When the USS Pueblo was Captured by North Korea

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. Several Americans were injured and one crew member died trying to escape.

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. 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 decided not to spy on North Korea. Even if North Korea posed and still poses a threat to America, in that point of time America’s biggest concern was with Vietnam because of the Vietnam War. Instead of using resources to spy on North Korea and having their crew members attacked, they should have been using all their resources to end the war. Instead they showed that they were unable to protect their citizens who were fighting for our 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, which showed weakness from America.The reason for the USS Pueblo was to spy on North Korea however, their citizens ended up being captured and tortured for eleven months and ended up causing a larger disaster for America and the Vietnam War.

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