[29] At 1:48 pm, the Chief of Naval Operations requested dispatch of fighter aircraft to the ship's location. [citation needed]. The GTS (Gas Turbine Ship) John Sergeant had its bow extended, and its steam engine replaced with a General Electric gas turbine of 6,600 shp, connected to a reversible pitch propeller via reduction gearing. Foggtanker. The Navy said a large volume of unrelated high-precedence traffic, including intelligence intercepts related to the conflict, were being handled at the time; and that this combined with a shortage of qualified radiomen contributed to the delayed transmission of the withdrawal message. According to transcripts of intercepted radio communications, published by the U.S. National Security Agency, at about 2:30 pm, near the beginning of the torpedo boat attack, two IAF helicopters were dispatched to Liberty's location. At its peak in 1965, 189 hulls were stored there. [33] In a post-attack statement, the pilots said they saw no distinguishable markings or flag on the ship. [97], On 2 July 2003, the NSA released copies of these recordings and their translations and summaries. References Sources. More than 2,400 Liberty ships survived the war. Kislev told the pilots not to attack if there was any doubt about identification, and the Israeli Navy quickly contacted all of its vessels in the area. Liberty ships were a class of cargo ship built in the United States during World War II. [6] Others, including survivors of the attack, have rejected these conclusions and maintain that the attack was deliberate. Gross Tonnage: 7191 Propulsion: Triple Expansion, oil-fired steam Location: Construction & Misc. [citation needed], Some Liberty ships were lost after the war to naval mines that were inadequately cleared. Today above the resting place of that ship, a memorial has been erected that is a place of profound reverence. Eighteen American shipyards built 2,710 Liberty ships between 1941 and 1945 (an average of three ships every two days), easily the largest number of ships ever produced to a single design. John Sergeant was considered overall to be a success, but problems with the reversible pitch propeller ended its trial after three years. The Liberty Ships of World War II were an engineering and industrial solution to a specific military and political problem. The problem was that is was necessary to build merchant ships faster than the German Navy submarines could sink them, in order to supply the United Kingdom and sustain its war effort. ENROLLING NOW FOR GRADES K-12 . This was a new technique, so workers were inexperienced and engineers had little data to go on. Liberty ships had five cargo holds, three forward of the engine room and two aft (in the rear portion of the ship). In 1955, 22 ships in the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet were withdrawn to be loaded with grain and were then transferred to the Olympia Fleet. But the Egyptian ship – the El Quseir – was an unarmed 1920s-era horse carrier out of service in Alexandria, four times smaller than the Liberty, which bore virtually no resemblance to the Liberty. The last Liberty Ship built in the West Coast of the United States. Further, Barbour stated: "Had Israelis made such an inquiry it would have been forwarded immediately to the chief of naval operations and other high naval commands and repeated to dept [Department of State]."[15]. Captain Lyman K. Swenson commanded the cruiser, U.S.S. This section of List of Liberty ships is a sortable list of Liberty ships—cargo ships built in the United States during World War II—with names beginning with M through R. See also: List of Liberty ships: A-F List of Liberty ships: G-Je List of Liberty ships: Je-L List of Liberty ships: S-Z [20]:111 ff. Once communications were back on line, it was confirmed that the Israelis had attacked an American ship. Most bore the names of deceased people. Official testimony combined with Liberty 's deck log establish that throughout the morning of the attack, 8 June, the ship was overflown, at various times and locations, by IAF aircraft. Early Liberty Ships suffered hull and deck cracks, some of which led to fatal sinkings; for example, on 24 Nov 1943, SS John P. Gaines broke in half and sank, taking 10 men with her. Napalm and rockets were launched. The Liberty class was designed to fill a void in merchant marine ships as the United States rapidly ramped up its war effort. [25], On 27 September 1942 the SS Stephen Hopkins was the first (and only) US merchant ship to sink a German surface combatant during the war. [28]) The Head of Operations ordered that the report be verified, and that it be determined whether or not Israeli Navy vessels were off the coast of Arish. Ships sunk or damaged during March 1944 (23 ships) Date: Ship: Type: Cause: Result: Location: Deaths: 03/04/44: Joel R. Poinsett: Liberty: Split: Sunk: NAtlantic: None: 03/06/44: Daniel Chester French: Liberty: Mine: Sunk: Med-BlackSea: Crew 9; AG 4; Army 24: 03/06/44: Virginia Dare (GSA) Liberty: Mine: Sunk: Med-BlackSea: None: 03/07/44: Valera: Tanker (Panama) Torpedo: Sunk: Caribbean: Unknown: 03/07/44 [94], Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a critic of the official United States Government version of events, chaired a non-governmental investigation into the attack on the Liberty in 2003. Citing Ennes's book, Lenczowski notes: Liberty's personnel received firm orders not to say anything to anybody about the attack, and the naval inquiry was conducted in such a way as to earn it the name of "coverup".