1351 [LOG:] 3 SMALL SURFACE CONTACTS HELD ON RADAR 32,000 YARDS BEARING 082T - REPORTED TO BRIDGE AS 3 SURFACE CONTACTS 1424 [LOG:] 3 MTB'S SIGHTED ABAFT STARBOARD 1BEAM DISTANCE 4-5 MILES [CAPT. McGonagle:] In the latter moments of the air attack, it was noted that three high speed boats were approaching the ship from the northeast on a relative bearing of approximately 135 at a distance of about 15 miles. The ship at the time was still on course 283 true, speed unknown, but believed to be in excess of five knots. At no time did the ship stop during the air attack. It is believed that the time of initial sighting of the torpedo boats, the time was about 1420. The boats appeared to be in a wedge type formation with the center boat the lead point of the wedge. Estimated speed of the boats was about 27 to 30 knots. They appeared to be about 150 to 200 yards apart. [CAPT. McGonagle:] It appeared that they were approaching the ship in a torpedo launch attitude, and since I did not have direct communication with gun control or the gun mounts, I told a man from the bridge, whose identity I do not recall, to proceed to mount 51 and take the boats under fire. [CAPT. McGonagle:] The boats continued to approach the ship at high speed and on a constant bearing with decreasing range. 1426 [LOG:] NOTICED NORMAL STEAMING ENSIGN SHOT AWAY DURING AIR ATTACK HOLIDAY SIZE ENSIGN HOISTED ON PORT YARDARM. [CAPT. McGonagle:] About this time I noticed that our Ensign had been shot away during the air attack and ordered DAVID, signalman, to hoist a second Ensign from the yardarm. During the air attack, our normal Ensign was flying. Before the torpedo attack, a holiday size Ensign was hoisted. ? ??????? ??? ???? ?? ????? I could to standby for torpedo attack from starboard. [CAPT. McGonagle:] I did not have an accurate ship's position at this time, but I knew that to the left of the ship's course at that time lie shoal waters and by turning to the left I would be approaching land closer than had been given me in directives which I held in that instant in time. I realized that if I attempted to turn to starboard, I would expose a larger target to the torpedo boats. I elected to maintain a heading of 283 at maximum speed. 1428 [LOG:] MTB SIGNALLING BY FLASHING LIGHT FROM STBD QUARTER. LIGHT OBSCURED BY DENSE SMOKE FROM BURNING MOTOR WHALEBOAT. [CAPT. McGonagle:] When the boats reached an approximate range of 2,000 yards, the center boat of the formation was signaling to us. Also, at this range, it appeared that they were flying an Israeli flag. This was later verified. It was not possible to read the signals from the center torpedo boat because of the intermittent blocking of view by smoke and flames. 1430 [LOG:] ONE ROUND FIRED BY MACHINE GUN 51. C.O. ORDERED HOLD FIRE. [CAPT. McGonagle:] At this time, I yelled to machine gun 51 to tell him to hold fire. I realized that there was a possibility of the aircraft having been Israeli and the attack had been conducted in error. I wanted to hold fire to see if we could read the signal from the torpedo boat and perhaps avoid additional damage and personnel injuries. The man on machine gun 51 fired a short burst at the boats before he was able to understand what I was attempting to have him do. 1431 [LOG:] MACHINE GUN 53 OPENED FIRE. C.O. SENT ENS LUCAS AROUND PORT SIDE OF BRIDGE TO GET MACHINE GUN 53 TO CEASE FIRING [CAPT. McGonagle:] Instantly, on machine gun 51 opening fire machine gun 53 began firing at the center boat. From the starboard wing of the bridge, 03 level, I observed that the fire from machine gun 53 was extremely effective and blanked the area and the center torpedo boat. It was not possible to get to mount 53 from the starboard wing of the bridge. I sent Mr. LUCAS around the port side of the bridge, around to the skylights, to see if he could tell QUINTERO, whom I believed to be the gunner on Machine gun 53, to hold fire until we were able to clarify the situation. He reported back in a few minutes in effect that he saw no one at mount 53. [CAPT. McGonagle:] On further recollection of the event involving machine gun 53 firing, the effectiveness of the firing leads me to believe that a person, whom I believe to be QUINTERO, Boatswain Mate Seaman, to have been on station at machine gun 53 and took the torpedo boats under fire. It is possible that he evacuated his station as a result of the fire and flames from the motor whaleboat prior to Ensign Lucas' arriving to determine who was on the mount. [49] [CAPT. McGonagle:] As far as the torpedo boats are concerned, I am sure that they felt that they were under fire from USS LIBERTY. [39] 1431 [LOG:] WORD PASSED TO STANDBY FOR TORPEDO ATTACK TO STARBOARD. MTB COMMENCED STRAFING STARBOARD SIDE OF SHIP 1434 [LOG:] TORPEDO PASSED 75 YARDS ASTERN OF SHIP. [CAPT. McGonagle:] At this time, they opened fire with their gun mounts and in a matter of seconds, one torpedo was noted crossing astern of the ship at about 25 yards. The time that this torpedo crossed the stern in believed to be about 1426. 1435 [LOG:] TORPEDO HIT STARBOARD SIDE AMIDSHIPS. TWENTY SIX MEN DIED AS A RESULT OF THE TORPEDO HIT AND MTB STRAFING FIRE. [CAPT. McGonagle:] About 1427, without advance warning, the ship sustained a torpedo hit starboard side forward, immediately below the waterline in the vicinity of the coordination center. The ship immediately took a 9 degree list to starboard. Oil and debris were noted coming from the starboard side following the explosion. There was no major resultant fire from this explosion. 