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Going up the river to both Cambodia and Laos were fairly regular occurrences, irrespective of what the politicians may have been saying back in the real world. Doctors, dressed in civilian clothes, would be taken up the rivers by boat to visit the local villages.  Normally, a dentist also would accompany the team.

On this occasion we were asked to join the team as well, of course we were told to wear civilian clothes and leave our dog-tags home. We cruised up and down the river visiting several villages. Fortunately, we didn't run into any trouble, so this mission went fairly smoothly.

The purpose of these missions was to help the villagers, but more importantly to gain their trust and possible help. I'm not sure how much help they really were, but the villagers definitely were very happy to see us. They especially liked their pictures being taken. Anyway...

About the most interesting thing we saw on this trip was an old man who needed to have a tooth pulled. He wouldn't let the doctor give him a needle to numb his gums, so he just sat while the doc pulled out the tooth.  It was pretty incredible. The old man never even flinched.

On a subsequent mission to film agent orange being sprayed along the riverbanks, Bernie and I met with a number of Swiftboaters. We told them about this mission and how Nixon had been on TV bragging that no troops were in Cambodia or Laos. The mission was secret while we were there, but not once we had returned. Anyway, the subsequent mission was after Nixon had been swore into office. Which brings me to the reason for this update. John Kerry's claim about his secret mission.

I can't help but wonder if John Kerry was there listening to our story and if he decided to make it his own. There were two fairly tall Swiftees in the group, but I honestly can't say for sure who they were. If he was there and did take the story, he screwed it up. Unfortunately for him, his version had Nixon making the speech as president the previous December before Nixon was sworn into office. If Kerry were truly a hero, he wouldn't have to tell lies like this. You can judge him for yourself. Anyway...

I guess we'll never know for sure if Kerry stole our story, but it certainly was very coincidental. ...Hal