Sergeant Jack Gell

(Click above)

One of 80 men lost in LZ-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley and 58,202 in the Vietnam War.




Sgt. Jack Gell poses with his family in August 1965 on the day he left for Vietnam.

His wife, Rebecca, holds 13-month-old Carol. In front are Jay, 3, and Bonnie, 6. Gell died in the war.



Kerry smeared a hero: my dad

(Click Above)

Published on: 09/20/04


Carol Crowley lives in Charlotte, N.C.



Many of you believe dirty politics is the motivation of Vietnam veterans speaking out in opposition to John Kerry. Let me tell you the real motivation.


In the movie "We Were Soldiers," the story about the battle of the la Drang Valley in Vietnam in 1965, a young sergeant, cried as he died, "Tell my wife I love her . . ." and my family relived the death of my dad. He told my mother in letters that he and those he served with believed they were doing the right thing, fighting to help a sovereign nation defend its freedom.


Before the movie was filmed, I heard my father's dying words from retired Lt. Gen. Hal Moore and journalist Joe Galloway, who were with him in the Valley of Death. I met Mel Gibson, who played Col. Moore in the movie, showing him family pictures and letters to help him learn the essence of these young men serving their country in a difficult time. Gibson said my father was a true hero.


I remember when the movie was released witnessing the healing of men and family members who clung to this story with a new pride after decades of being vilified. Finally, they talked about it. Finally, many were proud to be Vietnam veterans.

And then Kerry was nominated as a presidential candidate.


I don't blame Kerry for my father's death, and I don't much care if he shamelessly chased after medals. But I do care that when he returned from Vietnam he gave aid and comfort to the enemy while our soldiers were still dying. I care that he smeared my father and a generation of our armed forces with false charges of war crimes while posing himself as a hero. I care that Kerry's false charges encouraged our enemy who was pressuring our POWs in inhumane ways to confess to imaginary war crimes. I care that he went to Paris to meet with the Viet Cong in 1970 while still an officer in the Navy Reserve, returning to publicly advocate for their position and against America's position.


This isn't about politics. It's about honor and betrayal and protecting our country. And for me it is deeply personal, as it is for countless vets. Thirty-nine years later, my mother still cries on Nov 14. Thirty-nine years later, we miss my father every day. Thirty-nine years later, Kerry poses as a hero. As children of Vietnam veterans, many of us feel an unwelcome emotional strain as the arguments about what really happened in Vietnam are tugged back and forth, often by people who were not there. We deeply resent the suggestion that our fathers were war criminals as that theme inevitably seeps into the argument.


We are educated and grown. We have children of our own, some in the service. We know in our heart and soul the scars of war that will never go away. But we are not weak, and we will not be silent. I will stand with the Vietnam veterans who speak out, and the voice of my father will be heard through me.


As long as I have breath and Kerry seeks the office of president, I will speak out against him. Others like me are too many to count.


While we are dismissed as dirty politics, the truth is we would be doing the very same things if Kerry were a Republican. President Bush has never had anything to do with our opposition to Kerry, and if the president makes a personal appeal to us to stop, we cannot and will not do so, because there are some things that can never be forgiven, can never be forgotten. John Kerry is one of those things.



Back to Politics Page