1435 [LOG:] LOST ELECTRICAL POWER THROUGHOUT THE SHIP. 1436 [LOG:] LOST STEAM PRESSURE - SECURED ENGINES AND BOILERS MANY GUAGES AND METERS IN FIREROOM AND ENGINE ROOM WERE KNOCKED OUT. TORPEDO HIT IN RESEARCH COORDINATION CENTER WHERE APPROXIMATELY TWENTY MEN WERE AT G.Q. STATIONS. THESE SPACES FLOODED INSTANTLY AND MOST PERSONNEL IN THIS SPACE DIED OF EITHER BLAST OR DROWNING. NO SIGNS OF LIFE EMINATING FROM COORDINATION CENTER AND ADJACENT SPACES WHICH COULD NOT BE OPENED WITHOUT DANGER OF FLOODING OTHER SPACES. [130-131] [CAPT. McGonagle:] The explosion caused the ship to come dead in the water. Steering control was lost. All power was lost. [CAPT. McGonagle:] Immediately, I determined that the ship was in no danger of sinking and did not order the destruction of classified material and did not order any preparations to be made to abandon ship. [CAPT. McGonagle:] It was my intention to ground the ship on shoal areas to the left of the ship's track to prevent its sinking, if necessary. I believed that, if the ship was in a sinking condition, we would not be able to reach sufficiently deep water to avoid recovery of classified material on board. 1440 [LOG:] MTB'S STANDING AWAY FROM THE SHIP. ONE MTB HAS HULL NUMBER 206-17 [CAPT. McGonagle:] Immediately after the ship was struck by the torpedo, the torpedo boats stopped dead in the water and milled around astern of the ship at a range of approximately 500 to 8?0 yards. 1503 [LOG:] ONE MTB RETURNED TO SHIP AND SIGNALLED "DO YOU NEED HELP" IN ENGLISH C.O. SIGNALLED "NEGATIVE" [CAPT. McGonagle:] One of the boats signaled by flashing light, in English, "do you require assistance"? We had no means to communicate with the boat by light but hoisted code lima india. The signal intended to convey the fact that the ship was maneuvering with difficulty and that they should keep clear. [CAPT. McGonagle:] Reports received from damage control central indicated the location of the torpedo hit and that flooding boundaries had been established and that the flooding was under control. [CAPT. McGonagle:] During the strafing by the torpedo boats, and immediately prior to being hit by the torpedo, quartermaster third BROWN, who was acting as helmsman at the time, was felled at his station. [CAPT. McGonagle:] The mess decks were designated casualty collection station and casualties were taken to the collection station by repair party personnel and other members of the crew able to assist. Following the torpedo hit, those personnel from the research area who were able to so, left their stations. [CAPT. McGonagle:] One of the torpedo boats was identified by a hull number of 204-17. Pictures were taken of the torpedo boats prior to and subsequent to the attack. [41] 1505 [LOG:] MTB'S RETIRED TOWARD SHORE 1507 [LOG:] HELICOPTER BEARING STAR OF DAVID MARKINGS APPROACHED SHIP. PORT SIDE, HOVERING AT ABOUT 500 YDS DISTANCE. 1508 [LOG:] SECOND HELICOPTER APPROACHED SHIP. MARKINGS 0N HELICOPTERS ARE 04 AND 08 OR D4 AND D8 HELICOPTER MADE REPEATED PASSES AROUND AND OVER SHIP. THEY WERE NOT OBSERVED TO PICK UP ANY BODIES, PERSONS OR DEBRIS. [CAPT. McGonagle:] About 1515, two helicopters approached the ship and circled around and around the ship at a distance of about 100 yards. The ensignia the Star of David was clearly visible. Hull number on one of the helicopters was 04 or D4. The other had a hull number of 08 or D8. It was not known whether these helicopters intended to strafe the ship or not. However, they did not approach the ship in a hostile manner, but kept pointed parallel to the ship as they continued around and never made a direct approach as such. They were not taken under fire by Liberty, nor did they fire at us. 1519 [LOG:] POWER RESTORED TO BRIDGE BUT RUDDER DID NOT ANSWER - CONTINUED STEERING FROM AFTER STEERING. 1536 [LOG:] MTB'S APPROACHING SHIP STARBOARD SIDE 7-8 MILES DISTANT. DURING NEXT HOUR AND A QUARTER THE MTB'S RETURNED TO THE SHIP ____?____HOVES AND BY 1713 THEY HAD RETIRED OUT OF SIGHT OVER THE HORIZON. [CAPT. McGonagle:] The torpedo boats left the general area of the ship at about 1515. About 1537, after they had departed the ship and gone to a range of about five miles, they again headed toward the ship at high speed. Their intentions were unknown. 1615 [LOG:] TWO UNIDENTIFIED JET A/C APPROACHED SHIP FROM THE STEB SIDE AND RECONNOITERED FROM A DISTANCE. [CAPT. McGonagle:] At about this same time two unidentified jet aircraft were also noted approaching the ship from our starboard side, in similar fashion to that which preceded the initial attack. All hands were again alerted to the possibility of repeated attacks. No attacks occurred however, and the jets disappeared from the scene. [CAPT. McGonagle:] At about 1637, the torpedo boats commenced retiring from the area without further signal or action. [Ensign Lucas:] To the best of my knowledge, when I did return to the bridge, the only people present were the Commanding Officer, one phone talker, who was lying on the deck in the chart room, quartermaster BROWN on the helm and myself. Before I went back to the bridge, we had received word over the phones that were working, we had very little communication as such, the 1MC was hit and not functioning. The only communications we had were via sound-powered phones. We had received the word "standby for a torpedo attack". It was very shortly after I returned to the bridge the Commanding Officer hollered in to pass over all circuits, "standby for another torpedo attack, starboard side". [Ensign Lucas:] The torpedo hit and it seemed like within a matter of seconds we had a ten degree starboard list. Shortly after that the Commanding Officer called me to the starboard wing, asked me to get some glasses to try to help him identify the patrol craft. He had been using his binoculars and was also taking photographs of the aircraft and of the three patrol craft. I did not actually see any of the aircraft. I was able to read the hull number on one patrol craft as it passed abeam to starboard, going in exactly the opposite direction that we were going, and it was at this time