web counter Media Lies: Rear Admiral Schachte breaks his silence

Friday, August 27, 2004

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Rear Admiral Schachte breaks his silence

Robert Novak interviewed Rear Adm. Schachte who said in reference to the Swiftvets, "I didn't want to get involved." He changed his mind when his integrity was challenged by Democrats.
"I was astonished by Kerry's version" (in his book, "Tour of Duty") of what happened Dec. 2, Schachte said Thursday. When asked to support the Kerry critics in the Swift boat controversy, Schachte said, "I didn't want to get involved." But he said he gradually began to change his mind when he saw his own involvement and credibility challenged, starting with Lanny Davis on CNN's "Crossfire" Aug. 12.
There is a startling revelation in Schachte's recollection of events.
Schachte, who also was then a lieutenant junior grade, said he was in command of the small Boston whaler or skimmer, with Kerry aboard in his first combat mission in the Vietnam War. The third crew member was an enlisted man whose name Schachte did not remember.
If there were only three men on that boat, and Schachte and Kerry were two of them, then either Patrick Runyon or Bill Zaladonis (or both) is lying about being there that night. This is astounding news!

Schachte was the originator of the "Boston whaler" technique.
....two other former officers interviewed Thursday confirmed that Schachte was the originator of the technique and always was aboard the Boston whaler for these missions.

Grant Hibbard, who as a lieutenant commander was Schachte's superior officer, confirmed that Schachte always went on these skimmer missions and "I don't think he (Kerry) was alone" on his first assignment. Hibbard said he had told Kerry to "forget it" when he asked for a Purple Heart.
Tedd Peck confirms Schachte's recollection.
Ted Peck, another Swift boat commander, said, "I remember Bill (Schachte) telling me it didn't happen" -- that is, Kerry getting an enemy-inflicted wound. He said it would be "impossible" for Kerry to have been in the skimmer without Schachte.
At this point, if the press really cared about the truth, both Pat Runyon and Bill Zaladonis would be questioned about their statements. One or the other has to be lying unless Schachte simply doesn't remember the second enlisted man (which would be amazing on a 14 foot boat.)

The truth is closing in on Kerry like a vise. This is astounding - history in the making.

UPDATE: Rear Adm. Schachte was interviewed by Lisa Myers this evening, and we learned more of the details of the night of 2 Dec 68. It is now obvious that Bill Zaladonis is lying about being on the skimmer that night. Schachte said, "The boats were manned by two officers and one enlisted person." and "We always had two officers in the boat that night--  in the boat when we did those operations, and an enlisted man on the motor."

Furthermore, Schachte states, "I got into the boat.  My weapon was forward – the M-60 machine gun.  John got in the boat.  I don't remember who the enlisted person was."

Zaladonis has claimed that he was manning the M-60 in the bow. This cannot be possible if there were always two officers on the boat and Schachte was manning the M-60. Both Runyon and Zaladonis were enginemen, so either one could have been manning the outboard motor. However, both also place Runyon on the motor and Zaladonis in the bow.

Zaladonis has to be lying about being on the boat that night. (And yes, I give full credit to the Admiral's version and none to Zaladonis. The facts all fit the Admiral's version - no after action report, both he and his CO refused Kerry's request for a Purple Heart, the attending physician testifies that Kerry had a piece of shrapnel that appeared to be from an M-79 grenade, Schachte, Hibbard and Peck all say that Schachte went on every "skimmer ops" mission, both Zaladonis and Runyon have changed their stories over time.)

UPDATE 2: RADM Schachte has now released a statement as well.

UPDATE 3: If you're wondering what RADM Schachte's qualifications are, you can read a brief resume here. Suffice it to say he's an internationally recognized expert in the law of the sea.