Armed Forces: Inquest for Liberty


In the early June afternoon the east ern Mediterranean sky was clear, the sea calm. The U.S. Navy communications ship Liberty, a converted Victory freighter, was steaming west-northwesterly at five knots, about 14 nautical miles off the Sinai Peninsula. Seconds later, lookouts sighted jet fighters bearing in from the southeast at 7,000 ft. A rocket slammed into Liberty's port side amidships, igniting two 55-gal. gasoline drums; a bomb struck the starboard side. The planes, sweeping down in teams of two or more, raked the ship with crisscross rocket and machine-gun fire, riddling hull and superstructure with 821 hits.


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