U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis recently told constituents of how he participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. He told us to remember and give thanks to those who gave their lives in the service of our nation, as they are the “indispensable Americans without whom we would not be free.”

Ernie Gallo of Palm Coast is the USS Liberty Veterans Association’s president. On June 8, 1967, the USS Liberty, stationed in international waters, was attacked for two hours by the Israeli military. That left 34 U.S. sailors and Marines dead, 174 wounded and the Liberty the most decorated ship for a single engagement in U.S. Navy history.

The Navy Board of Inquiry following the attack was a farce and cover-up that included admirals threatening the survivors with court-martial, life imprisonment or “worse” if they ever spoke of the attack, as detailed in testimony to the commission convened by Adm. Tom Moorer, retired chief of naval operations and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Justice has been denied the men of the Liberty for 50 years. If moved to by his constituents, Rep. DeSantis could initiate a proper congressional investigation into the attack on the Liberty.

Like the men on the Liberty, DeSantis is a Navy man proud of his service as a JAG officer. He knows how a Navy Board of Inquiry is supposed to work. At noon on June 8, Gallo and his shipmates gathered at the tomb for their fallen crew members at Arlington National Cemetery. Although invited, Congressman DeSantis did not attend.

DeSantis claims to know nothing about the attack on the Liberty. We owe the 34 “indispensable Americans” who gave their lives on the USS Liberty. It’s time “we Americans” let Congressman DeSantis know about it.

- Restino, of Port Orange, is spokesperson for We Are Change - Central Florida. For 10 years he’s organized USS Liberty Remembrance Day events in Volusia County. Gallo, of Palm Coast, is the Liberty Veteran Association’s president. For more info, see www.usslibertyveterans.org and www.honorlibertyvets.org.


ON JUNE 8, 1967, while patrolling in international waters in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, USS Liberty (AGTR-5) was savagely attacked without warning or justification by air and naval forces of the state of Israel.  Of a crew of 294 officers and men (including three civilians), the ship suffered thirty four (34) killed in action and one hundred seventy three (173) wounded in action.  The ship itself, a Forty Million ($40,000,000) Dollar state of the art signals intelligence (SIGINT) platform, was so badly damaged that it never sailed on an operational mission again and was sold in 1970 for $101,666.66 as scrap.

At 1400 hours, while approximately about 17 nautical miles off the northern Sinai coast and about 25 nautical miles northwest of El Arish, USS Liberty’s crew observed three surface radar contacts closing with their position at high speed. A few moments later, the bridge radar crew observed high speed aircraft passing over the surface returns on the same heading.  Within a few short moments, and without any warning, Israeli fighter aircraft launched a rocket attack on USS Liberty. The aircraft made repeated firing passes, attacking USS Liberty with rockets and their internal cannons. After the first flight of fighter aircraft had exhausted their ordnance, subsequent flights of Israeli fighter aircraft continued to prosecute the attack with rockets, cannon fire, and napalm. 

During the air attack, USS Liberty’s crew had difficulty contacting Sixth Fleet to request assistance due to intense communications jamming The initial targets on the ship were the command bridge, communications antennas, and the four .50 caliber machine guns, placed on the ship to repel boarders. After the Israeli fighter aircraft completed their attacks, three Israeli torpedo boats arrived and began a surface attack about 35 minutes after the start of the air attack. The torpedo boats launched a total of five torpedoes, one of which struck the side of USS Liberty, opposite the ship’s research spaces.  Twenty-five Americans, in addition to the nine who had been killed in the earlier air attacks, were killed as a result of this explosion.