These days, the phrase "Swift boat" has come to mean a vicious political attack of the kind suffered by John Kerry in the 2004 election. While the term has gained such currency that it's now used as a verb, one group is seriously miffed: the Navy veterans who, like Kerry, served on a Swift boat during the Vietnam war. The New York Times reports on the former servicemen looking to reclaim their honor.
"People don’t know about us; they know about those few TV advertisements," said one vet. Now those who served on Swift boats—a 50-foot patrol craft that could barely hold seven people—are trying to reclaim the term from the political attack that, they believe, has tarnished their own service. "It’s been besmirched," said one veteran of his service. "Whether they meant it or not."