USS Liberty attacked by Israeli forces in International Waters in the Mediterranean on the 8th. of June 1967.
USS Liberty, a modified Victory ship 455 feet long with a 62 feet beam and drawing 22 feet of water, and 10,680 tons when fully loaded, had a crew of 294, arrived off the Gaza Strip on the 8th. of June in 1967, it was the fourth day of the Israeli-Arab Six Day War.
USS Liberty, attacked by Israeli aircraft and Motor Torpedo Boats
The ship was in International waters about 12 miles off shore, steaming at only about 5 knots, she had an intelligence gathering role being crammed full of electronic equipment and had cost $40 million to fit out.
Right now, the ship was trying to collect information about Soviet forces stationed in this arena, then as of now, the United States was in an alliance with Israel. Liberty did not carry any offensive weaponry, she had fitted just 4 by .50 calibre machine guns for defence against piracy on the high seas.
The ship was flying a 5 feet by 8 feet United States flag some 100 feet above her bridge, that should have been very evident to any aircraft flying overhead, or to any surface craft near by.
The United States flag flown by USS Liberty at the time
Israeli aircraft and motor torpedo boats attack Liberty.
All 45 of the ship's communication antennae were destroyed, no call for help could be made immediately. It took 10 minutes for a jury aerial to be rigged, and a message seeking assistance went out, Saratoga launched 4 strike aircraft to go to Liberty's aid, when in Washington DC, it was learned that the attackers were Israeli forces and not from Egypt, Robert McNamara, the then US Defence Secretary ordered Saratroga's aircraft to return to the ship, and no further rescue missions were to be flown.
At 1436, ( 2.36 PM ) Israeli Motor Torpedo Boats loosed off five torpedoes at Liberty, one punched a 40 foot hole in the ship's side and 25 crew members died. Lifeboats that were in the water as survivors prepared to abandon ship, were machine gunned. Somehow the ship was kept afloat and in these murderous attacks, 34 died and a further 172 were wounded.
USS Liberty, dry docked in Malta after being torpedoed
The proportions of USS Liberty and the ship that the Israeli's claim to have mistaken her for,
Why would Israel attack the Liberty?
Why did the US administration apparently cover up this disaster.
The Commanding Officer of Liberty who was a Commander at the time, was at a later date awarded the Congressional Medal. This top US award is usually bestowed at a high powered ceremony at the White House. When the former Commander of Liberty, now Captain William L. McGonagle USN, came to have his Congressional Medal of Honor presented, it was done much more quietly at the Washington Navy Yard. Apparently so as not to embarass Israel!
Captain William L. McGonagle USN. In command of USS Liberty when
Was the attack on Liberty accidental or deliberate?
Liberty managed to stagger into Malta several days after the 8th, of June assault on her, in the dockyard there, over 800 cannon holes were counted in her superstructure and hull. She had been through HELL, but somehow survived.
Israel pays compensation.
The Egyptian vessel El Quesir which Israel claimed they