While it may turn out that Alston did make up part of Kerry's crew at some point, there is no question that Alston lied about the only specific detail he offers about Kerry's reactions in battle. In his DNC speech he says (emphasis added):
But Lieutenant Kerry was known for taking the fight straight to the enemy. I can still see him now, standing in the doorway of the pilothouse, firing his M-16, shouting orders through the smoke and chaos.
Once, he even directed the helmsman to beach the boat, right into the teeth of an ambush, and pursued our attackers on foot, into the jungle.
The only problem is that Alston wasn't there when Kerry pulled this stunt. This is describing the action for which Kerry was awarded the Silver Star. The reason that Alston wasn't there isn't clear, he may have still been recuperating from his January 29th injury as speculated in the CQ post, but it is clear that he was not on the boat. As noted by none other than David Brinkley, "In addition to Kerry's Silver Star PCF-94's performance on February 28 also earned Bronze Stars for Tommy Belodeau and Mike Medeiros and Navy Commendation Medals with Combat V Devices for Del Sandusky, Fred Short, and Gene Thorson." Swift boats had a crew of 6 (as Alston noted)- the officer and 5 enlisted men. How many people were given medals? Six - and Alson isn't one of them. Here you see all six crewmen after the award ceremony:
Alston is, obviously, not there. If he was wounded on January 29th, and still not back on the boat by Feb 28th, when was he Kerry's crewman? Kerry was gone by the middle of March.
Even if Alston was miraculously back on Kerry's boat just after this action, the most - the MOST - time he could have served under Kerry was a mere 13 days. Does his DNC speech sound like he's describing 13 days?
Update: Another instance of Alston lying about being on Kerry's boat that day, and in a much less circumspect manner:
"Alston recalled: "I know when John Kerry told Del to beach that damn boat,
this was a brand-new ball game. We wasn't running. We took it to Charlie."
Update 2: The report of Alston's injury had been put on the web here, on page 6. My shortened version:
"29 Jan 69 As forward gunner aboard PCF 94... Alston received shrapnel wounds in his head, when PCF came under intense hostile rocket and A/W fire. Condition good, prognosis good. ... Mother not officially notified.... Serviceman treated by corpsman and medevaced to 29th Evac Hospital"
Update 3: The Kerry campaign has admitted that Alston was NOT on the boat on Feb 28th 1969:
Whatever the exact dates, Hurley confirmed that Alston was not on board PCF-94 on February 28, 1969, the day Kerry earned a Silver Star for an engagement in which he beached his Swift Boat and chased down and killed a Viet Cong guerilla armed with a rocket launcher.