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Solving the Pueblo mystery
The Washington Times ^ | 1-23-06 | James G. Zumwalt

Posted on 01/23/2006 11:53:34 AM PST by JZelle

An international incident 38 years ago this month remains shrouded in mystery. On the bitterly cold morning of Jan. 23, 1968, an American intelligence vessel, USS Pueblo, was operating in international waters off the coast of North Korea. It was surrounded by four North Korean patrol boats, with two MiG aircraft flying overhead. The boats ordered the Pueblo to stop and let the North Koreans board. The order was refused. The Pueblo headed further out to sea. The North Korean boats immediately opened fire. Armed with only a 50-caliber gun secured from the freezing temperatures by a tarp, the Pueblo was unable to fight back.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: 1968; lbjscrewedthepooch; mystery; navy; northkorea; pueblo; usspueblo; vietnam
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1 posted on 01/23/2006 11:53:36 AM PST by JZelle
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To: JZelle

I remember this vividly. A very tense situation.


2 posted on 01/23/2006 11:58:52 AM PST by EggsAckley
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To: JZelle

Johnson had a REAL incident on his hands and couldn't do a thing because of his FAKE TONKIN GULF INCIDENT.............The persident LIED and 50,000 DIED........


3 posted on 01/23/2006 12:00:10 PM PST by Red Badger (LUKE 22:36 JESUS: "........and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one."........)
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To: JZelle

Interesting article. I remember the day the Pueblo was captured.


4 posted on 01/23/2006 12:00:28 PM PST by American Quilter
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To: JZelle

Good info, but I do wish we had given some token resistance, even had it resulted in additional casualties. The total lack of return fire made this the most embarassing defeat in U.S. Navy history.


5 posted on 01/23/2006 12:00:57 PM PST by ansel12
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To: Red Badger

We should have destroyed the ship after the NKs took it. (and most of the dock.)


6 posted on 01/23/2006 12:01:37 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
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To: JZelle

Interesting. I had never heard about the N Korean pilots in Vietnam. However, it still doesn't explain why the US didn't retaliate against the act of war committed by N Korea against the Pueblo.


7 posted on 01/23/2006 12:01:41 PM PST by ozzymandus
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To: JZelle
Wow...Good Stuff. Thanks for the history lesson. I've never heard about most of this stuff.


8 posted on 01/23/2006 12:01:52 PM PST by darkwing104 (Let's get dangerous)
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The Texas Turd

9 posted on 01/23/2006 12:04:44 PM PST by A.A. Cunningham
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To: EggsAckley

Sounds very similiar to the surveilance plane episode a few years back with China.

Wonder what the "real" issue was there.


10 posted on 01/23/2006 12:07:04 PM PST by MeanWestTexan (Many at FR would respond to Christ "Darn right, I'll cast the first stone!")
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To: darkwing104

I never heard about either until I saw a segment about NK on 60 Minutes (I know, I know) a couple weeks ago. They said the Pueblo is a source of national pride. It now sits docked and can be toured for an admission.


11 posted on 01/23/2006 12:08:19 PM PST by JZelle
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To: JZelle

I read this article but really didn't learn much. I was hoping to find out why we didn't firebomb N. Korea when they refused to let this ship go.


12 posted on 01/23/2006 12:15:02 PM PST by 1Old Pro
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To: Red Badger

Sarcasm, funny!

Red6


13 posted on 01/23/2006 12:16:53 PM PST by Red6
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To: EggsAckley

I remember it too. Thought my "freedom" flight from Viet Nam in late Feb. would be diverted to cold Korea. While processing on Okinawa (Camp Hansen) for the rest of the ride home rumors were rampant that we combat veterans would be assigned to new units and shipped immediately to Korea.


14 posted on 01/23/2006 12:17:30 PM PST by stumpy
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To: stumpy

Whenever we would play softball at Pine Banks Park on the Malden/Melrose line, someone would point up at the house on the cliff overlooking center field and say "that's where the idiot who didn't destroy the equipment on the Pueblo lived".


15 posted on 01/23/2006 12:19:28 PM PST by massgopguy (massgopguy)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
We should have destroyed the ship after the NKs took it.

We should have allowed the two F4C's to continue.

16 posted on 01/23/2006 12:19:29 PM PST by ASA Vet (Those who know don't talk, those who talk don't know.)
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James G. Zumwalt, a Marine veteran of the Persian Gulf and Vietnam wars, is a contributor to The Washington Times.

Son of former CNO Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr.

