This paper examines the failed hostage rescue mission conducted by the. Issue organization, command and control issue 3 inteliigence. Plans for a second rescue operation continued under the code name project honey badger, but ended with the election of president ronald reagan. People and equipment were called on to perform at the upper limits of human capacity and equipment capability. United states marine corps command and staff college. Plan layout of desert one, one of the operation bases of eagle claw, the iranian hostage rescue attempt on 25 april 1980. The failed hostage rescue attempt at desert one led to many changes in how joint military operations are conducted. Follow the steps below carefully to avoid any jams or problems with the magazine. Operation eagle claw was a catalyst for a revolution in military affairs that is being experience today in america. President jimmy carter to attempt to end the iran hostage crisis by rescuing 52 embassy staff held captive at the embassy of the united states, tehran on 24 april 1980.
Operation eagle claw wikimili, the best wikipedia reader. The dboys would be inserted into iran on the first night of the operation by helicopter, and they would hide overnight. Operation eagle claw, known as operation tabas persian. Together with the bombing of the marine corps barracks in beirut that same month, the experience of operation urgent fury added impetus to efforts to reform the joint system which were already under way. Marine corps in the indian ocean during the 19791981 iranian hostage crisis and the socalled tanker war between the united states and the islamic republic of iran. One rh53 helicopters and a special operationscapable c aircraft were also destroyed in the explosion and ensuing fires that took the lives of the special operators. Iran hostage rescue mission ends in disaster on april 24, 1980, an illfated military operation to rescue the 52 american hostages held in tehran ends with eight u. It was used to designate an area of carrierbased naval operations by the u. Created from drawings in americans at war, daniel p. Operation eagle claw 1980 shadowspear special operations. The raid, operation eagle claw, was risky to say the least. Operation eagle claw called for using trucks prepositioned in tehran by the cia to deliver delta force operators to the embassy. The raid should have never taken place due to the complexity of the operation, the lack of proper training for infiltration and exfiltration, the time to target, and the misapplication of unconventional warriors.
A study of operation eagle claw reveals three recurring themes regarding the failure of the operation, operations security opsec, command and control, and equipment. Operation eagle claw, order by president carter, happened from april 24 to 25, 1980. In the early hours of april 25, 1980, president jimmy carter made a sober announcement to. The lessons of eagle claw led to the establishment of u. Us forces would have to fly into the deserts of iran on cs. Moreover, this mole was believed to be directly passing classified information on the military operation to rescue the hostages, operation eagle claw, planned for april 24, 1980. Delta force commandos were to land at an initial staging area in khorasan province, code named desert one. But to khomeini and his people, it was a plan foiled by divine intervention. Following the april 1980 failure of operation eagle claw, the attempted u. Operation eagle claw was a disaster that ended with american deaths, ruined military planes, and the hostages no closer to freedom.
This is what special ops learned 40 years ago from operation eagle. Weather and the wreckage at desertone air university. Topsecret planning for what would be one of the most complicated and ambitious raids in american history, the iranian hostage rescue attempt of 1980, lasted over five months but it fell short of fully considering an incorrigible foe. J11\ll\1 v1 yyll1 iranians seized the american embassy and took fiftythree u. Operation eagle claw rescue mission 1980 britannica. Operation eagle claw was the mission that marked the beginning of a change in americas special operations. The failure of the operation led to the creation of the united states special operations command ussocom and the u. Remembering the lost troops of operation eagle claw, the. The iranian hostage crisis and its effect on american politics. The goldwaternichols act, joint doctrine and sof are three major examples of.
