January 30, 2004 by

Pete Bucher

8 comments

Categories: Military, Writers/Editors

pbucher.jpgLloyd Mark “Pete” Bucher was captain of the U.S.S. Pueblo when it was captured by North Korea.

On Jan. 23, 1968, the lightly armed reconnaissance ship was monitoring Communist movements and intercepting messages near the North Korean coast when it was attacked by torpedo boats. One soldier was killed during the shelling, and 82 members of the crew were taken prisoner.

During their 11 months in captivity, the prisoners were battered with wood, burned on radiators and starved. According to reports from his crew, Bucher bore the brunt of the punishment. He was beaten and tortured by his captors, then forced to sign a confession. Although a carrier task force was in the region, no help was sent to rescue the Pueblo sailors.

The Americans were released on Dec. 23, 1968. North Korea kept the 177-foot vessel and turned it into a tourist attraction. Bucher, however, faced a general court martial for surrendering the ship and all its intelligence information without firing a shot. Navy Secretary John H. Chafee turned down the court martial because Bucher had “suffered enough,” but it would be another 20 years before any of the Pueblo crew would receive their prisoner of war medals from the Pentagon because the U.S. government classified them as “detainees.”

Bucher was reared at Boys Town and attended the University of Nebraska. After retiring in 1973, he spent his remaining years painting, lecturing at colleges and publishing his memoirs.

Former Navy Cmdr. Bucher died on Jan. 28. Cause of death was not released. He was 76.

8 Responses to Pete Bucher

  1. H. Benler

    Commander Bucher made his mark of heroism on American history; as a Nez Perce orphan he has now gone to his final home and “will fight no more forever”…

  2. Allen Ries

    Pete Bucher earned and deserved the profound thanks and respect of his Service and country. What he received instead JUST SICKENS ME !! AR

  3. DENNIS BUCKMAN Classof '72

    I remember and have many photographs of your return to the home. The pride we shared, the patriotism exhibited coujld never be captured in a photograph… Thank you sir, for the pride I still feel within my heart…

  4. Jean Walker

    I am the wife of a 20 year Army Man and I have the greatest respect for military people. A respect too big to describe for Commander Bucher, he is a great American. He should have been a man our Government stood by thru’ it all. I admired him so much I bought his book but lent it to a friend and did not get it back. Is there anywhere I can buy this book again? God Bless this great man’s family.

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