Statement of Richard Sturman
In June 1982, fifteen-years after the attack, the survivors who could be located reunited for their first time in Washington, D.C. During that emotional, soul wrenching, and at times traumatic weekend, time and again what was discussed with incredulity was how our government, without challenge or dispute, was allowing the State of Israel to present their version of the attack to the American people as fact.
One result of that weekend was that the USS LIBERTY VETERANS ASSOCIATION
came into being so the remaining survivors and former crewmen could be located, to pay tribute to our Commanding Officer, Captain McGonagle and to our ship, USS LIBERTY. But more importantly, we gather to sustain the memory of our 34 friends and shipmates who gave their lives in the service of their country.
Disgracefully, before awarding the Congressional Medal of Honor to our Commanding Officer for his heroic deeds our government first asked the government of the State of Israel if they had any objections.
The Medal of Honor was then presented in a Washington, D.C. Naval Shipyard by the Secretary of the Navy. Hours later, then-President Lyndon Johnson awarded similar Medals of Honor at the White House with all the pomp and circumstance accorded the recipient of our country's highest award for Valor. Furthermore, Captain McGonagle, is the only recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor in United States history who has not been accorded White House recognition.
So not to embarrass the State of Israel for their attacking the USS Liberty, there is no
mention in Captain McGonagle's Medal of Honor Citation or in any Citation awarded the USS Liberty and her crew as to the identity of our attackers. A practice unheard of in American military awards.