A fine, patriotic hoax — the U.S.S. Pueblo

Commander Lloyd Bucher

Cmdr. Lloyd Bucher and the Pueblo on the cover of Time Magazine, February 2, 1968 (substituted for the official portrait of Bucher, which is no longer available)

A good hoax? It could happen, right?

It did happen.

A U.S. spy ship, the U.S.S. Pueblo, under the command of Cmdr. Lloyd Bucher, was captured by North Korea on January 28, 1968 — the beginning of a very bad year in the U.S. that included Viet Cong’s Tet Offensive that revealed victory for the U.S. in Vietnam to be a long way off, the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., the assassination of presidential candidate Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, riots during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, a bitter election — and a wonderful television broadcast from astronauts orbiting the Moon on Christmas Eve.

North Korea held the crew of the Pueblo for eleven months. While holding the crew hostage — there was never any serious thought that the ship had in fact strayed into North Korean territorial waters, which might have lent some legitimacy to the seizure of the ship — North Korea (DPRK) tried to milk the event for all the publicity and propaganda possible. Such use of prisoners is generally and specifically prohibited by several international conventions. Nations make a calculated gamble when they stray from international law and general fairness.

To their credit, the crew resisted these propaganda efforts in ways that were particularly embarrassing to the North Koreans. DPRK threatened to torture the Americans, and did beat them — but then would hope to get photographs of the Americans “enjoying” a game of basketball, to show that the Americans were treated well. The crew discovered that the North Koreans were naive about American culture, especially profanity and insults. When posing for photos, the Americans showed what they told DPRK was the “Hawaiian good luck sign” — raised middle fingers. The photos were printed in newspapers around the world, except the United States, where they were considered profane. The indications were clear — the crew was dutifully resisting their captors. When the hoax was discovered, the Americans were beaten for a period of two weeks.

Bucher was court martialed for not having resisted capture more ferociously, a court martial that troubles many of us. Among other complaints was a “confession” that Bucher signed, to please the DPRK. One day I’ll get the transcript and see how it was dealt with in the hearing — but any serious reading of the confession reveals that it was a hoax on the North Koreans, too, and it showed them to be particularly ill-prepared to deal with prisoners who had some spirit and and their wits about them.

Hoaxes are an interest of mine, and this series of hoaxes should not be left out of school history books, I think. Alas, all I can find on the internet are edited copies of the “confession.”

Missing from these excerpts are a some elements that I recall, but which I may be recalling in error. My recollection is that at one point the confession noted specific latitude and longitude for the assignment of the spy ship — coordinates that would have put the boat in Juneau, Alaska, rather than off the coast of Korea. And most important, I recall that there was a phrase about the Pueblo’s entering, or penetrating, North Korea’s territorial waters. Bucher “confessed” to having made a slight penetration of DPRK territory waters, but added this phrase, as I recall: “penetration, no matter how slight, is sufficient to completion of the act.” That phrase comes from the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the definition of rape. Every serviceman who heard Bucher’s voice reading the “confession” knew immediately that it was a “screw job.”

Here is the text of a confession I have found on the web; if you know of a source of the complete confession, or if you have information to correct my account, please pass it along.

A final confession in anticipation of leniency for my crew and myself for the heinous crimes perpetrated by ourselves while conducting horrible outrages against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for the purpose of provocating and annoying those stalwarts of peace-loving humanity. The absolute truth of this bowel wrenching confession is attested to by my fervent desire to paean the Korean People’s Army Navy, and their government and to beseech the Korean people to forgive our dastardly deeds unmatched since Attila. I therefore swear the following account to be true on the sacred honor of the Great Speckled Bird.

Following rigorous training in provacation and intrusion wherein each of my officers had to meet the overly high standards I had set for them we emerged from the bowels of San Diego harbor bent on setting records for the highest yardage gained in intrusions ever set in the standard patrol. Our first stop was Hawaii where I visited the kingpin of all provocateurs, including spies. None other than Fleet General Barney Google. He was all I had been told, sly, cunning, closed mouthed, bulbous nosed, smelling of musty top secrets and some foul smelling medicine that kept him going twenty hours a day in pursuit of the perfect spy mission. He talked haltingly with me but persuasively about our forthcoming mission. “By God, Bucher, I want you to get in there and be elusive, spy them out, spy out their water, look sharp for signs of electronic saline water traps. You will be going to spy out the DPRK. By the sainted General Bullmoose we must learn why they are so advanced in the art of people’s defense.”

We entered into our assigned operating areas along the Eastern Korean Sea at latitude 39N and boldly steamed in a northerly direction to the farthest point we could. In so doing we had traversed Operation Areas Mars, Venus, and Pluto so named because like the planets, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is really far out. We knew that the lackeys of the Bowery Street Billionaires would never be satiated until we had found out all there was to know about the huge successes that the noble peace loving peoples of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had made in the recent past. Surely we had to find out how come such a newly created government could lead its peoples so quickly into the number one position. As we went about detecting this valuable information, particularly the oceanic salinity, density, ionic dispersion rate, humpback whale counts, both low and high protoplasmic unicellular uglena and plankton counts. This information was of the highest value to our own scientists for the development of war mongering at sea when no one was looking.

Now we have come to realize just how great our crimes were and we seek the leniency of the Korean people even though we are criminals of the basest variety and deserve only swift punishment of the just Korean law. Further, we know that our crimes are greater than those of any criminals discovered this century, nevertheless we ask forgiveness and promise never to engage in such naughty acts ever again if we are forgiven. We know that our crime is merely a reflection of the dastardly policies of the Bowery Street Billionaires and we can only hope they will realize their own responsibilities for our actions; because who else could have dreamed up such a heinous and foul playing ship as Pueblo and then searched out enough arch criminals such as we to operate it. Yea, we feel it is time indeed for those really responsible for us to step forward and accept their own roles and Admit, Apologize and give Assurances that they will never again prepare another spy bag to be filled with goodies.

In summation, we who have been rotating upon the fickle finger of fate for such long languid months give our word to the Great Speckled Bird that we will heretofor in all sincerity cleanse ourselves of rottenness and vituperations. We solemnly await our return to our loved ones so that the fickle finger can be replaced by the rosy fingers of dawn and salvation. So help me, Hanna.

By the way, the word “paean” was pronounced by Cmdr. Bucher as “pee-on,” with the full intent of invoking the double entendre.

If you know of a source of the full confession, please list it in comments.

And spread the news:

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39 Responses to A fine, patriotic hoax — the U.S.S. Pueblo

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Sonny James, is your comment in the wrong thread? Wrong post?


  2. Sonny james says:

    There are true stories about the Texas chainsaw massacre. One around Austin, but the real one happened in childress,tx. Up north bye the panhandle. People who live here will tell you that Hollywood was out to make a dollar out of a lie. True Ed did do his crime, but the used him just to make a dollar. Just like the Trump’s Clintons, and the child molesters in Hollywood, lie to get what they want.


  3. Michael Trotter says:

    The operation described “Formation Star” is only one of the rescue missions planned. The mission planned in December 1968 is not mentioned as it is still classified. I have read the N.S.A.s declassified account UMBRA and it is not comlete.


  4. Ed Darrell says:

    Fold 3 mentioned this post in a post at their site (it’s a military history/genealogy site): http://spotlights.fold3.com/2012/12/14/the-uss-pueblo-strikes-back/



  5. Kelly McCarthy says:

    Yes, that is my understanding…see below quote:
    Regarding some prior postings seeking information about the “Pueblo Bible.” It is mentioned in Lt. Commander Stephen R. Harris’ book entitled, MY ANCHOR HELD. The Pueblo crew’s religious materials, including bibles, were confiscated by the North Koreans upon their capture; and the crew was not permitted to have any religious materials during their imprisonment. Lt. Harris and other crew members wrote scriptures from memory onto pieces of paper and secretly shared them among the crew. These pieces of papers became known as the “Pueblo Bible.” It is unclear where the crew was able to bring these “Pueblo Bible” papers with them upon their release at Panmunjom.



  6. Ed Darrell says:

    Is the Pueblo Bible related to the U.S.S. Pueblo in any way?


  7. Kelly McCarthy says:

    I’m looking for information on the Pueblo Bible and or a copy of it.


  8. Ed Darrell says:

    Thanks for your service, Terry. I hope you can reconnect with him — and let us know if you do.


  9. Terry Smith says:

    Lt. Schumacher was a personal friend. We served together for over a year on the USS Vega AF59.

    When they were having the inquiries at Coronado, Ca., I was there undergoing survival training, prior to serving at the Naval Supply Activity in Saigon. I saw Skip waiting to be grilled by the Board of Inquiry. He looked gaunt and thin. I asked him how he was…he replied “About as well as can be expected for somebody who’s spent almost a year as a POW.”

    I couldn’t help but feel a sadness for what he had been through. I’ve lost track of him, but I know he wrote a book about his ordeal.
    I hope he is still alive and is doing well. He was an officer who was a down to earth guy . . . not a snotty 90 day wonder like a few of the other officers on the Vega.


  10. Ed Darrell says:

    The North Koreans were quite aware of the nature and details of the Pueblo’s mission, and would not have been interested in such an absurd text.

    Except that the absurd confession was published by the North Koreans a few months prior to the release.

    It was a great embarrassment for the PRK.