James G. Zumwalt is a retired U.S. Marine lieutenant-colonel and former senior adviser to the assistant secretary of state on human rights and humanitarian affairs under President George W. Bush. Since 1994, he has visited North Korea 10 times to help bridge the gap between the U.S. and the DPRK. A Vietnam and Persian Gulf war veteran, Zumwalt now acts globally as a private consultant to clients for market investment. He received a Juris Doctorate degree from Villanova University in 1979, and the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa from Mercy College in New York in 1991.

17 posted on 01/23/2006 12:21:00 PM PST by A.A. Cunningham
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To: JZelle
My father was a CTM stationed in Yokosuka at the time and knew a number of the guys in the crypto shack aboard Pueblo. He was personally involved in a lot of the stuff going on in Japan at the time of the capture and during the subsequent months of captivity.

Unfortunately, he's no longer alive to ask for additional details, or for his opinion on this article.

18 posted on 01/23/2006 12:22:19 PM PST by Junior (Identical fecal matter, alternate diurnal period)
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To: EggsAckley

I also remember the incident. I was part of the national intelligence community at the time. The loss of sensitive equipment and documents was a tremendous blow. Even worse was the capture of our intel specialist. As usual, our timid leaders wrung their hands and begged the North Koreans to "pretty-please" give everything back.


19 posted on 01/23/2006 12:25:49 PM PST by hdstmf (too)
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To: JZelle

Can't we, the USA, take it back from them? In a similar manner to which they so robbed us?


20 posted on 01/23/2006 12:29:59 PM PST by ExcursionGuy84 ("Jesus, Your Love takes my breath away.")
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To: ansel12
This is a troubling chapter in USN history. While in the 18th century there was no dishonor in striking colors to an enemy with overwhelming force advantage in the ideological struggles of the post 1914 era it would be thought that USN officer in command of a US vessel on the high seas would not submit to an enemy such as the NKs without making them sink his vessel. I wasn't there and do not like to second guess officers on the spot in charge but Cdmr Bucher's example would strike me as not one to recommend itself to other officers in command.
21 posted on 01/23/2006 12:31:40 PM PST by robowombat
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To: JZelle
I believe that Richard Marcinko (the former S.E.A.L. author of, "Red Cell", and many others) was dispatched right after the Pueblo's capture to attempt to destroy any cryptography equipment that remained onboard.

I vaguely recall that they did get aboard, but found that the equipment had already been removed. The vessel was being kept tied-up dockside in a very obvious place, amazingly.

They had to boogy out of their real quick, and I remember that there was a little bit of shooting.

22 posted on 01/23/2006 12:32:37 PM PST by gaijin
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To: An.American.Expatriate; ASA.Ranger; ASA Vet; Atigun; Beckwith; beyond the sea; BIGLOOK; ...

MI Ping


23 posted on 01/23/2006 12:33:58 PM PST by ASA Vet (Those who know don't talk, those who talk don't know.)
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To: JZelle

bump for later read


24 posted on 01/23/2006 12:34:22 PM PST by albee ("Those that bite the hand that feeds them will lick the boot that kicks them!" - Eric Hoffer)
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To: A.A. Cunningham

Admiral Elmo was a total loser as CNO. He spent a lot of time on trivia. I think he was the one who was hung up on doing away with the traditional bell-bottom navy uniforms.
This fawning post of him is disgusting.


25 posted on 01/23/2006 12:35:15 PM PST by hdstmf (too)
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To: A.A. Cunningham

Hey! LBJ was definitely a world-class tur*. Most of us Texans were ashamed to use his name and Texan in the same sentence.


26 posted on 01/23/2006 12:38:26 PM PST by hdstmf (too)
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To: JZelle
There was a book a few years ago that made the case that the Pueblo was deliberately put in an enticing position and allowed to be captured in order to permit the capture of certain American code equipment. The Russians and their proxies felt they had a bonanza in the captured equipment but did not have the capabilities to reverse engineer it so they just used it and copied it to use throughout their empire. It should have given them breakproof coding abilities except that the equipment had a flaw addded in that permitted our side to read all the traffic encoded with that gear. It is a fact that equipment was NOT destroyed prior to capture as the ops on that ship were intensely trained to do. I did that work in the AF on RC135s and I know what the training and directives were and it was an easy thing to do. Apparently the Red radio traffic that went through this equipment was, indeed read by our NSA for some years after the Pueblo incident. I cannot remember the name of the book or the author and cannot find it online.

The Blues Image song Mystery Ship was about that incident and I always wondered if one of those boys was on the Pueblo or another such ship or A/C. I still play that asong when I get nostalgic .

