Erasing the Liberty: Historical Presentation and Book Signing

Old rustic big ship. Blue sky

GREEN RIVER– Meet the authors of Erasing the Liberty tomorrow at 5pm at a free presentation and learn about the attack on the USS Liberty that took place on June 8, 1967.

Phil Tourney, eye witness survivor and co-author, and David Gahary, freelance writer and co-author, will give a true historical presentation, as well as do a book signing at the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Green River. The event is free and is open to anyone.

“This year marks the 50-year anniversary of the almost sinking of the USS Liberty,” event organizer Jeff Homan said. Homan is a fan of history and stumbled upon the story of the USS Liberty years ago. He has read several of David Gahary’s books and eventually met Gahary and was introduced to Phil Tourney.

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“They are going around promoting their books, but they’re also putting together a movie, so I told them if they ever wanted to come to Green River I would try to get them a venue and find people who would like to hear their story.” Homan said. Tourney and Gahary decided to take Homan up on his offer.

The Attack on the USS Liberty

“The USS Liberty is arguably the most decorated naval vessel in US history for single action. The ship was almost sunk. The life rafts were shot too, so it’s kind of a miracle the ship didn’t sink,” Homan said.

The ship was attacked with armor piercing bullets, rockets, napalm and torpedo boats, resulting in heavy damage. One torpedo strike penetrated the vessel’s superstructure.

The attack killed 34 sailors and Marines and wounded 174 servicemen, but the ship did not sink due to the heroic work by crewmembers like Phil Tourney.

“Phil Tourney was on board and he was a damage control specialist, so he and his people fixed the ship enough so it didn’t sink,” Homan said. “Phil was awarded a purple heart and a bronze star with a V for valor and some other citations.” Several unit citations were awarded to many of the servicemen of the USS Liberty.