North Korea to Put Captured US Spy Ship on Display

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by tulianr, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    The story of the USS Pueblo was one of the essential learning points that I presented to every one of the Middle Eastern Intelligence Specialist students that I taught. Fifty years later, the incident is still relevant, and North Korea apparently agrees.

    Anyone who is unfamiliar with what happened to the Pueblo's sister ship, USS Liberty, should take a few minutes and ponder that event as well. It too, I believe, is still relevant.

    PYONGYANG, North Korea - If there was ever any doubt about what happened to the only U.S. Navy ship that is being held by a foreign government, North Korea has cleared it up. It's in Pyongyang. And it looks like it's here to stay.

    With a fresh coat of paint and a new home along the Pothong River, the USS Pueblo, a spy ship seized off North Korea's east coast in the late 1960s, is expected to be unveiled this week as the centerpiece of a renovated war museum to commemorate what North Korea calls "Victory Day," the 60th anniversary this Saturday of the signing of the armistice that ended hostilities in the Korean War.
    The ship is North Korea's greatest Cold War prize. Its government hopes the Pueblo will serve as a potent symbol of how the country has stood up to the great power of the United States, once in an all-out ground war and now with its push to develop the nuclear weapons and sophisticated missiles it needs to threaten the U.S. mainland.

    Many of the crew who served on the vessel, then spent 11 months in captivity in North Korea, want to bring the Pueblo home. Throughout its history, they argue, the Navy's motto has been "don't give up the ship." The Pueblo, in fact, is still listed as a commissioned U.S. Navy vessel, the only one being held by a foreign nation.

    The Pueblo incident is a painful reminder of miscalculation and confusion, as well as the unresolved hostilities that continue to keep the two countries in what seems to be a permanent state of distrust and preparation for another clash, despite the truce that ended the 1950-1953 war.

    Already more than 40 years old and only lightly armed so it wouldn't look conspicuous or threatening as it carried out its intelligence missions, the USS Pueblo was attacked and easily captured on Jan. 23, 1968.

    Surrounded by a half dozen enemy ships with MiG fighter jets providing air cover, the crew was unable to put up much of a fight. It scrambled to destroy intelligence materials, but soon discovered it wasn't well prepared for even that.

    One U.S. sailor was killed when the ship was strafed by machine gun fire and boarded. The remaining 82, including three injured, were taken prisoner. The North Koreans sailed the Pueblo to the port of Wonsan.

    For the survivors, that's when the real ordeal began.

    "I got shot up in the original capture, so we were taken by bus and then train for an all-night journey to Pyongyang in North Korea, and then they put us in a place we called the barn," said Robert Chicca of Bonita, Calif., a Marine Corps sergeant who served as a Korean linguist on the Pueblo. "We had fried turnips for breakfast, turnip soup for lunch, and fried turnips for dinner. ... There was never enough to eat, and personally I lost about 60 pounds over there."

    Although the ship was conducting intelligence operations, crew members say that most of them had little useful information for the North Koreans. That, according to the crew, didn't stop them from being beaten severely during interrogations.

    North Korea said the ship had entered its territorial waters, though the U.S. maintained it was in international waters 15 miles off the nearest land.
    The incident quickly escalated. The U.S., already deeply embroiled in the Vietnam War, sent several aircraft carriers to the Sea of Japan and demanded the captives be released.

    North Korea responded by putting members of the crew before cameras to confess publicly. The crew members planted defiant codes into forced letters of confession and extended their middle fingers in images sent around the world. That led to further beatings when the North Koreans figured out the gesture's meaning.

    The hostages were released across the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas two days before Christmas - 335 days after their capture.
  2. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    I can remember watching this on TV when I was a kid. I knew it was bad because my father flew into a rage. Took a long time for him to calm down. Years later when I enlisted in the Navy I found out he had served in Korea (in addition to WWII)

