NBC's Brian Williams admits his repeated Iraq story was not true

Brian Williams of NBC News on Wednesday admitted he was not aboard a helicopter that was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq in 2003, a claim he and the network have made several times in recent years.

The confession came the day after Williams aired a tribute he had planned at a New York Rangers hockey game for one of the soldiers who provided security for the helicopters when they were on the ground.

“The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG,” the "Nightly News" anchor said Tuesday evening. “Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armor mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry.”

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However, crew members told Stars and Stripes that Williams and his team were in a different helicopter, about an hour behind the three Chinook helicopters that came under fire that day.

Williams told the newspaper that he had made an inadvertent error.

“I would not have chosen to make this mistake,” he said in a statement to the newspaper. “I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.”

“I spent much of the weekend thinking I'd gone crazy,” he added. “I feel terrible about making this mistake.”

Williams added that, “Nobody’s trying to steal anyone’s valor. Quite the contrary.”

UPDATE: Williams apologized on the air during tonight's broadcast of NBC Nightly News. "I want to apologize... I made a mistake," the anchor told his viewers. Watch below: