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Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News recants Iraq War story after Facebook confrontation

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Posted at 7:33 PM, Feb 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-04 19:55:32-05

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams recanted an Iraq War story Wednesday after members of the military confronted him on Facebook.

The story – that Williams was in a helicopter targeted by a rocket propelled grenade in 2003 – was repeated in a Jan. 30 TV broadcast. A video clip of the broadcast was posted by Nightly News on Facebook.

“Sorry dude, I don’t remember you being on my aircraft,” posted Lance Reynolds, a flight engineer. “I do remember you walking up about an hour after we had landed to ask me what had happened.”

Another man wrote that Williams was on his helicopter – one that did not come under fire:

“He was actually on my aircraft and we came in behind you about 30-45 minutes later,” wrote Joseph Miller, the flight engineer on Williams’ flight.

Williams recanted his story Wednesday to Stars and Stripes, the daily newspaper that serves the U.S. military. He said he misremembered the incident after viewing videos.

“I would not have chosen to make this mistake,” Williams said to Stars and Stripes. “I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.”

Williams also posted a response on Facebook:

“You are absolutely right and I was wrong,” Williams wrote. “I think the constant viewing of the video showing us inspecting the impact area -- and the fog of memory over 12 years -- made me conflate the two, and I apologize.”

Gavin Stern is a national digital producer for the Scripps National Desk.