Sunday, August 22, 2004

Rassman part II : Kerry saving Rassman has gotten better and better with every "witness" they find. A recap first. Rassman 01/17/04: On March 13, 1969, Rassmann, a Green Beret, was traveling down the Bay Hap river in a boat behind Kerry’s when both were ambushed by exploding land mines and enemy fire coming from the shore. Kerry was hit in the arm, while a mine blew Rassmann’s boat out of the water. With enemy fire coming from both sides of the river and swift boats evacuating from the area, Kerry’s crew chose to turn their boat toward the ambush to save Rassmann. “We were still under fire, and he was wounded at the time…,” recalled Rassmann. And with his boat’s gunners providing suppressing fire, Kerry extended his wounded arm into the water and the two lieutenants locked arms. Rassman 07/29/04: Rassmann gave a detailed retelling to the Oregon delegates. The former Green Beret remembered sitting on the deck of the pilothouse of Kerry's boat, eating a chocolate chip cookie, when an explosion under a nearby boat blew him into the Bay Hap River and caused Kerry to smash his arm. Rassmann said he swam to the bottom of the river to avoid being run over by the escaping Swift boats. But every time he came up for air, the enemy shot at him. He swam for the north bank, expecting to be captured and probably executed. After five or six dives, Rassmann said, he looked up and saw Kerry's boat coming back for him. He met the boat at the center of the river and then grabbed a rope "scramble net" hanging over the bow. He climbed the arch of the bow but could not pull himself over the lip. That's when Kerry came running. "He dropped to his hands and knees, and he reached over, and he pulled me aboard," Rassmann told the group. "The fighting continued until we got out of the kill zone, and we managed to get out to the Gulf of Siam." Rassman 08/21/04: Kerry also picked up support from Wayne Langhofer, who told the Washington Post he was manning a machine-gun in a boat behind Kerry's and saw firing from both banks of a river as Kerry dived in to rescue Special Forces soldier James Rassmann, the basis for Kerry's Bronze Star.



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