Originally published February 8 2015
NBC News anchor Brian Williams admits fabricating war story
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams is in hot water with the public and with network executives after timidly admitting that an incident he said happened more than a decade ago during the early days of the U.S. invasion of Iraq was fabricated.
In an exclusive report by Stars and Stripes, a historic publication focused on coverage of the U.S. military, Williams admitted that he was not aboard a military helicopter that was struck by enemy fire and forced to land during the 2003 invasion, despite the fact that the phony claim has been made by the network -- and Williams -- for years.
Williams repeated the claim as recently as Jan. 30, when his network covered a public tribute at a New York Rangers hockey game for retired Army Command Sergeant Major Tim Terpack, who provided security for several Chinook helicopters that had been grounded by enemy fire and other conditions, a game to which Williams accompanied Terpack.
In his interview with Stars and Stripes, he apologized for the lie, saying he simply misremembered the events of that day.
We never took any fire, no
The military news site provided additional details:
The admission came after crew members on the 159th Aviation Regiment's Chinook that was hit by two rockets and small arms fire told Stars and Stripes that the NBC anchor was nowhere near that aircraft or two other Chinooks flying in the formation that took fire. Williams arrived in the area about an hour later on another helicopter after the other three had made an emergency landing, the crew members said.
"I would not have chosen to make this mistake," Williams told the site. "I don't know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another."
Afterward, Williams 'fessed up to his Nightly News audience, saying his erroneous claims were part of a "bungled attempt" to express thanks to American troops who helped protect him in Iraq in 2003.
"I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago," Williams said. "I want to apologize."
Williams made his most recent phony claim regarding the incident while presenting NBC coverage of the tribute to Terpack Jan. 30; fans gave the retired command sergeant major a standing ovation.
"The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG," Williams said during the broadcast. "Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armor mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry."
But, as Stars and Stripes reported further:
Williams and his camera crew were actually aboard a Chinook in a formation that was about an hour behind the three helicopters that came under fire, according to crew member interviews.
That Chinook took no fire and landed later beside the damaged helicopter due to an impending sandstorm from the Iraqi desert, according to Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Miller, who was the flight engineer on the aircraft that carried the journalists.
"No, we never came under direct enemy fire to the aircraft," Miller clarified, adding that he never witnessed any direct fire on the position from enemy forces.
30-60 minutes behind
Williams' bogus story upset Miller and others who were aboard the formation of Chinooks that were flying far ahead of the chopper carrying the news presenter and his crew, and that actually did take enemy fire.
One of the choppers did take a pair of RPG hits; one of the RPGs passed through and did not explode. The formation also took small arms fire.
"It was something personal for us that was kind of life-changing for me. I know how lucky I was to survive it," Lance Reynolds, who was the flight engineer on the RPG-damaged Chinook, told the military site. "It felt like a personal experience that someone else wanted to participate in and didn't deserve to participate in."
Williams' chopper was 30-60 minutes behind the formation that took fire.
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