NEW YORK, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- NBC News anchor Brian Williams on Wednesday apologized for reporting that he was in a U.S. military helicopter that had drawn fire in 2003 in Iraq, when in fact he was safe in another helicopter.
On multiple occasions, Williams recalled the events of 12 years ago in which he said he was in a Chinook helicopter that drew enemy fire when he reported on the war in Iraq.
"The helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG," Williams said during last week's broadcast. "Our traveling NBC News team was rescued and kept alive by an Armored Mechanized Platoon from the U.S. Army Third Infantry."
He revisited the story last week in an effort to honor veteran Sgt. Major Tim Terpak.
But Williams drew criticisms online from those who remembered the incident differently.
"Sorry dude, I don't remember you being on my aircraft," Lance Reynolds said in a Facebook post. "I do remember you walking up about an hour after we had landed to ask me what had happened. Then I remember you guys taking back off in a different flight of Chinooks from another unit and heading to Kuwait to report your 'war story' to the 'Nightly News.' The whole time we were still stuck in Iraq trying to repair the aircraft and pulling our own security."
Joseph Miller also remembered the story differently.
"Thank you, Lance! I've been calling him out on this for a long time with no response. He was actually on my aircraft, and we came in behind you about 30-45 minutes later," Miller wrote.
Williams apologized on air Wednesday.
"I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago," he said on "Nightly News."
"I want to apologize -- I said I was traveling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG fire. I was instead in a following aircraft. We all landed after the ground fire incident and spent two harrowing nights in a sandstorm in the Iraq desert," Williams added.
"This was a bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran, and by extension, our brave military men and women, veterans everywhere, those who have served while I did not," he said. "I hope they know they have my greatest respect, and also now my apology."