Clearing My Conscience, The Truth About Al Rasheed Hotel and The "Shot Down" Missile
The following testimony is that of a Navy Veteran who wishes to remain unidentified for fear of possible retaliation. This individual contacted me through the forum and I agreed to post this after the testimony had been broadened enough to only allow it to be narrowed down to a group of more than 10 people. This is to keep him and his family safe.
This testimony may be re-posted, with reference and a link to this site.
A U.S. Navy Veteran speaks up.
First of all, I must say that I have held this secret for almost twenty years now. I've told my wife, and close friends, but have never come forward and cleared my conscience and told the truth about what I saw on January 17, 1993. This is a night I will never forget, and I am sorry for not being courageous and telling my story sooner.
I was a Fire Controlman aboard the USS Cowpens CG-63, serving during Operation South Watch. On January 17, 1993, my ship fired 10 Tomahawk missiles out of a total of 46 released that very early morning. I was in Combat Central. I witnessed the targets. All missiles successfully hit their target, well, that is until there were reports that one of the missiles was "shot down" by anti-aircraft weapons, and "accidentally" hit the Al Rasheed Hotel. What was this story I was hearing? All the missiles that took flight successfully, HIT their TARGETS. That is what I witnessed. Later, it became painfully obvious, one of the targets was the hotel, that contained civilians. We killed innocent(?) people, on purpose. I told myself, there had to have been a military target in that hotel. I tried to justify the actions. The more I learned, the more horrified I became. My world was turned upside down.
After the attack, the media came aboard our ship. We were given strict orders to not say ANYTHING about the missiles, and not admit we even shot any. The XO followed the media around like a hound on our ship. We had one guy on our ship that screwed up though. Either he really didn't hear the order, or was a complete moron, but I think the media tricked him, I can't remember his exact words, but he said that the missiles looked really cool launching. There were many people that were allowed on certain areas outside to watch them get launched, and the whole launch was filmed by our IC team. So after he tells the reporter, the XO just stared him down. It was the stare of death and actually, the guy was off the ship not long after, and I don't know what happened to him. The media learned that we DID shoot some missiles, and I guess you can figure out why they didn't even want our ship named in the attack.
What was I a part of? I have held this secret for way too long. I can not hold it any longer. I have to tell the truth, it is the right thing to do. It was a long time ago, but I can not sleep another night with this information, I had to tell. I did nothing wrong, except not tell this sooner. I will not feel guilty any longer.
If you are not familiar with this story, since it has been close to 20 years ago, here is a Youtube video I found of the incident -
THIS VIDEO IS OF A CRUISE MISSILE, CAUGHT ON LIVE NEWS, HITTING THE MEDIA AT THE AL RASHEED HOTEL AT NIGHT.
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