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The FReeper Foxhole Remembers The USS PUEBLO HiJacking (1/23/1968) - Nov. 4th, 2003 ^

Posted on 11/04/2003 12:00:24 AM PST by SAMWolf

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Captivity of the Pueblo Crew

The crew arrived early in the morning of 24 January at the first compound in Pyongyang and were placed into separate rooms. The crew nicknamed the first compound building "the Barn." It was a big masonry building containing dark, dingy corridors and high ceilings. There were many four-panel doors with transoms. The lights were only small bare lightbulbs hanging from the ceilings. The walls and floors were marble-like; the heat inside the building was turned off and the windows were all covered. The entire building smelled horribly of hay, urine, and feces and to make the whole situation worse, sounds of men yelling, screaming, stomping, and pounding echoed throughout.

Poor-quality photograph of USS Pueblo (AGER-2) crewmembers at a press conference in North Korea, taken sometime after they and their ship were captured off Wonsan on 23 January 1968.
Pueblo's Commanding Officer, Commander Lloyd M. Bucher, is standing in center.

The individual rooms were no better than the rest of the building. They were twelve feet by twenty feet with twelve foot ceilings. There were four low five foot long wooden bed frames for shorter men than almost all of the Pueblo's men. The pillows and mattresses were made of rice husks and no blanket was provided. Pyongyang suffered severe winters and the room only had a small hissing radiator that barely worked. The windows were covered with glued newspaper and the walls were so dirty it was difficult to tell that they were white.

While the crew was held captive, they had to endure immense torture, both mentally and physically. There were interrogations that involved severe beatings causing broken bones and the like. Due to the insufficient medical care, some crewmembers to this day bear the effects of the injuries received in captivity as well as in the initial hijacking. Some examples are being forced to wait over a week for treatment of open wounds, all the while suffering from infection and even insect infestation within the wound; performing surgical procedures with primitive equipment and no anesthetic, such as the arbitrary removal of tonsils; cutting away flesh and stitching up wounds without anesthetic; and being served water that caused dysentery and causing severe weight loss. In addition to unclean water some of the food the crew was served and had no choice but to eat consisted of turnips, parts of slaughtered pigs, including fatty skin with hair sometimes, the occasional eyeball, rotting fish nicknamed "sewer trout", "watered down pig fat soup, rice, bread... and dead flies... worms, maggots, nails, hair, teeth and anything else the NK’s thought to be nutritional... an apple and goats milk occasionally." Besides the unhealthy food and water, the crew was only given the opportunity to use the restroom twice a day and bathe every six weeks. However, the only clothing the crew had was the uniform worn when captured and some of them had bullet or schrapnel holes in them with dried blood and flesh on them. About the only luxury afforded the crew was cigarettes and matches.

After about six weeks at the first location, the crew was moved to a second prisoner compound, dubbed "the Country Club," where they were told they would stay until the United States apologized. The crewmembers were assigned eight to a room except the officers were assigned separate rooms.

In addition to the physical beatings and torture the crew endured, they also underwent extreme psychological torture. Some examples are being forced to walk around with heads down to indicate shame for their actions; being required to stand at attention when a North Korean soldier entered the room; reading and watching movies full of North Korean, anti-American propoganda; and occasionally being forced to give the impression that the crew was being treated fairly through media exposure of the crew partaking in fun activities such as sports. The crew learned that the North Koreans did not know what showing the middle finger signified in the United States so they decided to use that to their advantage in future propoganda photos. The crew is seen in several pictures showing their middle fingers to the camera to indicate that the whole thing was a lie and that they were not being treated properly. The men told the North Korean guards that the gesture was a Hawaiian good luck sign. In one instance, a photo that was published in the 18 October 1968 issue of Time magazine showed several crewmembers posing for the camera while discreetly showing the "Hawaiian good luck sign."

