Donald Peppard was born in Waverly, New York, in 1937 and immediately enlisted in the Navy upon graduating high school in 1955. He attended basic training in Bainbridge, Maryland, and became the administrator for a team of cryptologic technicians. He recalls his team being ordered abroad the USS Pueblo in 1967 as part of the security team for a particular mission along the North Korean coast after the Korean War. He details the equipment inside the USS Pueblo and shares that the ship was able to detect sonar and radar signals. He explains that the mission he was on centered on detecting what type of equipment the North Koreans possessed and describes being attacked by the North Koreans. He recounts the crew being taken as prisoners and recalls his time spent in North Korea where he and others endured beatings prior to being released. He is proud of his service and comments on how he cherishes his freedom.
Inside the USS Pueblo
Donald Peppard details the equipment inside the USS Pueblo. He shares that the ship was able to detect sonar and radar signals and the mission he was on centered on detecting what type of equipment the North Koreans possessed. He comments further on the mission itself, the plan to sail down the coast of North Korea, and encounters with North Korean vessels prior to being attacked.
Donald Peppard describes the exact moment the North Koreans ordered their vessel, the USS Pueblo, to follow them into port. He recalls being fired upon by the North Koreans. He shares that they could not fire back due to their two .50 caliber machine guns being exposed and frozen from the bitterly cold weather. He confirms that all eighty-three crew members, including himself, were taken as prisoners.
Donald Peppard recalls North Koreans boarding the USS Pueblo, navigating it to shore, and docking at a pier in Wonsan. He details how he and fellow crew members were taken as prisoners, tied, blind folded, and separated from each other. He shares that half of the crew was loaded onto a train while the other half, including himself, was taken by bus to a building where he experienced multiple beatings by a crowd of people. He describes being reunited with fellow crew members on the train previously specified and comments on the ride to Pyongyang.
Surviving North Korea
Donald Peppard describes how he and his fellow crew members spent their days as prisoners in North Korea. He recalls having to entertain themselves for eleven months through card games, exercise, and reading and writing. He shares that he and others endured what they referred to as "Hell Week" where they were beaten for forty-eight hours straight before they were released.