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Memorial Day 2024 - Remembrances

Operation Eagle Claw, 1980: The Iranian Hostage Rescue Mission

I was involved in the initial deployment of assets for this mission. An Ops. Officer, I knew was on my aircraft and we talked after I had served the lunch and coffee. He asked me if I remembered our last conversation. I said yes, and the subject was pertinent to events occurring in the part of the world which was in the news every single day.  He gave me a nod smiled and said he was going to take a nap. I knew something was cooking, but of course OPSEC (Operation Security) was as important then as it is now. Even on ordinarily routine airlift missions, it was easy to recognize things. We landed at our destination, and the passengers boarded a bus that whisked them to a waiting aircraft. We waved to each other, and he gave me a thumbs up.

Turned out to be the last time I saw him alive. A few days later we heard about the failed mission, and the fatalities that had occurred on the Air Force C-130 Herc and the Navy CH53D Super Stallion. When the list of the dead was released, his name was on it. He was on the C-130.

B. A. Andrew Khan

Former TSgt. USAFR

C-141A and C-141B Aircraft Loadmaster

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