OPERATION EAGLE CLAW--27 YEARS AGO
It was the planned operation to rescue the 53 hostages held by Iran in 1980. With the approval of then president Jimmy Carter and headed by Col. Charles Beckwith, the training for the rescue mission went on for months before it was carried out 27 years ago today. Soon after the mission was given the "green light," things began to unravel, culminating in a catastrophic fireball at the initial landing zone within the borders of Iran--Desert One.
Two things happened as a result of this attempt at rescuing the hostages: SOCOM was created, and Ronald Reagan was given a clear path to the White House. Politically, no president would be able to weather such a disasterous humiliation in an election year, and Jimmy Carter was no exception.
For a detailed, behind-the-scenes account of the rescue mission, from the planning stages to the night of the actual events, read author Mark Bowden's article.
Background on Operation Eagle Claw can be found here.
The planning and initial operation was a success. Because of mechanical failures with some of the helos, the operation was aborted. Soon after that order was given, all hell broke loose at Desert One. Many families lost loved ones on this day 27 years ago--prayers go out to them.