At 1403 on 08 June 1967,
fourth day of the brief Arab-Israeli War, while conducting
and electronic research operations, U.S.S. Liberty (AGTR-5) was
by Israeli jet fighters. A bomb hit portside amidships, and two or more
fighters made repeated strafing, fragmentation bomb, and rocket runs
the ship. As a result, three major fires raged topside.
At 1424, three motor torpedo boats, flying the Israeli flag, approached
high speed and at 1434 attacked. Three (possibly five) torpedoes were
fired; one passed
a second may have passed beneath the ship, and the third exploded on
starboard side, forward, tearing a 39-foot-wide hole in the hull; 34
were killed, 171 were wounded in the aircraft and torpedo boat attacks.
severely wounded. Comdr. W. L. McGonagle, the commanding officer,
at the conn to guide the ship out of shallow water.
Liberty arrived at Valletta, Malta 14 June in company with USS Little
CLG 4, USS America (CVA-66), USS Davis (DD-937), and USS Papago
undergoing repairs, she departed Valletta 16 July for the States in
USS Little Rock CLG 4 (in the distance) stands by USS
Photo source unknown.
Life Magazine Article
Click on picture to enlarge.
Magazine Cover 23 Jun 67
Photo of USS Liberty
Article regarding USS Liberty
Deck Log of the USS Little Rock During the Rendezvous with USS
|USS Little Rock
Date Friday, 9 June 1967
Underway as before.
Detached from TG 60.1.9 and commenced maneuvering at various courses at
Kts to close the USS Liberty (AGTR 5).
c/s to 0 Kts when alongside the USS Liberty.
Lowered the number 1 utility boat to the water and commenced transfer
from the USS Liberty to the USS Little Rock.
Received helo from USS America. No passengers
Helo departed for USS Liberty with VADM Martin, LCDR Bradley and LT
Received the following 8 injured personnel by boat transfer;
SN Thomas W. Lemond 917-49-31,
CTSN Nathan G. Benedict Jr. 139-55-74,
Eugene H. Kirk CTSN 918-81-30,
CT3 Joe D. Anderson 771-76-77,
CT3 John V. Brong 913-41-23,
BMSN Joseph L. Meadors B7104561,
CT3 Maurice B. Shafer 695-94-86,
CT2 Stephen E. Meyer 771-42-03, and
PH1 John J. Kelly 528-32-25 and PH2 Patrick H. Quinn
from the Combat Photography team of the USS America.
Placed number 3 boiler on the line.
Secured boiler number 4.
CTG 60.1.9 assumed tactical command of the USS Little Rock and directed
to take station
bearing 030° T at 3000 yards from the USS America on base course
base speed 13 knots.
Recovered the number 1 utility boat with LCDR Bradley aboard. Commenced
various courses and speeds to take station.
c/c to 280° PGC.
Received a helo departed from USS America, passengers VADM Martin and
c/c to 270° PGC
Helo departed for USS America, passengers CDR Saines, HM2 Biedenboch,
Received helo from USS America with mail and no passengers.
Helo departed with PH1 Kelly and PH2 Dunivin (Quinn?), for USS America.
Received helo from USS America. No passengers.
Helo departed for USS America with no passengers.
Secured from flight operations.
/s/ D.A. Rocker (*)
(*) Note: D.A.Rocker is none other than David
Rocker, U.S.S. Little Rock Association Member #773. We originally
his name shown as "Rocley". Dave straightened us out however. See his other
pertaining to this incident.
Click HERE to see a copy of
the above Deck Log.
The following is from
the Naval History and Heritage Command website for the
USS Davis DD-937
(Click HERE to view web page.)
Rendezvousing with TG 60.1 at 1432 on 8 June 1967, Davis assumed her
place in the screen of the attack carriers America (CVA-66) and
Saratoga (CVA-60), along with guided missile light cruisers Little Rock
CLG 4 and Galveston (CLG-3). At 1719, however, Davis and Massey
(DD-778) received verbal orders to proceed at once to the assistance of
the technical research ship Liberty (AGTR-5) (Comdr. William L.
McGonagle).....The two destroyers reached the limping Liberty during
the morning watch on 9 June, finding her listing to starboard, while
the plethora of shell and fragment holes topside, the burned and
scarred paintwork, and the gaping torpedo hole in her hull bore mute
testimony to the unbridled ferocity of the attack of the day before.
Davis's motor whaleboat heads toward the damaged technical research
ship Liberty (AGTR-5), 9 June 1967. (The Mediterranean Cruise of the
USS Davis (DD-937), in Navy Department Library, Cruise Book
Collection). Davis rang down "all stop" at 0632 on 9 June 1967 and
lay-to, launching her motor whaleboat; the boat then made runs between
Davis and Liberty, transferring medical and damage control parties, the
former including Lt. Comdr. Peter A. Flynn (MC), from America, and Lt.
John P. Utz, Jr. (MC), DesRon 12's medical officer, from Davis. Massey
contributed a corpsman to help treat the wounded. Davis moored
alongside Liberty between 0725 and 0942 to continue the process,
transferred men (including in their number "leading petty officers from
the damage control, electrician, interior communication, and boilerman
groups...") then cleared the side while helicopters evacuated the
seriously wounded, and the bodies of the slain, to America, which,
along with Little Rock, arrived shortly thereafter. The cruiser
transferred Lt. John C. Cockram, her damage control assistant, in
addition to two corpsmen, to Liberty, and took on board some of the
less seriously wounded men.
accounts please visit
"The Crew Remembers the USS Liberty Incident"
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