  11. Kim Shin Jo says:

    In fact, it is somewhat unlikely that such a confession was actually written by the crew during their detention in North Korea. The North Koreans were quite aware of the nature and details of the Pueblo’s mission, and would not have been interested in such an absurd text. Those confessions which were purely for propaganda purposes were pre-written by the North Koreans. I think the crew invented this confession as a parody, and they never actually gave it to the North Koreans.


  12. Nick K says:

    Then North Korea should sign a comprehensive peace treaty with both the United States and South Korea and give up its nuclear weapons program or open them for at whim inspections. In other words they should start acting responsibily instead of as the worlds most paranoid crackpots waving nukes around.

    Oh and right now the United States couldn’t invade North Korea even if we wanted to.

    But sorry, its rather suspicious that North Korea is perfectly willing to sign a peace treaty with the United States…..but not South Korea.


  13. BruceCarson2008 says:

    Actually the Pueblo was not in North Korean waters because North Korea, North Korea admitted this fact in their Memos to the Russians and other socialist states. To clear up any doubt about who the unreliable actor is, just a few days later North Korea staged an attack on South Korea’s blue house in an effort to assassinate the South Korean president. That be said, North Korea has always been under threat by the likes of Bush and right wingers. North Korea is just trying to defend itself from pre-emptive attack like Saddam suffered, I think we should all understand that.


  14. John Yates says:

    The comment made by Ken Shattock about the rescue of
    the USS PEUBLO, has a lot of truth to the story. I
    did not know just who the support ships were to be,
    but the “tow” ship was the USS Mataco ATF 86, although
    there may have been others, I read the orders for the
    posssible undertaking, the XO LTJG T.O. Fanning was
    also aware. Not to long ago I was talking with a friend who was in the Air Navy-Mine Layers, he said to me that they had plans to “Mine{” the harbor where
    the ship was.


  15. Dave Rediker says:

    I was only 12 years old when this happened and didn’t understand where or what North Korea was all about. However, nine years later, I was stationed at Field Station Korea at the former Camp Humpreys, and found myself in the middle of the Ax Murder incident near the Bridge of No Return. Bottom line: The crew of Pueblo are all heros.

    God Bless them all.


  16. Robert Johnson says:


    Public Law 101-189 Nov. 29, 1989

    (4) by foreign armed forces that are hostile to the United States, under circumstances which the Secretary concerned finds to have been comparable to those under which persons have generally been held captive by enemy armed forces during periods of armed conflict.


  17. Ribert Johnson says:

    I have been involved with the process to win approval for the POW medal to approximately 200 former WWII AAF personnel held at Wauwilermoos Prison in Switzerland.

    Only two have bee approved the medal to date. The first was approved by AF Chief of Staff General Fogleman in 1996. The second was approved by AF Correction of Military Records in 2006.

    Currently, the board is following guidelines not applicable to WWII era, thus denying others held at the same facility.

    I noticed all crew members of the Pueblo were awarded the POW medal. Could anyone share the justification (guideline) authorizing such?


  18. […] 28: Anniversary of Pueblo capture January 28 will be the 40th anniversary of the capture of the U.S.S. Pueblo by gunboats from North Korea (or Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, DPRK), which led to some of […]


  19. Rich Grabowski says:

    I was a Crew Chief on F 105’s,12th Tac Ftr Sq at Kadena,Okinawa when the Pueblo was attacked and taken.We were mobilized and deployed to Osan for six months.Although not like Southeast Asia,it was very tense on the Korean peninsula for a while.A real memory for a young airman.


  20. Ed Darrell says:

    Not aware of Peters — another thing to chase down!


  21. Vance says:

    Have you ever heard the name of CMDR. James Peters. maybe James F. Peters, not really sure. Last known address was Bakersfield, CA where he was a substitute high school teacher. No, I was not in his class. I was however, his friend. He had articles and stories of the Pueblo incident, and personal letters, files, etc, of the same.
    Cmdr. Peters, while never saying anything negative for the captivity of the crew,
    does however dispute the actual capture. He led a small ship though the same channel just 24 hours earlier. The ship was also approached by the same small vessle that the Pueblo ship was approached by, and his ship fired at the approaching vessle and drove it away. He advised Captain Bucher of the incident and added that he should arm the vessle and be prepared for boarding. By the way, Cmdr. Peters was Lyndon Johnson’s morning advisor during Viet Nam for a brief period. This might make a interesting part of the story.


  22. brian says:

    commander Bucher was not court marshaled. He was subjected to a naval court of inquiry to determine if he should be court marshaled but the ruling to proceed with a court martial was overturned before it could begin. Bucher wanted a court martial to expose the problems with the mission and the navy but they wouldn’t give him one.


  23. robert moore says:

    i, too was a security policeman stationed at naha air base okinawa during that time in jan /1968. i looking to get in contact with anyone from squardon. thanks


  24. Patrick ONeil STG3 says:

    Hello nice to read your article.

    I almost met you once, and I was looking forward to it with mixed emotions. I guess in somes ways you were looking forward to meeting me also with mixed emotions. I can tell you now my emotions were a combination of fear and hope. I imagine yours were the same. My name is Patrick ONeil and i was a frightened but hopefull member of operation Formation Star, USS Osbourn DD846. I remember shooting a machine gun off the fantail of my destroyer practice for what i hoped woluld be a test of my courage to help a fellow sailor escape from torture and maybe death. I wish i with all my heart that i could have met you. So do all the others on the team, it broke our hearts when we were told to stand down. It was the worst feeling i have ever felt not meeting you then. I apologize for not being there when you needed me. Please know you all were in our prayers and thoughts.


  25. Dr. Anon Y. Mous says:

    I found this excerpt from David E. Pearson’s* June 2000 whitepaper on 3 WMCCS failures interesting. He mentions the USS PUEBLO as the 2nd one. He goes into some curious details about the whole incident… Worth reading with discretion… http://cl1p.net/pueblo/

    Was the Pueblo Incident “engineered”? Why? For what purpose?

    *Air University Press Maxwell AFB Alabama


  26. k3llitor says:

    Thank you Ed, you have been a big help I will post the grade when i am done with the project.


  27. Ed Darrell says:

    Sources on the U.S.S. Pueblo are not always easy to find, but there are enough to do a good report.

    Be sure to check out all the links I have listed above — you should be able to just link from them. Also, I have a newer post, here. You may also want to check out this story from Stars and Stripes from 2002.

    Also, check this story in Salt Lake City’s Deseret News, about one of the crew, Dale Rigby, now living in Utah. I suspect there are a few other stories around, if you do a Google search.

    The official Navy history is quite accurate, and a great source. This page gets you to the Navy history on the ship and these events: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-p/ager2.htm

    Here are other sources I’ve found:

    o A seminar at MIT:
    o Another blog, “Damn Interesting,” which I hope won’t be blocked by your school’s internet filters: http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=588
    o A bizarre account of meeting the North Korean officer in charge of the capture, who recalls the “confessions,” but not the hoaxes (this account is probably factual, but it offers opinions quite contrary to any I would have, or any an honest historian would give): http://www.kimsoft.com/2001/pueblo.htm
    o A resolution demanding the return of the ship from North Korea, introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Carroll Campbell of Kentucky on January 29, 2003: http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2003_cr/sr29.html (you should check the Congressional Record at the Thomas website of the Library of Congress for more information).
    o An Associated Press story from 2005 suggesting North Korea might be willing to return the ship:
    o Several accounts from Alan Hemphill, a Navy colleague of Cmdr. Bucher, who acted as the Bucher family spokesman from time to time:
    o Mitchell B. Lerner is an historian with much expertise on the Pueblo. One of his books is available from Amazon.com, if you can’t find it in your local library: http://www.amazon.com/Pueblo-Incident-Failure-American-Foreign/dp/0700612963
    o An oral history interview with Dean Rusk, who was Lyndon Johnson’s Secretary of State at the time of the incident, available from the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library in Austin; it’s in .pdf format, so you can search it for the word “Pueblo”: http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/search/Oral_History/oh_search.html
    o Here’s a contemporary account from Time Magazine’s free archives: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,837782-6,00.html
    o The American Presidency Project at the University of California Santa Barbara has an excerpt from a Johnson press conference on February 2, 1968 with a brief mention: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29149
    o Other documents from the American Presidency Project which may have mentions: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php
    o A 2005 column by NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, on the ship and subsequent events: http://www.mishalov.com/pueblo.html
    o Vanderbilt University’s archives of television news features several segments on the Pueblo — for example, go to this site, and do a search for “Pueblo”: http://openweb.tvnews.vanderbilt.edu/1968-9/

    Be sure to check with your school librarian for access to other databases that might get you newspapers and magazines from 1968.

    Also, be sure to check for a copy of Cmdr. Bucher’s autobiography, My Story, which should be in every U.S. library, despite its not being particularly gripping reading. The man is a hero.

