USS Pueblo

Unless you are an old fart then the USS Pueblo means nothing.  During the Vietnam War a US naval sigint ship was captured by the North Koreans……

Fifty years after it was seized by North Korea, the USS Pueblo is the only US Navy ship held captive by a foreign government. And though mostly forgotten in the United States, the “Pueblo Incident” for North Korea remains a potent symbol of military success. The spy ship, attacked and captured 50 years ago this week, sits in the frozen Potong River on the edge of the sprawling “Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum” complex in central Pyongyang, the AP reports. Amid an escalating flow of rhetorical attacks on Washington for allegedly trying to sour North-South relations ahead of next month’s Winter Olympic, North Korea’s state-run media have played up the anniversary as a milestone in the country’s struggle against the US.

The Pueblo was ill-equipped for the fight it got on Jan. 23, 1968. One US sailor was killed when the ship was strafed by machine gun fire and boarded. The 82 survivors were taken prisoner. The US sent carriers to the Sea of Japan and demanded the captives be released. North Korea, for its part, forced members of the crew, who say they were beaten frequently, to make public confessions. Former POW Stu Russell says their treatment worsened when their captors realized the meaning of the middle finger gesture they had been making when forced to pose for propaganda photos. The incident came to an end and the crew members were freed on Dec. 23, 1968, after Maj. Gen. Gilbert H. Woodward, the chief US negotiator, signed a statement acknowledging that the Pueblo had “illegally intruded into the territorial waters of North Korea.”

A little slice of American Naval history……

Fifty years ago, on 23 January 1968, the North Korean Navy opened fire on the U.S. Navy in international waters off North Korea’s east coast in the Sea of Japan. The one-sided battle lasted almost two hours and left one U.S. sailor dead, more than a dozen others injured, the ship captured, and the surviving crew taken hostage. The first shots were fired at about 1332 (local time). The Koreans brought two sub chasers, three torpedo boats, and a couple of MiG fighters to the battle. The U.S. Navy brought the USS Pueblo (AGER-2)—virtually unarmed and outfitted as an electronic surveillance platform.

Live and learn…..the history lesson is over…..class dismissed.


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