In ‘Hot Pursuit’ of the Pueblo
Captain Stephen P. O’Brien, U.S. Navy (Retired)
In regards to “The Pueblo Scapegoat” (October, pp. 50–57), in 1968 most communist countries claimed a 12-mile limit for territorial waters. Since that would close off bodies of water that the United States wished to enter, we refused to recognize the claims. Instead we conducted “freedom of navigation” exercises in such waters.
The shoreline where the USS Pueblo (AGER-2) incident took place consists of extremely low, flat sandy beaches and tidelands. Depending on the height of the tide, the internationally recognized boundary can differ from the shoreline shown on radar by significant distances. In 1968 GPS did not exist, satellite navigation was poor, and in that area long-range navigation could not fix a position with ten miles.