for a Marine officer without a corresponding demonstration of valor is very suspicious.

Several of the conservative blogs think that questioning Murtha's commendations is dirty and shameful. Well, when a man is routinely described as "decorated", while using that description to demonstrate moral or intellectual credibility, we need to know just how "decorated" he is.

All branches of the military have numbers of poseurs, frauds, scoundrels, thieves and grandstanders. Just like the rest of the population.

Posted by: Rhod at January 21, 2006 01:58 PM

P.S. to Wild Thing:

Thank you, too. Your last paragraph in your return comment is on target. If Kerry and Murtha are the genuine article, there's no rational reason for them to dissemble and avoid the test.

No combat experienced man or woman of integrity will allow his/her service to carry more weight than it deserves. War leaves you an expert in nothing except yourself. If you don't bring humility home with you, you weren't paying attention.

Posted by: Rhod at January 21, 2006 02:05 PM

If Murtha has only an inflated war record to offer, I don't want him to lead this nation. Too many men with military career ambitions went to Vietnam just to get their ticket punched (endorsed as serving in a war zone), stayed safely out of harms way then came home to brag about their battlefield heroism. Most of us veterans have encountered these creatures while over there and were glad they were promoted and moved on. They could neither lead, follow nor get out of the way. In exasperation some commanders have shined these misfits up and promoted them out of their hair. Imagine Murtha being at the Battle of the Bulge instead of McAuliff. I would suggest that Murtha let his concience be his guide but he demonstrates daily as Pelosi's puppet that he dosen't have one.

Posted by: Jack at January 21, 2006 02:14 PM

Hi Bob, I wish I knew more about all these things. As a civilian my knowledge is very little in comparison to those that have served. So I really appreciate it when I can learn more about it.
Thank you so much for your comments.

Posted by: Wild Thing at January 21, 2006 03:46 PM

Rhod I agree, thank you.

"when a man is routinely described as "decorated", while using that description to demonstrate moral or intellectual credibility, we need to know just how "decorated" he is.".........well said Rhod.

Posted by: Wild Thing at January 21, 2006 03:53 PM

Jack yesss his conscience shows up to be missing. Like you said, as Pelosi's puppet.

Posted by: Wild Thing at January 21, 2006 03:56 PM

A number of years back there was a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant who claimed he was a participated in the Bataan Death March at the beginning of WWII. This Chief spoke at Military Banquets and Dining In's all over the US and was held in the highest of regard; his story would literally bring tears to your eyes. He was respected so much that the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force publicly rebuked some other older retired Chiefs who questioned this mans service and claims; it got ugly in the upper AF enlisted world. The individual turned out to be a FRAUD. He lied about his role in the Bataan Death March and his other heroic acts. For years he pulled the wool over the eyes of the top Air Force leaders...Officer and Enlisted.

Just because someone has a few medals and served doesn’t mean that their story is genuine. Sometimes you need to be from Missouri and Show Me.

Posted by: BobF at January 21, 2006 04:57 PM

Well said, Bob. More on that subject, the actor Brian Dennehy claimed for years that he was a VN vet (he wasn't) and the smirking moron Tom Harkin claimed he was a pilot flying missions over North VN when he never left Okinawa. There are dozens more like these, especially the slugs who rallied around Kerry back in the '70's.

I'd go even further and say that having awards for some genuine deed or wound is also no guarentee of anything but a rare quality confined to the event which earned them.

On the vets' blogs during the last Presidential campaign, the subject was (for the most part) avoided by everyone. Even combat vets get a little uneasy when the subject is raised. For one thing, you never know who's telling the truth. For another, it's my opinion that you're never the man in your citations and most everyone knows that. And third, if you want to separate yourself from your natural comrades, start bragging.

That doesn't mean there isn't a pocket of pride and satisfaction in having been recognized by your country and your comrades, but it should end there, I think.

There is something absurd and potentially fraudulent about a guy like Murtha, and especially someone like Kerry. It's no different than the Cindy Sheehan Effect.

Posted by: Rhod at January 21, 2006 06:50 PM

Posted by: SparkS at January 21, 2006 09:28 PM

Hi Sparks thank you for the links.

Posted by: Wild Thing at January 22, 2006 12:59 AM

Rhod, you hit the nail right on the head.

Posted by: BobF at January 22, 2006 09:57 AM