Top of page

Exhibition Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustration

Arnold Mesches. [Naval court of inquiry about the capture of the USS Pueblo], 1969. Graphite and porous point pen on white paper. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (088.00.00)

Pueblo Affair Naval Court of Inquiry

An American surveillance ship, the USS Pueblo, was captured by North Korea in the Sea of Japan on January 23, 1968. Believing that he lacked the necessary defensive equipment, Capt. Lloyd M. Bucher surrendered the ship after one crew member was killed and ten were wounded. Following eleven months of imprisonment in North Korea, the captain and crew were released and faced Vice Admiral Harold G. Bowen Jr., president of a naval court of inquiry, who, along with four other admirals, heard testimony from 104 witnesses during two months of hearings. While Bowen recommended a general court martial trial for Bucher for failing to destroy sensitive documents and scuttle his ship, Navy Secretary John H. Chafee overruled him, arguing that the men had endured enough punishment. The ship remains on display in North Korea.