This Week in EUCOM History: April 23-29, 1980

April 24, 1980 -- Iran hostage rescue attempted

Operation Eagle Claw was an American military operation ordered by President Jimmy Carter to attempt to put an end to the Iran hostage crisis by rescuing 52 Americans held captive at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran on April 24, 1980.

The plan called for a minimum of six helicopters; eight were sent in. The helicopters, crew and equipment came from the EUCOM area of responsibility. Two helicopters could not navigate through a very fine sand cloud which forced one helicopter to crash land and the other to return to the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68). Six helicopters reached the initial rendezvous point, Desert One, but one of them had damaged its hydraulic systems. The spares were on one of the two helicopters that had aborted. In a move still debated, the commanders on the scene requested to abort the mission; Carter gave his approval.

As the U.S. force prepared to leave Iran, one of the helicopters crashed into a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft containing fuel and a group of servicemen. The resulting fire destroyed the two aircraft involved and resulted in the remaining helicopters being left behind and the deaths of eight American servicemen. Operation Eagle Claw was one of the first missions conducted by Delta Force.

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A Hungarian Special Forces Medic, right, directs the evacuation of a simulated casualty to safety to his Romanian SOF medic counterpart during the Field Training Exercise as part of the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) course held in Udbina, Croatia. 
U.S. Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) developed and conducted the TCCC Train-the-Trainer course to enhance the SOF capability and interoperability of SOF medics from eight NATO and partner nations, but most importantly, to incorporate one recognized standard for managing trauma on the battlefield. (U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Donald Sparks, SOCEUR Public Affairs Officer  â? photo approved for public release by Master Sgt. Donald Sparks, SOCEUR PAO).

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CAIRO, EGYPT (March 15, 2011) -- Egyptian families emerge from an Air Force C-130J after their flight from Djerba Zarzis Airport in Tunisia. These Egyptian citizens are among tens of thousands who have fled conflict in Libya to Tunisia, where a humanitarian
crisis is unfolding. This C-130J, flown by the 37th Airlift Squadron from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, is part of a contingent of aircraft from the 37th AS and the 26th U.S. Marine Expeditionary Unit that are transporting the evacuees home. The airlift is part of a broader U.S. government effort led by the Department of State to assist with the crisis. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brendan Stephens/Released)

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