Thursday, April 25, 2013


33 years ago today the US undertook Operation Eagle Claw - a failed military mission to rescue 52 diplomats and embassy staff taken hostage in Iran.

The operation encountered many obstacles and was eventually aborted. About 90 Delta Force commandoes, eight helicopters and six aircraft landed in the Iranian desert on the first staging area, Desert One, but only five helicopters arrived in operational condition. One encountered hydraulic problems, another got caught in a cloud of very fine sand, and the last one showed signs of a cracked rotor blade.

During planning it was decided that the mission would be aborted if fewer than six helicopters remained, despite only four being absolutely necessary. The commanders asked President Carter for permission to abort. In a move that is still discussed in military circles, Carter granted the request.

As the US force prepared to leave, one of the helicopters crashed into a transport aircraft which contained both servicemen and jet fuel. The resulting fire destroyed both aircraft and killed eight servicemen.

A US airman's burned body amidst the wreakage of one of the destroyed aircraft at Desert One.

The hostage crisis lasted for another year after "divine intervention", as some Iranians say, stopped Eagle Claw.

Al Jazeera Alireza Ronaghi reports from Tehran:

Hostages being paraded in front of the cameras at the US Embassy in Tehran.

Operation Eagle Claw was one of Delta Force's first missions. Out of lessons learned from this failure, the mighty US Special Operations Command rose phoenix-like from the ashes, to carry out the remarkable military achievements of the subsequent three decades.

The eight who perished at Desert One did not die in vain. Honor them.



  1. Wasn't that the clusterfuck that was caused by every branch of service having to be in on the game?

    And wasn't that the real reason it failed?

  2. Its more complex than that - we needed Army, Air Force, Navy & Marine assets to accomplish this complex task. Part of the problem was they never performed a complete rehearsal involving all elements of the mission. It wasn't until they hit that sahel (sandstorm) that the limitations of USMC helos became evident.

  3. I should add that I mean no disrespect to those who participates, only to the chain of command and the planners.

  4. I'm 58 and remember it well. I never served, for which I'm embarrassed, but it was during a time when we had a weak president, weak intelligence apparatus, low self confidence and major cuts going on in our national defense. Those guys never had a chance. God bless them.

    Jimmy Carter had as much business being president as I do. The press talks about how "paralyzed" Carter was. He was "self paralyzed". If you want to be president or any leader for that matter you better bring a pair with you and use them when needed.

    Tim Whalen

  5. The op was conceived to 'in' reagan and out jimmy's second term.
    Those crews of over 53 seahawks packed average 7 persons, some only a single pilot and central staff for the capital. Equipping the enemy (Iran) delivering weapons to them in exchange, secured the future enemy, and the strength. and it was a czar nuke from the collection scored in '74 (313 pcs.), that later op had to funnel into 9/11/01. those 'perished' ones wound up in central europe working double spots and live on today. When they busted military pilots turned civil carrier pilots into extinction, the personell was recruited and was already rogue and disgruntled. Sustainable war. Those perished marines are awol and will be prosecuted. Incidentally their names came up on squadron hoodies (i-294) screMING EAGLES/ DEATH MACHINES IN 1984. SEE FOR YOURSELF, visit Guam.

  6. Although the retrieval of demolition SADMs stored on Kwajalein (diminish Wake) Island missed the interecepting party out of LAX, the Air Manila crash report is divided in presentation with a 1969 Beechcraft destruction report. Even King Henry (8th Kiss.) clear back in 1975 saidamong friends that he 'did not care what happens to his demented offspring" (sic.)

  7. HEY, did you KNOW that JOSHUA ABRAHAM STRAUSS murdered Israeli Athletes in Munich, and then, that thecurrent actor Grishom from CIS who took the SEAKNIGHT INTO UKRAINE and helped to steal nuclear weapons grade "CASKS", but that Strauss' son fired at the plumbing in TSCHERNOBYL, leading to the meltdown years later.

  8. THE hatchet used there in munich now joins the public record along wiht the knives that the baddies (about to farted at from underneath) spent all of decades 'hiding' in their 'official' rotational marauding 'tours of duty'. Too bad that those dead Luxor Tourists can't complain in person to the Pan Am 103 bombers, who happened to be those killing passengers after the plutonium heists at NYU, but they still look the same.

  9. THen there is the one about the BLACK SEPTEMBER RELIEF ORGANISATION that existed for under 24 hours, evacuating targets of the government band in Guam in 73 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7.But their reuniting in FALL in 1989 really put on a grand spectacle in Manhattan, but their bored today, so please FART AT WILL!!!!!.

  10. FUNNY ow the list of Radioative elements on is somehow indicative of passenger deaths, by numbers, related to Guam militant rotarian gambling outfits.

  11. I served in the us army and was deployed on op eagle claw...I was part of old ironsides ft knox ky,can anyone tell me what part ft knox played..where were we at? to this day I have no idea where I was.

  12. To continue I was with the 4th-54th inf out of ky,my name Anthony bell,served 1978 to 1983...need to know where my unit was physically located during eagle claw...can anyone help,curious to know where we were during this operation,we were not told where our physical location was.If anyone can help please contact me at,thanks in advance.