You probably didn't know Tom Wright...pity. Tom was one of those people you meet having no earthly idea what a dynamic character and backbone of titanium ebbed underneath. A "fireplug" of a figure he doesn't fit the mold of the John Wayne military leader Hollywood used to cast when they were on our side. But make no mistake, Tom Wright was as tough--and as fair--as they come. Tom and I first met on the phone when I called him about 9:15 one evening after learning that he was a "Swift Boat" commander in Vietnam. I was also amazed to learn that he was John Kerry's commanding officer and among the consultants in Jerome Corsi's best seller, Unfit for Command. That book arguably was the torpedo that sunk Kerry's bid to become dictator--er--President of the United States. It was in the very early days of my morning radio show with co-host Brian Mudd at the time and I called him to ask him to be with us on the air to talk about the book, Kerry and the presidential campaign that was in full swing at the time. Since it was 9:15 or so I apologized and asked if I was calling to late. It was then and there that I learned Tom Wright had that rare tact of being able to tell you to "Go to Hell" in a manner in which you looked forward to the trip. He simply said, "Well, my mother always told me never to call anyone after 9 at night." Gee--I thought we were brothers separated at birth...I had the same mother! I profusely apologized again and promised to call the next day at a more reasonable time. I did and he was quite polite and could not have been nicer agreeing to come in the next day to talk with Brian and me about Kerry and the genesis of the book. Wright was on with us the next morning and he was brilliant. He spoke with a quiet, straight-forward confidence that gave one the impression that you could take what he said to the bank.
Swift Boats were the next generation (or so) of the famous PT boats that so distinguished itself in World War II, the most famous, of course, the PT 109 commanded by future U. S. President John Kennedy. Whether Kerry imagined he was Kennedy-esque he was sadly mistaken. Kerry was in Vietnam for one reason and one reason only--to give himself a "war" record he could use in his later life to enhance his political career. Kerry was actually there for a little over four months but somehow got three Purple Hearts yet, as far as we know, never spent a day in a hospital. Kerry was assigned to one of the Swift Boats under Tom Wright's command but it didn't take him long to realize that Kerry was a real left-rudder turkey making ridiculous decisions putting himself, crew and boat in danger. Commander Wright went to the Admiralty demanding Kerry be transferred--and they were wise enough to take his advice. Kerry came home and joined a group of disgruntled Vietnam veterans and made headlines protesting the war, stabbing his fellow sailors and soldiers in the back, testifying before Congressional committees making up lies about our brave servicemen's conduct. Kerry then made a big deal out of throwing his medals over the White House fence. Of course the media didn't bother to do their homework then either--they were in full-blown anti-war mode themselves. As it turns out, Mr. Kerry did NOT throw his medals away. He'd gotten the "throwaways" at an Army-Navy surplus store. What was so disgusting is 30 years later when the tide had shifted about the Vietnam war and those who served, Kerry, the Democrats and the media was singing his praises for his "service" in Vietnam. It was a huge part of his campaign and some piece of video showed up with him going through what we were led to believe, the jungle in 'Nam carrying an M-16 wearing a fatigue-type uniform.
Tom was part of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth which later became Swift Vets and POWs for Truth and was among those who consulted with author Jerome Corsi on the book. The book began selling through the roof and the Dems and media (but I repeat myself) became alarmed. This could derail Kerry's White House bid and George W. Bush whom they tried so hard to keep out of said House four years before with "hanging chads." So who did they go after? Why the Swift Boat boys! Any investigation of how Kerry managed to get three Purple Hearts in four months and didn't spend a day in the hospital? NO! Was there any investigation of Kerry's basketball practice with his medals? NO! Did they file a Freedom of Information Act to see his Naval records? NO! We haven't seen his Naval records to this day. The media put the Swift Boat guys in the crosshairs. Suddenly a Swift Boat Anti-Vietnam group came out of the woodwork--or jungle. The good guys were challenged and then a new term was developed, "swiftboating." A pejorative to draw a parallel with McCarthyism , or a smear campaign. Pathetic and predictable. Wright and his buddies had their character and credibility assaulted. They were persecuted for having the unmitigated gall to besmirch the 'heroism of John Kerry' in ALL FOUR--COUNT 'EM, FOUR!--months in 'Nam! Some history books have already been published stating that the charges against Kerry have been disproved. BALDERDASH!
In the interview we did with Tom he carefully explained that Swift Vets was not political. They were simply doing their duty for God and country. Tom, among others, had to travel at his own expense to various venues to answer questions and testify about his accusations against Kerry. There were threats on his life and the others too. But with the courage of their convictions, none to my knowledge backed down or changed their story. I was always flattered and amazed when Tom would tell people that the only reporter/broadcaster who asked him honest, straight-forward questions without hostility was me! Sad. Tom Wright was a true American hero who loved he country, his wife and family, The Navy League, the Propeller Club and friends. We should thank God every day that men like Tom Wright decided to protect our lives with his and we're the better that he passed our way.
Tom Wright--go with God!