I told the Commanding Officer what the number was. He said, "log it". Which I did, in the quartermasters notebook. At that time, there was no quartermaster available. [Ensign Lucas:] This was the first entry that I made in the log. I continued to make entries for approximately the next 45 minutes. There were still just the four people on the bridge. This was the Commanding Officer, third class quartermaster BROWN on the helm, and seaman LAMAR on the sound-powered phones, and myself. [Ensign Lucas:] The captain warned us to take cover, the shelling started again. Everyone took cover as best we could. There were shells, or fragments of shells, flying in through the starboard hatch, which no one had been able to secure. A quartermaster, when these shells started flying, stepped back from the helm to get as much protection from the corner of the chart room as possible. He still had his hand, one hand on the wheel. I was two paces to his left, and two paces behind him. A fragment hit him, I think from behind. It must have come through the bulkhead in the chart room. He let out a gasp, fell backwards into the chart room, and within say a minute, was dead. [Ensign Lucas:] I grabbed the helm, noticed that I had no power at all, the gyro repeater was not functioning, the rudder angle indicator was not functioning. None of the instruments there were working. We had been attempting to get away from the area as fast as possible, on an approximate course of 000. The Captain asked what the current heading was. We were turning in a fairly good sized arc at that time. I had no indication of how much rudder I had on. I could not correct it to steer something close to 000 magnetic. We get the phone talker to contact after steering and shifted control to after steering. Even after control was shifted, the people back there were having a difficult time. I think to start with, they were steering by hand. [Ensign Lucas:] There was some firing from the patrol boats. They had periodically fired at us. There was now a lull in the firing. [Ensign Lucas:] And yet, it sounded as if the men at mount 53, this would be the 03 level starboard side aft of the pilothouse, it sounded as if they were firing at the patrol craft who at that time were within a thousand yards at an approximate relative bearing of 120. The Commanding Officer was on the starboard wing and had these patrol craft in view. He ordered me to tell the men on mount 53 to cease firing. A fire had started at this time on the starboard side. The hit had occurred somewhere in the vicinity of the bridge. The flames had gone back to the motor whaleboat, and it was burning rapidly at that time. I could not see mount 53 from the starboard side. I went out the port hatch. The first thing I noticed was mount 54 was vacant. The flames from the liferaft and the P-250 fuel had reached mount 54 and chased everyone out of there. I ran back to mount 54, looked over the skylight from the engineering spaces. Had a clear view of mount 53 from, say the waste level up, and there was no one on mount 53. The flames from the motor whaleboat were coming over the lip of the mount. I assume that the bullets that were in the gun, or bullets that were in a ready service ammunition box, very near there, were cooking off and firing. I ran back, reported to the Commanding Officer, that there was no one firing from mount 53, that the flames must be causing the bullets to cook off. [Ensign Lucas:] Mount 51 and 52 on the forecastle had been long silent by this time. Many of the men, there were three assigned to each mount, many of the men were killed on the first strafing attack. When I first did look forward at the mounts, there was one man cut in half on mount 51, and it looked as if there were at least two men in mount 52 who were severed. [Ensign Lucas:] After that time, I believe there was just one more shot fired. A seaman, LARKINS, was told to man mount 51, either told or he volunteered to, and he got off one shot, the Commanding Officer hollered for him to cease fire, which he did. I can recall no further firing from either side after that time. The Commanding Officer hollered "cease fire", and it was approximately at this time the patrol craft were bearing approximately 160 relative. [Ensign Lucas:] One of them was trying to signal us. The smoke from the motor whaleboat almost completely obscured the patrol craft from us. There was a second class signalman, DAVID, on the starboard wing. None of us were able to determine what the signaling was - the smoke was too intense. [Ensign Lucas:] Shortly after that, another patrol craft approached us from the starboard side and did manage to get clear of the smoke. The signalman took the message, "do you need help? ". The Commanding Officer told signalman DAVID to give a negative reply. [Ensign Lucas:] We still did not know the identity of the patrol craft itself other than the fact than we had gotten the hull number earlier. This appeared to be one of the same three boats that had attacked us earlier. The patrol craft then appeared to rendezvous at two to three thousand yards astern of us, a relative bearing of 200. [Ensign Lucas:] A helicopter was sighted, and then a second helicopter. Signalman DAVID who is very knowledgeable on aircraft and who had also been looking at Janes Aircraft several days prior to be attack, stated, "those aren't ours, they're Russian made, Sikorsky models". One of the helos came close to the port wing, came down to our level, and we tried to communicate with each other, but had no success. I was told to go to the forecastle to see if I could aid in a sling drop. It appeared as if they wanted to lower someone on the ship. We still could not get our signals straight. When I did get on the forecastle, I saw the Commanding Officer waving his arms in a negative