On 8 June 1967 the electronic intelligence ship USS Liberty (AGTR-5) was on station in international waters 13 miles off the Sinai Peninsula in the eastern Mediterranean. The Arab-Israeli War had wound down, the air was clear, and the seas were light. What happened early that Thursday afternoon is well known. Without warning, a furious attack on the ship commenced from Israeli Mirage and Mystere jets, followed by Ayah-class motor torpedo boats (MTBs). Employed were rockets, napalm, quick-firing 30-mm and 40-mm cannon, .50-caliber machine guns, and torpedoes. Four unshielded .50-caliber machine guns were the Liberty's only defense. The one Israeli torpedo hit of five launched left a yawning 40-foot hole in the hull, devastating the cryptological spaces below decks and killing 25 U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) technicians instantly.
Later, 821 shell holes were counted in the ship's superstructure and hull. A total of 34 men died, with another 172 wounded, many disfigured for life, among the highest peacetime tolls for any noncombatant U.S. Navy vessel and by far the worst single loss to the U.S. intelligence community. It seems a miracle the ship did not go down. И ТыДы.