    Not to mention the fact that there was a USS Pueblo in the Federation fleet in Star Trek: http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/USS_Pueblo


  28. k3llitor says:

    I am an 11th grade high school student, I chose this topic for a U.S. History project. I need to find all the information I can on this topic I if you can help me that would be great


  29. Thomas F. Torres (Sgt.) says:

    I came across this cite quite by accident and it really made me think about synchronicity. I was a young 20 year old airman stationed in Kimpo AB when the USS Pueblo was taken and the thirty or so assassination team was dispersed into the south to attack the Blue House. Although I was not involved in MI it did not take a rocket scientist to understand what the North Koreans were hoping to accomplish. I guess being a chess player I saw the board as a double feint (double fianchetto if you will) The Tet Offensive in Viet Nam and hopefully a north korean front as suggested by a previous writer(supra). All I know is that I witnessed and participated in one of the most massive military build-ups never written about and much less discuyssed. In retrospect I suppose that the political atmosphere at home would not permit the then current administration to admit or even give the people opf the U.S. even the remotest possibility of extending the “war” to the N. Koreans. It just wouldn’t do. I recall that during a real base alert we were actually handed the M-16’s issued to us without having to surrender our weapons cards and were inssued magazines as well as ammo.
    I really believe that the awesome display of the military buildup as well as the termination of the assassination team by our special forces and the elite ROK forces caused the n. koreans to stop and thinkk about what they were attemping because they did back off for a while. Let me state however a fact which was never discussed. We were shipping bodies back home almost weekly form the fire fights which ocurred almost nightly on the DMZ and the ambushes by the n. koreans. Taps was heard much too often at Kimpo and not too many if anyone stateside knew or cared it was taking place.


  30. Bob Liskey says:

    USS PUEBLO Veteran’s Association
    Guests’ Comments

    We have received messages from many people who have visited our web site. Many are presented below. If you do not wish to have your comments displayed, please contact us.
    Select the time period of interest below:
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    December 1998
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    July-September 2006
    Date: Mon, 28 Dec 1998 23:40:04 EST
    Hello Crewmembers!
    I am writing this to both the President and webmaster.
    I was an Army Security Agency vet based in Taiwan at the time of your capture. I remember well sitting at my “pos” in a shack encircled by 25 monopoles. I was in radio DF, and thinking to myself that our counterparts in Korea must be working “overtime” after the incident. Little did I know I myself would be in Korea only days later! Our NCOIC called us into the ops building and asked for volunteers! ….. Okay, so pick a number between 1 and 10… I picked 3 and my buddy from Vietnam picked 5 and off we went. two E-4’s (me and Gussie) two E-5’s and an E-7 in charge.
    Enroute to Korea we stopped at Okinawa and picked up 5 more “volunteers” for a total of 10 to help out the effort at Camp Humphries near Pyong taek (sp). They were indeed working 12 and 12 but apparently liked that and were not to happy about going back to 3 rotating 8 hour shifts! I remember working the report desk trying to receive messages back from the outstations and the horrible signals covered with so much noise. On leaving taiwan I dropped my folks a short note I was “headed for Korea” Didn’t take any stationary with me and after a few weeks of nil heard they had the Red Cross after me as they knew I was into some sort of “undercover” work myself and had suspitions I may have somehow been involved in this incident.
    I live very near Boys Town, NEbraska but everytime I have heard about the Commanders visits it has been on TV and after the fact. Would indeed like to shake his hand and ALL the crew members for that matter! I was looking through the list and see there is one guy from Nebraska City, so will give him a hollar! I have read the Commanders book and also one other one written by the officer from St. Louis I believe.
    Also have in my possession a book called “The Pueblo Surrender” by Robert Liston. Are you familiar with that book? He broaches some real off the wall ideas about the why and why not as far as the support or non-support of your plight by the US Government. Any comments on that book if you are aware of it? Just wondering.
    I salute all of you who were submitted to inhuman atrocities inflicted on you. I did managed to weather the Vietnam war living in small outposts and was under some types of enemy fire at times …. but have no clue as to what you all must have gone through as captives of the North Koreans. I understand a member of your crew, not sure of his name, has consented to join a Chat Session scheduled sometime in January for members of our newly formed National Army Security Assoc. Looking forward to that and any correspondence you care to reply to me. Saying “thanks” for your service just doesn’t ring true … there must be a better word.

    All for now .

    Vern Greunke
    Date: Sun, 06 Jan 1999 22:38:27 +1200
    Dear Sir,
    My name is Stephan Notarianni, I live and work at the US Army Missile Range on Kwajalein Atoll, in the Marshall Islands, Im a US Dept Of Energy Employee. I’m 34 y.o, born and raised in France, now a Naturalized US Citizen. What brings me here now to write this few words, is a a personnal fascination that I have with the USS Pueblo and the ordeal encountered by its fine crew on that fatefull January 23rd 1968.I came across this unknown story(to me) in a book store when I purchased The Pueblo Surrender, by Liston after reading this book, I wanted to know more, so many things were so incredible that I went on a “discovery Journey”, I’ve read all the books but the one from Lt Steve Harris Mother. I’ m simply Flabergasted that One vent, One Crew, One Ship can lead to so many different interpretations of what happened on 1/23, The Months in Captivity are less of a controversy, it appears. That fact alone is captivating to me. I’m not very Familiar with the aftermath and the return of the crew, only with what has been written ion the books that I’ve read.
    I found your web page a little over an hour ago, I wanted to write you to let you know how much I, as an individual Citizen, appreciate and thank you for this page, You belong to a fine & courageous group of People. I don’t really know at this point how much more I could learn about the USS Pueblo capture , or at least what is permissible to learn 30 years later. I’ve heard that a movie / documentary was made, I’ve been unable to this day to find a title, if you know of such a film, could you please let me know.
    I’ve gone to the different pages of your Web site, and of course find all trully interesting and bery well made.
    I hope that I’m not being intrusive, it is just a fascinating subject for me
    Hope to hear from you
    Best to all of you, God Bless
    Stephan Notarianni
    US Army Kwajalein Atoll
    Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 03:48:31 EST
    Nice to see a website like this one. I attended the POW medal award ceremonies in 1990 where I met Pete Bucher and his wife Rose. Pete and Rose invited me to their home in Poway to spend the day after we had spoken for about an hour after the cermonies. I was Chief, Intelligence Branch, Military Intelligence Division, AC of S, G-2, Hqs, 8th US Army when the USS PUEBLO was seized on 23Jan68. A few days before the BLUE HOUSE RAID had ocurred. Thus there were 2 major incidents… acts of war… in one week. We had intel repts from NK POLLITBURO that NK was going to start seconed war front when US troop levels reached 500K in Vietnam. I and Bruce K Grant coauthored a memo 5 days before BLUE HOUSE RAID and at least one week before PUEBLO was seized that was used to put UNC on higher alert status. The memo subject matter was elements of RECON BUREAU (NK assassination teams) were coming into SK. Hindsight is 20/20.
    At the time I wanted to “backchannel” to J-2 down the hall. My supervisor wanted to go through channels with the memo. In the end, he said I was right and we should not have relied on official channels but walked the memo up the hall to J-2. The immediate response to the seizure was consideration of a tactical nuke airburst over WONSAN to deny access to the PUEBLO. I wrote an 8 point memo: 5 against, 3 for the airburst tact nuke. The memo went out under CINC, UNC signature unchanged. Then we began updating target lists and outlined the contingency plan for nuclear weapons use in the event NK miscalculated and did attack across the DMZ. Knowing what was at stake and NK not knowing and perhaps might miscalculate we leaked it to the CHICOM’s what was at stake: there would be a nuclear weapons response if NK came across the DMZ. Tet occurred shortly thereafter.
    We also leaked that if any of the PUEBLO crew were executed or killed we would also use nukes as that would be an act of war even greater than the seizure of the PUEBLO. We truly thought at the time that coupled with the POLITUBURO report that a second front was about to open up. We were 30% TOE and the only way we could defend ourselves was with nukes. It was my understanding that the inital request and idea for airburst tact nuke came down the pipeline from President Johnson. I see you have a list of books on the website. I have some already and will obtain the others. Rose and Pete have encouraged me to write about the experience I had. I have started but am worried there is much classified
    although it now over 30 years later.
    Great website.
    Bob Liskey
    Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 20:22:34 EST
    It is an Honor for me to be able to email you, The web site is truly amazing and a fine tribute to all who served and are truly unsung heroes. I am a 19 year member of the Coast Guard and would like to ask a question of you if you have e minute. I am very interested in the Pueblo Incident which I find a miscarrige of history not to be more widely know of by others in my office! But my question is this I am a collector of historical autographs and wonder if it is possible to email the others and ask for a response to a specific question ( the same to be answered by all willing ) and see if they might mail there answer and autograph to me. I will reimburse for the postage . Can you give me a feel if this may be possible or would it be to intrusive? I do wish to hear your story first hand , but do not to be a bother to you all. The question I would ask is this Can you tell me your thoughts as you took that final walk across the bridge to freedom? Thanks for your time and if you wish please email an address and I will send an SASE for your response. Thanks again and God Bless you and Yours
    Bm2 Louis R Reeves
    UCSG MSO Wilmington
    Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1999 21:37:07 EST
    I’m Pat McNelly and I was a photo interpreter with G2 8th Army during your last four months of captivity. I enlisted just days after the Pueblo was taken. I have a few interesting stories to tell. It will be nice to exchange stories.
    Date: Sun, 28 Mar 1999 23:05:48 -0600
    I watched the documentary about your ordeal on The History Channel tonight. Once again I was saddened for you and infuriated by the Navy’s abandoning you and then stabbing you in the back when you returned. At the beginning of the program, Cmdr Bucher said USS Enterprise was within 45 air minutes of you, yet did not respond to your SOS. At the time, I was MM2 Holton, serving in Enterprise. The evening of your capture, our Captain told us of your capture and that we were steaming for North Korean waters. I, and the rest of the crew, expected we would be in combat within a short time.
    A week or so later, as we steamed off the coast of North Korea, I went to the 013 level to look around. What I saw astonished me. It was like a picture from WWII. There were ships from horizon to horizon. Aircraft carriers, helicopter carriers, cruisers, oilers, destroyers, and replenishment ships. There had to have been more than 75 ships. I thought we were getting an attack and invasion force together to come get you. I was sure the United States would give an ultimatum to North Korea to give you back or we would pound them into dust until they did.
    After about three weeks of steaming north and south up and down the coast, we were told we were leaving the area. I can tell you that every man in Enterprise was shocked, amazed, and ashamed at what we were doing. We were abandoning to your fate. That was the day I lost my faith in the Navy. I had thought about doing 20. Those thoughts were gone. All I wanted to do was get out. I felt dirty and ashmed. I talked with crew members of other ships in Subic. They felt the same way that we of Enterprise did. To a man, no one could believe we deserted you.
    When we returned to the States, Pueblo was a frequent topic of conversation. We all knew it could have been us, instead of you, as POWs. We just could not understand why the Navy did not let us come to your aid. About a year later, when North Korea shot down the Navy reconnaissance plane, I was serving in Lynde McCormick DDG-8. We steamed to answer a distress call from a freighter. As we closed in we were called to general quarters. The distress call was a trick, and we were being attacked by North Korean gunboats. The Captain told us we were going to haul ass. I am sure I was not the only man who thought of Pueblo when the Captain said “North Korean gunboats”. I’m sure the Captain hauled ass, because he was afraid what happened to you might happen to us.
    I got out of the Navy in 1970. Although I and others did not suffer with you, you were in our thoughts and prayers during the time of your captivity and still are these many years later. Seeing the documentary again brought back the feelings of shame that I felt 30 years ago when we abandoned you. To this day, I have not forgiven the Navy for what they did to you. From the crew interviews I can see that some of you still have a hard time dealing with your capture, captivity, abandonment and betrayal by the Navy.
    One of you said you had never been told that you did your duty as best you could and that the Navy was proud of you. I cannot speak for the Navy, but I can speak for tens of thousands of your shipmates stationed throughout the world at the time of your ordeal. We know what you went through. We know why you signed the false confessions. We know how you survived only to come home to face an embarrassed and ungrateful Navy. That they would put you and your Captain in front of a Board of Inquiry before you had a chance to decompress and heal yourselves from your experience is shameful.
    The Navy was embarrassed. The Navy should have been embarrassed. I am sure that at least some of those who sought to cover their own asses at your expense have spent the last 30 years living in their own private hell, knowing they sinned against you, and knowing the enormity of their crime. Every time they hear the beginning strains of “Eternal Father, strong to save”, I am sure in their hearts they call out to God for forgiveness for what they did to you. They screwed you over and they know it. They know we know it. And, they know God knows it. I hope that adds to their misery and shame.
    On behalf of all your Navy comrades, I want to thank you all for a job well
    Gerald A. Holton
    April 1, 1999
    I was at Taegu (K-2) Air Base, Republic of Korea, shortly after the Pueblo was seized. Only comment I have to add is that the US government (aka United Nations Command/United States Forces Korea/Eighth United States Army, UNC/USFK/EUSA) ordered US military personnel to block the runways to prevent ROK Air Force units from launching in response. The Republic of Korea was fully prepared to go to war with the DPRK and were held in check only by our intervention. Strange that the ROK’s had more cajones than we did…..then again, in retrospect, maybe it’s not so strange.
    Larry W. Kerr
    …..POW-MIA never have a nice day.
    …..Nos Ducemos Semper!
    Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 00:45:04 -0500
    Good to see the USS Pueblo remembered, my brother William (Scabby) Scarborough was with the crew. Glad to know he’s not forgotten. May God bless each of you.
    Johnny Scarborough
    Anderson South Carolina
    Date: Wed, 19 May 1999 17:00:40 -0400
    Wow! Have just spent well over an hour looking the site over,
    and still haven’t visited every nook and cranny! What a fantastic
    job! A what a tremendous job of work! You guys can be really
    proud of that page! Top-notch, first-class, a-one, and professional.
    It’s nice to know that the LIBERTY and the PUEBLO incidents are
    going to make a dent in history, in spite of all the cover-up
    efforts by our government. Congratulations!
    John Gidusko
    Date: Thu, 20 May 1999 21:10:58 EDT
    My name is James M. Burkhalter, I am a Builder First Class in the U.S.Navy Seabees. Because of one of your Shipmates “CT2 Don Mcclaren” I joined the Navy, he is a step-uncle of mine and had a great influence upon my choice to join the Navy. I am very happy that you have finally gotten thesite up and running, you and you shipmates deserve more than the medals that our country have given you, you have earned my respect and praise.