USS Pueblo Crew during North Korean propaganda Broadcast

In early December, the North Koreans finally figured out what the finger meant and began to take revenge upon the men; this began a period referred to as Hell Week. Hell Week actually lasted 10 days and the beatings and injuries sustained were more severe than at any other time in captivity. This was going on at the same time as negotiations to free the men and when an agreement had been reached, the beatings stopped very suddenly and the crew received medical attention to prepare them for release and the media storm that would follow. The crew used many examples like this to exert their resistance to their captors without them knowing, which amounted to a mental victory despite their physical defeat. Another example of the psychological abuse the crew suffered was the time that the crew was given pen knives and forced to get on their knees and cut the grass in the yard of the compound. The grass was used later as a salad and eaten by the crew.

front row: Howard E. Bland (deceased July 25, 1992), Donald R. Peppard, James D. Layton, Monroe O. Goldman back row: Ronald L. Berens, Harry Iredale, William D. Scarborough (deceased February 26, 1970), Charles B. Law (deceased September 25, 2001)

The North Koreans worked on CDR Bucher separately to try to get the ship's commanding officer to sign a confession and read a pre-written apology. In an attempt to make him admit to wrongdoing, a gun was held to Bucher's head and dry-fired but he did not give in. Instead of being shot, Bucher was beaten severely. The next night, Bucher was driven to an unknown location and taken to "a dark and dirty basement [where] he was shown a body hanging on a wall. The body, purported to be a South Korean spy, was alive but hardly recognizable. The head was badly swollen, one eye hung out of [its] socket and broken protruding bones were evident. The Korean Senior Colonel in charge said 'this is how we treat spies.'" Bucher still did not crack. However, after being returned to his cell, he was threatened with the lives of his men, starting with the youngest, who was brought into his cell. In order to spare the lives of his men, Bucher finally gave in and agreed to sign and read the confession for the North Korean media to tape and broadcast. Bucher would sign several versions of the document; each was revised and more incriminating wording against the United States. During his reading of the document, Bucher's speech and demeanor were filled with so much sarcasm and play on English words and language, it would be obvious to Americans listening that he did not write the speech and that he was not serious about his confession. The confession appeared in the Pyongyang Times on 1 February. The captain was not the only man to agree to sign the confession; by early February, every officer assigned capitulated to the North Korean's beatings, on several occasions being beaten unconscious.

After the confessions had been signed and broadcast for all of North Korea to hear, the guards' treatment of the crew improved; it was still well short of humane, but better than before, nonetheless. Meanwhile, the whole time the men were being held, the U.S. was trying everything it could diplomatically to get them released. Despite America's desire to avoid another conflict in Asia while it was fully entangled in Vietnam, President Lyndon Johnson once told an aide that he would "do anything to get those men back - including meeting naked in the middle of the street at high noon." Johnson's Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, tried to include the release in negotiations with Vietnam, suggesting that the two were related; he was soon assured they were not. Since North Korea rejected any affiliation with either the United Nations or the World Court, the international avenue could not be used either. Johnson even appealed to the Soviet Union but it refused to take a public stance against its communist ally. United States Secretary of State Dean Rusk, among others, was involved in over nine months of Military Armistice Commission (MAC) talks to achieve their release.

Governor Ronald Reagan welcomes Commander Bucher Home

Pyongyang would not cooperate until Washington met the three A's: admit, apologize, and assure. On 23 December 1968, exactly eleven months from the day the 82 surviving crew members were captured and after 28 meetings discussing the Pueblo, the North Korean document was signed by the U.S. MAC representative Major General Gilbert Woodward. Before signing the North Korean-prepared document, Woodward submitted a document disavowing any wrongdoing on behalf of the United States. The document also stated that the United States does not apologize and the only reason for signing the North Korean document was to free the crew of the Pueblo and only for that reason. After Woodward signed the document, the North Korean representative signed a written statement promising to release the crew within two hours.
1 posted on 11/04/2003 12:00:26 AM PST by SAMWolf
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To: snippy_about_it; PhilDragoo; Johnny Gage; Victoria Delsoul; Darksheare; Valin; bentfeather; radu; ..
Release of the USS Pueblo Crew

