Tags: brian williams | misrepresent | iraq | helicopter | claims | mistake | NBC

Brian Williams: 'I Would Not Have Chosen to Mistake' Iraq War Claims

Image: Brian Williams: 'I Would Not Have Chosen to Mistake' Iraq War Claims
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 09 Feb 2015 04:15 PM

Beleaguered "NBC Nightly News" anchorman Brian Williams has dropped out of sight while NBC investigates apparent fabrications in stories he has told about his past. Meanwhile, Williams isn't talking.

But on Feb. 4, Williams gave an extensive interview to military newspaper Stars and Stripes, the first news agency which reported on Williams' claim to have been shot down in 2003 in Iraq while riding in an Army helicopter.

Veterans of the mission revealed on Facebook and to Stars and Stripes that it was actually the chopper in front of Williams that was hit and forced to land, and not the one Williams was on, as he had claimed several times.

Williams, who has owned up to what he termed a mistaken recollection, told Stars and Stripes, "It was my first engagement of the war and remember, I was, we were all I think, scared. I have yet to meet the veteran who doesn’t admit to cinching up a little bit when it starts, and it all became a fog of getting down on the ground."

"I think I correctly reported as I did in my blog in ’08 that I was on the aircraft behind the one that was hit. It was not … Because I knew we had all come under fire, I guess I had assumed that all of the airframes took some damage because we all went down," Williams explained.

"All we knew is we had been fired upon. All we knew was we had set down and then with the arrival of the sandstorm, how do we defend our little desert bivouac area."

Asked whether he would offer an on-air apology, Williams said, "I don’t know. I’ll talk to my boss. I am certainly willing. I did not, again … It’s very basic. I would not have chosen to make this mistake. I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft from the other. The fact is, I remember three aircraft going down. I was on one of them. An additional aircraft aside from ours took an RPG through the rear housing above the ramp."

"I am very frustrated by this," Williams told Stars and Stripes.

On air, he had praised Sgt. Major Tim Terpak, who helped to protect the downed choppers, and told Stars and Stripes, "I just set out to call attention and honor a 23-year returning Army veteran with three Bronze Stars, and all who serve with him and are still over there in uniform. I did not set out to in any way change the chronicle of what happened to us.

"I have expressed my frustration that this is in some way going to take, going to soil what I attempted to do for him. Yes, I am very frustrated by this. Because I didn’t serve myself — I’m the son of a U.S. Army captain in the World War II era — and I just, anything that takes attention away from [Terpak], anything that ends up not honoring the veterans, is a failure on my part."

Stars and Stripes reporter Travis J. Tritten, who interviewed Williams, commented about the service members who first revealed Williams' account to be false. "These soldiers' war experiences are incredibly personal for them. These are life-changing events that they remember vividly. It changes the way they look at life. For somebody else to claim they were part of that when they weren't is something that is deeply offensive to them."

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Beleaguered "NBC Nightly News" anchorman Brian Williams has dropped out of sight while NBC investigates apparent fabrications in stories he has told about his past. Meanwhile, Williams isn't talking.
brian williams, misrepresent, iraq, helicopter, claims, mistake, NBC
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2015-15-09
Monday, 09 Feb 2015 04:15 PM
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