Friday, June 8, 2012

USS Liberty

On June 8, 1967, USS LIBERTY (AGTR-5) was attacked by Israeli jet fighters and torpedo boats.

The attack killed 34 Sailors, and wounded 174 more on board. Both U.S. and Israeli governments conducted inquiries about the incident, and decided the attack was a result of Israeli confusion about what the USS LIBERTY was.

However, Admiral Kidd believed with certainty that this attack, which killed 34 American Sailors and injured 174 others, was a deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew. Admiral Kidd repeatedly referred to the Israeli forces responsible for the attack as “murderous bastards.” Admiral Kidd believed based on the documentary evidence and testimony received first hand, that the Israeli attack was planned and deliberate, and could not possibly have been an accident.


Justin Rogers ENS, USN (1170) said...

Israel is a beautiful country (I love Israel.). It is unfortunate to read an anti-Israel piece on this blog.

Mike Lambert said...

I agree that Israel is a beautiful country and we have many friends there.

This horrific attack is not an "anti-Israel" post. American Sailors were attacked and killed. Many others were injured. Others continue to carry the emotional scars to this day.

Anonymous said...

Suggest you read Attack on the Liberty by James Scott. Ever hear of Jonathan Pollard? Being realistic about Israel doesn't mean anti-Israel.

Lee Cardwell

Anonymous said...

Documentary on USS Liberty: Dead in the Water!

former BPT sailor said...

Recounting what Israel did hardly move's ILTCOHJ into "anti-Israel" territory.

The attack on the Liberty is a valuable case study for ANY naval professional...and especiallyu for an Ensign. Arguably this has never been more true since the Liberty given the stressors placed on Israel by ongoing events in both Syria and Iran.

If I were sailing in the eastern Med today: I'd be one nervous cat given that track record...even one that's two generations old.

What's "unfortunate" is that you would interpret this as somehow anti-Israeli.

Anonymous said...

Captain Lambert,

The only friend that the United States has in the Middle East is Israel, and that friend chose to attack an unarmed US Navy ship, the USS Liberty (AGTR 5), on the 8th of June 45 years ago, resulting in the death of 34 and 174 injured, the truth was never revealed as to whether this attack was an error or intentional. My opinion is that it was intentional and our civilian administration at the time counted this as being the cost of doing business, there was no real effort by the Navy to save their Shipmates because they were evidently prevented from doing so, again by civilian authority.

Having stated that Israel was our friend and the United States just overlooked what happened during the 6 day War, and counted it as the cost of doing world business, since that time the US had given more aid to Israel than any other country, and that is on a yearly basis folks, the reason being the Israelis are willing to fight the Arabs that surround them so we will give them the money and weapons to enable them to be the most powerful country in that area of the world, but even that will not protect us from our good friend Israel if we turn our backs on them. It should be evident to all that Israel’s only real friend is Israel, when the cards are dealt, but they will, and have, consistently demonstrated their desire to protect the security of their nation and oppose any country that may violate their ideals.

Folks that were not even a gleam in their daddy’s eye during the 1967, 6 Day War should do considerable research before making comments on this subject.

Very Respectfully,

Anonymous said...

ENS. You mentioned in the past that you are a USNA grad. Read your Naval history as it appears you missed this significant event during your studies. This event ,the USS Pueblo incident, and countless aircraft losses are all examples of what made the cold war very real to many of us. Incidents like the liberty play a big role in the history of the cryptologic community, and Captain Lambert does an outstanding job taking time to remind all of us of many of these historic events.

Anonymous said...

Leaving the larger issue of the relationship that Israel and the US have, there was a great deal of suspicion on the part of at least some in the NSA that the Liberty intercepted evidence that Israeli units were killing Egyptian prisoners taken in the field.

Justin Rogers ENS, USN (1170) said...

"Nothing in that first meeting suggested that his [Ariel Sharon] uncompromising hardliner reputation was undeserved, but I was a bit drawn to him nonetheless. He seemed to embody the Israeli experience because, in truth, without toughness, perseverance, and even ruthlessness, Israel would have ceased to exist in a neighborhood bent on its destruction."

--Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State in her book, No Higher Honor

Anonymous said...

Read Navyman834's correct comment closely and understand that you serve at the convenience of the civilians that you elect AND that on occasion they will forfeit your life for 'larger' causes.

Anonymous said...

A Navyman can spend a career in doing exactly as he is required to do, and should have faith in the reciprocal understanding that his country will protect him at all costs, but the USS Liberty incident and the USS Pueblo incident gave the Sailor the true nature of ordered operations to Sailors and what they could expect as protection by their country.

Having served on Auxiliary ships during this time period, the Navy even installed two twin 3 Inch 50 gun mounts on one ship and a 20mm gun mount on another, but we on board those ships were never allowed to control those guns in any automatic mode of fire, any other firing mode would have been ineffective at repelling any enemy attack. Just like on the Liberty or the Pueblo, On these same ships I served on the ships company was never increased to allow personnel for maintenance and operation of the guns and this only made the ordeal more of a fiasco in my opinion.

At the time of these incidents, the USS Liberty and the USS Pueblo I was a well qualified Destroyer Fire Control Technician and it did disturb me that our civilian masters had such control over our survival and did nothing to help these Sailors in either of these incidents. It only proved that we fighting people could only depend on the political view of civilians at the time and we as those who chose to be those fighting people were only pawns in the game that they played.

I would like to thank you Anonymous, June 13, 2012 8:09 AM for your support, there are few Sailors today that even have any idea what actually took place in those years.

Very Respectfully,
E. A. Hughes, FTCM(SS)
US Navy (Retired)

Anonymous said...

ENS Rogers:

So, "toughness, perseverance, and even ruthlessness" includes the intentional killing and maiming of pretty much the whole ship's company of LIBERTY?

No one who has seriously examined the LIBERTY attack with fairness (ie not as an Israel-firster) has concluded that what happened was intentional. There is no other remotely plausible explanation.

Having done so myself, including seeing things which remain out of the public domain, I came to the same conclusion, reluctantly.

Israel attacked LIBERTY intentionally, and nearly sank her, which was the plan.

Why our "ally" did this is debatable, but the essential facts of the terrible case, alas, are not.

There is nothing "anti-Israel" about pointing out the obvious truth.

If you have a problem with that, I suggest you examine your own views and integrity.

If you think this is "anti-Israel" hang up your khakis and volunteer for the IDF, since it's where you belong. You definitely aren't my shipmate.

Anonymous, USNR (1815)