Remembering the Sacrifices of Operation Eagle Claw
I remember waking up on the morning of 25 April, 1980 to hear President Carter announced to a stunned world that the United States had undertaken an ambitious raid into Iran to liberate 52 American hostages held illegally at our Embassy compound in Tehran. The assault force of what was known as “Operation Eagle Claw” can be seen here, loading C141s.
Unfortunately, the plan was complicated and the task force was made was made up of forces which hadn’t trained together long. The weather was problematic as well and as the task force began to organize a withdrawal from Iranian territory after one-too-many helicopter failures, disaster struck.
We lost eight American servicemen in a horrible aircraft ground collision during refueling operations where a hovering SH53 helicopter flew into a C130 full of fuel bladders.
However, their deaths were not in vain. The hostages were eventually repatriated and the accident was the watershed event that created, over the next several decades, the world’s preeminent Special Operations capability; USSOCOM and its components. Over forty years later, we wouldn’t be where are without the determination of that fledgling task force.
Join me in remembering those who had the guts to try; legends to a man.
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