June 8 marks the 47th anniversary of the attack on the USS Liberty (GTR-5), in international waters, approximately 17 miles off the Gaza Strip, killing 34 and wounding 171 of the 295-man crew. I was aboard one of Liberty's sister ships (USS Jamestown GTR-3). We had just left Singapore and were steaming toward our assigned station off the coast of Vietnam.
Americans not yet born, or have long since forgotten the attack on this virtually unarmed U.S. Navy ship and every administration since Lyndon Johnson has down-played the incident, national media cooperating by rarely mentioning the event.
The reason is simple. Liberty was not attacked by any of our adversaries but by our perceived friend and ally, Israel. Without warning, Israeli Air Force Mirage fighters strafed Liberty, resulting in 820 rocket and cannon holes topside. After the fighters, Mystere bombers dropped napalm. While the crew battled the fires, Israeli torpedo boats fired five torpedos at Liberty with the clear intent to sink her. Fortunately four missed but the one that didn't, left a 40-foot hole in her starboard side, killing 25 men.