Lee Pitzer’s recent letter pointed out that I had gotten the cart before the horse when I said that Congress’ creation of TRICARE for Life came after Col. Bud Day’s suit was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003. In actuality Congress passed TRICARE expansion legislation in 2000, at least partially motivated by Day’s legal efforts.
Pitzer also added comments on John Kerry, his Vietnam War service, and later anti-war activities. I can understand Day’s disdain for Kerry. While Kerry protested the war in Washington, Day languished as a POW in the “Hanoi Hilton.” His roommate was John McCain. Kerry was a decorated Vietnam era officer but his service was tarnished by some accounts. In regards to his Silver Star award, Kerry’s commanding officer said that he did not know whether to court martial him for breaching the boat without orders or give him a medal for saving the crew. Later anti-war activities, while still a Reserve officer, led Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird to opine, “I didn’t approve of what he did, but I understood the protesters quite well.” Laird declined two Navy requests to court martial Kerry.
Meanwhile Day was an active Republican and founding “527 Swift Vets and POWs for Truth” member. He campaigned with McCain in 2000 and 2008. During the 2004 presidential campaign Day and other Vietnam vets and POWs appeared in TV ads that decried Kerry’s antiwar activities following his military service.
Bill Malec, O’Fallon