NBC’s Brian Williams has told the story for several years, including during an appearance on “The Late Show” with David Letterman in 2013. Here’s the latest reincarnation from last week:
“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,” NBC’s Brian Williams claimed while setting up coverage of a tribute to a solider at a New York Rangers hockey game. “Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armor mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry.”
However, crew members who were actually onboard the 159th Aviation Regiment’s Chinook that came under fire say Williams and his NBC crew arrived safely on a different helicopter.
“Sorry dude, I don’t remember you being on my aircraft,” U.S. Army veteran Lance Reynolds posted on NBC’s Facebook page. “I do remember you walking up about an hour after we had landed to ask me what had happened. Then I remember you guys taking back off in a different flight of Chinooks from another unit and heading to Kuwait to report your “war story” to the Nightly News. The whole time we were still stuck in Iraq trying to repair the aircraft and pulling our own Security.”
Williams recanted, claiming a failed memory.
“On this broadcast last week in an effort to honor and thank a veteran who had protected me and so many others after a ground fire incident in the desert during the Iraq invasion I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago, it did not take long to hear from some brave men and women and the aircrews who were also in that dessert,” Williams stated. “I want to apologize, I said I was traveling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG fire. I was instead in a following aircraft.”
“We all landed after the ground fire incident and spent two harrowing nights in a sandstorm in the Iraq desert,” he continued. “This was a bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran and by extension our brave military men and women veterans everywhere, those who have served while I did not.”
“I hope they know they have my greatest respect and also now my apology,” he finished.
Even his apology’s fraught with lies.
Williams was an hour behind the damaged helicopter and stayed only for about 10 minutes, then went to see the U.S. Army’s armored units guarding the nearby Forward Operating Base Rams, which came out to provide a security perimeter around the helicopter. As for spending a couple of nights in “a sandstorm in the Iraqi desert,” no one remembers seeing Williams after he and his NBC crew took photographs of the wounded chopper.
Maybe he thinks that if you tell a lie enough time, people will begin to believe it.