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The PUEBLO crew were held in two different compounds, which they christened the Barn and the Farm, during their imprisonment in North Korea. The first in Pyongyang, the other in the nearby countryside. The U. S. reacted strongly to PUBELO's capture by sending a naval task force led by the USS Enterprise CVN-65 to the Sea of Japan and demanded that the North Koreans release the PUEBLO and her crew. Of course the North Koreans had no intention of doing this as they had deliberately attacked and taken PUEBLO off the high seas for reasons hypothesized by many, but known only to the North Koreans. What was actually a bluff by the U. S. caused great anxiety in North Korea. To cast doubt upon U. S. statements that PUEBLO had not intruded and give credence to their claims that PUEBLO had intruded into their territorial waters, the North Korean's responsible for PUEBLO crew began a reign of terror to obtain confessions from the crew.
The Captain was repeatedly beaten, and threatened with execution. He repeated over and over "the PUEBLO was in international waters." He was driven at midnight one night to another building in Pyongyang where he was shown a human being hanging on a wall. The man had an eye dangling out of it's socket, was bloodied and beaten savagely but, he was still alive. Bucher was told "this is what we do to spies!" He repeated again "our ship was in international waters, I will not sign your god damned confession." Finally, he was told that his crew would be executed one by one beginning with the youngest man if he did not confess. That crewman was brought in and a gun was placed to his head. The Captain finally relented for the sake of his crew.
The crew were interrogated and beaten severly during their stay in Compound 1. After the U.S. military pressure in the Sea of Japan was lessened, the PUEBLO crew were moved in March to Compound 2, the "Farm," where they would remain until their release.
The North Koreans forced the men to write letters home to family, friends and members of congress telling of the "humane treatment" they were receiving and asking that the U. S. apologize for the spying and intrusions into their territorial waters. The PUEBLO crew were coerced through beatings into giving pre-rehearsed presentations at two press conferences. The North Koreans also took photographs and movies of crew members in pre-staged activities. The men did their best to discredit this propaganda by including innuendos and obviously false information in their letters, using slang, corny and archaic language during press conferences and displaying obscene gestures (the bird) in photographs and movies. Hawaiian Goodluck...!
Eventually by late November the North Koreans learned, via TIME magazine, they had been had! The PUEBLO crew suffered severly because of that disclosure. Very luckily for the crew, an agreement was reached for a release soon after Hell Week began.
335 Days in the "People's Paradise"
Bucher signs 1st confession.
(Note Bucher's left hand)
(North Korea's first propaganda photo)
First Confession by Cdr Bucher
(North Korean propaganda photo)
Cdr Lloyd "Pete" Bucher button. available at the Ship's Store
North Korean staged re-enactment
(North Korean propaganda photo)