sign. We waived the helicopter away from the area of the forecastle. It went back to the port wing again. Eventually, someone in the helo wrapped up a package of some sort and threw it to the people on the bridge. To the best of my recollection the people on the bridge were the Commanding Officer, signalman DAVID and a Chief petty Officer THOMPSON. The package had a calling card attached to it and it either said, "U. S. Naval Attach‚, Tel Aviv", or merely, "Naval Attach‚, Tel Aviv". [Ensign Lucas:] We did get the numbers of both helicopters in the quartermasters log. They were either "04 or D4" and "08 or D8". There also appeared to be a "Star of David" on the side of the helo. The helo was waved away shortly after the calling card was thrown over, we saw no more of the helos. Q. Did the motor torpedo boats fire on you with ordnance other than torpedoes? [Ensign Lucas:] Yes, they did. This we could easily hear. I can recall it coming from the starboard side on several occasions. At the time quartermaster BROWN was on the helm, the fragment that caught him came from the starboard side and I can't be sure if it was from the gun boats or from our own shells baking off. I'm pretty sure it was from the gun boats. And there were several other occasions of obvious shelling from the torpedo or motor boats themselves. [Ensign Lucas:] At one time, while the torpedo boats were firing at us, my man in charge of mount 53, seaman QUINTERO, hollered to me, "should I fire back?", and I gave him an affirmative on that. This was before he and the other men in mount 53 had been chased away by the fire and flames from the motor whaleboat. Q. Do you recall that the patrol boats strafed the ship after the torpedo attack, and if so, how many times? [Ensign Lucas:] Sir, I cannot honestly answer that. Q. Let me put the question a little bit differently - earlier in your statement you observed that the patrol boats were attempting to communicate with flashing light? [Ensign Lucas:] This was definitely after the torpedo attack. Q. The flashing lights from the boats were after the torpedo attack? [Ensign Lucas:] Yes, that is correct. Q. I also understood from you that the ship was unable to respond to the flashing lights from the boats? [Ensign Lucas:] To the first signaling, that is affirmative, because the smoke that was between the patrol craft and us. Q. And I believe, also, the starboard wing 24-inch searchlight had been shot away earlier in the action. Is that not correct? [Ensign Lucas:] The only signaling light we had available was a small portable light, the face of which was approximately six inches in diameter. Q. I believe that is called an Altis Lamp and the intensity of that light, from personal knowledge, would probably be completely inadequate to penetrate the smoke? [Ensign Lucas:] Yes sir. All power to all of the other lights was off. Even if it had been on, there was only one operative light on either the 03 or 04 level. The only one that had not been hit. Q. To the best of your recollection, after the motor torpedo boats signaled, were there any further attacks from them? [Ensign Lucas:] No, there were not. After this first signaling, I don't believe so. After they signaled "do you need help?", and we answered in the negative, I am positive there were no more attacks after that time. Q. With regard to the signal from the torpedo boats, when did you first observe the signaling, with respect to the torpedo attack? [Ensign Lucas:] The first signaling that I observed was the unsuccessful attempts to determine what they were signaling us, and of course, we did not have a chance to answer back to them. This was after the torpedo attacks. The only other signaling that I recall seeing is when we did successfully receive their message and sent a negative answer to it Q. A question if you please - would you be kind enough to expand on the performance of duty of a young man mentioned earlier in your testimony, named LARKINS? [Ensign Lucas:] Seaman LARKINS helps man mount 54, 03 level, port side, as his general quarters station. He was on that mount, and stayed on that mount, until the fire coming from the 01 level chased him away. He did recall seeing a plane approaching from the port side and lobbing a cylinder that was attached under the wing. A cylinder five to six feet long, approximately ten inches in diameter. This cylinder approached the 01 level port side in an end over end fashion. After it hit, and the fire started, he climbed over the skylight to mount 53 and helped the gun crew there until the fire from the motor whaleboat drove all people away from that mount. I later personally saw him helping to extinguish the fire on the port side and still later, he, by himself, manned mount 51 and fired one shot before he received a cease fire from the Commanding Officer. [LT. Golden:] Within a few minutes we were doing 86 rpms, until there was a hit and I lost electrical power. We went dead in the water. 1435 [ENG. LOG:] lost electrical power due to hit believed to be torpedo. There was a vibration from this hit that knocked two people in the engine room off of ladders from the upper platform to the lower platform. It vibrated a light out of its socket. It knocked both generators off the line. Also lost communications to the bridge at this time. 1450 [ENG. LOG:] put number three generator to atmospheric ballast. 