On June 8, 1967, a US Navy signals intelligence ship the USS Liberty was suddenly and brutally attacked in international waters by the air and naval forces of Israel. The Israeli forces attacked with full knowledge that this was an American ship and lied about it. Survivors have been forbidden for 40 years to tell their story under oath to the American public. This USS Liberty Memorial web site tells their story and is dedicated to the memory of the 34 brave men who died.
After surveilling USS Liberty for more than nine hours with almost hourly aircraft over flights and radar tracking, the air and naval forces of Israel attacked our ship in international waters without warning. USS Liberty was identified as a US naval ship nine hours before the attack by Israeli reconnaissance aircraft and continuously tracked by Israeli radar and aircraft thereafter. Sailing in international waters at less than five knots, with no offensive armament, our ship was not a military threat to anyone.
The Israeli forces attacked without warning and without attempting to contact us. Thirty four Americans were killed in the attack and another 174 were wounded. The ship, a $40 Million Dollar state of the art signals intelligence platform, was later declared wrecked and sold for scrap.
The captain of the ship, Captain William McGonagle, was later awarded the Medal of Honor, but not at the usual setting in the White House with full media attention. His ceremony was barely publicized and took place at a naval shipyard. His medal was presented to him by the Secretary Of The Navy. All other Medals of Honor are awarded by the president.
McGonagle later had this to say about the attack:
“In many years, I have wanted to believe that the attack on the Liberty was pure error. It appears to me that it was not a pure case of mistaken identity. . . . I think it is about time that the State of Israel and the United States government provide the crew members of the Liberty, and the rest of the American people, the facts of what happened and why it came about that the Liberty was attacked 30 years ago today.” Later, McGonagle remarked, “USS Liberty is the only US Navy ship attacked by a foreign nation, involving large loss of life…that has never been accorded a full Congressional hearing.”