Stories of American Heroes - Brought to you from the "Home of Heroes" - Pueblo, Colorado
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Awards of the Silver Star
On January 23, 1968, the U.S.S. PUEBLO (AGER-2), an American intelligence-gathering ship, was attacked in International Waters by North Korean naval vessels and MiG jets. It was the first U.S. Navy ship thus boarded and seized on the high seas in more than 150 years. During the attack, one American was killed and several were wounded. The eighty-two surviving crew members were captured along with their ship, and were taken taken into port at Wonsan, North Korea. Subsequently, the crew was moved twice to POW camps, with some of the crew later reporting that they had been starved and regularly tortured while in North Korean custody.
Exactly 11 months after the Pueblo was captured, on December 23, 1968, the crew was taken by buses to the DMZ border with South Korea and ordered to walk south across the "Bridge of No Return". Commander Pete Bucher, Captain of the Pueblo, led the long line of crewmen, followed at the end by the Executive Officer, Lieutenant Ed Murphy, the last man across the bridge. The U.S.S. Pueblo remains a commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy, despite the fact that it continues to be held by the North Koreans in violation of International Law.
For their actions during the assault on the
Pueblo, as well as for their gallant devotion in the subsequent 11 months
of captivity, one member of the crew was awarded the Navy Cross and two members
of the crew were awarded the Silver Star. SIX crewmen received Bronze Stars for
Valor and ALL members of the crew received the Navy Commendation Medal for Valor
and Prisoner of War Medal. TEN men who were wounded in the attack were awarded
Purple Hearts, as well as were those members of the crew wounded during their
Award Status Name Branch Navy Cross POW Hammond, Robert J. USMC Silver Star KIA Hodges, Duane USN POW Schumacher, Frederic Carl USN
HAMMOND, ROBERT J. (POW)
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Robert J. Hammond, Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism as a crewmember of the U.S.S. PUEBLO (AGER-2) during their period of captivity in North Korea from 24 January to 23 December 1968. Following his capture, Sergeant Hammond, through his unyielding resistance and fierce loyalty to his shipmates and his country, became a symbol of resistance, courage, and dedication to the United States. This infuriated the North Koreans, who singled him out for more frequent and far more severe brutalities than were administered to the other prisoners. When the North Koreans learned that the U.S.S. PUEBLO crew had duped them in their international propaganda efforts, they intensified their efforts to break the will and spirit of the crew through the administration of indiscriminate beatings. Realizing that many of his shipmates were in danger of being permanently injured or killed, Sergeant Hammond willingly attempted to sacrifice his own life in order that his shipmates might be spared further torture. The following day the North Koreans ceased their beatings and tortures. Sergeant Hammond's devotion to duty and heroic actions against seemingly impossible odds reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Authority: Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals
Home Town: Ossipee, New Hampshire
*HODGES, DUANE (KIA)
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Silver Star Medal (Posthumously) to Duane Hodges, Fireman, U.S. Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action on 23 January 1968 which serving on board U.S.S. PUEBLO (AGER-2) during the unwarranted attack upon and illegal seizure of that vessel in international waters in the Sea of Japan by North Korean naval and air force consisting of two patrol boats, four torpedo boats, and two aircraft. When PUEBLO came under fire from these North Korean units, Petty Officer Hodges rendered invaluable assistance in the face of the intense hostile fire while participating in the unfamiliar task of destroying classified materials. Mortally wounded while carrying out this assignment, Petty Officer Hodges, by his courage, initiative, and inspiring dedication, he reflected credit upon himself and upheld and enhanced the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Born: September 5, 1946 at Creswell, Oregon
Home Town: Creswell, Oregon
SCHUMACHER, FREDERIC CARL (POW)
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to Frederic Carl Schumacher, Lieutenant [then Lieutenant Junior Grade], U.S. Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action on 23 January 1968 which serving on board U.S.S. PUEBLO (AGER-2) during the unwarranted attack upon and illegal seizure of that vessel in international waters in the Sea of Japan by North Korean naval and air force consisting of two patrol boats, four torpedo boats, and two aircraft. When the U.S.S. PUEBLO came under heavy fire from these North Korean units, Lieutenant Schumacher, as Operations Officer, repeatedly exposed himself to the intense fire while organizing and providing the necessary supervision to ensure the destruction of all classified materials under his purview. Through his inspiring leadership, courage, and dedication in the face of hostile fire, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Home Town: St. Louis, Missouri
Learn more at the U.S.S. Pueblo's Official Website
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