Commander Bucher is released

At the same time the crew's release was being finalized at the Joint Security Area in Panmunjom, the men were being transported there from Pyongyang. After an overnight trip, the Pueblo crew arrived at Sachon Bridge, which crossed the Military Demarcation Line. Sachon Bridge was known to Americans since the Korean War as the Bridge of No Return. After waiting in buses with covered windows and being given copies of the letter of apology to read, Commander Bucher was the first to be taken to the bridge. At 11:30 A.M., Bucher was told to cross the bridge and not look back. Following him was the coffin containing the corpse of Duane Hodges. The rest of the crewmembers were released in thirty-second intervals while the entire crews' taped confessions were broadcast over loudspeakers. The men were flown by helicopter to an Army hospital near Seoul. The next day, 24 December, the crew landed at Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego for an emotional reunion with family and friends.


A Navy Yeoman Second Class holds a U.S. flag, to be used to drape the coffin of Seaman Duane Hodges, who was killed when USS Pueblo (AGER-2) was captured by the North Koreans off Wonsan on 23 January 1968. Seaman Hodges' body was returned to American custody with the ship's other crewmen, at the Korean Demilitarized Zone, 23 December 1968.

On 27 December, Admiral John Hyland of CINCPACFLT ordered a "routine" Court of Inquiry comprised of five admirals headed by Vice Admiral Harold Bowen, Jr. to look into the events of the seizure. Amid much public opposition, the navy appeared to be on a witch hunt for CDR Bucher to hold him responsible for surrendering his ship and his men. The only positive attribute of the inquiry was that it provided a forum in which Bucher could voice his concerns about the inqdequate material readiness of the ship and the refusal by the upper echelon to properly prepare the ship, the crew, and a contingency plan for the mission. Following with the scapegoat theory, CDR Bucher was charged with violating a Navy regulation that he allowed his ship to searched and personnel taken captive by representatives of a foreign state. During one recess, Pueblo's Executive Officer Tim Harris slipped Bucher a dated note that read, "Captain, we've made it this far together and we'll finish it together," signed,"Bucher's Bastards." After nearly two months and 104 witnesses, the panel decided that CDR Bucher did not try hard enough and that he and Stephen Harris would be court martialed. The admirals also stated that except for eleven men, the crew's performance was unimpressive.

Bucher's Bastards note

A few weeks later, ADM Hyland reviewed the court's findings and contemplated a lengthy court-martial along with more public opposition and sent his recommendation to the Secretary of the Navy, John Chafee, to issue letters of admonition instead of a court-martial. Chafee released his final decision to not issue any punishment to any of the men, "that they have suffered enough, and further punishment would not be justified." The House of Representatives also undertook its own investigation that produced similar results.

Additional Sources:

2 posted on 11/04/2003 12:01:20 AM PST by SAMWolf (Communism Has Only Killed 100 Million People ... Let's Give It Another Chance!")
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To: All
Recent Information Regarding the USS Pueblo


Commander Lloyd M. Bucher, USN, former Commanding Officer of USS Pueblo (AGER-2)Receives the Purple Heart medal for injuries he received while he was a prisoner of the North Koreans, in ceremonies held in 1969, shortly after he and his crew were released.
Pueblo and her crew were captured off Wonsan, North Korea, on 23 January 1968. The crew were released on 23 December 1969.