    James M. Burkhalter

    BU1 USN
    Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 09:52:52 EDT
    Thanks for all the great work you guys put in to make this site. As a former CTR on active duty when Pueblo was seized, I have always been proud of you guys and continue to be so. Thanks,
    Bill Hildebrand
    Colorado Springs
    Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 11:40:38 EDT
    what a site. I was 9 years old when the incident occurred. I now have a better understanding of the matter. I salute the men who endured 11 months of hell on earth. Thanks to this site, I hope no one will ever forget what happened, or the bravery these men showed us.
    Memorial Day weekend 1999
    Dear Sirs:
    I want to take a moment to tell you… I am so happy you are all home safe and sound. I personally believe you where all given a bum deal in the first place and your experiences in North Korea should have never have happened.

    God Bless you all.
    From a former Combat Marine of Viet Nam 1965-66
    Larry Nelson
    Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 22:25:23 -0400
    You mentioned this web site would be forthcoming and we both appreciate your forwarding it to us. I sat down to read the information and after two hours I find I am still unable to pull myself away. You and the others involved have done a marvelous job and have presented many sides and personal stories that bring the event to life. Best Wishes.
    Banning Ingram, Brookeville, Maryland.

    Date: Fri, 4 Jun 1999 22:00:48 EDT
    This was a GREAT link. I was a CT (Communications Technician). I was stationed at Naval Secuity Group Skaggs Island, CA (North San Francisco Bay) when the USS Pueblo was captured and when the crewmembers were released. Personnel from NSGA Skaggs Island went TAD to debrief the crewmembers. After I got out in 1974, I personnally meet CDR Schumacker, who lives here in St. Louis, and we briefly spoke about the “Spooks” . ./John
    Date: Sat, 5 Jun 1999 22:11:17 EDT

    My name is Alan K. MacKay, and I was an Air Traffic Controller at Kimpo for two years 4/68 to 4/70. My former wife ANC Lt. Darlene MacKay was one of the nurses that met the crew at Freedom Bridge, and the fruitcake that you ate was a Christmas gift from my mother and grandmother that they sent to us for the holidays. By the time I got back stateside in April of 1970, the Pueblo was old news. It was a big day for me to see you guys climb aboard the two C-141’s. I took a few B/W photographs that I developed myself on base, and still have a few color snapshots that I took. When the crew was released at Freedom Bridge one of the crew asked me if I had a cigarette, but I had quit a few weeks before that, and regretfully had to say that I didn’t have any. After you all had climbed aboard the aircraft, I walked back to the radar unit and actually vectored both aircraft out of the area. By looking at your last reunion photo, all of you seem to have gained a lot of weight since December 1968. I would certainly love to hear from some of the men, and would gladly share the photographs with the association. I hope I can find them, as they have been packed away for thirty years. One good thing about the Pueblo…..I had orders to go to Phu Cat Air Base in Viet Nam, but when the Pueblo was captured, my orders were modified and I went to Korea instead. My wife got there in August of 1968 and took care of the crew at the 121 Evac hospital. So much for my life story… Best wishes to you all.
    Alan K. MacKay
    Weston, Fl
    Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 20:34:57 -0700
    The site is EXCELLENT. I could not have done better — or as well.
    Allen Hemphill
    Date Sat, 19 Jun 1999 084850 EDT
    From 1967-70, I was a broadcast journalist with the American Forces Korea Network (AFKN) in Seoul. I was stationed near the end of the Bridge of No Return, when you and your shipmates were released, and later helped broadcast Capt Bucher’s first press conference from the NCO club. After recently stumbling upon the USS Pueblo website, I began searching thru closets of “stuff” and have found one reel-to-reel audio tape of some of our AFKN radio coverage of the event. The tape was recorded as an “aircheck” and unfortunately is at the extremely slow speed of 1-7/8 i.p.s. (However, it can be played on any stero tape deck with standard speed selections–1-7/8, 3-3/4, 7-1/2 and it is quite clear and understandable. The tape includes – the crew departure from the Joint Security Area and helicopter arrival at the 121st Med Evac hospital. – Cdr. Bucher’s press conference at Panmunjom – Adm Rosenburg’s remarks to the press on 24 Dec prior to your departure from South Korea. – the entire memorial service for Duane Hodges, held at Kimpo Air Base – And your departure from Kimpo. If the USS Pueblo Veterans Association would be interested in having this tape for your historical record, please let me know where I can send it.
    Ric Sitler, MSG, U.S. Army (ret)
    Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 06:25:54 EDT
    I had the honor of being a part of the debriefing team that worked with you men at Balboa Naval Hospital. I would like to commend each and every one of you for your service to our country. You were indeed Heros, made a great sacrifice and were unfairly treated by this country. Thank You!
    Rick Darsey, CTRC, USN, Ret.
    Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 USS PUEBLO Veteran’s Association.
    All rights reserved.

