Mr. Bucher (pronounced BOO-ker)
History on Bucher: Bucher was born in Pocatello, Idaho, where he was given up for adoption by his birth mother, and was orphaned at an early age (his adoptive mother dying of cancer when he was age 3). He was raised by his father, grandparents, various other family members, his father again, then drifted through a series of Catholic orphanages in Idaho until he read a magazine article about Father Flanagan's Boy's Town in Nebraska. He wrote to Father Flanagan and was surprised when he wrote back to Bucher. Bucher was accepted at Boy's Town in the Summer of 1941, and for the rest of his life considered it to be his home. Bucher flourished at Boy's Town, making honor roll the majority of his time there and playing football, basketball, track and baseball. Like most young men during World War II, he dropped out his senior year to enlist in the Navy, serving the last year of the war and for 2 years afterward (1945-1947).In January 1954, Bucher was called to active duty and served as division and education officer on the USS Mount McKinley (LCC-7). It was in mid-1955 that Bucher was admitted to submarine school at New London, Connecticut.
After graduation, Bucher served as torpedo and gunnery officer of the submarine USS Besugo, operations officer of the USS Caiman, and assistant plans officer for logistics on the staff of Commander Mine Force, Pacific Fleet.
From 1961 to 1964 he served on the submarine USS Ronquil rising from third officer to executive officer, after which he became an assistant operations officer on the staff of Commander Submarine Flotilla Seven in Yokosuka, Japan. Bucher loved submarines and his greatest desire was to command one.
While monitoring North Korea, the Pueblo came under attack by North Korean forces, even though U.S. Naval officials and the crew have affirmed the ship was in international waters at the time. North Koreans boarded the ship and took her to the port at Wonsan. For the next 11 months, Commander Bucher and his crew were held as POW's by the North Koreans, and were starved and tortured during this time. This treatment became especially harsh when the North Koreans realized that crewmen were secretly giving them the finger, which they explained as being a "Hawaiian good luck sign", in staged propaganda photos.
Eventually the US issued a written apology, signed under duress by Maj. General Woodward who stated explicitly before signing the document that he was doing so to ensure the return of Commander Bucher and his crew, and only for this reason. No combat operations have been attempted to retrieve the vessel, which remains in commission in the United States Navy's Naval Vessel Register.
Following the release, Commander Bucher was subjected to a court of inquiry by the Navy. A court martial was recommended. However the Secretary of the Navy, John H. Chafee, intervened on Bucher's behalf and no action was taken against Commander Bucher. Many believe that Bucher was treated badly by the government. Bucher followed his orders to not start any international incidents, and he felt that while a ship could be replaced, lives could not. Bucher succeeded in his task, as war did not result from the unprovoked attack on Pueblo. The US Government finally recognized the crew's sacrifice and granted Prisoner of War medals to the crew in 1989.
Shortly after the court of inquiry, Lieutenant Edward R. Murphy, Bucher's executive officer, published a book that was a scathing attack on his former skipper. Among other things, he charged that Bucher did not obey the "code of conduct" which limits the information captured military personnel can give. The young officer was brutally beaten by his captors for refusing to give information. He said he once lay for days in a pool of his own blood. Murphy pointed out in the book that the North Koreans were able to obtain over a ton of classified documents from the captured Pueblo because, according to Murphy, Bucher had forgotten to pick up the TNT that would be used for disposal in case the ship was captured. Murphy said Bucher was the worst commanding officer he ever had and compared him to the fictional "Captain Queeg" in Herman Wouk's book The Caine Mutiny. Murphy reported that throughout their captivity, Bucher would cajole, harangue and bully the crew into accepting his version of what happened. Murphy said Bucher's attempted "brainwashing" was as vile as any the North Koreans used.
Murphy further claimed Bucher had a very serious problem with alcohol that led him to be absent from duty at times and make irrational decisions. Murphy says sailors on the Pueblo reported that he was even drunk on duty and once nearly ran the ship aground. He said he had talked to other officers who previously served under this man and they claimed he was a master at "shifting blame" from himself to others. Lieutenant Murphy found working with Bucher so loathsome that at one point he says he drafted a letter resigning his Naval commission.
Commander Bucher died on January 28, 2004. He was buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California. The Poway-Bernardo Mortuary, which was featured in the A&E reality TV series Family Plots at the time, handled the funeral services. One of the episodes of the series was dedicated to the Commander's funeral services.He died on January 28, 2004.
Born in Idaho and orphaned as a child, Lloyd Marvin Bucher was raised at Boys Town, Neb. At Boys Town, he told the priests that he wanted to be in the Navy. He majored in geology at the University of Nebraska and met his future wife, Rose Rohling, on a blind date. He was commissioned in the Navy in 1953.
Commander Bucher retired in 1973.
Besides his wife, surviving are two sons, Michael, of Southern California, and Mark, of Hawaii.
Mr. Bucher spent his last years in
Poway, Calif., near San Diego, where he lived in a secluded ranch house. He grew avocados, studied art and painted watercolors.
LIMITED EDITION SIGNED & NUMBERED PRINT 229/250, L M BUCHER. PRINT SIZE 16" X 22 1/2", UNDER GLASS AND PROFESSIONALLY DOUBLE MATTED IN 22" X 28 1/4" FRAME This Item is in
Signed twice once on the left and
another on the right side. Finished with a paperback dustcover, ready to hang with
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