Concept

William McGonagle

Summary
William Loren McGonagle (November 19, 1925 – March 3, 1999) was a United States Navy officer who received the Medal of Honor for his actions while in command of the when it was attacked by Israel in the Eastern Mediterranean on June 8, 1967 during the Six-Day War. After accepting a commission in the United States Navy in 1944, McGonagle held various assignments before taking command of the Liberty in 1966. In June 1967 the Liberty was sailing in international waters in the Eastern Mediterranean when it was attacked by the Israel Defense Forces, injuring McGonagle, killing and injuring other members of his crew, and severely damaging the ship. He maintained control of the ship until help arrived, and after healing from his wounds was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on the Liberty in 1967. He continued his navy career, holding several more positions until retiring in 1974. When he died in 1999 he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors a short distance from the graves of some of his crew who were killed during the attack. McGonagle was born November 19, 1925 in Wichita, Kansas. After attending secondary school and college in California, he enlisted in the United States Navy in 1944 and for the next three years participated in a navy training program at the University of Southern California. In June 1947 he accepted a commission in the navy as an ensign. He was assigned to the destroyer and after that was posted to the minesweeper from 1947–1950. During the Korean War he served on the minesweeper during the extensive operations that earned him and the other members of the crew a Presidential Unit Citation. From 1951 to 1966, he was assigned to various positions ashore and afloat, including commands of the fleet tug from 1957 to 1958 and the salvage ship from 1961 to 1963. McGonagle took command of the in April 1966. On June 8, 1967, during the Six-Day War between Israel and her Arab neighbors, the Liberty was attacked by Israeli forces while sailing in international waters in the Eastern Mediterranean.
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