Who can you trust?
You can cross NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams off your list.
There is a vast difference between reporting on military action and being directly involved in military action.
Williams learned that lesson 12 years after he painted a picture of himself in harm’s eye, barely escaping death.
Soldiers were in harm’s way and their lives were threatened — just not Williams, who has tried to paint himself as a heroic reporter for 12 years.
The NBC online archive shows the network broadcast a news story on March 26, 2003, with the headline, “Target Iraq: Helicopter NBC’s Brian Williams Was Riding In Comes Under Fire.”
After 12 years, Williams admitted that he was not aboard a helicopter hit and forced down by rocket propelled grenades during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a false claim that has been repeated by the network for years.
Williams’ admission came after crew members on the 159th Aviation Regiment’s Chinook that was hit by rockets and small arms fire told Stars and Stripes that the NBC anchor was not present.
One of the helicopters was hit by small arms fire and two rocket-propelled grenades that passed through the airframe and rotor blades.
“The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG,” Williams said on his original broadcast. “Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armor mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry.”
In a 2008 NBC blog post with his byline, Willliams wrote that the “Chinook helicopter flying in front of ours (from the 101st Airborne) took an RPG to the rear rotor.”
Williams repeated his fictional account during an interview with David Letterman.
Williams’ lies rankled crew members and soldiers aboard the formation of 159th Aviation Regiment Chinooks that were flying far ahead and did come under attack during the March 24, 2003, mission.
Flight engineer Lance Reynolds said Williams and the NBC cameramen arrived in a helicopter 30 to 60 minutes after his damaged Chinook made a rolling landing at an Iraqi airfield and skidded off the runway into the desert.
“It was something personal for us that was kind of life-changing for me. I know how lucky I was to survive it,” said Lance Reynolds, who was the flight engineer. “It felt like a personal experience that someone else wanted to participate in and didn’t deserve to participate in.”