USS Liberty survivor Joe Meadors response to PA lawmakers' letter
Friends of the Liberty's detailed response
I am a survivor of the June 8, 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty and currently serve my shipmates as Director of Operations of the USS Liberty Veterans Association.
A group of our supporters at HonorLibertyWets.org created a billboard asking readers to honor the American veterans who served on the USS Liberty that we understand you take issue with. At least one of your group even went to the extreme of condemning the act of honoring our shipmates as being an act of bigotry. A characterization you undoubtedly share.
Your actions and sentiments are outrageous and demeaning and unworthy of someone in your position.
One of the concerns that you claim is the fact that the billboard does not tell the whole story.
Had there been more space, the billboard would have told its readers that our shipmates:
- saw the unmarked aircraft as they attacked our ship;
- heard the jamming of our radios on both US Navy tactical and international maritime distress frequencies;
- witnessed the deliberate machine gunning of life rafts we had dropped over the side in anticipation of abandoning ship;
- witnessed the slow circling of our ship by Israeli torpedo boats as they fired from close range at crewmen who were either trapped topside or who ventured topside to help their wounded shipmates;
- saw the Israeli helicopters filled with armed assault troops hover very close to our ship in an apparent attempt to find a place to allow those troops to rappel down to the ship; and,
- witnessed the torpedo boats immediate departure from the scene of the attack after cessation of hostilities instead of offering assistance as is their obligation under international law.
Readers would also learn that the US government has NEVER conducted an investigation of the attack on the USS Liberty.
Among the awards won by the officers and crew of the USS Liberty are the Medal of Honor, two Navy Crosses, eleven Silver Stars, twenty Bronze Stars, nine Navy Commendations, 208 Purple Hearts, 294 Combat Action Ribbons, the Presidential Unit Citation and the National Security Agency Exceptional Service Civilian Award which makes the USS Liberty among the most decorated ships in US Navy history for a single event.
Despite this fact you demean our service, our honoring the death of our 34 shipmates and our effort to ensure the US government finally conducts an investigation of the attack on our ship as acts of bigotry.
To ask you to apologize for your treasonous comments will do nothing to alleviate the damage you have already done to the wellbeing of USS Liberty survivors, our families and the families of our 34 fallen shipmates.
The only way for you to retract your condemnation and gross misrepresentation of our efforts is to help us persuade the US government that the attack on a US Navy ship warrants a complete and comprehensive public Congressional investigation notwithstanding the identity of the forces who attacked the ship.
That includes the attack on the USS Liberty.
Can we count on your active support?
USS Liberty Survivor
Director of Operations, USS Liberty Veterans Association