Coast Vietnam Veterans React To Accusations Against Former Senator Bob Kerrey

Biloxi Attorney Gerald Blessey has seen his share of chaos in combat. He served in Army Intelligence in 1967 during the Vietnam War. Blessey says he understands why former Senator Bob Kerrey opened fire on a Vietnamese village during a Navy SEAL mission in 1969.

Blessey says Sen. Kerrey said they were fired on and they returned fire. Unfortunately, in situations like that, sometimes civilians are killed. Blessey says it's tragic and sad, but in the fog of war and the confusion on combat, mistakes are made.

Assistant Biloxi Police Chief Bruce Dunagan also supports Kerrey. He says during the war, it was hard to identify the enemy. Dunagan says he doesn't think the senator went in there with that in his mind, to intentionally kill civilians.

As for whether Kerrey should keep the Bronze Star he received, Dunagan says only Kerrey really knows what happened that night, and it's Kerrey who must live with his decision. Dunagan says if the medal was given under erroneous circumstances, it was awarded for an action that really didn't take place, then Kerrey should return it. However, if the action was justified and some civilians were unfortunately killed, then the senator needs to keep his medal.

Blessey says Kerrey apparently had gone in on a clandestine operation and his superiors thought it was a dangerous enough situation to grant Kerrey the bronze star. Blessey says it didn't turn out the way it was intended, but that doesn't remove the danger of it.

Both Blessey and Dunagan say despite the accusations against Kerrey, they still admire him. Blessey says Senator Kerrey had courage and he's a hero. Blessey also wonders why the accusations against Kerrey are coming out now, 32-years after the raid happened.

By: Trang Pham-Bui