    Last modified July 5, 2006

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    Current Message 25 – January 3, 2002

    Entry: 21992
    Pueblo Incident USAF Support from Okinawa

    Donald Eichhorn wrote on 2002-01-03 13:33:46.0

    Comments: I was in the USAF Security Police stationed at Naha Air Base in Okinawa from 1967-69 and was sent on tdy just after the Pueblo was captured. We sent our F102’s, maintenence crews and security. We returned to Okinawa the end of February but I understand that squadrons like the one from Clark Air Base were reassigned; permanently. I am wondering if anyone was with the Security Police group that went to Korea, from Okinawa, and remembers that on our return to Okinawa being sent to the upper part of the island to form what was referred to as the 1st Quick Reaction Mobility Force? I still have my patch from the dedication.

    Current Message 26 – December 26, 2001

    Entry: 21749
    Pueblo Incident Names of Subchaser and Camp Commanders

    Larry Toomey wrote on 2001-12-26 09:20:06.0

    Comments: Hi, Folks. I was looking at the official Pueblo site, reading the articles, and I notice that the narration lacks the name of the Subchaser Commander, the Wonsan Port Commander, the POW Camp Commander and any other NK personnel, especially those of signficance. While I had read the book years ago, trying to find the book would take more time—-I thouhgt—- than finding the data on line. I need the data before Dec 28, 2001. Thanks. Larry Toomey
    Keywords: Subchaser and Camp Commanders, other NK Personnel?

    Current Message 27 – October 24, 2001

    Entry: 20124
    Pueblo Incident pueblo bible

    rana unger wrote on 2001-10-24 19:12:44.0

    Comments: i am interested in something i heard about called the pueblo bible. if any one has info about this i would like to use it during a lesson i am thinking of presenting to my sunday school class. please contact me via email, phone, or mail. i thank you in advance for any assitance.

    Current Message 28 – October 18, 2001

    Entry: 20004
    Pueblo Incident pueblo

    steve kacin wrote on 2001-10-18 09:48:31.0

    Comments: was at 121st evac. when crew arrived by chopper. have picture i took even though no cameras were allowed. includes men carrying coffin(hodges?)

    Current Message 29 – August 26, 2001

    Entry: 18973
    Pueblo Incident What did the CTs and CTIs do aboard Pueblo??

    SA Brady wrote on 2001-08-26 20:53:48.0

    Comments: I’m fresh out of RTC and in my A School. I pretty have all my requirements finished. My LPOs want me to give a presentation on the USS Pueblo. I already had a 4 page presentation done, but they want to know just exactly what the CTs did aboard Pueblo and what kind of secret documents they were working on. IF ANYONE KNOWS THIS INFO PLS TELL ME! Thank you very much!

    Current Message 30 – August 2, 2001

    Entry: 18425
    Pueblo Incident JSA 1967-1968

    Dave Whipple wrote on 2001-08-02 20:27:32.0

    Comments: Some interesting comments. Only one name I recognize as actually being there at the time, & an accurate description at that. Despite the controversy I’m glad the Pueblo incident is still not a dead issue. All else aside, the crew of the Pueblo suffered far to much for far to long & they should be recognized for that if nothing else.

    Current Message 31 – July 25, 2001

    Entry: 18240
    Pueblo Incident Camp Red Cloud

    Ben Downing wrote on 2001-07-25 15:23:42.0

    Comments: Any one who was assigniged te camp red cloud between 1993-1994 Especially from the 304th please contact me.
    Keywords: Nickname: Koolaid

    Current Message 32 – July 17, 2001

    Entry: 18022
    Pueblo Incident K-16 (1959-60) contacts

    William Kennedy wrote on 2001-07-17 07:45:01.0

    Comments: Currently, working on my memoirs of the 1959-60 era at K-16 at Sinkildong, Yongdongpo-Gu. Individuals interested in an inclusion of my memoirs please contact me. thanks.
    Keywords: Would like to contact members of the 6146th AF Advisory Group and Detachments.

    Current Message 33 – May 5, 2001

    Entry: 16356
    Pueblo Incident USS PUEBLO Seizure

    KEN SHATTOCK wrote on 2001-05-05 22:44:39.0

    Comments: I was an ETR2 (E-5) Electronics Technician serving aboard USS OZBOURN (DD-846) in the South China Sea during 1967–1968. The OZBOURN was the Flagship for DESDIV-92 (Destroyer Division-92) in the 7th Fleet during the Vietnam conflict.
    During EARLY January-1968 the OZBOURN and the PUEBLO were in the same Drydock facility together, for repairs, at Naval Base, Yokosuka, Japan.
    After repairs were completed and the water was pumped back into the Drydock, the PUEBLO backed out and headed towards the Sea of Japan and their inevitable meeting with North Korea.
    OZBOURN left the Drydock a couple of days later and headed to Okinawa for refueling, late at night! While in Okinawa the OZBOURN received a high priority message from 7th Fleet commanders advising that the PUEBLO had been seized by the North Koreans..
    Our Captain, CDR John Denham, who had been to WONSAN HARBOR during the Korean War, inquired into the possibility of attempting a RESCUE MISSION. Permission was granted. Hence, the start of Operation Formation Star.
    OZBOURN was chosen as the primary Recovery Vessel. I know–I was onboard. It was very scary! What with China, North Korea, Russia, North Vietnam, and the United States all so close to each other in that Region, the prospects for World War III were very real. For the people, including certain book writers, who continually say that the United States did NOT attempt a Rescue Mission– I say they are DEAD WRONG and do NOT know what they are talking about. I was!! And it was damn COLD up there as well. We were on Station 44-Days.
    The idea was, believe it or not, to STEAM the Pueblo out of Wonsan Harbor if there was TIME; if there was not time OR the Pueblo was not steamed up, then the OZBOURN was to attempt a TOW of the Vessel using large manilla lines and hawsers (sic).
    These were laid out around OZBOURN’s deck in readiness.. At least TWO members from different departments were to be members of a “Boarding Party”, which included BLACK FACE, gun, knife or whatever; even though no one had any formal SEALS training! So, in other words, Two BM’s, Two GM’s, Two FT’s, and so forth! I personally always thought that if the OZBOURN had made it into WONSAN Harbor, we might have NEVER made it out. We even had some Russian Subs around us to more or less say: ‘BACK OFF’– Unfortunately, in a way, WE DID just that, and the poor PUEBLO crew was kept prisoner for some eleven months! I will NEVER forget the Pueblo incident and how I was part of Operation Formation Star, under the OZBOURN’s absolutely teriffic Captain, CDR. John Denham !! Evidently, the White House and Defense Department had second thoughts and cancelled the Operation. There is more to this story I have told. I just get very tired hearing about the people who say the U.S. NEVER tried to do ANYTHING about USS PUEBLO. That’s all I have time for now.
    Thank you all for your attention and your efforts in keeping U.S. Naval history alive. For more info on my story, READ Captain John Denham’s lengthy report starting on the FRONT PAGE of the APRIL (or May) issue of the newspaper from “Tin Can Sailor’s ” organization. It will knock your socks off, believe me!
    Cheers to all of my fellow Vietnam-era Military Veterans and others as well!!
    yours very truly, KEN SHATTOCK ETR2 OE-Division USS OZBOURN (DD-846) 1967–1968 Team Member: Operation Formation Star USS PUEBLO Incident–January, 1968.
    Keywords: OE- Division, USS OZBOURN (DD-846)

    Current Message 34 – April 21, 2001

    Entry: 16064
    Pueblo Incident USS Pueblo Sources

    Mike Marne wrote on 2001-04-21 17:45:19.0

    Comments: Three sources about the Pueblo you might try are:
    The Charles H. Bonesteel Oral History Interview in the Army Military History Institute at Carlisle Barracks, PA. General Bonesteel was the Commander-in-Chief of the US-led United Nations Command during the crisis. You can go the the Institute web page at:
    James P. Finley, “The US Military Experience in Korea 1871-1982.” 1983
    United States Congress. House. Committee on Armed Services. “Inquiry into the USS Pueblo and EC-121 Plane Incidents.” 91st Congress, 1st Session, Washington, DC, 28 April 1969.
    Some good secondary sources are:
    Trevor Armbrister. “A matter of Accountability: The True Story of the Pueblo Affair.” New York: Coward McCann, 1970.
    Dan Bolger. Scenes from an Unfinished War: Low Intensity Conflict in Korea 1966-1969. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 1991.

    Current Message 35 – January 30, 2001

    Entry: 14707
    Pueblo Incident Pueblo crew return

    Bruce Frazer wrote on 2001-01-30 19:14:27.0

    Comments: In ref; to Pueblo crew return, I had a view of the busses & etc when they came over the bridge.I had my 81 MM morter section of M113 gun tracks covering the area in case of a double cross.It was very tense for the whole operation. Some where in the letters I sent home to my wife are several Leaflets the North Koreans rained down on us ocationally. The 17th Infty, 7th IDwas stationed in the area of Line Poppa at the time. If any one would like for me to try to find my old letters I will do so in the interest of the story that has never been told because the Pueblo story was considered not worthy of interest.

    Current Message 36 – December 14, 2000

    Entry: 13621
    Pueblo Incident Memories Are Lost!

