Brian Williams repeated in full detail his false tale of being shot down in a helicopter during the Iraq war on David Letterman’s show in 2013.
During an interview with Letterman on what he said was the 10-year anniversary of the alleged attack, Williams recounted: “I am mostly New York-based, I do go cover these two wars we've been fighting, and when I do, I like to go out on patrol, I like to get out in it.
A guy like Richard Engel [NBC’s chief foreign correspondent], the amount of fire we took that day, he calls Tuesday.”
Describing the incident, Williams continued, “We were in some helicopters. What we didn’t know was we were north of the invasion. We were the northernmost Americans in Iraq. We were going to drop some bridge portions across the Euphrates so the 3rd Infantry could cross on them. Two of our four helicopters were hit by ground fire, including the one I was in. RPG and AK-47.”
When Letterman asked what happened when they realized they’d been hit, “We figured out how to land safely, we landed very quickly and hard and we put down and we were stuck — four birds in the middle of the desert — and we were north out ahead of the other Americans.”
Williams continued, “We got hit, we set down, everyone was OK, our captain took a Purple Heart injury to his ear in the cockpit, but we were alone, they started distributing weapons, we heard a noise and it was Bradley fighting vehicles and Abrams tanks coming, they happened to spot us.
“This was the invasion, the US invasion. They [US troops] saw us, they surrounded us for three days during the sandstorm that was so big it suspended the war effort, it was called Orange Crush, and they got us out of there alive.”
Letterman added, “I have to treat you with renewed respect, that is an incredible story … you are a true journalist and a war hero.”
Williams starts telling his story at around 3 minutes in the video, dug up last night by Mashable’s Brian Ries.
On Wednesday night, “NBC Nightly News” anchor Williams apologized on air for his “bungled” story about being shot down in Iraq.
Williams told viewers, “I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago … 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.”
He was forced to own up after military members who were with him on that helicopter and in the aircraft that was actually hit called him out on Facebook and to US military news outlet Stars and Stripes after Williams repeated the story on Friday night’s “NBC Nightly News.”
Lance Reynolds commented on the “Nightly News” Facebook page, “Sorry dude, I don’t remember you being on my aircraft. 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.”