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The Starlifters landed at Miramar Naval Air Station near San Diego. As the crew left the planes a band played "The Lonely Bull." The crew were united with their waiting families and greeted by Navy representatives, Gov. & Mrs Reagan, Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, news reporters and citizens.
Home at last!
24 December 1968
photo provided by Harry Iredale
San Diego Union newspaper
welcomes home PUEBLO crew
(courtesy Rose Bucher)
The men boarded buses with their families and were greeted by cheering, flag waving crowds along their route to Balboa Naval Hospital. It was a very emotional home coming for the PUEBLO crew. They were being hailed as heroes.
The US Navy had paid the airfare for the family members to fly to San Diego. The San Diego Chamber of Commerce raised the funds for their accommodations at the El Cortez hotel. Quite a few restaurants offered free meals to crew members and families.
Mr. & Mrs Jesse Hodges parents
of Duane Hodges
Sen. Margaret Chase Smith
Gov. Ronald Reagan
Casket of Duane Hodges being transferred from the plane
US Naval Air Station Miramar
December 24, 1968
(color photos courtesy of Rich Arnold)
(unless noted, all photos are official US Navy photos)
Purple Heart Awards
for wounds received in the action
Miss Sharon McCartney and Mr. Edward S. Russell
The old Nebraska player calls a play!
PUEBLO Plaque presentation and party with John Wayne, Pat Boone, the "Mayor of Hollywood" Johnnie Grant and the Dean Martin Show's Golddigger dancers.
(this was a private party organized and paid for by Mr. Wayne)
News Video of