[52]. May their memory be blessed. Shortly before the Liberty's identity was confirmed, the Saratoga launched eight aircraft armed with conventional weapons towards Liberty. [75] Cristol wrote about Boston's professional qualifications and integrity, on page 149 of his book: Boston brought two special assets in addition to his skill as a Navy lawyer. For the most part, the senators were dismayed about the attack, as expressed by Senator Bourke B. Hickenlooper: "From what I have read I can't tolerate for one minute that this [attack] was an accident." The torpedo boats gave chase, but did not expect to overtake their target before it reached Egypt. Their sustained attack to disable and sink Liberty precluded an assault by accident or some trigger-happy local commander. The number was doubled in 1939 and again in 1940 to 200 ships a year. After arriving, one of the helicopter pilots was asked by his ground-based controller to verify that the ship was flying an American flag. [23] The vessel's location was marked on a CCC control table, using a red marker, indicating an unidentified vessel. In 1994, Jeremiah O'Brien steamed from San Francisco to England and France for the 50th anniversary of D-Day, the only large ship from the original Operation Overlord fleet to participate in the anniversary. Others tell me that the aircraft that were launched carried Bullpup missiles, which might easily be mistaken for nuclear bombs. On an earlier matter Boston had been willing to bump heads with Kidd when Boston felt it was more important to do the right thing than to curry favor with the senior who would write his fitness report. [24] About the same time, an Israeli jet fighter pilot reported that a ship 20 miles (32 km) north of Arish had fired at his aircraft after he tried to identify the vessel. The most intriguing part, though, is that of the 11 treasure-filled ships, four haven't been located. Two Case Studies Although most Liberty Ships were sunk by means of war, a significant number of them failed with sudden fractures that raised questions. They used a 2,500 horsepower steam engine to push them through the water at 11 knots (approximately 12.5 miles per hour). According to James Ennes, however, Admiral Kidd urged Ennes and his group to keep pressing for an open congressional probe.[78]. The first, in honor of Booker T. Washington, was christened by Marian Anderson in 1942, and the SS Harriet Tubman, recognizing the only woman on the list, was christened on 3 June 1944. [61] It concludes: "The attack was not made in malice toward the U.S. and was by mistake, but the failure of the IDF Headquarters and the attacking aircraft to identify the Liberty and the subsequent attack by torpedo boats were both incongruous and indicative of gross negligence. Numerous requests under both declassification directives and the Freedom of Information Act are pending with various agencies including the NSA, Central Intelligence Agency, and Defense Intelligence Agency. Commander Oren requested that the Israeli Air Force dispatch aircraft to intercept. In 1943, three Liberty ships were completed daily. The problem was that is was necessary to build merchant ships faster than the German Navy submarines could sink them, in order to supply the United Kingdom and sustain its war effort. [12] After the war erupted, due to concerns about its safety as it approached its patrol area, several messages were sent to Liberty to increase its allowable closest point of approach (CPA) to Egypt's and Israel's coasts from 12.5 and 6.5 nautical miles (14.4 and 7.5 mi; 23.2 and 12.0 km), respectively, to 20 and 15 nautical miles (23 and 17 mi; 37 and 28 km), and then later to 100 nautical miles (120 mi; 190 km) for both countries. [42][43][44][45][46] All of these ships were decommissioned and struck from the Naval Vessel Register in 1969 and 1970. When the United States finally entered World War I in 1917, steel became scarce, and at the same time the demand for ships increased. The Shipping World and Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering News, 1952, p. 148. Please note that all ship locations are approximations. In 1956, four ships were withdrawn from the Wilmington Fleet and transferred, loaded with grain, to the Hudson River Fleet.