Following months of negotiations after the seizure of the us embassy in tehran on 4 november 1979, president jimmy carter ordered the newly formed delta force to conduct a raid into iran to free the hostages. Operation eagle claw, the failed attempt to rescue 53 hostages from the american embassy in tehran, cost the lives of eight u. In april 1980, president jimmy carter sent the armys delta force to bring back fiftythree american citizens held hostage in iran. Read more about the rescue attempt the special operations warrior foundation has two special events in honor of operation eagle claw. The images were stark and startling after the debacle at desert one in iran on april 24, 1980, 37 years ago today. An incinerated c aircraft and six rh53 helicopters left with bodies burned. The iranian rescue mission download ebook pdf, epub. A very special thanks to the afsoc public affairs office for providing a history of afsoc. A case study csc 2002 subject area general executive summary title. Opsec operational security was an overriding requirement for a successful. Anniversary of the air force special operations command and the contributions and sacrifices the members of afsoc and its units have made in service to our nation. Jon snow was the first western journalist to report from the scene of a crash that killed eight people during a us mission to try to rescue hostages held in. Please note the eagle claw magazine is loaded from the front, with the skirt inserted first. The mission was highly controversial and risky from the start with all the known factors that had to be addressed in.
The wreckage of the downed ec lost during operation eagle claw in 1980. On 14 february 1979, militant iranian students stormed into the united states embassy in tehran and took 63 americans hostage with an additional 3. A military raid is, by definition, a highrisk venture that operates on the outer margins of the possible, relying on skill, daring and a goodly measure of luck. The failure of communications between branches during eagle claw is the reason each services special operations commands now fall under ussocom. Following operation eagle claw in 1980, the iranian hostage rescue attempt. This paper will analyze operation eagle claw and evaluate the evolution in the conduct of joint operations. Tragically, the attempt ended in the death of eight service members, including five from hurlburt fields 1st special operations wing, who were caught in an explosion at one of the rally points before ever. Operation eagle claw, disaster at desert one brings. This paper examines the failed hostage rescue mission conducted by the u. For the remainder of his presidency, carter worked to free these citizens. Upon departure, a helicopter collided with a c resulting in the deaths of 8 servicemembers. Operation evening light was a united states military operation to rescue the 52 hostages from the u. The first realistic capability to successfully accomplish the rescue of hostages was reached at the end of march.
This is the story behind the failed hostage rescue in iran. Desert one is the true story of operation eagle claw the ill fated american hostage rescue mission that ended in tragedy in the iranian desert in april 1980. To america, operation eagle claw was a profound humiliation which exposed their flaws and vulnerabilities. As a member of the united states navy, john diacsuk piloted rh53d sea stallion helicopters. Armys 160th special operations aviation regiment soar. Afsoc special edition air force special operations command. Operation eagle claw the disaster that changed american. Operation eagle claw was tactically feasible, operationally vacant, and strategically risky. Many further changes in structure resulted after intense scrutiny, research and a congressional committee. To you all, from us all, for having the guts to try30. Iran hostage rescue mission ends in disaster history. The 1980 election on november 4, 1979, a group of iranian students stormed the u. Operation eagle claw on april 24, 1980, eight brave americans lost their lives in the desert of iran while attempting to rescue 53 americans being held hostage. The operation succeeded, but flaws in its execution revealed weaknesses in joint operations.
Goldwaternichols and the evolution of officer joint. Washington insider garry sick noted the gravitas of operation eagle claw, the code name for the u. Operation eagle claw, also codenamed operation evening light, was activated on 24 april 1980 as a combined service branch effort to free fiftytwo american and allied hostages taken against their will in one of the most glaringly illegal international acts, that of violating the sovereign soil designated as a foreign embassy. Its failure, and the humiliating public debacle that ensued, damaged u. Operation eagle claw, conducted april 24, 1980, was a complex mission to rescue 52 u. Operation eagle claw iran hostage rescue mission lecture by colonel roland d. There is no publicly available information regarding the policy of awarding medals to the men who were involved.1398 1525 480 781 742 993 1456 462 1322 1240 1000 1007 936 663 206 1673 747 198 381 841 1096 34 1587 193 625 1526 703 1487 1635 1354 646 785 1522 1550 1574 1129 1319 413 386 558 269 101 928 485 1256