Remember the U. S. S. Liberty

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I know the general rule is to relegate posts that might upset someone to the Rubber Room. This one (especially in light of the current war, tensions and behind-the-scenes manoevres going on in the Middle East) is, IMHO, important enough as background information to qualify as as exception to that.

As we approach July 4th, having remembered D-Day now, it may be well to remember some other American servicemen -- truly unsung heroes in my book, and in a lot of others.

If this is not an event in military history you're familiar with, there is a collection of survivors' accounts and analyses at

Survivor Phillip F. Tourney":roe8fzfq said:
On their first pass they took out our 4 fifty-caliber machine guns, all of our antennae and our moon dish. Everything we had to communicate with was destroyed. They continued their air assault for about 30 minutes using rockets, canons and napalm which they dropped on the bridge to try and burn us alive. Fifteen minutes into their vicious attack Terry Halbadier got an antenna to work and we began broadcasting “under attack, under attack by unknown jet aircraft.” The jets were unmarked, hiding the identity of our attackers. The USS SARATOGA, commanded by Captain Tully, sent aircraft to our aid only to have them recalled by voice from Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara. Again, Captain Tully ordered rescue aircraft to come to our aid. Then, President Lyndon Johnson got on the phone and ordered the recall himself, saying “I don’t give a God damn if every man on board that ship dies, I will not embarrass our ally.”

When the jets got through with us they sent the torpedo boats, three of them. Then and only then did we become aware of who was attacking us. We could see their flags on their boats with the Star of David on them. We were horrified that our so-called ‘ally’ was doing this to us. The word went out we were under attack by Israeli torpedo boats. This was picked up as far away as Vietnam and many other listening posts around the world. Still no help from our government. We were on our own.
The torpedo boats fired five torpedoes at us, one hitting its mark midships, instantly slaughtering 25 American sons. The torpedo boats kept up the attack, I guess, until they ran out of ammunition, shooting at our boilers, firefighters, stretcher bearers, anything that moved. The captain ordered us to prepare to abandon ship.

We put over 3 life rafts, all that remained that would float. We were going to put our most severely wounded men in them. The Israelis would have none of that and shot two of them out of the water and took one aboard their boat as a trophy.

The torpedo boats left and then came Israeli helicopters with armed troops, ready to board our ship and finish us off. They hovered over us like vultures ready for the kill and suddenly they left. We found out later that they left because they knew we had gotten messages out that it was Israel doing the murdering not any Arab state.

When all was said and done in this almost two hour attack, 34 men were murdered, 174 were wounded. There were over 821 canon and rocket holes in our ship. Thousands of 50 caliber armor piercing bullets riddled her skin and there was a 40 x 40 foot torpedo hole in her side.

We did not receive any help from our government for 18 hours after the attack when help was only 15 - 20 minutes away. Why was our government willing to sacrifice 294 American sailors, marines and the finest intelligence ship in the world? That’s what we all were wondering. A few days later, Admiral Isaac Kidd came aboard our ship and ordered every crewman never to speak a word about what happened to us to other crewmen, parents, family, no one under penalty of prison or worse and we all knew what worse meant.

The fact is we were set up to sink fast, blame it on Egypt and bring the U.S. into the war. This was the deal made by our government and the Israeli Government. What I found out later is our government was 120 seconds away from dropping nuclear bombs on Cairo, Egypt and they would have if the LIBERTY would have sunk. The LIBERTY staying afloat was an act of God. If our government would have nuked Cairo you can bet the Soviet Union would have retaliated in kind on the American people.

Midnight Blues

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Dec 10, 2007
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Thanks for this post. I've been aware of the Liberty for some years now and to think of what happened to her and the brave men that served on her still breaks my heart, and as far as I'm concerned its just the tip of the iceberg. Who knows what other "events" have occurred since or before....


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May 7, 2008
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Wow, I don't think McNamara & LBJ get enough credit for what bastards they were.