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Lt. Kerry Wasn't AWOL

Several claims made in a story recently published at, Was Lt. Kerry AWOL from the Ready Reserve? don't match up with my own understanding and experience.

Specifically, it appears that Kerry was transferred to the Naval Reserve (Inactive status) in 1970. I'm not sure how he got the inactive status, but I did the same thing in 1969. I would guess he simply cited his combat experience and medals.

I was USNR (Naval Air Reserve) and signed up 2 days after Kerry.

I was drilling with an outfit in Olathe, Kansas in 1969, when we had one flight where the aircraft had 2 in-flight fires, and one major fire on the ground after replacing #1 engine which had burned up in the air.

As a result, I decided to stop drilling (if they had P-3's I would have stayed on). I simply flew a private plane to the base, walked into Personnel, and a yeoman filled out a form and had me sign it. My reason given was that I was a full time student with two jobs (all true). That was it. I had a total of 20 months of active duty (I was committed for 24 but they RIF'd everyone in my status), about a year of drilling (obligated for 3).

About a year after I stopped drilling, I got a registered letter ordering me to start drilling again. By then I was in California. I called Olathe and asked if there was any way out of the requirement. I was told "not unless you are a Vietnam Veteran." I was (as was Kerry). I never heard from the Navy again (other than the monthly naval aviation magazine) until I got my honorable discharge in Dec, 1972.

Hence, based on my experience, I conclude that Kerry, while in violation of his contract (as I was) was not legally required to drill and hence not AWOL...

Of course, if he were a Republican, the press would have been through this stuff over weeks, howling AWOL, etc the whole time.

I also did some reading of US Code, and as far as I can tell, a reservist is only subject to the UCMJ while at training. Hence Kerry's VVAW activities are apparently not covered by UCMJ (I'm NOT a lawyer, just a code jockey). I do feel that they constitute treason or at least apply to the 14th amendment section 3. There is also the fact that, while on active duty, he flew Adam Walinski around to various anti-war rallies (not while in uniform). I suspect that is a UCMJ violation or two.

It is clear that not all the papers are available (for example, the Purple Heart #1 casualty report), but I think he did volunteer to extend his time in the Naval Reserves from 1972 to 1978, perhaps for political reasons. That is consistent with the other paperwork, although I have found no documentation showing the extension itself. Note this document -- not a DD214 -- giving an honorable discharge on Feb 18, 1978, and an acceptance of resignation from the reserves dated Jul 13, 1978. I know the Boston Globe wrote that he was discharged in 1970, but they were wrong (and uninterested in publishing a correction).

John Moore

Last Updated Monday, August 30 2004 @ 06:27 AM MDT; 10,313 Hits View Printable Version