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USS Pueblo Captured(January 23, 1968)
History Channel ^ | 1/23/2005 | History Channel

Posted on 01/23/2005 5:27:38 AM PST by kellynla

On January 23, 1968, the USS Pueblo a Navy intelligence vessel, is engaged in a routine surveillance of the North Korean coast when it is intercepted by North Korean patrol boats. According to U.S. reports, the Pueblo was in international waters almost 16 miles from shore, but the North Koreans turned their guns on the lightly armed vessel and demanded its surrender. The Americans attempted to escape, and the North Koreans opened fire, wounding the commander, Lloyd Bucher, and two others. With capture inevitable, the Americans stalled for time, destroying the classified information aboard while taking further fire. Several more crew members were wounded, including Duane Hodges, who later died from his injuries.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: History; Military/Veterans; Reference
KEYWORDS: eastasia; usn; usspueblo; vietnamwar
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Thirty-seven years later and NK is still a pimple on our butt. What would Reagan, Bush#1 or Bush#2 have done in this situation on January 23, 1968?
1 posted on 01/23/2005 5:27:38 AM PST by kellynla
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To: All

"The capture of the ship and internment of its crew by North Korea was loudly protested by the Johnson administration. The U.S. government vehemently denied that North Korea's territorial waters had been violated and argued the ship was merely performing routine intelligence gathering duties in the Sea of Japan. Some U.S. officials, including Johnson himself, were convinced that the seizure was part of a larger communist-bloc offensive, since exactly one week later, communist forces in South Vietnam launched the Tet Offensive, the largest attack of the Vietnam War. Despite this, however, the Johnson administration took a restrained stance toward the incident. Fully occupied with the Tet Offensive, Johnson resorted to quieter diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in North Korea.

In December 1968, the commander of the Pueblo, Capt. Lloyd Bucher, grudgingly signed a confession indicating that his ship was spying on North Korea prior to its capture. With this propaganda victory in hand, the North Koreans turned the crew and captain (including one crewman who had died) over to the United States.

The Pueblo incident was a blow to the Johnson administration's credibility, as the president seemed powerless to free the captured crew and ship. Combined with the public's perception--in the wake of the Tet Offensive--that the Vietnam War was being lost, the Pueblo incident resulted in a serious faltering of Johnson's popularity with the American people. The crewmen's reports about their horrific treatment at the hands of the North Koreans during their 11 months in captivity further incensed American citizens, many of whom believed that Johnson should have taken more aggressive action to free the captive Americans."

2 posted on 01/23/2005 5:33:22 AM PST by kellynla (U.S.M.C. 1st Battalion,5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Div. Viet Nam 69&70 Semper Fi)
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To: All

January 23, 1973

1971 Nixon announces peace settlement reached in Paris.

"President Nixon announces that Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho, the chief North Vietnamese negotiator, have initialled a peace agreement in Paris "to end the war and bring peace with honor in Vietnam and Southeast Asia."

Kissinger and Tho had been conducting secret negotiations since 1969. After the South Vietnamese had blunted the massive North Vietnamese invasion launched in the spring of 1972, Kissinger and the North Vietnamese had finally made some progress on reaching a negotiated end to the war. However, a recalcitrant South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu had inserted several demands into to the negotiations that caused the North Vietnamese negotiators to walk out of the talks with Kissinger on December 13.

Under the terms of the agreement, which became known as the Paris Peace Accords, a cease-fire would begin at 8 a.m., January 28, Saigon time (7 p.m., January 27, Eastern Standard Time). In addition, all prisoners of war were to be released within 60 days and in turn, all U.S. and other foreign troops would be withdrawn from Vietnam within 60 days. With respect to the political situation in South Vietnam, the Accords called for a National Council of Reconciliation and Concord, with representatives from both South Vietnamese sides (Saigon and the National Liberation Front) to oversee negotiations and organize elections for a new government."

Unfortunately the terms of the agreement were never honored.

