Tags: Iraq | Brian Williams | Iraq | helicopter | NBC | Tim Terpak | lie

NBC's Brian Williams Fesses Up: His Helicopter Wasn't Shot Down in Iraq

By    |   Wednesday, 04 February 2015 07:30 PM

"NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams is recanting his astonishing claim of being aboard a helicopter forced down by a rocket-propelled grenade during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Stars and Stripes reports.

Television's leading anchor told the newspaper he'd incorrectly remembered the events and was sorry.

"I would not have chosen to make this mistake," Williams told Stars and Stripes. "I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another."

Last Friday, Williams' breathtaking story of the downed-aircraft story came during NBC’s coverage of a public tribute at a New York Rangers hockey game for retired soldier Tim Terpak, who had provided security for the grounded helicopters.

"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 reported.

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"Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded, and kept alive by an armor mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry."

But crew members on the 159th Aviation Regiment’s Chinook hit by two rockets and small arms fire told Stars and Stripes that Williams was nowhere near that aircraft — or two other Chinooks flying in the formation that came under fire.

Instead, the newspaper reports, Williams arrived about an hour after the incident on another helicopter after the other three had already made their emergency landing, crew members told Stars and Stripes.

Williams' craft took no fire, landing beside the damaged craft ahead of a sandstorm from the Iraqi desert, Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Miller told Stars and Stripes.

"No, we never came under direct enemy fire to the aircraft," Miller told the newspaper.

Lance Reynolds, a flight engineer, told Stars and Stripes the frightening episode "was something personal for us that was kind of life-changing for me. I know how lucky I was to survive it."

"It felt like a personal experience that someone else wanted to participate in and didn’t deserve to participate in," he told the newspaper.

When Williams took photos of the damage, Reynolds told Stars and Stripes he brushed off the famed broadcaster because the helicopter crew was assessing damage and he was worried his wife might see the news report.

"I wanted to tell her myself everything was all right before she got news of this happening," Reynolds told Stars and Stripes.

NBC first ran a story on March 26, 2003, with the headline "Target Iraq: Helicopter NBC's Brian Williams Was Riding In Comes Under Fire," Stars and Stripes reports.

But Williams insists initial reports were correct, saying he originally reported he was in another helicopter but later confused the events, Stars and Stripes reports.

In a 2008 NBC blog post with his byline, he wrote the "Chinook helicopter flying in front of ours (from the 101st Airborne) took an RPG to the rear rotor," the newspaper notes.

"Over the years it faded," Mike O’Keeffe, who was a door gunner on the damaged Chinook, told Stars and Stripes. "And then to see it last week it was — I can’t believe he is still telling this false narrative."

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"NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams is recanting his astonishing claim of being aboard a helicopter forced down by a rocket-propelled grenade during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Stars and Stripes reports.
Brian Williams, Iraq, helicopter, NBC, Tim Terpak, lie, truth, shot down, Chinook, apologizes, sorry
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2015-30-04
Wednesday, 04 February 2015 07:30 PM
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