Thursday, December 20, 2007


In early 1968 I was on an American destroyer, USS Hull, en route to Vietnam from the Philippine Islands when we got reports that an American spy ship, USS Pueblo, was under attack by the North Korean Navy and at risk of being boarded.

Our Captain didn't wait for orders. We were a long ways from North Korea, but he changed course, headed North, prepared to go to war with North Korea. Pretty much to a man that was a decision supported by the crew.

In 1968 the US Navy had a lot of people in it who were basically draft evaders, not big fans of the Vietnam War. But the general thinking was that it was just the luck of the draw that put us on USS Hull instead of USS Pueblo. If I'd have been on Pueblo getting ready to repel boarders I'd have been looking at the horizon watching for the cavalry to come charging to my rescue.

But I wasn't on the Pueblo. I was on the Hull. A gunship destroyer. I was the cavalry. It just seemed like my job to go to their rescue if I could.

But it didn't take long for us to get an order to return to our previous course and steam to the DMZ Naval gunline in Vietnam. Forget about those sailors on the Pueblo.

The cavalry never came charging over the hill for those sailors. It's an episode in our history that I think all Americans should feel shame about.

I think that Eric Volz, sitting in a Nicaraguan prison waiting for the US government to send the cavalry to rescue him must feel something like I think those sailors felt.


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