I know a bit about returning POW’s.

As regular readers of this blog know, I was the representative of Commander L.M Bucher (Commanding Officer of the USS Pueblo [AGER 2] and his family after the Pueblo was captured by the North Koreans in 1968.

(Bucher’s first letter to his wife asked her to find me and get my assistance. I had been immediately at her side, but the letter gave me his imprimatur.)

I subsequently spent so much time telling everything that I know about that incident for the many book authors, that o save me answering the same questions repeatedly, I wrote my information on my website for free.

I won’t reprise that incident, except to briefly note that when the crew flew from Hawaii to San Diego after just a few hours overstay in Honolulu, and landed at Miramar Naval Air Station, Governor Ronald Reagan was there to greet them.

The only three non-family allowed on the Tarmac were E. Miles Harvey, Bucher’s superb attorney, my wife, Jean, and myself.

But the story I want to relay is the bus ride from Miramar, to the Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego, almost 20 miles away. The entire route was lined with American flag-waving crowds, often four or five deep!

Just one other note — one I may expand upon in the future — the Navy was not happy that Jean and I wanted to throw a BIG party for the crew, so the Navy said we could only have 24 hours notice, thinking we could not put a big party together on such short notice.

The Navy didn’t count on San Diego — we arranged a hotel ballroom, caterers, a dance band, buses…even JOHN WAYNE. and Pat Boone, and all to be available on 24 hour notice.

Yes, everyone made it! More in due course, because I have written my memoirs, and that is a chapter.

I note this incident because this nation is more than willing to recognize its heroes returning from captivity — but NOT its deserters. Whatever Bergdahl did in addition to desertion in the face of the enemy, he is at LEAST a deserter.

The president KNEW this much, so his appearance with the father and mother at the White House is an abomination!

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5 Responses

  1. Allen:

    I have probably not shared this with you before, but the current bleating about Bergdahl’s case brought it back. I believe that Pete was denied a General Court Martial because it would have given him subpoena power to question individuals in the chain of command who IMO bore much of the responsibility for the US’s NOT coming to PUEBLO’s assistance. That GCM was prevented by the line, “They have suffered enough already.”

    You’re hearing it again for Bergdahl. Deserters have not suffered at all compared to what they have done to their oaths, their country, their branch of service and their fellow comrades in arms.

    • Pete wanted a Courts Martial, but Miles Harvey and I talked him out of demanding one — only because he was physically and emotionally drained from the Court of Inquiry.

      In retrospect, we were wrong. But my opinion about SecNav giving him a pass is more political — the nation was so supportive of Pete that the Navy would have had an Appropriation of $1,51 in the next cycle had the Navy gone ahead with a Court Martial on their own.

      The Navy avoided a PR disaster!

      Aloha

      Allen

  2. Alan,

    I think the case of the Pueblo and Bergdahl are totally separate incidents and it is hard to compare the two. I have said it before and I know in my heart that your dedication to the family and to Captain Bucher and his men are nothing short of heroic.

    Concerning Bergdahl, I am not as sure that the President and his staff knew that the reaction to Bergdahl’s release would be so negative. Personally, I have to side with the President on this one. Bergdahl is a knucklehead, but he is our knucklehead and we still have an obligation to get him back.

    Maybe the trade terms were not fair, five hard core dude for one knucklehead. But at a minimum, those five guys will provide a connection to others in the terrorist network just by being welcomed back. There is no doubt that the President broke the law when he released those five without notifying Congress. Again, nothing will come from this except a lot of political bellyaching.

    Your point is spot on when you say that America warmly welcomes heroes. Bergdahl is no hero.

    • Only the reaction of the public was the point.

      Yes, we should have returned Bergdahl but the price we paid was too high and the real problem was the way the White House tried to spin it. Fortunately that is blowing up in their face. The bad news is the VA problem gets pushed aside because the media can’t walk and chew gum.

      Aloha

      Allen

      Sent from my iPad

      >

      • Allen,

        I agree totally. But my point is always the same. You are a real Hero and a good friend to have when things go bad.

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