I would like to express my gratitude to Richard E. Armstrong for the all the help and information he has given me to put this website together.
"Thank You Twig "
"Twig" Armstrong is a good friend of Commander Bucher and very knowledgeable on the Pueblo. Below you will read his opinion on the capture of the Pueblo along with his reviews on Mr. Bucher's book, " Bucher: My Story" and the movie "Pueblo" starring Hal Holbrook who won an Emmy for best actor that year for his portrayal of Mr. Bucher.
On January 23, 1968, all the rules and regulations, all the quid pro quo traditions from the cold war came to an abrupt halt. The Communist North Koreans illegally seized an American ship while in international waters. It was an act of war. The small ship (the smallest in the Navy) Pueblo was, for all practical purposes, an unarmed vessel, and was designed to look and be that way. Only months before, the USS Liberty (AGTR-5) on a similar mission was brutally attacked by Israeli forces in the Mediterranean Sea. Only days before, forces from North Korea had gone south to murder the president of South Korea, got caught, and were executed. Nobody bothered to tell the Captain or crew of the Pueblo, only 13 miles off the coast of North Korea. The ship was almost immediately overwhelmed, and taken.
"Pls send assistance! Pls send assistance! These guys are serious. We are under fire, we are under attack".... and the help never came, as promised.
"Don't worry about that Bucher... if you get into trouble out there, we've got you covered." One of the last things Admiral Johnson said to the skipper of this mission was "Now listen here, Bucher... don't be a damned cowboy out there," to which he replied, "Don't worry about that Admiral, I ain't startin' your goddamm war for you." or words to that effect.
Actually, when the cries for help came in the form of a message "CRITIC" (all the way to the President of the United States), some people out there were asking, "What the hell is the Pueblo, anyway?"
The capture of the USS Pueblo (AGER-2) was never in anybody's plans, it was an unheard of event. It wasn't even considered that there would be hostile forces out there that would be so bold as to attack an American ship. The Russians had similar vessels all over the place, and it was just one of those cat and mouse things of the cold war. The Pueblo was supposed to be a "sleepy assignment", go out there and record all sorts of "funny electronic noises" and come back and send them to people who enjoy dissecting this stuff.
In the opinion of the author,
The forces of the North Korean Communists illegally fired upon, boarded, and seized an American vessel in International waters, kept the crew as hostages, brutally beat them, barely housed them or fed them, and only let them go after extracting propaganda and getting a confession from the Unites States of America.
The government of the Unites States of America did the following: Failed to properly plan for unforeseen events, even though it was requested by the Captain. Failed to properly outfit the ship with state of the art destruction devices as requested. Failed to properly protect and defend the command as promised. Failed to come to the rescue of the Pueblo when asked to do so, and as agreed. Failed to rescue the officers and crew of the Pueblo while in captivity.
AND Sought reprimand for the signing of false confessions within weeks of signing a confession themselves. Sought reprimand from the Captain who "obeyed an ill-conceived order". Denied the entire crew the earned right to Prisoner of War Medals for over twenty years as we were "technically not at war with the North Koreans". Denied the crew of the Pueblo certain other benefits that were a direct result of hostilities while serving their country.
The very fact that eighty two of the eighty three men came back at all is due to the actions of one man and that is an undeniable fact. Commander Lloyd Mark Bucher brought 'em home.
Richard E. Armstrong... Alameda, California