BY PHILLIP F. TOURNEY SURVIVOR OF THE USS LIBERTY
As I sit in my office beginning to write my first article for American Free Press newspaper, I look out my window. I see snow covered peaks, nature at its best in Colorado. It calms me to see such beauty and thank God Iï¿½??m alive with my family. As I start to write, my heart is beginning to race, my palms are sweating. Iï¿½??m not as comfortable as I was just a few moments ago. I know all of you know the story of the attack on our ship, the USS LIBERTY, by the government of Israel, but it needs to be repeated.
June 8, 1967 I was a 20 year old 3rd class petty officer in damage control at the time of this sneak attack from our so-called ally, Israel. We were identified as American and friendly many hours before the slaughter began at 2:00 P.M.
The Israeli jet aircraft were ruthless and stubborn in their attempt to sink and murder all hands aboard. They hit every antennae on our ship, no accident for sure. The Israeli reconnaissance aircraft took pictures of our ship in the morning hours, nothing was missed. The attacking aircraft dropped napalm on the bridge of our ship to burn us alive.
Soon after the jets were done with us we see 3 motor torpedo boats approaching our ship at a high rate of speed. We then learned who our attackers were.
We saw 3 flags marked with the Star of David. We were in shock because the Israelis were supposed to be our allies! We had had no idea who was attacking us until then. The attacking jet aircraft were unmarked. The torpedo boats maneuvered themselves into a torpedo launch attitude, now come the 5 to 6 torpedoes. The captain was doing his best to maneuver the ship to avoid sudden death. The torpedoes whizzed by our ship, forward and aft with 1 hitting its mark, almost dead mid-ships, blowing to bits 25 American heroes who stood their ground below the water line and accepted their fate, doing their duty for the United States Government.
The torpedo gunboats were not even close to being done with us. The torpedo gunmen shot at our fire fighters and stretcher bearers, anything that moved. They were shooting at our water line to blow up the boilers inside and finish the job of sinking us.
The captain had given the order to abandon ship, as it appeared we were about to roll over. There were 3 life rafts left that were floatable. We put them over the side so we could put our most severely wounded in them to try to save their lives. The torpedo gunmen would have none of that and blew 2 of them out of the water. They took the 3rd raft aboard their boat, seeing it as an obvious trophy for all their hard work. The torpedo gunmen continued their assault until I guess they ran out of ammunition. They circled the ship and left.
Old Glory was still on her mast, 7ï¿½?? x 13ï¿½?? holiday colors. We thought the attack was over. Two Israeli helicopters approached our ship with armed gunmen at the ready to finish us off. They were there a short time and left in the same direction they came. We had no idea why they didnï¿½??t shoot at us. We wondered if they were finally done with their murderous carnage on a virtually unarmed ship which only had 4 50 caliber machine guns that had been taken out by the jets on the first pass when the attack began.
Little did the crew know that Terry Halbardier, an ET, got off an SOS from an antennae that was not hit by the Israeli heat seeking missiles because it was taken off line due to a malfunction before the attack. The SOS he sent stated we were under attack by unknown jet aircraft. This message was sent out within 15 minutes of the attack and was picked up by the USS SARATOGA and the USS AMERICA. Captain Tully of the USS SARATOGA sent ready aircraft to our aid only to have them recalled. The USS AMERICA also sent rescue aircraft to come to our aid. These life saving planes were recalled not once but twice. These orders came straight from the White House, first from Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and then from President Johnson himself. Johnson said he was not about to attack our ï¿½??allyï¿½??, Israel. How did he know who was attacking our ship when we didnï¿½??t even know? Help did not arrive until 18 hours later when the American rescue aircraft could have been there in 15 to 20 minutes driving off the torpedo boats and saving precious American lives.
What remained was a ship with a 40 x 40 foot torpedo hole in her side, 821+ canon and rocket holes, thousands of rounds of fifty caliber armor piercing bullets and napalm that had been burning up our ship. Thirty four American souls were murdered, 173 were wounded, which constituted attempted murder, out of a crew of 294. Two thirds of the crew had been murdered or wounded.
Israel and our government, in this 2 hour attack, had come up with a plan to sink our ship, blame it on Egypt and bring the U.S. into the Six Day War. If this so called accident was so cut and dry, why were all records sealed tighter than Fort Knox? Israel got by with cold-blooded murder and other war crimes and itï¿½??s only a matter of time until they do it again, perhaps on a ship off the coast of Iran. Israel controls Americaï¿½??s fate and our elected officials bow to their every whim.
I love my country and will not stand by and let this continue. While there is time, we must do what we can to save our sinking ship of state. In many ways, America today is the USS Liberty after that 2 hour attack taking place 40 years ago. We are badly hit and stand the chance of sinking into the abyss with everyone being lost forever unless something is done immediately. Write your president and congressmen and let them know you know what is going on and you will not fight anymore for Israel. Israel has 300 nukes, so let them take care of themselves. There is nothing, neither in the Middle East nor elsewhere, that is worth one more drop of precious American blood.
The leaders of our country who swore an oath to protect this nation ordered the survivors of the LIBERTY to never repeat this piece of history under penalty of jail or worse. 40 years ago, another nation got away with cold-blooded murder on the high seas, and as an American veteran, let me say this for the recordï¿½??NO ONE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO GET BY WITH COLD-BLOODED MURDER, AND ESPECIALLY NOT ISRAEL, NOT THEN AND NOT NOW.
The USS LIBERTY VETERANS ASSOCIATION http://www.ussliberty.org is offering $10,000.00 to anyone who can disprove that our story is the truth. as of this moment, no one from the pro-Israeli crowd has accepted the challenge.
2007 By Phil Tourney, survivor of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty