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Iran Hostage Crisis

Rescue Attempts By The United States

Rescue Attempts By The United States

In the time between the seizing of the hostages by the Iranians and the set of demands by Iran, the United States had been planning several secret operations to go into Iran and rescue the hostages.

The first mission was called Operation Eagle Claw. On the night of April 24, 1980, a number of C-130 transport airplanes combined with eight RH-53 helicopters at an airstrip in the Great Salt Desert of Eastern Iran, near Tabas. Two helicopters broke down in a sandstorm and a third one was damaged on landing. The mission was aborted, but as the aircraft took off again, one helicopter clipped a C-130 and crashed, killing eight U.S. servicemen and injuring more than four.
A second rescue attempt was planned using highly modified YMC-130H Hercules aircraft. Outfitted with rocket motors to allow an extremely short landing and take-off in a soccer stadium, three aircraft were modified under a rushed super-secret program known as Credible Sport. One aircraft crashed during a demonstration at Duke Field, Florida (Eglin Air Force Base Auxiliary Field 3) on October 29, 1980 when the landing braking rockets were fired too soon causing a hard touchdown that tore off the starboard wing and started a fire. All on board survived. The impending change in the White House led to an abandonment of this project. The two surviving airframes were returned to regular duty with the rocket packages removed.
The U.S. President at the time, Jimmy Carter, immediately applied economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran: oil imports from Iran were ended on November 12, 1979, a number of Iranians in the U.S. were expelled (some of which were unrelated to the crisis or the new Iranian government), and around 8 billion US dollars of Iranian assets in the U.S. were frozen on November 14, 1979.

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