NBC anchor Brian Williams apologised and recanted his story about being on board a helicopter forced down by RPG fire during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, according to Stars and Stripes.
“I would not have chosen to make this mistake,” Williams told the military newspaper in a Wednesday interview. “I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.”
Citing interviews with crew members, Stars and Stripes reported that Williams was in a completely different helicopter an hour behind three helicopters that came under fire.
“No, we never came under direct enemy fire to the aircraft,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Miller, a flight engineer on the Chinook carrying Williams.
What Williams said over the years, according to Stars and Stripes, was a far different tale. As recently as last week he repeated his incorrect version of the incident.
“During the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were travelling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG,” Williams reportedly said last Friday. “Our travelling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armour mechanised platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry.”
Watch video of the segment below:
Updated (5:55 p.m.): According to Politico, Williams also apologised on Facebook: “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 apologise.”
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