Semper Fi,

3 posted on 01/23/2005 5:42:31 AM PST by kellynla (U.S.M.C. 1st Battalion,5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Div. Viet Nam 69&70 Semper Fi)
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To: Admin Moderator

Would you change the title of the year to 1973 in this post.
The title of the article should read "1973" not "1971" in post #3

4 posted on 01/23/2005 5:48:04 AM PST by kellynla (U.S.M.C. 1st Battalion,5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Div. Viet Nam 69&70 Semper Fi)
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To: kellynla; David1; NavyDoc; Defender2; Blue Scourge; armyman; Arrowhead1952; darkwing104; ...

The USS Pueblo is still listed in US Navy records as a US Navy ship.

The North Koreans STILL have it.

My ship, USS CORRY DD 817,
was at the 3 mile limit off of Havana for a 6 week period of time in Jan-Feb 68

We were guarding a communication ship, 12 miles off of Havana.

The same type of ship that the USS Pueblo was.

The USS Pueblo was captured by North Korea
in Jan of 68

EVERY day the Cuban gunboats would runn, full speed,
up to our ship.

We then went to General Quarters and played the waiting game.

Neither side ever opened fire.

It was just a very intense "game"

All with downtown Havana in the background.

We did pickup an escapee from Havana.

He floated out on a make shift type of raft.

Turns out he was originally from Philadelphia
and thought Cuba was the promised land.

We turned him over to the Coast Guard
and were told not to mention this incident.

Later, when we docked in Miami, the papers had a story how he had crossed into US waters on his raft.

5 posted on 01/23/2005 8:44:33 AM PST by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (Never Forget)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

Commander Lyodd M. Bucher U.S.N.

God Bless him where ever he is.

6 posted on 01/23/2005 8:51:17 AM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub


7 posted on 01/23/2005 8:59:29 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: SandRat
Bucher was pilloried by the Navy, as usual when a scapegoat has to be found. Buchers mistake was in believing the Navy when they told him he would have air cover as needed.
8 posted on 01/23/2005 9:08:35 AM PST by cynicom (<p)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

Hats of to the men aboard peublo who managed to destrioy all the sensitive equipment prior to capture and who endured the NKs abuse.

9 posted on 01/23/2005 9:09:59 AM PST by mylife (The roar of the masses could be farts)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

Thank you so much for sharing!!!

10 posted on 01/23/2005 9:44:46 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: kellynla

kennedy, johnson, carter, clinton -- all duds.

the u.s. lost big when they were in command of the military.

11 posted on 01/23/2005 9:47:05 AM PST by ken21 (4 as much time as u spend on the internet, u cd have several college degrees--daisy noonan)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

It's almost time to nuke North Korea!

12 posted on 01/23/2005 9:56:00 AM PST by blackie
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To: kellynla
re your query "What would Reagan, Bush#1 or Bush#2 have done in this situation on January 23, 1968?"

As Clarence Darrow said, "History repeats itself. That's one of the things wrong with history.": Major Intelligence Coup for China

13 posted on 01/23/2005 9:59:52 AM PST by NonValueAdded ("We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good" HRC 6/28/2004)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; MeekOneGOP; potlatch; ntnychik; devolve; Happy2BMe; Boazo; OXENinFLA; ...
The boarding and taking of the USS Pueblo was an act of war.
Not going after the Pueblo was sign of weakness.
Getting the crew and ship back should have been a top priority.

Pueblo Incident:
Attacked by North Korean Military Forces

The USS PUEBLO's first operational mission was conceived by the and was tasked through the Naval Security Group Command. This first mission was primarily a period for training and testing. With no current information available on hostile activities by North Korean forces, the officer in charge at US CINCPACFLT assigned the mission a risk assessment of minimal. All attempts by PUEBLO's commanding officer to upgrade this assessment to hazardous were rebuffed.

Like the USS LIBERTY AGTR-5, PUEBLO operated under the assumtion that help would be available if needed. The US 7th Fleet, US Forces Korea, and the US 5th Air Force, Fuchu, Japan were informed of PUEBLO’s mission, but because of the minimal risk assessment, the US Navy made no specific requests for support. The tasking for similar USS BANNER missions had been rated as hazardous, and fighter aircraft had been made available on a strip alert status and 2 US Navy destroyers had maintained station within 50 miles of BANNER. When 5th Air Force personnel questioned the lack of request for strip alert status for PUEBLO’s mission, they were verbally informed that they would not be needed.

