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Rep. Tipton wants President Trump to seek the return of USS Pueblo

Posted at 11:18 AM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 13:27:26-05
USS Pueblo at dock
(AP Photo/Eric Talmadge)

COLORADO – Congressman Scott Tipton (3rd District – Colorado) is asking President Trump to bring up the possible return of the USS Pueblo to the US during a summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un later this month.

“The Pueblo is the U.S. Navy’s only commissioned vessel that remains in captivity. I appreciate any dedicated efforts by your Administration to ensuring that the Pueblo is returned home with the dignity and respect it deserves,” Tipton wrote in a letter to the president.

Read the full letter here

51 years ago, the naval intelligence vessel was captured by North Korean forces as the crew was in international waters.  The ship was taken to the Port of Wonsan while the crew was taken to a POW camp where they were starved and tortured for almost a year.

Crew members say the ship was vastly outnumbered outside of North Korean waters by two submarine chasers, four torpedo boats, and two MiG-21 fighter jets.

Once surrounded, North Korean forces attempted to board the Pueblo, but the crew maneuvered to prevent this until they were attacked. One of the submarine chasers opened fire on the Pueblo with their 57mm cannon, killing Petty Officer Duane Hodges, and another enemy ship opened fire with machine guns.

After months of negotiations between the United States and North Korea, the crew was released in December of 1968. The ship itself remains in North Korea to this day.

USS Pueblo Crew
In this January 23, 1968 photo from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency, distributed by Korea News Service, (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP Images)