27 posted on 01/23/2006 12:49:11 PM PST by ThanhPhero (di hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: JZelle

Governor Reagan said at the time we should have went in and towed it out.


28 posted on 01/23/2006 12:51:50 PM PST by Semper Paratus
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To: hdstmf

"I also remember the incident. I was part of the national intelligence community at the time. "

I was, too. Sadly, I am still prohibited from discussing any of the details of the Pueblo incident. I don't suppose that prohibition will ever go away.


29 posted on 01/23/2006 12:53:10 PM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: hdstmf
>"Most of us Texans were ashamed to use his name and Texan in the same sentence.">

However a lot of us Texans are not above naming our dogs after his wife!

Kill A Commie For Mommie
Seven Dead Monkeys Page O Tunes

30 posted on 01/23/2006 12:57:39 PM PST by rawcatslyentist ("If you're talking to AQ, we want to know why!" Yogi Berra couldn't have said it any plainer!)
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To: MeanWestTexan; ozzymandus; ansel12; Eric in the Ozarks; hdstmf; EggsAckley; Red Badger

There was a book a few years ago that made the case that the Pueblo was deliberately put in an enticing position and allowed to be captured in order to permit the capture of certain American code equipment. The Russians and their proxies felt they had a bonanza in the captured equipment but did not have the capabilities to reverse engineer it so they just used it and copied it to use throughout their empire. It should have given them breakproof coding abilities except that the equipment had a flaw addded in that permitted our side to read all the traffic encoded with that gear. It is a fact that equipment was NOT destroyed prior to capture as the ops on that ship were intensely trained to do. I did that work in the AF on RC135s and I know what the training and directives were and it was an easy thing to do. Apparently the Red radio traffic that went through this equipment was, indeed read by our NSA for some years after the Pueblo incident. I cannot remember the name of the book or the author and cannot find it online.

The Blues Image song Mystery Ship was about that incident and I always wondered if one of those boys was on the Pueblo or another such ship or A/C. I still play that song when I get nostalgic .


31 posted on 01/23/2006 12:58:03 PM PST by ThanhPhero (di hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: ThanhPhero

We lived in Yokohama in the 1950s-60s and had a friend of the family who worked for NSA. "No Such Agency," he always called it.


32 posted on 01/23/2006 1:02:50 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
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To: Red Badger

Yeah man but it helped the economy.


33 posted on 01/23/2006 1:11:08 PM PST by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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To: ThanhPhero

Ride Captain Ride
Open
1970 mp3
Seventy-three men sailed up
From the San Francisco Bay,
Rolled off of their ship
And here's what they had to say.
"We're callin' everyone to ride along
To another shore,
We can laugh our lives away
and be free once more."

But no one heard them callin',
No one came at all,
'Cause they were too busy watchin'
Those old raindrops fall.
As a storm was blowin'
Out on the peaceful sea,
Seventy-three men sailed off
To history.
Ride, captain ride
Upon your mystery ship,
Be amazed at the friends
You have here on your trip.
Ride captain ride
Upon your mystery ship,
On your way to a world
That others might have missed.
(Instrumental)
Seventy-three men sailed up
From the San Francisco Bay,
Got off their ship
And here's what they had to say.
"We're callin' everyone to ride along
To another shore,
We can laugh our lives away
And be free once more."
Ride, captain ride
Upon your mystery ship,
Be amazed at the friends
You have here on your trip.
Ride, captain ride
Upon your mystery ship,
On your way to a world
That others might have missed.
Ride, captain ride
Upon your mystery ship,
Be amazed at the friends
You have here on your trip


34 posted on 01/23/2006 1:11:17 PM PST by Red Badger (LUKE 22:36 JESUS: "........and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one."........)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

I worked for the AF subsidiary at Kadena in 1970 and at smaller units in Viet Nam in 68-69.


35 posted on 01/23/2006 1:11:22 PM PST by ThanhPhero (di hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: Joe Boucher

Then Kruschev was right?......


36 posted on 01/23/2006 1:11:49 PM PST by Red Badger (LUKE 22:36 JESUS: "........and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one."........)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

Like we did in 2001 when the chinese forced our spy plane down?


37 posted on 01/23/2006 1:19:27 PM PST by Bear_Slayer
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To: Bear_Slayer

Actually, the plane wasn't a spy plane and the Red Chinese didn't force it down.


38 posted on 01/23/2006 1:30:25 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
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To: hdstmf
This fawning post of him is disgusting.

You need to adjust your brain housing group, grandma. I provided background on the author and mentioned he was the son of the former CNO. Nowhere is Elmo Jr. fawned over. The fact that Elmo Zumwalt Jr. was a piss poor CNO for a number of reasons more pertinent than whether or not squids wore bell bottoms, isn't germane. LtCol Zumwalt isn't responsible for the actions of Admiral Zumwalt. Understand, gomer?