In addition to the lack of ready protection, the US Navy maintained the same communications procedures and methods for the PUEBLO mission as LIBERTY had operated under during her fateful mission of June 1967. The PUEBLO's inability to establish reliable communications with a higher command authority would be a similar repeat of the problems that contributed to the lack of help for LIBERTY. Unfortunately, it appears nothing was learned from the LIBERTY incident.

PUEBLO sailed from Yokosuka, Japan on the cold, gray morning of January 5, 1968 to transit to Sasebo. A picture taken of PUEBLO shortly before her departure shows some of her superstructure. PUEBLO departed Sasebo, Japan on January 11, 1968 and headed northward through the Tsushima Strait into the Sea of Japan to perfrom her mission; the surveillance of North Korean naval activity, the monitoring and recording of Korean coastal radars and surveillance of soviet naval units operating in the Tsushima Straits. In route, PUEBLO was hammered by a winter storm, had trouble making headway, and took several dangerous rolls while tacking. The ship moved to the northern part of its first Operational Area Pluto, between 42 and 41 north latitudes, the weather was cold and ice formed on the ships deck and superstructure and had to be cleared. One sunny afternoon while in area Pluto, the tarps were taken off the .50 caliber machine gun mounted on the rail and gunnery practice was held, but the target bobbing about 20 yards off starboard was never hit. The northern half of this area was visually and electronically uneventful except for siting of Japanese and Russian freighters. Only the oceanographers obtained original data, water temperatures and salinities. PUEBLO moved south to the area off Song-gin still in Pluto. Again, ice, no electronic intelligence, only water samples and temperatures. So, PUEBLO moved south into Operational Area Venus between 41 and 40 north latitudes to lie to off Myang Do.

Near twilight on January 21, a modified Soviet type S0-1 subchaser passed within 1600 yards of PUEBLO doing about 25 knots. It emanated no radar, or other electronic signals, nor were any crew seen. PUEBLO's officers decided she had not been identified so radio silence was continued. PUEBLO had received transmissions, but had maintained radio silence to hopefully avoid, or at least delay detection. If PUEBLO were detected the North Korean military would do their best not to provide any electronic intelligence. None of the US Navy radio messages from headquarters directed to PUEBLO mentioned the North Korean provocations which had been taking place while she was alone off the North Korean coast. (Had the silence been an unrecognized clue?) After a brief stay near Myang Do, PUEBLO proceeded further south into Operational area Mars to be stationed off the North Korean port Wonson. She would stay here through January 23rd and then depart for the Tsushima Strait. Anecdote: Cold and Colder

January 22 was an unusually sunny day and electronic intelligence (ELINT) started to pick up. Maybe PUEBLO's luck was changing. After lunch, two North Korean gray fishing trawlers (Russian-built Lenta class) approached and circled at about 500 yards, left to reconnoiter and returned to again circle PUEBLO at close range, approximately 25 yards. The ship’s photographer took photographs and the PUEBLO broke EMCON and attempted to send off SITREP-1, her first electronic messages to USNAVSECGRU Kamiseya. Though the Communication Technicians and Radiomen tried to raise a response to their radio messages throughout the night, they were unsuccessful. Due to ionospheric conditions, a reliable communications frequency was difficult to maintain. Repeatedly PUEBLO was asked to change frequency to try and improve reception in Japan. Finally, 14 hours later, at 10 AM on January 23 contact with Kamiseya was made and SITREP-1 transmitted.

No radio messages were directed to PUEBLO concerning the attempted January 22 North Korean raid on the South Korean Blue House. Approximately, 40 hours before the attack on PUEBLO, a 31 man North Korean squad, dressed in South Korean uniforms, had infiltrated across the DMZ. They then moved south to within 1 block of the Presidential Palace before being detected and defeated. Informing PUEBLO of the Blue House raid was discussed by officers at the spook locker in Yokosuka, Japan. But, with 1 day left on her mission off the North Korean coast, the decision was made not to inform PUEBLO. The only radio messages directed to PUEBLO contained the latest National Basketball Association scores.