The men of the USS Pueblo were very brave and endured more than most people could only in their nightmares, yet the U.S. government was reluctant to recognize them for their gallantry. Following the release of the crewmembers, the Navy gave out many awards to people that were involved in the release of the crew and their care but the only award that was given out to the crew itself was the Purple Heart for those wounded in action. Additional military and civilian awards were given in the early 1970s. After the creation of a Prisoner of War medal in 1985, the Pueblo was specifically unauthorized to receive it since the U.S. was not technically at war with North Korea (although the Korean War was ended in armistice). In 1990, after much lobbying by CDR Bucher, among others, and an act of Congress, the POW medal was presented to every crewmember, including civilians, which was against Navy policy to issue military awards to non-military personnel. The sole casualty of the incident, Duane Hodges, was issued the Silver Star posthumously


Sergeant Robert J. Chicca, U.S. Marine Corps, a USS Pueblo (AGER-2) crewman, greets his wife, Ann Marie, on his arrival at Naval Air Station Miramar, California, 24 December 1968. Pueblo's crew had been released from captivity by the North Korean government on 23 December. They had been captured off Wonsan on 23 January 1968.
Photographed by PHC V.O. McColley, USN.

Although North Korea released the crew, it did not return the ship itself. The ship remained in Wonsan for over thiry years serving various purposes, but its main purpose was being used as a propaganda piece for the North Koreans to exploit and boast its victory over the United States. During that thirty years on North Korea's east coast, it is also possible that Pyongyang provided the opportunity for the Soviet Union to examine the classified material and equipment. The North Koreans maintained the ship well and never repaired the many holes in the hull and superstructure from the attack.


USS Pueblo on Taedong River in Pyongyang, North Korea

Sources indicate that in December 1998, the Pueblo was relocated. It was not just moved to another location on the east coast as it did many times in the thirty years after its capture; it was relocated to the Taedong River in Pyongyang, on the west coast of North Korea. Pyongyang knew the military and political risks it was taking in taking the ship in international waters and around the Korean peninsula, so it was likely disguised and loaded with explosives to prevent it from being re-captured. The operational status of the Pueblo is unknown but additional sources suggest that Pueblo was towed around the Korean peninsula and did not make the journey under its own power. It is believed that North Korea moved the ship to its current location to serve as a trophy as well as a tourist museum, especially since the site is also where another American ship, the General Sherman, was sunk in 1866. To add to the authenticity of the tour, the guide is Senior Colonel Kim Joong Rok, the commander of the first boarding party when it was hijacked.

Kim Joong Rok

Due to the fact that the USS Pueblo was never formally decommissioned, it is still held by the U.S. Navy as an active ship in commission. Many attempts by Pueblo crewmembers and Congressmen have been made to get the Pueblo or its flag repatriated to the U.S. but have obviously been unsuccessul. Hopefully, when North-South Korean summit meetings and unification talks progress, Pyongyang will eventually comply with these requests and give the surviving crewmembers, as well as those interested in the incident, some sense of closure.

3 posted on 11/04/2003 12:01:55 AM PST by SAMWolf (Communism Has Only Killed 100 Million People ... Let's Give It Another Chance!")
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To: All

4 posted on 11/04/2003 12:02:32 AM PST by SAMWolf (Communism Has Only Killed 100 Million People ... Let's Give It Another Chance!")
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To: All
Veterans Day 2003
PDN News Desk ^ comwatch

November is Here - Veterans Day is right around the corner.

It only takes a few minutes to write a letter to the kids and share a story of why you served.

If you aren't a Veteran then share your thoughts on why it is important to remember our Veterans on Veterans Day.

It's an opportunity for us to support our troops, our country and show appreciations for our local veterans. It's another way to counter the Anti-Iraq campaign propaganda.  Would you like to help?  Are there any VetsCoR folks on the Left Coast?  We have a school project that everyone can help with too, no matter where you live.  See the end of this post for details.

Three Northern California events have been scheduled and we need help with each:
Friday evening - November 7th Veterans in School (An Evening of Living History, A Veterans Day Ice Cream Social)
Saturday - 11 a.m. November 8th: Veterans Day Parade (PDN & Friends parade entry)
Sunday November 9, 2003 Noon to 3:00 PM Support our Troops & Veterans Rally prior to Youth Symphony Concert
Each of the WebPages above have a link to e-mail a confirmation of your interest and desire to volunteer.  These are family events and everyone is welcome to pitch in.  We'd really appreciate hearing from you directly via each these specific links.  This way, we can keep you posted on only those projects you want to participate in.

