I’m old enough to remember the headlines. I’m old enough to have read the account of the capture of USS Pueblo (AGER-2) an unarmed, Banner Class environmental research ship attached to the Naval Security group, and its parent, the National Security Agency.
Pueblo was in international waters on January 23, 1968 when it was attacked by North Korea in what is presently known as the Pueblo Incident.
The seizure of the U.S. Navy ship and her 83 crew members, one of whom was killed in the attack, came less than a week after President Lyndon Johnson’s State of the Union address, a week before the start of the Tet Offensive in the Republic of Vietnam and three days after 32 men of the North Korean Army’s KPA Unit 124 had crossed the Korean Demilitarized Zone and killed 26 South Koreans in an attempt to attack the South Korean Blue House (executive mansion) in Seoul.
If I’d been president, I would have ordered a nuclear strike on Wansan Harbor and on Pyongyang. And let the chips fall where they may. The F-105’s then available for a response were all armed with nuclear weapons at the time.
Piracy on the high seas comes easily to the North Koreans and their friends, the Communist Chinese, as has been discussed. Cowardice on the part of US leadership was disgusting to me then as it is today.
The taking of Pueblo and the abuse and torture of her crew during the subsequent 11-month prisoner drama was a stain on American honor. The Pueblo is currently a war memorial and museum, maintained by the North Koreans. Pueblo is the only ship of the US Navy, still on the commissioned roster currently being held captive.
As the North Korean dictator clings to life and as the US has intensified the surveillance of that rogue communist regime, it’s right and proper that we remember the Pueblo.
Questions of why the USS Pueblo was unarmed and unable to defend itself track back to the National Security Agency, NSA, or “No Such Agency”. It was an obsession of secrecy over rationality and 86 men paid for that foolishness. they could have put the same suite of equipment on a destroyer or cruiser in that day as the US Navy later did, and it would have worked fine.