Book Bucher: My Story


Corporal - USMC
MI.Net Member
Feb 22, 2006
For those of you that want to pursue more about the USS Pueblo incident, I highly recommend this book, Bucher: My Story, by Commander Lloyd M. Bucher with Mark Rascovich, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1970.
I've had this book for many years and I reread it after the recent newspaper article on the 40th anniversary of this event. Since this book was written soon after the return of the crew from North Korea, by the central character, after his reasignment in the Navy, I feel it is noteworthy for it's honesty and factual presentation, something the American government and our Navy did not furnish, then or now.
One of the last things said to Commander Bucher, departing advice to him by Rear Admiral Frank L. Johnson on January 9, 1968 was, "Remember you are not out there to start a war."
Later, a North Korean General's statement to Pueblo officers shortly after their capture was: "You are criminals who will be tried in our People's Court and shot."
Between these two extremes is where Commander Bucher found his dilemma, and his circumstances of being abandoned by one side and threatened with death by the other, determined his destination for the next 11 months. I admire his personal courage and resolve and I believe this book reflects honorably on him and his crew, not on his superiors in either our government or Department of the Navy.
The following are the words of Commander Bucher from chapter one in this book:
"As I look back now on the great crisis of my life, the illegal seizure on the high seas of my ship, USS Pueblo, by North Korean warships on January 23, 1968, I cannot help wondering exactly when and where events took the first capricious turn toward disaster. I am not a man who has avoided adventure and excitement; to the contrary, I have sought them out, but always within the framework of careful planning and discipline. Yet, I ask myself why it happened that I, Lloyd Mark Bucher, a man of humble origin who had made himself a dedicated but otherwise anonymous naval officer, was singled out by fate to play a notorious key role in an incident that drastically affected the lives of hundreds of other people and shook to its foundations the defense policy of my country. A high government official outranking the five admirals of the Court of Inquiry had reversed their harsh recommendations for courts-martial and letters of censure, summing up his action with a well-meaning but calculated largess: "They have suffered enough !" The matter was therewith supposed to be officially closed. but with the exception of a few with reasons to fear further disclosures, or who did not want their preconceived notions about old naval traditions disturbed by matching them against brutal realities of the world conflict today, and to all thoughtful people in or outside the U.S. Navy, the matter remained far from closed. There were too many unanswered questions to ease the minds of either uncompromising traditionalists or objective skeptics. The officers and crew of my ship remain uncertain as to whether they are the heroes proclaimed by some, or feckless parties to a humiliating surrender, as accused by others. For me, the captain of their ship, the case of the Pueblo will never be entirely closed and I must forever carry part of the burdens of doubt weighing each man who was with me during the climatic confrontation and the subsequent sufferings in North Korean prisons. And I carry my own too, of the kind which are difficult to share because of the lonely quality of the responsibilities of command."
Commander Bucher retired from the Navy in 1973.
Semper Fi
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Yes thanks for that mate (Y)

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