23 January 2022: Can you believe that January is almost over? Where does the time go! And this cold weather sweeping across the United States is horrible; even in Florida it's very cool and wetter than normal. Not so sure about this "global warming" we keep hearing about! Seems colder to me!
54 years ago, 23 January 1968, the USS Pueblo (GER 2), an essentially unarmed navy intelligence ship, was captured in international waters by the North Korean navy and the crew held captive for eleven months. Here is the story of that from Military.com.
The US Navy's 2nd-oldest commissioned ship has been held hostage by North Korea for 54 years
- On January 23, 1968, North Korea seized USS Pueblo, an unarmed US Navy surveillance ship.
- Pueblo is still commissioned as an active ship in the US Navy, but it's still being held by North Korea.
- Pyongyang has turned it into a piece of propaganda, exhibiting it in the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum.
· Between 1966 and 1969, the United States was increasingly engaged in South Vietnam, but a few thousands miles away, US troops were still fighting in the previous war.
On the Korean Peninsula, North Korea was becoming increasingly bold, firing on American soldiers. Sporadic engagements with the North had occurred along the DMZ since the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War. This time was different, however, as North Korean attacks began to involve thousands of US troops. It was the closest North and South Korea came to another Korean War. North Korea ambushed American units along the border and even infiltrated South Korea in an attempt to kill the president of South Korea at the Blue House, the presidential residence. Then, on January 23, 1968, North Korea seized the USS Pueblo, an unarmed US Navy surveillance ship operating in international waters. North Korean gunboats, torpedo boats and MiG-21 fighters chased down the Pueblo, killing one sailor and capturing 82 others. The officers and crew of the Pueblo were held and tortured for 11 months. They underwent physical and mental therapy after their release.
|North Korean soldiers view USS Pueblo|
Kim Il-Sung's plan completely backfired. Not only did the capture of the Pueblo draw international ire for the North Korean regime, the American military increased its presence on the Korean Peninsula.
As his administration attempted to negotiate for the release of the Pueblo crew, President Lyndon B. Johnson sent six aircraft carriers to Korea, along with massive reserve reinforcements and sent $100 million in military aid to upgrade South Korea's armed forces. But Johnson wanted to avoid another war in Korea, as the US military was stretched thin in Vietnam and elsewhere. Just days after the Pueblo was captured, the massive Tet Offensive began. North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong soldiers launched a series of coordinated attacks all over South Vietnam.
Most of the assaults on American and South Vietnamese positions either failed or were retaken quickly, but communist holdouts would linger for months after.
The United States admitted the Pueblo intruded into North Korean territory, but only to secure the release of the Pueblo sailors. After their release in December 1968 and to this day, the US government still maintains the ship was in international waters.would not be recaptured until March 1968.
And still she sits, still a US navy commissioned vessel, and a major tourist attraction in North Korea. Be sure to stop by when you visit Pyongyang!
Until next time,