NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams issued an apology Wednesday evening after erroneously stating in a broadcast last Friday that he was aboard a helicopter that was shot down in Iraq in 2003.
In the broadcast Williams said, “The helicopter we were traveling was forced down after being hit by an RPG.”
However, as Williams clarified in his apology, he “was instead in a following aircraft.”
Williams’s apology was posted by NBC together with the original broadcast in 2003. In the original broadcast, Williams, as a correspondent, said, “We are one of four Chinook helicopters flying North this morning, third in line.”
While Williams’s apology and the original 2003 video correspond with each other, it turns out that even this narrative is not the true story.
Crew members in the actual 159th Aviation Regiment’s Chinook that was hit by RPG fire told Stars and Stripes that the helicopter Williams was traveling in was not part of a formation but instead was traveling one hour behind the helicopter that was hit.
To make matters worse, it turns out that this is not the first time Williams recounted a version of events which includes him being in the helicopter that was hit.
In 2013, Williams said in an appearance on Late Show With David Letterman, “Two of our four helicopters were hit by ground fire, including the one I was in, RPG and AK-47.”
Williams then continued to describe how the crew reacted after being hit, while never having been on the helicopter in question.
Watch the video of Williams and Letterman in 2013 below, with the relevant part beginning at 3:50.