1453 [ENG. LOG:] generator on the line. During this period of time, there were both 20mms and two other smaller caliber bullets coming through the bulkhead from the starboard side from approximately frames 80 to 95. [LT. Golden:] The last entry in the engineer's bell book was for 1405 when the bridge rang up for flank speed. There were no more entries in the engineer's bell book after 1405. President: Tell me again, Lieutenant GOLDEN, how long your records or your memory indicates that you were without power after your circuit breakers tripped out and you lost the load? [LT. Golden:] From 15 to 20 minutes, I think sir. Q. And your record shows that you lost the load at what time? [LT. Golden:] Lost electrical power at 1435 and regained electrical power at 1453. President: Let the record show at this point, as a matter which is germane to all of the testimony wherein sequential and accurate times are desirable but unavailable. That the early rocket attack against this ship shot and stopped, in some cases permanently and in others only temporarily, ships clocks through the ship. This fact has become increasingly evident throughout testimony received as well as in informal discussions with LIBERTY personnel. [Chief Lamkin:] I don't remember any of the time lapse during that time but I do remember them announcing to prepare for a torpedo attack starboard side. I told the men to brace themselves, to lay down on the deck if at all possible. The torpedo hit, it seemed like it was quite a while before the torpedo actually hit and the time we were told to prepare ourselves. The torpedo hit, there was an explosion, immediate smoke and immediate list. Again we sent parties forward to investigate the resulting damage, so on and so forth, and any assistance that was needed. At this time I went back up, I was going to radio central I asked the men there if any kind of message had gotten out and they said it had. I asked them if they had means of communication there and they said they hadn't a voice transmitter they could key there in the blind. They weren't keying it at the time. I told them to keep keying it in the blind as often as possible. They immediately did so. From this time on I just spent most of my time from repair three and the radio transmitter room. There was quite a time lapses, I don't remember exactly how long. The thing I do remember is I started out the door and I could hear the motor torpedo boats or at least one of them to our port side. I looked out, but all I could see was the top of it. I immediately came back in and told the men to hit the deck. There was no firing or anything like this which surprised me, because at the time I figured they were just coming in to finish us off. Again, I say I don't remember the time lapse, but I was in there quite awhile when I heard aircraft. They first announced that an aircraft was coming in our area. I told all men to stay inside and keep low. Q. How did your men react to this? [Chief Lamkin:] The men reacted fantastic as far as I'm concerned in the repair party. We had men that had never had experience before. There was one occasion where a man panicked on me, he started crying and screaming. I gave him a hit, and he came out of it. I remember seeing one boy throwing up. He had evidently seen one of the bodies that they had brought down. Other than that the response was excellent. There seemed to be naturally the fear that you would expect, but no panic. Counsel for the Court: Very good, are there any questions from members of the court? President: What can you tell me with a little more detail, chief, about this keying the transmitter? Who was in there in charge? [Chief Lamkin:] I can't remember his name sir, our second class radioman. I'm sorry, I can't think of his name. I remember the man explicitly, he was in there, there was a couple of radiomen in there, there was also an ET in there, working with the different transmitters. They told me they had them transmitting and a message had gotten out. The ET was doing everything possible checking the various transmitters. They only had one that was capable of transmitting voice at that time. I did tell them to keep keying it regardless. Each time he was keying it he noted that he was keying in the blind. Q. But no receivers? [Chief Lamkin:] Yes sir, no receivers. He did keep trying it continuously. Q. What was he transmitting? [Chief Lamkin:] The exact words, I can't remember but he was transmitting, I don't remember the call, he was transmitting that we were under attack, we had been attacked by aircraft, we had sustained a torpedo hit, and the list I believe of the ship. Counsel for the Court: Did you hear any report of the possible jamming of the transmitter? [Chief Lamkin:] Yes, sir I did. I heard this later from Radioman Chief SMITH. He said that definitely that he had notice that the jamming was so loud that, the jamming was so loud that he thought at first that it was our transmitters which were malfunctioning but he noted, regardless of frequency, this loud jamming noise. At that time we weren't aware of what they were transmitting at radio central. This is one reason I stressed the fact that the men keep transmitting. Mr. Feingerscnh: Do you know Chief what circuit they were trying to transmit on, which net they were on? [Chief Lamkin:] No sir I don't, all I know is that it was voice transmission and I really couldn't say. I did ask them if they had receiving capability and they said no they were transmitting in the blind. President: What repair party has the responsibility of buttoning up up there in the research spaces? [Chief Lamkin:] The research spaces up forward, I believe that is repair two sir, But at this time there were men dispensed all over. I had repair three men up there, also repair three alpha, which is an assist party. They were dispensed. We were also fighting this fire. President: What outfit was up there after the torpedo hit? Would that have been repair two? [Chief Lamkin:] We dispersed repair three then, immediately, I was trying to think because right after we sustained the hit, I believe it was petty officer Neece, which is one of damage control petty officers. I have two damage control petty officers, petty officer Neece and Smith, and to my