Azur Lane Adds USS Liberty

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Not too long after celebrating Azur Lane’s first year anniversary, Shanghai Manjuu announced an exciting piece of upcoming story content that centers around the USS liberty! She is also going to be voiced by none other than Ayako Kawasumi!

The USS Liberty is an underrated ship. She should be remembered and talked about more often. 

- Intern-kun

When the player logs in they will receive  an SOS from Liberty, who is in greatest ally territory.

Upon completing the event, players receive the USS Liberty as an award. She has a 20% chance of absorbing all incoming attacks to protect her team. She also has a 10% chance of calling for special backup when at low health. What this special back up is, Intern-kun would not say. 

We certainly look forward to playing!

The USS Liberty (AGTR-5) is a United States research ship that was attacked by Israel Defense Forces during the Six-Day War.

Prior to her demise, she also served in World War 2 under the name SS Simmons Victory.

The surviving crew received various awards. The Captain, William McGonagall, would earn the Medal of Honor, but it would not be presented by the president at the White House. Instead, he received the medal quietly in the Navy Yard. 

President Johnson, four miles away, instead handed out diplomas to school children.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer, USS Liberty (AGTR-5) in the Eastern Mediterranean on 8-9 June 1967. Sailing in international waters, the Liberty was attacked without warning by jet fighter aircraft and motor torpedo boats which inflicted many casualties among the crew and caused extreme damage to the ship. Although severely wounded during the first air attack, Captain (then Commander) McGonagle remained at his battle station on the badly damaged bridge and, with full knowledge of the seriousness of his wounds, subordinated his own welfare to the safety and survival of his command. Steadfastly refusing any treatment which would take him away from his post, he calmly continued to exercise firm command of his ship. Despite continuous exposure to fire, he maneuvered his ship, directed its defense, supervised the control of flooding and fire, and saw to the care of the casualties. Captain McGonagle's extraordinary valor under these conditions inspired the surviving members of the Liberty's crew, many of them seriously wounded, to heroic efforts to overcome the battle damage and keep the ship afloat. Subsequent to the attack, although in great pain and weak from the loss of blood, Captain McGonagle remained at his battle station and continued to conn his ship for more than seventeen hours. It was only after rendezvous with a United States destroyer that he relinquished personal control of the Liberty and permitted himself to be removed from the bridge. Even then, he refused much needed medical attention until convinced that the seriously wounded among his crew had been treated.

 -Medal of Honor citation of Captain William L. McGonagle

Some Awards + Crew List

Navy Cross

  • Lt. Commander Phillip McCutcheon Armstrong, Jr. USN, KIA    
  • Petty Officer Francis J. Brown, KIA

Silver Stars

  • Lieutenant Maurice Hogue Bennett, USN  
  • Lieutenant George Houston Golden, USN    
  • Lieutenant Richard Francis Kiepfer, Medical Corps, USNR    
  • Ensign David George Lucas, USNR    
  • Ensign John Deaderick Scott, USNR    
  • Lieutenant Stephen Spencer Toth, USN, KIA    
  • Chief Petty Officer Richard Brooks    
  • Petty Officer Frank Johnson Brown    
  • Petty Officer James Terry Halbardier    
  • Seaman Dale Duane Larkin,    
  • Staff Sergeant Bryce F. Lockwood    
  • Seaman Alexander Neil Thompson, KIA    
  • Fireman David Skolak, KIA

Bronze Stars 

  • Petty Officer Virgil L. Brownfield    
  • Petty Officer Joseph P. Carpenter    
  • Seaman J. C. Colson, Jr.    
  • Seaman Rodney Lee Dally    
  • Petty Officer Russell O. David, Jr.    
  • Petty Officer Duilio Demori    
  • Petty Officer Henry E. Durzewski, Jr.    
  • Petty Officer Troy L. Green    
  • Petty Officer Stephen C. Gurchik    
  • Petty Officer Donald Herold    
  • Seaman Donald A. Hurst   
  • Chief Petty Officer Carlyle F. Lamkin    
  • Seaman Frank McInturff III    
  • Petty Officer Garvin L. D. McMakin    
  • Petty Officer Richard D. Neese    
  • Seaman Stamatie Pahides    
  • Petty Officer Martin D. Powledge    
  • Petty Officer James C. Smith   
  • Chief Petty Officer Harold J. Thompson    
  • Petty Officer Phillip F. Tourney

