This is a partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, July 29, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Lieutenant John Kerry (search) cruising toward a nomination with some old Navy buddies at his side.

Heather Nauert is here with more on Kerry's band of brothers.

HEATHER NAUERT, FOX NEWS: That's right. Well, Democrats have talked an awful lot about the military in their speeches and at their rallies this week.

Kerry is putting veterans in prominent positions on the campaign trail and at the convention. This week, some former shipmates from the swiftboat he commanded during Vietnam (search) are with him.

Del Sandusky is one of them. He joins us now from Boston.

Del, Kerry's band of brothers has been, of course, a big part of his campaign. Can you all help Democrats look strong on national defense?

DEL SANDUSKY, FORMER KERRY SHIPMATE: I'm not sure. I'm just here because I love, honor, and respect John Kerry as does, I think the entire boat crew of 1968 and 1969 crew. We're here. We were with John Kerry and we were awarded medals for it, you know, for the actions that we had in Vietnam.

John Kerry is an excellent leader. We think that he'd make a great commander-in-chief.

NAUERT: You know, a part of the reason you all have been asked to be there is to attract, not only the Veterans' vote, but also make the Democrats more appealing to moderate and swing voters. How did that feel to you being, sort of, used in a way, if you will, as a political backdrop?

SANDUSKY: I don't know, I've never thought of it that way. I volunteered for this. John Kerry saved my life, I saved his. The band of brothers was formed because of the bond that we feel with John Kerry. We owe him, so, you know, we came here.

NAUERT: So, is it the politics of John Kerry or is it the man that you love?

SANDUSKY: The warrior in John Kerry. You know, when we were together in Vietnam, he saved our lives, we saved his.

NAUERT: Does that necessarily mean that he is fit or is the best, perhaps, this is the better way to put it: does that necessarily mean he's the best person to serve as commander-in-chief because he did perform heroically when you were with him, as you say?

SANDUSKY: I believe that he's the best. He is a warrior, he has the experience, and he's a statesman. He's been in the U.S. Senate, you know, for 20 years. He's very good on foreign policy. I know that he's extremely intelligent. Mentally, I had to step it up another notch just to keep up with him because he is very smart.

NAUERT: Now, there are plenty Veterans out there, who in fact, don't support him. They're angry with the position he took during Vietnam, basically saying that Americans had committed atrocities and also upset that he threw away his ribbons. Should Veterans out there who are considering who they want to vote for, should they ignore that fact?

SANDUSKY: I've talked to a lot of Veterans; I've been in the Kerry campaign since January, in Iowa and we went to New Hampshire, et cetera around the country. A lot of Veterans I've talked to, either Republican or Democrat, a hawk or a dove, you know, we're all going to speak our mind; that's part of our country.

I think this is the era of the Vietnam Veteran. We've all come of age since World War II and Korean vets are slowly passing away, God bless them, the more and more Vietnam Veterans, I think, are going to emerge and get into politics. Vietnam Veterans especially, you know: we're concerned, we've been in a dumb, stupid war in Vietnam and now we've got another dumb, stupid war over in Iraq.

All the Veterans that I've talked to, the majority and consensus of opinion is that we're all worried about our kids are dying over there on the other side of the planet. Veterans need to stand up.

NAUERT: There are Iraqis that we actually just interviewed yesterday, who are very thankful that our forces are there protecting them and preventing Saddam Hussein from digging more mass graves. But let me ask you quickly about a video that's going to be shown tonight. Some of this video was shot of Kerry in Vietnam. His critics say that he actually re- enacted some scenes, perhaps that he might use later on in a political campaign. Some of this video we will see tonight.

Is there anything about that that makes you uncomfortable; the notion that he may have re-created scenes to use for political gain?

SANDUSKY: I think it's an atrocity. I mean all wars are an atrocity. But I think it's really distasteful and people should say these things or talk about it. I was with John Kerry. We never had time to shoot movies or do any staging for any political reason or any other use that just a home movie. I didn't have a movie camera. I had a small camera. I took less than two rolls of film in two and a half years that I was in Vietnam. I don't know of any -- none of my boat crew knows anything about, you know -- the whole idea is just beyond us.

NAUERT: Del, you were there for two and a half years. Does it bother you all that Kerry was in an out in less than four months?

SANDUSKY: No, it doesn't. If I had been shot three times, I would have left too.

NAUERT: All right.

SANDUSKY: After my boat crew left, what was he going to do? Start up another boat crew and just tempt the odds to get shot again?

NAUERT: All right. Del Sandusky, thanks a lot for joining us from Boston tonight.


GIBSON: All right, Heather. Thank you.

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