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USS Pueblo (AGER-2)

USS Pueblo, AGER-2 is a United States ship most famous for when the ship and crew were captured and held by the government of North Korea in 1968.

The ship was build at at Kewaunee, Wisconsin in 1944 as U.S. Army cargo ship FP-344. She was transfered to the US Navy in 1966 and renamed USS Pueblo. Initially, she served as a light cargo ship, AKL-44. Shortly after being placed back into service, she was converted to a reconissance ship and redesignated and rechristened as AGER-2 on 13 May 1967.

The Pueblo was armed with 2 3"/50cal AA. She had a top speed of 12 knots. The Pueblo weighed approximately 850 tons. She had accommidations for a crew of 70 with 6 officers.

After training operations off the US West Coast, the USS Pueblo left for Yokosuka, Japan on November 6, 1967. She arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on November 13, 1967.

Table of contents
1 Activity and conflict near Korea
2 Aftermath
3 See also
4 External links

Activity and conflict near Korea

On January 5, 1968, the Pueblo left for Sasebo, Japan. She left Sasebo on January 11 with orders to conduct reconissance missions of North Korean activity in the Tsushima Straits. On January 21, 1986, a modified Soviet style subchaser, SO-I class, passed within two miles of the Pueblo.

The next day, January 22, 1968, two North Korean fishing trawlers (Lenta Class) passed with 25 yards of the USS Pueblo. That day, a North Korean unit made an assassination attempt against South Korean leadership targets. The crew of the Pueblo was not informed.

The following day, January 23, 1968, the USS Pueblo was approached by a class SO-I subchaser. She ordered the Pueblo to stand down. The Pueblo attempted to maneuver away, but was slower than the subchaser. Additionally, three torpedo boats appears on the horizon and then joined in the chase and later attack. They were soon joined by two MiG-21 A fourth torpedo boat and a second SO-I subchaser appeared on the horizon a short time later. The ammunition on the Pueblo was stored below decks, and her machine guns were wrapped in cold weather tarps. No attempt was made to man them.

The entire time, USS Pueblo was miles outside North Korean territorial waters.

The North Korea vessels attempted to board the Pueblo. She maneuvered to prevent this. The SO-I class opened fire with a 55 mm cannon. The smaller vessels fired machine guns into the Pueblo. The Pueblo signalled compliance, and began destroying sensitive material. The volume of material on board made it impossible to destroy it all.

Radio contact with Naval Security Group in Kamiseya, Japan had been ongoing. Seventh Fleet command was aware of Puebloís situation. Help was promised but never arrived. More than likely, no one wanted to take responsibility for an attack on North Korean vessels attacking the Pueblo. By the time President Lyndon Johnson was awoken, the Pueblo had been captured and it was too late.

The USS Pueblo followed the North Korean vessels towards North Korean waters, and then stopped. She was again fired upon, and a US sailor, Duane Hodges, was killed.

The Pueblo began following North Korean vessels again. While outside of North Korean waters, the Pueblo was boarded by men from a torpedo boat and a subchaser. Crew members had their hands tied. They were blindfolded, beaten with AK-47s and prodded with bayonets. Once the Pueblo was definitely in North Korean territorial waters, she was boarded again by high ranking North Korean officials.

Aftermath

North Korean troops took control of the Pueblo and brought her into port at Wonson. The crew was taken off the ship and held in North Korea for over 9 months. They were starved and tortured while in North Korean custody.

Once the crew of the Pueblo was released, Commander Lloyd M. Bucher, Captain of the Pueblo was brought before a Navy Court of Inquiry. Bucher was recommended for a court martial. The Secretary of the Navy overturned the recommendation. Commander Bucher was not found guilty of any crimes, but the general consensus is that he was treated badly.

The USS Pueblo is still in and controlled by North Korea. In October of 1999 the USS Pueblo was moved from Wonson, on the eastern Korean coast, to Nampo, on the western coast of North Korea. This required moving the ship through international waters. This was done just before the visit of US presidential envoy James Kelly to the capital Pyongyang.

The USS Pueblo remains a commissioned ship in the US Navy. It was the first American ship to have been captured in over 150 years.

See also

External links