President Jimmy Carter’s Haunted Iranian Hostage Rescue Operation
In 1979, with the support of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a gang of Iranian students kidnapped 52 Americans. Jimmy Carter, who faced an impending election, sought a diplomatic resolution to the problem, however the Iranians refused to negotiate. When the decision for military action was made, all branches of military expressed interest in the rescue. Army Major General James B. Vaught was assigned command of the operation. From the start the mission ran into major issues, the first being the lack of intelligence available given President Carter has previously limited the operations of the CIA in Iran. The mission required multiple moving parts most importantly the CH-53 Chopper which was supposed to shuttle the hostages to safety and transport the troops on the mission.
The attempt was eventually abandoned due to a lack of helicopters available to rescue the captives after multiple mechanical failures with the aircrafts, Three marines and five airmen were killed when one of the CH-53s crashed with an aircraft as it departed the landing zone, making a failed mission a disaster. Seven years later, the United Special Operations Command was formed, with SOCOM overseeing Special Operations within all branches, and working to make sure mistakes which happened in Operation Eagle Claw would not be seen again.
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