[41]. [27] It consisted of three torpedo boats numbered: T-203, T-204 and T-206. It is also possible that those were the weapons seen by our sources. The following day, Admiral Martin replied: "Liberty is a clearly marked United States ship in international waters, not a participant in the conflict and not a reasonable subject for attack by any nation. [47] (pp. The ship at the time was still on [westward] course 283 [degrees] true, speed unknown, but believed to be in excess of five knots. Estimated speed of the boats was about 27 to 30 knots [50 to 56 km/h]", and that it "appeared that they were approaching the ship in a torpedo launch attitude". In December 1980, it agreed to pay $6 million ($18.6 million in 2019) as the final settlement for material damage to Liberty itself plus 13 years of interest.[9]. Naval Court of Inquiry; USS Liberty", S.1872 A Bill to Amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, "The USS Liberty Incident: Investigations of the Liberty Tragedy", "Navy Captain, Other Officials Call For Investigation Of Israel's Attack On USS Liberty", "Declaration of Ward Boston, Jr., Captain, JAGC, USN (Ret. Liberty was later met by the destroyers USS Davis and USS Massey, and the cruiser USS Little Rock. Accordingly, there is every reason to believe that the USS Liberty was identified, or at least her nationality determined, by Israeli aircraft approximately one hour before the attack. She discovered that the ships in the North Atlantic were exposed to temperatures that could fall below a critical point at which the steel changed from being ductile to becoming brittle, allowing cracks to start easily. The ships were made assembly-line style, from prefabricated sections. [27] At 11:45 am, another report arrived at Supreme Command saying two ships were approaching the Arish coast. World War II: The Liberty ship was torpedoed and sunk in the Indian Ocean off the Maldives) by I-37 ( Imperial Japanese Twenty-five crewmen and gunners die in the sinking. According to Michael Limor, an Israeli naval reservist serving on one of the torpedo boats, they attempted to contact the ship by heliograph and radio, but received no response. Vice-Admiral William I. Martin recalled the aircraft minutes later. He had been a naval aviator in World War II and therefore had insight beyond that of one qualified only in the law. The response was: "Negative, it doesn't mean anything." Merchant Ships Sunk or Damaged in World War II. [25] The more direct problem was the general unsuitability of the ships as troop transports, particularly with the hasty conversions in 1943, that generated considerable complaints regarding poor mess, food and water storage, sanitation, heating / ventilation and a lack of medical facilities. As of 2006, the NSA had yet to declassify "boxes and boxes" of Liberty documents. [29] Moreover, Israeli forces had standing orders to fire on any unknown vessels sailing in the area at over 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph), a speed which, at the time, could only be attained by warships. A sonar scan showed the hull of a sunken ship. [32] The formation leader, Captain Iftach Spector, attempted to identify the ship. The helicopters left the ship at about 3:20 pm. He chose not to make any public statements and delegated this task to Phil G. Goulding, who was an assistant secretary of defense for public affairs at the time. Crew 6 - Master sent to Jap POW camp and later killed in … [56], There were several investigations conducted into the incident by the U.S. Navy, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CIA, the U.S. House and Senate, the NSA, and the Israeli government. RADM Geis then said that he speculated that Washington may have suspected that the aircraft carried nuclear weapons so he put together another flight of conventional aircraft that had no capability of carrying nuclear weapons. [57] The U.S. government and Israel jointly stated: "That the Israeli attack upon the USS Liberty had been the result of error, and nothing more. [citation needed] According to some crewmen, the torpedo boats fired at damage control parties and sailors preparing life rafts for launch. On 31 May, While Egyptian naval ships were known to disguise their identities with Western markings, they usually displayed Arabic letters and numbers only. [14][15] SS E. A. Bryan detonated with the energy of 2,000 tons of TNT (8,400 GJ) in July 1944 as it was being loaded, killing 320 sailors and civilians in what was called the Port Chicago disaster. She is anchored in the James River Reserve Fleet.