No Hostile Fire, Swift Vets Insist

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:30pm EDT

( - The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth website now carries a statement from Larry Thurlow, who insists that John Kerry wrote a report "which falsely described the action on the Bay Hap River" (for which Kerry later received the Bronze Star).

"To this day," writes Thurlow, I can say without a doubt in my mind, along with other accounts from my shipmates - there was no hostile enemy fire directed at my boat or at any of the five boats operating on the river that day."

According to Thurlow, "After the mine exploded, leaving swift boat three dead in the water, John Kerry's boat, which was on the opposite side of the river, fled the scene. US Army Special Forces officer Jim Rassmann, who was on Kerry's boat at the time, fell off the boat and into the water. Kerry's boat returned several minutes later -- under no hail of enemy gunfire -- to retrieve Rassmann from the river only seconds before another boat was going to pick him up."

John O'Neill, another Swift Boat Veteran, told Fox News on Friday, "This is a little tiny canal, 75 yards wide. The boats were there an hour and a half - absolutely nobody wounded, not a single bullet hole of any kind." O'Neill called it "tragic" that Friday's New York Times "ignores all that."

Kerry and Rassmann tell a different story about that day on the river. "All those Viet Cong were shooting at me. I expected to be shot. When he (Kerry) pulled me out of the river, he risked his life to save mine," Jim Rassmann says in a new TV ad released by the Kerry campaign on Thursday.

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