LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — NBC Nightly News anchorman Brian Williams on Wednesday recanted an often-told story that suggested he was aboard a helicopter that was attacked and downed during the Iraq war in 2003.

He on another aircraft, but he reportedly told the story for years.

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KCAL9’s Peter Daut said Williams told the story most recently Friday at an NHL game during a tribute to a retired soldier who provided security to the downed crew members.

“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 (a rocket-propelled grenade),” Williams said.

Williams came clean Wednesday that the story wasn’t true.

Crew members of the downed chopper began to challenge his version of events on social media, saying he was never on the aircraft.

On the air Wednesday evening, Williams said he was sorry.

“I want to apologize,” he said.

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Brian Williams and David Letterman might soon be members of a new union -- SAG-AFTRA. (credit: CBS)

Brian Williams is a frequent Letterman guest. (credit: CBS)

Daut says Williams blamed a foggy memory.

“I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago,” he added.

“It’s the old stolen valor story there,” said Bob Rosebrock, a veterans advocate who lives in Brentwood.

Rosebrock said he is disappointed in Williams and now questions the anchor’s credibility.

“How do we believe him on everything else he’s reporting? So, it’s very troubling,” says Rosebrock.

Williams has since been excoriated in social media.

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He responded to critics on Facebook by writing that “Nobody’s trying to steal anyone’s valor” and that he was a “civilian journalist covering the stories of those who volunteered for duty.”