Navy Commendation Medal 

  • Chief Petty Officer Joseph A. Benkert    
  • Petty Officer Charles M. Martin    
  • Petty Officer Thomas R. Moulin    
  • Petty Officer Thomas Lee VanCleave    
  • Petty Officer James L. Needham    
  • Petty Officer Paddy E. Rhodes    
  • Petty Officer Robert J. Schnell    
  • Petty Officer Maurice B. Shafer    
  • Petty Officer Samuel L. Schulman

National Security Agency Exceptional Service Civilian Award 

  • Allen M. Blue, KIA

Crew list 


Dead In The Water, Attack, Politics, and Operation Cyanide


The Day Israel Attacked America, Attack and Political Fallout

Timestamps of Israeli radio recording on attack: 2:29; 10:31; 13:37; 14:20; 15:00; 15:25; 16:22


But sir, it's an American ship! I can see the flag!

Never mind; hit it!

According to official reports Liberty was mistaken as an Egyptian ship, despite the ship waving an American flag and various Israeli forces previously passing it.

There are various theories as to why the attack was carried out. One theory, believed by Captain McGonagle, is that Israel wanted to blame the attack on Egypt. A joint operation, code named cyanide, supports this. It was planned by both American and Israeli intelligence to invade Egypt and overthrow NASA.

Another theory is of Israel wishing to mask their movements. They had told the Americans this was to be a short war, not a land grab. But on June 8th 1967 they were ready to seize the Golan Heights. The attack was to mask their take over from America. If Liberty returned home, the intel on board would have shown this was not a defensive war on Israel's part.

Tensions had been rising between Israel and Egypt. Meir Amit, Israeli Secret Service, visited friends in the CIA and Pentagon, asking for war support if Israel attacked first. His key meeting was with Robert McNamara, US Secretary of Defense. According to Meir he was given a green light. But Robert says otherwise. 

Absolutely not. Because at that point President Johnson and I and Dean Rusk had fully agreed that we must keep the U.S. in a position where if Israel called on us for military assistance to turn back the attack by Egypt and possibly turn back an attack by Egypt with the support of the Soviet Union we had to be in a position that we could obtain the support of the American people and the Congress for applying military force in support of Israel and we would not have that support if Israel had attacked Egypt. So our position was no. 

- Robert McNamara, Dead in the Water, 12:28

Early morning, June 5th, Israel attacks. It's planes attacked air fields in Sinai and the Suez canal zone. Footage of these attacks can be seen in Dead in the Water (14:35). As this happened the Soviet Union began moving near the war zone. The Pentagon ordered the 6th fleet to keep all aircraft and ships at least 100 miles away from the coast. 

But one ship had not received that message.

We were told there was no need to worry. We had asked the commander of the 6th fleet for an armed guard to go along with us, a destroyer. He sent the message back saying we were in international waters flying the American ensign. There was no need for an armed escort. 

- Dave Lewis, Dead in the Water, 16:14

This seemed to be the case. Israel had successfully captured the west bank and Jerusalem. The Liberty soon arrived at her destination, off the Sinai coast. 

June 8th...

Israeli planes fly overhead, identifying the Liberty.

There were about nine different occasions that airplanes came out. Probably twelve times that were circled. Twelve seprate orbits of the ship during the morning. 

-Jim Ennes, Dead in the Water, 17:46

I remember vividly looking out through the port holes, looking down on the 01 level, and seeing all the officers sunbathing. At the same time we're being overflown and I remember feeling very good and very warm inside that we were safe. They knew who we were; we were not a stranger out there that they knew.

- Llyod Painter, Dead in the Water, 18:09

The attack launched on an unsuspecting crew. Amid the chaos the crew attempted to contact the 6th fleet, which was 500 miles away. Israeli's were jamming both the distress and tactical frequencies.

You'd have to know what frequencies we were going to come up on. To know that you have to know that we were an American ship. If you knew we were an American ship you knew what frequencies we were going to be on because you knew what the fleet frequencies were. Duh, hello!

- Joe Lentini, Dead in the Water, 19:55

Even though the target was obvious, the attacker did their best to mask themselves.

During the attack, no one saw any markings and some of the men told me later that they made a special effort to identify them and they swear that there were no markings.

