A co-pilot of a Chinook helicopter in which NBC news anchor Brian Williams flew while in Iraq in 2003 declined to criticize Williams Sunday when asked if he were offended by the newsman’s claims — since recanted — that they had come under enemy fire.

“I don’t make any judgments on that,” Allan Kelly, now of Duluth, told CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday. “Everybody has to live with the life they choose to lead.”

Last week, Williams apologized for saying that the Chinook had been hit, and he since has removed himself temporarily from the nightly newscast to avoid being a distraction.

In his apology Wednesday, Williams noted that the Chinook was following another aircraft that sustained fire, adding, “We all landed after the ground fire incident and spent two harrowing nights in a sandstorm in the Iraq desert.”

Kelly, 44, said the Chinook was “probably somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes” behind the helicopter that was struck.

Of Williams, Kelly added Sunday, “If he made mistakes — I mean, we’re all human. But I make no judgments on him in that regard.”

Anthony Lonetree