Operation Eagle Claw: The Islamic Revolution

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The failure to rescue the American hostages held in Iran still haunts people to this day. On November 4, 1979, the U.S embassy was illegally broke into and approximately 63 hostages seized. When the Ayatollah was not entertaining diplomatic solutions, President Jimmy Carter resorted to a military plan of action. Even though the operation was name Operation Eagle Claw, it is commonly referred to as the Iranian hostage rescue attempt or Desert One, where the entire operation came to a disastrous end.

An Islamic revolution had started in Iran in January 1978 that would eventually topple their government. The Shah Reza Pahlavi, commonly referred to as the Shah of Iran, fled Iran in January 1979. Immediately upon his departure, Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile. His popularity would eventually allow him to control the political power of Iran.
On November 4, 1979, an angry mob of militant students stormed the U.S. Embassy seizing American hostages. President Carter preferred to seek a diplomatic solution, but the Ayatollah would not negotiate. Under tremendous public pressure to retrieve the hostages, President Carter approved a military
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The maintenance of the helicopters was subpar and when personnel arrived to conduct inspections of the aircraft records, the Navy denied full access. This would manifest in the multiple maintenance problems the crew encountered along the journey. The Navy and Marine pilots that flew the aircraft were also a factor. They were not completely familiar with the mission because they were constantly changing the requirements. There was again, no real oversight. The board also determined that if more helicopters were available for the mission an abort might have been less likely. The result of having more helicopters would go on to create the special operations aviation unit in the U.S. Army, since the Army had the greatest number of helicopters and pilots to fly

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