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Study War No More
Peace Poems and Service Songs by H. Paul Shuch

Ballad of the Pueblo
Lyrics Copyright © 25 December 1968 by Sgt. H. Paul Shuch, USAF
sung to the tune of Greenland Fisheries (traditional)

Sung by Dr. SETI on the interactive CD Tune In The Universe!

click to play song Click on the speaker icon to hear Dr. SETI sing this song!

U.S. Navy photo
USS Pueblo AGER-2 (official U.S. Navy photo)

Author's Note: The USS Pueblo was a US Navy vessel that was boarded and captured by North Korean forces on 23 January 1968. This song tells the official version of that international incident, a story which I helped to propagate throughout 1968 and thereafter. Forty years later, I wrote a sequel to this song, Selling Out the Pueblo, which I now invite you to read as well. As I am offering no documentary evidence to back up either version of the Pueblo story, you are welcome to believe what you wish.

'Twas in nineteen hundred and sixty eight
On January twenty-three
That a small communications ship off North Korea's shores
Was hijacked on the open seas, dear lads,
Upon the open seas.

"Prepare to be boarded," Captain Bucher told his crew,
"But raise our flag a little higher."
One man knelt down on his knees to burn his crypto keys
And that's when the hostiles opened fire, dear lads,
That's why they opened fire.

Their radio silence was broken then
As the ship sent an SOS to shore.
They called for air support, but the generals cried, "Abort!
"We will not go to war this day,
"We will not go to war."

Soon three were wounded, and one lay dead:
Fireman Duane Hodges by name.
They could neither fight nor run. Though they tried to man their gun,
They were towed to Wonson just the same, poor lads,
Imprisoned just the same.

It's hard to hold your soul when you're down in the hole
And your brothers seem a million miles away.
Though captivity was long, every one of them was strong,
And their country they would not give away, brave lads,
Their flag they would not betray.

Under great duress each man did confess
To some trumped up, imaginary crime.
When the cameras did roll, each man sent the folks at home
A clearly recognized sign of defiance,
An unmistakable sign.

Eleven months, to the day, would pass
Before the world would finally learn
Of their courage and their loss. I was there to watch them cross
The Bridge of No Return, dear lads,
The Bridge of No Return.

On more Southern shores there are other wars
Bringing death and destruction from the sky.
But I was there the entire eleven months
And I'll remember the Pueblo 'til I die, I swear,
Until the day I die.

Korean DMZ
At the Korean Demilitarized Zone, awaiting the release of the Pueblo crew

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this page last updated 31 July 2014
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