USS Pueblo being moved to war museum
The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo.
PUEBLO, Colo. — The USS Pueblo will be moved to North Korea’s huge museum in Pyongyang that is dedicated to the Korean War, that country’s news service said this week.
The famous spy ship, which was seized by the North Koreans in January 1968, had been tied to a dock on the Taedong River in Pyongyang until recently. There were questions about its future location until the North Korean announcement this week.
According to the Businessinsider website, North Korea will put the small ship in its cavernous Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, which has been described by U.S. visitors as a massive building dedicated to the Korean War. The Navy ship, which was named for Pueblo in 1967, will underline the museum’s role as a “base for anti-U.S. education,” according to the North Korean news service.
Among the artifacts in the museum are stacks of captured U.S. weapons and military gear. Congress and the Colorado General Assembly have repeatedly passed resolutions over the years demanding the return of the ship. The Pueblo is still a commissioned Navy warship but it was on a National Security Agency mission in January 1968 when it was cruising alone off the coast of North Korea to electronically eavesdrop on that country.
It was attacked and seized on Jan. 23 by North Korean gunboats. One of its 83-member crew was killed in the attack while the others were held captive, and often tortured, until Dec. 23 of that year.
The surviving crew members of “the Pueblo incident” were very popular with the American public because of the defiance they showed in captivity, but Navy officials reprimanded the ship’s skipper, Cmdr. Lloyd “Pete” Bucher, for allowing the largely unarmed ship to be captured. The ship’s crew, however, strongly supported Bucher’s decision to let the ship be boarded that day rather than to continue to be shelled.
The surviving crew members have held several reunions in Pueblo and plan to return here in 2014.