USS Pueblo vets want to make a deal with North Korea
SARASOTA - USS Pueblo veterans are willing to make a deal for their spy ship, and a Sarasota man is leading the charge.
Former USS Pueblo POW Rick Rogala hopes a House resolution from U.S. Rep. Greg Steube of Sarasota will bring the old spy ship back to America from North Korea
When the U.S. announced last month it had seized North Korea's second largest cargo ship, Rogala, of Sarasota, had an idea to trade that ship for the USS Pueblo.
Rogala along with 81 other Pueblo shipmates were illegally captured by North Korea on Jan. 23, 1968, spent 11 months imprisoned by the communist regime. Now, the 60 survivors hope a symbolic Congressional resolution introduced by Congressman Greg Steube, R–Sarasota, may open the possibility for the return of their ship.
The outgunned, 345–ton, 177–foot Navy spy ship was running in international waters off the North Korean coast when it came under attack by gunboats and warplanes in 1968. One crew member was killed and 10 others wounded in the melee.
Prior to President Trump's Memorial Day summit in Japan, National Security Adviser John Bolton fired up the old crew members by telling reporters "Maybe now would be an appropriate time to talk about return of the Pueblo." But no high–level statements have been issued since.
Given the symbolic value of the Pueblo to the Kim dynasty, it's almost a tossup to imagine what the North Koreans would part with first, the ship or its nuclear arsenal.