    Ron Flechtner wrote on 2000-12-14 09:02:54.0

    Comments: I covered the aftermath of the USS Pueblo Seizure for Pacific Stars and Stripes. I am searching for bylined news stories of that coverage. Any response would be appreciated.
    Keywords: Pacific Stars and Stripes correspondent.

    Current Message 37 – October 11, 2000

    Entry: 12270
    Pueblo Incident “Pueblo Bible”

    Ann Massey wrote on 2000-10-11 08:40:00.0

    Comments: I once had a copy of something called “The Pueblo Bible,” which was a collection of remembered scriptures put together by the crew members while they were in prison. Is it still available? Where?

    Current Message 38 – September 3, 2000

    Entry: 11465
    Pueblo Incident Operation Formation Star (TG70.6)

    John Denham wrote on 2000-09-03 16:19:03.0

    Comments: Preparing section of OZBOURN DD846 history which includes time spend in TG70.6 7thfleet operation to rescue PUEBLO Covers period 1/23/68 through 3/4/68. OZBOURN designated recovery vessel.
    Keywords: USS OZBOURN DD 846. Task Group 70.6,. Operation Formation star. Sea of Japan operations 1/23/68-3/4/68. Surface action unit 70.6.1 7th fleet

    Current Message 39 – August 13, 2000

    Entry: 11006
    Pueblo Incident Panmunjom 72 to 76

    Scott McAnally wrote on 2000-08-13 21:35:39.0

    Comments: USASG-JSA

    Current Message 40 – July 26, 2000

    Entry: 10619
    Pueblo Incident GOD BLESS PUEBLO CREW

    Ron Cummings wrote on 2000-07-26 21:33:32.0

    Comments: Praise for crew of Pueblo, thank you for your service to America, you were not forgotten even though it may have seemed like it at the time. I was on the Imjim river at the time of your abduction, we were wainting for the word to go north but it never came. Sorry for the lack of respect you received from the Navy.
    Keywords: Imjim scout, land mine detection using our tank tracks, patrols along d.m.z.

    Current Message 41 – July 13, 2000

    Entry: 10326
    Pueblo Incident US Air Force Involvement

    James Dear wrote on 2000-07-13 09:34:14.0

    Comments: To those of you who read this who were on that ship, just for the record, those of us who witnessed this incident from our intercept positions were 100% behind all of you on the Pueblo. Some of you gentlemen had just ended your shore duty at our station before going on board the Pueblo, and we did our level best to see that current information concerning the incident was quickly relayed to upper echelons. I for one feel a strong connection with those men, because we shared training and service backgrounds. I feel that they got a very bad hand dealt to them from the moment the North Korean military made the decision to attack them to the moment they received their medals in 1990. I salute all of you, and I consider you to be heros all. I often think of you and the suffering you went through, and I can only say that those of us at our station who were aware of your situation did all within our power to help by bringing attention to the situation you were in. I sincerely hope that the rest of your lives are filled with happiness and success, and that you have overcome whatever difficulties you endured as a re

    Current Message 42 – June 17, 2000

    Entry: 9417
    Pueblo Incident In Search Of U.S.S. Pueblo Photos

    Alan Zak wrote on 2000-06-17 12:14:35.0

    Comments: Greetings!
    I am gathering information about the U.S.S. Pueblo incident for a research project, and am looking for photographs from around the time of the unlawful seizure of that United States naval vessel.
    One photo which I heard rumor of from an acquaintance supposedly depicts the U.S.S. Pueblo crew smiling for the North Korean cameras, with the addition of what the Pueblo crew is purported to have referred to as the “Hawaiian Good Luck” sign, the middle finger raised.
    For most of us, of course, that has a different wish to the recipient than “good luck”, but the North Koreans were unaware of this meaning and simply snapped the photo.
    I’d greatly appreciate a link or image of this photograph, it would be a very telling addition to the collection of photographs I have already assembled.
    Please e-mail me at “alan_zak@hotmail.com” if you have any information on the whereabouts of this photograph, if it does truly exist.
    Thanks in advance for any assistance!!!
    Keywords: U.S.S. Pueblo AGER Bucher

    Current Message 43 – January 29, 2000

    Entry: 6521
    Pueblo Incident 317th CES

    Armando Berumen wrote on 2000-01-29 13:11:53.0

    Comments: I was seeking Air Force personnel who served with the 317th CES during 1967-1971 at Lockbourne AFB especially an Ed Huber of Missouri and Red Behr of Minnisota.
    Keywords: I was in the Air Force attached to the 317th CES which is a construction unit also attached to a Red Horse alert team. Upon capture I was on leave however our team was sent to Korea to build a tent city they were there for about ten months.

    Current Message 44 – January 25, 2000

    Entry: 6436
    Pueblo Incident Participated in decision regarding nuclear response to USS PUEBLO seizure as Ch, Intel Br, G-2, EUSA

    Bob Liskey wrote on 2000-01-25 08:11:23.0

    Comments: Assigned to Plans and Operations, Mil Intel Div, G-2, EUSA Jun 67. Assigned to Strategic Intel, Mil Intel Div, G-2, EUSA with BRUCE GRANT Oct 67. Assigned Ch, Intel Br, Mil Intel Div, G-2 Dec 67. BRUCE GRANT and I coauthored a memo 4-5 days prior to Woodcutters incident that warned of elements of NK 124th, Recon Bureau had ended training and on mission. Also had intel info from NK POLITBURO that NK would attempt to start second major war front to overextend US when troop levels in VIETNAM reached 500,000. UNC, USFK, 8th Army placed on higher alert status. BLUE HOUSE RAID occurred within 5 days of memo and higher alert status. Within few days of BLUE HOUSE RAID, on Jan 23, 1968, USS PUEBLO seized by NK. The (1)BLUE HOUSE RAID assassination attempt, (2)USS PUEBLO seizure, and (3)intel rpt fm NK POLITBURO re second major war front to overextend US, we thought that was what was jumping off. The considered response to the USS PUEBLO was a tactical nuclear wpn airburst over WONSAN HARBOR to deny access to the USS PUEBLO.
    PETE BUCHER was concerned in keeping the crew alive. There was not air support for the mission in case of trouble though there was was suppose to be air support. A flyby would have scared the NKs off. The ENTERPRISE was supppose to have provided that air support but failed to do so. PETE BUCHER did his best to delay until air support arrived as he believed it would soon be arriving. The crew of USS PUEBLO got a raw deal from USG and US NAVY… both at time of incident without proper protection and later upon return. The crew of USS PUEBLO endured not only the NKs but our USG and US Navy bungling. Nothing but the greatest respect for them.
    I ask all who read this site to contact their representatives and ask that as a conditon of further improving relations with NK that at minimum the colors of the USS PUEBLO be returned to the crew of the USS PUEBLO by NK… if not the return of the entire ship.

    Current Message 45 – January 23, 2000

    Entry: 6393
    Pueblo Incident Remembrance

    Gerald Surette wrote on 2000-01-23 14:09:12.0

    Comments: On this day 23 January 2000,I just wanted to say that there are many of us who remember and will never forget. I was involved in the Liberty incedent a few months earlier and can’t forget either of the two ships and crews. Good health and long life. Gerry Surette

    Current Message 46 – January 22, 2000

    Entry: 6377
    Pueblo Incident USS PUEBLO

    Don Mc Clarren wrote on 2000-01-22 18:17:08.0

    Comments: As the president of the USS PUEBLO Veterans Association I thank all who have added their comments to your book. You have a great site and all Korean Vets have paid dearly for it . I am a member of the Korean Veterans Association Post 1 in Johnstown Penna, I worte to the editor of the news letter and sent your URL to him. Thank you and I salute each and every one of you.
    Keywords: USS PUEBLO

    Current Message 47 – January 22, 2000

    Entry: 6374
    Pueblo Incident Bravo Zulu!

    James Holman wrote on 2000-01-22 17:42:42.0

    Comments: While I never served in South East Asia, nor did I serve aboard the USS Pueblo, I served in the Navy for twenty years. I had friends who were on the Pueblo and everything I think of Don McClarren and others, I feel proud to know that they went in harms way, so that today, as an old man, I can tell my grandkids that I knew and served with some real, first-class, heroes in my time. God bless Pueblo and her crew! Jim H Holman, The Old Anchor Clanker

    Current Message 48 – January 12, 2000

    Entry: 6169
    Pueblo Incident Pueblo Crew at JSA

    Larry Anderson wrote on 2000-01-12 20:31:59.0

    Comments: I was at the bridge of no return when the Pueblo Crew was escorted across the river from the north. What a sad sight, especially the sight of the deceased crew member’s casket (A plain wooden box). Also observed the last crew member extend his middle finger towards the north as he crossed the bridge. I always have memories of this historic time and pray for all the survivors of the Pueblo. Anyone looking for first-hand knowledge of the crew’s return please contact.
    Keywords: PanMunJom, Joint Security Area

    Current Message 49 – January 10, 2000

    Entry: 6113
    Pueblo Incident Looking for info……..

    Thomas Warren wrote on 2000-01-10 13:52:17.0

    Comments: I was stationed in Korea in 1968 during the Pueblo Incident. I was assigned to a bunker when a 31 man was sent to assasinate Park Chng-hee. An old Korean approached my bunker to distract or kill me if need be. The 31 man team were captured and later executed in Seoul. The Military will not give me my records on this incident. My pension depends on it. Can any one help me?