39 posted on 01/23/2006 1:36:47 PM PST by A.A. Cunningham
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
Unless the reports have been corrected, or you are in the secret circle, it was a spy plane.

And while technically correct, it wasn't forced down (that we are told about, but then again, you may be in the secret circle) it did collide with a chinese fighter, which had scrambled to intercept it and was forced to land on chinese soil.

40 posted on 01/23/2006 1:40:59 PM PST by Bear_Slayer
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To: hdstmf

41 posted on 01/23/2006 1:42:57 PM PST by A.A. Cunningham
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To: ThanhPhero

"The Blues Image song Mystery Ship was about that incident and I always wondered if one of those boys was on the Pueblo or another such ship or A/C. I still play that asong when I get nostalgic ."

Looks like there's a lot of theories about the meaning of this song, interesting reading:
http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=00CgZG


42 posted on 01/23/2006 1:43:07 PM PST by JZelle
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To: ansel12
Good info, but I do wish we had given some token resistance, even had it resulted in additional casualties. The total lack of return fire made this the most embarassing defeat in U.S. Navy history.

There was pretty much nothing to return fire with. The Pueblo was a converted cargo ship. Its two .50 caliber guns were covered with frozen tarps and were not armored, and the ammunition was stored below. Anyone who would have tried to man the guns would have been blown away by the Koreans. The ship did the only thing it could do, which was stall for time by heading further out to sea while the sensitive material was burned, shredded, and dumped overboard. Perhaps it would make you feel better if the crew had commited mass suicide rather than embarass the U.S. Navy, but that still wouldn't have saved the ship.
43 posted on 01/23/2006 1:45:39 PM PST by drjimmy
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To: ozzymandus

Ask LBJ and McNamara. While you are at it, ask Jimmy Carter why he didn't retaliate when the Iranians took DIPLOMATS and embassy employees as hostages. That was also an act of war and the Iranians are still at war with the US. The end to that one might be in sight, however.


44 posted on 01/23/2006 1:48:24 PM PST by Former Proud Canadian (.)
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To: MineralMan; cardinal4

I was working that evening at Camp Fuchinobe, just up the road from Kami Seya. My buddy and I were pretty junior, and as soon as the word hit the wire, there were brass and civilian big shots coming out of the woodwork. A CTTC I knew from KS was scheduled to make that cruise, but he switched with a pal of his. Another guy I knew was scheduled for that cruise and the Navy was flying him in from Bremerhaven. The plane broke down and he didn't get to Atsugi until after Pueblo had sailed. They put him on a small bird to Sasebo, but by the time this guy got there, she'd already sailed. The wife of one of my work mates was working at the Credit Union at NAS Atsugi, and she was put in charge of all the "hostile detention" accounts.


45 posted on 01/23/2006 1:55:07 PM PST by Ax (Guards! Seize that man!)
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To: JZelle

I felt I recognized that song's origin the first time I heard it. "...watching those old raindrops fall" - raindrops were(are?) radarscreen blips. There were 73 on the Pueblo but it went out of San Diego rather than San Francisco. Someone listening to that song who did not have the NSA/ASA/AFSA/USNSA experience could well think it is allegory or describes something in the real world but would not have the background to recognize the Pueblo.


46 posted on 01/23/2006 2:19:00 PM PST by ThanhPhero (di hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: drjimmy

If the mission was as it looked on the surface then the ops can be faulted for not destroying the equipment. If Pueblo was like other such units, at least like the RC135s in the AF, there were preplaced thermite charges that would have reduced the equipment to slag and cinders quickly if deployed.The failure to do that gave rise to suspicions that Pueblo was meant to be captured- see #31.


47 posted on 01/23/2006 2:26:05 PM PST by ThanhPhero (di hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: 1Old Pro

I was hoping to find out why we didn't firebomb N. Korea when they refused to let this ship go.

I was stationed as a cop at Osan (actually guarding the alert birds when the attack took place) when all this went down. We asked the same question. After about 2 weeks we realized nothing was going to happen, morale went right in the toilet.


48 posted on 01/23/2006 2:47:35 PM PST by Valin (Purple Fingers Rule!)
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To: Ax

Ax. You ought to write for Snoopy.


49 posted on 01/23/2006 3:29:16 PM PST by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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To: ThanhPhero

Yong-Son command center was thusly wired.


50 posted on 01/23/2006 3:30:42 PM PST by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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