- Jim Ennes, Dead in the Water, 20:19

The crew would fight growing fires in between jet passes. Other members would begin destroying information on-board to avoid it falling into enemy hands. As ammunition dried pilots switched to napalm. Soon enough the air force pulled out, leaving the navy to clean up.

We immediately cast off our lines and rushed out. I at least didn't know why. The scene was very common then. A bright day, I think it was around mid day, or maybe a little before that but around midday. And only on the way we were told there was an unknown vessel to the south of us, or south west of us, and we sped over in that direction. Very soon we saw a ship and clearly a naval vessel.  

- Udi Erell, Dead in the Water, 21:22

At the end of the air assault eight were dead, seventy-five injured.

They took out all our transmitting antennas and shortly thereafter deposited napalm on the deck. It appeared to me that it was the intent of the attacker to take out all communications and keep all people off deck so they couldn't reestablish any sort of antennas or communication system.  If it was an accident it was the best planned accident I've ever heard of.

- Dave Lewis, Dead in the Water, 20:35

Israeli navy would appear and fire five torpedoes, four missing. Despite the horrible aim, that single hitting torpedo would take 25 lives. The hole left would be 39×24ft.

Torpedoes coming in; its going to open that boiler up and you're going to die instantly. It's going to be like an atomic bomb because that cold water hits that boiler that's operating at full there's just no hope. So, all of us nineteen year-olds, the best place to be is right there.  You're gonna get it; you're gonna give it up right then and there. So we waited. 

 - John Hrankowsk, Dead in the Water, 22:14

The Israeli forces would then destroy the life rafts via machine gun fire from torpedo boats. The boats would unload on the ship with armor piercing projectiles.

Thankfully, radio man, 23 year old Terry Halbardier, managed to run a cable from a transmitter to an antenna. A distress call was made.

The only reason we got the SOS out was because my crazy troops were climbing the antenna string and long wires while they were being shot at. 

- Dave Lewis, Dead in the Water, 20:59

Terry Halbardier


The signal is out, and the American 6th fleet receives it. The USS America prepares fighters and bombers.

Those aircraft were brought forward and I believe they were launched before we went into conditioned November.

- Mike Ratigan, Dead in the Water, 24:18

Conditioned November meant that nuclear-armed A4 bombers were going to be utilized. The US appeared ready to launch a nuclear strike against Egypt, the suspected attackers of Liberty.

One was taxied forward to cat one. And it had a shroud around the underside of the fuselage and it had marine guards escorting the VA for it. So that was a very unusual experience. I've never seen anything like that.

- Mike Ratigan, Dead in the Water, 24:39

A few minutes later Tony Hart passed a Pentagon message through to the Navy. 

Recall the aircraft.

Soon enough Defense secretary McNamara talked directly to the USS America. He demand that the aircraft be called back.  

Despite such a violet response, sending aircraft directly to Liberty was a difficult task. 

The admiral was talking to McNamara and asking for permission to relaunch the ready aircraft, relaunch any ready aircraft, and McNamara said no, that no aircraft were to be launched. 

- Tony Hart, Dead in the Water, 26:57

All attempts to combat this call were thwarted.

The attack on Liberty soon halted. Israel contacted the American naval attache, saying there had been a mistake.

Eventually help reaches the ship. They have a special guest, Issac Kid.

He took his Eagles off and he says 'well guys just pretend I'm one of you. Now tell me all about it.'  So they told what they'd seen and after a while he put his pins back on and said: 'I don't want you guys talking about this at all to anybody. Not your shipmates, don't be giving any interviews here while we're in Malta.' He says anything that has to be told will be told through your division officer, through your captain. Don't be talking to family about it. I mean he was very specific.

- John Hrankowsk, Dead in the Water, 39:25

34 crewmen were killed and 174 wounded. Despite serious damage taken, Liberty's crew skillfully kept her afloat.


For the first 24 hours the president's furious that something like this is going on. 

- Lucius Battle, Dead in the Water, 31:25

Despite this, publicly America accepts Israel's explanation and apology.

I think we were overprotective of the Israeli's at that point.

- Lucius Battle, Dead in the Water, 31:50

I think the feeling was that the political pressure would be too much... A matter of fact he [Johnson] said to me, standing in the Cabinet Room, 'have you looked at the New York Times? The attack on that American ship is on page 29 when it should have been on the front page'.