The morning of January 23rd was relatively mild (in the 20 degrees F), with a thin overcast and light seas. PUEBLO moved landward from its overnight position 25 miles offshore to 15 miles off the island of Yo Do. Minor ELINT was active. SITREP-2 was prepared indicating PUEBLO was no longer under surveillance and would revert to radio silence. Receipts were received for both SITREPs from headquarters in Japan around noon.

The clouds had thickened during the morning and the day had become dreary and was getting colder. Lunch in the ward room was interrupted by a call to the captain from the bridge that a ship 8 miles out was headed towards PUEBLO. Three minutes later another call came saying the ship was 5 miles out and closing rapidly. It was a North Korean subchaser, S0-1, approaching at 40 knots.

The two civilian oceanographers went on deck to take ocean observations and the signal flags so indicting were hoisted. The ship's position had been verified by radar when the subchaser was first sited. As the subchaser neared it became obvious that it's crew was at battle stations. At 1000 yards it asked PUEBLO's nationality and the captain responded by raising the U. S. flag.

A message was intercepted at 1210 by U. S. sources from the S0-1 to shore: "The name of the target is GER-2. I judge it to be a reconaissance ship. It is American guys. It does not appear that there are weapons and it is a hydrographic mapping ship." (Moody, et al)

Three torpedo boats were sighted closing in from the northeastern coast.

The subchaser moved to 500 yards and signaled HEAVE TO OR I WILL FIRE. PUEBLO was already dead in the water? After re-checking that the distance from the nearest land was 15.8 miles, PUEBLO replied I AM IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS. There were now four North Korean vessels of war menacing the PUEBLO, the subchaser with her 57mm and the three torpedo boats with their machine guns. And to make matters more onimous, two North Korean MiG's did a low flyover and a forth torpedo boat and second subchaser were sited heading towards PUEBLO. She got underway seaward with the oceanographic gear still over the side. The oceanographers hauled it in when the PUEBLO slowed for a couple of minutes.

At 1306 the S0-1 radioed ashore: "... According to present instructions we will close down the radio, tie up the personnel, tow it and enter port at Wonsan. At present, we are on our way to boarding. we are coming in." (Moody, et al)

A group of North Korean military men with AK-47’s had transferred from one subchaser to a torpedo boat which then approached the PUEBLO's aft starboard side so these men could board. PUEBLO maneuvered to prevent this and to depart the area. With the North Korean vessels cutting across her bow she increased speed slowly to 12 knots. Unfortunately, the calm seas were aiding the smaller, but much faster boats. The first subchaser to arrive pulled along side flying the signal flags HEAVE TO OR I WILL OPEN FIRE and opened fire with her 57mm guns while the torpedo boats raked the superstructure with machine gun bullets as PUEBLO tried to maneuver in order to present as small a target as possible and still head away from the coast. The 57mm explosive rounds struck the radar mast, and flying bridge, wounding the captain and two other men on the flying bridge. It became obvious that this was not typical harassment. The captain immediately ordered destruction of all classified materials and modified General Quarters (no hands above deck.) PUEBLO continued eastward. The migs roared by overhead again. Another volley from the subchaser and torpedo boats followed. Machine gun fire continued to rake the PUEBLO. Her .50 caliber guns were mounted on the starboard and stern rails without protection, and were wrapped in frozen tarps. The ammunition was stored below. No attempt was made to man them. A torpedo boat uncovered one of its tubes.

PUEBLO crew was trying frantically to destroy classified materials; burning and shredding documents and smashing equipment with hammers and axes in the Sod Hut, burning documents in an incinerator behind the stack, and even dumping stuff overboard because the volume of sensitive material on board was too great to be shredded and burned quickly.

Meanwhile PUEBLO had stopped and the firing stopped. The subchaser signaled FOLLOW ME HAVE PILOT ON BOARD. PUEBLO soon proceeded at 1/3 speed toward North Korea, then 2/3 speed, then stopped. The subchaser and two torpedo boats resumed firing. This last salvo had mortally wounded Duane Hodges and injured several other men who had been jettisoning documents over the side.

PUEBLO proceeded at 1/3 speed to halt the gunfire and to permit destruction of materials. Radio contact with Naval Security Group in Kamiseya, Japan had been continual so they were aware of Pueblo’s situation. "Some birds winging your way." Was the last message PUEBLO received.

