Operation Eagle Crawl

Lest We forget . . .

By P Chong                               30 April 2010

Operation Eagle Claw (or Operation Evening Light) was a United States military operation that attempted to rescue 52 Americans from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran on 24 April 1980. The attempt was aborted when three helicopters that were part of the operation were damaged by a sandstorm or forced to return to the carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68). As the U.S. force prepared to leave Iran, a refuelling accident led to the remaining helicopters and a C-130 Hercules refuelling aircraft being destroyed or left behind, and the deaths of eight American servicemen.”

To the Iranians, the above debacle or disaster was interpreted as an act of Divine intervention. The Iranians had but very slim chance of any success against the might of the American force.

Lest we forget!

Repainted RH-53Ds in sand camouflage and without markings aboard Nimitz.

On the part of the Americans, the Operation was meticulously planned & prepared. As with the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan (or the past wars in Korea & Vietnam), the Americans were never short of detailed planning & preparation. Their military strength & strategies were always hailed with great enthusiasm & optimism. How could they fail – Goliath against David?

Air Force AC-130

The Operation was designed as a complex two-night mission. The first stage of the mission involved delivering a rescue team of of U.S. Army SFOD-D operators to a small “staging site”, named as Desert One, inside Iran, near Tabas in the Yazd Province. The site Desert One was to be used as a temporary airstrip for the the three USAF special operations MC-130E Combat Talon I penetration/transport aircraft & three EC-130E Hercules, each of the latter installed with a pair of collapsible fuel bladders containing 6,000 U.S. gallons of jet fuel.

The burned out wreckage of one of the RH-53 with an intact one sitting in the background

Suffice for me to say that every inch of the military operation was precisely & timely planned. Nothing was left to chance. They had the helicopters, aircrafts, trucks for transporting the ground troops, aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the nearby Indian Ocean, a “hide site” in Desert Two to conceal the helicopters, top commanding generals – just about bit of military power & strength to overpower their poorly equipped Iranians. Of course, they never left out the services of the CIA.

Yet, against all odds, disaster struck & the victims were the Americans. The Iranians were the unexpected victors! It looked like God was never kind to the Americans . . . one defeat after another . . . so unimaginable!

From the Iranians’ perspective, they deemed it as a miracle, an act of Divine intervention. It did appear to be as it was. But when will the Americans learn? When will they ever stop pushing their military weight around & threatening every nation on earth? God alone knows.

The 53 Americans were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979 to January 20, 1981, after a group of Islamist students & militants took over the American Embassy in support of the Iranian Revolution. The Americans should have persevered in their release through diplomatic means, but I guess pride & haughtiness got in the way as always happened. This embarrassing & unfortunate episode is otherwise referred to as Iranian Hostage Crisis.

It ended with the signing of the Algiers Accords in Algeria on January 19, 1981. The hostages were formally released into United States custody the following day, just minutes after the new American President Ronald Reagan was sworn in.

Now, with the present Iran nuclear question, will the Americans strike the first blow again possibly as an entanglement of “vengeance and mutual incomprehension”? God forbids!

War is so senseless.

It doesn’t solve problems.

Atrocities of war spell only misery & suffering.

It’s a lose lose situation for all parties involved.

The only ones benefitting are the manufacturers of war weapons & equipments.

Source: Wikipedia & Aljazeera TV Report (26 April 2010)


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