The Heroism of the USS Liberty Crew
Heroism is found not only in the man but also in the occasion. -Calvin Coolidge
On June 8, 1967, a heroic action was done by the crew of the USS Liberty, an individual and collective action which demonstrated bravery as no man would have known. Without warning their unarmed ship was suddenly under attack there were over eight hundred and twenty large holes found on the ship by by the damage assessment team which were cause by cannon fire or rockets from the enemy.
There were countless holes that were made by fifty-caliber machine gun rounds, they were not able to be counted. The napalm weapons dropped on the ship inflicted terror on the crew. Keep in mind that there was destructive roaring fires due to a one thousand pound warhead torpedo which at the waterline and amidships tore a forty-foot hole in the ship’s side. With this information we are able to begin to understand the gravity of the offensive attack the Israeli Defense Forces launched against the USS Liberty.
After suffering over fifteen percent casualties the combat infantry units were pulled off the line. In only two hours time the USS Liberty crew had suffered seventy percent casualties. Regardless of the overwhelming amount of casualties, the crew was able to not only take care of themselves and the ship but also safely brought the USS Liberty home.
While having seen the ship first hand as it was making its way into port after the vicious attack, Admiral Isaac Kidd that he was shocked at the fact that regardless of all the damage it had sustained it was still afloat. The Admiral formally requested that every bit of the damage control done on the USS Liberty be carefully documented by the Navy and taught on all their other ships.
“The heroism that the Commanding Officer, officers, and crew of the Liberty was extraordinary. We are recommending the Commanding Officer for the Congressional Medal of Honor, as for the ship a well-deserved Unit Citation (Presidential Unit).