“Signs” combines two historical incidents to form the background for its narrative. On January 23, 1968, North Korean naval and air forces attacked the U.S. Navy electronic intelligence gathering ship U.S.S. Pueblo in international waters off the eastern coast of North Korea. One sailor was killed while the remaining 82 officers and men were imprisoned for the next 11 months. North Korea struck again on April 15, 1969 when it shot down an unarmed U.S. Navy EC-121M intelligence gathering aircraft (call sign Deep Sea 129), the military version of the civilian Super Constellation with its distinctive triple tail, in international airspace, killing all 31 aircrew on board. The novel “Signs” starts with the attack on the EC-121M, supposes that some crew survive, and then draws on the experiences of the crew of the Pueblo during their captivity as the main narrative for the story of these EC-121M survivors. Yet, “Signs” is not another memoir or recounting of the Pueblo incident. It serves its own purpose, which is why it is in novel form.

                                                                                 The Story
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The story of this novel is set in five chapters. The initial chapter (“Blue Ocean”) describes the shoot-down of the EC-121M (its call sign changed to “Blue Ocean 143”). (This chapter is not factual since in reality the North Koreans simply fired, without warning from miles away, a guided missile that destroyed its target in mid-air). On a routine electronic surveillance patrol more than 80 miles off the eastern coast of North Korea, Blue Ocean is nearing the end of its mission when the Navy aircraft is approached by two MIG-21s. The North Koreans order Blue Ocean to follow them. The pilot responds by ignoring the command, aborting his mission, and heading back to Japan. The MIGs leave but quickly return and strafe the unarmed American aircraft with 30 mm canon. Blue Ocean is severely damaged, suffering many casualties among the 31 men onboard, and heads for a watery fate in the Sea of Japan 15,000 feet below. With only his engines to control the aircraft, the pilot
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