Veterans in School - How you can help if you're not close enough to participate directly. If you are a veteran, share a story of your own with the children.  If you have family serving in the military, tell them why it's important that we all support them. Everyone can thank them for having this special event.  Keep in mind that there are elementary school kids. 

Help us by passing this message around to other Veteran's groups.  I have introduced VetsCoR and FreeperFoxhole to a number of school teachers.  These living history lessons go a long way to inspire patriotism in our youth.  Lets see if we can rally America and give these youngsters enough to read for may weeks and months ahead.  If we can, we'll help spread it to other schools as well.

  Click this link to send an email to the students.

5 posted on 11/04/2003 12:02:53 AM PST by SAMWolf (Communism Has Only Killed 100 Million People ... Let's Give It Another Chance!")
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To: All
Bugles Across America

Bugles Across America, NFP was founded in 2000 by Tom Day, when Congress passed legislation stating Veterans had a right to at least 2 uniformed military people to fold the flag and play taps on a CD player. Bugles Across America was begun to take this a step further, and in recognition of the service these Veterans provided their country, we felt that every Veteran deserved a live rendition of taps played by a live Bugler. To this end, we are actively seeking volunteers to provide this valuable service to Veterans and their families

Our Organization now has 1500 bugler volunteers located in all 50 states and growing number overseas. Since the Department of Veterans Affairs is expecting more than 1/2 million veterans to pass every year for the next 7 years, Bugles Across America is ALWAYS recruiting new volunteers.

Bugler Volunteers can be male or female. They can play a traditional bugle with no valves, or they can perform the ceremony on a Trumpet, Cornet, Flugelhorn, or a 1, 2 or 3 valved bugle. The bugler can be of any age as long as they can play the 24 notes of Taps with an ease and style that will do honor to both the Veterans, their families, and the burial detail performing the service.

Thanks quietolong

6 posted on 11/04/2003 12:03:16 AM PST by SAMWolf (Communism Has Only Killed 100 Million People ... Let's Give It Another Chance!")
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To: SAMWolf; snippy_about_it; bentfeather; Darksheare; Johnny Gage; Light Speed; All

THANK YOU troops and veterans for answering the call to duty to the USA!!

7 posted on 11/04/2003 12:40:09 AM PST by radu (May God watch over our troops and keep them safe)
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To: SAMWolf; snippy_about_it; bentfeather; Darksheare; Johnny Gage; Light Speed; All

THANK YOU troops and veterans for answering the call to duty to the USA!!

8 posted on 11/04/2003 12:45:03 AM PST by radu (May God watch over our troops and keep them safe)
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To: radu
Good Morning Radu.
9 posted on 11/04/2003 12:50:03 AM PST by SAMWolf (Communism Has Only Killed 100 Million People ... Let's Give It Another Chance!")
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To: SAMWolf; snippy_about_it; bentfeather; Darksheare; Johnny Gage; Light Speed; All
AAAAAAARGH!! I thought this would stop after they worked on the site last night! I did NOT hit post twice! LOL!
10 posted on 11/04/2003 1:17:56 AM PST by radu (May God watch over our troops and keep them safe)
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To: Matthew Paul; mark502inf; Skylight; The Mayor; Prof Engineer; PsyOp; Samwise; comitatus; ...
.......FALL IN to the FReeper Foxhole!

.......Good Tuesday Morning Everyone!

If you would like added to our ping list let us know.
11 posted on 11/04/2003 2:55:44 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
Good morning, Snippy and everyone at the Freeper Foxhole. How's it going?
12 posted on 11/04/2003 3:09:07 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: E.G.C.
Good morning EGC. We are supposed to hit a record high today of 80 degrees!