The subchaser signaled her to stop and a torpedo boat pulled along side with the boarding party. The PUEBLO's men were gathered on the fantail and forward well deck where they were forced to sit blindfolded, with their hands tied. Any resistance was met with punches, kicks or bayonet jabs. Anecdote: Transition

PUEBLO again continued towards Wonson at 1/3 speed. When PUEBLO was definitely inside North Korean territorial waters she was stopped and a group of higher ranking officers boarded from another torpedo boat. A North Korean civilian pilot rang up all ahead flank speed and took the wheel. While a brief inspection of the ship was conducted by the North Korean colonel, the PUEBLO crew was herded into the forward berthing quarters.

After PUEBLO docked in Wonson, her crew, bound and blindfolded, was removed and led in front of a crowd of North Korean civilians which was yelling and screaming insults at the Americans. The Hispanic crew members were being attacked by the soldiers because they were thought to be South Koreans. Anecdote: Arrival in Wonsan Eventually the crew were put on buses with the windows covered and taken to a train, also with windows covered, which took them to Pyongyang where the press was waiting with klieg lights and cameras at the railroad station. The crew were then taken by bus to the first compound of their imprisonment.
14 posted on 01/23/2005 10:11:36 AM PST by Smartass (BUSH & CHENEY to 2008 Si vis pacem, para bellum - Por el dedo de Dios se escribió)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

Wow! That is intense.

15 posted on 01/23/2005 11:16:10 AM PST by BykrBayb (5 minutes of prayer for Terri, every day at 11 am EDT, until she's safe.
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To: kellynla

Yes I remember this well, I was a junior in high school and was sick that we didn't rescue these poor men

16 posted on 01/23/2005 11:50:36 AM PST by apackof2 (optional, printed after your name on post)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub

Lyndon Johnson (D-TX) was president at the time.
There is nothing mentioned in his bio about
about the USS Pueblo!

17 posted on 01/23/2005 2:06:09 PM PST by Smartass (BUSH & CHENEY to 2008 Si vis pacem, para bellum - Por el dedo de Dios se escribió)
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To: Smartass; MeekOneGOP; Happy2BMe; devolve; Grampa Dave; SAMWolf; snippy_about_it; Squantos; ...

The Joint Chiefs went to the White House November 1965 to seek LBJ's approval of their plan to bomb Hanoi and mine Haiphong.

LBJ gave them fifteen minutes, then cursed them and threw them out.

LBJ's management of the Pueblo incident was consistent with his overall performance as Commander in Chief.

18 posted on 01/23/2005 5:52:22 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: PhilDragoo; MeekOneGOP; potlatch; ntnychik; devolve; Happy2BMe; Boazo; OXENinFLA; Grampa Dave; ...
"LBJ's management of the Pueblo incident was consistent with his overall performance as Commander in Chief."

Your pic and "LBJ gave them fifteen minutes, then cursed them and threw them out" told it all.   That's the problem.   LBJ was consistently inconsistent after he committed the U.S. in Vietnam.   He couldn't lead ducks to a pond, or let alone take advice on to swim when he got there.   Hence, the Vietnam war with over fifty thousand dead American troops was a disaster.   That's the true no win story you'll never hear from the Dems or liberal MSM.   Meanwhile, every conflict we get into, the Dems and MSM tie the Vietnam quagmire BS onto it.
19 posted on 01/23/2005 6:29:01 PM PST by Smartass (BUSH & CHENEY to 2008 Si vis pacem, para bellum - Por el dedo de Dios se escribió)
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To: Smartass; NavyDoc; Defender2; Blue Scourge; armyman; Arrowhead1952; darkwing104; txradioguy; ...

"LBJ's management of the Pueblo incident was consistent with his overall performance as Commander in Chief."

Just saw a repeat with Ollie North and War Stories.

The "war protests" at home caused LBJ to call off the rescue of the USS Pueblo crew.

4 DD's were set to be deployed.

AND to this day, not one US President has lifted a finger to
1) exonerate the USS Pueblo crew
2) reclaim OUR ship, which is still listed in the US Navy ships list.

This could have easily been me and my ship.

20 posted on 01/23/2005 7:03:35 PM PST by 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub (Have you said Thank You to a service man or woman today?)
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