- Richard Helms, Dead in the Water,  32:02

Thanks to this public stance Israel was able to easily cover up the attack. None of the former fighter pilots would speak on the matter. They also deny firing on life rafts.

We are taking part of the blame, but only part of the blame. We made most of the mistakes but they made many mistakes on the spot and by the fact that the Liberty should not have been there.

- Shlomo Erell, Dead in the Water, 36:03

US Air Force intelligence analyst named Richard Block was following radio intercepts of the attack.

The communications I had in my hands originated from an Israeli flight commander. Evidently from his questioning to the ground control, one can deduce that he had been given specific orders to attack that ship before he left the ground. And when he saw it was an American ship he questioned those orders. And he questioned those orders to his ground control. That same conversation that I had in my hands specifically noted that the ground control said proceed with the attack and it was still doubted in the Israeli pilot's mind and he said no this is an American repeat those orders again. And he was told, flat-out, do attack this ship.

- Richard Block, Dead in the Water, 36:32

The American military attache in Israel had also received a surprise visit from an Israeli intelligence officer. 

Israel had captured SA-2 missile sites. Captured meaning they had everything, even the manuals. This was very important for counter measures because Americans were encountering these weapons in Vietnam. The American government is so happy they resupply Israel with weapons they lost during the war and the Liberty Inquiry is mindlessly finished. 

Evidence is hidden, crew testimonies are ignored, no Israeli's are interviewed, and Israel is made blameless.  

I read the court of inquiry and realized that my statements had been stricken from the record and never recorded so I knew then for certain that the cover up was massive. 

-Lloyd Painter, The Day Israel Attacked America, 34:30

According to James Scott's book, The Attack on the Liberty: The Untold Story of Israel's Deadly 1967 Assault on a U.S. Spy Ship, Israel's ambassador in Washington, Avraham Harman, sent a telegram home telling Abba Eban, Israel's minister of foreign affairs, that a U.S informant stated there was "clear proof that from a certain stage the pilot discovered the identity of the ship and continued the attack anyway." 

Before the crew could return home they had to clean up to celebrate the friendship. The Liberty went under extensive repairs in Malt. The ship was drained and bodies were removed. 

The navy was more concerned with equipment parts than body parts, but when I went down there I knew you couldn't separate the two.

-Lloyd Painter, The Day Israel Attacked America, 39:35

168 bags worth of remains were shoveled up. The ship was in dock for six weeks. As time passed workers hurriedly repaired and covered what damage they could. Finally, they painted the ship. 

When Liberty pulled into American port it looked like nothing had happened.

The following year American aid to Israel skyrocketed.

It was a total turning point in our relationship with Israel.  Up until the point we had avoided being a major arm supplier to Israel...  Paradoxically the security of Israel became one of our strategic objectives, which it had never been in the past.

-Richard Parker, Dead in the Water, 3:16

The hardest part was the reaction of our own government toward us. The fingers were pointed at us. The Israeli's weren't ever questioned as to why they did it. They only questioned us.

-Lloyd Painter, The Day Israel Attacked America, 45:03

There's not a day that doesn't go by where I don't think about those guys. I mean I went through hell, but they left the Earth.

- Jim Kavanagh, The Day Israel Attacked America, 46:03

13 years passed before a settlement was reached. By 1980 the bill was over 17 million dollars. Israel only offered 6. 

The Americans accepted then sold Liberty for 100k. She was scrapped.

Widows were given 25k and children over 5  were given 10k.

I think they intended to attack this ship. Exactly why they wanted to I'm not sure. They may have felt we were, with the Liberty, we were listening in on conversations and other things that they didn't want us to know about. They had been engaged in some pretty outlandish stuff in the course of the war.

- Lucius Battle, Dead in the Water, 41:54

Remember the Liberty!: Almost Sunk by Treason on the High Seas

A novel, “Remember the Liberty!: Almost Sunk by Treason on the High Seas”, recently came out. Several of the authors are survivors of the attack. One of the novel's inclusions is a partically censored CIA document from 1967.

It contains an anonymous quote: 

They said that [then-Israeli Defense Minister Moshe] Dayan personally ordered the attack on the ship, and that one of his generals adamantly opposed the action and said, ‘This is pure murder.

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

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