NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams is finally coming clean about what really happened when he covered the war in Iraq back in 2003. Williams, who reported for the peacock network during the Iraq invasion, admitted that contrary to the story he’s been telling for 12 years, he was not on board a helicopter that came under RPG fire and was forced to make an emergency landing. Here’s how things went down:
Last week, NBC Nightly News posted a video on its Facebook page which featured the news anchor recounting his heroic tale as part of a tribute to Command Sgt. Major Tim Terpak, who was in charge of protecting the helicopters Williams claimed to be on. A Facebook user named Lance Reynolds commented on the video saying he didn’t remember Williams riding his aircraft, stating the NBC team flew in another helicopter that landed safely an hour after his team was shot down. The comment prompted the journalist to post this response:
To Joseph, Lance, Jonathan, Pate, Michael and all those who have posted: You are absolutely right and I was wrong.
In fact, I spent much of the weekend thinking I’d gone crazy. I feel terrible about making this mistake, especially since I found my OWN WRITING about the incident from back in ’08, and I was indeed on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG in the tail housing just above the ramp.
Because I have no desire to fictionalize my experience (we all saw it happened the first time) and no need to dramatize events as they actually happened, I think the constant viewing of the video showing us inspecting the impact area — and the fog of memory over 12 years — made me conflate the two, and I apologize.
I certainly remember the armored mech platoon, meeting Capt. Eric Nye and of course Tim Terpak. Shortly after they arrived, so did the Orange Crush sandstorm, making virtually all outdoor functions impossible. I honestly don’t remember which of the three choppers Gen. Downing and I slept in, but we spent two nights on the stowable web bench seats in one of the three birds.
“Later in the invasion when Gen. Downing and I reached Baghdad, I remember searching the parade grounds for Tim’s Bradley to no avail. My attempt to pay tribute to CSM Terpak was to honor his 23+ years in service to our nation, and it had been 12 years since I saw him.
“The ultimate irony is: In writing up the synopsis of the 2 nights and 3 days I spent with him in the desert, I managed to switch aircraft. Nobody’s trying to steal anyone’s valor. Quite the contrary: I was and remain a civilian journalist covering the stories of those who volunteered for duty. This was simply an attempt to thank Tim, our military and Veterans everywhere — those who have served while I did not.
Williams issued a similar apology on his nightly news program Wednesday night.