More on Kerry's "band of brothers"
If you're wondering why Kerry's "band of brothers" is so willing to stick with him against 250 Swiftvets, this sounds like powerful motivation.
Kerry's early departure meant that he was leaving behind a crew that had suffered through many bloody battles with him. Worried that crew members would be killed, he arranged for them to receive a safer assignment. When one crew member, Medeiros, tried to stay, Kerry "came and talked to me and said, `I really would like you to go. ... I'd like to know you are safe, or safer.'"(Hat tip to Useful Fools.)
So Kerry got them out of what was some of the most dangerous combat duty in Vietnam. I don't know about you, but that would motivate me powerfully to support Kerry unless his politics were anathema to me (which they are.)
Added to that is this
Several days after the February 28, 1969 action, Vice Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. flew to An Thoi, South Vietnam, where he pinned the Silver Star on Kerry's chest. All records indicate the award ceremony took place on March 6th.(You can see a picture of them with their medals here.)
"In addition to Kerry's Silver Star, PCF-94's performance on February 28 also earned Bronze Stars for Tommy Belodeau and Mike Medeiros and Navy Commendation Medals with Combat V Devices for Del Sandusky, Fred Short, and Gene Thorson." - Douglas Brinkley, Tour of Duty, page 294.
The press has reported that Jim Rassmann has been "a registered Republican for 33 years" (as if being a registered Republican for 33 years somehow matters in this case.) However, even that isn't the truth. Rassmann himself says, "I am a Republican, and for more than 30 years I have largely voted for Republicans." What "largely voted for Republicans" means was clarified by Rassmann on July 24th, when he was interviewed by the Sierra Vista Herald
He was a registered Republican until January, changing his party affiliation to Democrat so he could vote for Kerry in the Oregon primary.Carter, Clinton and Gore? That's not exactly a Republican voter!
Even though he was a Republican, Rassmann said he was a pragmatic voter, noting he voted for Democrats Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Al Gore, and Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the latter the current president's father, for president.
Del Sandusky, who piloted PCF-94, has campaigned extensively with Kerry since 1996. Sandusky also received help from Kerry in 1999 when he was drinking and suicidal. On the campaign trail, Sandusky has called President Bush "a draft dodger".
Rassmann and Sandusky have been the two most outspoken vets in support of Kerry, and both of them have several powerful reasons for doing so. That's not to say that either is lying, but it's certainly plausible that their memories of the events are influenced not only by their shared experiences but by their agreement with his politics, their desire to see their old shipmate elected President and the debt they may feel they owe him.