- 840 Medals
- Congressional Medal of Honour
- Presidential Unit Citation for all the crew
- 2 Navy Crosses
- 11 Silver Stars
- 204 Purple hearts
- Wounded 173
- Killed 34
- Damage 821 cannon and rocket holes
- 1 torpedo hole
- Thousands of machine gun bullets holes
USS Liberty: The story: In early 1967 the US was eager to expand its power throughout the Middle East. However one of their worst opponents was Colonel Nasser of Egypt who would not allow the Americans, British or Israel to conquer them. The top leaders of the US and Israel decided to go to war against Egypt starting with a pre-emptive attack against the Egyptian Air Force which was allied to the USSR.
However America could not enter such a conflict unless the US or its military was attacked by Egypt. With the collaboration of the CIA, NSA, the Israeli spy agency “Mossad” and the top elements of both Governments a plan was hatched whereby Israel would attack an American ship with unmarked aircraft so that the blame would be put on Egypt. This would allow America to retaliate against Egypt and if necessary even attack Egypt with nuclear weapons.
However it was absolutely essential that there be no survivors from the ship which must be sunk with all hands and any survivors in the water would also be shot.
The “USS Liberty” was the most modern spy ship in its day, covered by 45 antennas and sophisticated eavesdropping equipment. Below decks were over loo specialists in electronic espionage. Joe Lentini was a crew member who survived the fiery holocaust that day. He stated in a BBC interview that they could pick up any signal on shortwave etc. The ship was in total control by the NSA.
With its high powered listening technology even in that time, the technicians were picking up Israeli radio traffic acknowledging that they were executing hundreds of unarmed Egyptian prisoners of War who had surrendered 40 miles inland from the seaport of El Arish in the Sinai of Egyptian territory. The unarmed “USS Liberty” was attacked on the 8th of June 1967 by three unmarked French built Mirage Jet Fighters [Israeli] and later three French Mystere fighter Bombers of the Israeli Air force. They fired US made heat seeking missiles and cannon fire into the ship and machine gunned the live dish antennas.
They then dropped napalm on the upper decks, which explodes into a sticky fiery jelly substance roasting sailors alive. When the ship still refused to sink they called in the Israeli Navy who sent out three Motor Torpedo Boats [MTBI which fired six torpedoes at the “Liberty” of which one torpedo hit on the starboard side near the secret operations room killing another 25 men.
The USS Liberty refused to sink at the hands of these fanatical attackers, so one of the Israeli motor torpedo boats moved in near the gaping torpedo hole and machine gunned any survivors in that section and also on the deck. As the crew were unarmed they could offer no defence.
In the meantime the crew were preparing to abandon ship and the life rafts were put over board in case the ship sank. Then, in a defiant act the Motor Torpedo Boats machine gunned two of the unburnt rafts hoping to kill any survivors inside. Another raft was dragged on board. With the life rafts destroyed and the ship apparently sinking, helicopter gunships arrived with side doors opened and soldiers aiming machine guns at the water hoping to kill any survivors who may have abandoned ship.
But the USS Liberty still refused to sink and fortunately there were no survivors in the sea..
It was only when the crew rigged a jury antenna and finally got a message to the US Navy that help was sent to the beleagued crew. The Israelis listening in learnt that 12 attack aircraft were sent from the carrier “USS Saratoga” and they finally retreated back to Israel.
The plan to kill every man aboard had failed. Yet incredibly Defence Secretary McNamara recalled these aircraft before they could offer any assistance to the beleaguered sailors on the “USS Liberty” and it was stated; He didn’t give a damn if the ship sank with all its crew, but he would not embarrass his allies /Israel.