USS Liberty Document Center

Medal of Honor citation of Captain William L. McGonagle:

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer, USS Liberty (AGTR-5) in the Eastern Mediterranean on 8-9 June 1967. Sailing in international waters, the Liberty was attacked without warning by jet fighter aircraft and motor torpedo boats which inflicted many casualties among the crew and caused extreme damage to the ship. Although severely wounded during the first air attack, Captain (then Commander) McGonagle remained at his battle station on the badly damaged bridge and, with full knowledge of the seriousness of his wounds, subordinated his own welfare to the safety and survival of his command. Steadfastly refusing any treatment which would take him away from his post, he calmly continued to exercise firm command of his ship. Despite continuous exposure to fire, he maneuvered his ship, directed its defense, supervised the control of flooding and fire, and saw to the care of the casualties. Captain McGonagle's extraordinary valor under these conditions inspired the surviving members of the Liberty's crew, many of them seriously wounded, to heroic efforts to overcome the battle damage and keep the ship afloat. Subsequent to the attack, although in great pain and weak from the loss of blood, Captain McGonagle remained at his battle station and continued to conn his ship for more than seventeen hours. It was only after rendezvous with a United States destroyer that he relinquished personal control of the Liberty and permitted himself to be removed from the bridge. Even then, he refused much needed medical attention until convinced that the seriously wounded among his crew had been treated. Captain McGonagle's superb professionalism, courageous fighting spirit, and valiant leadership saved his ship and many lives. His actions sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

Navy Cross
    Lt. Commander Phillip McCutcheon Armstrong, Jr. USN, KIA
    Petty Officer Francis J. Brown, KIA

Silver Stars
    Lieutenant Maurice Hogue Bennett, USN
    Lieutenant George Houston Golden, USN
    Lieutenant Richard Francis Kiepfer, Medical Corps, USNR
    Ensign David George Lucas, USNR
    Ensign John Deaderick Scott, USNR
    Lieutenant Stephen Spencer Toth, USN, KIA
    Chief Petty Officer Richard Brooks
    Petty Officer Frank Johnson Brown
    Petty Officer James Terry Halbardier
    Seaman Dale Duane Larkin,
    Staff Sergeant Bryce F. Lockwood
    Seaman Alexander Neil Thompson, KIA
    Fireman David Skolak, KIA

Bronze Stars
    Petty Officer Virgil L. Brownfield
    Petty Officer Joseph P. Carpenter
    Seaman J. C. Colson, Jr.
    Seaman Rodney Lee Dally
    Petty Officer Russell O. David, Jr.
    Petty Officer Duilio Demori
    Petty Officer Henry E. Durzewski, Jr.
    Petty Officer Troy L. Green
    Petty Officer Stephen C. Gurchik
    Petty Officer Donald Herold
    Seaman Donald A. Hurst
    Chief Petty Officer Carlyle F. Lamkin
    Seaman Frank McInturff III
    Petty Officer Garvin L. D. McMakin
    Petty Officer Richard D. Neese
    Seaman Stamatie Pahides
    Petty Officer Martin D. Powledge
    Petty Officer James C. Smith
    Chief Petty Officer Harold J. Thompson
    Petty Officer Phillip F. Tourney

Navy Commendation Medal
    Chief Petty Officer Joseph A. Benkert
    Petty Officer Charles M. Martin
    Petty Officer Thomas R. Moulin
    Petty Officer Thomas Lee VanCleave
    Petty Officer James L. Needham
    Petty Officer Paddy E. Rhodes
    Petty Officer Robert J. Schnell
    Petty Officer Maurice B. Shafer
    Petty Officer Samuel L. Schulman

The USS Liberty crew was also awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and 208 Purple Hearts

National Security Agency Exceptional Service Civilian Award
    Allen M. Blue, KIA

KIA = Killed In Action