Why do I get the feeling we'll pay for these nice late fall days when winter hits? LOL.
13 posted on 11/04/2003 3:12:11 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: radu
Good morning radu.
14 posted on 11/04/2003 3:13:01 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: SAMWolf
Thanks for posting this. I remember vaguely the Pueblo, but ever knew few details. Now, for the first time I understand what that was about. The U.S. government and the U.S. Navy in particular behaved dishonorably toward these men.
15 posted on 11/04/2003 3:50:13 AM PST by WaterDragon
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To: SAMWolf
Wonderful thread today SAM.

Thanks for providing the detail of what these men went through. I'll never understand why the powers that be try to railroad some of these commanders, it's shameful. There isn't always a need to place blame.

Reading about the food they were given was truly stomach churning and the treatment horrible. I say we go pay them back now and take out there nuke facilities while we're at it.

16 posted on 11/04/2003 4:02:13 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: snippy_about_it
17 posted on 11/04/2003 4:30:19 AM PST by manna
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To: WaterDragon
Good morning WaterDragon, good to see you at the Foxhole.

They shouldn't even have considered any punishment against these men. I understand they needed an inquiry but to consider punishment was just shameful!
18 posted on 11/04/2003 4:40:21 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: manna
Good morning manna.
19 posted on 11/04/2003 4:41:19 AM PST by snippy_about_it (Fall in --> The FReeper Foxhole. America's History. America's Soul.)
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To: SAMWolf
USS Panay PR-5

During the "China Incident" airplanes from the Japanese Navy attacked and sank an American gunboat, the USS Panay. Captain James Hughes was following orders to assist the evacuation of American citizens and Standard Oil tankers up the Yangtze river from Nanking. The Japanese planes attacked at 1:27 pm Dec. 12, strafing and dropping bombs. Hughes ordered everyone to abandon ship. On shore, Hughes sent a radio message to the U.S. ambassador in Hankow 200 miles upriver. The survivors travelled Hohsien where they were picked up by the British gunboat HMS Bee and the Panay's sister ship USS Oahu, and taken to Shanghai where they boarded the USS Augusta Dec. 17 for the trip to the United States. The attack had been filmed by Norman Alley of Universal Newsreel and Eric Mayell of Fox Movietone News, and their film was widely seen in American theaters in January 1938.

USS Panay (PR-5) "was built by Kiangoan Dockyard and Engineering Works, Shanghai, China; launched 10 November 1927; sponsored by Mrs. Ellis S. Stone; and commissioned 10 September 1928, Lt. Comdr. James Mackey Lewis in command. Built for duty in the Asiatic Fleet on the Yangtze Patrol, Panay had as her primary mission the protection of American lives and property frequently threatened in the disturbances the 1920s and 30s brought to China struggling to modernize, to create a strong central government, and, later, to meet Japanese aggression. Throughout Panay's service, navigation on the Yangtze was constantly menaced by bandits and soldier outlaws of various stripes, and Panay and her sisters provided the protection necessary for American shipping and nationals, as other foreign forces did for their citizens. Often parties from Panay served as armed guards on American steamers plying the river. In 1931 her commanding officer, Lt. Comdr. R. A. Dyer, reported: "Firing on gunboats and merchant ships have (sic.) become so routine that any vessel traversing the Yangtze River, sails with the expectation of being fired upon." and "Fortunately, the Chinese appear to be rather poor marksmen and the ship has, so far, not sustained any casualties in these engagements."

As the Japanese moved through South China, American gunboats evacuated most of the Embassy staff from Nanking during November 1937. Panay was assigned as station ship to guard the remaining Americans and take them off at the last possible moment. They came on board 11 December and Panay moved upriver to avoid becoming involved in the fighting around the doomed capital. Three American merchant tankers sailed with her. The Japanese senior naval commander in Shanghai was informed both before and after the fact of this movement. On 12 December, Japanese naval aircraft were ordered by their Army to attack "any and all ships" in the Yangtze above Nanking. Knowing of the presence of Panay and the merchantmen, the Navy requested verification of the order, which was received before the attack began about 1327 that day and continued until Panay sank at 1554. Three men were killed, 43 sailors and 5 civilian passengers wounded. A formal protest was immediately lodged by the American ambassador. The Japanese government accepted responsibility, but claimed the attack unintentional. A large indemnity was paid 22 April 1938 and the incident officially settled. However, further deterioration of relations between Japan and the United States continued, as did provocations, many of them stemming from the Japanese Army whose extremists wished war with the United States." (text from Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships)