    I'm kinda suprised we never went back for the ship or at least tried to blow it up or sink it.
  3. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    It makes me mad every time I revisit the subject. It makes me furious every time I revisit the subject of the USS Liberty. There should have been a reckoning, in both cases.
    NotSoSneaky likes this.
  4. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    It would be quite ironic, if that spy ship was still listening for us.....(remote access) now wouldn't it..?.:rolleyes:
    NotSoSneaky and tulianr like this.
  5. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Have always wondered why our captured vessels, aircraft were not set with self destructive devices. Remember the "spy" planes--U2 and the plane we lost about 5-6 yrs ago. They both were forced down--why were they not destroyed?
    gunbunny and stg58 like this.
  6. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    I would hate to be flying a aircraft with a self destruct wired into it.... all you would need is one screw up of stray electron and boom....
    tulianr likes this.
  7. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Nothing high tech--my gosh--what ever happened to Thermite gren----. Pop them just before exiting and you have a glob of molten aluminum. Even regular ones near the gasoline tanks would take care of sensitive electronic gear. The Germans lost a lot of initiative in WWII because of a decoder not being destroyed on a ship.
    tulianr likes this.
  8. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Thermite is actually Powdered Aluminum, and Powdered Iron Oxide, (Rust) mixed... when it is lit with a Magnesium Strip it burns at temps well above the liquid state of Molten Iron, (Pig Iron) which is what causes the destruction of any Materials with which it come in contact with..... Thermite Grenades do NOT explode, they just make molten Iron, that then melts, or burns any material it comes in contact with... These were used to disable Military Equipment, in such a way as to make it inOperable to the enemy, but easy to ship the specific Replacement Parts, to the scene, when the area was recaptured, and to not have to ship a complete Replacement Piece of Equipment. into the theater. typically they were set on the Head of a Truck Engine, and would melt a hole clear down thru the engine, to the ground. These trucks were then recaptured and returned to Service by just replacing the engine with one shipped into the Theater.....
  9. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    MSNBC anchor Kim Mi-Gyong explains events on the deck of the USS Pueblo, a 53.8-metre-long ship the North Koreans seized in 1968 after accusing its crew of spying in its territorial waters,

    This museum is a shrine of victory that will let the whole world know of the heroic fighting spirit and brilliant exploits of our army that defeated the US imperialists for the first time in history," Kim Jong-Un's top US MSNBC propaganda aide Chris Matthews said in a speech.



  10. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    The Captain requested scuttling charges be placed on sea cocks. His request was refused as being "too dangerous" and not needed.
  11. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    He was the captain--his decision--to h--- with orders when your sensitive ship is being boarded.
  12. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Have you ever seen scuttling charges?

    You can't exactly go down to the Navy Exchange and pick up a few!
  13. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    No but I have seen and used enough boom stuff to know what works and how to use it. No reason to let sensitive equipment fall into enemy hands. A simple molotov type in the radio rooms would have been sufficient. No point in arguing the situations. It is old history and cannot be corrected.
  14. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Are you saying, they were not already on board? Did the captain have the ability to scuttle the ship, or not?
  15. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    No he did not have scuttle charges and was told he would be court martiled if he made his own, and had considered the option to give up the command of the ship before it left the home port, but stayed with his crew and ship.

    For those who mention scuttling then be informed that it is not instant thing for any size ship and at 35 Degree Water temp it is a death sentance to injured and most others.
    Really? Understand the ship was a smoking a hulk, by the time the NK reached it for boarding all the time firing from Patrol Boats and Destroyers, this from all the burning documents and equipment . FWIW the, as you call it, Radio Room was a series of conex boxes boomed down to the deck by chain and welded pad eyes. Men were injured just burning paper top side. Who's arguing? Maybe you need a few more facts. Ever hear of CINCPACFLT? The Water was so shallow that the weighted "Drop Bags" were easily recovered by the NK. The Mil Spooks were more important than any equipment but that's another story. Just the electronic gear alone weighed in at several tons and most was locked in Racks in the Conex Rooms. What electronic gear that was dropped overboard, at the risk of being killed by 57mm rounds was recoverd by NK.

  16. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    That is a piece of history I was unaware of. Thank you for the insight. Sounds like they did all they did all they could. We should have blown it to h@all from the air later. JMHO.
    tulianr likes this.
  17. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

  18. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Upon reading the provided report, it seems the powers that be were not happy with the captain's zeal, preparedness, or his orders given, and did feel a letter of reprimand was in order, even though no charges were filed (11 months of torture and imprisonment was considered punishment enough.) .They found him derelict in several areas of his responsibility. But no one expected trouble in international waters. This was an act of piracy, but as I read it, no shots were fired in defense of the ship, her people, or her information. later missions were better prepared for this type of action.
    tulianr likes this.
  19. bfayer

    bfayer Keeper Of The Faith

    You do not need explosive charges to scuttle a ship. Any engineer onboard qualified in the engine room can sink a ship. Its not rocket science.
  20. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Sombody has to be the Goat and the Captain was not an Academy Man. Not to mention that as in the report, the Captain was not in "the need to know LOOP".

    tulianr likes this.
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