As a graduate of the Yale class of 1966, I resent the self-serving lies and misrepresentations advanced by my classmate John Kerry. Herewith, a few corrections:
John Kerry has been using the Pershing name to dramatize his Vietnam experience, claiming to have been a close friend of Richard Pershing, the grandson of General (Black Jack) Pershing. Richard Pershing was a member of the Yale class of 1966, and he was killed in Vietnam shortly after we graduated. However, Kerry's constant references to his 'dearest' friend are exaggerated and exploitative. In fact, Dick Pershing and I roomed together for all 4 years at Yale.
I don't remember John Kerry ever being in our room or even being a particular favorite of Dick's. In this regard, it is particularly revealing that a recent biography of General Pershing, Until The Last Trumpet Sounds (by Gene Smith), includes an entire chapter on Dick, primarily on his years at Yale; the name John Kerry does not appear.
The Pershing Family did know Kerry, but they disliked him intensely. This antipathy stemmed primarily from an incident at the Pershing home on Park Avenue not long after Dick's death: at a gathering of friends and family, Kerry worked the room with his anti-Vietnam message, incurring the undying enmity of Mr. and Mrs. Pershing and Dick's older brother Jack, a Green Beret. The family was shocked and insulted by Kerry's insensitivity.
Kerry has implied - as recently as the first Presidential debate – that he became disillusioned about Vietnam by his military experience. However, as early as 1965, in his Junior year at Yale, he was giving anti-war speeches; and his Class Day Oration in 1966 - prior to graduation - criticized American involvement in Vietnam. These sentiments clearly antedated his Vietnam experience. So why did he join the Navy? He told some classmates that it would help his career.
The above pattern suggests a callous and opportunistic personality -- hardly what I would call Presidential.
Dave Schlossberg, MD