recollection it was Neece who grabbed the men and went up there. [LTJG Painter:] So I left and went back to Repair Three, and, I don't know how long, time was slipping by so fast at this time, after that we had our first torpedo attack. It came over, well the 1MC was out, it came over the sound powered phones, "prepare for torpedo attack starboard side." So, we prepared for a torpedo attack starboard side, which we received in midships. I can't say exactly what time it was, maybe 1435. Well, the ship at this time as soon as the torpedo hit midships, we began to develop a starboard list very quickly. So quickly that I felt as though we were probably going to lose it. [LTJG Painter:] At this time, the DC central passed the word to prepare to abandon ship. We then filed out to our life rafts which were no longer with us because they had been strafed and most of them were burned, so we knocked most of them over the side. [LTJG Painter:] At this time the torpedo boats, three of them, that had torpedoed us, were laying off, waiting for us to sink, I believe. Anyway, they didn't come near us at this time. However, we were able to maintain the ship and stablize it. It didn't sink. [LTJG Painter:] So the Captain said that everyone could go back to general quarters stations. At this time I went back to Repair Three on the mess decks along with the rest of my repair party. All during this time in Repair Three, my men were fighting fires and knocking burning liferafts, etc. So we were kept fairly busy down in Repair Three the whole time. Also they were checking bulkheads and shoring where needed. After I went back there, after the torpedo attack, we waited for what seemed like many, many hours but I imagine it was only 20 or 30 minutes; and in that time we were checking out the torpedo hit midships and doing what was necessary to prevent further flooding. [LTJG Painter:] About 30 minutes later we had word from the Captain that torpedo boats were approaching us again and to prepare for another torpedo attack starboard side. And I know that if another torpedo had hit us, it would have sunk us, so I told the men to standby to abandon ship. We prepared to abandon ship in case we were hit the second time. [LTJG Painter:] At this time we were dead in the water with no steerage. However, we were able to regain our steerage by manual means and able to make approximately five to six knots. The pit log was out, we were just guessing by the number of turns that were being made. We tried to maintain a course, this time, I'm not really sure, it was either 300 or 320 to take us out of there. [LTJG Painter:] After we had gotten underway, an Israeli helicopter came out and asked us if we wanted aid; well, they didn't ask us, they just came along side and acted like they wanted to help, but we waved them off. [LT. Pfeiffer :] A message while I was in the main battle dressingstation, they had announced to be prepared for a torpedo attack, and the torpedo hit and suddenly the ship started listing to starboard, rolled, becoming 9 degrees in a matter of a few seconds. At that time, Van Cleave and myself and as many people as we could get, we went down to the mess decks to try to evacuate anyone that we could from there in case the ship started going down. We were told that the destruction bill had been put into effect. The ship was stabilized after a couple of minutes and then I got the word to go to the wardroom and to the bridge. When I got to the bridge, the Captain had put a tourniquet on his own leg. He had lost a large amount of blood, but there was nothing I could do at this time. He was the only officer aboard at that time. The only other officer that I could find was Ensign O'Malley. I told him of the situation on the bridge, where the Captain had been injured and was the last officer I could find up there and suggested that he be prepared to go to the bridge if necessary. [LT. Pfeiffer :] We then returned to the main dressing station, just in time to have a rocket land on the overhead near the clean room, and at this time the lights in the main dressing station went out. We decided at that time that we certainly couldn't care for the wounded in the situation that we were. We were told to brace ourselves for a second torpedo attack, and the only thing we could do was go inside and find a couple of the wounded on the floor to find places where they weren't wounded and lay across their bodies so in case the torpedo did hit they wouldn't be thrown around. I could hold on to one of the uprights, but they certainly couldn't. We decided at that time, that the only place where we could take care of the men was on the mess decks. The ship had stabilized. We went to the engineroom to find out what had happened, if the engines had been damaged, or, if it would be a point of moving the men to the mess decks and then having the ship go down than having them die there. We found that as far an it went that the damage had been brought under control. [LT. Pfeiffer :] We evacuated the men to the mess decks. We had just that morning finished resterilizing supplies in the forward battle dressing station. They were still in the autoclave. When we went to the autoclave, we got as many men who could walk as possable, took them to the main dressing station and gave them supplies, it was dark and we couldn't really see what we were handling then, and they took it to main deck and piled it on the table. At that time was the first time we could evaluate the condition of the wounded. There was no question of our ability to keep records or anything at that point. We just couldn't. The only way we could tell if someone had been given morphine, when we gave it to him, we stuck a needle through an article of clothing on him. We got some gauze and hung the bottles from the lights in the mess