Remember the Pueblo!

Remember the Pueblo! By Mitchell B. Lerner – New York Times

Rendition of the USS Pueblo Under Attack - 23 January 1968

In December 1967, an American Navy vessel called the Pueblo departed Pearl Harbor, heading for Yokosuka, Japan. It was the last time the ship, a dilapidated former cargo carrier now operating as an American intelligence collector, would see the United States.

In January, the Pueblo began its first mission, conducting electronic intelligence operations off the coast of North Korea. Then, on Jan. 23, 1968 — 50 years ago today — the ship came under attack by North Korean forces. The slow and poorly armed American ship was badly overmatched. The captain soon surrendered, with one dead and numerous wounded. North Korean forces quickly boarded the Pueblo and towed the ship and her 83 crewmen to Wonsan.

The men spent a brutal year in North Korean prison camps where they were beaten, tortured and used as propaganda tools, before being released a few days before Christmas 1968. The ship is still in North Korea, serving as one of the country’s leading tourist attractions.

The story of the Pueblo incident — long forgotten by most Americans — is certainly important on its own merits. Beyond the details of the attack, however, the crisis also serves as a larger example of how America’s war in Vietnam had ramifications far beyond Southeast Asia…

Read on.

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