Archived Opinion

Remembering the sailors 
aboard the USS Liberty

Remembering the sailors 
aboard the USS Liberty

To the Editor: 

A reporter for Al Jazeera (Shireen Abu Akleh) was killed by Israeli military personnel as she covered an Israeli raid on Jenin, a West Bank Palestinian refugee camp. Then Israeli police brutally attacked the pallbearers carrying Abu Akleh’s casket. Israel says it will investigate what happened, but history teaches us Israel has little interest in accountability. 

June 8 marks the 55th anniversary of Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty (GTR-5) in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea approximately 70 miles west of Tel Aviv on the fourth day of what became known as “The Six-Day War.”

Without warning, Israeli Air Force Mirage fighters strafed Liberty, resulting in 820 rocket and cannon holes topside. After the fighters, mystere bombers dropped napalm. As the crew battled fires, Israeli torpedo boats fired five torpedos at Liberty with the clear intent to sink her. One hit her starboard side, killing 25 men. 

When the smoke had cleared, 34 sailors were dead and 171 wounded, including the captain (CDR William McGonagle) who, although severely wounded, refused to leave the bridge. Only the bravery and resolve of the captain, officers and crew kept Liberty from sinking with all hands. 

Liberty managed an SOS and two aircraft carriers (the America and Saratoga) launched fighters to aid Liberty. These aircraft were recalled and when Rear Admiral Lawrence Geis (Commander of America’s battle group) protested the recall, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara retorted, “President (Lyndon) Johnson is not going to go to war or embarrass an American ally over a few sailors” (Chicago Tribune, online edition, October 2, 2007). 

The USS Liberty is likely America’s most decorated warship, earning a Congressional Medal of Honor, two Navy Crosses, 38 Silver or Bronze Stars, The Presidential Unit Citation and an incredible 205 Purple Hearts. As most Americans know, a Medal of Honor is traditionally conferred by the president in a ceremony at the White House. One of many snubs Liberty has endured, Commander McGonagle was handed his medal by the Secretary of the Navy at the Washington Navy Yard. 

For 55 years, no U.S. President or Congress has ever attempted to hold Israel fully accountable for this murderous and unconscionable act of aggression against the United States. Israel always maintained it was a case of “mistaken identity,” believing Liberty was the El Qusier (an Egyptian freighter) despite the fact Liberty was flying a 13-foot long U.S. Flag, the ship’s designation (GTR-5) clearly printed on both sides of her bow, and “USS LIBERTY” clearly printed across her stern. Also, the El Quseir was one-fourth the displacement of and looked nothing like the Liberty. The Israelis lied, and America (wrongly) has always accepted that lie. 

It’s painful for Liberty survivors, and families of those lost, never to have experienced satisfactory closure to this totally unnecessary loss of life and ship. To keep faith with them and their loved ones, we who served in our nation’s uniform on the day of that catastrophe think often of the USS Liberty, and we remember. Shipmates ... RIP. 

David L. Snell 

Franklin

Leave a comment

6 comments

  • Not all truth advocates have figured out the same psyops yet but here's some of my research since 2007.

    Share USS Liberty truth - an attempted "false flag" scam on June 8th in 1967!
    https://michaelatkinson.substack.com/p/share-uss-liberty-truth-an-attempted?sd=pf

    posted by Michael Atkinson

    Thursday, 06/16/2022

  • If Nixon were President at the time this happened it would have been on every news source CBS ABC and NBC evening news. Because it was a democrat in the White House the American news media hid the story.

    posted by Harold Hall

    Tuesday, 06/14/2022

  • Thank God somebody is remembering the USS Liberty. It’s a disgrace that this anniversary is completely ignored by the media across the whole nation. Survivors and the American people deserve answers, but the complete historical blackout means they don’t even understand that there are questions to be asked.

    Thank you for remembering.

    posted by Bruce Marshall

    Thursday, 06/09/2022

  • It was believed that the attack was deliberate, staged to conceal Israel’s pending seizure of Syria’s Golan Heights, which occurred the next day. The ship’s listening devices would likely have overheard Israeli military communications planning this controversial operation.

    posted by Lucille Josephs

    Wednesday, 06/08/2022

  • What a criminal and disgusting response by the US govt. in both defending the ship, and the COVER-UP that followed. RIP to the crewmates killed that day, Damn Washington, Israel, and all of those who made the COVER-UP possible.

    posted by John L Sullivan

    Wednesday, 06/08/2022

  • What a criminal and disgusting response by the US govt. in both defending the ship, and the COVER-UP that followed. RIP to the crewmates killed that day, Damp Washington, Israel, and all of those who made the COVER-UP possible.

    posted by John L Sullivan

    Wednesday, 06/08/2022

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