It has been 50 years since Israeli air and naval forces attacked the USS Liberty (AGTR-5) on 8 June 1967 during the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War. Thirty-four Americans were killed and 171 wounded, accounting for more than two-thirds of the crew. The attack began at 1400 local time, when three Mirage fighters attacked the ship with cannon fire and rockets that disabled nearly every radio antenna on the vessel. The fighters were followed by Mystère aircraft that not only fired cannons and rockets, but also dropped napalm, which is rarely used against ships. During the attack, the Israelis were able to jam five of the Liberty’s six communications circuits. Even when the ship finally was able to get out a distress call on the sixth circuit, the attackers could not be identified because the aircraft did not bear any national markings.
Commentary—Remember the Liberty
By Captain Gene Thomas Gomulka, Chaplain Corps, U.S. Navy (Retired)