Opinion

Honoring Duane Hodges on the 50th anniversary of his death

Richard Heyman – Through the Eyes of the Colonel

Through the Eyes of the Colonel

Fifty years ago, Jan. 23, 1968, is a day we in Creswell should remember well. That is the day that the North Korean Navy fired on the unarmed United States Navy ship, The Pueblo, in international waters.
The only member of the crew to be killed by this unwarranted attack was a native of Creswell, Duane Hodges. Hodges was performing his duties as ordered by an officer of the crew to destroy classified equipment and documents to keep them from falling into North Korean hands.
The Department of Defense, at the direction of the United States Government placed the ship in a dangerous situation without a plan of protection or rescue in the face of an emergency. Nevertheless, the crew was performing their duties when the attack came. All crew members were doing their utmost to resist the attack and capture. Being unarmed except for one machine gun, they destroyed much equipment and documents before capture.
Seaman Hodges was not defiant by continuing to destroy top-secret documents, which cost him his life – a life lost in the performance of his duty. This is truly above and beyond what we expect from our military members; that did not stop Duane.
The Navy posthumously recognized Duane Hodges by presentation of the Silver Star Medal for Gallantry in Action. This was presented by a Navy Rear Admiral by direction of the President of the United States.
Jan. 23, 2018 is the 50th anniversary of the capture and death of Hodges and will be observed at the Creswell Library at 10 a.m. Please attend the ceremony in memory of The Pueblo and Duane Hodges.