[53]. Scrapped 1971 SS Benjamin Waterhouse: Benjamin Waterhouse: 2773 standard 29 February 1944: 23 March 1944: Reefed off Horn Island, Mississippi 1975 SS Benjamin Williams: Benjamin Williams: 165 standard 19 July 1942: 23 September 1942: Scrapped 1966 SS Bernard Carter: Bernard Carter: 55 standard Crew 1. However, Kislev was still disturbed by a lack of return fire and requested one last attempt to identify the ship. [52] SS Albert M. Boe survives as the Star of Kodiak, a landlocked cannery, in Kodiak Harbor at .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}57°47′12″N 152°24′18″W / 57.78667°N 152.40500°W / 57.78667; -152.40500. [29] The combat information center officer on T-204, Ensign Aharon Yifrah, reported to Oren that the target had been detected at a range of 22 miles (35 km), that her speed had been tracked for a few minutes, after which he had determined that the target was moving westward at a speed of 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph). This time President Johnson ordered the recall with the comment that he did not care if every man drowned and the ship sank, but that he would not embarrass his allies. We dove the USS LIberty wreck with Tulamben Wreck Divers Resort and had 4 dives. At 1310Z, one of the helicopter pilots asked the nearby torpedo boats' Division Commander about the meaning of the ship's hull number: "GTR5 is written on it. They include: (a) 2nd Mate of the SS Alexander Macomb (served 6/27/1942 to 7/6/1942) (b) Mate of the SS Joel Chandler Harris (served 9/14/1942 to 11/9/1942) [25] The increase in production of more suitable vessels did allow for returning the hastily converted Liberty ships to cargo-only operations by May 1944. The ship was 10 miles from the war zone, unidentified, and presumed by Israel to be Egyptian. [47], In 1946, Liberty ships were mothballed in the Hudson River Reserve Fleet near Tarrytown, New York. As a common root of these problems, Israel blamed the combination of alarm and fatigue experienced by the Israeli forces at that point of the war when pilots were severely overworked. McGonagle testified at the naval court of inquiry that during .mw-parser-output .templatequote{overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px}.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite{line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0}, 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 [degrees] at a distance of about 15 [nautical] miles. Ordered to stop, Stephen Hopkins refused to surrender, so the heavily armed German commerce raider Stier and her tender Tannenfels with one machine gun opened fire. [28], The data on the ship's speed, together with its direction, gave the impression that it was an Egyptian destroyer fleeing toward port after shelling Arish. The new design replaced much riveting, which accounted for one-third of the labor costs, with welding, and had oil-fired boilers. [13], According to Israeli sources, at the start of the war on 5 June, General Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli Air Force (IAF) chief of staff informed Commander Ernest Carl Castle, the American naval attaché in Tel Aviv, that Israel would defend its coast with every means at its disposal, including sinking unidentified ships. ... By the time we get to it we will be on some other subject." The first cable, sent five days after the attack, informs Eban that a U.S. informant told him (Harman) that there was "clear proof that from a certain stage the pilot discovered the identity of the ship and continued the attack anyway". [7] Documents of the Israeli General Staff meetings, declassified in October 2008, show no discussion of a planned attack on an American ship.[105]. "[57], The Senate Foreign Relations Committee testimony contains, as an aside during hearings concerning a foreign aid authorization bill, questions and statements from several senators and responses from then Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, about the Liberty attack. To this day, golden goblets and silver plates wash up on Treasure Coast beaches, most of which probably end up being deep fried by retirees with poor eyesight. As America entered the war, the shipbuilding yards employed women, to replace men who were enlisting in the armed forces. Veterans lived in places in a state of horror and absolute hell for many months to protect our liberty and freedoms. Merchant Marine on Forever Stamps", "WWII Construction Records, Private-Sector Shipyards that Built Ships for the U.S. Maritime Commission", "Liberty Shipyards: The Role of Savannah and Brunswick in the Allied Victory, 1941–1945", . He asked the U.S. to keep its ships away from Israel's shore or at least inform Israel of their exact positions. Seven days and thousands of dead sailors later, the fleet had been sunk. However, the first highly successful artificial reef development occurred during the mid-1970’s when 12 obsolete Liberty Ships were sunk at five different sites in the Gulf of Mexico. [29], The speed of the target was significant because it indicated that the target was a combat vessel. The order to cease fire was given at 2:20 pm, twenty-four minutes before the torpedo boats arrived at the Liberty's position.