23 December 1968
the Bridge of No Return
Panmunjom DMZ Korea
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North Korean propaganda pamphlet about the release and US apology. (It does not show the postscript added by Gen. Woodward.) These were attached to ballons and dropped over the US Army positions along the DMZ. (Thanks to Wade Lawley former USA Sgt up on the DMZ for sending it.)
All photos are official US Navy, US Army,
or National Archive photos
All link to larger versions
Gen. Woodward signs the release agreement
On December 23rd, 11 months to the day of their capture, the crew of the PUEBLO walked, one every 15 seconds, across the Bridge of No Return at Panmumjon. Each man was identified by Cdr. Bucher and greeted by a US Army Colonel and a US Navy Lt. Commander.
Lt. Edward Murphy, PUEBLO's executive officer, was the last to cross into freedom. Finally, Cdr. Bucher was required to identify the body of Seaman Duane Hodges.
The crew then boarded Army buses and were driven to the UN Advance Camp on the South Korean side of the DMZ. There they were first allowed to shower and shave and were given new US Army jackets. Next a hot meal, approved by the medical doctors, was provided in the camp mess hall. They were each greeted by General Charles H. Bonesteel III, U.S. Army, Commander-in-Chief, United Nations Command, and Rear Admiral Edwin M. Rosenberg, USN, Commander Task Force 76. When Cdr. Bucher entered the mess hall, his men stood and cheered. Here Cdr Bucher made his first comments at a Press Conference about the attack and seizure of PUEBLO by the North Koreans. He emphasized that at no time did PUEBLO intrude into North Korean waters. After the meal the crew were taken by helicopter to the 121st Evacuation Hospital at Ascom South Korea.
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Huey rides to the 121st Evac hospital
With new US Army jackets but still wearing the North Korean suit it was time for American food!