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Bureau of Personnel USS Pueblo Incident,


Historical Note

USS Pueblo (AGER-2) was forcibly captured by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on January 23, 1968. Pueblo was off the coast of North Korea in international waters when it was shot at and chased by Korean ships and aircraft. The Commanding Officer stopped running when he realized he could not outrun the other ships and the aircraft overhead and would end up in a blood bath with most if not all of his crew being killed.

One crew member died during the capture and 82 others were taken as prisoners. The crew was tortured and beaten, deprived of adequate food and medical care, and forced to write confession letters to their families, state representatives, and the President of the United States, asking for the U.S. Government to admit it was guilty of spying. They were told that they would be tried as spies for committing acts of espionage inside the territorial waters of Korea. They would be given leniency only if the U.S. would admit to the acts of espionage and would promise never to do it again.

The crew spent the next 11 months in captivity while the U.S. tried to get them released through diplomatic means. The crew was finally released on December 23, 1968.

Upon returning home there was a Court of Inquiry held to determine the circumstances leading to the capture of the ship.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains records collected by the Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS) during and after the capture of USS Pueblo. These records include naval messages, correspondence and newspaper and magazine articles relating to the incident.

The collection is organized in seven series. Series I, crew captivity files are organized alphabetically by the crew member's last name. Among the items found are correspondence, letters written to family members and messages pertaining to the individual captured.

Series II, Naval Messages, are organized by date time group beginning on January 23, 1968, and ending June 6,1969.

Series III consists of correspondence and is organized chronologically. The correspondence comes from Office of Naval Personnel, Chief of Naval Operations, Secretary of the Navy, Department of the Navy's Naval Intelligence Command, Department of State, and letters from different congressmen.

Series IV are Subject Files. These files are arranged alphabetically by subject. The subjects include address lists of the crew and next-of-kin, how to mail Christmas packages, claims and entitlements, Court of Inquiry documents, intelligence documents, newspaper and magazine articles, next-of-kin notifications and pay issues.

Series V, North Korean Film Coverage. This contains a description and documents pertaining to the North Korean Film Coverage during the crew's internment. 

Series VI, North Korean Press Conference. This contains correspondence and transcripts of the press conference done by the North Koreans on August 13, 1968, for propaganda purposes.

Series VII contains photographs and correspondence relating to the photos taken by the North Koreans of the crew while they were in captivity.

Series VIII consists of one media item, a tape of an interview with Mrs. Harris that took place on March 29, 1968. Note: A digital copy of this tape is saved on a CD-ROM and placed in the Oral History Collection.

Note: This collection contains material that is restricted due to classification or privacy.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as Bureau of Personnel: USS Pueblo Incident, Archives Branch, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, DC. 


4 cubic feet


Published: Thu Nov 12 13:26:13 EST 2020