[b]. [61] The June 21 memorandum is a point-by-point analysis of the Israeli inquiry findings of fact. While I am not aware of a comprehensive list of Liberty Ship Masters, my colleague Rebecca Collier in College Park located the following information in the series Armed Guard Files, 1934-1946:. Also confusing this issue is an oral history report from the American Embassy in Cairo, now in the LBJ Library, which notes that the Embassy received an urgent message from Washington warning that Cairo was about to be bombed by US forces, presumably in mistaken retaliation for the USS Liberty attack. Ships Sunk or Damaged 1939 to 1941 due to war causes Another Liberty ship that exploded was the rechristened SS Grandcamp, which caused the Texas City Disaster on 16 April 1947, killing at least 581 people. Jones Construction Company and Liberty Ships in Brunswick, Georgia, Danger presented by the wreck of liberty ship, Shipbuilding under the United States Maritime Commission, 1936 to 1950. [33] He also communicated, in effect, that the ship appeared to him like a destroyer or another type of small ship. [84] Israel knew that American radio signals were intercepted by the Soviet Union and that the Soviets would certainly inform Egypt of the fact that, by moving troops to the Golan Heights, Israel had left the Egyptian border undefended. [20]:39 Lucas, who had left the command bridge during the air attack and returned to assist Captain McGonagle,[20]:14 believed that the sound of gunfire was likely from ammunition cooking off, due to a nearby fire. Fifty two years, on June 8, 1967, Israel attacked the American naval vessel USS Liberty in international waters, and tried to sink it. U.S. These were simple but fairly large (for the time) with a single 2,500 horsepower (1,900 kW) compound steam engine of obsolete but reliable design. [20]:26,27 McGonagle later testified, at the Court of Inquiry, that this was likely the "extremely effective" firing event he had observed. [20]:39 Captain McGonagle ordered the man at gun mount 51 to hold fire, but a short burst was fired at the torpedo boats before the man understood the order. Again, no response appears in the transcript. Throughout the war, Liberty Ships were manned members of the US Merchant Marine, with gun crews provided by the US Naval Armed Guard. The USS Liberty incident was an attack on a United States Navy technical research ship, USS Liberty, by Israeli Air Force jet fighter aircraft and Israeli Navy motor torpedo boats, on 8 June 1967, during the Six-Day War. Minor revisions to the hatches and various reinforcements were applied to the Liberty ships to arrest the cracking problem. Merchant Marine. It was under repeated bombardment from shore batteries and aircraft throughout an eight-day period. The secret project, dubbed "Project Ivory Soap", provided mobile depot support for B-29 Superfortress bombers and P-51 Mustang fighters based on Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa beginning in December 1944. Medical personnel were transferred to Liberty, and she was escorted to Malta, where she was given interim repairs. In September 1943 strategic plans and shortage of more suitable hulls required that Liberty ships be pressed into emergency use as troop transports with about 225 eventually converted for this purpose. The first of these was SS Patrick Henry, launched by President Roosevelt. [26] An inquiry into the source of the report was ordered to determine its validity. Survivors were rescued by Benjamin Bourn ( United States) and Sunetta ( Netherlands). [59] According to the Navy Court of Inquiry's record of proceedings, four days were spent hearing testimony: two days for fourteen survivors of the attack and several U.S. Navy expert witnesses, and two partial days for two expert U.S. Navy witnesses. [57][65][69], After conducting his own fact-finding inquiry and reviewing evidence, Judge Yerushalmi's decision was: "I have not discovered any deviation from the standard of reasonable conduct which would justify committal of anyone for trial." Please email our Registrar Kathy James or call 801-794-2226 ext. Detailed real estate filters to find the perfect place an `` account of circumstances the... The response to Israeli statements of mistaken identity ranged between Frank disbelief to unquestioning acceptance within Administration... Was lost when that ship, SS ocean Vanguard, was launched on 16 1941. And rockets Inquiry into the immediate postwar period in order to return home, Oregon, the and! 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