The Story Behind The Attack on The U.S.S. Liberty
The Liberty Arrives
1 June 1967
The Liberty arrives at the American Naval Station at Rota, Spain.
2 June 1967
The Liberty leaves Rota for the eastern Mediterranean.
5 June 1967
The Liberty hears news of the outbreak of fighting in the Middle East. the ship’s captain Commander William L. McGonagle requests of Vice Admiral William I. Martin, commander of the Sixth Fleet, a destroyer escort that could both protect the Liberty and serve as an auxiliary communications station.
The Liberty After The Israeli Attack
Prelude to The Attacks
8 June 1967
The Liberty is reconnoitered by a flying boxcar.
Again the Liberty is reconnoitered by a flying boxcar.
Yet another flying boxcar reconnoiters the Liberty.
And again a flying boxcar reconnoiters the Liberty.
Three jets approach. One flies 5 or 6 miles to starboard. Everyone expects it to settle into the now familiar reconnaissance pattern. As they watch a second plane dives in from port and fires rockets at the bridge. The attack on the United States has begun.
They attack again and again with rockets and 30 mm armor-piercing shells
Three unmarked Super-Mysteres attacked with napalm and dozens of rockets two 30mm gun
More planes come with rockets, cannon, and the dreaded napalm turning the Liberty into a floating hell. The Israelis hit everything they wanted to hit. and they had the right ordnance to do the job required:
— heat seeking missiles to take out the tuning coils of every HF antenna
— fragmentation bombs to take out the parabolic disks fore and aft
— the first strafing run destroys all means of communications and all means of survival
— the last attack is with napalm.
However, the crew was able to patch up it high-command radio-circuit antenna to send out flash messages but they discovered that all frequencies were being jammed. The jamming only stopped when the planes launched their rockets. Thus, the jamming came from the planes and could not be used while the rockets were airborne.
Saratoga 12 Phantoms are air born
The torpedo boats close in with their 20 mm and 40 mm machine guns blazing. Five torpedoes launched. Two boats collided at the last minute causing four torpedoes to miss
McNamara calls Adm Geis and orders the Phantoms recalled
After their attacks the three torpedo boats reduced speed and began firing machine guns at the waterline with the purpose in mind to sink her. On the Liberty it looked like the ship would sink so three life rafts were lowered into the water. One of the Israeli boats shot up two of them and the third was brought aboard as a war trophy.
There were to be no survivors!
Two large Israeli troop-carrying helicopters that circled the ship and then departed without any attempt at communication.The commando’s mission was to kill all survivors.
The Sixth Fleet launches planes from the USS Saratoga. & USS America
Planes were ordered to the rescue of the Liberty on two occasions. In the second attempt the USS America also launched aircraft. Both time the Secretary of Defense MacNamara ordered the planes back. There was a challenge from the fleet when ordered back the second time. President Johnson came on the line and confirmed the order saying,
Medal of Honor recipient
An Israeli helicopter arrives and indicates that it wants to land. Commander McGonagle gave them the finger.
The Saratoga’s phantoms could have been there before the Israeli torpedo boats
The Aftermath of the Israeli Attack on the Liberty
By James M Ennes, Jr