Conservatives are pressing Trump to demand North Korea return the USS Pueblo

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tags: North Korea, Trump, USS Pueblo

North Korea released three U.S. hostages in the run-up to next month’s summit with President Trump. It should follow up by returning the USS Pueblo. 

Sent to map North Korean radar stations in January 1968, the spy ship, whose top speed was 13 knots, was pursued by North Korean gunboats. Machine-gun fire and artillery shells raked the ship, wounding 10 sailors, one fatally. The former freighter was armed only with two machine guns, tied down under ice-covered tarps. Uncovering and loading the jam-prone guns, Cmdr. Lloyd “Pete” Bucher later said, would have heightened the risk to his crew. 

As the Pueblo desperately sought to evade capture, crewmen burned punch cards to keep secrets from the enemy, and smoke poured out of the vessel. Six fast gunboats swarmed in. A pair of MiG fighters circled overhead. Surrounded and outgunned, Bucher surrendered without firing a shot. 

That saved the lives of all but one of 83 Americans aboard, including two civilian oceanographers. But Bucher’s decision was controversial. It was the first surrender of a U.S. Navy ship since 1807. Although many cards were burned, the loss of classified material “would dwarf anything in previous U.S. cryptologic history,” a 1992 National Security Agency report, classified until 2012, found. Some admirals publicly demanded a court-martial.

Read entire article at WSJ

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