Author Topic: "jettison all weapons and return to ship"  (Read 1557 times)

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Offline GreyLmist

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"jettison all weapons and return to ship"
« on: May 09, 2006, 10:17:58 AM »
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3834/is_200107/ai_n8992146

Liberty attack
Wings of Gold,  Summer 2001  by Reid, Jim


One of my life's defining moments occurred the day the Israeli Air Force bombed USS Liberty in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Six Day War of 1967. While I did not participate in any way, I had the most unusual opportunity to watch history from a ringside seat. A defining moment establishes a milestones in our lives. For me, Pearl Harbor, the death of JFK, a man on the moon, my wedding and the birth of my children all fit into this category. So does the Liberty episode. It remains as clear to me as if it happened just yesterday.

I was flying A-4s in VA-36 on board USS America, operating south of Crete. My flight was supposed to practice dropping live bombs on a rocky Greek island called Avgo Nisi. Because of the heavy demand for bombs in Southeast Asia, east coast units rarely had the opportunity to utilize full loads of live ordnance. Indeed, I was carrying more live bombs on this sortie than I had dropped in a whole year flying the Skyhawk.

It was a beautiful sunny day, the kind that leads to day dreaming.

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We were circling the island waiting for our "time on target" when the calm was broken by a call from America ordering me to "jettison all weapons and return to ship immediately".

I requested time to make the bomb runs since I was carrying such a large load but was advised to do as I was told and to orbit until signaled to land. I nearly had tears in my eyes passing over the target and dumping the unarmed ordnance in to the sea.

Afterwards I climbed to 20,000 feet to orbit the carrier. Below, everything looked normal except the ship was headed southeast in a hurry.

Other 6th Fleet ships rendezvoused with America. USS Saratoga, cruisers and DDs joined up.. Several ever-present Soviet spy trawlers attempted to infiltrate the assembly but were herded out by our ships with the vivid implication the Russians must leave or be rammed. I still didn't know what the fuss was about.

I sat overhead this spectacle for an hour then was signaled to land. On deck there was utter chaos. Tons of bombs were being brought up from the ship's magazines and loaded onto warplanes. I had never witnessed such before although it would be a common sight for me a year later on Vietnam carrier duty. At least 10 aircraft, ready for war, were being launched as I was landing, but I could not find out where they were going or who we were going to attack.

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After shutting down, a sailor told me it was because of what happened but he couldn't discuss what happened. In the ready room there was confusion and excitement. I finally learned that someone had bombed, and was still bombing a Navy electronics intelligence ship off the coast of Sinai, where the Israeli and Egyptian armies were locked in battle.

There were many media people on board seeking stories about the war but the crew was ordered to avoid telling the newsmen what was happening. No problem!!! None of us knew what was going on either. If asked though, we were to say it was classifted. The news people, most of us felt, really knew what was going on, but played along.

After the launch, squadron COs were told to report to CAG for planning. Ready Room One said their CO had launched on the strike. Then the next five ready rooms responded likewise. The CAG then asked for XOs. Again, each ready room reported their XOs airborne. The CAG then asked for a rep from each unit in his office.

About this time, the Israeli Air Force, having failed to sink or silence the unarmed USS Liberty, reported it had made a mistake. America's planes, well on their way to unknown targets, were recalled. Some, with weapons that could not be recovered on board landed on Crete for downloading.

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Several days later, Liberty came alongside America. The wounded personnel and the remains of those killed were transferred to our carrier. America's crew was in a parade formation on the flight deck in honor of the gallant effort those Navy guys made to save their ship.

I made one more observation that day. The Russian ships around us got out of our way when it was obvious that we meant business.

Also, as the body bags were unloaded from Liberty, we were, to the man, very angry.

By CDR Jim Reid, USN (Ret.)

Copyright Association of Naval Aviation Summer 2001
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company.

Offline GreyLmist

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Re: "jettison all weapons and return to ship"
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2006, 10:37:08 AM »
THE LIBERTY FOUNDATION
>
The United States and the Soviet Union came as close to a nuclear confrontation as the Cuban Missile crises. When the Soviets discovered that the U.S. was planning to enter the war militarily, they challenged President Johnson with a nuclear confrontation
>
at no time did the torpedo boats request the Liberty to surrender as did the North Koreans regarding the USS Pueblo in 1968. Responding to our SOS which was about 15 minutes into the Israeli attack, the USS Saratoga launched conventionally armed fighter aircraft to assist the USS Liberty and the USS America launched nuclear armed jet aircraft to bomb Cairo. Why Cairo? Our SOS did not identify the attacker at the time as the identity of the attacker was unknown. Within minutes after the launch, the White House recalled all aircraft >>


USS Liberty: How past relates to the future
Linda S. Heard
Gulf News, Athens |   | 10-06-2003

>

After Liberty's astonished crew managed to send out an SOS signal using a makeshift antenna, a U.S fleet of war some 500 miles away received an order to dispatch two nuclear-armed fighter jets to exact a terrible retribution on Cairo.

These were recalled by the then U.S. Defence Secretary literally minutes before they could drop their deadly nuclear load. >>


Was the Liberty attack used to shuffle jettisoned and unloaded weapons from the recalled planes into Israel's possesion, undetected in "the fog of war"? What happened to the ordnance?

Offline The_Skunk

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Re: "jettison all weapons and return to ship"
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2006, 01:43:19 PM »
God bless all jews