USS Pueblo Captured by North Korea 1968

By Jennifer Moreno

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The USS Pueblo capture was an incident that could have been avoided, but instead became a national incident. The USS Pueblo was a Navy intelligence vessel that was intercepted by North Korean patrol on January 23, 1963. According to U.S. reports, the Pueblo was 16 miles from the North Korean Shore, in international waters, but the North Korean Patrol boats opened fire on the Pueblo anyways and demanded their surrender. The Americans tried to escape and one crew member died and several were injured.After the struggle the Pueblo was captured and the 82 men of 83 man crew were taken to Pyongyang,where they were charged with spying within North Korea’s 12 mile territorial limit and imprisoned. North Korea’s accusations were false, however the U.S. and North Korea finally came to an agreement on December 23, 1968. Under the terms the U.S. apologized for what the Pueblo had done and pledge that it would never happen again in the future. Eleven months after being captured 82 crewmen walked across the “Bridge of No Return” to freedom in South Korea returning home to the United States in time for Christmas.

In my opinion, the USS Pueblo capture could have been avoided if America didn’t want to spy on North Korea. Yes, it is true that North Korea posed and still poses a threat to America, however at that point in time America was in the middle of the Vietnam War. All resources should have been used to end that War as soon as possible. Instead of doing that America show cased they were unable to protect their citizens who doing a service to their country. The capture of USS Pueblo showed the world that America was not all mighty. The incident caused the American people to fear for their safety which in turn caused them to want America to withdraw from the Vietnam War. What’s more preposterous is that America went to North Korea’s will and apologized for something that was not even done, another showcase of Americas weak state. Furthermore, America let their citizens be captured and tortured for eleven months. The whole mission of the USS Pueblo was to spy, but in the end all it caused was a larger disaster for America and the Vietnam War.

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