web counter Media Lies: Phone conversation with Joe Muharsky

Friday, August 20, 2004

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Phone conversation with Joe Muharsky

This evening I called and spoke with Joe Muharsky. Joe was a crewmate on PCF 94 during the time that Kerry was in Vietnam, but he did not serve under Kerry. I called him because I wanted to understand how he could have served on the same boat yet never served under Kerry.

Although his memory of events is faded, Joe was able to fill in some details that helped me to understand better how things worked back then. He explained that the boats had multiple crews and the crews used different boats when their assigned boat was in for repairs. While one crew was resting, the other crew would be patrolling, and when the boat was in for repairs, they used a different boat. If you read Joe's compelling Flag Day story, the fateful days in early March '68 were spent on PCF 5, because the 94 boat was in for repairs.

Joe did fill in some interesting details. When they patrolled in the ocean, they would sometimes sleep on the boat, but when they patrolled in the rivers, they slept on Coast Guard cutters back at An Thoi. When they were in the rivers, they just tried to stay alive. Joe's recollection squares with what I know from my time in the Navy. Men were rotated in and out as needed, but the equipment kept running all the time unless it was down for repairs.

Joe also told me that when he was at Ha Tien, there was only a couple of huts there and no signs to tell you where the border was. The Swifts could have easily been in Cambodia and not realized it. However, he had no recollection of any covert ops involving swift boats.

We talked briefly about politics, and Joe told me that he supports Kerry. I told him that I support Bush. When I asked him why he supports Kerry he said he was concerned about his children and grandchildren going to war, and he wanted a President who knew what war was like.

Joe impressed me as a typical vet, a man who served his country proudly and still does and doesn't make a big deal out of it. I thanked him for his service, and we said our goodbyes.