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    • The Forgotten DMZ War
    • Commander Bucher

    Pueblo Incident – Jan 23,1968
    On Fri, 21 Nov 1997
    Don G Putnam Email address wrote:

    It has been almost 30 years since the USS Pueblo was captured by North
    Korea. The vessel’s commander was Lloyd Bucher.

    Commander Bocher, now 70, retired from the Navy in 1973, after 27 years.
    He lives in Poway, Calif. where he enjoys painting and a quiet life – a
    far cry from the international incident involving his lightly armed
    906-ton intelligence-gathering vessel. Commander Bocher and his crew
    of 82 were captured by North Korean patrol boats Jan.23,1968, in the Sea
    of Japan off North Korea’s eastern coast.

    North Korea claimed that the Pueblo had violated its territorial waters,
    but the United States said they were in international waters.

    One American crewman was killed in the attack. The others were held
    captive for 11 months. After their release,Commander Bucher said he and
    other crew members had been beaten and forced to confess.

    Long snubbed by the U.S.government, the Pueblo crew finally received
    prisoner if war medals in a 1990 . At the time of the ceremony ,
    Commander Bucher was quoted as saying: “This should have been done when
    we got home ,They (U.S.government officials) needed to tell these guys
    that they had served well” ..

    Go to Top
    Pueblo Incident – 1968
    Hal, I’m a television reporter working on a story about the Pueblo
    incident. I’m surfing the net for information about the Pueblo and
    what happened. So far, your’s is the only link I’ve found. If you’re
    aware of any more would you please e-mail me at:

    Your help is much appreciated… and I found your site very interesting.
    I’m 58, not a vet, but remember Korea well and have several friends who

    Regards, Tom Lawrence, WRAL-TV Raleigh, NC
    Pueblo Incident
    On Sat, 01 Jul 95
    Gary Esposito rocket@shadow.net wrote:

    Very good article on the DMZ. I was there when the USS Pueblo
    was taken, I was with the 2nd Inf. up on the DMZ at the time,
    and as you said things got hot. Your article brought back a
    lot of memories.

    Take Care (Keep Up the Fire)
    Ralph Esposito

    End Section: Go to Top
    Start of Section, please scroll down
    On Wed, 29 Oct 1997
    Tony Boyle wrote:


    Telephone: 912-327-3551



    I am a Vietnam Veteran and retired military USAF. I was not in the
    Korean War but served six years in Korea during the post Korean War Era.

    I flew recon mission over Korea during the Pueblo Crisis and was their
    during the AX Murder and Tree Cutting Incident. The war never really
    ended all the time I was there incidents occured frequently along the
    DMZ and the North Koreans were constantly trying to send infiltrators
    into the south. I was in high school during the Korean War and many of
    the upper classmen went to Korea upon graduation and some did not come
    back. We had a plaque in the lobby of the school in their memory.

    We must not forget the heroes of our wars who went where sent by their
    government and gave their all serving their country. Keep up the great
    job you are doing.
    Pueblo Support
    On Sun, 2 Aug 1998
    Ted Haverty Email address wrote:

    Great section and info. Do you ever get any visitors/vets from the
    1968 time span. I was there, TDY from Okinawa, June, July, and part of
    Aug. for support due to the capture of the Pueblo.
    USAF Support
    On Wed, 31 Dec 1997
    Dan Decker Email address wrote:

    206 W. Arcadia
    Alpine, TX 79830


    Have noticed there isn’t much mention of the Air Force in Korea. As
    part of the response to the USS Pueblo incident, the 4th Tactical
    Fighter Wing from Seymour Johnson AFB, NC was sent to Kunsan AB.

    I was a member of the 4th, an INS technician working on the F-4Ds. I
    recall that our backseaters were bored flying across the Pacific, so
    they kept their Fire Control Radar system in Operate mode. Consequently,
    when they landed at Kunsan, 74 of 75 aircraft had useless radar sets.

    The weather was miserable; 20 below zero and a 30-knot wind. And we had
    to get all the birds back to 100% ASAP. We came over in January and
    returned home in July. We left one crew in Korea somewhere. The enlisted
    folks never heard what happened to that one bird. It took off and never

    The 51st Composite Wing and the 13th TFS would be good sources for the
    second Korean Offensive.

    Keep ’em flying.

    Dan Decker, TSgt
    USAF Retired

    End Section: Go to Top

    This Page Made Possible By
    Cheryl E. Hipke
    Honoring: Pvt Wayne F. Bullis 5th Cav Rgt – KIA 8/16/50, my uncle

    Korean War Project – P.O. Box 180190 – Dallas – Texas 75218-0190 – 214-320-0342

    Entry: 6436
    Pueblo Incident Participated in decision regarding nuclear response to USS PUEBLO seizure as Ch, Intel Br, G-2, EUSA

    Bob Liskey wrote on 2000-01-25 08:11:23.0

    Comments: Assigned to Plans and Operations, Mil Intel Div, G-2, EUSA Jun 67. Assigned to Strategic Intel, Mil Intel Div, G-2, EUSA with BRUCE GRANT Oct 67. Assigned Ch, Intel Br, Mil Intel Div, G-2 Dec 67. BRUCE GRANT and I coauthored a memo 4-5 days prior to Woodcutters incident that warned of elements of NK 124th, Recon Bureau had ended training and on mission. Also had intel info from NK POLITBURO that NK would attempt to start second major war front to overextend US when troop levels in VIETNAM reached 500,000. UNC, USFK, 8th Army placed on higher alert status. BLUE HOUSE RAID occurred within 5 days of memo and higher alert status. Within few days of BLUE HOUSE RAID, on Jan 23, 1968, USS PUEBLO seized by NK. The (1)BLUE HOUSE RAID assassination attempt, (2)USS PUEBLO seizure, and (3)intel rpt fm NK POLITBURO re second major war front to overextend US, we thought that was what was jumping off. The considered response to the USS PUEBLO was a tactical nuclear wpn airburst over WONSAN HARBOR to deny access to the USS PUEBLO.
    PETE BUCHER was concerned in keeping the crew alive. There was not air support for the mission in case of trouble though there was was suppose to be air support. A flyby would have scared the NKs off. The ENTERPRISE was supppose to have provided that air support but failed to do so. PETE BUCHER did his best to delay until air support arrived as he believed it would soon be arriving. The crew of USS PUEBLO got a raw deal from USG and US NAVY… both at time of incident without proper protection and later upon return. The crew of USS PUEBLO endured not only the NKs but our USG and US Navy bungling. Nothing but the greatest respect for them.
    I ask all who read this site to contact their representatives and ask that as a conditon of further improving relations with NK that at minimum the colors of the USS PUEBLO be returned to the crew of the USS PUEBLO by NK… if not the return of the entire ship.


  31. Bob Liskey says:


    To: ALL

    From: Andi Wolos & Bob Necci

    (POW-MIA InterNetwork)

    Re: USS Pueblo

    Date: May 21, 2001

    There is a movement to have the USS Pueblo, held captive by North Korea and exploited as a floating museum, to be returned. In addition, as a gesture of goodwill, it is asked that communist North Korea return her colors.

    For those wishing to add their voice, please visit the USS Pueblo Veteran’s Association at –


    Read on –

    “The Honorable Phil Gramm:

    I appreciate your response to my concerns regarding the return of the USS PUEBLO as relayed to you to by Daniel Ahn. I sent a copy of the response to Don McClarren and Edward “Stu” Russell both members of the crew of the USS PUEBLO and with whom I am in regular contact via the internet. We are all most appreciative of your intent to raise this matter with your colleagues and to keep this matter in mind when issues of US-NK relations come up in the Senate for consideration.

    There appears to be the possibility of a trip by President Clinton to North Korea in the near future: perhaps in November. As you know November 11 is Veteran’s Day. It would be most fitting and proper to have the President return with a tribute and honor to veterans with a comittment of North Korea to return the USS PUEBLO. I have an email correspondence from an official at the KNS that indicates such a return is possible as a result of discussion at the highest levels government (attached). While I have emailed the same concerns regarding the return of the USS PUEBLO to the President and to the Secretary of State, I have only received the “canned” acknowledgement of the receipt of the email.

    Most Honorable Senator Phil Gramm, I know you are from the other side of the aisle and do not share the same opinions and values of President Clinton, but you are the only high level government official who seems to care about this issue of the return of the USS PUEBLO recognizing it as a means of a clear and meaningful signal from NK as to how serious they are about improving relations and entering the international community. I must ask a great favor of you while the opportunity presents itself. Since you are a senior and well respected member of the Senate, I ask you to put aside your differences with President Clinton and step across the aisle. Please contact and speak to President directly so that he has this matter in his mind while considering the issue of future US-North Korea relations. If we do not ask for the ship back, what are the chances that it will be returned? President Clinton could bring this matter up in his direct contact with KIM Jong Il.