According to Charles Jellison, the reaction to the sinking of the Panay was mixed: "When news of the attack reached the U.S. capital, a furious President Franklin D. Roosevelt called for a strong response, 'a forceful gesture,' to put the Japanese on notice that the United States did not take such matters lightly Roosevelt and his cabinet discussed possible reprisals, including holding naval maneuvers in the China Sea or cutting off certain exports critical to Japan. It soon became apparent, though, that not many of the president's countrymen shared his outrage - or, if they did, they preferred not to make a big issue of it. Political leaders of both parties, including most of Roosevelt's cabinet, downplayed the incident and urged restraint, as did most of the press and the people at large. Nevertheless, President Roosevelt instructed Secretary of State Cordell Hull to deliver a letter of protest to the Japanese ambassador in Washington, advising the Japanese government that he was "deeply shocked and concerned." The president demanded an apology, full compensation for the attack, and assurances guaranteeing against a similar episode in the future. On December 24, the U.S. government received a formal apology from Tokyo. The Japanese government would, of course, punish those responsible for the 'grave blunder' caused by 'poor visibility' and pay full reparations. Washington officials prepared a bill of indemnification and sent it to Tokyo. Within four months the U.S. government received a check for $2,214,007.36. Meanwhile the Japanese press and public outdid themselves in expressions of friendship and 3 sympathy toward the American people. Tokyo schoolchildren contributed $10,000 worth of pennies to a fund for the victims of the Panay, and Americans in Japan were stopped on the streets and offered apologies. In what one Tokyo newspaper called 'an uttermost gesture,' a young Japanese woman appeared at the U.S. Embassy, cut off her hair, and presented it to the American ambassador.

"The newsreels reached American movie houses in mid-January Norman Alley was correct - between the two of them, he and Eric Mayell had missed very little. Viewers could see the Panay bobbing about at anchor in the middle of the river, minding its own business with its colors in full view, while from almost directly overhead the sun shone down through a cloudless sky. Suddenly Japanese planes swooped down on the ship. Time and again they came, savaging the Panay with bombs and machine-gun fire, while the movie cameras jumped about wildly with each explosion. The cameras had recorded scenes of the ship's devastation, the strafing of the lifeboats, the suffering of the wounded among the reeds, and the search planes circling overhead. There was no mistaking the meaning of it all - the Japanese had lied. There had been no visibility problem, no mistaken identity, and no 'grave blunder.' The Japanese had known what they were doing, all right, and they had done it with a vengeance. Even so, the American people were not exactly stirred to great wrath. They were clearly in no mood for the effects of another Maine or Lusitania. With the results of the Depression still being felt, people had enough to worry about at home without risking war with Japan over something that had happened half a world away. Instead the people chose to vent their anger, such as it was, against their own government. What was an American gunboat doing in China in the first place? Didn't the president and Congress know there was a war going on over there? What were they trying to do, make the Orient safe for democracy? All good questions, but they missed the point--a United States naval vessel had been deliberately and wantonly sunk by a foreign nation in time of peace. Shouldn't something be done about it? The answer was obviously "No." And anxious to avoid war, the United States government accepted the Japanese explanation and, in effect, let the matter drop. Yet it was a bitter pill for President Roosevelt to swallow. "I suppose it could be argued," he said to a friend, "that doing nothing is the next best thing to doing something." "Now," commented a small-town Idaho newspaper, "we can all sit back sans excitement--until Japan decides to sink another of our warships." (text from Jellison)

The Sandpebbles...Truly a Classic

20 posted on 11/04/2003 4:56:13 AM PST by Light Speed
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