decks. At that time it became evident that many of the men were going to require further surgery, but we established in a major hospital surgery is something that is done by three doctors, two nurrses, and a support team outside, and that here we would be able to have myself and one corpsman. We obviously weren't going to do any unless it was a life or death emergency. So we went on with it and tried to stablize the people who were in shock, giving fluids. Then I organized a couple of teams of men. At that time we still had not found out what had happened. The men were confused, they couldn't understand where was the Sixth Fleet or where was the Air Force. Someone had told us that there was an Israeli helicopter outside, and it bolstered our morale a little bit, but we tried to find out the answers to the question, "is anybody going to help us?" "Or can we got messages out?" Does anyone know we're hit, and how badly?" At this time, sir, we had organized teams to start from one end of the mess decks, we'd gotten surgical soap and water, supplies of sterile dressings, and started cleaning the wounds again as best we could. I went up to the bridge to see the Captain. The Captain had lost a tremendous amount of blood and was showing symptoms of early shock. The men who were showing symptoms of shock, the people that we couldn't get fluids to had just overrun the medical facilities for the while. We had been giving out water, salt pills, bicarbinate soda, just to replace the fluids with anything that we could. [LT. Pfeiffer :] Now we had intravenous fluids that we were able to give them, but the Captain was showing the early symptoms. He said that he was feeling weak every time that he got up and was perspiring and was beginning to show one of the earlier signs of shock which is excessive anxiety. It's hard to think of how anxiety at that point could be described as excessive, but he had been talking about medical things that he had ascribed as a tremendous urgency to, and I just had interpreted this as a sign of shock. I told Mr. Lucas, the First Lieutenant, who was at the bridge about this and told him to be on the watch for this, dress the Captain's leg, remove the tourniquet, and went back below. Q. Did you see many burns? [LT. Pfeiffer :] We had a moderate number of burn injuries. None of which were major burns. Q. Was there any substance similar to naplam causation? [LT. Pfeiffer :] Some persons may have been. I never inquired of anyone because again we had burns of hands, a few flash burns of face. But I didn't treated anyone that I would think of as having a napalm burn. Q. What would you say about the morale subtribution on the ship during that trying period of the action and person of the Commanding Officer? [LT. Pfeiffer :] The Commanding Officer at that time was like a rock upon which the rest of the men supported themselves. To know that he was on the bridge grievously wounded, yet having the con and the helm and through the night calling every change of course, was the thing that told the men, "we're going to live." When I went to the bridge and I saw this, I should say that I knew that I could only insult this man by suggesting that he be taken below for treatment of his wounds. I didn't even suggest it. [Ensign Scott:] The next thing, we were told by the bridge to stand by for torpedo attack starboard side. The torpedo hit at approximately, somewhere between 1425 and 1445. As soon as the torpedo hit, I called main control. I don't keep a damage control log as such, my repair parties do. They log messages they receive in a book. Neither one of them, as soon as the attack started, kept a log. I kept message blanks coming into repair parties, but they were not timed. I had about ten or twelve message blanks prior to the torpedo hitting. I had the main damage, I had the large hole in the back berthing compartment, I had the hold in the diagnostic room, I had the two fires, the fires under control and one of them logged as out. But when the torpedo hit, the logroom in damage control central was in a shambles, the safe door blew open, logs went flying off the shelves, we were knocked on the deck, and shortly thereafter the order was passed down to set the destruction bill. And with that, we didn't bother to write down our messages anymore. Myself, my 1JV talker, and my 2JV talker commenced burning all confidential messages and pubs in DC central. Q. That's fine. Tell me a little about your shoring. [Ensign Scott:] It was necessary, after we investigated the diagnostic room, which is directly above the vicinity which the torpedo hit, I went in, it was next to DC central, I went in with the DC investigator from repair two. We saw the level of the water rising. I stuck my hand in the hole. It came out with black, black oil. With that I said, "It's still rising, we're going to have to shore-it." We brought shoring in and mattresses from the engineering berthing compartment and commenced shoring. We found another rupture out in the passageway and it was bulged out, but we had that area pretty well under control. Q. To establish the watertight boundary after the torpedo attack, was there any question about anyone being left alive in the spaces below? [Ensign Scott:] No sir. When I saw the black oil coming up, I knew it had ruptured the fuel tanks. I went down to main control. I called them first and told them I had ruptured tanks up here, and told them not to take inspections from these tanks. Later on in the morning, I went down to main control and told them to take inspections from starboard tanks but not those two to correct the list. We went over to twelve degrees, and came back to ten. About 0500 in the morning we were down to about a 6 degrees list. [Chief Thompson:] Time is difficult to recall. Then I was alone and word was passed