    As you realize the importance of the gathering of SIGINT, COMINT, ELINT, and HUMINT, I will tell you that the USS PUEBLO played a very important part in the victory of the Cold War. Prior to the seizure of the USS PUEBLO and prior to the BLUE HOUSE RAID, I had in my possession as Chief, Intelligence Branch, MID, G2, Hq, 8th Army, an intelligence report from the NK POLITBURO which indicated that when US troop levels reached 500,000 in Vietnam, North Korea intended to start a second major warfront in order to overextend the US forces believing that the US could not support two major warfronts simultaneously. As you recall, shortly after the BLUE HOUSE RAID and the seizure of the USS PUEBLO, the TET OFFENSIVE was launched by NV in Vietnam. I and Bruce K. Grant coauthored a memo using as a basis COMINT and HUMINT that a NK assassination team was about to embark on a mission into South Korea. That memo was used by CINC, UNC, General Bonesteel to place all forces in South Korea on higher alert status. The role of the USS PUEBLO was most important and critical in determining if North Korea was indeed about to launch an all out attack against South Korea just as the USS LIBERTY had an important mission in monitoring outbrak of hositilies in Israel when the USS LIBERTY was attacked. Had the BLUE HOUSE RAID NK assassination team been successful in killing the South Korean President (they got within 100-200 yards of the residence of PAK Chong-Hui) there is no doubt in my mind that North Korea would have been emboldened and initiated hositilities across the DMZ. Bruce K. Grant and I created and maintained the Indications of Hositilities files for the G2, 8th Army. The role of the USS PUEBLO was critical. While forces in Korea went on higher alert status as result of the memo that Bruce and I coauthored, the word did not get to the USS PUEBLO about the assassination attempt. The cause of the capture of the USS PUEBLO was inadequate cover and support. I feel, as does Commander Pete Bucher with whom I have discussed the matter, that had aerial support by way of even a “fly-by” been made, the capture of the USS PUEBLO in international waters would not have happened. I also participated in the considered response to the seizure. One of the first considered responses was the use of a tactical nuclear weapon airburst over WONSAN HARBOR to deny access to the USS PUEBLO. I was not allowed to recommend a conventional weapon attack, but was only allowed to respond the use of the tactical nuclear weapon. I had previously been Chief, Plans and Operations and was custodial officer for OPLANs and contingency plans including various nuclear weapons OPLANs and the SIOP (Single Integrate Operation Plan for general nuclear warfare). I recommended that we negotiate to get the crew back rather than use a nuclear weapon airburst over WONSAN. We did, however, lay out plans for the use of nuclear weapons should the NKs miscalculate. We then became worried the NK might miscalculate and we leaked the use of nuclear weapons to the chinese delegation at Panmunjom in order that keep the NKs from miscalculating. I made the leak through the Senior Aide to the negotiator. Prior to that time, the CHICOMs would not speak or acknowledge our presence in the room. In opposition to the Tolstikov’s belief that it was a threat, it was not made as a threat but as an attempt to keep the peace and avoid the use of nuclear weapons if NK miscacluated.

    Given the President is going to visit NK, it is time for us to get the USS PUEBLO back as its final mission and contribution to peace. .

    I fully understand the difficulty and importance of Secretary of State Albright’s mission to North Korea to stop the development of NK nuclear weapons and missiles. I see the USS PUEBLO as performing one last mission in victoriously bringing an end to the Cold War: The return of the USS PUEBLO would be a clear signal of how serious NK is in improving relations. Not long ago the USS PUEBLO was moved from WONSAN through international waters to NAMPO. It has been touted as a symbol of the fight against the US imperialism (see attachment of Soviet official visit to USS PUEBLO) and used as a tourist attraction. I find it particularly galling that the spot where Duane Hodges was killed is pointed out by the NK “tour guides.”

    I would like to see the USS PUEBLO returned to San Diego where the POW medal was awarded to the crew and set up as a memorial to Duane Hodges, the crew of the USS PUEBLO, the important part that the collection of ELINT, SIGINT, COMINT, and HUMINT played for our victory in the Cold War, and an everlasting reminder of the importance of protecting and giving cover to the men that serve our country.

    You will also be receiving an email from Stu Russell who has received documentation of the present use to which the North Koreas have put the USS PUEBLO. He too is hopeful you will use your senior and well respected position to bring the matter personally to President Clinton’s attention.

    I truly feel you have the honor and respect to gain the President’s ear on this matter.

    With great respect for you,
    Bob Liskey”


    “Honorable Senator Gramm,

    I understand that you are being lobbied about the return of the USS Pueblo. I would like to add my voice to those that are making this request. In early January, 1967 I reported to Bremerton Naval Ship Yard as the seventh member of the precommissioning crew. I spent over one year of my life working up to 18 hours a day to get that ship ready for its mission, even though we were never told what it was. On January 23, 1968, we were seventeen miles off the coast of the DPRK, when we were fired upon and overwheelmed by six heavily armed surface ships and two migs. The crew was released eleven months latter, but the ship remained at the back water port of Wonsan until recently. Earlier this year the North Koreans moved the ship in international waters from their east coast to their west coast. Why this movement was not observed is locked in Pentagon files and not available via FOIA requests. Today the ship stands as a tourist attaction where one of the original members of the boarding party gleefully points out where the brave men of the Korea Peoples Army killed Seamen Daune Hodges. Daune was a young man whose life ended when a three inch shell exploded in his hip. We, the crew of the Pueblo, wish to have this ship returned to the control of our govenrment along with its colors so that is may be given an honorable retirement from the Navy rolls.

    Respectfully yours,

    Stuart Russell, Historian
    USS Pueblo Suvivors Association ”


    “Dear Mr. Ahn,

    The purpose of this letter is to request your assistance in the return of the USS Pueblo (AGER-2). I was a crewmember of the ship when it was attacked and boarded in international waters by the military forces of the Democratic Peoples Republic (DPRK). You may recall the crew was repatriated eleven months later to US forces in the Republic of Korea. The ship itself has remained in the possession of the Koreans. It is still on the rolls of the United States Navy and was moved earlier this year from the east coast port of Wonsan to the west coast of their country. It is now moored in Pyongyang and serves as a venue for continued vituperative propaganda by that government. Since the ship was turned into a tourist site; we, the crew, have heard from Americans and others that have taken a tour of the ship. The attached photos shows Pak In Ho, a member of the boarding party that attacked the ship, one of the guides who is unidentified. She has angered American visitors to the ship by showing off with great glee the place where Fireman Duane Hodges was stuck by a three inch shell. The other attached photos are of people on our ship either teaching or learning to hate Americans. We take extreme umbrage at this tasteless display.

    Earlier this month a friend of the crew received the following e-mail from the DPRK news service. It was encouraging to say the least, but the chances of a high ranking American official going to Korea was extremely remote to say the least. Now we have learned that President Clinton is considering travel to the Land of the Morning Calm. If he does go and meet with their leaders, we are requesting that you urge him to ask for the return of our colors and a promise to return the ship. I believe that such an action on the part of the government of the DPRK will truly demonstrate their desire to improve relationships between the two countries. Thank you for you consideration.

    Stuart Russell, Historian
    USS Pueblo Veterans Association ”



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  32. edarrell says:

    Possibility that the Pueblo capture was engineered by NSA is discussed in this book, on .pdf, online: http://aupress.au.af.mil/Books/Pearson/Pearson.pdf


  33. Ed Darrell says:

    I don’t recall enough of the incident to know whether there was a possibility of penetration of DPRK waters, but I doubt it. Bucher and others have so richly documented that there was no armament and no evasion equipment — and a few miles probably would not have given the electronics significantly better ability to listen in on North Korea’s communications — so what would be the point?

    But it’s possible.

    I’m trying to find a copy of Bucher’s autobiography. In any case, I think that this incident is way too easily forgotten, and much too little known, today.

    And, do you remember the Mayaguez incident later?


  34. elronsteele says:

    You don’t discuss the other possible hoax about this incident Ed … the very distinct possibility that the ship did penetrate NK waters on a spying mission, and that the NK’s had every right to capture the ship. In this case, the hoax would be perpetrated by the American Govt on its people, the hoax that US servicemen were captured for no reason.

    I don’t know the truth of the incident … but certainly one REAL possibility is that the ship was in North Korean water on a spying mission. None of that justifies the abuse of prisoners (though, if we say that about soldeirs captured by NK, why don’t we say the same about the people we capture in the war on terror? Surely, the North Koreans had reason to believe these American soldiers had information vital to North Korea’s national security … since thats the reaosn we use today to justify coercive information gathering amongst people we capture, how could it be denied to another govt?), but the abuse of prosiners is never justified. I just found it interesting that you spoke of the hoaxes that the soldiers perpetrated on the NK’s, and you are even interested in more details on them, but aren’t interested in the question of whether the ship violated the sovereign territory of another nation.

    I think hoaxes are fascinating as well, but one of the biggest questions I have is whether a hoax started it all or not. I see no reason to take NK official statements about the location of the ship at face value, but I have no reason to take American official statements about it at face value either … and its a central question that sheds light on the way the rest of the incident went. Strikes me that any discussion of the ‘hoaxes’ around the Pueblo must start with a discussion of wher ethe ship actually was when it was captured.


  35. […] When I posted the last piece on Cmdr. Lloyd Bucher and the U.S.S. Pueblo I was unaware of the news that North Korea (DPRK) had detonated its nuclear device.   In retrospect, the crisis around the Pueblo demonstrated that in dealing with officials in DPRK, we generally do best to use our wits, not bullets or threats of bombs. […]


  36. onlycrook says:

    I wonder where you could find a confirmed copy of the full confession? Now I really want to read it. I remember this capture, but I don’t remember Bucher being the least condemned for it. This might be a result of the feeble memory of my middle age.


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