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Runtime: 60 minutes
Because of an Earlier Incident - USS Pueblo (AGER-2) - Netflix
USS Pueblo (AGER-2) is a Banner-class environmental research ship, attached to Navy intelligence as a spy ship, which was attacked and captured by North Korean forces on 23 January 1968, in what is known today as the “Pueblo incident” or alternatively, as the “Pueblo crisis”. The seizure of the U.S. Navy ship and her 83 crew members, one of whom was killed in the attack, came less than a week after President Lyndon B. Johnson's State of the Union address to the United States Congress, a week before the start of the Tet Offensive in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War, and three days after 31 men of North Korea's KPA Unit 124 had crossed the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and killed 26 South Koreans in an attempt to attack the South Korean Blue House (executive mansion) in the capital Seoul. The taking of Pueblo and the abuse and torture of her crew during the subsequent 11-month prisoner drama became a major Cold War incident, raising tensions between the western democracies, and the Soviet Union and China. North Korea stated that Pueblo deliberately entered their territorial waters 7.6 nautical miles (14 km) away from Ryo Island, and that the logbook shows that they intruded several times. However, the United States maintains that the vessel was in international waters at the time of the incident and that any purported evidence supplied by North Korea to support its statements was fabricated. Pueblo, still held by North Korea today, officially remains a commissioned vessel of the United States Navy. Since early 2013, the ship has been moored along the Potong River in Pyongyang, and used there as a museum ship at the Pyongyang Victorious War Museum. Pueblo is the only ship of the U.S. Navy still on the commissioned roster currently being held captive.
Because of an Earlier Incident - Aftermath - Netflix
Following an apology, a written admission by the U.S. that Pueblo had been spying, and an assurance that the U.S. would not spy in the future, the North Korean government decided to release the 82 remaining crew members, although the written apology was preceded by an oral statement that it was done only to secure the release. On 23 December 1968, the crew was taken by buses to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) border with South Korea and ordered to walk south one by one across the “Bridge of No Return”. Exactly eleven months after being taken prisoner, the Captain led the long line of crewmen, followed at the end by the Executive Officer, Lieutenant Ed Murphy, the last man across the bridge. The U.S. then verbally retracted the ransom admission, apology, and assurance. Meanwhile, the North Koreans blanked out the paragraph above the signature which read: “and this hereby receipts for eighty two crewmen and one corpse”. Bucher and all the officers and crew subsequently appeared before a Navy Court of Inquiry. A court-martial was recommended for Bucher and the Officer in Charge of the Research Department, Lieutenant Steve Harris for surrendering without a fight and for failing to destroy classified material, but the Secretary of the Navy, John Chafee, rejected the recommendation, stating, “They have suffered enough.” Commander Bucher was never found guilty of any indiscretions and continued his Navy career until retirement. In 1970, Bucher published an autobiographical account of the USS Pueblo incident entitled Bucher: My Story. Bucher died in San Diego on 28 January 2004, at the age of 76. James Kell, a former sailor under his command, suggested that the injuries suffered by Bucher during his time in North Korea contributed to his death. USS Pueblo is still held by North Korea. In October 1999, she was towed from Wonsan on the east coast, around the Korean Peninsula, to the port of Nampo on the west coast. This required moving the vessel through international waters, and was undertaken just before the visit of U.S. presidential envoy James Kelly to the capital Pyongyang. After the stop at the Nampo shipyard Pueblo was relocated to Pyongyang and moored on the Taedong River near the spot that the General Sherman incident is believed to have taken place. In late 2012 Pueblo was moved again to the Botong River in Pyongyang next to a new addition to the Fatherland Liberation War Museum. Today, Pueblo remains the second-oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy, behind USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”). Pueblo is one of only a few American ships to have been captured since the wars in Tripoli.
What we said in effect was this: If you are going to do this thing at Panmunjom, and if your sole objective is to get the crew back, you will be playing into North Korea's hands and the negotiations will follow a clear and inevitable path. You are going to be asked to sign a document that the North Koreans will have drafted. They will brook no changes. It will set forth their point of view and require you to confess to everything they accuse you of... If you allow them to, they will take as much time as they feel they need to squeeze every damn thing they can get out of this situation in terms of their propaganda goals, and they will try to exploit this situation to drive a wedge between the U.S. and the ROK. Then when they feel they have accomplished all they can, and when we have agreed to sign their document of confession and apology, they will return the crew. They will not return the ship. This is the way it is going to be because this is the way it has always been.
The South Koreans were absolutely furious and suspicious of what we might do. They anticipated that the North Koreans would try to exploit the situation to the ROK's disadvantage in every way possible, and they were rapidly growing distrustful of us and losing faith in their great ally. Of course, we had this other problem of how to ensure that the ROK would not retaliate for the Blue House Raid and to ease their growing feelings of insecurity. They began to realize that the DMZ was porous and they wanted more equipment and aid. So, we were juggling a number of problems.
Because of an Earlier Incident - References - Netflix