over sound powered phones to DC Central to standby for a torpedo attach. This was passed two or three times, and I believe it was on the first time it was passed that we got hit. It seemed to take quite awhile for the torpedo to hit. The explosion wasn't too loud where we were. The deck lifted about a foot I'd day, and then we settled right way to a starboard list to about ten degrees. Although at the time it seemed a little greater. Then we were strafed at about the same time. I couldn't say whether it was before or after by the patrol boats. At first I thought it was the ammunition box over the repair locker where the ammunition had gotten hot and was exploding, then we determined that it was a strafing attack. The sound would coupled with my sighting of the torpedo boats later would indicate 50 caliber and 40 mm. There were several holes in the forecastle and the area around the repair locker. Nobody was hit inside. Later on the bridge asked for signalmen from various places on the ship. Nobody seamed to be available so I said I couldn't read flags but I could read light. They said they didn't need me at this time and that they wanted me to stay in the repair locker. [Chief Thompson:] Word was passed again to standby for torpedo attack starboard side and again the word went out for signalmen. Once again I told them I could not read flags, but if I could be of service. I was asked to report to the bridge, which I did. When I got up there, signalman David was attempting to rig a hand light. I assisted him. We went to the starboard wing of the bridge and one torpedo boat was making a run straight at us off the starboard beam while the other two stood off. At the Captain's directions, David sent "US Naval Ship" ''US Naval Ship." When they were about 500 yards off, the torpedo boat turned astern and came up on the stern on the starboard side and flashed, "do you need help?'' Q. Was this before the torpedo hit? [Chief Thompson:] This was after the torpedo hit us, and we were surprised by the attack. The Captain was giving us word. He said, "no, thank you." We sent this back to the boat, and our steering was somewhat erratic and they came up on the port side then. David went across, I followed him, and saw on the last part of that message, David said, "Do you want us to standby?" I passed this word to the Captain. He said, "no, thank you." We sent this to the patrol boat. They came up along port side, I say roughly 100 yards off, flashed "good luck" and dropped astern along with the other two which had come up to the stern, to a mile or a mile and a half back, just about out of sight. Then they made one high speed run directly astern and somewhere between a quarter and a half mile back made a U-turn and disappeared. That was the last we saw of them. FINDINGS: 20. Motor Torpedo Boat attack on LIBERTY. Twenty minutes following air attack, MTB's closed ship to a position 2000 yards on starboard quarter and signaled ship by flashing light. At this time ship had been making turns for FLANK speed for 9 minutes (Estimated SOA 15-17 knots). Holiday ensign was flying from the starboard yardarm for at least five minutes before torpedo attack was launched. LIBERTY 50 cal. guns opened fire while the MTS was signaling. The torpedo attack was launched shortly after the MTBs were fired upon, and MTB's strafed the ship with machine gun fire as, at least, one MTB passed down the starboard side. 25. PT attack first developed from starboard side and was identified as a high speed run in. Center and lead PT began flashing signal light and very shortly thereafter the Commanding Officer identified the Star of David flag on this lead boat. LIBERTY's signal light had been shot away requiring dependence upon an Aldis lamp to try and penetrate the smoke on the bearing of the PTs. 26. The Commanding Officer had passed word to stand by for torpedo attack and the forward starboard 50 cal. fired a very short burst in the direction of the boats on the gunner's own initiative. Having seen Israeli flag on the PT, the Commanding Officer waved to the forward gunner to cease firing. The after starboard gun, opened up at this point, with apparently no one pulling the trigger. The bridge could not see this gun for smoke and flame on the starboard side, so the Commanding Officer sent a runner to tell him cease fire. Before this runner could reach the after starboard gun, effective high volume fire from this gun was peppering the water around the middle PT. It appears as though 50 Cal. ammunition was cooking off from intense fire. The gun was seen to be firing with no one manning it. 5. The immediate confusion milling around astern followed by peaceful overtures by the attacking surface forces after launching only two torpedoes of the six presumed available (two on each PT boat), indicate these craft may well have identified the colors for the first time when they got in close enough to see clearly through the smoke and flames billowing, at times above the mast head. 27. The reaction of all three PTs immediately after launch, when they stopped and milled around close aboard LIBERTY and then offered help by signal light, combine to indicate this was the first time the U. S. large colors flying were actually positively identified. Not having signal lights available, the Commanding Officer then made the international flaghoist meaning, "Not Under Command." 24. Offers of assistance. Post air attack signaling by MTB's (before torpedo attack), may have been an offer of assistance. Thirty minutes after attacking LIBERTY the MTBs signaled in English, "Do you need help?" Two hours and 10 minutes after torpedo attack (2 hours 40 minutes after air attack) an Israeli helo apparently offered assistance.

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Jim Ennes and Joe Meadors

USS Liberty